Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

If you're anything like me you love a soft, chewy chocolate chip cookie.  These are my "go to" cookies! Using butter & eggs right out of the fridge causes the cookies to maintain their thickness during baking.
I used a cookie cutter dipped in flour to make the heart shapes, & melted white morsels for the heart design.
Super soft and chewy on the inside and a little crunch on the outside.

Yields about 4-5 dozen 2 1/2 inch cookies

1 1/3 cups of cold unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups of packed light brown sugar
1 cup of granulated sugar
2 large cold eggs
1 Tablespoon of pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon of almond extract
3 3/4 cups of all purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoon table salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups of semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Spray cookie sheet with non stick spray or line with parchment.

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and both sugars, starting at low speed and working your way up to high speed until the mixture is light and fluffy. Scrap the bowl and beater.
Add the eggs, vanilla and almond extract.  Beat on low until blended.  Beat on high until light and fluffy, about a minute.  
In a medium bowl whisk the flour, salt, and baking soda.
Add to the butter/sugar mixture and stir with a wooden spoon just until blended.
Stir in the chocolate chips.  The dough will be stiff. 
Place the bowl of cookie dough in the fridge for 5 minutes to cool it down.
Using a small cookie scoop, drop rounded dough onto cookie sheet about 2 inches apart.
Bake until the edges of the cookies are golden brown.  8-10 minutes. Rotate the sheets halfway through for even cooking.  The cookies will still be soft in the center.  
Let cookies rest on cookie sheet for 5 minutes transfer to a cooling rack.
I place my cookie sheets in the fridge/freezer in between batches to allow them to cool down before cooking the next batch of cookies.  This helps the cookies rise better in the oven.  
Keep your dough in the fridge in-between batches to keep it chilled.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Cinnamon & Sugar Pull Apart Bread

There are no words to describe this dessert!  I am officially in love. If you like anything about a cinnamon roll, or even cinnamon toast, this kicks it up a notch..seriously....a HUGE notch!
The magnificent loaf!
Cover with obscene amounts of sugar and cinnamon.
Stack slices.
Cut into six equal stacks.
Line up into loaf pan with stacks standing up.
..and try to refrain from indulging too much!

For the dough
2 3/4 cups all purpose flour + 2 Tablespoons
1/4 cup of granulated sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons (1 packet) of active dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon of salt
2 ounces of unsalted butter
1/3 cup of milk
1/4 cup of water
2 eggs at room temperature 
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the filling
1 cup of granulated sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon of ground nutmeg
2 ounces of unsalted butter melted until browned

For the glaze
4 Tablespoons of butter
2 cups of confectioners sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
3-6 Tablespoons of hot water

In a large mixing bowl combine 2 cups of flour, sugar, yeast and salt.  Set aside.
Whisk eggs.  Set aside.
In a small saucepan melt butter and milk just until butter has melted.  Remove from heat and add water and vanilla extract.  Let mixture set until temperature lowers to 115-125 degrees F.
Pour the milk/butter mixture into the dry ingredients with a  wooden spoon. 
Add eggs and stir until incorporated.  This takes a fair amount of stirring, but no worries, it will come together.  
Add the remaining 3/4 cups of flour and stir for about 2 minutes.  Dough will be sticky.  Don't add extra flour, it will be perfect after the raise.
Place dough in a large well greased bowl.  Cover with plastic wrap and towel. 
Set in a warm place and allow to rise until doubled. About an hour.
While dough rises, combine sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg for filling.  Set aside.
Melt 2 ounces of butter until browned.  Set aside.

After rise, punch down dough, and knead in remaining 2 tablespoon of flour.
Cover with towel and let rest for 5 minutes.
On a lightly floured surface, roll dough to a 12x20 rectangle. (or as close as you can get)
Spread browned butter over entire surface.  Top with sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg mixture. Use all of the mixture.  The more the better!
Cut lengthwise into 6 equal strips.
Stack the strips onto one another. 
Cut stack into 6 equal stacks.
Place in loaf pan with stacks standing up, like a flip book.
Place towel over pan and allow to raise for another 35-45 minutes. Until almost doubled.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease and flour a loaf pan. 

Place pan on center rack in preheated oven and cook for 30-35 minutes.  You want it to be a rich dark brown to ensure the center is thoroughly cooked.
Remove from oven and let rest for 20 minutes.  
Run a knife around the edges of pan to loosen.  
Invert onto a clean surface and then place a plate on top of upside down bread and invert again onto plate to right side up.

To make glaze, mix butter, confectioners sugar and vanilla.  Add hot water one Tablespoon at a time until desired consistency is achieved. 
Pour over bread.  There will be extra glaze. I use it to drizzle over each piece that is pulled apart.

You will be in heaven...truly! 

Adapted from Joy The Baker

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Star's Lemon Bars

Mmmmm what could be better than a creamy and tart dessert?  These lemon bars satisfy my craving when a cookie or piece of cake just won't do it.  

1 3/4 cup of flour
2/3 cup of confectioner's sugar (plus lots more for dusting!)
1 cup of cold butter

1 1/2 cups of granulated sugar
1/4 cup of flour
1teaspoon of baking powder
1/2 cup of lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon of lemon emulsion or extract
4 large eggs, slightly beaten

Preheat oven to 350 and grease a 9x13 pan or line with parchment paper.

To make the crust
In a medium bowl sift together the flour & confectioner's sugar.
Cut in the cold butter until combined and crumbly in texture.  I used a fork to achieve my results.
Press into prepared pan, and bake for 20-22 minutes.  Color will be light golden.

To make topping
Prepare while crust is baking.  
In a medium bowl combine sugar, flour and baking powder.  
Add lemon juice, lemon emulsion and eggs.  Combine well.
Pour into warm crust.

Bake for 20-25 minutes.  Remove and cool to room temperature.  Dust with confectioner's sugar and refrigerate.  Cut into bars when chilled....ENJOY!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Chocolate Graham Cracker Toffee Bark

OK, so I know there are many different versions of this recipe floating around in cyber space, but I wanted to share my version.  It is one of my family's favorites and so easy to make.  Once you start eating, it is hard to stop!  Have fun!
Lots of toffee chips and pecans
Not too many ingredients 
I had to cut my crackers to fit my pan.  Easy!

6 Whole graham crackers (cut to fit pan)
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips or milk chocolate chips
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup toffee bits

Preheat oven to 350
Arrange graham crackers in a single layer in a 9x9 pan. 
Combine butter and brown sugar in a small sauce pan.  Bring to a boil oven medium heat stirring consistently for approximately 2 minutes. Remove from heat. It will be thickened.  
Pour over the graham crackers and bake for 10 minutes.
Remove from oven and sprinkle the chocolate chips on top.  The chocolate will start to melt.  Evenly spread it to cover the entire pan.  Sprinkle toffee and pecans on top.  
Allow the pan to cool to room temperature then place in the fridge until the chocolate firms up.  
Break or cut into pieces and store in an airtight container in the fridge.

Adapted from Stephanie's Kitchen

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Peanut Butter Cornflakes

I was a little skeptical when I first made these thinking that the cornflakes might end up soggy.  No need to worry!! They turned out great with a combination of creamy peanut butter and crunchy cornflakes.  The picky eaters in my house really enjoyed this one.
yummmy creamy dessert

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup corn syrup
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 1/4 cups peanut butter (creamy or chunky)
4 cups cornflakes

Bring sugar, corn syrup, honey & maple syrup to a boil in a large saucepan and let boil for 1 minute.  Remove from heat and stir in peanut butter until smooth.
Add cornflakes.  
Drop onto wax or parchment paper until set.

Adapted from Mandy's Recipe Box

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Brownie Tart

This recipe came from the "Barefoot Contessa" but I tweaked it a tad to suit my families taste.  I really did try to get a picture of it after I cut a slice out, but it just vanished too quickly!  It is tasty for sure, and has a bit of a crunchy exterior with a soft gooey center.  If you are a chocolate lover than this one's for you!
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
3 1/4 cups semisweet chocolate chips
3 large eggs
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2-3 tablespoons heavy cream
Nutella hazelnut spread

Grease and flour an 11-inch tart pan with removable sides.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Melt the butter in a bowl set over simmering water.  Add 2 cups of the chocolate chips, remove from the heat and stir until the chocolate melts.  Set aside to cool completely.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the eggs, sugar and vanilla on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Stir in the cooled chocolate.
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt and 1 cup of the chocolate chips.
Fold the flour mixture into the batter until just combined.
Pour into the pan and bake for 25-30 minutes, until center is puffed. (the top may crack)  The inside will still be very soft.
Cool to room temperature before removing the sides of the tart pan.
Melt the remaining 1/4 cup of chocolate chips with the heavy cream.  Add Nutella until desired consistency is reached and drizzle on the tart.

I am also sharing this recipe at Mandy's Recipe Box

Fry Daddy!

This is my most recent purchase....I'm sooo excited!!  I found the Fry Daddy at Walmart, and what I love about it is you only have to use 4 cups of oil.   This little puppy is just enabling me to consume more calories..yeah well, I'm not gonna dwell on that part. There are a ton of recipes that 
I want to try out in my Fry Daddy, like the one I found on 
"Mandy's Recipie Box"  Wonton Kisses 
I will be posting pics as soon as I start frying! 

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Peanut Butter Truffle

OK, so for my very first blog I thought I would share a recipe that I really love to make..and yes, it is a dieters nightmare...but oooooohhh so yummy!  

1/4 cup butter
1 1/2 cups peanut butter
3 cups confectioners sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Almond Bark (or 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips)
White morsels for drizzle 

1.  Combine butter, peanut butter, confectioners sugar & vanilla. Cream well.
2.  Melt the almond bark (or chocolate chips) over low heat. Remove from heat.
3.  Roll the peanut butter dough into 1 inch balls. (I use a small cookie scoop)
4.  Dip into melted chocolate and place on a cookie sheet covered in wax or parchment paper.  Refrigerate while melting white morsels.
5. Melt white morsels. Using a spoon drizzle over the truffles.

Refrigerate 15 minutes or overnight until ready to serve.