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Recipe: Soft and Chewy Pumpkin Cinnamon Chip Cookies.

pumpkin cookies3

I love pumpkin. I love the fact that everything has a seasonal “pumpkin” or “pumpkin spice” flavor. I want to buy it all and hoard it for the rest of year. But I fear that if I do, I will be poor and hungry, since I’d grow sick of eating nothing but pumpkin. So for now, I’ll just continue to love it in the fall.

Because it’s such a small window of time, I try and take full advantage, making as many pumpkin desserts as I possibly can. This will be number 2 so far this season. Since the last thing I made was a Pumpkin Almond Spice Cake, I wanted to do cookies for this next round. I thought I’d made pumpkin cookies before, but I found no record of such a thing in my binder, so I started from scratch and began a search for a recipe to use as a foundation. I found this one, and it sounded like a perfect platform from which to jump right in and create.

there's something pumpkin going on.

there’s something pumpkin going on.

I mixed up the recipe, pretty much as it was written, but I didn’t like the glaze idea, so I decided instead to add two cups of one of my absolute favorite baking accoutrements, Cinnamon Chips.

it's beginning to look a lot like pumpkin.

it’s beginning to look a lot like pumpkin.

I used my trusty mini ice cream scoop, which is perfectly cookie-sized, and scooped them out onto parchment paper-covered cookie sheets.

here's the scoop.

here’s the scoop.

I baked them at 350 for about 15 minutes, and they were perfect. Seriously. They were not burned, yet were cooked all the way through, and remained soft and chewy and delicious throughout their entire lifespan.

soft. chewy. cinnamon chip-y.

soft. chewy. cinnamon chip-y.

The recipe made a lot of them, too. I had baked 3 trays of 15 cookies each, and had to stop because someone was nagging me about using the oven. In his defense, it was dinner time. So I wrapped the rest of the dough and put it in the fridge and plan to bake it off this week!

 

 

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Two Cookie Cakes, One Recipe.

I’m all about saving time and reducing waste. So last week, when I realized I had to make not one, but two cakes for two entirely separate events, I started thinking of ways I could somehow lessen the work and the waste, while still pleasing both cake recipients. Event #1 was my anniversary; the recipient of this cake being my boyfriend. Now at first I thought maybe I would just make him a batch of cookies – he absolutely adores my chocolate chip cookies. Event #2 was my dad’s birthday; the recipient of this cake being (obviously) my dad. My dad is not a dessert fan, but he does have a few things he enjoys – gingerbread, lady fingers, cookies.. COOKIES! There was the common thread. But I had really wanted to make my dad an actual cake that I could write on….COOKIE CAKES! And so it was written.

My standard chocolate chip cookie recipe made two cookie cakes – one 10″  and one 8″. As they cooled, I started mixing up some colors for the decorating portion of tonight’s show.

the colors of the wind (or icing).

the colors of the wind (or icing).

I decided to use the larger cake for the anniversary, for two reasons: 1. like I said, my dad doesn’t eat too many sweets, and 2. I wanted to eat some too. I went with the blue theme for this one.

i guess that's why they call it the blues.

i guess that’s why they call it the blues.

I went with a complimentary dark purple for accents and writing.

complimentary.

complimentary.

Don’t for a second think that I wasn’t thinking ahead here. For my dad’s cake, I chose light yellow.

they call me mellow yellow.

they call me mellow yellow.

Which also looks great with a dark purple.

purple planning.

purple planning.

Both cakes were a hit! My boyfriend liked his so much, he ate a piece for breakfast.

the breakfast of champions.

the breakfast of champions.

And then asked me to marry him. :)

must've been something in the cake...

must’ve been something in the cake…

I guess it’s true what the say about the way to a man’s heart. ;)

 

 

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Cookies and Cream (Cheese) Truffles.

oreo bites3

Yeah, I know – it’s been well over a month since I’ve posted anything…and it’s not like I haven’t been baking. If anything, I’ve been baking more than I have in a long time, what with the holidays and stuff. I just haven’t been writing about it. So, today, I just felt like writing again. So here I am.

I figured I’d ease my way back into blogging with a super easy and super delicious little treat that a friend mentioned to me in passing last month, saying that I should make it as one of my Christmas cookies this year, because it makes a lot of them and it’s easy and everybody loves them. Well, she was right about all of that.

Basically, you take a whole package of Oreos (or faux-reos, which is what I used because they taste the same and in some cases, even better), crumble them all up in a food processor, mix them with one package of cream cheese (but put a small amount of the crumbles aside for sprinkling on top later), and roll them into walnut-sized balls. Refrigerate them for a few hours. When they’re good and cold, take them out, and dip them into melted chocolate, I used unsweetened bakers chocolate. Some people may tell you to use semi-sweet – that’s your call. But truth be told, unsweetened was all I had in the house, so I had to use it. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little concerned with how this was gonna play out. Anyway, as soon you dip them, sprinkle some of the crushed cookie bits on top, and let them sit for at least another hour.

oreo truffle shuffle.

oreo truffle shuffle.

So, after I let mine sit, I figured I’d better eat one. I was pleasantly surprised – the unsweetened chocolate actually complimented the sweetness of the cookie/cream cheese ball quite well. But I was still concerned. Maybe I just don’t like things as sweet as everyone else? I had so many of them though, I couldn’t just not share them. So I started slipping them into to cookie gift boxes and trays, and you know what happened next? Not only did everyone like them, but each time I gave someone a cookie assortment, they specifically asked me what that one was, and said how fabulous it was. Go figure.

I guess it’s true – what you have really is all you need – especially when it’s unsweetened chocolate.

 

 

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Pumpkin Biscotti: A Matter of Personal Preference.

pumpkin biscotti 2

I was thinking about biscotti the other day and how I haven’t made it in at least two years – I was definitely still in pastry school the last time. I remembered that it wasn’t the hardest thing to make, but it also wasn’t the simplest. So, I whipped out my old test book, and searched for the recipe.

It was definitely something I could do, but this recipe was for almond biscotti. And I really wanted to try a more seasonal flavor. I’ve been on a pumpkin rampage, and I still am, so I thought I’d give the old internet a search, and see if I could find a pumpkin biscotti recipe that suited my needs. I quickly came across this one on simplyrecipes.com. It was from 2007, but in the world of baking, that really doesn’t matter – a good recipe is a good recipe, pretty much forever. So I went to work.

I followed the recipe pretty closely – except that I tried to cheat and not flour my hands when I went to knead the dough – HUGE mistake. This dough is über sticky – make sure you use plenty o’ flour. It makes rolling it into a large log that much easier.

biscotti log (sort of)

biscotti log (sort of)

The one thing about this recipe I did find momentarily confusing was that it says to roll it into a large log, but that the logs should be relatively flat. Well, in my mind, a log is round, not flat, so I didn’t quite understand at first what this was telling me to do. So, I thought back to the last time I made biscotti, and just did that, which was just make a long flat-ish dough strip (as you can see in the picture), and bake it the first time in that shape.

As biscotti means “twice baked” in Italian, you gotta bake this puppy twice. So, after it baked as a flat log, I removed it from the oven, turned the  heat down, waited for the log to cool slightly, then cut it into strips, and baked it again.

baking twice makes it extra nice.

baking twice makes it extra nice.

So, here’s where my personal preference came into play. I don’t like my biscotti super hard and stale-tasting. I like it crispy on the edges, but still a little soft in the middle. So, I baked it the second time just long enough to achieve my desired results, which was somewhere around 7-8 minutes.

crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside.

crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside.

Someone told me that although it tasted fantastic, it wasn’t biscotti because it wasn’t hard enough. Well, friends, that’s just not true. Biscotti can be as hard as you like it – the only requirement is that you bake it twice. You know, since that’s what it’s named for, and all. :)

 
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Posted by on November 26, 2013 in coffee, cookies, Indulgences, recipes

 

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Recipe: Pumpkin Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies.

pumpkin cookies

I hate when things go to waste. I had this partial can of pumpkin leftover from the pumpkin fudge I just made, and I really wanted to put it to good use. But I couldn’t figure out what I wanted to use it for. I wanted to make cookies, so I started looking up pumpkin cookie recipes, but nothing really tickled my fancy. So, I decided to make up my own pumpkin cookie recipe. I started with my chocolate chip cookie recipe. I added oatmeal and pumpkin.

orange you glad i added pumpkin to the batter?

orange you glad i added pumpkin to the batter?

I also used mini chocolate chips instead of the regular sized ones. I’d like to say this was a conscious decision, but in reality, the mini chips were all I had in the house, and I didn’t feel like running out last minute and picking up a bag of the bigger ones. Thankfully, it seemed to all turn out ok.

mini chips to the rescue.

mini chips to the rescue.

They turned out soft, chewy, and not at all flat. So, the experiment was a success, and the leftover pumpkin definitely did not go to waste. All is right in the kitchen. :)

happiness is a pumpkin cookie.

happiness is a pumpkin cookie.

Pumpkin Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies.

What you’ll need:

5 oz.   shortening

8 oz.   sugar

.25 oz.  salt

3 oz. (about 2)  eggs

.25 oz.  vanilla

12 oz.  flour

.25 oz.  baking soda

1 cup canned pumpkin

1 cup cinnamon flavored oatmeal (about 2 of the pouches)

6 oz. mini chocolate chips

What you’ll do:

Preheat the oven to 375. In a large bowl, cream together the shortening, sugar, and salt. Add the eggs and the vanilla, and beat until smooth. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour and baking soda, and slowly add it to the wet ingredients. Add the pumpkin and the oatmeal, and mix well. Fold in the mini chips. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and scoop dough into rounded tablespoon sized balls, at least an inch apart onto the sheet. Bake for 8-9 minutes, or until edges start to brown.

 

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Half Moons (aka Chocolate Covered Chocolate Chip Cookies).

chocs

One of my favorite things to use my baking ability for is supporting a good cause. Last night, I did just that. I participated in an event called “Chocolate”, hosted by local public television station, WHYY. Not only has WHYY been around since I was kid, but it was on this very station where I faithfully watched Sesame Street everyday, and still could to this day, if I so desired. A childhood without Sesame Street is like a cake without icing. Or, a cookie without chocolate. Sure, a chocolate chip cookie can be an amazing snack on its own – but have you ever had one dipped in chocolate? I decided to give back to the community by offering up this very thing. I started with my very own dream cookie recipe.

a dough to build a dream on.

a dough to build a dream on.

I made two varieties – the standard chocolate you see pictured here, and an alternate version with white chocolate chips. I baked them into cookies.

what comes is better than what came before.

what comes is better than what came before.

Now here’s where I was alone, I took a right, I didn’t know what I would find there. I cut all of the cookies in half while they were still a little warm and let them cool. Next, I took each of the “half moons” and dipped it entirely into melted chocolate. Milk chocolate for the milk chocolate chips….

it's getting better all the time.

it’s getting better all the time.

…and white chocolate (colored pink in honor of Valentine’s Day) for the white chocolate chips.

pink, pink, pink, pink moon.

pink, pink, pink, pink moon.

I did some in plain white as well, for the sake of variety. I put them on display and left it up to the people to decide their fate.

The results: two days of baking, cutting and dipping over 400 half moons – all vanished in less than two hours. Cutting them in half way key – a full-sized dipped cookie would have just been too big and too rich. But a half? Now THAT’S the perfect Small Indulgence.

 

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Christmas Cookie Recipe: Honey Whiskey Balls.

DSC_0740

I thought I was finished baking all my Christmas cookies, but I started thinking hmmm….I already have one that’s green, but you know what would really complete this line up? A red cookie! So I started looking up recipes for “red cookies.” I found a bunch for different types of red velvet cookies and some sounded delicious, but I wasn’t quite sold. Then I remembered this book that I picked up last year:

best. cookie book. ever.

best. cookie book. ever.

This book is great. It’s filled with classic Christmas cookie recipes, both old and new, and from all over the world. If you want to pick up a copy (and you should), check it out on amazon.com.

Anyway, I started flipping through the pages, looking for something red. I did not find something red, per se, but I did however find something that I could make red – Chocolate Bourbon Balls. So I decided to give these a try. Apparently this cookie has its origins in the 1930′s, and there are many variations out there. So, I decided to throw one more into the mix. So I give you my take on this classic: Honey Whiskey Balls.

strong, but sweet.

strong, but sweet.

Before I share the recipe, I feel the need to mention a few things, mainly that these are somewhat STRONG. Not “get drunk off of one cookie” strong, but you can definitely taste the whiskey. So, if whiskey ain’t your thing, you may want to stick with sugar cookies. The original recipe called for bourbon, but I wanted to try Jack Daniel’s Honey Whiskey, and the feedback was all positive. Also, I used Merckens red colored chocolate to make them red. I love Merckens and highly recommend it for all your chocolate-y needs. And finally, the original recipe also called for pecans – I used walnuts. It worked out great. With that being said, heeeeerrrrrreeee’s the recipe!

Chocolate Honey Whiskey Balls.

What you’ll need:

2 1/2 cups Vanilla Wafers

1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar

1 cup ground walnuts

6 oz Merckens red chocolate wafers

1/2 cup Jack Daniel’s Honey Whiskey

3 tablespoons light corn syrup

granulated sugar

What you’ll do:

In a food processor, combine the Vanilla wafers, confectioner’s sugar and walnuts until finely ground and set aside.  Melt the chocolate according to the manufacturer’s directions (in the microwave or over the stove). Once melted completely, stir in the whiskey and corn syrup. Pour chocolate mixture into the dry ingredients, and mix until well combined. Let sit for about 30 minutes. Roll the mixture into walnut-sized balls, and roll each in granulated sugar until completely covered. It’s best to let these sit for a few days before serving, as they can be…somewhat powerful at first. :)

And thus, my Christmas Cookie lineup was complete.

cookies in a box!

cookies in a box!

 

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Sweet and Cheesy.

So for three years now, I’ve hosted an annual Christmas Party, affectionately known as the B.Y.O.Ch. (pronounced “bee-yoch”) which stands for “Bring Your Own Cheese.” Needless to say, there is a lot of cheese there, from mild, to spicy, to downright smelly.

a plethora of cheese.

a plethora of cheese.

The thing is, cheese is not usually all that sweet. So in addition to cheese itself, the door is open to any cheese-related dish. For me, that means desserts, of course. In the past I’ve made cheesecake, but this year I went with an assortment of cheesy cookies.

There were Cottage Cheese Cookies…

chocolate and cheese.

chocolate and cheese.

….Cream Cheese Cookies…

creamy and dreamy.

creamy and dreamy.

…and Breakfast Cookies (made with shredded cheddar cheese).

breakfast for dessert.

breakfast for dessert.

To top it off, I mixed in these little guys, made from marzipan.

marzipan mice army.

marzipan mice army.

As usual, there was so much leftover, that I have more cheese in my fridge right now than one person should in their entire life. Don’t worry though – it definitely won’t go to waste. ;)

 
4 Comments

Posted by on December 16, 2012 in Christmas, cookies

 

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Hipster Christmas Cookies (with Moustaches).

To the tune of “Sister Christian”:

Hipster Christmas cookies you’re too cool

Making other cookies look like tools, ironically.

haven't you ever seen a tree with a moustache before?

haven’t you ever seen a tree with a moustache before?

 

My friend asked me last week if I could make some Hipster Christmas cookies. There were no real requirements, other than it had to have a moustache. “Yeah, I think I can do, that!” I responded. I thought for a bit, and then suddenly visions of moustached Christmas trees danced in my head. They were dancing to music you probably haven’t heard of, of course.

wash it down with a PBR.

wash it down with a PBR.

 

I got some Christmas tree-shaped cookie cutters, made some sugar-cookie dough and dyed it green, cut the shapes, and baked. For the ‘stache, I used black fondant. I could not find a moustache cookie cutter in any store and didn’t have time to order anything online, so I had to create my own stencil. It worked great, and now hipsters around the world can celebrate Christmas, ironically.

In other news, I was just looking up the definition of “hipster” and turns out the term was coined in the 1940′s and originally refered to “characters who like hot jazz.” So the hipster is really not so new after all.

 

 
 

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Eat Dessert and Adopt a Pet.

This weekend, I’m participating in a bake sale to benefit Furrever Friends Rescue and Volunteers, Inc, which is a wonderful organization dedicated to saving the lives of homeless pets. This particular cause is very dear to me, as I grew up in a family where all of our pets were shelter animals and I adopted my own pet (Gandalf the Gray) almost 10 years ago from a shelter.

10 years old, and still crazy as a kitten.

Anyway, if you are in the Philly area over the weekend, swing on down to the PetSmart in Deptford, NJ , and sample some delicious baked goods, all for a great cause. And, heck, why not adopt a pet while you’re at it!

And just to further entice you, here’s a glimpse of my donations.

Chocolate Chip Cookies….

the cookie next door.

Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies….

The exotic.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies…

the party cookie.

and Marzipan Mice.

the cheerleader.

The sale will be going on today from 10am to 9pm, and tomorrow 10am to 5pm. If you love animals and baked goods (and who doesn’t) then come on down!

 
4 Comments

Posted by on September 15, 2012 in confections, cookies, events, Indulgences

 

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