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Entries in recipes (682)

Tuesday
Dec162014

Best-Ever: Peanut Butter Filled Cookies

We love to stuff. We stuff our stockings. We stuff our bras (or at least we did when we were 13). Why not stuff our cookies?

These cookies--and yes, it brings me a shiver of joy to say it--are stuffed with peanut butter. Delicious, creamy, dreamy, peanut butter. This means that when you grab one of these cookies, you're already excited, I mean, cookie! right? But then, when you bite into it, you find that the crumbly exterior gives way to a soft and gooey peanut buttery center. And that is the point which, in some sort of sweet and slightly salty and rich and peanut buttery bliss, you think "it would be OK if I died right now, because I've had this moment". 

Stuffed cookies

Am I talking them up too much? Go ahead, find out for yourself. Here's the recipe. 

Stuffed cookies

Peanut butter filled cookies

Makes about 20 cookies

  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 jar peanut butter (I used Mighty Maple peanut butter by Peanut Butter and Company) (you won't use quite the whole thing)
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Combine the flour, cornstarch, and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.
  3. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter on medium-high speed. Once nice and creamy, add the sugar and beat for 3-5 minutes; it will become somewhat fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla extract, mixing until combined. Pause to scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix again to ensure everything is mixed in.
  4. Add the flour mixture in 2-3 increments, mixing at low speed after each addition until combined, and pausing to scrape down the sides of the bowl with each addition. The mixture will come together to form a soft, malleable dough.
  5. Pull a piece of dough, about 2 tablespoons worth, from the bowl. Form a 2-3 inch flat but fairly thick, circle of dough (you can do this one at a time, or make all of your rounds and then proceed).
  6. Stuffed cookies
  7. Place a spoonful of peanut butter on top of the circle of dough. Pull the sides of the dough over the filling to form a soft dome, making sure the dough is covering the peanut butter on all sides (it can melt through if not--you might overload the first one but you'll get a handle for the right amount fast). Pinch the top to seal the cookie–it will resemble the shape of a Hershey’s kiss. You can also seal the cookie flat on top, just do make sure it’s sealed.
  8. Stuffed cookies
  9. Place the cookies on the prepared sheets, 1 1/2 inches apart to accommodate slight spreading. Bake for 14-18 minutes, or until with a dull finish on top (a golden touch on top is fine, but don’t let them get completely golden or browned). Let them cool on the pans.If desired, dust with confectioners’ sugar. Once they have set for about 10 minutes, you can serve. Keep stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.
  10.  Stuffed cookiesStuffed cookies

Have you ever made stuffed cookies?

Monday
Dec152014

Cornmeal Pecan Cookies Recipe

Cornmeal pecan cookies

It's been proven time and time again in my life: cornmeal in cookies is a Very Good Idea.

By "time and time again" I mean every time I go to a bakery that has cornmeal-containing cookies. Momofuku Milk Bar and Amy's Bread in NYC are two places I can suggest reliably fantastic cornmeal cookies. They're not the only bakeries that sell cornmeal cookies; in fact, I can't think of a time I haven't enjoyed a cornmeal cookie that I purchased.

Cornmeal pecan cookies

I have made cornmeal cookie bars before, too. Were they ever good. 

In my opinion, the success factors are as follows: the corn-ishness adds a natural sweetness that is a pleasant departure from just sugar-sweetness, and the pleasingly slight gritty texture adds intrigue.

I know I'm not the only cornmeal cookie fan out there, so it's very likely that this recipe will be a welcome addition to many a corn cookie lover's repertoire. These corn cookies have a leg up on most because in addition to sweet cornmeal, they also include pecans, which makes them a touch crunchy. And I don't know why I haven't rhapsodized about the combo of pecan and corn before--united by a buttery front, these are twin quasars of awesome in every bite of these cookies. I want to make cornbread with pecans now! Corn and pecan everything!

I served the cookies with a side of coconut oil chocolate dipping sauce. It was a very good decision. 

Cornmeal pecan cookies

Oh, and it's also a good cookie recipe to use up egg yolks if you've been making meringues or another recipe that only contains whites! 

Cornmeal Pecan Cookies

Makes about 40

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cups butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup toasted chopped pecans

Procedure

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line baking sheets with parchment.
  2. In a large-ish bowl, stir together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt together. Set to the side.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, on medium speed, cream the butter and sugar until nice and fluffy. Add the egg yolks and vanilla and mix until blended, about 1 minute.
  4. Reduce speed to low, and mix the flour in, until just incorporated. Fold in the nuts.
  5. Scoop out heaping tablespoonfuls of dough, and form into balls. Place on the baking sheet about 2 inches apart. 
  6. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until lightly browned on the edges and set in the center. Let cool on the racks for about five minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. If desired, dust with confectioners' sugar. These cookies will keep for a couple of weeks in a sealed container at room temperature, or up to several months in the freezer.

Do you like cornmeal cookies?

Saturday
Dec132014

How to Make Ganache with Cocoa Powder

News flash: you can make ganache with cocoa powder.

I'll level with you: sometimes I am lazy. Like, when I want to whip up some ganache right this instant and I already have cream warming and I realize that I don't have any baking chocolate. This is not the moment that I really feel like up and going to the grocery store. This is the moment I wonder: "Can I do this thing with cocoa powder instead of chopped chocolate?". And inside, I am praying. Please, let this work.

Many times, this type of experimentation only ends in frustration and possibly tears. But this time, it worked. The first time I did it, it came out slightly lumpy; the second time, I sifted the cocoa powder first, and it came out fine. Overall: a success. And even better: it tastes great.

Recipe notes

JPHOTO-2012-07-31-8174.jpg

Photo via Flickr member cart_wheels

  • It is very important that you sift your cocoa powder before mixing it with the cream. Otherwise you may have lumps in the finished ganache. It will still taste good, though.
  • You can use unsweetened or Dutch processed cocoa for this recipe.
  • I like this ganache better with a little coffee, sugar, salt, and vanilla. You can omit or adjust these if you like. 
  • Let this mixture sit for a good spell if you're using it to top a cake. It will thicken as it cools. 

Ganache made with cocoa powder

Makes enough to fully coat a 9-inch cake, 1 1/2 cups or so

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder, sifted
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon strong brewed coffee
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla 

Procedure

  1. In a saucepan, heat the cream, stirring frequently to discourage scorching, until it begins to simmer and seems like it might start boiling any moment (but don't let it boil). 
  2. Remove from heat and whisk in the remaining ingredients until smooth. Let the mixture cool to your desired thickness. It will never become hard, per se, but it will set to a smooth, spreadable consistency.

What's your favorite quick fix substitution?

Thursday
Dec112014

Merriest Christmas: Peanut Butter Snowballs

If you need a little Christmas, right this very minute, then this peanut butter snowball recipe is just the ticket to get you on a one way trip to holiday tastiness. It's also my latest creation for Peanut Butter and Company.

These cookies share the classic shape and crumbly texture of snowballs (also called Russian teacakes, Mexican wedding cakes, Armenian sugar cookies, bullets, and, oddly, moldy mice), but they have a taste that is full of peanut buttery goodness. Using crunchy peanut butter ensures good structure and offers enough bulk that they hold their shape; the lack of eggs and leavener keeps the cookies delicate, and distinctly different in character from the type of peanut butter cookies which are cross-hatched with the tines of a fork.

These cookies are a classic kissed with peanut butter to create a true holiday delight. Truth be told, though, I doubt anyone would turn these away at any time of the year!

Recipe here!

Thursday
Dec112014

The Best Chocolate Coconut Oil Maple Syrup Dipping Sauce

Chocolate coconut sauce and cornmeal cookies

Well, did I intrigue you with the title? I hope so, because this sauce is IT, dudes and dudettes.

What can you dip in chocolate coconut oil maple syrup sauce? Any and everything you can think of. Cookies, ice cream, cake, pie. I haven't tried it with a hamburger and fries yet but I'm pretty sure it would manage to improve that, too. Seriously--this stuff is just that good.

Chocolate coconut sauce and cornmeal cookies

This recipe was included in a preview review copy of a coming-soon novel entitled Criminal Confections (A Chocolate Whisperer Mystery). The book is super cute, exactly the type of mystery-meets-chick lit-meets foodie fiction type of book I read when I am alone (if I'm in public, it's War and Peace or something that makes me look smart, of course). I haven't finished the book so I haven't come to the recipe within the story yet, but it was included on the marketing sheet that came with the book, and I thought it sounded interesting.

Chocolate coconut sauce and cornmeal cookies

This sauce comes together in oh, about two minutes, and offers many delicious rewards. I have been enjoying it as a dipping sauce served alongside cornmeal pecan cookies (I'll post that recipe soon), but like I said, it really does make everything better.

"Hayden Mundy-Moore's Chocolate Butter"

Notes from the author: the keys to this recipe are the coconut oil and pinch of salt. The coconut oil gives the chocolate butter just the right luscious consistency. The salt (flaky sea salt is great if you've got it!) adds complexity. Natural cocoa powder and Dutch-processed cocoa powder both work well in ths recipe. Honey can be substituted for maple syrup, if you prefer.

from Criminal Confections (A Chocolate Whisperer Mystery)

  • 1/4 cup refined coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa power
  • pinch of salt

Melt the coconut oil in the microwave or on the stovetop over low heat. Stir in the rest of the ingredients and whisk until smooth. It will become thicker as it cools. Enjoy!

What's your favorite dipping sauce for sweets?

Wednesday
Dec102014

Recipe Redux: Butterscotch Chip Microwave Fudge

Fudge? That you can make in the microwave? Who has ever heard of such a thing?

Um, you have. On this very site, several years ago. It's OK. I understand that if you're new to the site you haven't spent all day sifting through my archives. I also understand that if you're a longtime reader...well, you forget things.

But this recipe is good enough to bring back. I made it "new" by employing butterscotch chips instead of peanut butter this time. And let me tell you, it stands the test of time. It appeals to me both on a level of novelty (it's fudge! made in the microwave!), but also on a level of taste (it's chocolatey! It's very, very sweet! It has butterscotch chips inside and on top!). 

Basically, what I am getting at here is that this recipe is fun, it's tasty, and it's worth your time. It's also easy enough that if you had a cookie swap to go to in an hour, you could still make it RIGHT NOW. 


Butterscotch Chip Microwave Fudge

Makes about 16 squares

  • 4 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
  • 1/2 cup half and half, divided
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup butterscotch chip morsels, divided into 1/2 and 1/4 cup

Procedure

  1. Line an 8x8-inch or 9x9-inch pyrex pan with parchment paper or waxed paper.
  2. In a large microwave safe bowl, stir together the confectioners' sugar and cocoa. Pour 1/4 cup of the half and half over the mixture and place butter in bowl. Do not mix (it will be too thick to mix, anyway). Microwave on high until butter is melted, about 2 minutes. Stir in the vanilla and 1/2 cup of the butterscotch morsels (the residual heat will melt them just enough). Stir vigorously until smooth. You can also put the mixture into a stand mixer if that sounds exhausting. If your mixture is too dry, add up to 1/4 cup more half and half, a little at a time, until the mixture comes together in a fudge-like consistency.
  3. Spoon the mixture into your prepared pan and using a rubber spatula, spread the mixture so that it is evenly distributed. If desired, sprinkle the top with the remaining chips.
  4. Chill in the refrigerator for an hour, or the freezer for half an hour, before serving. Makes about 16 squares.

Have you ever heard of or eaten microwave fudge?

Tuesday
Dec092014

Impress Your Friends: Stained Glass Cookies

Stained glass cookies

Let's be honest. When we share our baked goods with others, it's not *only* to unselflessly share sweetness and love. 

It's also to show off. And for a cookie that is really good for showing off, look no further than these stained glass cookies.

Guaranteed you'll get "oohs", maybe some coos, and a lot of questions about how on earth you did it. You don't have to tell; I'm not the boss of you.

But I will tell you how to do it, right here, right now. You start with a cutout cookie, fill it with crushed candy, bake it up, and voila. Total magic. And they taste good, to boot: buttery cookies with a sweet candy middle in whatever flavor you could possibly desire.

How's that for a Christmas miracle? 

Stained glass cookies

Stained Glass Cookies

Makes about 36 2 ½” cookies

  • ¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 6 to 8 ounces assorted translucent hard candies, such as Life Savers, divided by color and crushed finely

Procedure

  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter on medium-high speed until creamy and smooth, about 2 minutes. Add in the granulated sugar and continue to beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 more minutes.
  2. Reduce speed of the mixer to low, and stir in the egg, vanilla and salt. Scrape down the sides of the bowl if necessary using a rubber spatula. Stir until combined.
  3. With the mixer still on low, mix in the flour in 2-3 increments, pausing to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Once it’s all been added, only mix until the dough comes together and there are no powdery traces of flour left. The dough may feel crumbly, but it should be easy to clump together.
  4. Divide the dough into two halves, and flatten into two disks. Wrap each in plastic wrap, and refrigerate until quite firm, at least three hours or up to overnight.
  5. Near the end of your cooling period, heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  6. Work with one disk of dough at a time to keep the dough from softening too much. Turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll the dough to an approximately 1/8″ thickness. Using 2″ to 2 1/2″ cookie cutters, cut the dough into shapes and place on your parchment-lined sheets. Using smaller cutters, cut the centers from each cookie.
  7. Note: If the dough is too firm to roll directly from the refrigerator, let it soften for a few minutes and then try again. It should become easier to roll after a few minutes at room temperature.
  8. Spoon about 1 teaspoon of crushed candy into the center of the cookie (a little more or less depending on the cutout size). You want to evenly cover the cutout portion with crushed candy, so that you can’t see the parchment below the candy and so that it reaches every nook and cranny of the cutout. If any candy-powder gets on the top of the cookies, dust it off.
  9. Bake until just golden at the edges and set on top, 7 to 10 minutes. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes before transferring with a spatula to wire racks to cool completely.

Store the cookies, layered between sheets of waxed or parchment paper, for up to a week in an airtight container.

Monday
Dec082014

Easy Homemade Naan Bread

I love Indian food. But I'd be lying if I tried to tell you that I was more excited about chicken tikka masala or vegetables jafrezi than I was about the naan.

I'm all about the naan.

Naan is an ideal vehicle for eating: it's puffy and substantial, yet not so filling that it keeps you from enjoying the other parts of the meal. It's not wimpy, like pita bread (no offense). It's substantial. It's griddled with butter. I love it. 

And as I now know, you can make this magic at home. I have seen a lot of naan recipes which require baking powder, but I find it far easier to work with just yeast. I prefer my naan made with whole wheat flour, not only for health, but for flavor: I am addicted to that lightly nutty, fascinating flavor which it imparts on the carbohydrate discs. 

This bread is freaking awesome. I've used it for everything from making flatbread pizzas to serving eggs for breakfast. I hope it will bring you as much joy as it has brought me!

Easy homemade naan bread

  • 1/3 cup whole milk
  • 2-4 tablespoons warm water 
  • 1 packet active dry yeast (0.25 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup plain full fat greek yogurt
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour (can substitute all purpose flour)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • melted butter, for the griddle

Procedure

  1. Combine the milk and 2 tablespoons of water. Add the active dry yeast. Give it a moment to start bubbling lightly, and add the yogurt, flour, and salt. Mix until it comes together into a cohesive mixture. If needed, add the remaining water.
  2. Roll the dough into a ball. Place it in an oiled bowl, cover with a towel, and leave it at room temperature to rise for an hour to an hour and a half. 
  3. Gently deflate the dough, and remove it from the bowl. Divide it into 8 equal portions.
  4. Roll each portion into a circle, approximately 5 inches in diameter.
  5. Fire up a skillet larger than the bread and generously butter it. Once sizzling, place a round of bread on top. Once it begins to bubble on the surface, flip it and cook slightly less time than the first side. Using tongs, remove and place on a plate. Continue buttering the grilling surface before adding each new round of bread.

Do you love naan bread?

Saturday
Dec062014

Cake Mix Bonbon Cookies

You'd never guess cake mix is the key ingredient of these pleasant little cookies. Vaguely shortbread-y, I made mine with peppermint extract for the holidays, but I'm putting vanilla for more everday use. 

I made these because I had a spare box of cake mix lying around (you know, food blogger problems) but was pleasantly surprised. I even included them on a few cookie samplers.

Enjoy!

Cake Mix Bonbon Cookies

Makes 30-40 cookies depending on size

  • 1 box cake mix (I used Immaculate Baking Yellow Cake Mix)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla (or peppermint around the holidays)
  • 3-4 ounces of dark or milk chocolate (3 ounces = delicate drizzle; 4 ounces = more generous icing like pictured)

Procedure

  1. Heat oven to 350°F (325°F for dark or nonstick pans). In large bowl, mix cake mix, sugar, oil, vanilla and eggs with spoon until dough forms. It will be a somewhat crumbly dough.
  2. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. On ungreased cookie sheets, Place balls 2 inches apart.
  3. Bake 9 to 11 minutes or until set. Cool 1 minute; remove from cookie sheets to cooling racks. 
  4. Make the chocolate topping. Melt 3-4 ounces of chocolate, and drizzle on top of each cookie. 
Tuesday
Dec022014

Chocolate Cherry Cookies

Are you ever haunted by the memory of Christmas cookies past? 

I am. Let me tell you about it.

When I was young, there were two cookies in particular which I treasured above the others. They were chocolate chip pistachio cookies (recipe here) and chocolate cherry cookies.

While my mom was happy to hand over the pistachio recipe, she claims a cloudy memory about the chocolate cherry variety. What? They were the best!

I'll tell you about them, and maybe you know of something similar: a chewy yet slightly crumbly chocolate cookie with a cherry pressed inside, and a chocolate ganache type topping, baked right into the top of the cookie. 

I loved those cookies so hard.

This recipe, while not the same as those cookies in my memory, came out awfully good. They have the same flavor combination, and I made them with some Montmorency cherries from Stoneridge Orchards which were recently sent to me in the mail. They have a perfect, shortbread-meets sugar cookie texture base, and the cherry inside works very nicely with the chocolate, giving it an almost almond-y flavor. The chocolate topping bakes up fudge-like, and is extremely pleasant and if not gooey, then it adds a moist element to the cookie.

The candies are mainly for show, but I learned pretty quickly to not display two of them side by side, because, well, boobs. Well, OK, do it--it might make you laugh.

Chocolate cherry cookies

Makes 24

Very loosely based on this recipe 

  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1-1/2cups all purpose flour
  • pinch salt
  • 1/4cup unsweetened baking cocoa
  • 24 dried cherries

For the topping

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup chocoalte morsels
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 24 cinnamon candies, for garnish

Procedure

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In large bowl, beat the sugars, 1 cup butter and the vanilla with electric mixer on medium speed until fluffy. Beat in egg yolk until smooth. Beat in flour, salt, and cocoa.
  3. Shape dough by rounded teaspoonfuls into 1-inch balls. Press a cherry on top of each cookie, and ease the dough around to cover it.
  4. On ungreased cookie sheet, place balls 1 inch apart. With index finger or thumb, make indentation in center of each ball. It might feel a little awkward because of the cherry inside, but I promise, you'll be OK.
  5. Make the topping. Combine the chocolate chips and butter in a microwave-safe bowl and heat in 20-second increments until melty. It will look ugly. Stir in the confectioners' sugar; as it mixes it will become less ugly.
  6. Top each cookie with a dollop of the chocolate mixture, and place a cinnamon candy on top of each.
  7. Bake 7 to 10 minutes or until set. Immediately remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.

What's your favorite holiday cookie?

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