Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Winter Sugar Cookies

Are you cookied out?


I'm not. I honestly don't think I could ever be cookied out. I just love cookies way too much. When I was little my mom used to call me the cookie monster. I guess I never grew out of it. I think cookies are also good to have around when you have guests and they are perfect for a party. Some desserts are too intimidating and people will be less likely to try them. But have you ever met somebody who is intimidated by a cookie? Nope, me neither. As for these sugar cookies, they are simple, classic, and delicious. If you are feeling ambitious you can pipe fancy decorations for your cookies, or you can take the easy way out like me and dust them with a little sanding sugar. I made this baby blue sugar by putting 1/4 cup of sugar in a zip lock bag with a few drops of blue food coloring. All you have to do is shake and squish it around until it is evenly blended.

Classic Sugar Cookies
recipe from Baked Perfection

3 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup (2 sticks) softened butter
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 almond extract
2 eggs

Mix together the flour, baking powder, and salt, set aside. In a large bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla. Slowly beat in the flour mixture until fully absorbed. Separate dough into two disks, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for a minimum of 2 hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. On a clean floured surface, roll out one disk of dough at a time to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut out shapes using cookie cutters.
Bake 6 to 8 minutes in the preheated oven, or until edges are barely brown. Remove from cookie sheets to cool on wire racks. Decorate as desired.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Eggnog Sandwich Cookies

How Festive.


Some people love eggnog, others hate it. I am one of those people that love it. As a result of my love of the creamy nog, I knew I wanted to make a cookie that would capture the essence of this holiday drink. If you remember the lemon sandwich cookies I made this past summer, I thought they were a good starting point. I used a white cake mix to make the cookies and then made my own eggnog buttercream. If you share the love of eggnog like I do, then you should try these.

Eggnog Sandwich Cookies
recipe from Baked Perfection

Cookies

1 (18.25) package white or yellow cake mix
2 eggs
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
4 tablespoons eggnog
1/4 - 1/2 cup all purpose flour

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Pour cake mix into a large bowl. Stir in eggs, oils, vanilla extract, nutmeg and eggnog until blended. If mixture is very wet slowly add 1/4 to 1/2 cup of flour until the dough comes together.

Drop teaspoons of dough onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 7-9 minutes in the preheated oven. The bottoms will be light brown. Move cookies to a cooling rack and using your spatula gently flatten your cookies.

Eggnog Buttercream Frosting

3 cups powdered sugar
3/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons rum flavoring
2-3 tablespoons eggnog

Cream butter, vanilla extract, and rum flavoring. Slowly beat in powdered sugar. Add 2 tablespoons of eggnog and beat until fluffy, adding more if needed.

Assembly:

Frost the flat side of the cookie. Lightly place the flat side of an unfrosted cookie on top. Press down until a bit of the frosting begins to poke out of the sides. If you want to decorate the edges, place your sprinkles/chips/etc. in a small bowl, and dip the sides of the cookie in it, rolling the cookie around to coat all sides.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Butterscotch Gingerbread Cookies

This is a new one for me.


About a month ago somebody at work offered me a Gingerbread Butterscotch Cookie. I was not going to have one because I was actually trying to make better food choices, but I did not want to be rude and I really wanted to taste the cookie :) I was surprised by how much I loved the cookie. I don't know about you, but I had never tried gingerbread and butterscotch together. Let me tell you they are amazing together!!! They definitely have the Christmas feel with the spice of the Gingerbread, but they are a chewy cookie with the sweetness of butterscotch. If you are snowed in today (like me) you should go make these.

Butterscotch Gingerbread Cookies
recipe adapted from allrecipes.com

3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
1 large egg
1/3 cup light molasses
1 (11 ounce) package Butterscotch Flavored Morsels

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.


Combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and salt in small bowl.
In a large bowl, beat butter, sugar, egg and molasses until creamy. Gradually beat in flour mixture until well blended. Stir in morsels. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake for 9 to 11 minutes or until cookies are lightly browned. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely. Makes approximately 4 1/2 dozen cookies

Sunday, December 13, 2009

POM Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins

Goes perfectly with opening presents.


A while ago the generous people at POM Wonderful sent me a case of their 100% Pomegranate Juice. They did not ask me to blog about it or even make a recipe with it, but the moment I took my first sip I knew I wanted to make something with pumpkin and pomegranate. Boy am I glad I came up with that ideal because these muffins were fantastic! I think they would be the perfect accompaniment to Christmas morning. Now go bake them!

POM Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins
recipe from Baked Perfection

Yield: 24 muffins


For the muffins:

2 3/4 cups flour

2 tsp cinnamon

2 tbsp pumpkin pie spice

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp baking soda

4 eggs

1 cup vegetable oil

1 cup white sugar

1 cup brown sugar

2 cups pumpkin puree


For the filling:

1/2 cup Pomegranate Juice

1 tbsp white sugar

8 oz. cream cheese, softened

1 cup powdered sugar


For the topping:

1/4 cup white sugar

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup flour

4 tbsp. butter, cubed

2 tsp cinnamon


Directions:


To prepare the filling, in a saucepan over medium-high heat, bring pomegranate juice to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, swirling pan occasionally, until reduced by about a third, 10-12 minutes. Pour into a glass measuring cup nested in a bowl of ice water and stir constantly until syrup is thick and barely warm to touch, 3-4 minutes. Remove from ice water. Combine the cooled pomegranate syrup, cream cheese, and powdered sugar and mix until smooth.Chill mixture in the fridge while preparing the muffins.


To make the muffins, combine the flour, spices, salt and baking soda in a medium bowl. Mix well and set aside. Beat together the eggs, oil, sugars and pumpkin puree until well combined. Slowly add the dry ingredients until just combined.


To make the topping, combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Mix together until crumbly.


Preheat the oven to 350°. Line two muffin pans with paper liners. To assemble the muffins, fill each muffin cup halfway with batter. Spoon a tablespoon of the cream cheese mixture into each muffin cup. Divide the remaining muffin batter evenly among the muffin cups, on top of the cream cheese mixture. Sprinkle the topping over the top of the batter. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Let cool completely before serving.



And the winner is....

Kerstin, who said:

Awesome truffles! They look like they'd be the hit of a holiday party!

I'd really like these pistachios! http://www.ohnuts.com/buy.cfm/pistachio-assortment-gift-box

Thanks to all who entered.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Butterscotch Pecan Cookie Mix in a Jar (and don't forget to enter my Give Away)

What a lovely gift.


A couple weeks ago the
wonderful people from C&H® / Domino® Sugar contacted me and asked if I would like them to sponsor a post on Baked Perfection. What baking blog is complete without sugar? Of course I jumped at the opportunity. To help with expenses they sent me a $20 gift card to use on ingredients. There are a ton of delicious recipes and treats on the C&H® / Domino® Sugar website, but I really wanted to make a cookie mix in a jar to give as a gift. I have wanted to make a cookie mix in a jar for years, but never got around to it. After finding the perfect jar for a mix I knew I had to make something. The C&H® / Domino® Sugar website had several great options, but in the end the butterscotch and pecans in this recipe won me over. If you know anybody that loves to bake I think this would be a perfect gift.

Also, don't forget to enter the Give Away on my cookie dough truffle post!

Butterscotch Pecan Cookie Mix in a Jar
recipe from C&H® / Domino® Sugar

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup firmly packed Brown Sugar
1 cup butterscotch chips
3/4 cup chopped pecans

Combine flour, baking soda and salt in a small bowl. Spoon into 1 quart, widemouthed canning jar. Layer remaining ingredients in order given, making sure to pack down each layer firmly. Clean inside of jar with a dry paper towel after each layer. Decorate lid by cutting fabric into a 7-inch wide square or circle. Secure with a rubber band and tie with a decorative ribbon and accents. Attach these instructions to the jar: In a large mixing bowl, cream together 2/3 cup softened butter or margarine, 1 egg and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla until combined. Slowly add contents of jar and mix well. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto greased cookie sheet. Bake at 375°F for 9-11 minutes or until lightly browned. Makes 3 dozen.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Cookie Dough Truffles and my first Give Away!

YUM!!!


Stay posted for Give Away Info at the end of the post.

I hope all of you enjoyed your Thanksgiving. If you are anything like us, you are still enjoying your leftovers. Now that Thanksgiving has officially past it is time for me to break out the Christmas baking. You may remember a while back I posted a recipe for Cookie Dough Pops. They were a big hit at the office and at home. When we went to visit Zack's family over the fourth of July I told them about the cookie dough pops and they specifically request I bring some the next time we visit. To keep my loyal blog fans happy, I did not want to make the same thing twice so I changed up the recipes a little and made them into truffles. I made two variations: Oreo and Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip. Being the peanut butter lover that I am I thought the Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip would be my favorite, but I actually preferred the Oreo. Both are great; I am sure your guests this December will enjoy either or both.

Oreo Cookie Dough Truffles
recipe from Baked Perfection

1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 dash of cinnamon
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup crushed Oreos, crushed

Assorted candy melts:
1/2 package chocolate candy melts
1/4 cup assorted color candy melts for decorating

In a medium bowl combine flour, salt, and dash of cinnamon. In a second larger bowl, beat together the butter, sugars, and vanilla extract until creamy. Slowly beat in the flour mixture until smooth. Stir in the crushed Oreos. Roll the mixture into quarter size balls and lay on cookie sheet lined with wax paper. Chill for several hours or freeze for 15-20 minutes until firm.

Melt candy melts in the microwave per directions on package (30 sec intervals, stirring in between each interval). Gently dip the cookie dough ball in the candy coating, letting any excess drip off. Place on wax paper to dry.

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 each interval. Using scissors, cut the very tip off the sandwich bag. Use the sandwich bag to pipe the chocolate back and forth over the cookie dough truffle until you reach the desired look. Return to wax paper to dry.




Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Truffles
Recipe from Baked Perfection

1/2 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup miniature chocolate chips

In a large bowl, cream together the peanut butter, butter, brown sugar, and vanilla until well blended. Combine the flour and salt; stir into creamed mixture. Mix in chocolate chips. Roll the mixture into quarter size balls and lay on cookie sheet lined with wax paper. Chill for several hours or freeze for 15-20 minutes until firm.

Melt candy melts in the microwave per directions on package (30 sec intervals, stirring in between each interval). Gently dip the cookie dough ball in the candy coating, letting any excess drip off. Place on wax paper to dry.

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 each interval. Using scissors, cut the very tip off the sandwich bag. Use the sandwich bag to pipe the chocolate back and forth over the cookie dough truffle until you reach the desired look. Return to wax paper to dry.



Now how about that Give Away. I have kept you waiting long enough. Tis the season and I am sure you can all use an early Hanukkah or Christmas Gift. The generous people at Oh Nuts have volunteered to give one of my lucky readers a $25 gift certificate to use at Oh Nuts. You have three ways to enter the Give Away:

1. Go to the Oh Nuts Hanukkah gifts page or to the Christmas Nuts Gift page and choose your favorite Hanukkah Gift or Christmas Gift and leave a comment with the name and url of the gift you love the most.

2. Go to the oh nuts facebook page become a fan and post on the wall the url and name of your favorite Hanukkah Gift or Christmas Gift. You should also write "I am here via "Baked Perfection".

3. Follow @ohnuts and Tweet

" Win a free Hanukkah Gift from http://bit.ly/6nIsCi Follow @ohnuts & Retweet to enter. "

OR you can Tweet

“ Win a free Christmas Gift from http://bit.ly/537HNp Follow @ohnuts & Retweet to enter."

All entries must be submitted by midnight December 12th. I will pick a winner Sunday, December 13th.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Crispy Rice Candy Corn Treats

Last minute dessert.


I know, I know Thanksgiving is tomorrow and you are thinking you don't have time to come up with another dessert recipe. This is where you are wrong. You can make this recipe from start to finish in 10 minutes! Not only is it quick and easy, but rice crispy treats are a universal crowd pleaser. If you bought Candy Corn at Halloween, changes are you still have some leftover. If you don't have any then you still have time to run to the store and get some (but really any favorite candy will work). now start your timers and get baking!

Crispy Rice Candy Corn Treats
recipe adapted from Paula Deen

4 tablespoons butter
1 (10 ounce) bag marshmallows
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon Vanilla
6 cups Crispy Rice Cereal (preferred brand: Kellogg’s Rice Krispies)
1 cup candy corns

Spray a 13x9 glass baking dish and rubber spatula with non stick spray.

In a medium sized sauce pan over low heat, add butter to melt. Once melted add marshmallows, salt, and vanilla. Stir continuously until the marshmallows have reached a smooth consistency. Remove from heat and fold in the cereal and candy corns until completely coated.

Add the mixture to the greased baking dish and smooth out evenly. Allow to cool before cutting into squares.



Monday, November 23, 2009

Rocky Ledge Bars

Thanks for letting me share!


A couple weeks ago Holly from, Mom taught Us, asked me if I would like to be a guest blogger for her 12 Guest Bloggers of Christmas. Of course I was thrilled that she asked me. I have never guest blogged before, so the invite was quite the honor. I was not sure what I was going to make, but I knew it had to be something delicious because I did not want to disappoint. Conveniently my fiance bought me a copy of Martha Stewart's Cookies for my birthday a couple weeks ago which gave me plenty of options. I wanted to bake just about everything in the cookbook, but these bars were screaming to be made. The original recipe called for caramel, but I did not start baking these until 9pm and did not feel like running to the store. I left out the caramel, added some peanut butter chips, and halved the amount of white chocolate. These bars are perfect for any baker who has several opened bags of miscellaneous chips stored in the pantry. You can really throw anything in them and they are incredible! They stayed fresh for several days and because they are bars, they will ship well if you plan to ship holiday goodies.

To see the recipe you are going to have to visit Mom Taught Us and while you are there check out all the amazing recipes.

Thanks for letting me share!



Sunday, November 22, 2009

Pumpkin Ice Cream

Are you tired of pumpkin yet? I'm not!



As promised, here is another pumpkin recipe for you. I could not have made this recipe if it were not for my dear friend and fellow blogger Elyse. If you have been following Baked Perfection for any period of time now, you know that Elyse and I became fast and very close friends just from blogging. She would comment on my blog, then I would comment on hers. It eventually turned into long emails, which turned into daily chats. Unfortunately she lives on the west coast and I am on the east coast, so we have actually only met in person once. Elyse, being the incredibly sweet person that she is, sent me the Kitchen Aid ice cream maker attachment as an engagement present right after I got engaged. She pretty much knows exactly what I want at all times and is the most thoughtful person I know.

There are several ice cream ideas and recipes I want to try, but for my first recipe I tried the pumpkin ice cream recipe that came with the attachment. If you love the flavors of pumpkin pie, but are in the mood for something different (or live in a warm climate) this is the perfect fall dessert. The ice cream was incredibly creamy the day I made it, but did get pretty hard in the freezer after a couple days. I recommend you serve the ice cream within a day or two of making it. As special treat I also made some Big Soft Ginger Cookies to make an ice cream sandwich. I highly recommend you make these cookies to go with the ice cream. It was the perfect combination! If you don't feel like an ice cream sandwich, the cookies are also delicious crumbled over the ice cream. Next time, I may even mix the cookies into the batter.


Pumpkin Ice Cream
recipe adapted from Kitchen Aid

1 1/2 cups light cream
6 egg yolks
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 cups canned solid pack pumpkin

Scald light cream in a heavy saucepan. Whisk yolks, sugar, and vanilla in a medium bowl. Gradually whisk in the light cream, add the spice. Return to saucepan and stir over medium-low heat until the mixture thickens, about 10 minutes; do not boil. Removed from heat. Whisk in the heavy cream and the pumpkin. Strain into bowl. Refrigerate until well chilled. Freeze in your ice cream maker according to manufacturer's directions.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake

The next Paula Deen.


No, I am not the next Paula Deen, but I do love the woman. Maybe it is because I am from the south and she reminds me of a lot of the women I grew up around, but I think she is a wonderful woman with a wonderful story. Yes, she uses a lot of butter, but so do most recipes for baked goods and this is a baking blog so I have no problem with her butter usage. I love Paula so much, that I actually decided to go as her for Halloween and bring along her Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake to the parties I was attending. Apparently I am not the the only Paula lover out there because people loved the costume and the Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake. I describe this cake as pumpkin pie in a bar form. There is cream cheese in the recipe which I did not taste one bit, but I do think it made the texture extra creamy. This recipe would be a great addition to the Thanksgiving menu. They come together really quickly. In fact, I made then just a couple hours before I took them to a party. Just for fun, I have included a picture of me dressed as Paula Deen.




Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake
Recipe from Paula Deen

Cake:
1 18 1/4-ounce package yellow cake mix
1 egg
8 tablespoons butter, melted

Filling:
1 15-ounce can of pumpkin
1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
8 tablespoons butter, melted
1 16-ounce box powdered sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

To make the cake, combine all of the ingredients and mix well. Pat the mixture into a lightly greased 13x9-inch baking pan.

Prepare filling:
In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and pumpkin until smooth. Add the eggs, vanilla, and butter and beat together. Next, add the powdered sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and mix well. Spread pumpkin mixture over cake batter and bake for 40 to 50 minutes. Make sure not to over bake as the center should be a little gooey.



Saturday, November 14, 2009

Maple Pecan Shortbread

I love maple.


I have been crazy for maple lately. It all started when Zack and I went cake tasting for our wedding. We met with Lara of Fluffy Thoughts and Zack and I were blown away by how delicious her cakes were. I think she must have had us taste just about every flavor combination possible which made it very difficult for us to pick a favorite. In fact we could not settle on just one cake flavor or frosting because everything was so incredible; so each tier will be a different flavor cake with different frosting. Anyway, while we were there I tasted Lara's maple buttercream and I seriously wanted to just shovel it into my mouth with a spoon as fast as I could. I knew I needed to let Zack have a taste so he would agree we should have it with our cake, but it was hard to even give up a tiny taste....that is how good it was. Needless to say, we will be having maple buttercream on one of our tiers. Ever since that day I have been craving maple; hence these cookies and my last post in which I made Maple Pecan Frosting. These cookies were delicious, easy to make, and quite cute. I highly recommend them.

Maple Pecan Shortbread
recipe adapted from Martha Stewart

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup pecan halves, finely chopped
1/4 cup pecan halves (24 halves) for the tops of the cookies
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 large egg yolk
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 large egg, lightly beaten
Turbinado sugar, for sprinkling

Into a medium bowl, sift flours and salt. Whisk in 1/2 cup chopped pecans, set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and granulated sugar on medium-high speed until smooth and light, about one minute. Add the maple syrup, egg yolk, and extract; beat on medium speed until well combined. On low speed, gradually add flour mixture, beating until just combined. Dough should be smooth and pliable. Flatten into a disk. Wrap in plastic; chill until firm, 1 1/2 hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.


On a lightly floured work surface, roll out dough to 1/4 inch thick. Cut out rounds using a two-inch cookie cutter; place one inch apart on prepared baking sheet. Brush tops with beaten egg; top centers with pecan half. Sprinkle the entire surface with turbinado sugar.
Bake cookies, rotating baking sheet halfway through, until golden around the edges, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Store in airtight containers at room temperature up to four days. Makes approximately two dozen cookies.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Brown Butter Pumpkin Cupcakes with Maple Pecan Frosting

A month of pumpkin.



I had no idea when we bought a new house we would be so busy! Back in our old apartment there were nights where we would just sit on the couch and watch TV and relax. We have been in the new house 2.5 months and that has yet to happen. There is something to replace/fix/paint everywhere we look. This new house has been interfering with my blogging...but it is worth it. Even though I have not been posting, I have still been baking. This month I plan to share with you a recipe with pumpkin every week. This post is for an amazing cupcake recipe from Martha Stewart. I can not say enough about how amazing these cupcakes were! The recipe in the book recommended a brown butter icing (which was more of a glaze) and I knew I wanted something more substantial so I whipped up a maple pecan frosting which was incredible! If you love pumpkin then you should definitely make these cupcakes!


Brown Butter Pumpkin Cupcakes
recipe adapted from Martha Stewart's Cupcakes

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground gloves
1 cup canned pumpkin puree (not pie filling)
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs

Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Line muffin tins with paper liners. In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium-low heat and continue to cook, swirling occasionally, until butter turns golden brown, Skim foam from top, and remove from heat. Pour into a bowl to stop the cooking, leaving any burned sediment behind; let cool.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. In another bowl, whisk together the pumpkin puree, both sugars, eggs, and brown-butter mixture. Add the flour mixture, and whisk until just combined.

Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes. Frost with Maple Pecan Frosting. Makes 15 cupcakes.

Maple Pecan Frosting
adapted from Big Oven


1/2 cup maple syrup
2 ounces cream cheese softened
1/2 cup butter softened
2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup pecans toasted and finely chopped

In a saucepan over medium-high heat, bring maple syrup to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, swirling pan occasionally, until reduced by about a third, 10-12 minutes. Pour into a glass measuring cup nested in a bowl of ice water and stir constantly until syrup is very thick and barely warm to touch, 3-4 minutes. Remove from ice water. In a bowl, with a mixer on low, beat cream cheese and butter until well blended. Beat in powdered sugar (adjust the amount of sugar to reach your desired consistency); scrape in reduced syrup; beat until smooth.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Halloween Sugar Cookies

Can't get enough Halloween



I am still in the Halloween spirit. A couple weeks ago when I was making the Halloween Cereal treats for Betty Crocker I bought some Halloween cookie cutters. I wanted to make sure I got the most out of my money so I planned to use them for another baking adventure. Believe it or not, I have not made sugar cookies since I was a little girl with my mom. I thought these were a ton of fun to make and surprisingly easy....just time consuming. You can see I kept my decorations simple, but it still took me several hours just to decorate the cookies. If you are new to making sugar cookies like I am, I reccommend sticking to one cookie shape, two maximum. As for the flavor and texture, these cookies were great! They remained soft and had a delicious vanilla flavor. I definitely plan to make more for Christmas.

The Best Rolled Sugar Cookies
adapted from Allrecipes.com

1 1/2 cups butter, softened
2 cups white sugar
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt

In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Stir in the flour, baking powder, and salt. Cover, and chill dough for at least one hour (or overnight).


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Roll out dough on floured surface 1/4 inch thick. Cut into shapes with any cookie cutter. Place cookies 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets.


Bake 6 to 8 minutes in preheated oven. Cool completely.


Sugar Cookie Icing
recipe adapted from Allrecipes.com

1 cup confectioners' sugar
2 teaspoons milk
2 teaspoons light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon Vanilla extract
assorted food coloring

In a small bowl, stir together confectioners' sugar and milk until smooth. Beat in corn syrup and vanilla extract until icing is smooth and glossy. If icing is too thick add more milk, if too thin add more sugar.


Divide into separate bowls, and add food colorings to each to desired intensity. Decorate as desired.


Sunday, October 11, 2009

Candy Corn Cereal Treats

Another Halloween Cereal Post


This is the last of my cereal recipes that I made for Betty Crocker. I wanted to dip the tips of these little guys in white chocolate, but they were the last of five things I baked that day and just did not have the energy. I think they are cute without the white tip, but if I make them again I will definitely dip them.


Candy Corn Cereal Treats
recipe from Baked Perfection

2 tablespoons butter
24 regular marshmallows
4 cups Trix cereal in Orange and Yellow (colors separated)

Coat an 8 x 8 x 2 pan with cooking spray

1) In a saucepan, melt 1 tablespoon butter and 12 marshmallows over low heat, stirring occasionally until completely melted. Remove from the heat. Add 2 cups of orange colored Trix cereal and stir until completely coated.

2) Using a greased spatula, evenly press mixture along one side of the prepared pan.

3) Repeat step one with the yellow Trix. Using a greased spatula, evenly press mixture along the row of orange Trix.

4) Cool completely and cut into triangles.

5) If desired, dip tips of triangles in white chocolate. Place on wax paper to cool.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Halloween S'mores Snacks

First I want to tell you I am on BettyCrocker.com. They loved all the recipes I sent them and have all of them featured on their site! You can not believe how excited I am to see myself on such an iconic site. Please go check it out!!!


More fun Halloween Treats


This is one of the recipe I created with the cereal provided from Betty Crocker and General Mills. When I received a box of Golden Grahams, I knew I wanted to make some kind of S'more. If you have been following my blog for long, you know I have been having a s'more phase this year and I don't see it going anywhere anytime soon. Thanks to Elyse, I now have an ice cream maker (She sent it to me as my first wedding present. She is so great!) and plan to create my own S'mores ice cream recipe soon, but back to today's recipe.


If you love s'mores, then you will love these snacks. Golden Grahams S'mores Snacks combine a layer of fluffy marshmallows and chocolate chips and sandwich it between layers of crunchy Golden Grahams. These were jazzed up for Halloween by using Halloween Cookie Cutters to create recognizable Halloween Shapes


Halloween Golden Graham S'mores Snacks
recipe from Baked Perfection

3 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup chocolate chips
2 cups miniature marshmallows
1 10 ounce package regular marshmallows
6 cups Golden Grahams Cereal

Coat an 9 x 13 x 2 pan with cooking spray

In a saucepan, melt butter and regular marshmallows over low heat, stirring occasionally until completely melted. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla and cinnamon. Add Golden Grahams Cereal and stir until completely coated.

Using a greased spatula, evenly press half the mixture into the prepared pan. Sprinkle the chocolate chips and miniature marshmallows evenly over the Golden Grahams. Using a greased spatula, evenly press the remaining Golden Graham mixture over the marshmallow and chocolate chip layer. Cool completely. Spray your favorite Halloween cookie cutters with cooking spray and press firmly, cutting though the Golden Graham S'mores. Decorate as desired.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Root Beer Bundt Cake

A cake between friends:


Have you ever met somebody and instantaneously hit it off? You just connected immediately? I am not referring to a romantic situation, but the same logic applies. This past year I made an incredible friend, Elyse, who found me right here on this blog. It started out simple enough. We just commented on each others blog, which then turned into emails, followed up by daily conversations on Gchat. She and I were lucky enough to finally meet in person this past Labor Day weekend when I went to visit another friend in San Fransisco. Elyse is a wonderful friend and an amazing baker. If you have not visited her blog yet, then take a break and go right now. Since Elyse and I can not actually get together to bake since she is on the west coast and I am on the east coast, she and I decided we would do a bake-along a couple times a month. This month I was pressed on time, but we wanted to make a cake. Elyse mentioned this cake and I thought it would be great. I thought this cake was really delicious and the frosting was incredible, but I honestly did not taste a bit of the root beer flavor. The recipe suggest using root beer schnapps, which I recommend if you want to taste the root beer.

Root Beer Bundt Cake
from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking

For the bundt cake:
2 cups root beer (not diet)
1 cup dark unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 large eggs

Preheat the oven to 350F. Spray a 10-inch bundt pan with nonstick spray, or butter and flour it.

In a small saucepan, heat the root beer, cocoa powder, and butter over medium heat until the butter is melted. Add the sugars and whisk until dissolved. Remove from heat and let cool.

In a large bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt together.

In a small bowl, whisk the eggs until just beaten, then whisk them into the cooled cocoa mixture until combined. Gently fold the flour mixture into the cocoa mixture. The batter will be slightly lumpy—do not overbeat, as it could cause the cake to be tough.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 35-40 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time, until a small knife (or toothpick) comes out clean.

Transfer the cake to a wire rack to cool completely. Gently loosen the sides of the cake from the pan and turn it out onto the rack.

Root Beer Fudge Frosting
2 oz dark chocolate, melted and cooled slightly
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup root beer
2/3 cup dark unsweetened cocoa powder
2 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar

Put all the ingredients in a food processor. Pulse in short bursts until the frosting is shiny and smooth. (Note: I do not have a food processor so I just used an hand mixer which worked fine.)

Use a spatula to spread the fudge frosting over the crown of the bundt in a thick layer.

Let the frosting set before serving. Serve with ice cream on the side (I recommend Vanilla).

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Terrifying Chocolate Peanut Butter Trifle

More Spooky Treats


I hope you enjoyed the "Trix"ster Treaters I posted last week. I think they were adorable, but as you all know I am a chocolate peanut butter person so this week's post it more my taste.
This trifle is for all the chocolate peanut butter lovers out there. Layered with moist brownies, rich peanut butter mousse, and crunchy Reese's Puffs, this dessert is not for the faint of heart. This trifle incorporates an element of terror for your guests when they dig in and find a gummy work or eye ball mixed in with their mousse.

Terrifying Chocolate Peanut Butter Trifle
recipe from Baked Perfection

1 box Betty Crocker Original Supreme Brownie Mix, prepared
1 8 ounce package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 cup confectioners' sugar
3 cups Reese's Puffs Cereal
Assorted Halloween Candies (i.e. gummy worms, gummy eyeballs, spiders)

Prepare Betty Crocker Original Supreme Brownie Mix as directed and let cool.

In a large bowl, beat together the cream cheese, peanut butter, and confectioners' sugar until light and fluffy. Set aside. Divide brownies, peanut butter mousse, and Reese's Puffs Cereal into thirds.

In a trifle dish or large bow, layer one third of the brownies followed by the peanut butter mousse and the Reese's Puffs Cereal. Place assorted candies in between layers making sure they are visible from the outside of the dish. Repeat layers two more times, finishing with Reese's Puffs. Decorate top with remaining Halloween Candies.

Halloween "Trix"ster Treaters

I love Halloween!


For those of you who know me, you know that I love pretty much every Holiday, but Halloween is one of my favorites. One would think that I would hate Halloween since I scare terribly easily and I hate being scared, but I love it. Don't get me wrong, I won't go in a Haunted House and I am not about to watch a scary movie, but I still love Halloween. I love dressing up and I love the decorations. Zack fears that I am going to be one of those people that decorates every corner of the house. I keep telling him that he does not have to worry...but maybe he should :)

You may think it is a little early for me to be posting about Halloween, and ordinarily I would agree with you. This time there is a special exception. I was contacted by the BettyCrocker.com and asked to create some Halloween recipes using a selection of General Mills Cereals. Since I love Halloween and I love cereal I jumped at the opportunity. The little guys pictured above were actually the last of the four recipes I created. I had a lot of fun making these recipes. This recipe in particular would be perfect to make with kids. The first step in the recipe is to sort an entire box of Trix by color so you can make the treats any color combination of your choice. It is important an adult melts the butter and marshmallows, but when the treats are cool let the kids help decorate. The possibilities are endless!

"Trix"ster Treaters
recipe from Baked Perfection

3 tablespoons butter
10 oz. package regular marshmallows
6 cups Trix cereal (colors separated)
Assorted Candies
Betty Crocker Cookie Icing

Multi-Color instructions:

Coat a 9 x 13 x 2 pan with cooking spray

In a saucepan, melt butter and marshmallows over low heat, stirring occasionally until completely melted. Remove from the heat. Add Trix cereal and stir until completely coated. Using a greased spatula, evenly press mixture into the prepared pan. Cool completely and decorate with assorted candies and sprinkles. Use icing to attach candies.

Color Variations:

In a saucepan, melt 1 tablespoon butter and 12 marshmallows over low heat, stirring occasionally until completely melted. Remove from the heat. Add 2 cups of desired color Trix cereal and stir until completely coated. Using a greased spatula, evenly press mixture into the prepared pan. Cool completely and decorate with assorted candies and sprinkles. Use icing to attach candies.


Sunday, September 13, 2009

Key Lime Bars

Summer is at an end...


Sorry I have been gone so long, but I am back. I hope you have missed me as much as I have missed you. If you saw my last post then you know a lot has been going on. Since then, we moved into our new house (which is amazing), I went to visit some friends in San Francisco, and we began wedding planning. For those of you are interested in the wedding details I want to tell you we picked our date and venue! We are getting married May 22nd, 2010 in Alexandria, Virgina at the Torpedo Factory Art Center. I am still on Cloud 9 and I imagine I am going to be for a long time. We still have a ways to go when it comes to furnishing and decorating our house and wedding planning, but I am loving every minute of it. Thanks for all the nice things you had to say and if you have any tips or advice for weddings I would love to hear it. In the mean time I have a recipe for you. Like many of my recipes, I got this from my future mother-in-law (have I mentioned how amazing a baker she is lately). These key lime bars are absolutely amazing. They are the perfect summer dessert, but are really good anytime of year if you ask me :)

Teresa Miller's Key Lime Bars

2 1/4 c Flour
2/3c Powdered sugar
1 tsp Baking powder
1 c Butter Softened
5 lg Eggs
2 c Sugar
1/2 c Key Lime Juice

Preheat over to 350 degrees

Grease 13 x 9 baking pan

In a bowl, combine 2 cups flour, powered sugar, and 1/2 tsp baking powder. Cut in butter with 2 knives until crumbs and press into baking dish. Bake 20 - 25 minutes or until slightly browned.

In a second bowl, combine eggs, sugar, lime juice, 1/4 c flour, and 1/2 tsp baking powder. Pour mixture over hot crust and bake 22 - 25 minutes until lightly browned. When completely cooled dust with powdered sugar.



Thursday, August 20, 2009

Huge News!

Sorry guys, no recipes today. I just wanted to share my exciting news. This past Monday I closed on my first house and I got engaged! I am sure I will share with you more house and wedding details in future posts.

Thanks for reading Baked Perfection!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Homemade Milanos

Much better than store bought


As you all know if you have been reading my blog, I am an auditor. There are few perks that come with the job, but depending on the client you sometimes get lucky. Back in May and June I was working on a client that had an endless supply of snacks. This was both a blessing and a curse because it became extremely hard to avoid the drawers of cookies and chips every afternoon. When I was scavenging in the snack drawer one day I noticed a package of Milanos cookies. I used to love Milanos when I was a kid. My sister and I would go crazy for them. Of course I could not resist the temptation so I had a couple. Although I did enjoy those cookies that afternoon, I knew I could make something better. I played a round with a few ideas in my head and I think I came up with a great replica. Believe me, these cookies are 100% better than the store bought Milanos and they really are not that hard to make. If you are a Milano lover like me, then you should definitely give them a try!

Homemade Milanos
adapted from Williams Sonoma Vanilla Cookies Recipe

2 sticks unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg
2 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips, melted

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

In a large bowl, beat together the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, Add the egg, vanilla, and salt and beat until well mixed. Using a spoon, stir in the flour until well blended.

Fill the cookie press with dough according to the instructions and fit with the desired shape disk (preferably something oval to replicate the Milano shape). Press the dough out onto ungreased baking sheets, spacing the cookies 1 inch apart.

Bake until the cookies are lightly golden, about 10 minutes. Transfer the cookies to wire racks to cool. Once cool, spread the bottom side of one cookie with melted chocolate and place a second cookie on top. Repeat until all cookies are sandwiched. Makes 20-30 sandwich cookies.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Toasted Coconut Key Lime Yogurt Cake

The lazy days of summer.


I have been a bad blogger lately. I am really not sure what has gotten into me. I just have not felt like baking or blogging lately. I am sure it is just a phase, but I feel bad since I know so many of you enjoy checking my blog for the latest updates. I am going to do my best to get back to my weekly updates.

I am currently in a hotel room in Montvale, NJ as I write this. I am in a training all week for work, so I figured I would use the down time to catch up on some old posts. I actually made this cake ages ago, when I made the Orange Yogurt Cake. I did not want to post it then because it was too similar a cake. When I made these cakes I really could not decide which cake I liked more. I would taste the orange and then think it was my favorite and then change my mind when I had a bite of this cake. My friends who enjoy coconut loved this cake, but since several of them are not coconut people they preferred the Orange. If your friends are anything like mine, then you can go ahead and make this cake and just leave out the coconut. This cake is really forgiving (I forgot to add the egg and had to add it right before I poured it in the pan), store and ships well, and is extremely delicious!



Toasted Coconut Key Lime Yogurt Cake (a.k.a The Perfect Slice of Summer)

adapted from The Cooking Photographer



For the cake:

1 cup fat free Greek yogurt
1 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggsZest of
4 limes or 8 key limes
1 tsp real vanilla extract
¼ tsp salt
½ cup melted butter
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 ½ cups all purpose flour
1 cup toasted coconut, separated (see Note 1)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a loaf pan.In a medium bowl, mix together the baking powder and flour. In a separate large bowl, beat together the granulated sugar, eggs, lime zest, vanilla extract, salt, and butter. Stir in the yogurt until combined. Add the flour mixture and mix until combined, being careful not to over mix. Fold in toasted coconut.

Pour the cake batter into the loaf pan and bake for 50 to 55 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Wait for 10 minutes and carefully remove to a cooling rack.

For soaking warm cake:

1/3 cup fresh squeezed key lime juice
1 Tablespoon granulated sugar

While the cake is cooking, add the lime juice and granulated sugar to a small sauce pan. Cook over medium high heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is melted and the liquid is mainly clear. About 5 minutes. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.Place the cooling rack on top of a piece of wax paper. Spoon the mixture over the cake. Allow the cake to finish cooling.

For glazing cooled cake:

1 cup powdered sugar
2 Tablespoons fresh squeezed key lime juice
2 teaspoons lime zest
1/3 cup toasted coconut

Mix together powdered sugar and lime juice. Spoon glaze over the top and garnish with lime zest and toasted coconut; let the cake set up overnight before serving.

(I baked the cake in 4 miniature loaf pans as opposed to 1 large pan. It took approximately 30 minutes to bake, but you will need to monitor your cakes based on your oven).

Note 1: Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Spread flaked coconut on non-greased cookie sheet. Toast in oven, stirring every five minutes, until it turns light golden, about 20 minutes. Remove coconut from cookie sheet and set aside.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Peanut Butter Cup Brownies

They are as good as they look.



I saw these quite some time ago on Bake or Break and then again on Nosh and Tell and I knew I had to make them. If you have been following my blog, you know I love anything chocolate and peanut butter and so does my boyfriend Zack. He and I went to visit his parents for the 4th of July and I always like to bring some kind of baked good with me when we visit. I always bring Buckeyes at Christmas and they go crazy for them. Actually, I made some last Christmas and believe it or not I forgot to take pictures and blog about them! Don't worry, I will not forget this Christmas. Anyway, I knew Zack's family would love these. When these brownies were on Bake or Break and Nosh and Tell they made the brownie batter from scratch. I took the easy way out and used Ghiradelli Double Chocolate Brownie Mix. I personally think it is the best box mix you can get and can easily beat some "from scratch" recipes. This recipe also was written to make 12 servings using a muffin tin. I went ahead and made them in a mini-muffin tin and it made 40 brownies! When you decide to make these (and you will decide to make these) do what works for you.

Peanut Butter Cup Brownies
Recipe adapted from Nestle’s Very Best Baking

Makes 40 brownies as adapted

1 box of your favorite brownie mix
1/2 cup peanut butter chips
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray or grease 40 mini-muffin cups.

Prepare boxed brownie mix as directed. Spoon batter evenly into muffin cups (about 1 heaping teaspoon). Bake for 13-15 minutes or until top is set and a toothpick inserted into center comes out slightly wet. After brownies are out of the oven, wait for centers to fall. This will happen upon cooling. If not then tap the centers with the back of a teaspoon to make a hole for the peanut butter.

Place peanut butter in a small microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high for 45 seconds then stir. While brownies are still warm spoon about half a teaspoon of peanut butter into the center of each brownie. Top with semi-sweet chocolate chips and peanut butter chips. Cool completely in pan.


Sunday, July 5, 2009

White Chocolate Chip Macadamia Nut Blondies

Better late than never.


Sorry for the delay in getting this post up. Like most of you I have been busy this summer. I just got back in town from West Virginia and had a wonderful time with my boyfriend's family. You should all be happy to hear that I got the best chocolate peanut butter dessert recipe from my boyfriend's mom and plan to make it as soon as I have company. For the time being this will have to hold you over. I saw this recipe quite some time ago on The Crepes of Wrath. You should go visit her site right now because it is fantastic and I love everything she posts. I had been wanting to make this for a while, but I kept forgetting to get white chocolate chips. I finally got around to getting the white chocolate chips and when I went to make these I did not have enough macadamia nuts. I did not want to wait any longer so I just substituted half of the macadamia nuts with walnuts and they turned out great. I definitely recommend you trying them and in case you are also out of macadamia nuts, walnuts work great!

White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Blondies
from The Crepes of Wrath

1/2 pound (1 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups white chocolate chips
1 cup macadamia nuts, toasted and roughly chopped

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Chop your macadamia nuts and place them on a baking sheet. Toast in a 350 degree F oven for 5-10 minutes, until golden and fragrant. Allow to cool before using. Cream the butter and brown sugar on medium speed until a smooth batter is formed (this should take 3-5 minutes). While the machine is running, add the eggs, the vanilla extract, and almond extract, until incorporated into the batter. Combine the flour, salt, and baking powder in a medium bowl. Slowly add the flour mixture to the batter and mix on low speed just until a dough is formed. Either by hand or with a big spoon or spatula, fold the nuts and chips into the dough. Once the dough is all blended, line and/or grease a 9 x 13-inch baking pan with Pam. Spread the batter into the pan with a greased spatula or just use your hands to press the dough in and place in the preheated oven. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until set and lightly golden. Allow to cool completely in the pan before cutting. Store in an air-tight container.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Raspberry Walnut "Better for You" Muffins

Sorry for the delay....



...I have been out of town. This past weekend my brother graduated from college, so my boyfriend and I flew down to Atlanta to be with my family. I could not be more proud of my brother. We are very close in age which was a curse when I was young and a blessing now that I am older. My brother and I did not get along in the slightest when we were young. He was always teasing me, calling me names, and generally being mean. Then one day I moved to DC and when I went back to visit we were friends. I guess absence really did make the heart grow fonder. My brother truly is an amazing person and an even better brother. Anyway, this is why my post is delayed and why I have not been visiting with your blogs. Don't worry, I am back to updating Baked Perfection and I will be visiting your blogs shortly.

So on to these muffins. I bought a ton of raspberries and knew I wanted to make muffins. My friends and I decided we wanted to eat healthier, so I did all that I could to make this a "healthy muffin" and I think I did a pretty good job. I think each muffin has around 175 calories, but don't hold me to that count because I calculated it quite a while ago. These muffins did not taste one bit "healthy". They were moist, light, fruity, sweet, and had a nutty crunch. Everybody loved them and they were gone in no time.


Raspberry Walnut "Better for You" Muffins
recipe from Baked Perfection

Cooking Spray or Paper Liners
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup uncooked old fashioned oats
dash of cinnamon
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp table salt
1 cup fat-free vanilla Greek yogurt
1/4 cup fat-free skim milk
1 egg
1 tbsp butter, melted
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 cup fresh raspberries
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 tbsp sugar

Preheat oven to 400ºF. Coat a 12-cup muffin pan with cooking spray or fill pan with paper liners.

Combine flours, oats, 1/4 cup of sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and chopped walnuts in a large bowl. Mix well, make a well in the center and set aside.

Whisk yogurt, milk, egg, butter, vanilla and almond extract together in a small bowl. Fold mixture into dry ingredients until blended; fold in raspberries. Spoon batter into prepared pan, filling each cup about 2/3 full.

Bake for 20 minutes; sprinkle tops of muffins with remaining tablespoon of sugar. Bake until a wooden toothpick inserted in center of a muffin comes out clean, about 5 minutes more. Allow to cool in pan for at least 10 minutes; remove from pan and cool completely.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Chocolate Mint Chip Cookies (a.k.a Polka Dot Cookies)

Just like an Andes Mint.


A few weeks ago I discovered the wonders of a great store, World Market. I am sure I am the last one to realize how great it is, but either way I am glad I did. I went there because I heard they sold spices at great prices which was definitely true. My cabinet is now stocked with all kinds of dried herbs and spices and it cost me a fraction of the super market prices. I was wandering around the food section at the store and came across some Guittard Green Mint Chips. They also had Cappuccino Chips, but since I am not a coffee person those did not appeal to me. I had heard great things about Guittard so I thought I would get the mint chips and would figure out something to make with them. Well I did not have to go far to find a recipe. It was last Sunday night and I had just finished making a pot of Gumbo. The mint chips were sitting in a basket I keep on top of my fridge filled with random baking items. I just kept looking at them and decide at 9pm on Sunday night I was going to make something. I grabbed the package and right on the back was a recipe entitled "Polka Dot Cookies". I am calling them Chocolate Mint Chip Cookies purely because it annoys me when you see the name of a dessert and it does not hint to what it is. Anyway, I followed the recipe exactly and they came out perfectly! They almost had the texture of a brownie in a cookie form and the mint chips were smooth and creamy. After we tasted the finished product we thought this cookie base would be amazing with any time of chip. So if you want double chocolate toss in some chocolate chips. I wold love to try some peanut buter chips myself! I definitely want to try more Guittard products in the future.

Chocolate Mint Chip Cookies (a.k.a Polka Dot Cookies)
recipe from Guittard

2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
3 large eggs
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups Guittard Green Mint Chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In top of double boiler over low heat, melt the semi-sweet chips and butter, stirring constantly until smooth. Set aside to cool. In small bowl combine flour, baking soda and salt; set aside. In large bowl, beat eggs, sugar, and vanilla until light. Blend in melted chocolate then dry ingredients. Stir in green mint chips and chill for 10-15 minutes or until stiff. Drop by well-rounded teaspoonfuls onto greased cookie sheets. Bake 8-10 minutes; cookies will be soft inthe centers but will firm up as they cool. Yeilds approximately 4 dozen cookies.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Lemon Sandwich Cookies

Cookies for a friend.






















This past weekend one of my closet friends from back home, Lindsay, flew to DC for her cousin's graduation. Lindsay just so happens to be the same friend who designed my logo and business cards. She is quite the talented graphic designer. Lindsay is one of those friends who would do anything for me. When she told me she was coming to town for her cousin's wedding we made arrangements so she could come to town early and spend some time with me. I wanted to bake something special just for her, so I had her send me a list things she liked and disliked in her desserts. This is the list she sent me:

Hate:
1. Coconut
2. Cream cheese icing

Not crazy about:
1. Nuts

Like:
1. Stuff with fruit or jam
2. Buttercream frosting
3. Sprinkles
4. Pumpkin

I pulled inspiration from cookies I had seen on The Crepes of Wrath and My Baking Addiction to make Lemon Sandwich Cookies. I was pretty impressed with myself getting three of her "likes" in one cookie. These cookies tasted great! I was not sure how I would feel about them since I am typically not a fruit dessert person, but I loved them and so did Lindsay and my boyfriend. In addition to being really cute, these cookies were a really nice change from chocolate chip cookies. You can change the cookie and frosting combinations to match your favorite flavors. I am thinking about making these again with a chocolate cookie and peanut butter frosting.

Lemon Sandwich Cookies
Inspired by The Crepes of Wrath and My Baking Addiction

Cookies

1 (18.25) package lemon cake mix
2 eggs
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons lemon zest
4 TBS fresh lemon juice
1/4 - 1/2 cup all purpose flour

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Pour cake mix into a large bowl. Stir in eggs, oils, lemon juice, and lemon zest until blended. If mixture is very wet slowly add 1/4 to 1/2 cup of flour until the dough comes together.

Drop teaspoons of dough onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 7-9 minutes in the preheated oven. The bottoms will be light brown. Move cookies to a cooling rack and using your spatula gently flatten your cookies.

Buttercream Frosting

3 cups powdered sugar
3/4 cup butter, softened
zest of one lemon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2-3 tablespoons lemon juice

1. Cream sugar, butter, lemon zest, and vanilla. Add 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and beat until fluffy, adding more if needed.

Assembly:

Frost the flat side of the cookie with a good dollop of frosting. Lightly place the flat side of an unfrosted cookie on top. Press down until a bit of the frosting begins to poke out of the sides. If you want to decorate the edges, place your sprinkles/chips/etc. in a small bowl, and dip the sides of the cookie in it, rolling the cookie around to coat all sides.