Cookie Palooza – No Bake Peppermint Chocolate Cookies

I hope you’ve enjoyed this week of cookies. I’m ending Cookie Palooza 2017 with an easy no bake cookie that only requires three ingredients, four if you count the sprinkles… Peppermint Chocolate Wafers.

First ingredient… Melted semi-sweet chocolate. I melted the chocolate using a double-boiler. You could melt the chocolate in the microwave (which was always my preferred method,) but I find melting the chocolate in a double boiler minimizes the chance of scorching the chocolate and you can keep it warm while you’re working so it will stay smooth and thin. Whereas when you melt it in the microwave after a few minutes the chocolate begins to thicken. Creating a double boiler is quite simple… fill a medium saucepan about a little less than halfway with water – you don’t want to fill it too much because then when you place the bowl in the water it will spill over. Bring the water to a boil and then reduce the heat so the water is simmering. Place a heatproof bowl in the water, add chopped chocolate and stir occasionally until the chocolate has melted. Once the chocolate has melted, reduce the flame to low to keep the chocolate warm and add in the peppermint extract (the second ingredient), stir to mix in.

Dip the Nilla Wafers (third ingredient) in the chocolate and flip them over to get them fully covered. The process will go much easier if you have candy dipping tools, but if not a fork will work well. Once cookies are covered lift the cookies out of the chocolate and let the excess drip and then place them on a wax paper lined baking sheet and sprinkle them with festive sprinkles or crushed peppermint candy/candy canes (fourth ingredient.)

 

Once you are done dipping the cookies place them in the refrigerator for about 10-15 minutes so the chocolate can harden.

And that’s it! A simple cookie that’s perfect for the season and best of all, doesn’t require you to turn on your oven.

Happy Holidays!!!

Peppermint Chocolate Dipped Cookies

Ingredients:

8 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, chopped*

1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract

30 – 36 Nilla Wafer cookies

Sprinkles, optional

Directions:

Melt the chocolate using a double boiler on medium to medium low heat. Once the chocolate has melted add the peppermint extract and stir well to combine. Keep the heat on low for the double boiler so that the chocolate will remain smooth and thin.

Dip the wafers in the chocolate one at a time, making sure to coat the entire cookie. Remove from the chocolate and let the excess drip off before placing on a wax paper lined baking sheet to set.

Sprinkle with sprinkles or crushed peppermint candy. Or let the chocolate set for a few minutes and then drizzle with the left-over melted chocolate. Place in the refrigerator so the chocolate can harden. Store in an airtight container.

*You could also use chocolate chips

**The ratio of peppermint extract to chocolate I used was 1/4 teaspoon per 4 oz.

Cookie Palooza – Lemon Ricotta Cookies

Lemon Ricotta… A flavor combination I first had in the form of pancakes and was instantly hooked so when I saw a cookie recipe using the two I knew I had to try it. A few things to note, these cookies are soft, almost cake-like. They kind of remind me of muffies – aka the top of a muffin. And while I am not one for glazes, I usually leave my baked good unglazed when a recipe calls for it, these cookies definitely need the glaze. Not because they are not delish without it – I tried one before glazing and it was good as is – but when I added the glaze the lemon flavor was kicked up a notch, but, not to the point that it was overbearing.

Lemon Ricotta Cookies Lemon Glaze

  • Servings: 40 cookies
  • Print

Ingredients

2 1/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 stick unsalted butter, softened

2 cups sugar

2 eggs

1 15 oz. container whole milk ricotta cheese

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (juice of 1 lemon)

1 lemon, zested

 

Glaze:

1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 lemon, zested

 

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375F.

In medium bowl combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl combine the butter and sugar. Beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs 1 at a time, beat the mixture well so all of the ingredients are incorporate.

Add the ricotta cheese, lemon juice & zest. Beat to combine and then stir in the dry ingredients (the flour mixture.)

Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Spoon the dough – about 2 tablespoons for each cookie – onto the baking sheets. Bake for about 15 minutes, until the edges of the cookies are golden. Remove from the oven and the cookies cool on the baking sheets for 20 minutes.

During the 20 minutes make the glaze: Combine the all of the ingredients in a small bowl and stir until smooth. Spoon about 1/2 teaspoon onto each cookie and use the back of the spoon to smooth the glaze over the cookie. Let the cookies sit for 2 hours so the glaze can harden.

Recipe from Food Network

Cookie Palooza: Dulce De Leche Thumbprint Cookies

Cookie Palooza continues today with these Dulce De Leche Thumbprint Cookies. Thumbprint cookies offer a delicious double-punch… The cookie itself is great and the filling adds additional flavor to it. Not a fan of dulce de leche, try these with your favorite jam or a chocolate filling.

Dulce De Leche Thumbprint Cookies

  • Servings: 36 cookies
  • Print

Ingredients:

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature

2/3 cup granulated sugar

1 large egg yolk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

6 oz. dulce de leche

 

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375 F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, on medium-high speed. Beat in the egg yolk and vanilla extract. Add in the flour and salt and mix until well-blended and dough comes together in a ball.

Form the dough into 1-inch balls and arrange on the prepared baking sheet. Flatten the balls with the palm of your hand and then using a 1/2 teaspoon or your thumb make an indentation in the center of each cookie. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes.

Remove the pan from the oven and gently press the indentation once again to redefine it. Fill each indentation with about 1/2 teaspoon of dulce de leche and return to the oven for 3 minutes. Transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.

Recipe from Love and Olive Oil

 

Chocolate Cream Pie

How was your Thanksgiving? Have you eaten the last of your leftovers? At some point were you suffering from a food coma? Mine was good. I was in charge of dessert, and along with a traditional pumpkin pie and the Brown Butter Vanilla Pear PieI posted a few weeks ago I also made an Apple Streusel Dump Cake (come back tomorrow for that recipe) and today’s Chocolate Cream Pie. This pie was a HIT! Not too sweet… The perfect amount of chocolate! The recipe yields more mascarpone whipped cream than needed, don’t toss it, enjoy it with some berries. Use it to top off some hot chocolate. Or, spread it in a thin layer, freeze it and then use small cookie cutters to cut it into shapes to use in lieu of marshmallows in your hot chocolate.

And here’s my trio of pies from Thanksgiving…

 

Chocolate Cream Pie

For the crust:

1 disk homemade or store-bought pie crust

4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped

Flour, for dusting

 

For the Filling:

2 1/2 cups whole milk

4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped

1 cup sugar

3 tablespoons cornstarch

2 tablespoons flour

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

4 large egg yolks, lightly beaten

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

 

For the Whipped Cream

1/2 cup mascarpone cheese

5 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups cold heavy cream

Shaved chocolate for decorating

 

Directions:

Make the crust: Preheat the oven to 375 F. Roll out the pie dough into a 12-inch round on a lightly floured surface then fit into a 9-inch pie plate. Fold the overhang dough under itself and crimp the edges. Place a piece of parchment paper inside the pie crust and fill with dried beans or pie weights and bake until the crust is starting to set and brown, about 20 minutes. Remove the parchment paper and the beans/weights and bake for another 5 minutes, until the crust is golden and crisp looking. Let it cool completely.

Melt the bittersweet chocolate in heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Using a pastry brush, brush the inside of the pie crust with the melted chocolate in a thin layer, place in the refrigerator to harden.

Make the filling: Pour 2 cups of the milk into a heatproof bowl and set over the pan of simmering water. Heat the milk until it’s almost boiling. Add the unsweetened chocolate and stir until melted. Remove from the heat.

In a large bowl whisk the sugar, cornstarch, flour and salt. Whisk in the remaining 1/2 cup milk and then add this mixture to the hot chocolate milk mixture. Raise the heat of the simmering water to medium-high and return the chocolate mixture over the water. Whisk in the egg yolks and cook, whisking constantly until the mixture is very thick. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter and vanilla until smooth. Let the filling cool slightly and then pour into the pie shell. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on top of the surface of the filling and refrigerate until cold, at least three hours,

Before serving make the mascarpone whipped cream: Beat the mascarpone, sugar and vanilla extract in a large bowl with a mixer until creamy. Add the heavy cream and continue beating until it holds stiff peaks. Add the cream to a pastry bag fitted with a large star and pipe it on top of the pie. Sprinkle with shaved chocolate.

Recipe from Food Network

Brown Butter & Vanilla Pear Pie with a Leaf Cut-Out Crust

With Thanksgiving next week you may be on the lookout for a new or different pie to make. Today I am bringing you a Brown Butter & Vanilla Pear Pie that I saw in a recent issue of Real Simple magazine that would be a wonderful addition to your dessert table.

I began by browning the butter. To do so, I simply melted a stick of butter in a saucepan stirring it until it was golden and nutty smelling – trust me, it will get a nutty scent. Don’t leave it on the stove too long or your brown butter will turn to burnt butter.

I poured the butter in to a large bowl and added in 5 peeled and chopped Bartlett pears, 2 peeled and chopped Granny Smith apples, flour, vanilla extract, salt and sugar. After giving this a few good stirs to mix it all together I transferred the mixture to a prepared pie dish – I had placed an unbaked piecrust in the dish.

Now it was time to work on the top crust. I’ve been wanting to try a different type of decorative pie crust… A leaf cut-out pie crust. I have made cut-outs before for a pie crust, but, they have been just accent pieces. I had never completely covered the pie with cutouts. What’s nice about this… its fool-proof and looks a lot more difficult than what it is. One thing you do need though is patience! Using leaf design pie crust cutters I cut out a bunch of leaves – I had around 60.

I then arranged them on the top of my pie. I brushed the pie with a beaten egg and sprinkled sugar on it and placed it in the freezer for 15 minutes.

A side note, as I have mentioned before I normally use store bought pie crust – always the Pillsbury refrigerated pie crust. So, for this pie I needed 3 pie crusts; 1 for the bottom and I needed two in order to cut out enough leaves to cover my pie. I decided that next time I make a pie with cut-outs for the crust I am going to cut them out the day before and refrigerate them to save time the day of.

I was concerned that the leaf design wouldn’t hold-up during baking – that it would possibly burn or some of the leave would crack. Thankfully baking the pie on the lowest rack of the oven and at a lower temperature (350 F) prevented that from happening.

This pie is delicious… Not overly sweet and the combination of pears and apples is just perfect!

Brown Butter & Vanilla Pear Pie

Ingredients:

1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter

2 1/2 lbs. (5) pears, peeled, cored and chopped

1 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and chopped

3 tablespoons flour

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 cup sugar, plus more for sprinkling

Preferred pie crust

1 large egg, lightly beaten

 

Directions:

Lower a rack in the oven to the lowest position and preheat the oven to 350 F.

In a medium bowl / skillet, melt the butter over medium heat stirring until golden and nutty smelling. Pour into a large bowl and let cool for a few minutes.

Add the apples, pears, flour, vanilla, salt 1/4 cup sugar to the brown butter and toss.

Roll out your pie crust to 14 inches and line a 9-inch pie plate with it and trim the dough to a 1-inch overhang. Fill the pie crust with the pear apple filling and top the pie with your decided pie crust design. If you plan on just covering the pie with no design, roll the dough out to 12 inches and lay over the filling. Fold the top edge over and tuck under bottom edge; crimp edge as desired. Cut a few vents. Brush the crust with the beaten egg and sprinkle with sugar and freeze for 15 minutes

Bake on the bottom rack until the juices start bubbling, about 60 to 75 minutes. If you notice that the edges of the pie are browning too quickly cover them with aluminum foil for the remaining baking time.

Let the pie cool for at least 4 hours before slicing.

Recipe from Real Simple Magazine

 

Halloween Sprinkle Cake

Happy Halloween! So, will any of you be dressing up today? I can’t remember the last time I dressed up. These days I prefer to dress-up my baked treats with a Halloween theme. And this year, I made a Halloween themed Sprinkle Cake. If you’re wondering, a sprinkle cake is exactly what it sounds like. A cake covered in sprinkles. What’s fun and great about them, they work for any occasion… you just have to change the color of your sprinkles and you are all set.

I started off by baking, crumb coating and frosting my cake – getting it as smooth as possible. I opted to use a box cake mix – Pillsbury’s Halloween Funfetti Cake Mix – and store bought vanilla frosting – Betty Crocker Vanilla Frosting. Since I wasn’t all that sure how many ounces of  sprinkles I was going to need – I had a rough idea -and because I was planning on rolling the cake in a bed of sprinkles I opted to keep it small – 6 inches.

Speaking of the sprinkles… I order nonpareils – basically tiny balls of sprinkles – in purple, orange and black from NY Cake. I did a little research and they had the colors I wanted at the best price. I also ordered the green cupcake liners I used for the Cupcake Bouquet I made back in May from them. I went to their shop once in NYC and at the time I was just wandering around aimlessly looking at things. Since I decorate cakes more often now I am sure I would make the most of my next visit.

Next, I emptied the sprinkles onto a rimmed baking sheet and mixed them together. Let me just apologize now for my pictures. I need to stop baking and decorating at night and also on rainy days. Well, I can’t control the rainy days, but, I could definitely pick better times to start my baking/decorating projects.

To efficiently cover the cake in sprinkles I opted to roll the cake in the sprinkles. To do so, I placed a cake board on top of the cake, as well as the bottom, and simply rolled the cake in the sprinkles back and forth until it was covered. I used a spoon to cover any small spots I may have missed. To cover the top, I carefully removed the cake board and spread more frosting on it and poured handfuls of the sprinkles over it. To remove any excess sprinkles, I carefully tilted the cake to the side and tapped the bottom cake board so they could fall off.

Now it was time for a little more decorating. I’ve been seeing a lot of cakes on Instagram with a chocolate drizzle and I have been wanting to try it myself. I decided that this cake would be perfect for that. I made a chocolate ganache – the same one I made for the Pumpkin Crepe Cake – and poured it into a decorating bottle. I let the ganache sit for a few minutes so it would thicken up but still be pourable. You don’t want to pour it too soon or you’ll end up with a runny mess on your cake. I put it in a decorating bottle because I was only planning on decorating the edges of the cake and the sides, but, if you want to cover the entire top of the cake you could pour the ganache in the middle of cake and then use an offset spatula to smooth it out and let it drip down the sides.

After that, I tinted some of the remaining vanilla frosting a light orange color and piped a border around the bottom of the cake and used a large star tip to decorate the top. And finally placed a bat and a few creepy crawlers – spiders – on the cake for a final touch.

 

I love how this cake came out! I can’t wait to make another one with a completely different theme.

Happy Halloween!

Chocolate Chip Muffins

It seems like I am on a muffin kick… Last week I brought you Blueberry Crumb Muffins and this week I am bringing you Chocolate Chip Muffins. The real reason why I made these muffins… I was going on a road trip and thought they would be a good snack/treat/breakfast for the road. When you have chocolate chips in a muffin they can be for anything I think. While this recipe was written for 12 servings (aka a cupcake size muffin) I opted to make 6 large ones as I didn’t want that many muffins for the road.

 

Chocolate Chip Muffins

  • Servings: 12 small or 6 large
  • Print

Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

1 cup sugar

2 large eggs

1 cup whole milk

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

 

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 425F and line a muffin tin with liners and then spray it with baking or cooking spray. This is just in case the muffins bake onto the pan so you can easily remove them.

In a large bowl mix together the flour, baking soda, salt and chocolate chips, set aside.

In a medium bowl whisk together the melted butter, sugar, eggs, milk and vanilla extract. Slowly add the wet mixture to the dry mixture and fold together until just combined.

Divide the batter among the muffin cups and bake at 425F for 5 minutes and then lower the oven to 375F and bake for another 12-15 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean.

Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for about 10 minutes and enjoy!

 

Recipe from Little Sweet Baker