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Posts Tagged ‘Easy’

*Check out the ask me anything post, good questions coming in so far

**Check out the discussion on my Vegan Challenge in the Comments section

After the successful Lemon Pound Cake, I figured I should try a few other desserts with different flavor profiles.  Don’t worry, I’ll always come back to my true love peanut butter and chocolate, but in the mean time, I’ll entertain the idea that other combinations can taste good too!

Recently I was in search for something that would be easy enough to make on a weeknight and freeze well so that I wouldn’t eat waste all of the leftovers.  I found a recipe in this cookbook and adapted it to make Chocolate Cherry Maple Cookies.  I used semi-sweet chocolate chunks to get a big blast of flavor, but not too much chocolate because I didn’t want to overpower the cookie.  The dried cherries add a slightly tart contrast to the cookie as well.

cookies done 4

The cookie dough isn’t overly sweet but it has a nice hint of maple flavor.  Their texture is in-between shortbread and butter cookies and they are a little bit addicting as a result.  These cookies would make a great addition any dessert platter.

To begin, combine butter, sugar and syrup in a mixer

butter sugar syrup

Beat on high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes

butter sugar syrup mixed

Then, add the egg and vanilla; beat well

add egg and vanilla

Once well-combined, slowly add the flour while mixer is on low speed

adding flour

Then stir in chocolate and cherries

adding chocolate and cherries

cookie dough

Once dough is mixed, split dough into two sections and roll each up in saran wrap

dough rolled up

Refrigerate for several hours or overnight

log in half 2

Slice logs of dough into cookies about 1/4 inch thick log sliced 3

Bake on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper for 10-12 minutescookies on sheet

Cookies will be just slightly darker and firm to the touch when done

cookies done 8

Chocolate Cherry Maple Cookies

Makes ~30 cookies

Adapted from the Lindt Chocolate Passion Recipe Book

Ingredients:

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

2/3 cup granulated sugar

2 heaping tablespoons maple syrup

1 large egg at room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chunks

1/3 cup dried cherries

Directions:

Combine butter, sugar and syrup in a mixer; beat on high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes

Add the egg and vanilla; beat well

Once well-combined, slowly add the flour while mixer is on low speed

Stir in chocolate and cherries

Once dough is mixed, split it into two sections and form logs with diameters of about 2 1/2 inches; wrap each tightly with saran wrap

Refrigerate for several hours or overnight

Once ready to bake, pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

Slice logs of dough into cookies about 1/4 inch thick

Bake on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper for 10-12 minutes

Cookies will be just slightly darker than dough and firm to the touch when done

Notes:

I made the dough one night and baked the cookies the next.  You could easily freeze the dough for several weeks prior to baking if needed.

You may want to consider chopping the cherries into smaller pieces to get them more spread-out through the dough. That would work well if you want cherry in every bite.

cookies done 3

What new flavors have you tried lately?

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Every time I visit my parents, my mom and I email constantly the week before about what we will bake.  There are always too many things for us to try, so it’s usually a pretty fattening special looking recipe that makes the cut.  Last weekend we made Picky Palate’s Chocolate Chip Oreo Cookie Sandwiches and Candy Bar Chocolate Chip Cookie Sandwiches.  They were amazing.

oreo cookie 1

This weekend I couldn’t help but be inspired by those delicious cookies.  As if a chocolate chip cookie stuffed with a Snickers Bar or Oreo Cookie wasn’t enough, I had to take it a step further for all of the chocoholics out there.  Why not take one of my favorite chocolate cookie recipes and stuff it with chocolate candy?  I made Stuffed Triple Chocolate Cookies.

hershey cookie 2

I’ll be honest, I haven’t tasted them yet.  I am on my 6th day of a week-long deprivation vegan challenge and baking these was an extreme form of torture.  Luckily, I have the Husband to do my taste testing for me in a time like this.  If the number of Hershey Kiss stuffed cookies he ate is any reflection of the verdict, I’d say these are a winner.  Trust me, though, when vegan week is over, I’ll be inhaling a dozen cookies doing my own “quality control”.  (More on Vegan week in an upcoming post!)

The Triple Chocolate Cookie dough is adapted from Jill O’Connor’s Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey.  I’ve made the cookies using her exact recipe as a standalone cookie and they never disappoint.  You may remember my Gooey Caramel Butter Bars were also from that cookbook.

To begin, you take semi-sweet and unsweetened chocolate along with a stick of butter and place them in a microwave-safe bowl

chocolate & butter

Microwave the ingredients for a minute and stir; microwave again for 30-second increments until everything is almost melted; stir the remaining lumps until smooth and do not overheat.  Set aside

chocolate & butter melted

Whisk together dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, and salt) and set aside

dry ingred

In your mixer, combine eggs, sugars and vanilla

sugars, egg, vanilla

Beat on high speed for about 5 minutes or until mixture is light and fluffyegg sugar mixture

Reduce the speed of your mixer and add in melted chocolate and butter

chocolate mixture added

When that is well-combined, stir in flour mixture but do not over-mix

dry ingred added

Stir in chocolate chips

add chocolate chips

Refrigerate cookie dough for an hour or more prior to making the cookies

batter

Choose any chocolate candies of your preference.  Smaller candies will yield more cookies.  I selected these chocolate meltaway Kisses  because, well, why not make these as intensely chocolate as possible?

hershey kisses

Other candy included dark chocolate Peanut Butter cups and Peppermint Patties.  Once dough is chilled, pre-heat oven and unwrap your chocolates

candy

Use a cookie dough scoop to form balls of dough; place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Place candy on top of dough mound and then push down

making cookie 1

Gently form cookie dough around the candy until it is completely covered; it might be easier if you freeze your Peppermint Patties first because they can break if you push too hard with the cookie dough

making cookie 2

Repeat process

making cookie 3 making cookie 4

Use just enough cookie dough to cover the candy; size will be about 50% larger than candy alone

making cookie 5

Make sure your candy is completely covered with dough or you may end up with some oozing like my Peppermint Patty cookies experienced

peppermint patty baked

Bake the cookies for about 9 minutes and set aside on a cooling rack to cool

This is the deliciousness you will experience when you bite into the different cookies:

hershey cookie 4 peanut butter 2 mint 1

Stuffed Triple Chocolate Cookies

Inspired by Picky Palate and adapted from Jill O’Connor

Makes ~50 cookies (more cookies with small candy, but less with large)

Ingredients:

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter

6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate

7 ounces unsweetened chocolate

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

4 large eggs at room temperature

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup packed brown sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla

2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions:

Place semi-sweet and unsweetened chocolate with butter in a microwave-safe bowl

Microwave the ingredients for a minute and stir; microwave again for 30-second increments until everything is almost melted; stir the remaining lumps until smooth.  Set aside

Whisk together dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, and salt) and set aside

In your mixer, combine eggs, sugars and vanilla; beat on high speed for about 5 minutes or until mixture is light and fluffy

Reduce the speed of your mixer and add in melted chocolate and butter

When that is well-combined, stir in flour mixture but do not over-mix

Stir in chocolate chips

Refrigerate cookie dough for an hour or more prior to making the cookies

Once dough is chilled, pre-heat oven to 350 degrees and unwrap your chocolates

Use a cookie dough scoop to form balls of dough; place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Place candy on top of dough mound and then push down

Gently form cookie dough around the candy until it is completely covered; repeat (make sure your candy is completely covered with dough)

Bake the cookies for 9-10 minutes and set aside on a cooling rack to cool

[Edited to add] Note:  The Peppermint Patty and Hershey Kiss versions were the most popular.  I think the larger Reeses Cups would be better so that the candy is in every bite.

What candy would you put in your cookies?

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I used to have an aversion to lemon desserts.  Lemon meringue pie? No thank you.  Lemon bars?  Don’t tease me with that powdered sugar topping.  Lemon cake? Eh.  Truthfully, I have an initial reaction to any dessert lacking chocolate that involves a little bit of apprehension.  Even though I adore ice cream, plain vanilla will provokes the same reaction.  It better be REALLY good if there is no chocolate involved.  Warm fruit desserts and anything involving peanut butter generally passes the test, but it isn’t easy.

So when my in-laws raved about Del Frisco’s Lemon Cake a couple of years ago, I kind of smiled and nodded.  First of all, restaurant desserts in general are almost never as good as you think they will be.  And it is lemon cake!  Really, what would even be the point?  But through it all, I am a dessert lover and it wouldn’t be fair if I didn’t give the cake a chance.  So when I found myself with them at Del Frisco’s and everyone insisted on ordering Lemon Cake, I suggested we also order the chocolate banana bread pudding (um, yum!), but was willing to give this infamous dessert a try.  That was the Lemon Cake that turned me around.

sliced 4

Don’t get me wrong, I still don’t like lemon meringue pie or lemon bars, but a rich moist cake with a very light lemon flavor is actually refreshing without being over the top.  So when the husband requested a lemon dessert last weekend, I willingly made my first ever Lemon Cake.

This is actually a simple Lemon Pound Cake that is very easy and comes out extremely moist and flavorful.  If I were to serve it at a dinner party, I’d make a glaze or top it with fresh whipped cream and berries.  Don’t worry, there would be some sort of chocolate alternative as well.

To begin, whisk your dry ingredients (flour, baking powder and salt), and set aside

whisking dry ingred

In a large mixing bowl, beat together cream cheese and butter on high speed for several minutes until mixture is light and creamy

creamed butter and cream cheese

Use a microplane to lightly grate  the skin of a lemon

lemon and microplane

Be careful not to scrape too deep, the white of the skin is more bitter

lemon zest

On high speed, beat the lemon zest and greek yogurt into butter and cream cheese mixture for about a minute

adding lemon zest and yogurt

Add sugar and beat on high speed until batter is smooth and creamy

adding sugar

Now add the eggs, one at a time, putting the mixer on high for about a minute or two between each

adding eggs

Add in the vanilla on high speed for a minute; scrape the sides of the bowl and turn mixer on high again until well combined

adding vanilla

Reduce speed to low and gradually add in your dry ingredients

mixing in dry ingred

Before it is fully combined, remove bowl from mixer and lightly fold batter to get all of the dry ingredients mixed in; this will prevent overbeating and a cake with the density of a rock

folding in remaining dry

Pour batter into a 9×5 loaf pan

batter in pan

Bake for 45-50 minutes or until a knife comes out clean

baked 2

Lighter Lemon Pound Cake

Adapted from Joy the Baker

Serves 8

Ingredients:

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 8-ounce block of low fat cream cheese, softened at room temperature

1/2 cup (1 stick) of unsalted butter, softened

1/2 cup fat free plain greek yogurt

1 TB fresh lemon zest (about 1 lemon’s worth)

1 cup granulated sugar

4 eggs brought to room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

Whisk dry ingredients (flour, baking powder and salt), and set aside

In a large mixing bowl, beat together cream cheese and butter on high speed for several minutes until mixture is light and creamy

Use a microplane to lightly grate  the skin of a lemon

On high speed, beat the lemon zest and greek yogurt into butter and cream cheese mixture for about a minute

Add sugar and beat on high speed until batter is smooth and creamy

Add the eggs, one at a time, putting the mixer on high for about a minute or two between each

Add in the vanilla on high speed for a minute; scrape the sides of the bowl and turn mixer on high again until well combined

Reduce speed to low and gradually add in dry ingredients

Before batter is fully combined, remove bowl from mixer and lightly fold batter to get all of the dry ingredients mixed in

Pour batter into a 9×5 loaf pan sprayed with non-stick cooking spray

Bake for 45-50 minutes or until a knife comes out clean

sliced 3

Sidenote:  We actually had our rehearsal dinner at Del Frisco’s!  No lemon cake for me that night, I was too excited to eat (and let me tell you, that never happens).

How do you feel about lemon desserts?

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