Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Chocolate Cream Filled Doughnut Holes

I finally did it - I made filled doughnut holes.  And they are FANTASTIC!  After an amazing holiday weekend of mini golf, hanging out with friends and I completed it with doing something I've never done before (and might I add something I never thought I would do), I caught up on some much needed sleep since I was out until the early morning (let's just say I saw the sun come up when I went to bed - something I haven't done since my college days - i.e. a great St. Patrick's Day weekend in Southie) I decided to tackle the filled doughnuts. 

Playing off the recipe from my friend at Arubula's Kitchen, I changed up the recipe for the chocolate one a little (I made it more chocolaty) - I must of tasted the batter a ton of times before I thought it was just right. 

chocolate dough
Once all chilled and ready to go, I cut the dough into doughnut holes and back into the fridge they went to chill.  Then came time to fry them off.  Now with the normal doughnuts, you can tell when they are cooked because they turn a nice golden brown color.  This dough was dark - how could I tell if it was done or not?!  So I tossed some in and let them go - lets just say the first couple of batches are what I like to call "extra crispy".  Still very tasty though.  Once I got the hang of it I got into a groove and went to town.  And these are just as addicting as the normal ones I make. 

a bowl of doughnut holes
Once all cooled - time to make the filling.  I knew what I wanted to use for the filling - and it is the perfect filling for these bad boys.  I wasn't sure how much of it the holes would take so I made the normal amount the recipe called for - I only ended up using half.  The rest of it is in my freezer waiting to be used the next time I make these (of course there will be a next time).  And I got to finally use my new pastry gun - a gun instead of a bag - a lot easier for me to use with my injured hand - my sister was thinking when she bought it for me as a Christmas gift. :)

pastry gun ready to go
Now came the fun part....filling the doughnut holes.  There were a couple of times I put a little too much filling in and it came out the other side, but for the most part they all came out great.  And extremely tasty.  Even my "extra crispy" ones are fantastic. 

ooohhh yeah :) 
food porn shot

I have a feeling these wont last long.  :) Currently sitting in a bowl in my fridge (thanks to the gross heat and humidity) - they are hard not to snack on every time someone opens the fridge door. 


Friday, May 27, 2011

Cookies and Cream Cheesecakes

I don't eat cheesecake - it's one dessert I've never liked no matter how many times I try it.  Not sure what it is about it that I don't like, but I've been wanting to make these since I bought Martha Stewart's Cupcakes Cookbook when it came out.  So I finally decided that I would make them.  I knew that my sisters would eat them and I could always pass them out to my taste testers, so getting people to eat them wasn't a problem. 

I hit the grocery store after my morning appointment at OT to get a few ingredients - like the 2 pounds of cream cheese that it calls for.  That's right - 2 pounds.  I'm standing there in front of the cream cheese section double checking my math and making sure that I buy the right amount of cream cheese (its 4 8 oz boxes) - math and me don't get along.  Whenever math comes into my baking world, I always double and triple check it before I start.  And I needed some Oreo's  - trust me when I say buy 2 bags of Oreo's because you will need both bags.  I got one bag of Double Stuffed and one of the new Fudge Covered Oreo's because I thought I would make the Oreo's that get crushed inside the cupcake better - who doesn't like a fudge covered Oreo?! 

I get home and let things come to room temperature and then get going on putting an Oreo in each cupcake tin using my other fun new cupcake liners (this time they were polka dots in spring colors). 

Oreos as the crust
The batter is super easy - and I'm jamming away listening to music having fun.  Once it's all together, time to scoop it out.  Fill those bad boys to the top - there is a ton of batter.  I went back after my initial scooping out to fill them up some more.  They don't overflow while baking - they just puff up.  So don't worry about spillage while baking. 

filled to the brim
Once filled - time to bake away!  I've never made a cheesecake before and was a little nervous about how to tell when they were "set" or not.  So I'm standing there in front of my oven having a little conversation with myself about if I think they are set or not.  They seemed firm and "set" so I took them out and let them cool.  Once cooled I stuck them in the fridge.  Now I had to wait for one of my sisters to come home and try one since I don't eat cheesecake. 

Finally they came home and Heay's said she would try one. 

oh yeah
She said they were AMAZING!  I was happy I didn't make something bad.  So off I sent her to the boys with treats.  They were very happy.  I am the treat fairy.  

Cookies and Cream Cheesecakes
makes 30

42 Oreos, 30 left whole and 12 coarsely chopped
2 pounds cream cheese, room temp
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 large eggs, room temp, lightly beaten
1 cup sour cream
pinch of salt

  1. Preheat oven to 275 degrees.  Line standard muffin tins with paper liners.  Place 1 whole Oreo in the bottom of each lined cup. 
  2. With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat cream cheese until smooth, scraping down sides of bowl as needed.  Gradually add sugar, and beat until combined.  Beat in vanilla.
  3. Drizzle in eggs, a bit at a time, beating to combine and scraping down sides of bowl as needed.  Beat in sour cream and salt.  Stir in chopped cookies by hand.
  4. Divide batter evenly among cookie-filled cups, filling each almost to the top.  Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until filling is set, about 22 minutes.  Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely.  Refrigerate (in tins) at least 4 hours (or up to overnight).  Remove from tins just before serving.  

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Coffee Cake Muffins

Sorry I haven't posted in a week!  I had a mini vacation to Baltimore for my cousin's wedding.  I had a great time and got to see lots of family that I hadn't seen in years.  And one of my cousin's issued me a challenge to fix a recipe for her - which I gladly took and will happily post about.  She sent me the recipe and I'm going over it as we speak and already making corrections to it - hopefully it will turn out well.  :) 

Back to the baking!  Tuesday is treat day for my favorite 3 taste testers.  I have been wanting to make these for a while now, I mean really - who doesn't like a coffee cake?!  And in the form of a muffin/cupcake - love it.  Of course I got this from Martha Stewart's Cupcakes (they are called Struesel Cupcakes in the book).  And the batter for this is delicious.  I could eat it all day.  I literally scraped the bowl clean before I washed it - wrong I know. 

The first time I made these I had a boo boo.  I read the recipe really quick and it seemed simple and straightforward enough. I made the batter and when finished I made the topping.  After the topping was made is when I see it - refrigerate for 30 minutes.  WHAT?!  Why wasn't this part first in the cookbook?!  Nowhere in the directions does it say "Hey - make the topping first".  So now, I'm semi-freaking out.  Things are ready to go - I've got the oven on and the batter already in all the cupcake tins.  So I stick it in the freezer for 15 minutes - worked out great.  But it was a great lesson to read the whole thing slow :) 

No errors this time (and since the first time I made them).  I made the topping and let it hang out in the fridge for a while.

topping - yum
I love this batter - really easy to make and delicious. 

so tasty
Now comes the fun part.  I take my cookie scoop and scoop out one scoop into each cupcake/muffin hole.  Don't worry about smooshing it down - that comes in a minute.  Just leave it the way it falls in there.  After its all scooped out (and I've found that it really makes 30 - not 24)  comes the fun part of adding in the topping.  You place some in and squish it down into the batter.  You will have some topping left over - then you go back and sprinkle it on the top of each muffin and bake away.  Don't worry if you can't see the top, the batter bakes up through it.  And then you get these -

they smell so good
while baking

Let cool and then make the icing.  And then drizzle away - make it fancy or however you like it.  We all know I'm no artist :) 

yes please

So Heays brings them in to the men and I had to make a special trip earlier in the day to one of them before he left work (which is something I never do - why deliver it yourself when you have someone who will?) :) The feedback was hysterical.  "SOO GOOD"  "WOW"  "The best yet"  They know that I love feedback - its the only thing I ask of them now that they are taste testers :)  

Struesel Cupcakes
makes 24

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup packed dark-brown sugar
2 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temp

Whisk together flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt; cut in the butter using a pastry blender, your fingertips or 2 table knives until combined but still crumbly.  Refrigerate for 30 minutes. 

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temp
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups sour cream
Milk Glaze

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line standard muffin tins with paper liners.  Whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
  2. With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as eneded.  Stir in vanilla by hand.  Add flour mixture and sour cream; stir until just combined.
  3. Divide batter evenly among lined cups.  Sprinkle half the topping over cupcakes, gently pressing it into the batter.  Sprinkle evenly with remaining topping.  Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until golden brown and a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, about 20 minutes.  Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes.
  4. To finish, place cupcakes on a wire rack set over a baking sheet;  drizzle evenly with milk glaze.  Glaze cupcakes can be stored up to 3 says at room temperature in airtight containers.

Milk Glaze:
1 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar, sifted
3 tbsp milk

Whisk together ingredients until smooth.  Use immediately.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Lemon Tassies

Since the weather is finally getting nicer (well, not lately - its been raining her for the past week) I decided to make a spring time treat.  These are little lemon pies - love them.  Not too overpowering in the lemon department - I really hate when its overpowering...it kills the treat.  And you get to make crust!!  I enjoyed making these.  And anything that calls for me to use a zester I'm down for - I find it highly enjoyable to zest something and the smell that comes from it is so nice.  So I pulled out my cookie bible (sadly still on its last leg, pages falling out all the time and so happy that I have a backup one from Sissy) and got to making these. 

This recipe makes a lot since you make them in a mini-muffin tin.  I only had one, so I used that and a normal size muffin tin.  I sprayed the crap out of them with Pam and got going on the crust. It calls for the use of a food processor, and since mine decided to die and go out in a blaze of smokey glory, I used my stand mixer.  It worked great, just took a little longer than it would have with a food processor.  I have to say, it's one of the easiest crusts ever.  Once all made, I portioned it out and pressed the dough into each tin and bake them off until the edges are golden brown.

baked crusts

After they are baked, I pressed down the centers and let them cool while I watched an episode of Game Of Thrones.  Once finished with that, time to make the filling.  This was super easy as well.  And not too lemony as well. 

delicious filling
I fill each cup to the top and bake away.  These bake rather quick, only 10 minutes.  Let cool in the tins and then remove from tins and let set a little bit and then you are good to finally eat them! Really tasty!

a mini
I had Heays bring them into my favorite taste testers and she split them up into 2 - one of them got all the large ones and one of them got all the minis - so they didn't have to worry about sharing.  They were extremely happy for treats - as always.  :) 

Lemon Tassies
makes 4 dozen 

for the crusts:
2 cups all purpose flour
10 tbsp (1 1/4 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into chunks
1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp sugar
2 large egg yolks
2 tsps finely grated lemon zest
1/4 tsp coase salt
vegetable oil cooking spray

for the filling:
8 oz cream cheese, room temp
1/3 cup sugar
1 large egg
3 tbsp finely grated lemon zest
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees with rack in upper third.  Coat 2 24-cup mini-muffin tins with cooking spray.
  2. Make crusts:  Process flour and butter in a food processor until mixture is the consistency of fine crumbs.  Add sugar, egg yolks, vanilla, lemon zest and salt.  Process until just combined and sandy texture; do not overprocess.
  3. Divide dough into quarters.  Divide each quarter into 12 equal pieces, and shape into balls.  Place each ball in a muffin cup; press into cup, stretching dough up the sides.  Set each muffin tin on a baking sheet. 
  4. Bake crusts, rotating halfway through, until lightly browned all over and slightly darker at the edges, 18-20 minutes.  Tap down any puffed centers of the shells with the end of a wooden spoon or your finger.  Transfer sheets with muffin tins to wire racks to cool. 
  5. Make filling:  With an electric mixer, beat cream cheese, sugar, egg, lemon zest and juice, and vanilla on medium speed until smooth.  Using a 1" ice cream scoop, fill the cooled crusts with filling.
  6. Bake cookies, rotating sheets halfway through, until filling is set and just beginning to color at the edges, 10-12 minutes.  Transfer to wire racks to cool completely.  Tassies can be refrigerated in single layers in airtight containers up to 3 days.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Double-Fudge Pockets

It had gotten back to me that someone was sad that my sister didn't have treats for him from me.  So I made him these.  I fear no cookie and couldn't resist the sound of these - a chocolate cookie with a fudge center.....its on.  The dough was fairly easy, and once made into the fridge it goes to chill.  Once chilled, it's time to roll it out and cut them with my cookie cutters. 

chocolate discs
Now comes the fun part, taking the filling and spooning some in the center of each cookie.

chocolate with chocolate
Now I take more pre-cut cookies (definitely cut the tops ahead of putting the filling on, makes things easier) and place it on top of the filling and seal the edges of the cookies. 

filled and sealed
Toss those bad boys into the oven and let them bake. 

they puff up nicely
Let cool and then discover the deliciousness.  I think the dough is alright - there is room for improvement....I feel like it's not chocolaty enough.  But the filling is fantastic!! 

a layer of fudge
These went over very well with my 3 favorite taste testers.  But sadly one of them didn't get any, they were all gone by the time he got into work.  So I promised him some treats this week for him.  I asked if he wanted anything in particular and his response was "Anything you make will be amazing.  You're an artist."  It was highly entertaining.  I love when they give me free reign to make things. 

Double-Fudge Pockets
makes about 30 cookies

1 cup butter, room temp
1 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
Fudge Filling

  1. In a large bowl beat butter with electric mixer on medium high speed for 30 seconds.  Add sugar and baking powder, beat until combined.  Beat in whole egg, egg yolk and vanilla until combined.  Beat in cocoa powder and flour until combined.  Divide dough in half.  Cover and chill dough for at least 1 hour, or until easy to handle.  Prepare Fudge Filling and set aside.
  2. Fudge Filling:  In a small saucepan melt 4 oz semisweet chocolate over low heat, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat.  Stir in 1/2 cup sour cream.  Mixture will stiffen as it cools.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  On a lightly floured surface, roll half of the dough at a time until 1/8" thick.  Using a 2 1/2" cookie cutter, cut out dough.  Place half of the cutout rounds 1" apart on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or Silpats.  Spoon a rounded teaspoon (I did a dollop) into the center of each round.  Place remaining rounds over of each of the filled rounds.  Press edges together to seal.
  4. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until edges are firm.  Cool on cookie sheet for 1 minute.  Transfer cookies to a wire rack and let cool. 

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Cupcakes for Mom

There is a great cupcake divide in my house.  My mom and Heay love yellow cake with chocolate frosting while my dad and Ween love chocolate cake with white frosting.  I fall in the middle and don't really have a favorite.  When certain holidays and birthdays come around, we all know what I will be making....and since it was Mother's Day on Sunday I made yellow cupcakes with chocolate frosting.  And not just any chocolate frosting, the BEST chocolate frosting.  But we will get to that in a little while.  Having found the best recipe for chocolate cupcakes that are moist and light and fluffy, I'm constantly on the search for the same in a yellow cake.  I have sadly not found one yet, but I keep testing new recipes away.  The one I used for these cupcakes were great - fluffy and very tasty, just not what my family is looking for.  So the search continues......

Somewhere over the years I've seen parts of my mom in me - like her need to have festive decorations for each holiday.  While I'm not at the level that she is at (and I hope I never get there - Mom I love you but we all joke that you have an issue when your attic is more than half full with decorations), I do have fun spatulas and baking items for holidays and seasons.  Having recently gotten a spring/summer spatula and some extremely fun cupcake liners (polka dots and fun stripes in spring colors) I was happy to use them.

one of my new fun
cupcake liners!
I get out the cupcake tins and line them with the liners and make the batter.  Bake them off and they smell so good.  I don't know why yellow cake smells so amazing while baking.  I love when I find a good candle that smells like yellow cake or white frosting.

naked cupcakes
Once all cooled, time to make the frosting.  My mom is a GIANT fan of this frosting, and I've added a couple of tweaks along the way to make it a little better.  But the fact that the frosting uses a pound of chocolate - thats right, I said a POUND of chocolate - and 3 sticks of butter always makes me giggle, not really sure why....I think it's because my mom loves butter - I mean like loads it on bread.  I make the frosting and load it into a giant plastic bag and pipe away. 

im getting good
with my piping skills
All of us except for Ween love frosting.  Ween will take most of it off and leave it for one of us to eat.  So when she was doing some frosting removal in the kitchen, my mom walks in and says "Don't throw it away...I'll eat it".  I go into the kitchen a little while later and there is this huge pile of frosting just sitting in the paper liner waiting for someone to eat it. 

Yellow Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting
Makes 24

3 cups cake flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 cups butter, melted
1 1/4 cups sugar
2/3 cup milk
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
4 large eggs

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line cupcake tins with paper liners.  Mix cake flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda; set aside.  Beat butter and sugar in a large bowl with electric mixer on high speed until fluffy.  Beat in flour mixture, milk, vanilla and eggs on medium speed until blended, scraping bowl occasionally.  Beat for 2 minutes.  Fill each cupcake 2/3 way full.
  2. Bake for 19-23 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool for 10 minutes; remove from tins.  Let cool completely on wire rack. 
  3. Frost cupcakes
makes about 5 cups

1 pound semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
6 tbsp cocoa powder
6 tbsp boiling water
3 sticks (1 1/2 cups) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup confectioners sugar
pinch of salt
splash of strong coffee or coffee flavored liquer

Place chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over (but not touching) simmering water.  Turn off the heat; stir occasionally until chocolate has melted completely, about 15 minutes.  Set bowl on countertop and let chocolate cool to room temperature, 25-30 minutes.  Meanwhile, combine cocoa powder and boiling water in a small bowl; stir until cocoa is dissolved.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter, confectioners sugar and salt on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 3-4 minutes.  Add melted chocolate; beat on low speed until combined, 1-2 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.  Beat in the cocoa mixture.  Add coffee and mix until combined.  Use immediately.  Left over frosting can be stored in an airtight container in the freezer (it holds up well).  Just let thaw and then beat for a few minutes in mixer until fluffy and then use. 

Monday, May 9, 2011

Cookie Dough Truffles

I have a true addiction to Cookie Dough.  This is a well known fact about me.  So randomly one day I was watching the Food Network and Paula Deen  was on.  I love Paula - highly entertaining...I would love to meet her in person - she seems like so much fun.  So here I am watching the show and it said that she was going to make Cookie Dough Truffles! I freaked out.  I watched her make them and then immediately went online and printed the recipe out.  Of course I made them that day too.  And so my addiction of these treats began.  It's been over a year since the first time I made them, and it's come to the point where I try not to make them all the time because they truly are that addicting.  Even if you aren't a fan of cookie dough you will be after you try these.  I hadn't made them since the summer and was getting together for a ladies day out with some friends for lunch and shopping and I said I would bring treats - and why not these?!  They are so easy and make a lot. 

This is the best no bake recipe ever.  The batter comes together within minutes and it's really just a lot of time for the dough to chill and set up.  Once the dough is ready.....

looks like normal cookie dough
.....comes the fun part of rolling it out into little balls.  The recipe calls for them to be shaped into 1 inch balls.  I found that they are huge when you make them that size.  So I make them into smaller balls - and it gives you a higher count as well.  But feel free to make them the size you want.  But just a tip - wear an apron - you will get flour all over you!  The dough is extremely sticky and flour is your best friend.  Once rolled, away into the fridge they go to chill for 2 hours.

look at all of them!!
Now comes the fun part....dipping them in chocolate.  You can use any kind of chocolate you want.  Personally, I love the dark chocolate candy coating that you can find at craft stores.  Melt it away and dip.  Make sure you get a good coating.  Sometimes if you miss spots the cookie dough will peek out, but honestly who cares right?  Once all dipped, back into the fridge they go. 

oh yeah
The next day I met up with my friends, and I had bags ready for all of them.  And Ween was meeting up with one of her friends and I made her a bag as well.  Needless to say they were all happy campers.  I warned them that they were addicting.  And Heays brought the rest into where she works and they ate them up within minutes. 

Cookie Dough Truffles

1/2 cup butter, room temp
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour
1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup semisweet mini chocolate chips
1 1/2 pounds chocolate bark candy coating, melted

In a large bowl cream butter and brown sugar with an electric mixer at medium speed until creamy.  Add vanilla.  Gradually beat in flour and add condensed milk.  Add chocolate chips (regular size chips work - I use them all the time).  Shape into balls and place on waxed paper or parchment paper.  Chill for 2 hours.  *****DONT FORGET TO USE FLOUR!!*******

Melt chocolate bark candy coating.  Using 2 forks, dip cookie balls into candy coating to cover.  Place back on waxed paper and chill to set.  Store in refrigerator for at least 1 hour.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Mud Pie Cookies

I wanted to make my OT Therapist something to say thank you, she is by far the best occupational therapist I've ever had.  So I started looking through my cookbooks to see what I should make.  After about 20 minutes of looking, finally I found it - Mud Pie Cookies.   Then I look at the ingredients.....I didn't have everything I needed for it.  And since I had just come back from the grocery store, I was not going back out to get more supplies.  So I changed up the recipe and made it my own :)  And they turned out great!!  I'm toying with the notion of changing it a little the next time I make these, but I did find my new favorite frosting while making these. 

The dough was easy and quite tasty (of course I had to try a little of it).   Once all made, into the fridge it went to chill a couple of hours.

fudgie dough
 Once the dough was chilled, I scooped them out and made a hole with my thumb in each one.  Not really sure why it called for that, but I found that if I dipped my thumb in water the dough wouldn't stick.  Into the oven they go to bake - and the indents I made didn't really stick....oh well.

Once all cooled, I got going on the frosting.  It called for bourbon - not something I generally keep on hand.  But I did have Kahlua and used that instead.  I wasn't too sure how alcohol would taste in a frosting, but oh wow.....it's delicious!! Not too strong and gives it a little hint of something.  Time to frost the cookies.....and they turned out soo good.

fudgie cookie with Kahlua flavored
chocolate chip frosting...oh yes
All that's left is to let the frosting set up a little and then time to eat.  I was eager to try the whole thing together.....it didn't disapoint.  I'm definatley going to change up the recipe a little more next time I make it, I think it could use more chocolate or something....I feel like it's missing something, just not sure what it is yet.  But here's my recipe for what I put together :)

Mud Pie Cookies
Makes about 60 cookies

3/4 cup butter, room temp
1 1/2 cups sugar
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp stong brewed coffee
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour
Chocolate Frosting

  1. In a large mixing bowl beat butter with an electric mixer on medium speed for 30 seconds.  Add sugar, cocoa powder, and baking powder.  Beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally.  Add coffee, eggs, and vanilla to sugar mixture; beat until combined.  Add flour slowly and beat until combined. Cover and chill dough for 1-2 hours or until easy to handle.
  2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Line cookie sheets with parchment paper or Silpats.  Shape dough into 1" balls.  Place balls 2" apart on cookie sheet.  Press your thumb into the center of each cookie (dip your thumb in a bowl of water - makes it much easier)
  3. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until edges are set.  Transfer cookies to a wire rack and let cool.  Make frosting and frost cookies; let frosting dry.
Chocolate Frosting:
1/3 cup butter, room temp
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup cocoa powder
3 cups confectioners sugar
2 tbsp Kahula liquer
1-3 tbsp milk
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

In a medium mixing bowl, beat butter and vanilla extract with an electric mixer on medium speed for 30 seconds.  Slowly beat in cocoa powder and 1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar.  Beat in 2 tbsp Kahula.  Gradually beat in the remaining 1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar and milk to make spreading consistency.  Stir in chocolate chips. Frost cookies. 

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Almond Sweets

I was flipping through my "Biggest Book Of Cookies" cookbook and I saw this recipe for Almond Sweets.  Now, I love any cookie with Almond flavoring in it.  Brings me right back to childhood at Christmas time making cookies with a cookie press - those were always my favorite cookies.  So I knew that I had to make these.  After getting the news that I need another surgery to remove a bone in my wrist that is pinching my ulnar nerve, I decided that these would be the perfect thing to make me happy. 

The dough is really easy, as are all of the cookies in this book - I highly suggest it.   Once the dough is ready, I scoop it out onto the sheet.....

little balls of dough
.....and bake them until they are golden brown

these smell amazing while
baking in the oven
Once cooled, time to frost them.  I mean really, who doesn't love a cookie with frosting on top?!  I make the icing and dip each cookie in it.  I'm not happy.  The icing was way too thin and not really covering the cookies.  So I made another batch of icing and doubled it.  I really wanted a good coating on the cookies.  And did I ever get it. 

frosted goodness
Once the frosting was set, I of course had to try one.  So good!  I immediately packed them up and dropped most of them off with Heays to deliver to some of my favorite taste testing men.   And they loved them.   Ween had a couple of the small amount that I brought home.  She turns to me while eating one and says "Don't ever make these again unless you want me to eat them all.  They are THAT GOOD."  Ween also shares my love for almond flavored cookies and we talked about the cookies at Christmas from when we were little, but who am I kidding, we still make those cookies at Christmas. 

Almond Sweets
makes about 48 cookies

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsps baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3 eggs
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract
Almond Icing

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line cookie sheets with parchment paper or Silpats; set aside.  In a bowl stir together flour, baking powder and salt; set flour mixture aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl beat eggs, sugar, oil, vanilla and almond extract with an electric mixer until combined.  Beat in the flour a little at a time until completely mixed.
  3. Drop dough by the teaspoon 1" apart on cookie sheet.  Bake for about 10 minutes until golden.  Transfer cookies to wire rack and let cool.  Frost with Almond Icing.
Almond Icing

In a medium bowl stir together 1 cup sifted powdered sugar, 1/4 tsp almond extract and 2-4 tsps milk to make a smooth, spreadable icing.  If desired, tint with food coloring. 

****I highly suggest doubling the icing recipe so you have a nice thick coating*******

Monday, May 2, 2011

Pillow Cookies

My friend Amy had texted me one day, asking if I had ever made Pillow Cookies.  I told her I had no clue what she was talking about.  A cookie that looks like a pillow?  Maybe one that's light and fluffy like a pillow?  Then she tells me its a chocolate chip cookie with a brownie in the middle of it.  Right on!  Needless to say I hit the internet to find this recipe so I could make it.  I come to find out that there are different types of Pillow Cookies - but I went with the one she was telling me about and found a recipe from Mrs. Fields Secrets.  I looked over the recipe and was happy that there really wasn't much to it.  I put it aside until a slow day to make them....yesterday was that day.

I made the brownies first, since they need to be baked and cooled.  All you need is a box mix of your favorite brownies and prepare them the way the box calls for.  Then I read the "Tips" part at the bottom of the recipe:  slightly under cook your brownies; they will continue baking inside the cookies.  OK - not a big deal...but how much time do I cut off to under cook them?  I've never undercooked anything on purpose before.  I went with 5 minutes and they actually turned out great. 

undercooked brownies
Once they were all cooled, time to make the cookie dough.  This part was simple.  Once it was made, away it goes into the fridge to chill for an hour.

i <3 cookie dough
Time to make the cookies!!  YAY!!  I reread the recipe like 5 times - it said to scoop out 1/2 cup for each cookie!!  That's a ginormous cookie!  And it wouldn't make a lot.....not happy.  So I decide to make smaller cookies and just scoop 1 tbsp out, but a brownie piece in the middle.......

brownie in a cookie
.......and then cover with another tbsp of dough.

yes, they are rather big
I baked them off for 11-10 minutes.  My first batch didn't turn out so pretty - apparently I missed covering all of the brownie on some cookies

But the second batch turned out great

surprise! there's a brownie
in there!
Once cooled, my family was excited to try these. 

i like putting up food
porn shots :)
If you like brownies and chocolate chip cookies, then these are for you!! My dad didn't see the cookies when he entered the kitchen, just the pan of the undercooked brownies - which he happily ate.  When I said there are cookies as well, he turned around and got one.  He is a huge fan of these and so is Ween.  They couldn't stop eating them.