Thursday, June 26, 2008

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Everybody's favorite cookie.



























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I flew to Atlanta this past week to visit my family. I promised I would bring home some chocolate chip cookies and in the midst of rushing to pack and get ready I left the cookies behind in DC. On my second day in Atlanta I spent the evening with my brother at his new apartment and we decided to bake cookies. He and I had a great time and and the cookies turned out fantastic.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 package vanilla instant Jell-O Pudding (not prepared)
1 dash of cinnamon
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
2 cups chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit

In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking soda, salt, package of vanilla pudding mix, and dash of cinnamon. In a second larger bowl beat together the butter, sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract until creamy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Slowly beat in the flour mixture until smooth. Stir in the chocolate chips. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on wire rack. Recipe makes between 4 and 5 dozen cookies.



Saturday, June 21, 2008

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cheesecake Bars

Talk about indulgence!


















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I saw these bars on Bake or Break and I had to try them! I must say they are very rich so you can not eat too many at once. If you are a fan of cheesecake and chocolate chip cookies then you will enjoy these bars.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cheesecake Bars

Crust

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
5 Tablespoons butter, melted
2/3 cup miniature chocolate chips

Cookie Dough

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
3 Tablespoons granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Cheesecake Filling

10 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Prreheat oven to 325°. Butter a 9″-square baking pan. Line pan with parchment paper, leaving enough to extend over the sides. Butter the parchment paper. (Note: I used foil because I did not have parchment and it worked just fine).

To prepare the crust combine graham cracker crumbs and butter until crumbs are moistened. Stir in the mini-chocolate chips. (Note: I did not have miniature chips, so I blended regular chocolate chips and mixed them in with the graham cracker crumbs which created a chocolate graham crust).

Press crust mixture into bottom of pan and 1 inch up sides. Bake for 6 minutes. Set pan on wire rack to cool

Next Prepare the cookie dough. Using an electric mixer, mix butter, brown sugar, sugar, salt, and vanilla extract at medium speed until smooth. Decrease mixer speed to low and add flour (Note: add flour slowly because you may not need all of it. You want the dough to come together so you can easily shape small balls). Mix just until incorporated. Stir in chocolate chips. Set aside.

To prepare the filling, using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese and sugar just until smooth. Add egg and vanilla extract, beating just until blended.

Pour batter into baked crust. Drop cookie dough by teaspoonfuls over the top of the filling.

Bake about 30 minutes, or until set. Transfer to wire rack.

To decorate with drizzled chocolate, place chocolate in a sandwich bag on a microwave safe dish and microwave in 30 second intervals moving the chocolate around between. Using scissors, cut the very tip off the sandwich bag. The smaller your cut, the smalled the drizzle.

Using the edges of the parchment paper, remove bars from pan. Cut into bars and serve. These bars are served best at room temperature.




Sunday, June 15, 2008

Linzer Cookies

Just because they look old fashioned, does not mean they are not delicious!





















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Although these cookies look like something your grandmother may bake, they are truly delicious. The cookie is a combination of almond and cinnamon and sandwiched in between is a layer of chocolate and raspberry preserves. The most important tip when making these cookies is to make them a minimum of one day in advance before serving. If you serve them the day they are baked they will still taste good, but they will be quite hard. The cookies really need to absorb some of of the chocolate and jam to soften up before serving.

Linzer Cookies

2 1/3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup softened butter
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon almond extract


In a small bowl combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. In a large bowl beat together the sugar, butter, eggs, and almond extract until creamy. Slowly add the dry ingredients until combined. Divide the dough in half, wrap in plastic, and chill until firm. When firm, roll out dough to 1/8 inch thickness, cut with 2 1/2 inch cookie cutter, cutting center out of half of them. Bake at 350 degrees for 8 - l0 minutes on ungreased cookie sheets. When cool melt l2 oz. package of semi sweet chocolate morsels; spread 1 teaspoon melted chocolate on flat side of whole cookie, top with teaspoon raspberry jam. Top with cookie with hole (flat side down). Sprinkle with confectionery sugar if desired.


Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

For the peanut butter lovers.






















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Yesterday was my friend's baby shower which I co-hosted and everything seemed to be a hit. The food was popular, the games were tons of fun, and seeing friends was fantastic. I made several tasty items and will post the rest in weeks to come. This week I am going to share with you what you get when you put my all time favorite candy, mini-peanut butter cups, into a cookie. They cookies are easy to make and go over well with all crowds.

Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons milk
40 miniature chocolate covered peanut butter cups, unwrapped

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F .

In a small bowl sift together the flour, salt and baking soda; set aside. In a large bowl cream together the butter, sugar, peanut butter and brown sugar until fluffy. Beat in the egg,
vanilla and milk. Slowly add the flour mixture; mix well (at this point you can store the dough in the refrigerator until you are ready to make the cookies). Shape the dough into approximately 40 balls and place each into an ungreased mini muffin pan. Bake at 375 degrees for 8 minutes. Remove from oven and immediately press a mini peanut butter cup into each ball. Cool and carefully remove from pan; the chocolate will be runny for several hours.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Cake Balls!

Bite size cake. Can you get any better?




















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A friend of mine turned me on to these when she made them for her sister's bridal shower. My mind went wild with the endless possibilities. Pick you favorite cake flavor, your favorite frosting/topping, and any variation of chocolate and you are set. My friend made lemon cake with cream cheese frosting dipped in white chocolate. Another popular combination is red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting dipped in any flavor chocolate. One of my favorite foods is peanut butter, and yes I consider peanut butter a food and not a condiment, so it was a natural fit for this recipe. The other mix in I chose was nutella because who does not love nutella?

Peanut Butter and Nutella Cake Balls

1 box yellow cake mix (cook as directed on box for 13 X 9 cake)
8 oz. peanut butter
8 oz. nutella
1 package chocolate bark (regular or white chocolate)
Sprinkles or colored bark for decoration

Bake cake according to package directions. As soon cake is cooked split the cake into two halves and crumble each half into a large bowl. Mix each bowl of crumbled cake thoroughly with peanut butter in one and nutella in the other. Roll each mixture into quarter size balls and lay on cookie sheet lined with wax paper (Should make approximately 40). Chill for several hours (you can speed this up by putting in the freezer).

Melt chocolate in microwave in 30 second intervals stirring in between. When chocolate is completely melted, roll balls in chocolate and lay on wax paper until firm. Use a fork to roll the balls in chocolate and then gently tap off extra. If you chose to decorate with sprinkles, immediately sprinkle the balls after you have rolled them in chocolate.

To decorate with drizzled chocolate, place chocolate in a sandwich bag on a microwave safe dish and microwave in 30 second intervals moving the chocolate around between. Using scissors, cut the very tip off the sandwich bag. The smaller your cut, the smalled the drizzle. Use the sandwich bag to pipe the chocolate back and forth over the hardened chocolate covered cake balls until you reach the desired look. When the drizzle has hardened (you can put them in the freezer to speed up the process) brake off any extra chocolate with your fingers or the back end of a fork or spoon.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Disappearing Marshmallow Blondies

You can't eat just one!
























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Don't say I did not warn you. These tasty little treats just may be the most addicting baked good I have ever made. This recipe was given to me by my boyfriend's mother and they are absolutely perfect. They blondies are made with just the right amount of chocolate that they satisfy the chocolate craving, but are not too rich. You may just eat half the pan before you realize, so be sure to bake them for a crowd. Today I am bringing these to a friend's birthday party and I imagine they are going to be a big hit.

Disappearing Marshmallow Brownies

1 cup butterscotch chips
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
2 cups mini marshmallows
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 13 x 9 baking dish.

In a sauce pan over medium heat, melt the butterscotch chips and butter, stirring constantly until smooth. As soon as the they butter and chips are melted remove from heat and transfer the contents of the pan to a mixing bowl. Be sure not to over heat the butter and butterscotch chips or they will separate and appear curdled. Cool the mixture to room temperature. Using an electric mixer, beat the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, salt, vanilla, and eggs into the butter and butterscotch mixture. You can ad all the ingredients at once. When blended (the batter will be relatively thick) mix in the chocolate chips and marshmallows. Spread the batter evenly into the prepared ban. Bake for 25 minutes. The center will feel a little soft, but will firm while cooling. Let cool 2 -3 hours before cutting.

Note: The blondies may need an additional 2 to 3 minutes depending on your oven.


Monday, June 2, 2008

White Chocolate Dipped Pretzels

Simple, Sweet, and Salty.


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I am co-hosting a baby shower on June 14th for a friend of mine and I am in charge of the menu. As a favor for the guests we decided gift bags of chocolate covered pretzels would be perfect. Lucky for me these pretzels are simple to make, look great, and freeze extremely well. To prepare these tasty treats all you need is a little time and patience.

White Chocolate Pretzels

1 lb bag pretzel twists (I used Rold Gold)
2 14oz bags of white chocolate candy coating (can also use white chocolate chips, or almond bark)
Sprinkles to decorate
Candy coating in additional colors to decorate

To prepare the pretzels line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

To melt chocolate, empty contents of 1 bag of white candy coating into microwave safe bowl and microwave in 30 second intervals stirring between until the chocolate is melted consistently (melt the 2nd bag of white chocolate when the 1st bag is just about finished). Using only the unbroken pretzels place the pretzels into the chocolate, covering them completely. Use a fork to "fish" the pretzels from the chocolate shaking the fork back and forth to remove any extra chocolate. Place the pretzels on the parchment lined baking sheet.

If you are going to decorate with sprinkles or colored sugar make sure to sprinkle the pretzels before the chocolate hardens.

To decorate with drizzled chocolate, place chocolate in a sandwich bag on a microwave safe dish and microwave in 30 second intervals moving the chocolate around between. Using scissors, cut the very tip off the sandwich bag. The smaller your cut, the smalled the drizzle. Use the sandwich bag to pipe the chocolate back and forth over the hardened chocolate covered pretzels until you reach the desired look. When the drizzle has hardened (you can put them in the freezer to speed up the process) brake off any extra chocolate with your fingers or the back end of a fork or spoon.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Why not blog about it?

Welcome to my blog!

I always tell my friends that I do not have a sweet tooth, I have mouth full of sweet teeth. Naturally, baking became a passion of mine at a young age. I love to try out new recipes, develop creations of my own, and recreate items I see or taste while out. I hope you enjoy the posts to follow as I share with you my tips and secrets on how to bring out the best in your kitchen.

~Risa