Cookie Palooza: Chocolate-Mint Thumbprints

I hope you have enjoyed my Cookie Palooza and that one of these cookie recipes will be one that you try or has inspired you to create something totally your own. On this final day of Cookie Palooza I bring you a cookie with a flavor of the season, peppermint. A Chocolate-Mint Thumbprint to be precise. And don’t worry, the peppermint flavor isn’t overpowering as some peppermint-flavored things are.

After sifting flour and cocoa powder together in a medium bowl, I creamed butter and confectioners’ sugar together in a large bowl and then added in vanilla extract and salt. Once the butter mixture was well blended I added in the flour mixture and continued mixing using my handheld mixer on low speed until the dough formed. I chilled the dough for about 40 minutes until it was firm enough to roll into balls, but, not so cold that I would have to “defrost” it once out of the fridge.

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I rolled teaspoonfuls of the dough into balls and placed them on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Next, I pressed straight down the middle of each ball with a floured finger – you could also use the end of a wooden spoon – almost to the cookie sheet to make a deep well. After baking the cookies in a 350 F preheated oven for about 8 minutes, I redefined the indentations with the end of a wooden spoon. I let the cookies cool for a few minutes on the cookie sheet so they could set and then transferred them to a wire rack to cool completely.

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Once the cookies were completely cooled I made the filling. I created my own double-boiler by bringing a pot of water to a simmer and then placed semisweet chocolate chips and unsalted butter in a heat proof bowl and set it over the simmering water. I began stirring the mixture with a rubber spatula and after a few minutes, before the mixture was completed melted, I removed it from the simmering water and continued stirring the mixture until it melted and then stirred in peppermint mixture. I let the mixture cool for about a half hour – until it was warm and slightly thickened…

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And then transferred it to a decorator bottle. You could also transfer the chocolate to a decorator bag with a small tip attached or a resealable bag with a small portion of the corned snipped off. I then piped the chocolate into the wells of the cookies.

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I’ll be the first to admit that my thumbprints came out a bit wonky looking, but, that didn’t detract from how yummy they were with just the right balance of chocolate and peppermint.

 

Chocolate-Mint Thumbprints

Ingredients:

For the Cookies:

1 cup plus 2 1/2 tablespoons flour

1/4 cup Dutch processed cocoa powder

3/4 cup (6 oz.) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted

1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon table salt

For the Mint-Filling:

3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces

1/4 teaspoon pure peppermint extract

Directions:

For the Cookies:

Sift the flour and cocoa powder together into a medium bowl. Using a handheld mixer (or stand mixer with the paddle attachment) cream the butter and confectioners’ sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla extract and salt, continue beating until smooth. Add the flour mixture and beat on low speed until the dough comes together. Chill the dough in the refrigerator until the dough is firm enough to roll into balls, about 40 to 60 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350 F and line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Roll heaping teaspoonfuls of dough into balls and place them on the parchment paper about 2-inches apart. With a lightly floured thumb or fingertip (or the end of thick-handled wooden spoon), press straight down into the middle of each ball, almost to the cookie sheet, to make a deep well.

Bake for 8 to 9 minutes. Gently redefine the wells using the end of a wooden spoon. Let the cookies cool for a few minutes on the cookie sheet and transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.

For the Filling:

Put the chocolate and butter in heatproof bowl over a pot of simmering water. Stir with a heatproof spatula until the chocolate is almost melted. Remove from the heat and continue stirring until melted and smooth. Stir in the peppermint extract. Let cool for about 30 to 40 minutes, until the mixture is slightly warmer than room temperature and it has begun to thicken. Spoon the filling into a pastry bag fitted with a small plain tip or into a resealable bag with a corner snipped off and pipe the filling into the center of each cookie. Let the filling set completely before storing.

Recipe from Fine Cooking

Cookie Palooza: Cannoli Wafer Sandwich Cookies

For today’s Cookie Palooza recipe I bring you a cookie you don’t have to bake! What could be better than that? No flour to measure, no oven to turn on… Anyone can make this cookie. So, what is it? It’s a Cannoli Wafer Sandwich Cookie! And let me just tell you that I brought these cookies to a friend’s house and they were a hit with everyone.

So, here’s what you need for these cookies; vanilla wafers, whole-milk ricotta, confectioners’ sugar, sugar, vanilla extract, white candy coating and miniature semi-sweet chocolate chips.

I began by making the cannoli filling by mixing whole-milk ricotta with confectioners’ sugar, sugar and vanilla extract.

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Next, I spread a teaspoon of the filling on the bottom half of the vanilla wafers and then topped them with another wafer.

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Once I had used up all of the cookies in the box….

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I dipped each of the sandwich cookies halfway into melted white candy coating – I used White Wilton Candy Melts. I dipped about five cookies at a time and then sprinkled mini chocolate chips on them. You don’t want the candy coating to set too much or the chocolate chips won’t stick to the cookies. Once I dipped all of the cookies I placed the cookies in the refrigerator for a few minutes so the candy coating could set.

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And finally, I dusted the cookies with confectioners’ sugar. How simple is that!?!?

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While these cookies are delicious and you might be tempted to save a few for the following day, they are best eaten the same day they are assembled.

Cannoli Wafer Sandwich Cookies

Ingredients:

1 cup whole-milk ricotta cheese

1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar, plus additional for dusting the cookies

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 package (12 oz.) vanilla wafers

12 oz. white candy coating, melted

1/2 cup miniature semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions:

In a small bowl mix together the ricotta cheese, confectioners’ sugar, granulated sugar and vanilla extract until well blended.

Spread 1 scant teaspoon filling on half of the vanilla wafers and then top with the other half of the cookies.

Dip each of the sandwich cookies halfway into the melted candy coating and place on wax paper. Sprinkle with chocolate chips and let the cookies stand until set, about 10 minutes. Alternatively you can place the cookies in the refrigerator for a few minutes to speed up the process.

Refrigerate the cookies until serving. Dust with confectioners’ sugar prior to serving.

Recipe from Taste of Home

Cookie Palooza: Chocolate Walnut Crinkles

On this third day of Cookie Palooza I bring you a cookie that I have made before… a chocolate crinkle cookie. This version though is a bit simpler to make and it has walnuts. I love walnuts in cookies and brownies.

To make the dough for the cookies I started by toasting the walnuts and melting unsweetened chocolate and butter together. Once the walnuts and chocolate mixture cooled I added it to a large bowl with flour, sugar, eggs, Dutch processed cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. Using a handheld mixer I beat the ingredients until they were combined.

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Using a cookie scoop I scooped the dough and rolled it into a ball and then rolled it in confectioners’ sugar before placing them on a parchment lined baking sheet.

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I baked them in a preheated 300 F oven for about 15 minutes. After removing them from the oven I let them cool for a few minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.

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While these cookies were good, I will say this… They are on the sweeter side so they are definitely meant for those who have a super sweet tooth!

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Chocolate Walnut Crinkles

Ingredients:

2oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 cup flour

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts, toasted*

2 large eggs

1 tablespoon Dutch process cocoa powder

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

Confectioners’ sugar, for rolling

*To toast the walnuts, I placed them on a cookie sheet and baked them in a 350 F oven for about 8 minutes.

Directions:

Position racks in the oven in the top and bottom thirds of the oven; preheat to 300 F.

Place the chocolate and butter in a small microwave safe bowl, microwaving on high for 30 second intervals, stirring after each 30 seconds, until melted. Let cool.

Scrape the melted chocolate into a large bowl and add in the flour, sugar, walnuts, eggs, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. Using an electric handheld mixer, blend on medium speed until well blended.

Using a small cookie scoop (or about 2 teaspoons), scoop the dough and roll in confectioners’ sugar and place on a parchment lined cookie sheet.

Bake until crackly on top and soft in the middle, rotating the sheets and reversing from the top to bottom racks halfway through baking, about 15 minutes. Let the cookies rest for a few minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.

Recipe from Rachael Ray

Cookie Palooza: Buttered Rum Meltaways

For today’s Cookie Palooza recipe I bring you a cookie for those of you who don’t like to drink your alcohol but eat it instead… A Buttered Rum Meltaway.

I began by beating butter and sugar until it was pale and fluffy. I then added in vanilla extract and rum.

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In another bowl I whisked together flour, cornstarch and spices in a medium bowl. Which I then gradually added to the butter mixture.

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Once the dough came together I shaped it into logs on parchment paper..

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That I then wrapped in the parchment paper and placed in the freezer.

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A few days later (you can freeze the dough up to a month) I removed it from the freezer and let it warm a little to make slicing it into 1/4 slices a bit easier.

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After baking the cookies for about 15 minutes in a 350 F preheated oven…

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I coated them in confectioners’ sugar by tossing them in the sugar in a Ziploc bag.

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These cookies are so festive looking they would make a wonderful homemade gift or a welcome addition to a dessert table to a Holiday party you may be attending. Another great thing about these cookies, thanks to the rum they can keep up to 2 weeks in an airtight container!

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Buttered Rum Meltaways

Ingredients:

1 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons cornstarch

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoons freshly grated nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

3/4 teaspoon coarse salt

3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 cup confectioners’ sugar

1/4 cup rum, dark or light

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions:

Whisk together the flour, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and salt in a medium bowl and set aside.

Using a handheld mixer or stand mixer beat butter and 1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar on medium speed until pale and fluffy. Mix in the rum and vanilla extract. Reduce the speed to low and gradually add in the flour mixture.

Divide the dough in half and place each half on a piece of parchment paper. Shape the dough into logs. Fold the parchment paper over the dough and using a ruler roll and press the dough into a 1 1/4 inch log. Wrap in parchment paper and chill in freezer at least 30 minutes or up to a month.

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Remove the parchment paper from the dough and slice into 1/4 inch thick rounds. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes, or until cookies are just golden. Transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes. Gently toss the cookies with the remaining confectioners’ sugar in a resalable plastic bag.

Recipe from Martha Stewart

Cookie Palooza: Oat-Rageous Chocolate Chip Cookies

It’s the first week of December, are your ovens ready? It’s time to bake until your hearts content and then bake a little more! It’s probably one of the best things about the Holiday Season… Sweets everywhere! And I am here to help… Every day this week I’ll be bringing you a new cookie recipe that may become part of your baking repertoire or give you some inspiration to create a new recipe for yourself. I’ve scoured my cookbooks and old holiday cookie magazines to gather recipes that are easy to make, are a bit traditional with a twist and one that combines three favorites in one. That’s today’s cookie… One that combines oatmeal, peanut butter and chocolate chips together. So, welcome to Cookie Palooza 2016 on Bead Yarn & Spatula… Up first Oat-Rageous Chocolate Chip Cookies.

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Oat-Rageous Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • Servings: 30-36 cookies
  • Print

Ingredients:

1/2 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

1/2 cup sugar

1/3 cup packed light brown sugar

1 egg

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup quick-cooking oats

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, oats, baking soda and salt, set aside.

In a large bowl combine the butter, peanut butter and sugars and use an electric mixer to cream together. Beat in the egg and vanilla. Add the flour mixture and mix well. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Drop by rounded tablespoonful onto the prepared baking sheets and bake for 10-12 minutes, until cookies are lightly browned.

Recipe from Taste of Home

Sausage, Lentil and Kale Soup

There’s nothing like a delicious soup! And while there are plenty of delicious options available in cans, cartons and so forth at your local supermarket, making soup from scratch is such a better option and best of all…. the leftovers! I had this soup for lunch over the course of a week and by end of the week it was even better than the first day I had it.

I began by cooking a 1lb. of sweet Italian sausage meat in my Dutch oven over medium-high heat until it was beginning to brown. If you can find sausage meat in ground form as opposed to actual sausages it will save you some time and just make things easier so you don’t have to remove the meat from the casings. I then added in chopped onion and garlic and continued cooking everything until the onions were soften and the sausage was completed cooked.

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Next, I added in chicken stock, stirring and scraping to loosen any browned bits from the bottom of the pot. I then added in lentils, whole peeled tomatoes, salt and pepper and brought the whole thing to a boil. I then reduced the heat to medium-low and simmered the soup until the lentils had softened. As the soup simmered the tomatoes began to break down as well.

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And finally I added in baby kale leaves, stirring the soup constantly until the leaves had softened.

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Sausage, Lentil and Kale Soup

Ingredients:

1 lb. sweet Italian sausage meat*

1 cup chopped onion

2 garlic cloves, chopped

4 cups chicken stock

2 cups dried red lentils, rinsed

1 28oz. can whole peeled tomatoes, drained

1 teaspoon Kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

5 cups loosely packed baby kale leaves

*If using sausages remove casings

Directions:

Cook the sausage in a Dutch oven (or your preferred pot for making soup) over medium-high heat, stirring often, until the meat crumbles and begins to brown. Add in the onion and garlic and continue cooking until the meat is cooked through and the onions have soften.

Add the stock, stirring and scraping the bottom of the pot to loosen any browned bits. Add the lentils, tomatoes, salt and pepper and bring to boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the lentils have softened.

Stir in the kale and cook, continue stirring until softened.

Recipe from Real Simple Magazine

Pumpkin Cake with Goat Cheese Frosting

So, what happens when you bake a cake late at night and then frost it early the next morning? You don’t take pictures! But, that’s okay. I don’t need pictures to tell you how delicious this cake is. I do have this lovely final picture though…

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With Thanksgiving this week this Pumpkin Cake with Goat Cheese Frosting is my final pumpkin dessert of the season. I can’t say it’s the best as that title goes to the Pumpkin Tiramisu I posted about last month, but, it’s definitely a close second, and I am sure would be a welcome addition to your Thanksgiving dessert table. I actually made it for a Friendsgiving celebration I had with some wonderful friends last weekend. If you’ve never had your own Friendsgiving celebration I strongly advise you to have one next year. There’s absolutely no drama and you get to spend some time with people who are just as important or in some cases more important to you than your own family!

Here are some quick notes about this cake though… Definitely go with the freshly grated nutmeg and don’t try to substitute ground ginger for the freshly grated ginger, trust me, these two things make a huge difference in the flavor. I speak from experience. Make your own buttermilk by combining vinegar (or lemon juice) and milk (for this cake, I used 1/2 tablespoon of vinegar and 1/2 cup 2% milk to make the buttermilk.) And finally, if you’re not a fan of goat cheese go with a simple cream cheese frosting. You can never go wrong with cream cheese frosting.

So, however you’re spending your Thanksgiving I hope it’s one with delicious food, sweet desserts and great company. And remember, no matter what has happened in life there is ALWAYS something to be grateful for!

 

Pumpkin Cake

Ingredients:

2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

3/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 cups light-brown sugar

3 large eggs

1 1/2 cups solid-pack pumpkin

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

3/4 teaspoon grated peeled fresh ginger

1/2 cup buttermilk*

*To make your own combine 1/2 tablespoon vinegar (or lemon juice) with 1/2 cup milk – I used 2%. Let stand for 5-10 minutes at room temperature. When the milk is ready it will have thickened and you will see small curdled bits.

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 F. Prep two 8-inch round pans, either by spraying them with baking spray (what I did) or brush the pans with butter, line the bottoms with parchment paper, butter the parchment paper then dust the pans with flour, tapping out the excess.

In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.

With an electric mixer (or stand mixer) beat the butter and brown sugar on medium speed until pale and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Beat in the eggs, 1 at a time. Then beat in the pumpkin and finally the vanilla and ginger. Reduce the speed to medium and add the flour in the batches alternating with 2 batches of the buttermilk, beating until just combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.

Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans. Bake until the cakes are golden brown, the edges pull away from the sides of the pan and a cake tested comes out clean, about 30 -35 minutes. Transfer the pans to a wire rack to cool for 15 minutes. Turn out the cakes onto the racks to cool completely.

Place the bottom layer of the cake on a cake stand (or board) and spread half of your desired frosting evenly over the cake. Top with the second layer and evenly spread the remaining frosting over the cake.

Recipe from Martha Stewart

 

Goat Cheese Frosting

Ingredients:

1 pound (2 – 8oz bars) cream cheese, at room temperature

8 ounces soft goat cheese, at room temperature

1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar

Directions:

Beat cheese until combined, then gradually add sugar and continue beating until smooth and creamy.

Recipe from Martha Stewart