Recent Posts

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Baking!


Merry Christmas Eve!  As you can see, even Sadie, our dog, is in the Christmas spirit today.  I hope everyone has exciting plans for spending the holidays with friends and family!

We did lots of cookie baking this Christmas.  I made Brownie Covered OreosButter cookies, and Hot Cocoa cookies to give out this year.  The Brownie covered Oreos were OK - not as delicious as they sound!  And certainly not too great if even slightly overbaked.  I'd recommend using more brownie batter on each oreo and cutting down the baking time.  The Butter Cookies were a hit - one of the best cookie press recipes I've made.  And the Hot Cocoa cookies were sticky and delicious.. and tasted just like Hot Cocoa!

Brownie Covered Oreos, insired by Picky Palate



Prepare your favorite brownie recipe (or batter from a box mix) and leave the batter in the bowl.  
Prepare a cupcake pan - either use cupcake liners or thoroughly grease the pan.
Dip oreo entirely in the brownie batter.  Shake off excess batter and put in the prepared pan.
Bake at 350 for about 8 - 12 minutes.  Don't overbake!  There isn't much batter that needs to bake, so these will go quick!  If they are too well done, they will be far too hard and pretty much inedible! (I know, b/c I did this the first time!)

Hot Cocoa Cookies, inspired by How Sweet It Is


2 sticks butter, room temp
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs, room temp
1 tsp pure vanilla
2 cup flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 cup fluff
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup mini marshmallows

Cream the butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla until fluffy.  
In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt.  
Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix until combined.  Stir in fluff.
Fold in the chocolate chips and marshmallows.  Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Preheat to 350.  Roll 1 inch balls from the chilled dough and bake on a parchment lined cookie sheet for 10-12 minutes.  Let cool on the cookie sheet for 5 - 10 minutes, then lift the parchment from the cookie sheet and place on a cooling rack to cool completely.

Butter Cookies, inspired by Martha Stewart's Cookie Press Cookies 


3 sticks butter, unsalted, room temp
1 cup sugar
2 large egg yolks, room temp
3 3/4 cup flour
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 tsp pure vanilla
colored sugars and sprinkles for decorating

In the bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, cream butter, sugar and egg yolk until light and fluffy.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour and salt.  Add to the butter mixture.  Mix until combined, then add vanilla and mix.  If desired, all food coloring.
Fit your cookie press with your preferred shape disk and fill with dough.  Press out onto an un-lined cookie sheet.  Sprinkle with sugars and sprinkles and desired.  Chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
When chilled, bake in a pre-heated oven at 350 for 7 - 10 minutes.  Let cool on the sheet for 5 - 10 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.  





Saturday, December 18, 2010

Nutella Chocolate Chip Cookies


Today, we went to a lovely local outdoor market with our Smart Baker goods -  the aprons, towels and cupcake and dessert towers.  It wound up pretty cold and rainy and after a few hours it was postponed until tomorrow.  So we'll give it another go then!  But for now, we are home drinking hot chocolate and eating these Nutella Chocolate Chip Cookies to warm up while we fill some custom apron orders for the holidays.  

These cookies are delicious with just a hint of nuttiness from the Nutella.  The nutella is very subtle and doesn't make the cookies too chocolately.  Daniel, the not-such-a-chocolate-lover, loved them and didn't know there was nutella in it until I told him.  

Nutella Chocolate Chip Cookies, adapted from Kirbie's Cravings
2 C all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 C unsalted butter
1/2 C sugar
heaping 1/2 C light brown sugar
2 large eggs, room temp
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 C nutella 
1/2 C chocolate chips

Preheat to 350 and line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream butter together with the sugars. Add eggs and vanilla and mix until just combined.
Gradually add in the flour mixture and mix until just combined. 
Add in the nutella and mix until just incorporated. Add in the chocolate chips.
Using a 1 Tablespoon cookie scoops, place heaping scoops onto the prepared cookie sheet about 2 inches apart.
Bake about 7 - 12 minutes.  Let cool on the cookie sheet for 5 minutes and then remove to a cooling rack to cool completely.


Monday, December 13, 2010

Martha's Double Chocolate Brownies


My master's degree is now complete!  I had my last day of student teaching on Friday and now I begin my job search.  I'm both very excited and kind of nervous to begin this next step!
This past weekend I had no lesson plans to create, no artwork examples to make, and no papers to write.  It was a strange feeling!  So I found myself with time to get back in the kitchen and start baking again.  And now, it is Monday morning at 6:50am and even though my student teaching is over, thanks to my internal alarm clock which has been set to a teacher's schedule for the last 14 weeks, I am wide awake.  Perfect time to update my blog (which had been a bit neglected towards the end of my graduate career)!
Like most people in the universe, I just can't get sick of brownies.  This time I tried a new one, Martha Stewart's Double Chocolate Brownies.  Because I didn't have all the required ingredients, I made slight changes to the recipe.  I was scared at first because the brownie batter was MUCH thicker than other brownie batters I've made.  It seems my fears were unfounded because these were terrific.  Moist and fudgey, nice and sturdy, and a delicious slightly crackly crisp top.  

Martha's Double Chocolate Brownies, adapted
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
6 ounces coarsely chopped quality dark chocolate (I used Callebaut)
1 ounce unsweetened chocolate, chopped
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs, room temp
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Preheat to 350 and line a greased 8 or 9 inch square baking dish with parchment.  
Combine butter and chocolates in the top of a double boiler set over simmering water.  Stir until butter and chocolate are melted and mixture is smooth.  Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
In a separate small bowl, whisk flour, baking powder and salt together and set aside.  
In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the sugar, eggs and vanilla on medium speed until the mixture is pale (~4 minutes).  Add the chocolate mixture and beat until just combined.  Add the flour mixture and beat until just combined.
Pour batter into prepared pan and smooth with an offset spatula.  Bake about 30 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.  Let cool in pan 15 minutes then remove to cool completely on a wire rack before cutting.
*TIP:  Did anyone know you can quickly soften butter in a water bath?  
I'm pretty bad at remembering to take butter out of the refrigerator before baking so I've tried a few different shortcuts.  I've attempted softening it in the microwave set to a low power... but there are always some melty spots while other spots are still frozen.  I've tried that pounding method where you beat the butter to death with a rolling pin, but that is better for getting out frustration than it is for softening.  I just learned you can put your wrapped butter in a zip lock bag and let it sit in a sink full of room temperature water to let it soften quickly.  Within 5 - 10 minutes, your butter should be fully softened.  I've used this technique to thaw meat - I wonder why it took my so long to realize I could do it with butter.  Now, I fill up my sink with water and throw in my butter while I measure out my ingredients and prepare my baking pan.  By the time I'm done, the butter is usually softened.

PS - I just received samples of POM Wonderful from the nice people at POM in Los Angeles.  You can look forward to some Pomegranate dessert recipes in the near future!  I plan on making some to bring to a Holiday Sweets Swap.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Scrambled Eggs

Fellow foodies and Beatles lovers alike will appreciate this.  Paul McCartney sings Yesterday with Scrambled Eggs as a placeholder.  Gotta love it.  Thank you, Gastronomista

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Christmas Tree Cupcake and Treat Tower

Check out how cute our Christmas Tree Cupcake & Dessert Tower is when it is all decked out for the holidays!


I can't wait to display my Christmas goodies on it!  Maybe I'll alternate tiers - Christmassy cupcakes on some and brownies on others.  Or maybe I'll put Christmas tree Cake Pops on it (you've seen Bakerella's book right?)  So excited to show it off!


It can hold up to around 56 cupcakes and can be made smaller to hold smaller amounts (for Christmas festivities where 56 cupcakes is a little excessive)  What do you think of it?


Related Posts with Thumbnails