Saturday, December 6, 2014

Soft & Chewy Gingerbread Cookies

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12 Days of Christmas: Day 6

One of my holiday favorites are gingerbread men, and I am making those next week, but these recipe is very similar in taste to a traditional gingerbread man.  These cookies are soft and chewy verses a gingerbread man which is typically a little more crunchy.  These are also less work then gingerbread men.

The flavor in these cookies is intense but amazing.  I increased the cinnamon and added a dash of nutmeg, just for fun.  My cookies turned out huge and a little bit flat.  I think next time I would recommend refrigerating the dough for at least 30 minutes.  I think ill be suckered into making these again soon because everyone at my work loved them so much, even our Executive Chef ate one and loved it.

Happy Holidays!






Ginger Cookies - Adapted from Onelittleproject.com
Yield: 16-18 Large Cookies
Ingredients:
2¼ Cups Flour
2 Teaspoons Ground Ginger
1 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
½ Teaspoon Ground Cloves
A Dash of Nutmeg, optional
1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
¼ Teaspoon Salt
¾ Cup Butter, softened
1 Cup Sugar
1 Egg
1 Tablespoon Water
¼ Cup Molasses
4 Tablespoons White Sugar

Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 
  2. Mix together the flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and 1 cup sugar until light and fluffy.
  4. Beat in the egg, then stir in the water and molasses.
  5. Gradually stir the sifted ingredients into the molasses mixture.
  6. Put the dough in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes - optional but recommended!
  7. Shape dough into 1" sized balls, and roll them in the remaining 4 tablespoons of sugar.
  8. Place the cookies 2 inches apart onto a cookie sheet.
  9. Bake for 10-12 minutes in the preheated oven.
  10. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.


  1. Enjoy!!

Friday, December 5, 2014

Candy Cane Kiss Cookies

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12 Days of Christmas Cookies: Day 5

Its Friday which means its time for a super fun and colorful Christmas cookie post!  I love sprinkles and these cookies are loaded with them.  I have one of those containers of sprinkles with 5 different types in it, opened all the lids and just started shaking the sprinkles in.  Then I turned on the mixer and added more.  Haha, I might have gone a little nuts but you can never have too many sprinkles.  

This is a basic sugar cookie recipe, soft and chewy, just loaded up with sprinkles. The candy cane kiss on top is for extra color and holiday spirit.  You could make these for other holidays too with a chocolate kiss on top and sprinkles to match.  Hope you enjoy these as much as my work did!

Happy Holidays!






Sugar Cookie - Sallys Baking Addiction
Yield: 18-24 depending on size
Ingredients:
10 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter, room temperature
1 Cup Sugar
2 Egg Yolks
1 Teaspoon Vanilla
1 1/2 Cups Flour
3/4 Teaspoon Baking Powder
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
Lots of sprinkles - I used all different kinds
24 Candy Cane Hershey Kisses

Directions:
  1. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Set aside. 
  2. Using a hand-held or stand mixer with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar together on medium speed for 5 full minutes, scraping down the sides and the bottom as necessary. 
  3. Add the egg yolks and vanilla, beating on medium-high until fully combined. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as necessary. 
  4. In a medium bowl, toss the flour, baking powder, and salt together. Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients on low speed until fully combined. Add a few shakes of different types of sprinkles until the desired sprinkle to dough ratio is accomplished.
  5. The dough will be very thick. If the dough is too sticky, chill for at least 45 minutes.
  6. Preheat oven to 350F degrees.
  7. Roll dough into balls, a little less than 1 Tablespoon of dough each. The dough may seem dry*, but the warmth of your hands will allow it to come together in a ball. 
  8. Roll into assorted sprinkles and bake for 8-10 minutes. 
  9. The cookies will look very, very under baked. That's what you need. Do not over bake. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes. 
  10. Press a Hershey Kiss into the center and immediately put the cookie sheet into the freezer for 5 minutes. Doing this will prevent the kiss from melting.  My cookie sheet wont fit into my freezer, not did I have room for it, so I waited a few minutes then put the kiss on the cookies.  It melted a little but didn't deform the kiss.   
  11. Cookies remain fresh tightly covered at room temperature for 1 week.
  12. Enjoy!!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Christmas Cut-out Sugar Cookies

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12 Days of Christmas Cookies: Day 4

Sugar cookies are a holiday classic.  I used to make these cookies as a kid to leave out for Santa.  They are buttery and soft and will even put a Grinch in the holiday spirit!  Today I only made Christmas trees because they are the easiest to decorate.  I little bit of green royal icing and some sprinkles is all you need for these and they turn out very pretty.  

I brought these into work and everyone loved them!  Nothing better then a sugar cookie for breakfast.  Whoops...

Happy Holidays!








Cut Out Sugar Cookies - Recipe from Love Grows Wild
Yield - Depends on the size of your cookie cutters
Ingredients:
1 Cup Unsalted Butter, room temperature
1¼ Cup Sugar
1 Egg
2 Teaspoons Vanilla
3 Cups Flour
1½ Teaspoons Baking Powder
¼ Teaspoon Salt
colored sugars for decorating

Directions
  1. In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. 
  2. Add in egg, vanilla extract, and mix until combined.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Make sure to spoon the flour into your measuring cup and level it off with a knife to ensure accurate measurements. 
  4. Slowly add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix until completely combined.
  5. Roll the dough between 2 sheets of parchment or wax paper and place on a baking sheet in the refrigerator. Chill for about 20-30 minutes.
  6. Cut dough into shapes with cookie cutters and transfer to a baking sheet. Sprinkle with colored sugars.
  7. Bake at 350 degrees for 8-12 minutes. Cool on baking sheet 5 minutes, then transfer to a baking rack to cool completely. 
  8. Store in an airtight container.
  9. Enjoy!!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Brown Sugar Pecan Cookies

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12 Days of Christmas Cookies: Day 3

Before Thanksgiving I bought a huge bag of pecans from Costco and now I am trying to find recipes with pecans.  I came across this recipe and was really excited to try it.  They turned out really good and the frosting is to die for!  The cookie is soft but has a nice crunch with the pecans in the cookie and on top too.  

These cookies would be a huge hit at any holiday party!



Brown Sugar Pecan Cookies - Recipe from Tatertots and Jello
Yield: 3 Dozen
Ingredients:
1 Cup Unsalted Butter, softened
1/2 Cup Sugar
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar, packed
1 Egg, room temperature
1 Teaspoon Vanilla
2 Cups Flour
1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
1/2 Cup Chopped Pecans

Directions:
  1. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter at medium speed until creamy. Add sugars and beat until smooth. 
  2. Add egg and vanilla and beat until well combined.
  3. In a separate bowl combine flour, baking soda and salt. Gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture and mix well. 
  4. Stir in chopped pecans. Cover and chill at least 30 minutes.
  5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  6. Shape dough into 1-inch balls and place 2 inches apart on a cookie sheet. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. (If making larger cookies, add an extra 1 to 2 minutes to baking time.) Cool 2 minutes on pan and remove to wire racks. Cool completely before frosting.
Brown Sugar Frosting
Ingredients:
1 Cup Brown Sugar, packed
1/2 Cup Half & Half
1 Tablespoon Unsalted Butter
1 1/4 to 1 1/2 Cups Powdered Sugar

Directions:
  1. Combine brown sugar and half and half in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a boil. 
  2. Boil for 4 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in butter. Add 1 1/4 cups powdered sugar and beat at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. 
  4. Consistency will seem thin but will thicken as it cools. If frosting seems too thin, add enough of the remaining powdered sugar to desired consistency.
  5. Frost your cookies with about 1 teaspoon or so and sprinkle chopped pecans on top.
  6. Enjoy!

A word of advice: Because this brown sugar frosting thickens rather quickly, don’t start it until you’re ready to frost the cookies. If it starts to set, just give it a nice stir with your spatula.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Soft & Chewy Chocolate Peppermint Cookies

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12 Days of Christmas Cookies: Day 2

Eating extreme amounts of peppermint flavored things is one of my favorite things about the holidays.  Everything from a peppermint mocha at Starbucks,  to Dove peppermint bark chocolates, to plain old candy canes, I just cant get enough.  I think that might put me on the naughty list, or might just mean I need to wear my fat pants for a month or two...

These cookies were on the top of my "To-Bake List" due to the Andes peppermint crunch thins in them.  They have a rich chocolate cookies base that is perfectly soft and chewy and then they are loaded with peppermint crunch.  Doesn't get much better then that!

If you are going to make these, which I highly recommend you do, make sure you have enough time to chill the dough.  Its a very important step and you cannot skip it.  I know time is tight around the holidays, everyone has a million things to do, just plan to make the dough, wrap some presents, then finish off the cookies in the oven!

Happy Baking & Happy Holidays!





Adapted from Mom on time out
Yield - 3 Dozen
Ingredients:
1 1/2 Cups Flour
1/2 Cup Unsweetened Baking Cocoa
1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
3/4 Cup Light Brown Sugar
1/2 Cup Sugar
1/2 Cup Unsalted Butter, room temp or even slightly melted
1 Teaspoon Vanilla
1 Egg, room temperature
2 Tablespoons Water
1 Cup Andes Peppermint Crunch baking chips plus more for sprinkling on top - I couldn't find the baking chips so I just cut  up the peppermint thins

Directions:
  1. Whisk together flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  2. Cream sugars and butter together until light and fluffy.
  3. Add in egg, vanilla and water and beat until well blended.
  4. Gradually add in dry ingredients.
  5. Fold in baking chips.
  6. Refrigerate dough for 1 hour.
  7. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  8. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  9. Scoop out rounded tablespoons of cookie dough onto prepared cookie sheet. Dough is very thick.
  10. Bake for 7-8 minutes or until they are set. Do not over bake!
  11. Remove from oven, sprinkle with additional Andes chips if desired, and let cool on a rack. Store in an airtight container.
  12. Enjoy!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Turtle Thumbprint Cookies

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12 Day of Christmas Cookies: Day 1

Here we go, jumping into the holiday season.

 I committed to doing 12 days of Christmas cookies and its already been tough.  I spent all weekend making cookies so I would be caught up during the week but yet I still feel behind.  Oh well, who needs sleep when you can be baking and blogging.

I also got a new camera this weekend, Nikon D3300 which I love so far.  It was a steal on black Friday at Costco so I couldn't resist.  No more Iphone photos on this blog!

On to the cookies, they are delicious and are perfect for any holiday party.  I have never made or even ever tried a turtle cookies but they turned out amazing.  These are definitely going on a rotation in my holiday baking.  I handed some around to neighbors and friends and they were a huge hit.  People were saying they were too pretty to eat, but I don't they that lasted long.  I made my cookies on the big side and the recipe only yielded 15, so be sure to scoop your dough small if you want more then that.

Happy Holidays!







Turtle Cookies - Adapted from Tastes Better From Scratch
Yield: 16-20 cookies
Ingredients:
1 Cup Flour
1/3 Cup Cocoa Powder
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
½ Cup (1 stick) Butter, unsalted and room temp
2/3 Cup Sugar
1 Large Egg, separated
2 Tablespoon Milk
1 Teaspoon Vanilla
1 Cup Pecans, finely chopped

For the Caramel:
2/3 Cup Kraft Caramel Bits (or regular caramels, melted)
1/2 Teaspoon Water

1/4 Cup Dark Chocolate for Drizzle

Directions:
  1. Combine flour, cocoa and salt. 
  2. In a separate bowl cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in the egg yolk, milk and vanilla. 
  3.  Stir in flour mixture, just until combined. 
  4. Chill dough in the refrigerator for one hour.
  5. Whisk egg whites in a bowl until frothy. Place chopped pecans in another shallow bowl. 
  6. Remove dough from fridge and roll into small balls (however many cookies you want–I made 20 small ones).
  7. Roll each dough ball in the frothy egg whites, and then roll and press in the chopped pecans.
  8. Use the back of a small measuring spoon to make an indentation in the center of each dough ball.
  9. Bake at 350 Degrees F for about 10-12 minutes, or until set.
  10. As the cookies come out of the oven, gently re-press the indentations with a small spoon.
  11. In a microwavable bowl mix the caramel bits and water. Microwave at 30-second intervals, stirring after each interval, until caramel is melted (1-2 minutes). Pour small spoonfuls of caramel into the indented cookies. 
  12. Drizzle with melted chocolate.
  13. Enjoy!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

The Perfect Fudgy Brownie

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Last week it was birthday time again at my work.  We had 3 more birthdays to celebrate this month and I wanted to bring something in to work to share with everyone.  

This brownie recipe has been going around social media like crazy so I had to jump on the band wagon and try it for myself.  The brownies have great flavor, very rich, but I was bummed because I think I over cooked my batch.  My co-workers told me to feel free to keep testing out the recipe, and they will keep eating all the test batches,  haha but I think I just cooked them for a few minutes too long.  I was hoping for a more "fudgy" brownie and I think it would have been achieved if I had just taken them out of the oven a little sooner.  

Oh well, next time they will be perfect and I will be sure to post an update!

Happy Birthday Gina!



Fudgy Brownies - Adapted from Buns In My Oven
Yield: 24 Brownies
Ingredients:
1 Cup Butter, unsalted
2 1/4 Cups Sugar
4 Large Eggs, room temp
1 1/4 Cups Cocoa Powder, unsweetened
1 Teaspoon Salt
1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
1 Teaspoon espresso powder, optional (I used 1 packet of Starbucks VIA and dissolved it into the vanilla)
1 Tablespoon Vanilla Extract
1 1/2 Cups Flour
2 Cups Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips

Directions:
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9x13 baking dish.
  2. In small saucepan over low heat, melt butter completely. Stir in sugar and continue cooking for 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly. Do not allow sugar mixture to boil.
  3. Pour butter mixture into the bowl of a kitchen Aid mixer or a large bowl and let it cool for 5 minutes.
  4. Beat in cocoa powder, eggs, salt, baking powder, espresso powder, and vanilla extract. Mix until well combined.
  5. Stir in the flour and chocolate chips until well combined.
  6. Spread into prepared pan (batter will be very thick and sticky) and bake for about 25 minutes, until a tester comes out mostly clean. The edges should be set and the center should still look slightly moist, but not uncooked. Cool on a wire rack.
  7. Enjoy with a glass of cold milk!
recipe from King Arthur Flour

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Extravaganza Cupcake

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Today we have a guest blogger.  I hope you enjoy it!

Hi everyone,  my name is Ireland and I am Merlot's neighbor.  I am a 4th grader at San Elijo Hills Elementary school.  I really wanted to learn how to make buttercream and swirl it on cupcakes.  I am asking Santa for my own Kitchen Aid Mixer so I can do this at my house.

Today I came over to make to make these cupcakes.  They have a surprise peanut butter cup in the middle.   We picked this recipe because we had a lot of Halloween candy left over.  We put one Reese's on the bottom and covered them with chocolate cupcake batter.   While they were cooling, we made the buttercream.  We whipped the butter super duper fast and then added a ton of powdered sugar and peanut butter.  We swirled it up high and drizzled the cupcakes with chocolate.  We cut up Reese peanut butter cups into pizza slices and placed them right on top to finish them off.

We brought the cupcakes around to all our neighbors and they LOVED them!  My little brother was like "yum, yum, yum, yum!"

Hope you enjoy these cupcakes as much as we did!







Chocolate Cupcakes - Adapted from Glorious Treats
Yield: 24 standard sized cupcakes
Ingredients:
2 Cups Sugar
1 3/4 Cups Flour
3/4 Cup Unsweetened Cocoa (best quality available)
1 1/2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
1 1/2 Teaspoons Baking Soda
1 Teaspoon Salt
3 Eggs, room temp
1 Cup Milk - We used 2%
1/2 Cup Vegetable Oil
2 Teaspoons Vanilla
1 Cup Boiling Water
24 Reese's Peanut Butter Cups (small size, not mini)

Directions-
  1. Line muffin tin with paper liners and put one peanut butter cup in the middle of each liner. Heat oven to 350.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  3. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla. Beat on medium speed for one minute.
  4. Stir in boiling water (the batter will be thin, don’t worry, this is right).
  5. Fill liners 2/3 full with batter.  About 1/4 cup per cupcake.
  6. Bake cupcakes for approximately 20-22 minutes.
  7. Cool completely on wire rack before frosting.

Peanut Butter Buttercream - Goddess of Baking
Ingredients:
3 Sticks Butter, unsalted and room temperature
1 Cup Creamy Peanut Butter
2 Tablespoons Vanilla
5 1/2 Cups Confectioners' Sugar, sifted
6-8 Tablespoons Heavy Cream - I used about 4 tablespoons milk

Directions:
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the whisk attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, cream butter and peanut butter on medium speed until fluffy. 
  2. Turn your mixer down to low speed and slowly add in the confectioner’s sugar, and continue mixing until well blended.
  3. Add vanilla and 4 tablespoons of heavy cream or milk. Blend on low speed until moistened. 
  4. Add an additional 1 to 4 tablespoons of heavy cream until you reach the desired consistency. Beat at high speed until frosting is smooth and fluffy
  5. Pipe frosting onto cooled cupcakes.
  6. We also drizzled the cupcakes with chocolate.
  7. ENJOY!!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Browned Butter Brown Sugar Cookies

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Do you love butter?  Do you love brown sugar and vanilla too?  Silly questions?  Well if you said "heck yes!" to any of those questions, then you will love these cookies.  

This post is actually for my 4 year anniversary of Goddess of Baking.  A lot has changed in the last four years since I started this blog.  This whole thing started while bored in biology class my senior year of college.  Since then, I have worked 3 totally different jobs, traveled the world, moved back to San Diego, bought a house, became an aunt to little Ben, and married the man of my dreams.  In the four years, I baked in four different kitchens, but have settled into my new kitchen nicely.  I now work for a catering company and get to be around food all day.  Its pretty cool.  I worked planning weddings on the side for 5 years and now I work on the catering sales side of weddings.  I hope you have enjoyed my blog over the years, and I am going to keep the recipes coming in hot from now on.  Thank you to all my family and friends for all the support me and I hope you have all enjoyed reading my posts.  

Enough about me and back to the cookies...

If you like butter, and you like brown sugar, then you will love this cookie.   





It was crunchy on the outside and yet still chewy and gooey on the inside.



Enjoy with a large glass of milk, and try not to eat the whole stack.


Just one more for good measure. 



Browned Butter Brown Sugar Cookies - Adapted from Sweet Pea's Kitchen
Ingredients:
14 Tablespoons Butter, unsalted
1 3/4 Cups Packed Light Brown Sugar, plus 2 tablespoons for rolling the cookies in
2 Cups Flour, plus 2 tablespoons
1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1/4 Teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1 Large Egg +1 Egg Yolk, room temp
1 1/2 Tablespoons Vanilla
2 Tablespoons Granulated Sugar, for rolling the cookies in

Directions:
  1. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, melt butter. Continue cooking, swirling pan constantly until butter is dark golden brown and has nutty aroma, 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat and transfer to a large heatproof bowl. Let cool for 15 minutes.  Be sure to not over cook the butter, it is a very fine line between browned butter and burnt butter.  If you are a browned butter newbie, here is a good guide -  How Sweet Eats
  2. Preheat oven to 350 and line a large baking sheets with parchment paper.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt; set aside.
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat together the browned butter and 1 3/4 cups brown sugar until combined and no lumps remain, about 2 minutes.
  5. Add egg, yolk and vanilla and mix until smooth, about 30 seconds. Add half of the flour mixture and mix for 15 seconds. Add the remaining flour mixture and beat until just incorporated.
  6. Place the remaining 2 tablespoons of brown sugar and 2 tablespoons of sugar for rolling in a shallow bowl. Roll one heaping tablespoon of dough into ball between your palms, roll the ball in the sugar, and then place it on the prepared baking sheet spacing the balls about 2 inches apart (you should be able to fit 12 cookies on each sheet).
  7. Bake cookies until tops are puffy and slightly cracked, about 10 to 12 minutes.  Transfer the baking sheet to a wire rack and let the cookies cool on the sheet for 2 minutes, then using a wide metal spatula, transfer the cookies to the rack to cool completely.
  8. Enjoy!!

Recipe Note: Use fresh brown sugar, as older (harder and drier) brown sugar will make the cookies too dry.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Pecan Pie

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This weekend my husband and I hosted Friendsgiving at our house for 14 of our close friends.  I figured that now that I am a wife, I should probably figure out how to cook a turkey and host a large dinner party.  I love hosting parties, but the turkey part made me nervous.





It was a crazy week at work but I planned well and I managed to get all my shopping and preparing done by Friday.  I bought a 15 pounder turkey and used Alton Brown's Roast Turkey recipe.  I was a little nervous as this was my first attempt to ever cook anything bigger then a chicken breast or a steak.  My husband and I had to look up videos on youtube on how to get the innards out of a turkey, yes a little embarrassing.  After brining the turkey for about 16 hours, we roasted it to a perfect golden brown and gobbled it all down.  Still learning how to carve a turkey though, hopefully ill do better next year.


We had a huge feast of delicious food that all my friends helped out with.  
Dinner was a great success!


(I may have gone a little Pinterest crazy with the place settings)


We took a break to make room for pie.  I made this pecan pie and my friends brought an apple pie and a pumpkin pie.  I love fresh whipped cream, so I put a pint of heavy whipping cream and 3 tablespoons of sugar into the Kitchen Aid mixer for a few mins until soft peaks formed.  Then voula, fresh whipped cream to put on top of your pie! Super easy and much better then the canned stuff.

The pie recipe is from The Pioneer Woman and if you use store bought crust, you can get this pie in the oven in less then 10 minutes.  I was a little overwhelmed with all the other cooking I had to do that I skipped making homemade crust this time and used Pillsbury crust.  The recipe is perfectly sweet and again, very easy!

Hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving with your family and friends.




What are some of your family traditions for the holidays?  Fried turkey?  Turducken?
 What kind of pie or desserts do you make?



Pecan Pie - Adapted from The Pioneer Woman
Yield - 1 Pie, about 12 small slices
Ingredients:
1 Unbaked Pie Crust, homemade or Pillsbury
1 Cup White Sugar
3 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1 Cup Corn Syrup
1 Teaspoons Vanilla
1/3 Cup Melted Butter (unsalted)
3 Whole Eggs, beaten
1 Cup (heaping) Chopped Pecans - I think I used about 1.5 Cups of Pecans

Directions:
  1. Roll out your pie crust and put into your pie tin/pan.  
  2. Next, mix (you can use a fork or a whisk) the sugar, brown sugar, salt, corn syrup, butter, eggs, and vanilla together in a bowl.
  3. Pour chopped pecans in the bottom of the unbaked pie shell.
  4. Pour syrup mixture over the top. Cover top and crust lightly/gently with foil. Bake pie at 350ยบ for 30 minutes. Remove foil, then continue baking for 20 minutes, being careful not to burn the crust or pecans.
  5. NOTE: PIE SHOULD NOT BE OVERLY JIGGLY WHEN YOU REMOVE IT FROM THE OVEN. If it shakes a lot, cover with foil and bake for an additional 20 minute or until set. Required baking time seems to vary widely with this recipe. Sometimes it takes 50 minutes; sometimes it takes 75!
  6. Allow to cool for several hours or overnight. Serve in thin slivers.
  7. Enjoy with your family and friends!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Chocolate Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

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Yesterday I went to a farewell lunch for one of my good friends who is moving to Pittsburgh on Tuesday.   I have worked for her coordinating weddings for the last five years and we became great friends.   I knew that I had to make her something delicious so I decided to make her these cookies.  We had a nice lunch by the beach with some of her other girlfriends and we all enjoyed these cookies.  We will miss you Andrea!!

In all honestly, I started out making another type of peanut butter cookie but had a little kitchen mishap.  I started out making Reese's overload cookies from Crazy for Crust.  I was using my brand new mixer and forgot to wash the bowl before putting in all the ingredients.  It wasn't until the end that I noticed the dough had turned black in some places.  After rubbing the inside of the bowl and my finger turning black, I realized the bowl had a thin layer of grease that was now mixed into my cookie dough.  Whoooops!  I had to throw away this batch and find a new recipe to make.  I washed the bowl twice, just to make sure all the grease was gone and started on this recipe.  

I was already running late to this lunch and didn't realized you were suppose to refrigerate the dough for an hour.  I only had about 10 minutes max to refrigerate the dough so that what I did.  The cookies still turned our great, even without refrigeration.  I hope you enjoy these cookies as much as we did!

Big thank you to my good friend Reese Foster who took some of these photos for me!  I had so much with the photo shoot and thanks for helping me in the kitchen!!  










Chocolate Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Cookies - Adapted from Sally's Baking Addiction
Yield: 2 Dozen
Directions:
1 1/2 Cups Flour
1/2 Cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
1/2 Cup Unsalted butter, softened to room temperature (1 stick)
1/2 Cup Light brown sugar, packed
1/2 Cup Sugar
1/2 Cup Creamy (or chunky peanut butter - I used creamy)
1 Large Egg - room temperature
1 Teaspoon Vanilla
2 Tablespoons Milk
1 1/2 cups Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, chopped (about 8 Reese’s Cups)

Drizzle: 1/4 Cup Creamy Peanut Butter


Directions:
  1. Mix the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl. Set aside.
  2. Using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on high speed until creamy, about 2 minute. Scrape down the sides and the bottom of the bowl as needed. 
  3. Switch the mixer to medium speed and beat in the brown sugar, granulated sugar, and peanut butter until combined. 
  4. Beat in the egg and vanilla extract, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.
  5. Turn the mixer off and pour the dry ingredients. Turn the mixer on low and slowly beat until a soft dough is formed. 
  6. Beat in the milk on medium speed. Once mixed, beat in the peanut butter cups until evenly disbursed. The dough will be very thick and sticky. 
  7. Cover the dough tightly with aluminum foil or plastic wrap and chill for at least 1 hour.  (This is ideal but if you are in a rush like I was, you can skip this step, or refrigerate for as long as you have)
  8. Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats, or use an AirBake pan. Set aside.
  9. Drop rounded balls of dough, about 1 Tablespoons of dough each, onto prepared baking sheets. Bake each batch for 10-12 minutes. 
  10. The cookies will not have spread much, so gently press down on them with the back of a fork or spoon. Allow to cool on the cookie sheet before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
  11. As the cookies are cooling, melt the peanut butter. Drizzle over cookies. Allow peanut butter to set for about 10 minutes. 
  12. Enjoy with a cold glass of milk!

Friday, October 31, 2014

Oreo Rice Krispies Treats

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Last week my husband and I were invited to our Halloween block party.  I wanted to make a sweet treat to bring with us, like the kids need more sugar.  I found this recipe and wanted to make it with Halloween Oreo's instead of regular ones to make them more festive.  This recipe is super fun because it combines two delicious childhood favorites.  I don't think ill ever make plain Rice Krispies Treats again after trying these.  Hope everyone has a fun and safe Halloween!

Happy Halloween




Oreo Rice Krispies Treats - Adapted from Chef-in-Training
Yield: 18 Rice Krispies Treats
Ingredients:
6 Cups Rice Krispies Cereal
22 Regular Oreos, chopped (I used halloween oreos)
5 Cups Mini Marshmallows (or 1 bag)
3 Tablespoon Butter - unsalted
White chocolate for drizzle, optional

Directions:
  1. Spray a 9x13 dish with cooking spray - Or line pan with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, pour measured Rice Krispies Cereal.
  3. Chop and mash Oreos. You can do this by putting them in a ziplock bag to help keep the mess under control. You want the Oreos to be a variety of sizes from chunky to finely crushed.
  4. Add Oreos to Rice Krispies cereal and stir to combine.
  5. In a medium sauce pan, heat butter and marshmallows together over medium heat, stirring constantly, until they melt together.
  6. Pour melted marshmallows over cereal and oreos and use a spatula sprayed with non-stick cooking spray to quickly combine all the ingredients.
  7. As soon as all the cereal is combined, spread mixture into the prepared 9×13″ dish. Use the spatula to press the mixture around the dish, and flatten as needed.
  8. Let sit until completely cooled. NOTE: When the rice krispies treats and cooled I drizzled mine with some white chocolate and let it set until it hardened for a pretty finish.
  9. Enjoy!!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookies

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While walking the isles of the grocery store, I came across the new Toll House Delightfulls - chocolate chips filled with different flavors.  I decided I would buy a bag of the caramel filled chocolate chips and use them in a recipe.  When I stumbled across the recipe for these cookies I wanted to make them with caramel bits like it calls for but after an unsuccessful shopping trip, I figured I would substitute some of the caramel bits for the caramel Delightful chocolate chips along with a few caramels cut up into small pieces.   

These cookies turned out amazing.  I am always nervous about sprinkling too much salt on top but I am getting better at it.  I passed these out to the neighbors and they were gobbled up immediately.  One of the neighbor kids tried to pay me a dollar for the cookies I gave to this family.  I just ran away...

The Toll House Delightfulls are bigger chocolate chips then normal, but I didn't think they added much flavor to the cookie and I didn't see any caramel in the middle when it bit into it.  If you are going to make these cookies I would recommend trying to find the Kraft caramel bits - I think you can get them at target, not 100% sure on that though.  If not, cutting up caramels work too.  About 10 or 12 caramels (made for baking) is about all you need.

Hope you enjoy these cookies as much as we all did!  










Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookies - Adapted from Two Peas And Their Pod
Yield: 3 dozen cookies
Ingredients:
2 Cups Flour
2 Teaspoons Cornstarch
1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 Teaspoon Sea Salt
3/4 Cup Unsalted Butter - room temperature
1 Cup Brown Sugar
1/4 Cup Granulated Sugar
1 Large Egg - room temperature
2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract
1 Cup Chocolate Chips - I used 1/2 Cup Semi Sweet Chocolate chips and 1/2 Cup Toll House DelightFulls - Milk Chocolate filled with caramel
1/2 Cup Kraft Caramel Bits - I could not find these so I cut up about 6 caramels into little squares
Sea salt, for sprinkling on cookies

Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a large baking sheet with a Silpat baking mat or parchment paper and set aside.   I like to use my AirBake pans that do NOT need a baking mat or parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk flour, cornstarch, baking soda and sea salt together. Set aside.
  3.  In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together butter and sugars until smooth and creamy, about 3 minutes. Add egg and vanilla extract and beat until combined. Slowly mix in the dry ingredients.
  4. Stir in the chocolate chips and caramel bits. Form cookie dough into tablespoon balls and place on prepared baking sheet, about 2 inches apart. Sprinkle each cookie with sea salt.
  5. Bake cookies for 10 minutes, or until slightly golden brown around the edges. 
  6. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for two minutes. Transfer to a wire cooling rack and cool completely.
  7. Enjoy!!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Snickerdoodle Cake with Cinnamon Brown Sugar Buttercream

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Birthday's are big at my work.  I am responsible for keeping the list of birthday current with my fellow employees, getting birthday cards, making sure they all get signed, and getting a cake.  After an unsuccessful trip to the grocery store to get a cake, I figured I would just make one.  I asked my co-worker what kind of cake she wanted and we browsed my Pinterest page to find something that looked delicious.  This cake was the winner.  I am a huge fan of cinnamon so I was very excited to get home to start baking.  The cake turned out great, everyone loved it.  I work for a high end catering company so most of my taste testers were chefs and people with a passion for food.  I think the buttercream was my favorite part.  It has a different texture then a typical buttercream because of the brown sugar but the flavor was divine and was a perfect compliment to the snickerdoodle cake.  I think ill start making different cakes every month for my co-workers.  Hope you enjoy it as much as we did!







Snickerdoodle Cake - Adapted from Always With Butter Blog
Ingredients:
1 1/2 Cup Flour
1 1/2 Cup Cake Flour
1 Tablespoon Baking Powder
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1 1/2 Tablespoon Cinnamon
1 Cup Butter (2 sticks) - unsalted and room temperature
1 3/4 Cups Sugar
4 Eggs - room temperature
2 Teaspoons Vanilla
1 1/4 Cups Milk

Directions:
  1. Preheat the oven 325.
  2. Butter and flour two 8 or 9 inch cake pans
  3. Sift together both flours, baking powder, salt and cinnamon and set aside
  4. Cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy
  5. Add eggs one at a time then add vanilla
  6. Alternating, add dry mixture then milk in three batches
  7. Divide up the batter into the two pans.
  8. Bake for 30 - 35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean
  9. Let the cake cool completely before frosting

Cinnamon Brown Sugar Buttercream
Ingredients:
3 Sticks Butter - unsalted and room temperature
2/3 Cup Brown Sugar - packed
1 Teaspoon Cinnamon
3-4 Cups Powdered sugar
1 Teaspoon Vanilla
4 Tablespoons Milk or Half and Half
Directions:
  1. Cream the  butter, brown sugar and cinnamon on high speed
  2. Add the powdered sugar and then the vanilla and half and half and beat until light and fluffy
  3. Frost the cake
  4. ENJOY!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Perfect Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Granola Bars

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Fall is finally in the air in Southern California.  It was a pretty hot summer and I am glad to be back to wearing boots and sweaters, sipping hot cocoa on a cool night, and cuddling with my new husband under a blanket.  Well its not that cold yet, but a girl can dream (the high temp today is still 78 degrees). Anyway, I made these granola bars to get into the fall spirit, but I was too anxious and I did not read the recipe all the through.  I only baked mine for 20 minutes, instead of the full 40 minutes.  The flavor is delicious but my bars were falling apart.  I will definitely make these again soon and I will post an update.  I brought some of these to work with me and made everyone try them.  My husband brought them to his work too and shared them with his coworkers.  Everyone loved them even though they were pretty crumbly.  I am a cinnamon fanatic so I added more cinnamon to the recipe, and when I make these next time I am going to add nuts and white chocolate chips.  I hope you enjoy these as much as I did!



Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Granola Bars - Adapted from Hip2save
Yield: 16-18
Ingredients:
4 cups old fashioned oats
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup of brown sugar
1/4 cup ground Flaxseed (optional but if you have it in your pantry it adds great nutritional value to the bar, then you don't feel so guilty when you cannot stop eating these...)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup canned pumpkin puree
1/2 cup honey (I like to buy local organic honey from the farmers market)
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Optional Additions/Substitutions:
White Chocolate Chips
Nuts - Almonds, walnuts, pecans

Directions: 
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a baking pan with parchment paper. 
  2. In a large bowl, mix together oats and flaxseed and set aside. 
  3. In a separate bowl, mix honey, pumpkin, coconut oil, brown sugar, salt, pumpkin pie spice, and cinnamon. 
  4. Add wet ingredients to the oatmeal and stir. Add in chocolate chips. 
  5.  Press the mixture into the pan and flatten it really well with a spatula. Bake for about 20 minutes. Remove from oven and press down with a spatula again. 
  6. Bake for another 20-25 minutes until brown.  (I was too excited and forgot this second bake time... Whoooops!)
  7. Let cool for at least 2 hours before cutting. Makes about 16-18 bars. I like to cut them and store in a Tupperware container with parchment paper to keep the bars separated.
  8. Enjoy for breakfast or a snack!