Monday, February 15, 2016

mini heart pie pockets


the goods:

basic pie dough:
1 and 1/4 cup flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cold, cut into cubes
5 tablespoons very cold water

1/4 cup strawberry jam
1 egg whisked with 1 tablespoon water
raw sugar 


In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, and salt. Using a pastry cutter, or 2 butter knives, cut the butter into the flour mixture until butter is the size of peas. Add water a few tablespoons at a time, stirring dough with a fork until it comes together. Form into a disk and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate for 1 hour. Roll dough out to an even thickness, (fairly thin). Using a heart shaped cutter (smallest you have), cut out as many hearts as you can (preferably an even number). On half the hearts, drop a 1/2 teaspoon of jam in the center. Dab outer edges of hearts with egg wash and place a topper on each jam-filled heart. Use a fork to seal the edges together. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet, cut tiny slits or x's in the hearts, brush with egg wash and sprinkle with raw sugar. Bake at 370 degrees for 15-20 minutes, until golden.

Monday, February 8, 2016

twix cookies


the goods:

1 and 1/2 cups (3 sticks) butter, room temperature
1 cup confectioners' sugar
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
15 ounces caramel candies, unwrapped
2 cups milk chocolate chips
2 teaspoons Crisco

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a cookie sheet. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together butter and sugar. Add vanilla, flour, and salt. Mix well.
On a lightly floured surface, roll dough out to 1/2-inch thick. Us a 2-inch biscuit or circle cutter to cut out cookies. Place cookies on prepared baking sheet. Bake for 14 minutes. Let cookies cool.
Melt caramel and spread over the cooled cookies. Let caramel cool completely.
Add Crisco to the chocolate chips and melt in the microwave in 30-second increments. Spread melted chocolate over cooled caramel. Let chocolate set before serving.

Monday, February 1, 2016

chocolate butterscotch shortbread


the goods:

2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup dark-brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butterscotch chips
8 ounces dark chocolate, melted

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. In the bowl of a stand mixer using the paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar on medium-high until light in color and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add vanilla, reduce speed to low, and slowly add flour and salt until just combined. Mix in butterscotch chips and stir until evenly distributed, scraping down paddle if needed.
Grease a 9-by-9-inch baking pan. Using a rubber spatula, press dough evenly into pan and refrigerate for 20 minutes. Score dough into eighths in one direction and quarters in the other, to make 32 rectangular cookies. Pierce dough all over with a fork.
Bake until firm and slightly golden brown around the edges, 50 to 60 minutes. Immediately cut through all the scoring to separate the cookies. Let cool completely in the pan.
Remove cookies and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Dip half of each cookie in chocolate, gently scraping off any excess, and place back on baking sheet. Refrigerate until chocolate is set, about 30 minutes.

Monday, December 21, 2015

candy cane kiss cookies


the goods:

1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 egg, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon milk
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
20 hershey candy cane kisses

In a large bowl using a stand mixer, beat the butter, sugar and brown sugar together on medium speed until creamy. Beat in the egg until combined, scraping down the sides and bottom of bowl as needed.  Beat in the vanilla until combined. In a medium bowl combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Whisk to combine. With the mixer on low speed, slowly pour in the dry ingredients, then add the milk. Mix until just combined. Scrape down the sides and bottom of bowl as needed.
Chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. put confectioners' sugar in a small bowl. Roll tablespoons of dough into balls, then roll each ball in confectioners' sugar to coat. Bake for 10 minutes. Allow to cool slightly on baking sheet, then press a hershey candy cane kiss into the center of each cookie.

Monday, December 14, 2015

baked caramel popcorn


the goods:

10 cups plain popcorn, popped
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda


Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Spread the popcorn out onto a large, foil-lined and lightly greased rimmed baking sheet.
In a medium saucepan set over medium heat, combine the sugar, corn syrup, butter, cream of tartar, and salt. Bring to a simmer stirring constantly. Allow to simmer for 3 minutes. Remove from heat and quickly stir in the baking soda. Pour the caramel over the popcorn and stir gently until it is evenly distributed and coating the kernels. Bake for 1 hour, stirring every 20 minutes. Allow to cool on the baking sheet, then break apart any large clusters.

Monday, December 7, 2015

brownie peppermint cookies


the goods:

1 box fudge brownie mix
1 and 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
2 tablespoons whole milk
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon peppermint extract

vanilla cream frosting:
4 cups confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
6 tablespoons heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup crushed peppermints, or candy canes


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a cookie sheet and set aside. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together brownie mix, flour, brown sugar, and salt. Add in eggs and milk and stir with a wooden spoon. Add in melted butter, vanilla, and peppermint extract, stir until well blended. Spoon heaping tablespoons of dough onto prepared baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
While brownie cookies are baking and cooling, make frosting. In the bowl of a stand mixer, whip together butter, sugar and cream until light and fluffy. Stir in vanilla and salt.
When brownie cookies are cooled, frost and sprinkle with peppermints.

Monday, November 23, 2015

pumpkin walnut crunch cake


the goods:

crunch topping:
3 cups walnuts
3 cups mini Nilla wafers
3 cups brown sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, melted

pumpkin cake:
1 and 1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup (1 and 1/2 sticks) butter, room temperature
1 can (16 oz.) pumpkin puree
2 and 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
2 and 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 eggs

frosting:
2 blocks (16 ounces) cream cheese, room temperature
8 ounces marscapone cheese
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
2 cups confectioners' sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Make the crunch topping: In a food processor, pulse cookies to a fine crumb. Add walnuts and pulse to a fine chop. Add in brown sugar and mix well. Add in melted butter and blend together. Divide mixture into four 9-inch cake pans (1 very full cup per pan), reserving about 1 cup for the top of the cake. Press it into the bottoms of the pans in an even layer (I use the bottom of a glass or measuring cup).
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
Make cake: In a stand mixer, beat sugar and butter for about 5 minutes until light and fluffy, scraping down the bowl a few times as needed. Add in pumpkin, flour, sour cream, vanilla, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, baking, soda, and salt. Mix just until blended. Add in eggs, one at a time, just until blended. Divide batter equally into your 4 prepared pans, smooth it out and make it as level as possible. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Put remaining crunch in a baking pan and bake for about 10 minutes. Allow cakes to cool for 10 minutes, then turn them out onto wire racks to cool completely. Break up extra crunch mix into small bits to decorate cake with.
Make the frosting: Whip cream cheese, marscapone, and butter until very smooth and creamy. Slowly add in the sugar while mixer is on low. Add in vanilla and mix well.
Assemble the cake: Place your first layer crunch-side-up on a serving plate. Spread a generous amount of frosting to cover entire surface. Place second layer crunch-side-up and repeat until all layers are stacked. Put remaining frosting on top and sprinkle with broken up crunch. Refrigerate any uneaten (if there is any) cake.