Monday, December 31, 2012

Hidden Kiss Cookies

It’s New Years Eve. Have you guys made resolutions for next year? Are any of them to be healthier? Stop eating sweets? Spend 5 hours on the treadmill everyday in an effort to shed those holiday pounds? You’re definitely not alone if you aid “yes.” I too have made a “be healthy” resolution: to stop stuffing my face when I’m procrastinating. The thing about having your own room in college has great advantages, but with those advantages comes disadvantages. I can’t tell you how many times I have at in my room eating my stash of granola bars and Goldfish trying to put off homework as much as possible. Well no more… hopefully.

Anyways, here is a recipe that will probably send you running for the hills. Hey, I got you running, that’s a good start for exercising, right? 

These here are Hidden Kiss Cookies. It’s basically a soft-as-ever butter cookie with a Hershey’s Kiss stuffed in the center. These really are the perfect treat. I took some to my friend’s reunion/ugly sweater party before Christmas and not a single cookie was left. Everyone said they were amazing and I felt sort of bad because I didn’t even bring all the cookies, assuming everyone would eat the other sweets everyone brought to the party.

If you aren’t one of those cookie haters that appear at the beginning of the year, please make these cookies. They are darling little things.

Hidden Kiss Cookies
Makes 2 dozen cookies

1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
¾ cup powdered sugar
½ a large egg, room temperature (beat egg in a small bowl and measure out half)
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 ½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
½ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
24 unwrapped Hershey’s Kisses
2 tbsp. sugar

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment beat the butter and POWDERED sugar (Yes, you read that right. This recipe uses powdered sugar, not regular granulated sugar). Beat on medium speed until creamy. Add the egg and vanilla extract. Beat until well combined.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Turn the mixer’s speed to low and add the flour mixture in two additions. Scrape down the sides of the bowl after each addition.

Scoop a little less than 1 tbsp. of dough into your hand. Roll the dough into a ball and flatten. Place a single Hershey’s Kiss in the center. Mold the cookie dough around the kiss. Roll the dough between your hands to form a sphere. Repeat with the remaining dough. If the dough is too soft to work with, refrigerate the un-scooped dough for about 10-15 minutes. Refrigerate cookie dough for 10-15 minutes. Keeping the dough chilled will ensure to dough wont fall away from the kiss while baking.

While you wait for the dough to chill, preheat the oven to 350 F.

Place about 2 tbsp. of granulated sugar into a shallow bowl. Gently roll each cookie in the sugar. Place cookie dough on prepared baking sheet about 2 inches apart. Bake 10-12 minutes. I like my cookies very soft so I baked mine around 9-10 minutes; the cookies were still a little soft when I took them out of the oven.

Cool cookies on the sheet for about 5 minutes before removing to a cooling rack to cool completely. 

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Eggnog Biscotti

I hope you guys had a lovely Christmas. Did you guys get everything you wanted? Did you guys try and return anything yesterday? My dad did that once, forgetting it was the day after Christmas; he said it was the worst experience ever.

I myself had a really nice Christmas. I made pancakes for my family, opened some awesome presents (I got several cake pans that I can’t wait to use), made some bread rolls (which will be on here later), and ate way too much of some really amazing food. I’m not a leftovers person at all, but I’ve been munching on several pieces of leftover ham and bread rolls.

Speaking of leftovers, here is a really amazing recipe to use up that leftover eggnog in your fridge.

I’ve actually never had straight-up eggnog before, but I love the flavor. I ordered some eggnog from the dairy farm my family gets our milk from intending to actually try it, but once again I chickened out of drinking it. I didn’t want all that eggnog to go to waste, so I decided to find a recipe that used eggnog.

I searched, and searched, but none of the recipes looked all that great, and most the time my searches yielded homemade eggnog recipes, which didn’t help at all. Then I came across these eggnog biscotti cookies. I haven’t made biscotti in such a long time, and the glaze on top of the cookies looked delicious, so I went with it.

Oh my freaking god! These things are seriously the most amazing crunchy holiday cookies in the entire universe! I truly mean this. I think I may order another pint of eggnog just so I can make this biscotti recipe again. Even without the eggnog glaze, which you really shouldn’t leave out, this biscotti has the most amazing eggnog taste.

I hope you guys enjoy the rest of your holidays.

Eggnog Biscotti
Adapted from Oh She Glows
Makes about 21 biscotti sticks

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
¾ cup sugar
1 ½ tsp. ground nutmeg
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
1 ½ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
¼ cup canola oil
½ cup eggnog
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper. Set aside

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggnog, oil, and vanilla. Pour the eggnog mixture into the large bowl with the dry ingredients. Mix ingredients until they start to come together. Use your hands to mix the ingredients completely.

Divide the dough into two equal parts (I used a scale to do this). Form each half into a ball. Place on the prepared baking sheet and press to flatten. Use your hands to form each dough ball into a 10x5 inch rectangle (mine may have been a little longer and wider... I tend to not measure rectangles when baking).

Bake the logs for 25-30 minutes. Allow logs to cool on the pan for 5-10 minutes. Slice the logs at a 45 degree angle. Place the slices on their sides and return to the oven for 5 minutes. Flip the logs and bake for another 5 minutes. Allow biscotti sticks to cool completely before glazing.

To make the glaze: combine 1 cup confectioners’ sugar, 2 tbsp. eggnog, and ½ tsp. ground nutmeg. The glaze will be thick. Place the glaze into a ziplock bag and cut a very small tip out of the corner. Pipe the glaze over top of the biscotti. 

Monday, December 24, 2012

2012 Holiday Treats and Sweets Roundup

Tomorrow is Christmas. I honestly can’t believe how fast this day came. I had so many ideas of goodies to share with you, but I couldn’t bake fast enough. I still have a few recipes to share with you for any leftover eggnog you may have lying around in the fridge and some cute cookies you can bring for a New Years party. I also have a stack of papers with other recipes I need to bake and share before I go back to school in January, hopefully these things will get done. I like sharing recipes with y’all.

So because I’m a little scatter-brained at the moment, I'm giving you a few recipes I think would be perfect for Christmas treats. If you haven't decided what will go on your Christmas dessert table, hopefully you'll find a little nibble you like here. 

First up are these Whole Wheat Donuts. These are so soft and way too easy to make. One batch of six donuts will take you less than 30 minutes from start to finish. With a little sprinkling of powdered sugar, these will be the perfect start to your Christmas morning.

These Chocolate Chip Scones are a little more sophisticated. The chocolate chips are perfectly sweet in comparison to the soft and tender bread. The only thing that makes these scones even more amazing is the peanut butter glaze that goes on top. If I could, I would eat a bowl of that glaze with a spoon, it’s really that good.

There’s a cookie Santa will not be expecting. These are Chocolate-Studded Cookie Bars and they are amazing! The recipe calls for dark brown sugar, which makes these irresistibly dark, gooey, and chewy. Make sure to pair this with an extra tall glass of milk.

This Cinnamon Roll Rice Krispie Treat is seriously the easiest thing you will ever make. These are soft, chewy, and perfect for those you want a little crunchy sweet treat. Oh, and you better not leave that cream cheese frosting off either.

I personally think pumpkin shouldn’t be used after November 30th, but some people can’t get enough of pumpkin, so I present you the BEST pumpkin bread/cake you will have in your life. I made this back in October for the Cake Slice Bakers and I loved it so much I made another three batches within the same month. I’m sure your family will be eternally grateful if this cake is on the dessert table after a good Christmas dinner.

Here is a little more traditional Christmas dessert. This is the Shoo-Fly Cake; it doesn’t sound like a Christmas dessert, but the molasses and spices added remind me of gingerbread cake. It’s soft, delectable, and the aroma of this cake in the oven will make your house smell like the holidays.

These Bakery Style m&m Cookies have quickly become my favorite. The dark brown sugar lends a dark and chewy cookie. The milk chocolate is a perfect match and because m&m comes out with so many different holiday colors, these cookies can quickly go from a fall-themed cookie to a Christmas cookie perfect for Santa to munch on after leaving presents underneath the tree.

When I saw the Molasses Cookies with Ginger Cream CheeseFilling on The Pastry Affair, I knew I had to make them. I’m so glad I made these this year because they have become my favorite Christmas treat. The cookies are perfectly soft and tender and the ginger cream cheese filling is so delicious you’ll want to eat it out of the bowl.

I hope you guys enjoyed this little roundup. Have a very merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Cake Slice Bakers - December 2012: Mississippi Mud Cupcakes

Happy Thursday, everyone! I can’t believe Christmas is only 4 days away! It’s unbelievable. I have so many more recipes to share with you for the holiday season, but first I will share this month’s Cake Slice Bakers cake.

The wining cake this month was the Mississippi Mud Cupcake. Mud cakes are typical sheet cakes known for their deep chocolate notes, nutty mix-ins, and gooey marshmallow toppings. Julie Richardson takes the sheet cake and turns it into a cute little cupcake.

I wasn’t too exciting about making this recipe only because of the marshmallow frosting. The marshmallow frosting is a combination of stiff egg whites and sugar syrup, something I have never been comfortable with.

I’m terrible at making candy. In February earlier this year I tried making marshmallows, boy was that a disaster. I basically made pink cement; it took about 10 hours of a hot water soak to get the whisk attachment free from the pink gunk. Oh and then there was the honeycomb candy disaster too where I made honey colored tar. Yeah, you can see why I’m a little apprehensive when it comes to anything that involved melting candy.

Despite my apprehension I trucked on and made the frosting anyways. You can take a guess as to how it turned out. If your guess is “horrible-tasting, honey-colored mush” then ding, ding, ding, you are a winner! I wasn’t too disappointed because I knew it wouldn’t turn out the way I wanted. So I went back to the drawing board. I knew I needed marshmallow frosting so I just looked up some marshmallow fluff buttercream from Baked Bree and used that to top the cupcakes.

Theses cupcakes have a lovely dark color, and their texture is light and soft. I had omitted the pecans in the cupcakes, but I loved the added texture and flavor of the semi-sweet chocolate chips. The frosting I used is really airy and delicate and pairs nicely with such a soft cake.

Mississippi Mud Cupcakes
Recipe from Vintage Cakes by Julie Richardson
Frosting adapted from Baked Bree
Makes 24 cupcakes

1 cup hot coffee
¾ cup unsweetened Dutch processed cocoa powder
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. baking soda
1 cup toasted chopped pecans
1 cup, semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 eggs, room temperature
1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
½ cup canola oil
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
1 7 oz. jar marshmallow fluff
1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line a cupcake tin with paper liners; set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together the hot coffee and cocoa powder. Make sure to get all the clumps dissolved. Set the mixture aside.

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Mix in the pecans and chocolate chips, making sure to thoroughly coat the mix-ins in the flour mixture.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, oil, and vanilla. Pour in the liquid chocolate mixture. Mix until combined. Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture. Mix until combined. Fill each cupcake liner about 2/3 of the way full. Bake for 15-20 minutes. Let the cupcakes cool in the cupcake tin for 10-15 minutes before removing. Repeat with the remaining batter if any is left. Allow the cupcakes to cool completely before frosting. 

To make the frosting: beat the butter until fluffy. Add the marshmallow fluff and continue to beat for 2 minutes. Add the confectioners’ sugar gradually. Beat for another 2 minutes. Add the vanilla extract and mix to combine. Frost the cupcakes as desired.

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