Archive for the ‘Desserts (Cookies, Cupcakes, and Bars)’ Category

Well, hello there!!!

November 16, 2008

So it’s been a REALLY long time since I’ve posted a blog update. A really really long time. The blog got put on the back burner because I started a new full-time Marketing and Advertising job that keeps me very busy. But I’m back! And I plan on trying to update on a more regular basis again. I missed food blogging!

When I was walking through the grocery store this week I saw the fresh cranberries had been put out. Yay!! I LOVE fresh cranberries! They are so tart and also have a lot of health benefits. They’re packed full of antioxidants. I had planned to bake White Chocolate Cranberry Scones with them but then I decided to find a recipe that was more of a dessert than a breakfast. I ended up coming across a recipe for White Chocolate Cranberry Bars on Katie’s blog, Good Things Catered. Thanks, Katie, for another great recipe!

The pictures I took aren’t great (I’ve got to get back in the food photography swing of things) but OH BOY are they good! The tart cranberries pair so well with the white chocolate. I even decided to drizzle melted white chocolate on top but this was really not a necessary step. They were just perfect without the extra chocolate/calories.

Cranberry White Chocolate Bars
Source: Good Things Catered

Ingredients
1/2 c. butter, softened
1/2 c. granulated sugar
1/2 c. packed brown sugar
1 1/2 c. flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
zest of 1/2 orange (I omitted)
1/8 tsp freshly grated nutmeg (I omitted)
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 c. dried or fresh cranberries
1/2 c. white chocolate chips

Directions:
-Preheat to 350 degrees and line an 11 x 7 pan with foil, coating with cooking spray.
-In medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, zest, nutmeg and set aside.
-In bowl of stand mixer, beat butter and sugar on high until soft and light in color, about 3 minutes.
-Turn mixer to low and beat in eggs, one at a time, and then vanilla until thoroughly combined.
-Slowly incorporate flour mixture.
-Remove from stand mixer and stir in cranberries and white chocolate.
-Spread batter in pan (it’s thick so use a spatula and be sure to remove all air bubbles).
-Bake 25 – 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.
-Cool on rack for 1 hours.
-Remove from pan and cut into bars.

Lemon-Glazed Sugar Cookies

August 6, 2008

I’ve really got a thing for lemon. My absolute favorite salad dressing is just a squeeze of lemon juice, a drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper. It’s delicious on meat, in drinks, and most especially in desserts. Nothing beats the tartness of lemon paired with a sugary sweet dessert. That’s why when I saw these Almond Glazed Sugar Cookies on Your Homebased Mom (great blog by the way), I knew they were going to be transformed into Lemon Glazed Sugar Cookies. Unfortnately I flattened my cookies a bit more than I should have but other than that little glitch they were awesome!! This is definitely my go-to sugar cookie base from now on. In fact, I’m craving them right now as I’m writing this. I wish I had an excuse to make some more.

Lemon-Glazed Sugar Cookies

Adapted from Your Home Based Mom

Makes about 24 cookies

-1 cup butter, softened

-3/4 cup sugar

-1 tsp. lemon juice

-2 cups flour

-1/2 tsp. baking powder

-1/4 tsp salt

Mix butter, sugar, and lemon juice in a large bowl. Beat until creamy, 1 to 2 minutes. Add remaining ingredients. Beat 1 to 2 more minutes. Roll dough into 1-inch balls. Place 2 inches apart on cookie sheet and flatten balls to 1/4 inch thickness with the bottom of a buttered glass dipped in sugar. Bake at 400 degrees for 7 to 9 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Cool 1 minute. Move to a wire rack to let cool.

Glaze:

-2 cups powdered sugar

-5 tsp. lemon juice

-2 tsp. water or milk (or more as needed to thin it out)

Stir together all ingredients with a wire whisk until smooth and glossy. If needed, add more liquid to thin it out. Spread glaze over cooled cookies.

Peanut Butter and Oatmeal Chipsters

June 12, 2008

I saw these cookies on Made by Melissa and thought they looked like something Alex would love. Plus, I was heading to an Army Wives premiere party at my friend Angie’s house that night so I could bring them along as a treat. This is actually the first Dorie Greenspan recipe I have ever made. With all the hype that she gets from fellow food bloggers I guess I was expecting these cookies to be AMAZING. They were good, but not amazing. Maybe it’s just that I’m not such a huge fan of oatmeal cookies anyway but I don’t know. Alex left some cookies sitting there for several days without eating them and he’s a BIG oatmeal cookie fan so that probably says something.

I think it also has to do with the fact that there isn’t really much of a creative outlet you can take with Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Cookies. They are what they are. All in all, I’m glad that I made these cookies but I would probably not make them again. I am definitely looking forward to making more of Dorie’s recipes though!

Peanut Butter and Oatmeal Chipsters

Source: Baking: From My Home To Yours by Dorie Greenspan

  • 3 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup peanut butter–chunky (Dorie’s choice) or smooth (don’t use natural peanut butter)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup (packed) light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 9 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped into chunks, or 1 ½ cups store-bought chocolate chips or chunks

Position the racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment or silicone mats.

Whisk together the oats, flour, baking soda, spices and salt.

Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter, peanut butter, sugar and brown sugar on medium speed until smooth and creamy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating for 1 minute after each addition, then beat in the vanilla. Reduce the mixer speed to low and slowly add the dry ingredients, beating only until blended. Mix in the chips. If you have the time, cover and chill the dough for about 2 hours, or for up to 1 day. (Chilling the dough will give you more evenly shaped cookies.)

If the dough is not chilled, drop rounded tablespoonfuls 2 inches apart onto the baking sheets. If the dough is chilled, scoop up rounded tablespoons, roll the balls between your palms and place them 2 inches apart on the sheets. Press the chilled balls gently with the heel of your hand until they are about ½ inch thick.

Bake for 13 to 15 minutes, rotating the sheets from top to bottom and front to back after 7 minutes. The cookies should be golden and just firm around the edges. Lift the cookies onto cooling racks with a wide metal spatula–they’ll firm as they cool.

Repeat with the remaining dough, cooling the baking sheets between batches.

Makes about 60 cookies

Storing: Wrapped airtight or piled into a cookie jar, the cookies will keep at room temperature for about 4 days. Wrapped and frozen, they’ll be good for 2 months.

Playing Around

: You can substitute soft, moist raisins for the chocolate chunks or just stir in some raisins along with them. If you’re really looking for crunch, toss in chopped peanuts too (salted or not). With or without the chocolate chunks, raisins and nuts, these cookies are great with ice cream or around ice cream.

Chocolate Chip Blondies

May 21, 2008

Blondies

(Ahem, please excuse the doggie nose in the background of that photo…she was very intrigued by my blondies.)

The other day my husband had to pull a 24 hour staff duty shift (he’s in the Army, remember?) and he called me about half way through his shift asking if I would be willing to bake something for him and the 4 other guys who were working with him all day and night. I was thrilled that he actually requested I bake something since he’s not a big sweets person so I obliged.

I had seen Joelen’s blondies and decided I must make them. Believe it or not, I had never made blondies before until now. They will definitely be a more frequent occurence though! They are so delicious and chewy. The only problem I had was that after cooking for the specified time I pulled them out because the top looked done. However, upon cutting them into bars I realized they were still quite under-cooked. At that point though it was too late to put them back in because they had already cooled so I just let it be. Next time I’ll know to increase the baking time.

Milk Chocolate Caramel Brownies

Source: seen on Joelen’s Culinary Adventures and Orignally from 2005 America’s Test Kitchen Live! cookbook

1 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, melted & cooled
1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup milk chocolate caramel morsels (Nestle brand) (I just used semi-sweet choc. chips b/c that’s what I had on hand)
1 cup walnuts, chopped (I omitted b/c my husband doesn’t like nuts)

1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 13 by 9 inch baking pan with two pieces of foil. Spray the foil-lined pan with nonstick cooking spray.

2. Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt together in a medium bowl; set aside.

3. Whist the melted butter and brown sugar together in a medium bowl until combined. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix well. Using a rubber sptula, fold the dry ingredients into the egg mixture until just combined. Do not overmix. Fold in the morsels and the nuts and turn the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing thetop with a rubber spatula.

4. Bake until the top is shiny and cracked and feels firm to the touch., 22 to 25 minutes. Place the pan on a rack and cool completely. Cut into bars.

Blondies

Margarita Cupcakes

May 13, 2008

Margarita Cupcakes

Wow I’ve been MIA for the past week and a half or so! It’s funny because I thought I’d be blogging constantly since I’m not working right now but it’s almost had the opposite effect. Job searching has been taking up a LOT of my time. Well, anyway I HAVE been cooking lots of yummy things so expect several catch-up posts soon.

The first of those yummy things are these Margarita Cupcakes that I made for Cinco de Mayo weekend. I had originally seen these on the blog Confections of a Foodie Bride and immediately filed the recipe away to try sometime. I just love her blog. It is definitely one of my all-time favorites!

So I decided it was finally time to give the Margarita Cupcakes a try and boy am I glad I did! They were so so so delicious! Once again, the icing was the main draw to me. I could probably have eaten a whole bowl of that lime buttercream icing by itself it was so good. Oh and call me an alcoholic but I love that these have actual alcohol in them! In my book, if you’re gonna name something after an alcoholic beverage they sure as heck better have real alcohol in them! 🙂

Margrarita Cupcakes

Margarita Cupcakes

Source: Confections of a Foodie Bride

9 oz Margarita mix
3 oz tequila
3/4 oz Grand Marnier (or other orange liqueur)
White cake mix (No-pudding mix works best)
3 egg whites
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 Tbsp lime zest
1 recipe Lime Buttercream Frosting (recipe follows)

Mix together the margarita mix, tequila, and Grand Marnier in a large glass or spouted bowl. You will use 1 1/4 cup of this in the cupcake mix. Put the remainder in the fridge to chill and then consume how you see fit.

In a stand mixer, add the cake mix, egg whites, vegetable oil, lime zest, and 1 1/4 cup of the margarita mixture. Mix on low for about 30 seconds and then increase to medium speed for two minutes (the batter will still be a bit lumpy).

Spoon the batter into a prepared muffin pan (fill the cups somewhere between 2/3 and 3/4 full) and bake at 350 for about 25 minutes or until a toothpick registers “done” in the center cupcake. Remove the pan from the oven and cool 5 minutes. Remove the cupcakes and cool completely on a baking rack.

Once the cupcakes have cooled, make the frosting for the cupcakes.

Lime Buttercream Frosting
4 cups confectioner’s sugar
1 stick unsalted butter at room temperature
1/8 tsp salt
3 Tbsp lime juice
green food color (optional)

Add the butter, confectioner’s sugar, salt, food coloring, and lime juice to the stand mixer and mix on low using the paddle attachment until combined. Turn the speed to med-high until the icing is fluffy. Add the icing to a pastry bag or use a spatula/knife to frost the cupcakes.

Note: Use additional lime juice or water to thin the frosting, if necessary.

I’m Baaaaaack!

April 21, 2008

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Well, we made the drive from Arizona to Texas relatively unscathed. We are currently staying at my parent’s home in Katy until we find a house to move into in the Killeen area and it is GLORIOUS. Why, you ask? Because they have an OVEN and a DISHWASHER!! Amazing! Annnnd I’m not working right now so I have ALL DAY to bake and make up for lost time! Yesssss! OH and I actually have REAL PLATES to take pictures on instead of paper ones all the time. Can you tell I’m a little excited?

So for my baking debut on my blog I wanted to make something “classic”. I starred this recipe from What’s Cooking in the Orange Kitchen a few days ago and decided they would be perfect for my debut. The only problem I had is that my mom’s baking soda was a little old I think so they were pretty flat. But, to be honest, I kinda like ’em flat! 🙂

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookies
(Source: Magnolia Bakery Cookbook; found on the Smitten Kitchen blog)

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup peanut butter at room temperature (I used smooth)
3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon (for sprinkling) sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup peanut butter chips (I used milk chocolate peanut butter swirl chips)
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, the baking soda, the baking powder, and the salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat the butter and the peanut butter together until fluffy. Add the sugars and beat until smooth. Add the egg and mix well. Add the milk and the vanilla extract. Add the flour mixture and beat thoroughly. Stir in the peanut butter chips. Place sprinkling sugar on a plate. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls into the sugar, then onto ungreased cookie sheets, leaving several inches between for expansion. Using a fork, lightly indent with a crissscross pattern (I used the back of a palette knife to keep it smooth on top), but do not overly flatten cookies. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Do not overbake. Cookies may appear to be underdone, but they are not.

Cool the cookies on the sheets for 1 minute, then remove to a rack to cool completely.

Enjoy with a nice tall glass of ice cold milk!

Milk