Chocolate Covered Cherry Cookies

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

It is the time of the year that everyone goes cookie crazy.  While cookies are not my favorite desert, I too have been caught up in cookie fever recently.  I have made the classic peanut butter blossom cookies and then I made these chocolate covered cherry cookies.

These were a treat when my mom would make them around the holidays, and since they are a little more work intensive than your average cookie, they were definitely a special treat.  These cookies would definitely be a great addition to any cookie swaps you have coming up these next few weeks, and Santa may leave you some extra special gifts if you leave these babies out for him on Christmas Eve.  He definitely won’t share these with the reindeer- and who can blame him?

I had some issues with these cookies- the cherries are meant to be covered with chocolate completely.  So they didn’t come out looking super pretty (instead they look a little like nipples- yep, just said nipples on a food blog).  Either way, they taste amazing, and I suggest you start preheating your oven now.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

CHOCOLATE COVERED CHERRY COOKIES
From My Mom

INGREDIENTS

1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 egg
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
32-36 maraschino cherries
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 cup chocolate chips
4 teaspoons maraschino cherry juice

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.

In a large bowl cream butter, egg, sugar, and vanilla extract together. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Slow add dry ingredients to wet ingredients, stirring until just mixed.

Roll dough into 1 inch balls and place on prepared baking sheet. Use your thumb to make an indentation in each cookie. Place a cherry in the indentation. In a small bowl, combine sweetened condensed milk and chocolate chips. Melt in a double broiler or microwave, stirring frequently, until melted. Stir in maraschino cherry juice. Spoon about 1 teaspoon amount of the chocolate mixture over top each cookie. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Cool completely.

Makes 30-36 cookies.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies: Secret Recipe Club

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Well everyone, I have done it now.

I have baked with pumpkin.

And it was not bad at all.  I am no longer a pumpkin virgin, and being true to myself, I took that pumpkin and made dessert.  Making dessert is always the best choice.  My friends and I had a fall cooking night a few weeks ago- we roasted lots of veggies for puff pastry, made a fall salad, and make a pumpkin dessert.  We chose to make some pumpkin donut holes rolled in sugar, were were amaze-balls (ha).  So my first pumpkin experience was a great one.

So after stuffing myself full of pumpkin donut holes, I found myself with some leftover pumpkin in my fridge.  And then Secret Recipe Club came along, providing the perfect opportunity to find another delicious dessert to use pumpkin in.  This month I was assigned Lynne’s blog 365 Days of Baking & More.

Searching frantically for a dessert recipe where I could use pumpkin, I came across a recipe for pumpkin cookies with candy corn M&Ms, and I was ready to go.  I made a few adaptions to the cookie recipe, subbing in chocolate chips for the M&Ms (although I love those candy corn M&MS- I am currently hoarding a few bags in my closet right now), and made sure those cookies were soft and chewy.  So delicious.  I may now be a pumpkin convert.

PUMPKIN CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES
Adapted from 365 Days of Baking & More

INGREDIENTS

3/4 cup butter, room temperature
3/4 cup light brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup pumpkin puree
2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 cup chocolate chips

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease a baking sheet.

In a large bowl, cream butter, light brown sugar, and sugar together until light and fluffy. Stir in vanilla extract and pumpkin. Stir in flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg until just combined. Fold in chocolate chips.

Place rounded tablespoon fulls dough on prepared baking sheet, pressing down to flatten. Bake for 10-13 minutes, until the edges are slightly golden brown. Repeat with remaining dough

Makes approximately 2 dozen cookies.

Make sure to check out what everyone else made this month!

 

M&M Cookie Dough Tart

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Let’s talk about self deception.  We all do it.

Currently, here are my list of self deceptions: The kitchen floor looks pretty good, so you don’t need to clean it. The ethics paper will probably write itself if you don’t do anything.  Additionally, the huge pile of laundry will probably also take care of itself, some Disney-esque magic will probably go to work and the clothes will start washing themselves.  Also, I am completely ready to start teaching, seeing clients, and running research, my finances are completely sound, and I get enough sleep.

My biggest self deception: Salmonella, like R.O.U.Ses, doesn’t really exist.   Eating raw cookie dough is perfectly acceptable.  Let’s get real: cookie dough is often better than the actual cookies- so why not eat it all?  Everyone needs a hit of cookie dough every now and then.

But, no worries about death from raw cookie dough with this tart.  The cookie dough layer is completely egg free and completely delicious.  And the chocolate chip cookie layer is so tender and full of toffee flavor that even someone who has lukewarm feelings about chocolate chip cookies in general loved it.

When I first made this M&M Cookie Dough Tart, I had planned to take it to a work party, and of course, the cookie dough layer instantly crumbled upon cutting rendering it mostly unservable for a cocktail-like party. But it tasted absolutely delicious.  SO, with some quick thinking and semi-panicked phone calls, I figured out an acceptable serving option.  But since it tasted so delicious, I went back and made it again to figure out how to make it perfect.  And then I got stuck with a whole pie to eat. #foodbloggingproblems

Don’t deceive yourself here: you need this cookie dough tart in your life.  All your work/chores/problems will take care of themselves- just go make this tart right now.

COOKIE DOUGH TART
Slightly Adapted from Cake, Batter, and Bowl

INGREDIENTS

Chocolate Chip Cookie Layer:
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 egg, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extact
1 cup & 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup oats
1 cup milk chocolate chips

Cookie Dough Layer:
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
2-6 tablespoons milk*
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup & 3 tablespoons all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups M&M candies

DIRECTIONS

For the Chocolate Chip Cookie Layer:

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Grease a 9-inch springform pan.

In a large  bowl, cream together butter, granulated sugar, and light brown sugar.  Beat in egg and vanilla until mixed in.  Mix in flour, baking soda, and salt.  Fold in chocolate chips.  Press into prepared springform pan.  Bake for 20-24 minutes, until golden brown.  Cool completely.

For the Cookie Dough Layer:

In a large bowl, cream together butter, granulated sugar, and light brown sugar.  Beat in milk* and vanilla (start with 2 tablespoons, add more later to help the dough come together). Stir in flour and salt.  Fold in M&M candies.  Add additional milk as needed to help the dough come together.

Press cookie dough layer on top of cooled chocolate chip cookie layer.  Press additional M&Ms on top for decoration.  Store in refrigerator.

Flourless Chocolate Chip Almond Butter Cookies

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

When I was a teenager, my doctors suggested that I go gluten-free to help my sinuses.  I was extremely reluctant to do so, but as a rule and parent abiding child (AKA a boring goody two shoes), my mom said I should try it and I did. And for about a year, I desperately craved a McDonalds cheeseburger.  It is a very sad moment in the drive-thru when your sister gets a happy meal with a burger and fries and you get a Caesar salad.  Without croutons.  Cue sad trumpet. I went gluten free long before it became mainstream, which means I ate some weird stuff.  Grey pasta, bread that got gooey if not eaten soon enough, and crumbly cookies.  My poor mom went through a lot to make me some good gluten free food, but it was tough back then and required lots of long trips to many different speciality stores. So for this month’s Secret Recipe Club, I was exited to get Chelsy’s blog Mangia.  I was ready to try some of my more up-to-date gluten free, paleo, and vegan recipes.  It had to be better than gray pasta, right? After browsing through her recipes, I knew I had to try a dessert.  And I decided to make cookies since I was at home with my family for vacation, and they are cookie-crazy here. I am a nut butter lover, so when I saw Chelsy’s Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies, I knew I had a winner.  I made some modifications by subbing almond butter for peanut butter since my sister is allergic and adding in some chocolate chips because everyone loves chocolate chips in cookies. These cookies were great- chewy on the inside and crunchy on the edges.  I think some other great add ins would be almonds, toffee pieces, or raisins. These cookies are just as good as that first bite of a McDonald’s cheeseburger after going gluten-free for a year.  Mmm.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

FLOURLESS ALMOND BUTTER COOKIES Adapted from Mangia

INGREDIENTS

1 cup almond butter 1/2 cup granulated sugar 1/2 cup light brown sugar 1 egg 1 teaspoon vanilla extract Pinch of salt 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. In a bowl combine almond butter, granulated sugar, and light brown sugar.  Mix together until creamy.  Whisk in egg, vanilla extract, and salt.  Fold in chocolate chips. Place rounded tablespoon size balls of dough on prepared baking sheets.  Flatten with spoon.  Bake for 9-11 minutes, until golden brown around edges.  Let cool on baking sheets for 5 minutes.  Finish cooling on wire racks.  Store in air tight container. Makes 1 1/2 dozen cookies.

S’mores Chocolate Chip Cookies

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I hope you all had a great Memorial Day Weekend.  We celebrated with beer, home-smoked turkey and ribs, corn spoonbread, fried squash blossoms, and some s’mores cookie bars.  My dad woke up early and put a turkey in his new smoker, and the turkey spent the rest of the day in its own personal sweat lodge, smoking away.  Later in the afternoon we added some ribs

But let’s get to those s’mores chocolate chip cookie bars.

When my sister and I were younger, the best part about grilling at our beach house was s’mores.  Since we used a charcoal grill down there, it always meant that after burgers, we would all head down for some marshmallow roasting with real charcoal.  No need to have marshmallows explode in the microwave or burn them on our gas stove, we had the real deal down there. We always went to bed with gooey fingers and full bellies.

This past week I have been oh so tortured by those s’mores areas of the grocery store that have been packed with graham crackers, marshmallows, and chocolate.  We only have a gas grill here, so real s’more weren’t very doable.  When I saw this recipe incorporating my family’s favorite dessert of chocolate chip cookies with s’more that was all made in the oven, I was set.  These turned out gooey and delicious. These are a great sweet treat to end any barbeque in the upcoming summer months. I would recommend eating them warm and adding lots of marshmallows.  And don’t forget to lick your fingers clean.

Also I have seen the s’more supplies at our store now include Reeses cups.  Best idea ever or best idea ever?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

S’MORES CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES
Barely Adapted from A Kitchen Addiction

INGREDIENTS

5 tablespoons butter, room temperature
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/2 package graham crackers, broken in half
1/2-3/4 cup mini marshmallows

DIRECTIONS

Preheat the oven to 375°F.  Line a 9 inch by 13 inch pan with foil.

Mix together butter, granulated sugar, and light brown sugar until creamy and golden.  Whisk in egg and vanilla extract until just combined.  Stir in salt, baking powder, and flour until just combined.  Fold in chocolate chips.  Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes.

Place graham crackers in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet.  Place a tablespoon of dough on top of each graham cracker.  Press down to flatten.  Bake for 5 minutes.  Remove from oven and sprinkle marshmallows on top.  Garnish with extra chocolate chips if desired.  Bake for 8-10 minutes, until marshmallows are golden brown.  Eat warm.

Twix Bars: Secret Recipe Club

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I have been having a bit of a sweet tooth problem lately- as in I want sugar, only sugar, and right now.

This is my dream: a truck of sugar reversing into my apartment complex and dumping its sugar contents directly on top of me until I am completely submerged.  Is it normal to have a fantasy of being suffocated to death by tons of sugar?  Someone interpret that dream.

Given my hyper-intense need for sugar, I was excited when I was assigned That Skinny Chick Can Bake for this month’s Secret Recipe Club.  So many desserts, so little time.  If you ever have a sweet craving, you should definitely check out her site.

After looking through lots of delicious looking recipes, I came to a simple conclusion: sometimes all we need in life is a candy bar.  For me, that candy bar would be a Twix.  Or Take Five or Snickers or Reeses Peanut Butter Cup or any form of sugar in bar form- but today that candy bar I need is  a Twix since I can’t make all those candy bars in one day (or shouldn’t).  A Twix is a classic combo of a shortbread crust, caramel, and chocolate.  So simple and perfect no alterations were needed.

The bars came out wonderful- soft caramel, crumbly crust, and soft chocolate.  Take a moment (obligatory).

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

TWIX BARS
From That Skinny Chick Can Bake

INGREDIENTS

For the Shortbread Crust:
1 stick butter, cold and cut in 1 inch cubes
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cups all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt

For the Caramel
12 ounces Caramel bites
2 tablespoons whole milk
Pinch of salt

For the Chocolate Layer:
9 ounces milk chocolate
1 tablespoon shortening

DIRECTIONS

For the Shortbread Crust:

Preheat oven to 350 Line a 9 inch by 9 inch pan with foil. Grease and set aside.

Place sugar and butter in a food processor. Pulse until mixture becomes crumbly. Add vanilla, flour, and salt. Pulse until just incorporated. Press into prepared pan. Price the crust with a fork. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until crust is light golden brown color. Cool completely.

For the Caramel Layer:

Combine caramel, cream, and salt in small saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until melted. Spread over cooled crust with a greased rubber spatula. Chill for at least 15-30 minutes until caramel layer has firmed up.

For the Chocolate Layer:

In a double broiler combine chocolate and butter. Melt chocolate, stirring occasionally. Spread over caramel layer. Chill for 10-20 minutes at until chocolate layer has set. Cut into bars.



Lace Cookies

Well, here it is everyone: Valentine’s Day.  Whether you plan to spend the day dressed head to toe in red and pink while shooting love arrows at everyone or if you plan to wear all black and hate the opposite sex with voodoo dolls, these cookies can make your day even better.

These cookies are paper thin, crispy on the outer edges and chewy in the middle.  They are buttery, cinnamon-y, and chocolate-y.  Trust me, I am not the biggest fan of cookies in general, but these cookies are addicting.  It is my personal belief that it is humanly impossible just to have one.  But since they have holes in them and mostly consist of air, calories don’t matter.  And it’s Valentine’s Day so eating lots of sweet is mandatory.

Here is my big thrill of the day: besides having a late lab tonight, our department is having a free lunch!  So I will be spending Valentine’s Day at school, eating a free lunch, and coming home to a few treats I have made for myself.

LACE COOKIES
Adapted from a Friend
INGREDIENTS

1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup old fashioned oats
1/3 cup butter melted
2 tablespoons heavy cream
2 tablespoons corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4-6 ounces melting chocolate

INGREDIENTS

Preheat oven to 375°F.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a bowl combine flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, salt and heavy cream.  In a second bowl, whisk butter, heavy cream, corn syrup and vanilla extract together.  Slowly stir in dry ingredients.

Drop 3/4 teaspoon size cookies on baking sheet.  The cookies will spread a lot, so space them several inches apart, about 9 cookies per sheet.  Bake for 5-9 minutes, watching carefully.  Cookies are done when they are golden colored.  Cool on baking sheet for 2 minutes.  Transfer to wire rack and cool completely.  Repeat with remaining batter.

Melt chocolate in a double boiler.  Line several cookies on parchment paper in a single layer. Drizzle chocolate on top of cookies.  Chill for 5-7 minutes until chocolate is set.  Transfer to airtight container.  Repeat with remaining cookies.

Makes approximately 36 cookies.

Vanilla Macaron with Raspberry Filling

Happy Macaron Day everyone!

Reading food blogs, watching more food related TV, and exploring  the grocery store and restaurants with an open mind has introduced me to foods I had not even heard of before.  Such as macarons.   I went from never hearing about these dessert cookies to them popping up everywhere I looked, and I was intrigued.  I had heard that they were a finicky dessert that were difficult to make correctly.  I was determined not only to try a macaron but to make them myself.  So on one of my days off from work, I got busy in the kitchen.

It was some intense, focused baking that day.  As I was putting them together, I made multiple (read: at least 15) trips back to the computer to see if I was making them correctly.  With a few flubs in the process (such as using almonds with the skins still on), I put the batch into the oven and crossed my fingers, expecting the worst and hoping for the best.  When the timer went off and I checked the cookies, I did a little happy dance in my kitchen when I saw the elusive feet characteristic of the macaroons. Success!!  While this batch didn’t come out picture perfect, they tasted delicious.

For those of you who were like me and never had a macaron before, stop what you are doing now and go have one.  Here is the rundown of a macaron: sweet icing is sandwiched between two cookies.  The macarons are crisp and crackly on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside. It is a perfection of sweetness in bite size form.

I am definitely ready to make some macarons again already.  While slightly time intensive, they were definitely fun to make! The possibilities are now endless, and I am ready to try a new flavor combinations very soon…

VANILLA MACARON WITH RASPBERRY FILLING
Adapted from Annie’s Eats
 
INGREDIENTS

For the Macarons:
110 grams slivered almonds
200 grams powdered sugar
100 grams egg whites, room temperature
1 vanilla bean
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Frosting:
4 tablespoons butter, softened
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted
2-3 tablespoons raspberry jam
Red food coloring, optional

DIRECTIONS

For the Macarons:
In a food processor, combine almonds and powdered sugar.  Process until finely ground.

In a large bowl, whip egg whites with a hand mixer until foamy.  Scrape the seeds from the vanilla beans into the egg whites. Add vanilla extract. While beating on medium speed, gradually add granulated sugar.  Whip until stiff peaks form and mixture is a glossy meringue.  Fold almond mixture into egg whites.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Transfer meringue mixture to a pastry bag.  Pipe filling into 1 inch round circles.  Let sit at room temperature for at least 1 hour, until they develop a hard shell.

Preheat oven to 300°F.

Bake for 12-18 minutes.  Macarons are done if you can easily remove them from parchment paper without cracking.  Set baking pan on wire rack and cool completely.

For the Frosting
With a hand mixer, blend butter and cream cheese together.  Add powdered sugar and raspberry jam.  Mix until thickened and mixed. Add red food coloring to reach desired color.

Pipe frosting onto one macaron and top with another macaron.  Refrigerate for at least 1 hour, up to 24 hours before consuming.