Lofthouse Sugar Cookies with Ganache and a Cherry #Chocolateparty

Lofthouse Sugar Cookies with Ganache and Cherries | Bakewell Junction

Lofthouse Sugar Cookies with Ganache and Cherries | Bakewell Junction

My dog has been recovering from her ACL surgery and she hasn’t been left alone in the house until yesterday.  She handled that well so this week I’ll be going back to the office on the days I’m scheduled to work on-site.  My fellow car pool buddies wanted some homemade treats because they’ve been without for a few weeks.  One of them is picky and won’t eat anything that’s creamy or contains cream cheese or milk/cream that he can taste.  I thought that I could bake something easy that would work for the #chocolateparty and bring to work.

This month’s #Chocolateparty theme is cherries and chocolate.  I love both cherries and chocolate.  I’ve seen Lofthouse Sugar Cookies on a lot of blogs but I’ve never even tried the store bought ones.  Most recently I’ve seen these cookies on Lizzy’s blog, That Skinny Chick Can Bake, and you can find her post here – Daisy Lofthouse Cookies.  So, I incorporated Lizzy’s Lofthouse cookies into the #ChocolateParty.  Although most of the Lofthouse Sugar Cookies have a buttercream frosting, I went with milk chocolate ganache and a fresh cherry on top.  If you wanted to make these for Christmas, you could substitute maraschino cherries for the fresh cherries.

These cookies are fluffy and soft but aren’t very sweet which is probably why they’re usually topped with buttercream frosting to amp up the sweetness.  My husband loved these cookies with or without the topping.  He liked the dough so much that he was ready to swipe one of the last cookies that was going into the oven just to get some more of the raw dough.

How about you…do you like your cookies very sweet or less sweet?

Enjoy!

Lofthouse Sugar Cookies with Ganache and a Cherry

Yield:  24 – 30 Cookies                  Cook Time:  10 – 12 minutes

Dough:

  • 1/2 cup room temperature butter (1 stick)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond flavoring or vanilla extract (I used vanilla extract)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 cups flour

Topping:

  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips (I used Hershey’s)
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
  • 15 fresh sweet cherries, cut in half and pitted

Directions:

Step 1:  For the cookies:  With an electric mixer beat the butter and sugar together for about 4 to 5 minutes until the mixture is light and fluffy.  Combine the vanilla, salt, baking soda and baking powder with the butter mixture.  Add the sour cream and mix to combine.  Add the eggs individually and mix each addition to combine.  Mix in the flour until incorporated.  Chill dough for 1 to 24 hours.

Step 2:  You may roll out the dough to 1/2 inch thick and use a cookie cutter to shape the cookies.  I rolled the dough into 1 1/2 inch balls and placed them on a parchment lined cookie sheet and then flattened them to about half the height, about 1 1/2 to 2 inches apart.  Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 10 – 12 minutes.  Repeat with the remaining dough.  Cool completely.

Step 8:  Topping:  In a small saucepan heat cream over medium heat until steaming while stirring constantly or heat in a microwave safe bowl in the microwave in 30 second increments.  Remove from heat, add the chocolate and let stand for 5 minutes.  Add the butter and stir until smooth.  Dip the top of each cookie to thoroughly coat and place half a cherry on the top.

Storing:  Store cookies in a sealed plastic container (in the refrigerator, if it’s warm)  for a few days.

Enjoy!!!

Recipe from That Skinny Chick Can Bake, originally from McCalls.

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Curious about the monthly chocolate party?  Here’s how you can join Roxana and her wonderful hosts Emily of Life on Food, Veronica of My Catholic Kitchen, Pam of Blueberries and Blessings, Liz of That Skinny Chick can Bake, Kim of Ninja Baking, Denise of From Brazil to You , Laura of Tutti Dolci, Karen of Karen’s Kitchen Stories and Becky of A Calculated Whisk.

The recipes will be shared on the first Monday of each month and you can submit your own recipes by the end of the month.  You can submit up to 3 recipes each month.

To make sure everyone is having fun, there are a few rules you’ll have to follow.

1.) Blog about your chocolate treat.  Your recipe must include the two ingredients we choose.  It can be a simple no bake treat or a sophisticated layer cake, the complexity level of the recipe is totally up to you.

2.) Include a link back to a monthly round-up or the Chocolate party page.  Optionally, add the Chocolate Party logo in your blog post or on your sidebar.

3.) Your recipe must be published during the current month.  Please do not link old recipes, they will be deleted.

I hope you’ll join our party and bake along with us.  Also, if you’d like to know what are we up to and what ingredients we pick for the next parties, join our Facebook group.

All submitted posts will be pinned to the Chocolate party Pinterest board and will be promoted on other social media platforms using the #chocolateparty hashtag.

Add your link to the Chocolate Cherry Party.

This post may also be entered in these linky parties.  Click the here to visit the other great posts in the blog hops.

Buttermilk Chocolate Chip Hot Cross Buns #Chocolateparty

Buttermilk Chocolate Chip Hot Cross Buns #chocolateparty by Bakewell Junction

Buttermilk Chocolate Chip Hot Cross Buns #chocolateparty by Bakewell Junction

Easter has come and gone but I think Hot Cross Buns are a great treat any time of year.  This is the second time I made this recipe and I made some changes this time because the first time they didn’t turn out so well (at least to my definition of well).  This doesn’t mean that no one liked the first batch – to the contrary, my husband’s co-workers couldn’t get enough of them.  They just weren’t like Hot Cross Buns, they were more like a thick, dense cookie bar.

On to the success story…  My second attempt worked out wonderfully.  The buns turned out fluffy, light and delicious.  How did this happen (you might ask)?  There are three reasons:

  1. I’ve changed how I get my breads to rise.  I still put the dough in the oven but I don’t warm it by turning it on, I just add a pot of boiling water to warm the oven and turn the light on to ensure the temperature stays warm enough.
  2. I changed the amount of the chocolate chips and the timing of when to add them to the dough.
  3. Instead of using milk, I used buttermilk.

The chocolate party is a linky party hosted by Roxana’s Home Baking and has a different theme every month.  As it turns out, the #chocolateparty theme for April pairs buttermilk and chocolate which is great considering the modifications I made to this recipe.  The only thing I would change the next time I make this recipe is to use milk chocolate chips with a rough chop (just because they’re larger than the semi-sweet chips).  I like the flavor of milk chocolate better in some recipes.  Would you keep the semi-sweet chips or change to  milk chocolate?

chocolate party logoEnjoy!

Buttermilk Chocolate Chip Hot Cross Buns

Yield:  15 or 16 Buns                  Cook Time:  20 minutes

Dough:

  • 2 tablespoons instant yeast
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk, warmed to 110 degrees
  • 1 large eggs at room temperature, lightly beaten
  • 4 1/2 cups flour plus more for dusting
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons unsalted melted butter plus additional for greasing the bowl and baking pan (or you can use cooking spray instead of additional butter)
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (or substitute milk chocolate chips chopped in half or quarters)

Glaze:

  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons hot water

Crosses:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons milk or water

Directions:

Step 1:  Warm milk in the microwave to 110 degrees.  One minute and 25 seconds works in my glass 2 cup measure.  I used my candy thermometer to check the temperature.  If you are transferring to a small bowl, warm the bowl so the milk doesn’t cool.  Add the sugar and yeast to the milk and stir to combine.  Set aside for about 10 to 15 minutes.  I used the boiling water in the oven method for this step too.  The mixture should grow and become foamy.

Step 2:  In a large mixing bowl of your electric mixer, stir together flour and salt.  In the center of the flour form a well.  Add the butter, egg and yeast into the well.  Mix the ingredients and slowly incorporate more and more flour until the flour is completely incorporated and a dough is formed.  Using a dough hook on your electric mixer, knead the dough for approximately five minutes.  The dough should now be smooth and elastic.  If necessary, you may add a little more flour.

Step 3:  Prepare a large bowl by greasing it with butter or cooking spray.  Transfer the dough into the bowl and turn it so the entire dough becomes greased.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it rise for an hour (I used the boiling water in the oven method here too).   After an hour, the dough should have doubled in size.

Step 4:  On a clean work surface, lightly sprinkle some flour.  Place the dough on the floured surface.  Deflate the dough.  Add the chocolate chips.  Incorporate the chips by kneading the dough.  Using a bench scraper or a sharp knife cut the dough into 15 or 16 evenly sized dough balls.  If you’re using a 9 by 13 inch pan, you may want make 3 by 5 rows of buns or your pan may fit 4 by 4 rows of buns.  Let this determine whether you should make 15 or 16 buns, otherwise you could wind up with a few oddly shaped buns.  Place the buns in a greased or parchment lined baking pan.  The buns should be set closely together in the pan.  Cover the buns and let them rise for 20 minutes (since I have a double oven, I used the boiling water in the oven method here too).

Step 5:  In a 400 degree preheated oven, bake the buns for 20 to 25 minutes.  The buns will be golden brown and smell delicious.

Step 6:  Glaze:  While the buns are baking, combine the sugar and 2 tablespoons of hot water in a small bowl.  Mix until the sugar dissolves.  If necessary, additional hot water in small increments but do not exceed a total of 3 tablespoons (i.e. the original 2 tablespoons plus up to an additional 1 tablespoon).

Step 7:  After the buns are finished baking, take them out of the oven.  Using a pastry brush, coat the buns with all the glaze immediately after removing them from the oven.  Move the buns to a wire rack and let them cool in the pan.

Step 8:  Crosses:  In a medium bowl, mix powdered sugar and 1 tablespoon of milk (or water) to create the icing mixture.  You may add up to 1 additional tablespoon of milk to get to the a piping consistency.  Fill a piping bag with the icing and pipe crosses on the buns.  Alternatively you can fill the corner of a plastic ziploc bag, and snip 1/4 inch opening in end to pipe the crosses.  Many like these buns served warm but I thought they were delicious at room temperature.

Storing:  Store buns in a sealed plastic container or covered with plastic wrap for a few days.

Tips:  If your house is chilly like mine always is and your dough doesn’t rise, you can boil a pot of water while preparing the dough and place the water and dough in a cold oven.  The boiling water will create a warm moist environment in the oven for the dough to rise well.

Enjoy!!!

Recipe from Seeded At The Table, originally from Butter Baking.

This post may also be entered in the following linky party. Click the button below to see the other great posts in the blog hop.

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Chocolate Babka #TwelveLoaves March

Chocolate Babka #TwelveLoaves March | Bakewell Junction
Chocolate Babka #TwelveLoaves March | Bakewell Junction

Mmmm….  Look at those chocolate swirls.

Chocolate Babka #TwelveLoaves March 2 | Bakewell Junction
Chocolate Babka #TwelveLoaves March 2 | Bakewell Junction

Chocolate Babka is one of those things that I’ve wanted to try baking for several years.  I had printed a copy of the recipe I had seen on Smitten Kitchen and had it with all my other recipes (this was long before Pinterest became popular).  Thinking this would be a great recipe for #TwelveLoaves March which is featuring Holiday Breads, I decided to make it.

Babka in Polish means Grandmother and was traditionally made for Easter.  It was also a tradition in Lithuania, Slovakia, Belarus, Ukraine and Western Russia.  Another version of Babka (Chocolate Babka) is associated with Eastern European Jews.  The history behind Babka is a little confusing.  From what I’ve read on the internet, it’s debated as to who started the Babka tradition but it’s usually made around Easter.

This recipe contains a ton of butter and a ton of chocolate.  It is decadent, delicious and smells heavenly.  I would highly recommend breaking the Lenten fast with this sweet bread.  Although it takes a while to make this recipe, I had great results – my dough rose well and it was easy to roll out.  I did have one mishap because I don’t have three of the 9 by 5 loaf pans, so my attempt to put two of the loaves side by side in a half aluminum tray didn’t work out so well.  They were very dense and gooey in the middle but that didn’t alter the taste and they were devoured quickly anyway.  The only thing I would change for next time it to double the crumb topping recipe – you can never have too many crumbs.

Have you ever had Babka?  Which type do you prefer – chocolate filling, cinnamon filling, raisins, etc?

If you’re interested in additional Easter recipes that I make, try my Easter Bread or Prosciutto Bread (Lard Bread) recipes.  They’re delicious too.

Enjoy!

Chocolate Babka

Yield:  3 Loaves                  Cook Time:  70 minutes

Dough:

  • 1 1/2 cups milk, warmed to 110 degrees
  • 2 1/4 ounce packages active dry yeast or 4 1/2 teaspoons yeast
  • 3/4 cup sugar plus a another pinch
  • 2 large eggs at room temperature
  • 2 large egg yolks at room temperature
  • 6 cups flour plus more for dusting
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature plus additional for bowl and loaf pans (or you can use cooking spray instead of additional butter)

Egg Wash:

  • 1 egg at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream

Filling:

  • 2 1/4 pounds very finely chopped semisweet chocolate (I substituted a combination of Hershey’s and Lindt’s milk chocolate candy)
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature

Streusel Topping:

  • 1 2/3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 1/3 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature

Directions:

Step 1:  Warm milk in the microwave to 110 degrees.  One minute and 25 seconds works in my glass 2 cup measure.  I used my candy thermometer to check the temperature.  If you are transferring to a small bowl, warm the bowl so the milk doesn’t cool.  Add the pinch of sugar and yeast to the milk and give a quick stir.  Set aside for about 5 minutes.  The mixture should become foamy.

Step 2:  Stir together 3/4 cup sugar, 2 eggs and yolks in a medium bowl.  Combine yeast and egg mixtures and mix thoroughly.

Step 3:  Add the flour and salt to the bowl of an electric mixer and give a quick stir.  Add the wet mixture to the flour and beat on low with the paddle attachment for about 30 seconds to combine.  Swap out the paddle attachment for the dough hook.  Cut 2 sticks of butter into 1 inch pieces and add to the dough.  Beat with the dough hook until butter is combined.  This will take approximately 10 minutes.  The dough will be soft and barely sticky.

Step 4:  On a clean work surface, lightly sprinkle some flour.  Place the dough on the floured surface.  You may need to scrape the bowl and dough hook to get every last bit of the wonderful dough.  Knead a minute or two.  Prepare a large bowl by buttering it or spraying with cooking spray.  Transfer dough to prepared bowl and turn to coat butter/cooking spray.  Cover bowl with plastic wrap.  Let dough rise in a warm spot for 1 hour to double in size.  My house is always cool so, while I prepare the dough, I boil a pot of water and place it in my oven along with the dough.  This creates a great environment for the dough to rise.

Step 5:  Filling:  Mix the chocolate, 1 cup sugar and cinnamon in a large bowl.  Cut in 1 1/2 sticks of butter using a pastry cutter until you have a homogeneous mixture.

Step 6:  Egg wash:  In a small bowl, beat egg and heavy cream together.

Step 7:  Butter the loaf pans or spray with cooking spray then line with parchment paper. Punch down the dough and wait for 5 minutes before cutting into thirds.  Cover resting dough while working with the first piece of dough.  Flour the work area.  Roll the first piece of dough until it’s about 1/8 inch thick.  It should be about 16 by 16 inch square.

Step 8:  Using the egg wash, moisten the edges of the rolled dough.  Evenly crumble 1/3 (about 2 1/2 cups) of the chocolate mixture minus 2 tablespoons on rolled dough up to about 1/4 inch from the edge of the dough.  Beginning at one side of the dough, roll the dough up until you reach the opposite side.  Pinch the dough together to seal the edges.  The dough needs to be twisted along its length 5 or 6 times.  Moisten the top of the rolled dough with the egg wash.  Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of the chocolate mixture on half the roll and press into the dough.  Fold the side of the dough roll without the chocolate mixture onto the side with the chocolate mixture.  Seal edges by pinching.  Twist the roll twice and place in loaf pan.  Repeat rolling dough through placing in loaf pan for each of the other doughs.

Step 9: Streusel Topping:  Add powdered sugar, flour and butter in a large bowl.  Mix to combine and create small to large crumbs.

Step 10:  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Loosely cover with plastic wrap and let doughs rise for 20 to 30 minutes in a warm spot.  Moisten the tops of the loaves with the egg wash.  Sprinkle the top of each loaf with 1/3 of the streusel.

Step 11:  Place loaves in preheated oven and bake 55 minutes until golden, rotating loaves midway during baking.  Lower temperature to 325 degrees and bake another 15 to 20 minutes until loaves are darker golden.  Cool completely on wire racks.  Depan loaves and try not to eat an entire loaf.

Storing:  Store loaves in a sealed plastic container or covered with plastic wrap.

Tips:

  • To finely chop the chocolate easily, break it up into inch size pieces initially.  In small batches, use a food processor or mini chopper to chop it finely.
  • The dough can be frozen for 1 month after preparing up to the point where they are ready to be placed in the oven.  Remove the dough from the freezer and wait 5 hours before baking.
  • If your house is chilly like mine always is and your dough doesn’t rise, you can boil a pot of water while preparing the dough and place the water and dough in a cold oven.  The boiling water will create a warm moist environment in the oven for the dough to rise well.

Enjoy!!!

Recipe from Smitten Kitchen, originally from Martha Stewart.

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What is baking this March in the TwelveLoaves kitchens? Holiday Breads!

#TwelveLoaves March:  Holiday Bread.  Bake a bread, yeast or quick bread, loaf or individual.  This #TwelveLoaves is all about the incredible holiday breads featured in March.  Do you have a favorite Easter or St. Patrick’s Day Bread?  We would love to see it.  Let’s get baking!

Look at what our very talented #TwelveLoaves bakers have created this March!

We would love to have you join our #TwelveLoaves group; it’s easy!
1.  When you post your Twelve Loaves bread on your blog, make sure that you mention the Twelve Loaves challenge in your blog post; this helps us to get more members as well as share everyone’s posts.  Please make sure that your Bread is inspired by the theme!
2.  Please link your post to the linky tool at the bottom of Lora’s blog (Cake Duchess) or the link below.  It must be a bread baked to the Twelve Loaves theme.
3.  Have your Twelve Loaves bread that you baked this March, 2013 posted on your blog by March 31, 2013.

You are next… Click here to enter

Follow @TwelveLoaves on Twitter

See what’s freshly baked for #TwelveLoaves on the growing Pinterest board.

This post may also be entered in the following linky party. Click the button below to see the other great posts in the blog hop.

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Spatulas On Parade

Venetians / Rainbow Cookies / Tri Color Cookies

Venetians / Rainbow Cookies / Tri Color Cookies by Bakewell Junction

Venetians / Rainbow Cookies / Tri Color Cookies by Bakewell Junction

I’m sharing a delicious recipe that I made a few weeks ago.  This Christmas my friend Chris sent over her cookies and they were unbelievably delicious.  She agreed to give me her recipe and they turned out wonderfully.

My prior attempt to make Venetians with a different recipe a few years ago didn’t turn out well at all so I hadn’t tried another recipe until now.  My husband and I won’t even eat these if they’ve been purchased because they just don’t taste good.  I can hardly believe how delicious these are.

Although there’s some extra steps in assembly, these cookies aren’t really too difficult to make.  I did learn some things while making this recipe.  My Apricot preserves had some apricot chunks in it and I should probably have removed the chunks (although there were no complaints, mind you).  My almond paste wasn’t broken up evenly and it didn’t incorporate evenly into the cake (again, no complaints).  I’ve added tips at the end of the recipe so you won’t run into the same things.

I hope you try this recipe because you will get what I call the “wow factor”.  When you serve these cookies, anyone that tries them will say wow.  So do you like these cookies from the Italian bakeries?  The cookies have so many names, what name do you use?

Enjoy!

Venetians / Rainbow Cookies / Tri Color Cookies

Yield:  48 or 64 cookies (depending on cut)                  Cook Time:  15 minutes

  • 8 ounces Almond Paste (I used the Odense 7 ounce tube)
  • 1 1/2 cups butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 4 tablespoons almond extract
  • 2 cups sifted flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 12 drops red food coloring
  • 12 drops green food coloring

Icing and Filling

  • 1 12 ounce jar apricot preserves
  • 1 – 2 Special Dark Chocolate bars (I used a combination of Lindt and Ghirardelli)

Directions:

Step 1:  Spray 3 13 by 9 by 2 baking pans with cooking spray, line with wax paper and then spray the wax paper with cooking spray too.  I didn’t have three pans of this size, so I prepared my cakes one at a time.

Step 2:  Break apart almond paste until it looks like grains of sand and no lumps remain.  Step 3:  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Combine almond paste, butter, sugar, egg yolks and almond extract.  Beat with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.  Add flour and salt. Mix until combined.  In another bowl, beat egg whites until stiff.  Carefully fold into the batter.

Step 4:  Take 1/3 of the batter (about 1 1/2 to 1 1/3 cup) and add 10 drops of green food coloring.  Using a folding motion mix the food coloring throughout the 1/3 portion of the batter.  Add additional drops as needed to reach the color you want.  Spread the green batter as evenly as possibly in the prepared pan and bake for 15 minutes until the edges become light golden.

Step 5:  Take 1/3 of the batter (about 1 1/2 to 1 1/3 cup) and add 10 drops of red food coloring.  Using a folding motion mix the food coloring throughout the 1/3 portion of the batter.  Add additional drops as needed to reach the color you want.  Spread the red batter as evenly as possibly in the prepared pan and bake for 15 minutes until the edges become light golden.

Step 6:  Take the remaining 1/3 of the batter (about 1 1/2 to 1 1/3 cup) and spread as evenly as possibly in the prepared pan and bake for 15 minutes until the edges become light golden.  Cool all three cakes completely.

Step 7:  Warm the apricot preserves in a bowl in the microwave at 30 second intervals while stirring between intervals.  Heat for a maximum of 1 1/2 minutes.  Place wax paper on a cookie sheet and then the green layer.  Spread 1/2 the apricot preserves on the green layer.  Place the untinted layer on top of the green layer.  Spread the remaining apricot preserves on the untinted layer.  Place the red layer on top of the untinted layer and cover with wax paper.  Place another cookie sheet on top of the layers and place weight on top.  Chill everything overnight in the refrigerator.

Step 8:  Remove the cookies from the refrigerator and remove the weight.  Cut the edges of the layers so there are clean edges.  The cut pieces are great for snacking.  Carefully melt the chocolate in a double boiler or the microwave.  Spread the chocolate on the top and sides of the cookies.  Let the chocolate dry.  Turn the cookies over and spread chocolate on the bottom also.  Let the chocolate dry.  Turn the cookies over and cut into 8 by 8 pieces or 6 by 8 pieces.

Storing:  Store cookies in a sealed plastic container.

Tips:

  • Breaking up the almond paste can best be accomplished by breaking it into 1 inch by 1 inch cubes and using a food processor, mini chopper or blender to break it up completely.  If you don’t have access to any of these, you can use a grater to break it up.
  • When the apricot preserves are heated, you can remove any large apricot chunks before spreading.  Heating the apricot preserves allows the preserves to soak into the layers and cling together better.
  • To cut the layers into pieces, carefully use a sharp serrated knife.  Have the layers placed with the long edge closest to you.   Run the knife under hot water and dry it.  Cut the layers in eight slices (if you want larger cookies, make 6 slices) along the long edge of the layers.  To minimize cracking in the chocolate, start cutting in a sawing motion with the warm knife until you break through the chocolate; then press down until the knife cuts through to the bottom of the layers and chocolate.  You will likely need to repeat running the knife under hot water after four slices.  Turn the pieces that look like long narrow logs sideways.  Repeat running the knife under hot water.  Using the same sawing motion to get through the top layer of chocolate and then pressing down to cut through to the bottom of the layers and chocolate, cut each log into 8 pieces.  You will likely need to repeat running the knife under hot water for each log you cut.  Plus if some of the chocolate cracks, then you have a great snack.
  • Making these a few days ahead of time allows the flavors to meld and they taste even better.

Enjoy!!!

Recipe adapted from my friend Chris.

This post may also be entered in the following linky party. Click the button below to see the other great posts in the blog hop.

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DC in Style

Black and White Cookies {or Red for Valentine’s Day with White Chocolate} #chocolateparty

Black and Whites | Bakewell Junction

Black and Whites | Bakewell Junction

It’s Valentine’s Day in a few days and I’ve been wanting to share a post for Black and White cookies, so I made a few changes to have them fit the holiday.  These are easy to make and tasty too.  As I wrote this post I noticed that Paula Deen’s original recipe got a lot of negative comments but I didn’t have the same problems and I’m glad when I printed the recipe there weren’t any comments yet or I might never have tried the recipe.

I wanted the cookies to have a heart shape, so I tried two different methods to have the cookies turn out that way.  I first tried to make heart shaped molds out of heavy duty aluminum foil but although the shapes looked okay, the cookies turned out more like biscuits because I made the molds too small so the cookies were too thick (that didn’t hurt the taste any though).  For some of the cookies, I cut the round shapes to have a point at the bottom and a divot at the top.  Do you like the look of the smaller and thicker molded cookies or the cut cookies?

Black and White Cookies

Yield:  20 to 25 cookies                  Cook Time:  15 minutes

  • 2 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 2 1/2 cups AP flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 sticks butter, room temperature
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Icing and Chocolate

  • 1/4 cup boiling water, as needed
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 to 3 ounces chocolate candy bar (use your favorite brand)
  • red food coloring, optional
  • 1/4 cup white chocolate chips, optional

Directions:

Step 1:  Mix together flours and baking powder in a medium bowl.  Using an electric mixer beat together the butter and sugar until the mixture becomes lighter in color and is thoroughly mixed.

Step 2:  Incorporate eggs into the butter mixture individually at medium speed until each is well incorporated.  Add milk and vanilla and beat until incorporated.

Step 3:  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Prepare cookie sheet by covering it with parchment paper.  For regular Black and White round cookie shape, drop heaping tablespoonfuls of dough on the prepared cookie sheet.  For heart shaped cookie molds, place the molds on the prepared cookie sheet and drop the heaping tablespoonfuls of dough into the molds while ensuring that some of the dough will fill the entire shape.  Space cookies at least 2 inches apart and bake for 15 minutes.  Let cool completely before icing.  If cutting the round cookies into a heart shape, cut the rounded edges from the sides to a point at the bottom.  Then cut a divot or “v” at the top of the circle.

Step 4:  Prepare the icing by mixing the powdered sugar and water (as needed) together in a medium bowl.  The icing should be spreadable but not thin.  If tinting the icing for Valentine’s Day, add 20 or more drops of red food coloring until the icing becomes a nice shade of red.  The flat side of the cookie will become the top for these.  Spread the icing on half of the flat side of each cookie.

Step 5:  Break the chocolate candy bar into small pieces and melt in a double boiler or the microwave.  If using the microwave, melt the chocolate in small increments and stir before additional heating until it’s of spreadable consistency.  Spread the chocolate on the other half of the flat side of each cookie.  Let icing and chocolate set.

Step 6:  If using the additional garnish, melt the white chocolate in a double boiler or the microwave.  If using the microwave, melt the white chocolate in small increments and stir before additional heating until it’s of spreadable consistency.  Spoon the melted chocolate into a ziploc bag and snip the corner, making a small hole for piping.  Pipe heart shapes in the middle of each heart shaped cookie.

Storing:  Store cookies in a sealed plastic container.

Enjoy!!!

Recipe adapted from Paula Deen on foodnetwork.com.

This post may also be entered in the following linky party. Click the button below to see the other great posts in the blog hop.

12 Weeks of Christmas Treats ~ Almond Crescent Cookies

I’ve joined the blog hop 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats hosted by Brenda Thompson from MealPlanningMagic.com.  If you’d like to join us, please fill out the form on Brenda’s blog.

To start off the twelve weeks I’ve made these Almond Crescents from a recipe that my friend and neighbor had given me after she gave us some of these cookies last Christmas.  The recipe is easy to make, the cookies are lovely and have a great presentation.

The chocolate and green frosting drizzle is great for Christmas.

Almond Crescent Cookies

Yield:  48 crescents                 Cook Time:  8 minutes

Ingredients

Cookies:
1 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar
2 egg yolks
1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract
2 1/2 cup all purpose flour

Drizzle:
1/2 cup semi-sweet or milk chocolate baking chips
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 teaspoon water
green or red food coloring

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. Cream butter and 1 cup powdered sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle attachment.  Mix on medium speed until pale and fluffy.  Mix in egg yolks and almond extract.  Reduce speed to low and and gradually mix in flour.
  3. Shape the dough into crescents about three inches long and half an inch thick.  Place formed cookies on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 8 minutes (the cookies will barely change to golden on the bottom).  Do not over-bake as this will dry out the cookies.  Let cookies cool completely before adding drizzle.
  4. To make the chocolate drizzle, melt the chocolate and drizzle over the cookies.  To make the icing glaze, mix the powdered sugar with the water.  Add drops of water to reach the right consistency to drizzle over cookies.  Add green food coloring for Christmas.

Cookie recipe adapted from neighbor Marla.

12 Weeks of Christmas Treats Blog Hop

Week 1, September 27, 2012

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Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Mini Cheesecakes

I missed posting last week ,so here’s the catch-up post…

When I get the chance to combine a sale on cream cheese, chocolate chip cookie dough and chocolate, that’s just heaven.  I’d seen the Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Mini Cheesecakes recipe on My Baking Addiction about a month ago and it was the perfect time to try them.  They turned out fabulously!  My head taste-tester loved them and so did his friends.  They look so elegant and have the taste to match.

The only changes I made to the original cheesecake recipe is that I would only use 1 1/2 – 2 heaping tablespoons of the cheesecake batter for each little cake and I only used about 1/4 of the ganache recipe.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Mini Cheesecakes

Yield:  24 cheesecakes                Cook Time:  22 – 25 minutes

Ingredients

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough:

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cups brown sugar, packed
  • 3/4 cups sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 6 oz mini chocolate chips

Crust:

  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 4 tablespoons melted butter
  • 3 tablespoons sugar

Cheesecake Filling:

  • 3 8 oz packages of softened cream cheese
  • 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream

Ganache:

  • 4 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 4 tablespoons honey
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Directions:

I only used half the Chocolate Chip Cookie dough for the mini cheesecakes, so you might want to halve the ingredients or keep the rest for yummy snacks.  Melt butter in a small sauce pan.  Add milk and stir until incorporated.  At low temperature mix in the sugars and stir to incorporate and heat until most of the sugars have melted.  This will help minimize the gritty feel in the cookie dough.

Remove mixture from heat and cool to room temperature.  Add remaining ingredients and mix until incorporated.  Set aside until ready to insert into mini cheesecakes.

Prepare cupcake pans with paper cupcake liners.

In a small bowl, combine all the ingredients for the crust with a fork until moistened.  Add 1 tablespoon of the crust mixture into the bottom of each cupcake liner and press evenly.  Bake in a preheated oven at 350 for 5 minutes.  Cool on a rack.

Reduce oven to 325 degrees.

Using a mixer beat the cream cheese on high until smooth.  Beat in sugar until incorporated.  Mix in salt and vanilla.  Add eggs one a time and mix well after each.  Mix in the heavy cream until just combined.

Divide the cheesecake batter into the cupcake liner using a couple of tablespoons for each mini cheesecake.

Insert about 1 1/2 teaspoons of chocolate chip cookie dough in the center of each cheesecake.

Bake 20 to 25 minutes until the filling is set.  Cool to room temperature on a wire rack; then transfer to the refrigerator and chill for 4 hours or overnight.

I only used about a quarter of this ganache recipe for my mini cheesecakes.  For the ganache, heat the heavy cream in a small saucepan using medium heat until very hot (do not boil).

In a heat safe bowl, place the chocolate chips and pour the hot cream on top and let it sit for 5 minutes to melt the chocolate.  Mix the cream and melted chocolate until smooth.  My chocolate didn’t melt enough, so I microwaved it in small increments until the chocolate melted.  Mix the vanilla and honey into the chocolate mixture.

Let ganache cool for 15 minutes before spooning it over the mini cheesecakes.  Chill the cheesecakes until ready to serve.

Enjoy!!!

Recipe adapted from My Baking Addiction.
Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough recipe adapted from Ehow.
Chocolate Glaze recipe adapted from Confessions of a Cookbook Queen.

Biscoff Brownie Cookies

This past weekend I was going to visit my Mother and Sister to teach them how to make Pizzelles but I had an idea that I wanted to try out on my Sister.  A couple of years ago I had made a recipe I’d found on Pillsbury.com, Peanut Butter Brownie Cookies (which were unbelievably delicious) but my Sister doesn’t like peanut butter (hard to believe, I know), so I adapted the recipe to make this easy peasy recipe.  The peanut butter is replaced with Biscoff spread.

If you haven’t heard about Biscoff spread yet, there have been many recipes incorporating this delicious spread on many, many food blogs.  The spread is made from Biscoff cookies which are a cinnamon flavored crisp cooked and are delicious in their own right.  If you can’t find the spread in your local grocery store, you can find them on the internet.  I found the spread at my local ShopRite grocery store.

Hot out of the oven, these are just soft, chocolaty, rich and sweet.  Just look at what heaven must be like.

And now, the finished product with frosting.

Yield:  24 Cookies                 Cook Time:  10 – 14 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 (20 oz.) box Ghirardelli Brownie Mix or your favorite brownie mix
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 4 oz. cream cheese (from 8-oz. pkg.), softened
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 cup Biscoff Spread
  • 1/2 (16-oz.) can chocolate fudge ready-to-spread frosting; choose your favorite

Directions:     

  1. Heat oven to 350° degrees.  In a medium bowl, beat brownie mix, melted butter, cream cheese and egg about 50 strokes with spoon until well blended (dough will be sticky).
  2. Drop dough by tablespoonfuls (or divide into 24 cookies) 2 inches apart onto cookie sheets lined with parchment paper (or leave ungreased) to make 24 cookies; smooth edge of each to form round cookie.
  3. In small bowl, mix powdered sugar and Biscoff Spread with spoon until mixture forms a ball.  Flatten cookies slightly.  With hands, roll rounded teaspoonfuls peanut butter mixture into 24 balls.  Lightly press 1 ball into center of each ball of dough.
  4. Bake at 350° degrees for 10 – 14 minutes or until edges are set.  Cool on cookie sheets at least 30 minutes.
  5. Remove from cookie sheets.  Spread thin layer of frosting over Biscoff filling portion of each cooled cookie.

Enjoy!!!

Recipe adapted from www.pillsbury.com.

Almond Heart Cookies

I wanted to bake cookies for Valentine’s Day but I also wanted to try an Almond Crescent Cookie recipe that my friend and neighbor had given me.for Christmas.  Two crescents facing each other could become a heart shape.  So I modified the recipe a bit and they turned out delicious.

The chocolate and red frosting drizzle is great for Valentine’s Day.  Who doesn’t love chocolate or red drizzle for Valentine’s Day?  Your favorite Valentine will thank you for making these for them.  From my heart to yours – enjoy!!

Yield:  24 heart cookies or 48 crescents                 Cook Time:  8 minutes

Ingredients

Cookies:
1 c butter, room temperature
1 c powdered sugar
2 egg yolks
1 1/2 tsp almond extract
2 1/2 c all purpose flour

Drizzle:
1/2 c semi-sweet or milk chocolate baking chips
2 t powdered sugar
1 t water

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. Cream butter and 1 cup powdered sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle attachment.  Mix on medium speed until pale and fluffy.  Mix in egg yolks and almond extract.  Reduce speed to low and and gradually mix in flour mixture.
  3. Start by shaping the dough into crescents about three inches long and half an inch thick.  Then form the crescents into heart shapes.  Place cookie dough hearts on prepared baking sheet and bake for 8 minutes (the cookies will barely change to golden on the bottom).  Do not over-bake as this will dry out the cookies.  Let cookies cool completely before adding drizzle.
  4. To make the chocolate drizzle, melt the chocolate and drizzle over the cookies.  To make the icing glaze, mix the powdered sugar with the water.  Add drops of water to reach the right consistency to drizzle over cookies.  Add red food coloring to signify Valentine’s Day.

Cookie recipe adapted from neighbor Marla.