Thursday, November 17, 2011

12 Weeks of Cookies - Chocolate & Peppermint Bark Cookies

It's that time of the week again, the 12 weeks of Christmas Cookies. Yay! I had the worst disaster in the kitchen last week so my confidence has been a little weaker than usual. I tried to make pumpkin cake for my husband who is still raving about the pumpkin cake cookies I made two weeks ago and I failed. Monumentally failed. I read right over adding baking powder to the flour mixture. Whoops. That's what I get for trying to make a cake while basketball is on, hubby is installing new baseboards, and the cat is whining and meowing left and right.

So needless to say, I haven't been in the kitchen since then. But these chocolate bars brought back the confidence, the swag, and the desire to get creative again. Plus it didn't hurt when hubby told me one of his co-workers told him that I have spoiled her, she can't eat anyone else's baked goods! That made my day.

I was going through my cookbook folder and happened upon these cookies that were in my to-make list last year. I can't believe I never got around to making last year. Delicious!



Chocolate and Peppermint Bark Cookies
original recipe by Cookin Canuck

Ingredients:
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 6 oz semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup chopped peppermint candies
  • 12 Andes mints, melted 
Directions:
  • Preheat oven to 350.
  • Spray 9x13 baking pan with cooking spray and line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper, making sure the parchment paper hangs over the sides of the pan.
  • Whisk together flour, salt, and baking soda together in a medium bowl and set aside. 
  • Beat butter in a large mixing bowl until creamy. Gradually beat in sugar. Continue to beat together for about 3 minutes, until the mixture is light and creamy. Scrape sides of bowl as needed.
  • Beat in vanilla extract and egg. 
  • Turn the mixer on low and gradually beat in the flour mixture until just incorporated. Be careful not to over mix.
  • Scatter the dough over the bottom of the prepared pan and gently press it, with slightly moistened fingers, to form a flat layer. Prick all over with a fork.
  • Bake at 350 for 25 -30 minutes until the cookie layer is golden brown and the edges are beginning to pull away from the side of the pan.
  • Remove the cookies from the oven and immediately place on a wire cooling rack. Sprinkle chocolate chips over the cookie layer and let set for 3 minutes.
  • Using an offset spatula, spread the chocolate chips into an even layer over the surface of the cookie. 
  • Immediately sprinkle the chopped peppermint candies on top of the chocolate layer.
  • Melt the Andes mint candies in a microwave safe bowl or a pastry bag until completely melted. Drizzle the chocolate over the peppermint candies. Chill for roughly 30 minutes.
  • Holding onto both edges of the parchment paper, lift the cookies out of the pan and place on a work surface. Using a knife or a pizza cutter, cut the cookies into irregular size pieces. 
  • They can be stored in the refrigerator for up to one week.


Thursday, November 10, 2011

12 Weeks of Cookies - M&M Cookies

I went to the store this week and happened upon the holiday candy aisle. OMG, that aisle is dangerous. :) I love m&m's, especially the holiday colored ones. It just gets me in the holiday spirit. I had to resist eating the entire bag.

I just knew what I wanted to make with the bag that somehow jumped into my cart, m&m cookies! These cookies didn't turn out the way I had envisioned, they fell flat when they came out of the oven and the m&m's stuck out of the dough. Hmm, anyone have any ideas on how to prevent that? But don't let the flatness of the cookie dissuade you, they are delicious! I love making m&m cookies for the holidays, they are just a nice simple cookie that add a bit of color to your holiday tray!


M&M Cookies
recipe adapted from Lovin' From the Oven

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  •  1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • dash of cinnamon
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup regular size m&m's
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
Directions:
  • Preheat oven to 350° F.
  • Whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt in small bowl. Set aside
  • Beat butter, sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until light and creamy. 
  • Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. 
  • Gradually beat in flour mixture. Mix until just combined.
  • Stir in m&m's and chocolate chips. 
  • Drop by rounded tablespoon onto parchment lined baking sheets.
  • Bake for 9 to 11 minutes or until the edges are golden brown. 
  • Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.
  • Enjoy!


Thursday, November 3, 2011

12 Weeks of Cookies - Pumpkin Cake Cookies

These cookies remind me of my childhood, when my mom made me pumpkin cake with buttercream frosting instead of pumpkin pie. I loved pumpkin cake as a child and I love these cookies too. The cookies have the same cakey taste and the buttercream frosting just like the cake my mom made.
When my husband came home and had one, he declared they were awesome. Later, he told me that these were one of the cookies he didn't want to take to work because he wanted them all to himself. I may have something to say about that. I want more of them too! These cookies have a sweet icing with a soft pumpkin cookie that just melt in your mouth. Excuse me while I grab another one. Mmm, delicious! Perfect for a holiday dessert! 


Pumpkin Cake Cookies
Recipe from Benton Elementary School Cookbook 2001

Ingredients:
  • 1 stick butter, cool not quite room temperature (room temp butter will cause the cookies to spread more)
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
Frosting:
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp milk
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon
Directions:
  • Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and salt in a medium bowl. 
  • Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
  • Add pumpkin, egg, and vanilla to butter mixture and blend well until light and creamy.
  • Mix in dry ingredients until well blended.
  • Drop by rounded tablespoons onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. 
  • Bake in a 350 degree oven for 15-20 minutes.
  • Cool completely on a wire rack and then frost with frosting.
  • Enjoy!!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Day of the Dead Sugar Skull

Happy Day of the Dead, everyone! According to Wikipedia, the Day of the Dead (in Spanish: Día de los Muertos) is a holiday celebrated in Mexico and around the world in many cultures. The holiday focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died. I have never really done anything for the Day of Dead until I moved to Texas and taught in a small school with a wonderful Spanish program. Our Spanish teacher taught both the faculty and students all about the Day of the Dead each year.

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to decorate a sugar skull for the Day of the Dead. The sugar skull was made from a mold and the two pieces were glued together using royal icing. The skull was decorated with fondant and royal icing decorations.The more colorful the better! I am donating the skull to my friend for her Spanish classes and altar. I hope the kids enjoy it!



 

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