Cookie Palooza: Snickerdoodle Biscotti

Welcome to day 2 of Cookie Palooza 2021. Today I am bringing you a twist on a holiday favorite. While Snickerdoodles are great any time of the year they are especially great around the holidays. It could be because they are a nice complement to a hot cup of cocoa or because they can easily be transformed into a holiday cookie by using colored sanding sugar in lieu of white sugar to be rolled in. Either way, they are always a welcomed addition to any cookie platter. Today though, we are making them into another holiday favorite… biscotti.

I started by making and refrigerating the dough for 30 minutes.

While the dough was chilling I prepped an extra-large baking sheet by lining it with parchment paper. I opted to use one baking sheet to ensure that the biscotti would cook evenly.

Once the dough was chilled I divided it in half and shaped both pieces into a 10×4-inch rectangle. The dough was quite sticky so I wet my hands with water beforehand. I would suggest shaping the dough right on the parchment paper. You may have trouble transferring it from your counter to the baking sheet otherwise. Next, I generously covered both loaves with a cinnamon-sugar mixture and gently pressed it into the dough.

After baking in a 350 F oven for 25 minutes I removed it and using the parchment paper I transferred it to a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes. While the loaves cooled I lined my baking sheet with a fresh piece of parchment paper. I must say, the top of the loaves reminded me of what snickerdoodles look like after they are baked. That cracked look with the cinnamon-sugar coating.

After letting the loaves cool for 10 minutes I used a serrated knife to slice them into 3/4-inch pieces. I then placed the biscotti, cut side down, back on my prepared baking sheet. I baked them for 10 minutes, flipped them, and then baked them for an additional 10 minutes. I then let the biscotti cool completely on the pans before enjoying.

I’ll admit that some of my pieces were slightly bigger than 3/4 of an inch. They were closer to an inch. Oops! Needless to say though, they were delish. They definitely tasted like your traditional Snickerdoodle.

These would make the ideal food gift for anyone who enjoys a sweet treat with their warm beverage or anyone who loves a good snickerdoodle!

One thing I should note, the original recipe called for dipping the finished biscotti in white chocolate. I opted to omit that part since a) Snickerdoodles aren’t normally dipped in chocolate and b) I like to dip my biscotti in tea or hot cocoa and I felt that the white chocolate would just get in the way of that.

Snickerdoodle Biscotti

Ingredients:

3 cups flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 cup sugar, divided

1 stick unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled

1/4 cup rum*

3 large eggs, at room temperature

*could use brandy or bourbon instead

Directions:

In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Set aside.

In a large bowl whisk together 3/4 cup sugar, melted butter and rum. Add the eggs one at a time, whisking until smooth after each addition. Using a wooden spoon, stir in the flour mixture until no streaks of the flour mixture remain.  Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line 1 extra-large baking sheet or 2 medium baking sheets with parchment paper.

Divide the dough in half and using moistened hands shape each half on the prepared baking sheets into a 10×4 – inch rectangle.

In a small bowl stir together the remaining 1/4 cup sugar and the cinnamon and sprinkle generously over the both doughs. Gently pressing it in.

Bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes, until pale golden.

Remove from the oven and using the parchment paper transfer to a wire rack to cool for 15 minutes.

Leave the oven on and line your baking sheet(s) with fresh parchment paper.

Using a serrated knife, cut the biscotti loaves crosswise into 3/4 – inch slices. Place the slices cut side down on the prepared baking sheet(s).

Bake for 10 minutes, and then flip the biscotti and bake for another 10 minutes. Let cool completely on the baking sheet(s).

Store in an airtight container.

Recipe from Baked From Scratch

Apple Cranberry Pie

Are you deep into prepping for Thanksgiving? Or, are you just showing up somewhere with an empty belly and possibly a bottle of wine in hand? Or, maybe you are like me, you bring the desserts? If you are the latter, today I am bringing you a pie that’s quick to prepare and combines two traditional flavors of Thanksgiving… Apples & Cranberries.  Simply stated an Apple Cranberry Pie.

Now, cranberries are not a favorite among many. Most prefer it in the canned jellied form when it comes to eating it with their holiday meal, and don’t get me wrong, I won’t pass up a slice or two of it, but, even though fresh cranberries are tart and not enjoyable to snack on like a blueberry, they can be turned into a delicious sauce. While I don’t go all out and cook a Thanksgiving meal, I will whip a batch or two of cranberry sauce around this time of the year. For this pie, I used some of the same ingredients I use in my cranberry sauce (orange zest & ginger) along with the traditional sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg from apple pie to create a filling that would allow both fruits to complement each other.

When it comes to making pies, I take a major short-cut and use store-bought pie crusts. It’s fool-proof and a great time-saver. The one time I decided to make a pie crust from scratch it didn’t bake evenly and even though my pie filling was delicious the failed crust just took away from it. One day I will attempt to do it again though. For this pie, I opted to use a frozen pie crust as my bottom crust. In a large bowl, I folded all the pie ingredients together and then spooned it into the crust.

Since I was planning on making a decorative top crust I let two refrigerated pie crusts come to room temperature and then lightly rolled them out on a floured surface before slicing them into strips to create a lattice design on the pie. I also cut out a few leaf and acorn designs to apply to the crust. I then brushed it with a beaten egg and sprinkled it with turbinado sugar. I used turbinado sugar since I had it on hand and it gives the crust a nice golden color, but, you could use regular sugar instead. Alternatively, if you are not planning on making a decorative top crust, you can use 2 refrigerated pie crusts to make your pie. Simply roll out one into your pie dish, fill it and then top it with the second pie crust. Seal the edges, cut slits into the top crust, brush with an egg, sprinkle with sugar and then proceed to bake it.

I placed the pie on a baking sheet and baked it in a 400 F preheated oven for 20 minutes. I then lowered the oven temperature to 350 F and tented the pie with aluminum foil so it wouldn’t brown too quickly on top and baked it for an additional 35 minutes. I removed the foil for the last 5 minutes so the pie could get a nice golden color.

After letting the pie cool completely it was time to slice into it and enjoy a piece. And I must say all the flavors worked well together. The orange zest helped to cut the tartness of the cranberries and the sugar, of course, brought out the sweetness of both the apples and the cranberries. I was also about to taste hints of the cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger.

Another great thing, the pie held together perfectly when sliced. No runny messes.

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Apple Cranberry Pie

Ingredients:

1 box refrigerated pie crusts (2 count)

3 large Granny Smith Apples, peeled & sliced 1/4 inch thick

1 1/2 cups fresh cranberries

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 tablespoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

2 teaspoons orange zest

1/3 cup flour

Egg Wash:

1 egg, beaten

Sugar

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 F.

Place 1 pie crust in an ungreased 9-inch glass pie plate. Press firmly into the dish.

In a large bowl, gently mix the remaining pie ingredients with a rubber spatula until well incorporated. Spoon the filling into the prepared pie dish.

Top the filling with the second pie crust and press the edges together to seal. Cut 4 slits in the center of the top crust. Brush the pie with the beaten egg and sprinkle with sugar.

Place on a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Lower the oven to 350F and tent the pie with aluminum foil and bake for an additional 35-40 minutes. Or until the filling begins to bubble. If desired, remove the foil for the last 5 minutes of baking so the crust can brown a bit more.

Let cool on a wire rack.

Recipe first appeared on Bead Yarn & Spatula

Mini Cinnamon Sugar Pumpkin Muffins

I recently posted saying I finally found the perfect pumpkin muffin recipe for me and here I am posting another one. So, what’s the difference? Well, I consider these Mini Cinnamon Sugar Pumpkin Muffins to be more like donut holes and I find them to be more dessert-like than for breakfast. But most importantly, they are delicious nonetheless!

A definite plus about this recipe… You don’t need a stand mixer or a hand mixer to make the batter. You whisk the dry ingredients together in one bowl and the wet ingredients in another and then whisk both together to make the batter. Next, using a cookie scoop (or a small spoon) drop the batter into a mini muffin pan sprayed with baking spray (no cupcake liners needed either!).

Bake in a 350 F preheated oven for about 12 minutes and let them cool slightly in the pan…

Before rolling in melted butter and a cinnamon sugar mixture for the topping. YUM! And, while I normally don’t like glazes and coatings (they can be a tad bit too sweet for me) I will say that while these mini muffins are delicious without the coating, they are amazing with it so don’t skip it.

Mini Cinnamon Sugar Pumpkin Muffins

  • Servings: 24 Mini Muffins
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Ingredients:

For the Muffins:

1 3/4 cups flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled

1/2 cup light brown sugar

1 large egg

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

3/4 cup pumpkin puree

1/2 cup whole milk

For the Cinnamon Sugar Coating:

1/2 cup sugar

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Spray a mini-muffin pan (24 count) with baking spray and set aside.

In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and pumpkin spice.

In a large bowl, whisk together the cooled melted butter and brown sugar. Add in the egg, vanilla extract, pumpkin puree and milk and continue whisking until combined.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and whisk everything together until just combined and no streaks of the flour mixture remain. The batter will be thick.

Using a cookie scoop, drop scoops of the batter into the prepared pan.

Bake in the preheated oven for 11-13 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center of one of the muffins comes out clean.

Transfer the pan to a wire rack and allow the muffins to cool slightly.

While the muffins are cooling combine the sugar and cinnamon for the coating in a small bowl.

Once the muffins are cool enough to handle dip them in the melted butter and then roll in the cinnamon sugar mixture.

Store in an airtight container.

Recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction

Apple Fritter Bread

Are you tired of apple recipes? I hope not, I have one more that’s just as good as the previous two I posted recently – Apple Pie Spice Cake & Apple Butterscotch Cookies. Today I am bringing you an Apple Fritter Bread. All the deliciousness of an Apple Fritter without the guilt of it being fried. And just for a quick recap, an Apple Fritter is a deep-fried donut filled with apples and cinnamon.

With this bread, cinnamon coated apple pieces are layered between the batter and then swirled in before baking.

The result, each slice is filled with apple cinnamon goodness. For that final apple fritter touch, the bread is drizzled with a sour cream icing. If you are not a fan of icing though this bread would be just as delicious without it.

Apple Fritter Bread

Ingredients:

For the Bread:

1 medium Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and finely chopped (about 1 1/4 cups)

1/4 cup light brown sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 1/2 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup sugar

1/3 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 eggs

1/2 cup milk*

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Sour Cream Icing:

3 tablespoons sour cream

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar

Milk, if necessary

*I used whole milk

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Spray a 9.25 x 5.25 loaf pan with baking spray. Set aside.

In a medium bowl combine the apples, light brown sugar and cinnamon. Set aside.

In another medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, using a handheld mixer on medium speed, beat together the sugar and butter until combined. Beat in the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the milk and vanilla until the mixture in smooth. With the mixer on low, beat in the flour mixture until just combined.

Pour half of the batter into the prepared pan and spread half of the apple mixture on top. Top the apples with the remaining batter and then top with the remaining apple mixture. Gently pat the apples in the batter and use a knife to swirl the apples into the batter.

Bake in the preheated oven for 50-60 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes and then remove from the pan and let cool completely on the wire rack.

Once cooled, make and drizzle with the sour cream icing. In a medium bowl whisk together the sour cream, vanilla extract and confectioners’ sugar until smooth. If you find that the mixture is too thick whisk in 1 teaspoon of milk at a time until it’s a consistency easy to drizzle.

Place the wire rack with the cake over a baking sheet or a piece of wax paper and drizzle with the icing. Let sit for a few minutes to let the icing set before slicing.

Store leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature.

Recipe from Better Homes & Gardens

Peach Crisp

When I saw this recipe in the most recent issue of Food Network Magazine I knew I wanted to try it before peaches where nowhere to be found at my local supermarket. Truth be told though, I’ve had more bad peaches this summer than good ones. What’s up with that? I found that while I brought them home from the supermarket rock hard so I could eat them over the course of a week, within a few days the skin was wrinkling on some of them and others were completely rotten. To make sure the peaches I used for this Peach Crisp were good I opted to buy tree ripe peaches that were quite enormous but thankfully perfectly ripe (hence the name) without being overly sweet.

To start I made the crisp topping by mixing together old-fashioned oats, almond flour, light brown sugar and salt in a bowl. I then added in melted butter and stirred everything together with a fork until the mixture began to form clumps. Now, I used almond flour, as that is what the recipe called for and I had some because I want to try my hand at making macarons, but, you easily swap the almond flour out for all-purpose flour. I placed this in the freezer as I worked on the peach portion of the dessert.

I sliced the peaches in half and then sliced each of the halves into halves (basically I quartered the peach) and then sliced each piece into thirds. In the end, each peach should give you 12 slices. The peaches I used were so large that I probably could have gotten away with just using 3.

I transferred the slices to a large bowl and added in brown sugar, flour, orange juice, vanilla extract and nutmeg. The original recipe called for lemon juice, brandy (optional) and orange zest. I had already decided I wasn’t going to use orange zest in the recipe. Truthfully, I didn’t feel like buying an orange for a teaspoon of zest, but, I ended up completely forgetting to get a lemon when I went food shopping. And while I did have brandy on hand, it was apple flavored and I just didn’t think the flavors would go well together. Thankfully though I did have orange juice which is a good substitute for lemon juice and gave me some of the orange flavor the zest would have. I decided to use 3 tablespoons of the orange juice since the original recipe call for 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and 1 tablespoon of brandy and since I had so many peach slices I figured the extra liquid wouldn’t hurt.

Once the peaches and other ingredients were mixed together well – I made sure that the peaches were coated by the mixture – I transferred them to my dish along with any juices that remained.

I then topped the peaches with chopped pecans and the crisp topping. I used my hands to break up the slightly frozen topping into small pieces that I scattered on top of the peaches.  

After baking it in a 350 F preheated oven for about an hour I let it cool on a wire rack. Once cooled I covered it with aluminum foil and refrigerated it. To enjoy, I heated it up a spoonful or two and topped it with vanilla ice cream.

Peach Crisp

Ingredients:

Crisp Topping:

1/2 cup old-fashioned oats

1/2 cup almond flour*

1/2 cup light brown sugar

1 teaspoon Kosher salt

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Peach Filling:

4 large peaches or 5 medium peaches (about 2.5 pounds)

1/3 cup light brown sugar

3 tablespoons flour

3 tablespoons orange juice**

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 cup chopped pecans***

* Could use all-purpose flour

** Original recipe called for 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 1 tablespoon brandy (optional) and 1 teaspoon grated orange zest

*** Could use walnuts instead

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Make the crisp topping: In a medium bowl whisk together the oats, flour, sugar and Kosher salt. Pour in the melted butter and use a fork to stir everything together. Once the mixture begins to clump place in the freezer while working on the peach filling.

For the peach filling: Cut each peach in half and remove the pit. Cut each half in half and then slice each half into thirds. Place the peach slices in a large bowl and add in the sugar, flour, orange juice, vanilla and ground nutmeg. Give everything a few good stirs to make sure each peach slice is evenly coated.

Transfer the peaches to a 9-inch pie dish. Sprinkle the chopped pecans on top.

Remove the crisp topping from the freezer and using your hands break the topping into small pieces and scatter on top of the peaches in an even layer.

Bake in the preheated oven for an hour. Until the crisp topping is lightly browned and you can easily slice into one of the peach slices.

Remove from the oven and enjoy right out of the oven or place on a cooling rack to cool. If you are planning on refrigerating it for later, cool to room temperature and cover with aluminum foil to refrigerate until ready to enjoy.

Serve on its own or enjoy with ice cream!

Recipe from Vallery Lomas

Peppermint Chocolate Squared Cupcakes

Merry Christmas in July! It’s probably hard to think about Christmas during this time of the year, especially with everything going on in the world. I am longing for those cooler days though. I totally get that summer is supposed to be warm and some days hot, but, I just feel that this summer has had more days of unbearable heat and humidity than in recent years. Even the days that haven’t been that hot have been too humid for my liking. If it’s 83 degrees, I want it to feel like 83 and not 93 because of other factors. In my post for last year’s Christmas in July recipe, Chocolate Peppermint Chunk Cookies, I discussed the origins of the “holiday.” This year I am sharing a tidbit of information I recently learned, people actually have Christmas in July parties! Sorry, if this comes across as a shocker to me. I have heard of Christmas in July for years, but, never knew that people actually had parties to celebrate. Sounds like a fun idea, but, I definitely wouldn’t put up my Christmas Tree this early in the year regardless of how much I love Christmas. Instead, to celebrate Christmas in July I am sharing with you a Peppermint Chocolate Squared Cupcake recipe.

To amp the peppermint flavor in the cupcakes not only did I add peppermint extract to the batter, but, I infused peppermint into the milk by crushing peppermint candies and adding them to the milk while heating it so they could dissolve into it. And while the frosting also called for milk, I opted to just use peppermint extract to give it a peppermint flavor. The final product, a cupcake that’s making me long for all the sweet treats that are to come with the holidays!

Peppermint Chocolate Squared Cupcakes

  • Servings: 12 Cupcakes
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Ingredients:

For the Cupcakes:

1 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup whole milk

4 starlight peppermint candies, crushed

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 cup sugar

3/4 cup vegetable oil

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon peppermint extract

For the Frosting:

1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 cups confectioners’ sugar

4 ounces melted semi-sweet chocolate (I used 3/4 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips)

2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

2 tablespoons whole milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon peppermint extract

Sprinkles or additional crushed peppermint candies to decorate.

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 F and line a cupcake pan with paper liners.

For the Cupcakes: Start by making the peppermint milk. In a small saucepan over medium hear (or using a glass measuring cup in a microwave) heat the milk and crushed candies together until the milk is hot but not boiling. Stir to melt the candies in the heated milk. Pour the heated milk over the cocoa powder in a large bowl and stir until smooth. Let cool slightly. 

In a medium whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

Once the cocoa mixture has cooled, whisk in the sugar, vegetable oil, egg, vanilla and peppermint extracts until the mixture is smooth. Then whisk in the flour mixture until just combined.

Divide the batter among the prepared cupcake pan and bake for 20 -25 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center of one of the cupcakes comes out clean.

Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Once the cupcakes are cool make the frosting. In the bowl of a food processor combine the butter, confectioners’ sugar, melted chocolate, unsweetened cocoa powder, milk, vanilla and peppermint extracts and pulse the ingredients together until smooth.

Frost the cupcakes using your desired method and then top with sprinkles and/or crushed candies.

Recipe adapted from Food Network.

Mascarpone Cake

After making the Tiramisu Cheesecake I posted two weeks ago I still had about a cup of mascarpone cheese left. While I could have used it to spread on toast or crackers, I decided to bake something else with it. I came across a recipe for a Mascarpone Cake that sounded simple and delicious, so I decided to give it a try.

This is one of those recipes that most people love… It comes together in one bowl. No need for sifting or mixing your dry ingredients in one bowl and then combining them with your wet ones in another. You simply mix all of your wet ingredients first and then add the dry ones at the end. And after baking and cooling it’s time to enjoy.

This cake tasted just as the recipe sounded… delicious. It was reminiscent of a pound cake for me, just not as a dense. And not sweet at all. If you do you need a bit for sweetness to it, you can follow the original recipe and dust the cake with confectioners’ sugar once it has completely cooled.

Mascarpone Cake

Ingredients:

3 eggs

3/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup mascarpone cheese

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 1/2 cups flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

 

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Spray a tube pan with baking spray (or coat with butter and lightly dust with flour) and set aside.

In a large bowl beat together the eggs and sugar with a hand mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add in the vanilla extract, mascarpone cheese and oil and continue beating until combined. Add the flour and baking powder and beat until smooth.

Pour the batter into the prepared ban and 30-40 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a cake tester inserted near the center comes out clean.

Let the cake cool in the pan for 15 minutes and then invert onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Recipe from An Italian In My Kitchen

Hidden Heart Bundt Cake

Two years ago, I made my first Hidden Heart Cake in a loaf pan. This year, I decided to make another one, but, with a small twist. Instead of a loaf pan I decided to make it in a Bundt pan. I also made it more festive for Valentine’s Day by drizzling it with chocolate ganache and topping it with Valentine’s Day themed sprinkles.

To start I had to make a pink cake for the hearts. After prepping a mix of white cake per the box directions I tinted it pink. I then poured it into a Bundt pan that I sprayed with baking spray. Once it was done, I let it cool in the pan for 15 minutes before transferring it to a wire rack to cool completely. Once cooled, I wrapped it in plastic wrap and refrigerated it overnight. It’s easier and cleaner to cut up a cold cake. I will point out that I was a bit concerned after making this first cake. It didn’t bake up with a lot of height so I was worries that the chocolate cake wouldn’t be able to completely cover the hearts, but, after a little more thinking I realized it shouldn’t be a problem since the hearts would be taking up some of the pan so the chocolate cake would bake up higher.

The following morning, I cut the cake into slices (about 2-inches each) and then using a 2-inch heart cookie cutter I cut hearts from those slices. If you like making cake pops, you could use the leftover cake to make some.

I then prepped a box of chocolate cake mix per the box directions. I poured some of the batter into the bottom of my Bundt pan that I once again sprayed with baking spray. I did this to ensure that the top of the hearts would be covered by the cake.

Next, I arranged the hearts in the pan upside down. Remember, Bundt cakes are baked upside down and then you invert them once they are done.

And finally, I poured the remaining cake batter into the pan making sure to cover the hearts and getting the batter on the sides of the hearts closer to the outside of the pan.

I baked the cake in a 350 F preheated oven for about 30 minutes. And once the cake had cooled in the pan for 15 minutes, I inverted it onto a wire rack to cool completely. You can see in this close-up shot that a little bit of the pink did peek through, but I knew I would be able to cover that with the chocolate ganache I was planning on pouring over the cake.

To make the ganache, I combined chocolate chips, heavy cream and vanilla extract in a microwave safe bowl and microwaved it for 35-second intervals, stirring between each, until the chocolate chips had melted, and the mixture was smooth. I wanted the ganache to be a little thicker before I poured it over the cake, so I refrigerated it for about 15-20 minutes, stirring it every five minutes.

Before pouring the ganache on the cake, I lined a baking sheet with wax paper and then placed the wire rack the cake was cooling on on top of the wax paper.

Once the ganache was thick enough, I drizzled it over the cake and sprinkled the ganache with Valentine’s Day sprinkles. I then placed the cake in the refrigerator for a few minutes so the ganache could set.

And then it was time to slice it and I happy to say that the cake came out perfectly. It tasted good and the hearts were distinguishable when the cake was sliced.

Hidden Heart Bundt Cake

Ingredients:

For the Cake:

1 box white cake mix, plus the ingredient to prepare the batter

1 box chocolate cake mix, plus ingredients to prepare the batter

Pink food coloring

 

For the Ganache:

1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1/2 cup heavy cream

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

 

Valentine’s Day themed sprinkles

 

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Spray a 10-cup Bundt pan with baking spray, or grease with butter and dust with flour.

In a large bowl prepare the white cake mix per the directions on the box. Once prepared add in pink food coloring and stir to incorporate the color. Pour the batter into the prepared Bundt pan and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted comes out clean. Cool the cake for 15 minutes in the pan and then invert on a wire rack to cool completely. Once cooled, wrap the cake in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight*.

Preheat the oven to 350 F. And prep the Bundt pan once again.

Remove the pink Bundt cake from the refrigerator and slice the cake into 2-inch thick slices. Using a 2-inch heart cookie cutter cut hearts from the slices. Set aside.

In a large bowl prep the chocolate cake mix per the box directions. Pour enough batter into the pan so there is about a 1/2-inch layer of cake batter on the bottom. Arrange the cut hearts upside down in the pan. They should fit in perfectly and be snugged next to one another. Pour the remaining batter over the hearts, and make sure to get it into the sides of the pan. Bake in the pre-heated oven for 30-35 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted towards the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool the cake in the pan for 15 minutes and then invert onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Once the cake has completely cooled make the ganache.

Combine all the ingredients for the ganache in a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 35-second intervals, stirring between each internal. Once the chocolate chips have melted and the mixture is smooth let cool for a few minutes before placing in the refrigerator so the ganache can thicken up. Refrigerate for about 15-20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes.

Place a piece of wax paper on a large baking sheet and place the cake on the wire rack on top. Once the ganache is thick, drizzle over the cake. Sprinkle the cake with Valentine’s Day sprinkles and then place in the refrigerator for a few minutes so the ganache can set.

Slice and enjoy!

*It’s not necessary to refrigerate the cake overnight. You can slice the cake the same day you bake it once it’s cool. I just find it easier to work with the cake once it’s cold.

Cookie Palooza: Brown Butter Crinkles

Crinkles are great holiday cookies. You can make them in numerous flavors or stick with a simple recipe and tint the batter red and/or green for Christmas or blue for Hanukkah. In fact, I have been sharing a crinkle cookie recipe for the past couple of years during my Cookie Palooza. Believe it or not there is a science behind crinkle cookies. The cookies get their look and name because the surface of the cookie dries out before the cookie is done spreading and rising while baking. This causes the cookie to harden, crack and pull apart, hence the name crinkles. This is all thanks to rolling the dough in granulated sugar and then confectioners’ sugar prior to baking. I’ve shared quite a few crinkle recipes here on my blog and today I am sharing my favorite thus far, a Brown Butter Crinkle.

To start, you need to make brown butter. To do so I melted a stick of unsalted butter in a saucepan over medium high heat. Once it started to boil, I reduced the heat to medium and let the melted butter simmer until foamy. I stirred it occasionally and scraped the bottom of the pan until the foam subsided and the butter turned a golden brown and had a nutty aroma. I then transferred the melted butter and the brown specks that formed to a large heatproof bowl and let it cool for about 10 minutes.

While the butter cooled I combined the dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Once the butter cooled, I mixed in granulated sugar, dark brown sugar, eggs, vanilla extract and finally the flour mixture until the dough formed. I then transferred it to a piece of plastic wrap and shaped it into a disk and refrigerated it for an hour. The dough needs to be refrigerated because it is extremely soft. Thanks to the brown butter, the dough (and ultimately the cookie itself) had a nice mocha color.

After an hour I removed the dough from the refrigerator and while the dough did firm up some, it was still soft enough to scoop with a cookie scoop. I scooped the dough and rolled it into a ball…

And then coated each with granulated sugar and then confectioners’ sugar.

And baked them in a 350 F preheated oven for about 15 minutes. After letting them cool on the baking sheets for a few minutes I then transferred them to a wire rack to cool completely.

So, why are these my favorite crinkle cookies now? Well, it’s because of the brown butter. Brown butter added a nice nutty flavor to the cookie.

Looking for more crinkle flavors, check out these recipes:

Key Lime Crinkles

PeanutButterCrinkles

Chocolate Walnut Crinkles

Chocolate Crinkles

Red Velvet Blossom

 

Brown Butter Crinkles

  • Servings: 30 Cookies
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Ingredients:

1 stick unsalted butter

2 1/4 cups unbleached flour

3/4 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

3/4 teaspoon coarse salt

1 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup dark brown sugar

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted

 

Directions:

Melt the stick of butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. When the butter begins to boil reduce the heat to medium and simmer until foamy. Continue cooking the butter, stirring occasionally and scraping the bottom of the pan, until foam subsides, and the butter has turned a golden brown with a nutty aroma and milk solids separate into brown specks that sink to the bottom of the pan, 2 to 7 minutes. Remove from the heat and transfer to a large heatproof bowl and let cool for 10 minutes.

In a medium bowl whisk together the dry ingredients – flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt – and set aside.

Once the butter has cooled, stir in 1/2 cup of the granulated sugar and the dark brown sugar into the brown butter until combined. Add in the eggs and vanilla and finally the flour mixture until the dough forms. Transfer the dough to piece of plastic wrap, shape into a disk and then wrap tightly and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 2 days.

Preheat the oven to 350 F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Place the confectioners’ sugar in a small bowl and the remaining 1/2 cup sugar in another small bowl. Scoop 1 tablespoon of the dough and roll into a bowl. Roll the dough in the granulated sugar and then in the confectioners’ sugar. Place on the prepared on the baking sheet, spacing the cookies about 1 inch apart.

Bake in the preheated oven for 15 to 18 minutes. The cookies will be done when they spread slightly, crackle and are set at the edges. Let cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Recipe from Martha Stewart’s Cookie Perfection

Lemon Oatmeal Sugar Cookies

These cookies have a little bit of everything. A nice light lemon flavor, a tad bit of oatmeal and the soft chewiness of a sugar cookie. While they are perfect for the warmer months ahead, they would also be a nice addition to your holiday cookie baking. Since I wasn’t sure how they were going to taste, I halved the recipe and ended up baking only 24 cookies. Big mistake! These cookies were such a hit I should have baked the full amount. But just in case you don’t need 48 cookies, you can easily halve the recipe below.

Lemon Oatmeal Sugar Cookies

  • Servings: 4 Dozen Cookies
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Ingredients:

1 cup butter, at room temperature

2 cups sugar

2 large eggs, at room temperature

2 teaspoons grated lemon zest

3 tablespoons lemon juice

2 3/4 cups flour

1 cup quick-cooking oats*

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

Additional sugar to roll the cookies

*Can also use old-fashion oats

 

Directions:

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

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

In a large bowl, using a handheld mixer on medium speed cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, lemon zest and lemon juice. Gradually add in the flour mixture.

Pour additional sugar into a small bowl. Use a cookie scoop to scoop the dough and then roll in the sugar and then place on the prepared cookie sheets. Using the bottom of a glass flatten the cookie about halfway down.

Bake in the preheated oven for 10-12 minutes, or until the edges are beginning to brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Recipe slightly modified from Taste of Home

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