Sunday, May 25, 2014

Kit Kat Chocolate Chip Cookies


It's been a while since my last post, but what better way to get back into baking than prepping desserts for a friend's engagement party. We'll be spending the day at a vineyard and I'm making a few desserts.


I've had these Kit Kat Chocolate Chip Cookies on my "To-Do" list for a while, so I thought it was about time I opened the bag of candy bars and checked it off my list. Next time I'll add in one more cup of chopped Kit Kats, otherwise, the cookies were soft and chewy and had a nice crunch when you got a bite of Kit Kat.

Kit Kat Chocolate Chip Cookies
adapted from melanieMakes
makes about 50 cookies

Ingredients:

1 cup shortening
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 Tbsp hot water
2 tsp vanilla
3 cups flour
1 tsp salt
2 cups Kit Kat candy, chopped
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions:

Cream together the shortening, brown sugar, and regular sugar.  Add the eggs, water, vanilla, and beat together until fluffy. Mix together the flour, salt and baking soda in a medium bowl. Add the dry mixture to the wet and mix until just combined. Stir in chopped Kat Kat and chocolate chips.  Drop heaping tablespoons onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper.  Bake at 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes.  Allow to cool on cookie sheet 5 minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool. 

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies with Maple Filling


It's a new year with a fresh start. For the first time I've actually given my new year's resolutions real thought and wrote them down too...somehow they seem more real written down. I also looked up my last blog post and see that it was in May, and while I've said this before, I'm really going to make a serious effort to post more recipes this year.


I know it's not fall anymore and you may be thinking why do I still have canned pumpkin in my pantry, but I've been wanting to make these Pumpkin Whoopie Pies since September and guess what...I finally did it!  Better late than never. 


The cookie portion of these whoopies were perfectly moist and had just the right amount of pumpkin taste. The filling called for maple syrup, but I added in maple extract as well because I wanted a stronger maple taste. My taste testers agree this was a good addition, but if you don't like maple you could sub in vanilla extract.

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies with Maple Filling 
adapted from Whisks & Whimsy  
makes about 25 whoopie pies

Ingredients 

Cookie: 
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp table salt

1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 cup canola oil
2 large eggs, room temperature


Filling:

4 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
5 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
1 Tbsp Grade B maple syrup

1 tsp maple extract
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon table salt

3 cups confectioners sugar

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the pumpkin puree, light brown sugar, dark brown sugar, canola oil, and eggs on medium speed for 3 minutes, until well combined. Scrape down the bowl and then turn the mixer on low speed. Slowly add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients, mixing for a total of 30 seconds, until the batter is just combined. Scrape down the bowl and make sure the batter is thoroughly mixed. 

Fill a pastry bag fitted with a large round tip, (the hole should be about the size of the tip of your ring finger) or use a ziploc bag and cut a hole in one of the corners, with the batter. Pipe the batter into 2-inch diameter circles onto the prepared baking sheet, leaving about 1 1/2-inches of space between each cookie. I also smoothed out any points on the cookies created by the pastry bag with a finger. Keep the batter refrigerated between batches.
 
Bake for 10 minutes. Then rotate the baking sheet and bake for about 8 to 10 more minutes, until the cookies are a deep orange color and spring back when touched. Transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely before filling them.

While the cookies are cooling it's time to make the filling.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the cream cheese and butter together on medium speed for 3 minutes, until light and fluffy. Scrape down the bowl and add the maple syrup, maple extract, cinnamon, and salt. Mix on low speed for 30 seconds.

With the mixer on low, slowly add the confectioners sugar and then beat for 1 minute. Scrape down the bowl and make sure the filling is thoroughly mixed. The filling should hold its shape; so if it is too soft, add more confectioners sugar a tablespoon at a time until the consistency is right. 

Once the cookies are completely cooled, turn half of the cookies bottom-side up. Place a drop of frosting on each bottom-side up cookie using a pastry bag or ziploc bag. Place the remaining cookies on top of the frosted ones and gently press down to sandwich them together.


Sunday, May 26, 2013

Chocolate Banana Whipped Cream Trifle


I know I haven't posted in a while, but I'm still here.  I wanted to make sure to post today because a friend of mine is getting married tonight and he is a big fan of the blog and has offered encouragement over the years.  Hopefully he'll enjoy this post-wedding blog post and maybe he'll even make it one day!  If only he had a trifle bowl on his registry...


Believe it, this trifle is real.  And you should also believe it's really not that difficult to make.  If you have the cookies already made, it takes even less time to assemble.  Since the Banana Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies are already soft, they are perfect for this trifle.  The longerthe trifle sits in the fridge, the softer and better it tastes.  

Chocolate Banana Whipped Cream Trifle
adapted from the essential chocolate chip cookbook

Ingredients

16-20 Banana Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
2/3 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
2 cups cold heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 Tbsp rum
1 tsp vanilla
4-6 medium ripe bananas, sliced

Directions

Have ready a trifle bowl (2 1/2-3 quart capacity, preferably glass). Melt the chocolate chips in a double boiler (or microwave if you are short on time).  Set aside to cool slightly.

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat the cream, powdered sugar, rum and vanilla until firm peaks form.

To assemble the trifle, spread about 1 cup of the whipped cream over the bottom of the bowl.  Spread one-third of the banana slices over the cream.  Use a small spoon to drizzle about 2 teaspoons of the melted chocolate chips over the bananas.  Add a layer of 4-5 cookies, breaking them up to fit if necessary.  Repeat the layering of whipped cream, bananas, chocolate, and cookies to make 2 more layers.  Add a fourth layer of whipped cream.  Break the remaining cookies into 1 inch pieces and scatter them over the whipped cream.  Drizzle the remaining chocolate over the cookies.

Refrigerate the trifle for about 15 minutes to firm up the chocolate topping then cover carefully with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours, or overnight.  Serve cold.

Use a large spoon to serve the trifle, making sure to dig down through the layers to the bottom of the bowl for each serving!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Chocolate Truffles (2 Ways)


Truffles are one of my favorite treats to make not only because they taste so decadent, but also because people seem to be really impressed  that I made them.  What they don't realize is that truffles are really so simple to make.  You do not have to be an experienced baker by any means to make these.  The best part is that really authentic truffles are not perfectly round, so you never have to worry about rolling them into perfectly round balls.


I wanted to experiment with different spices for these two truffle recipes.  The first one is more of a sweeter recipe and the second is more savory.  Neither recipe produced an overwhelming taste of the various spices, but each recipe tasted unique and delicious nonetheless.  I hope you enjoy.

Chocolate Cardamom Truffles
adapted from Buttercream & Roses
makes 24 pieces

Ingredients

12 oz. semisweet chocolate
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 tsp cardamom
1 cup shelled unsalted pistachios, chopped

Directions 

Combine the cardamom and heavy cream in a medium saucepan and heat over medium-low until it reaches a simmer. 

Place the chocolate in a bowl and pour the cream and cardamom mixture over the chocolateLet sit for 3 minutes.

Whisk the chocolate and cream until completely smooth.  Place in the refrigerator for about 3 hours to firm up.  

Place chopped pistachios in a small bowl.  With a small ice cream scoop or spoon, scoop out chocolate and gently roll into a ball.  Place in the pistachios and roll around until completely coated and place on plate.

Let set in the refrigerator for 30 minutes before serving. 

Chocolate Spiced Truffles
adapted from Sandra Lee
makes 24 pieces

Ingredients

2/3 cup heavy cream
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp chili powder
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
12 oz. dark chocolate
1/2 cup toasted hazelnuts, chopped
1/4 cup cocoa powder

Directions

In a medium saucepot, combine the cream, cinnamon, chili powder and cayenne pepper and heat over medium-low heat until it comes to a simmer.  Add the chocolate and stir until the chocolate is completely melted and smooth.  Transfer to a bowl and chill in the refrigerator until it firms up, about 2 hours.

Shortly before removing the chocolate from the refrigerator, place the chopped hazelnuts and cocoa powder in two separate bowls. 

Using a small ice cream scoop or spoon, scoop out the chocolate and gently roll into a small ball.  Then roll each ball in one of the toppings until completely coated.  Place on a plate and let sit in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes before serving. 


Sunday, January 6, 2013

Biscoff Muffins


If you need a new recipe to make for brunch you can stop your search right this second.  Go out and find Biscoff spread (I found it at World Market and Giant) and make these muffins. 


I brought these to a friend's house for Christmas day brunch and they topped off our omelets and pancakes perfectly.  They barely took any time to make and came out so light and airy.  Do you remember that 3 Musketeers candy bar commercial where the 3 Musketeers was literally floating up into the air...well that's what I thought of when I took my first bite.  These were delicious and I hope you enjoy them just as much as I did!  You may also like my other Biscoff recipe, which can be found here

Biscoff Muffins
adapted from bakerstreet
Makes 12 muffins

Ingredients

3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1½ cups + 2 tsp flour
2 tsp baking powerd
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp cinnamon
¼ cup vegetable oil
¾ cup milk (I used skim)
1 tsp vanilla extract
⅓ cup Biscoff spread (microwave it for 15 to 20 seconds so it is of spreadable consistency)

Directions

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a muffin tin with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar and egg until combined.  Add in the flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Mix until combined.

Add in the vegetable oil, milk and vanilla extract.

Spoon in about 2/3 of the Biscoff spread into the batter and mix well. 

Fill each muffin cup about ⅔ full with batter and then add about a teaspoon of the Biscoff spread to each and swirl it around a few times with a toothpick or a knife.

Bake for 15-17 minutes.  Cool muffins on a wire rack before serving.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Holiday Chocolate Dipped Pretzels



I was on the diving team in college and after every competition the team chowed down on a giant bucket of chocolate dipped pretzels with our school colors.  One of the mothers of a girl on the swim team made those pretzels every season and never missed a competition.


Chocolate dipped pretzels can look really beautiful and people will think you worked very hard in the kitchen.  But what they won't know is that, while it does take some time, the process is actually very simple.


You can also get creative with your toppings.  I used crushed candy cane for Christmas and blue sprinkles for Hanukkah, but you can also use a variety of colored sprinkles for other holidays or crushed up Oreos, graham cracker crumbs, and the list could go on.  I hope you'll share if you try something new.

Chocolate Dipped Pretzels

Ingredients

1 large bag or pretzels twists
1 large bag of pretzel rods
10-12 ounces white chocolate morsels
10-15 mini candy canes
Blue sprinkles

Directions

Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

Place the chocolate in a microwaveable dish and heat in 30 second intervals until completely melted and smooth.

Place candy canes in a ziploc bag and crush or if you have a food processor you can also place the candy canes in there and pulse until the pieces are the size you want. (I found the processor worked better)  Place the crushed candy cane in a wide-bottomed bowl and do the same for the blue sprinkles.

Take one pretzel twist and place face down in the white chocolate.  Lift and tap to remove excess chocolate.  Place the pretzel face down in either the candy cane bowl or the blue sprinkles.  Press lightly to make sure all chocolate is covered.  Remove and place face up on the baking sheet.  

For the pretzel rods, dip about halfway into the chocolate.  Tap to remove any excess then roll into either bowl of candy cane or sprinkles (I found you may have to tip the bowl to the side to get the chocolate completely covered.  Another option would be instead of dipping in a bowl you could pour the sprinkles or candy canes over the rod and keep turning the rod until it is completely coated).  Place on baking sheet and let the chocolate pretzels harden before removing to a serving dish or eating!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Chocolate Mint Pudding Cookies (for Hanukkah)



Tonight is the first night of Hanukkah, the Jewish Festival of Lights.  And what better way to celebrate than with good friends and delicious desserts.


Pudding cookies tend to be soft and chewy, so I thought I'd experiment with a new version for Hanukkah.  I used chocolate pudding and cocoa powder to make them a richer chocolate cookie and added mint chips instead of chocolate chips.  My taste-testers enjoyed the experiment and this recipe is definitely a keeper.

Chocolate Mint Pudding Cookies (for Hanukkah)
adapted from The Capitol Baker

Ingredients

2 1/4 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1.4 oz package instant pudding mix (I used chocolate)
2 Tbsp cocoa powder
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1.5 cups York Peppermint Patty pieces

Directions

Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Beat together the butter and both sugars until creamy.  Beat in the pudding mix, cocoa powder, eggs, and vanilla.  Add in batches of the flour, baking soda, and salt and beat until combined.  Stir in the York Peppermint Patty pieces until distributed evenly.  Drop heaping teaspoons of the batter onto an ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake for 13-14 minutes.

My batch made about 40 cookies.