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.

Monday, November 16, 2015

soft glazed pumpkin sugar cookies


the goods:

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
4 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

glaze:
3 cups confectioners' sugar
4 tablespoons water
1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

 Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. In a large mixing bowl, stir together butter, oil, pumpkin, sugars, vanilla, and eggs until incorporated and smooth. Slowly mix in all dry ingredients until completely incorporated. Scoop onto prepared baking sheet using a 1 and 1/2 tablespoon scoop and flatten to 1/2-inch thick using the bottom of a glass dipped in sugar. Bake for 8-9 minutes. While cookies back, whisk together glaze ingredients until smooth. Once cookies are out of the oven, cool for 3 minutes on baking sheet before transferring to a rack set over wax paper.  Spread a couple teaspoons of glaze over each warm cookie. Let glaze set a couple of hours before serving.

Monday, November 2, 2015

butterscotch toffee cookies


the goods:

2 eggs
1/2 cup oil
1 cutter pecan cake mix
1 and 1/2 cups butterscotch chips
1 bag English toffee bits

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, beat cake mix, oil, and eggs. Stir in chips and toffee bits. Drop by tablespoonful onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes. Allow to cool on pan for 1 minute before transferring to wire rack to cool completely.

Monday, October 5, 2015

olive oil and sea salt truffle brownies


the goods:

1/3 cup boiling water
1/4 cup dark cocoa powder
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
2 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
1 egg
2 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 and 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
10 Lindor dark chocolate caramel sea salt truffles, coarsely chopped
coarse sea salt, for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray and 8-by-8-inch baking pan liberally with nonstick spray.
In a large bowl, whisk boiling water and cocoa powder until combined. Whisk in chopped chocolate until melted, then whisk in olive oil. Whisk in egg, yolks, and vanilla extract until combined. Whisk in the sugar until combined. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the flour and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Gently fold in the chopped truffles. Pour into prepared pan and smooth into the corners using the spatula. Bake for 32-35 minutes, or until the middle is set. Sprinkle the brownies with sea salt and then let cool completely. Place in the refrigerator to chill before cutting into squares.