Posts Tagged ‘shortbread’

For Valentine’s Day, I thought it would be fun for Matt and I to make a homemade version of one of his favorite candies, Twix Bars.  I’d seen a ton of great-looking recipes around the blog world and thought it would be a good idea to take ideas from them but make my own version.  You can see different examples of homemade Twix Bars on Mangio Da Sola, Hoosier Homemade, Chocolate and Carrots, and Not Without Salt.

I started with the Mangio Da Sola shortbread crust, easy enough

shortbread crust

I thought that using packaged caramels would be a really easy shortcut for the middle layer; I guess I forgot how hard they get so quickly


Topped the caramel with salt, because I am kind of obsessed with that combination

caramel salt layer

And then melted milk chocolate; here you really can’t go wrong


chocolate layer

The first problem was getting the bars out of the pan; the shortbread was too crumbly and cutting through the caramel was tough

done 1

I think a foil-lined pan would have been better

done 8

These would have been so much better with a layer of caramel sauce or filling, instead of melted caramel candies (unless breaking a tooth is your goal)

done 5

We tried to eat them but it just wasn’t worth it, I may have eaten the entire layer of milk chocolate off the top… wasting chocolate is just wrong!

done 6

Have you had any desserts gone wrong recently?

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*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


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


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


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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dinner 2

Lots of desserts

dessert table 4


bar 2

More meat

dinner 3

Delicious side dishes


Too many desserts

dessert table 2


guests guests 2 lauren sara

guests newlyweds



decor 2

decor 3

room 1

Much too many desserts

dessert table after

More food than one could imagine out of a NYC kitchen


More people than you’d usually fit in a 1-bedroom apartment

getting food

5 Years of Thanksgiving with Friends

Five years ago, in what started out as a “dinner club” with two other couples, Matt and I hosted our first mock Thanksgiving dinner with friends.  Four friends came to Matt’s apartment at the time for a turkey, sweet potato casserole, and some other dishes that aren’t memorable enough to stand out in my mind.  It was a fun night and such a success that in the years that followed, our intimate dinner party of six has turned into an annual event with almost twenty friends.  It gives us an opportunity to be in the kitchen together, share an evening with many of our closest friends, and show them how thankful we are for them through delicious food.

matt lauren cooking

This year’s dinner was so much fun and full of many tasty traditional and non-traditional Thanksgiving dishes: Turkey, Brisket, Turkey Meatloaf, Salad, String Bean Casserole, Sweet Potato Casserole, Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Parmesan, Stuffing, Cranberry Sauce and Pumpkin Bread/Muffins

dinner 1

And of course, as you surely already know, lots of desserts

dessert table 5

Cookie sandwiches: Red Velvet Cookie Sandwiches with White Chocolate Buttercream, Chocolate Chip Cookies with Mocha Ganache and Chewy Chocolate Cookies with Peanut Butter Filling

sandwich cookies 2

Pumpkin Chocolate Cheesecake bars

bars on plate 1

Cookie Dough Topped Brownies

cooke dough brownies

Gooey Caramel Butter Bars

caramel bars

Chocolate Chunk Almond Butter Bars

Brownies with White Chocolate Buttercream and Mocha Ganache

I am excited about the recipes I have to share from the dinner party over the next few weeks!  There are definitely some new desserts that I know I’ll be making again

What is your favorite Thanksgiving-related tradition?

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