Cannoli Cake

Happy Holidays! Are you in the throes of holiday baking and eating your way through more sweets than you would like to admit? Well, today I am bringing you a cake that you would be a nice addition to your holiday dessert table and to be honest is my favorite cake flavor… A Cannoli Cake! And it doesn’t skimp on the flavors and ingredients of the delicious handheld dessert… Ricotta and chocolate chips.

The cake itself is made with a French Vanilla box mix (I used a Duncan Hines mix) and the cannoli flavors comes from the filling made with ricotta cheese, cinnamon, three different extracts, confectioners’ sugar and of course chocolate chips. It’s all topped off with a mascarpone cheese frosting and sliced almonds and mini chocolate chips are used to decorate it. It sounds like a lot, but, trust me it’s not. All of the flavors/ingredients work well together and you won’t feel guilty for enjoying a slice because it’s just so good!

Cannoli Cake

Ingredients:

1 package French Vanilla Cake Mix, plus additional ingredients to prepare per packaging

Filling:

2 cups ricotta cheese

1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon almond extract

1 teaspoon rum extract

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/3 cup mini chocolate chips

Frosting:

2 8oz. packages mascarpone cheese, at room temperature

3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar

2 teaspoons almond extract

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 tablespoons whole milk

1 cup sliced almonds

mini chocolate chips, for top of cake

Directions:

Prepare and bake cake mix per package directions using two 8-inch round baking pans sprayed with baking spray. Cool in pans for 10 minutes and then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

Make the filling: In a large bowl fold together the ricotta cheese, confectioners’ sugar, cinnamon, and all extracts until well incorporated. Stir in the chocolate chips. Set aside.

Make the frosting: In another large bowl, using a hand mixer on medium speed, beat the mascarpone cheese, confectioners’ sugar, almond & vanilla extracts and milk until creamy.

Place one of the cake layers on a cake board or serving plate and spread 1 cup of the filling over it. Top with the other cake layer and spread the remaining frosting over the top of the cake within 1inch of the edge. Frost the sides and top edge of the cake with the frosting.

Press the almonds on the sides of the cake and the chocolate chips around the edge of the top of the cake.

Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Recipe from Taste of Home

Cookie Palooza: Peppermint Hot Chocolate Cookies

I hope you have enjoyed this year’s Cookie Palooza. I’m closing it out with a cookie that is inspired by my favorite holiday beverage. While I’m not a coffee drinker, around this time of the year I make frequent visits to Starbucks to get a Peppermint Hot Chocolate. And while you can order one any time of the year, there’s just something extra special about it during the holidays. I love having one while I am running holiday errands or doing some Christmas shopping.

To get the flavors of a peppermint hot chocolate, I added peppermint extract to chocolate cookie dough. I baked the cookies for 10 minutes and then removed them from the oven and pressed a large marshmallow cut in half in the center. I then returned the cookies to the oven to bake for an additional 2 minutes. I opted to use one large marshmallow as opposed to the traditional mini ones used in hot chocolate so that I could press them in and get the cookies back in the oven quickly. When you remove them from the oven after the 2 minutes the marshmallows will be soft, but they will still be puffy, they will flatten a bit as the cookies cool though so don’t be tempted to press them down. I let them cool on the pan for about a minute before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.

Once the cookies were cool it was time to decorate them and amp up the peppermint hot chocolate flavor. I crushed peppermint candy (I used starlight mints, only because I couldn’t find candy canes) and melted semi-sweet chocolate chips in the microwave. I transferred the melted chocolate to a piping bag and snipped a small piece off the end. I drizzled each cookie with the melted chocolate and then sprinkled them with the crushed peppermint candy. I let the chocolate set for a few minutes and then popped the cookies in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes so it could set completely.

And I must say, these tasted spot on to my favorite holiday beverage!

Peppermint Hot Chocolate Cookies

  • Servings: 30 Cookies
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Ingredients:

2 cups flour

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup sugar

3/4 cup light brown sugar

2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon peppermint extract

15 large marshmallows, cut in half

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1/2 cup crushed peppermint candy (either candy canes or starlight mints)

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, unsweetened cocoa powder, baking soda and salt.

In the bowl of a stand mixer or in a large bowl if using a hand mixer, beat both sugars and butter on medium speed until creamy. Add the eggs one at time, beating well after each addition. Then beat in both extracts.

With the mixer on low, add in the flour mixture and beat until combined.

Using a cookie scoop, drop the dough onto the prepared baking sheets 2 inches apart. Bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and press half of a marshmallow in the center of each cookie. Return to the oven for an additional 2 minutes.

Let the cookies cool on the pan for 1-2 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Once the cookies are cooled, melt the chocolate chips in the microwave. Microwave for :30 second intervals, stirring between each, until the chocolate is smooth.

Transfer the melted chocolate to a piping bag or a resealable bag and snip off the end and drizzle the chocolate over the cookies and then sprinkle with the crushed peppermint candy. Let the chocolate set before enjoying or storing. You can place them in the refrigerator for 5-10 minutes to speed up the process.

Store in an airtight container.

Recipe first appeared on Bead Yarn & Spatula

Cookie Palooza: Browned Butter Spice Cookies

On this fourth day of Cookie Palooza I am bringing you a variation on the classic chocolate chip cookie. Now, I must say chocolate chip cookies are one of those baked goods that once you find your favorite recipe it becomes your go-to. I personally have two or three of them. A traditional chocolate chip cookie recipe and then two others that produce a nice twist on the classic. Today I am bringing you a version that some might say is nowhere near what a chocolate chip cookie should be… A Browned Butter Spice Cookie.  

Let’s talk about the flavors that go into this cookie. First, browned butter. To make browned butter you are cooking butter just beyond its melting point. This produces a nutty flavor that is just not possible to get by using softened butter. A word to the wise though, it’s best to cook the butter on medium-low heat and with a cover on your saucepan. Melted butter can pop and shoot-up pretty high and make quite the mess. Along with cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg there’s also a splash of spiced rum that really ups the ante for the spice in these cookies. If you don’t have spiced rum you could sub it with vanilla extract or regular rum and just add a little extra of each of the spices. Finally, dark chocolate chips. The dark chocolate is a nice balance to the spice in these cookies. Semi-sweet would just be too sweet and the flavors wouldn’t work well together.

As with the Gingersnaps from yesterday, the cookie dough for these cookies needed to be refrigerated prior to baking. I did the same thing again though. I rolled the dough into balls and then refrigerated them as opposed to refrigerating the entire bowl of cookie dough.

I then baked them in a 350 F preheated oven and then transferred them to a wire rack to cool completely.

The end result… A cookie with a nice balance of spice and sweetness.

Browned Butter Spice Cookies

  • Servings: About 2 dozen
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Ingredients:

1 stick unsalted butter, cubed

1 cup light brown sugar

1 large egg

1 tablespoon spiced rum

1 1/4 cups flour

1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

Directions:

Place butter in small saucepan and cover medium heat until golden brown, about 5-7 minutes. Let cool for a few minutes.

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

Add cooled butter to a large bowl along with the brown sugar. Beat with a hand mixer on medium speed until blended. Add the egg and then the spiced rum. With the mixer on low, gradually add in the flour mixture until combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Line a baking sheet with waxed paper. Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls onto the prepared baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and placed refrigerated dough 2 inches apart. Baked for 10-12 minutes. Until cookies are set and bottoms are beginning to brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool complete.

Store in an airtight container.

Recipe from Taste of Home

Cookie Palooza: Gingersnaps

There are quite a few flavors that are synonymous with the holidays… Peppermint, Eggnog, Cranberry, Pumpkin, and so forth. A few flavors – molasses, ginger, cloves, nutmeg and cinnamon – combine to create one of the most popular, gingerbread. For today’s Cookie Palooza recipe I am bringing you a variation on gingerbread cookies… Gingersnaps. So, what’s the difference between the two? Gingersnaps are dropped cookies that are crispy around the edges and chewy in the center whereas Gingerbread cookies are almost always shaped with cookie cutters after the dough is rolled out.

For these Gingersnaps, the dough needed to be refrigerated prior to baking. Refrigerating the dough helps to prevent the cookies from spreading too much while baking. I always find though that cookie dough is too hard to scoop once it has been refrigerated. So, I opted to shape tablespoonfuls of the dough into balls and place them on a parchment paper lined baking sheet prior to refrigerating. I let the dough chill for about 4 hours.

I then rolled the dough balls in sugar and placed them back on parchment lined baking sheets 2-inches apart…

And then baked them in a 350 F preheated oven for about 10 minutes. After letting the cookies cool on the pan for 2 minutes so they could set I then transferred them to a wire rack to cool completely.

The texture of these Gingersnaps was spot on. Crispy around the edges and chewy in the middle. And since the recipe is for a small batch (just shy of 2 dozen) you may want to double it to make sure you have enough to share or maybe some extra to make ice cream sandwiches.  

Love the flavor of gingerbread? Check out the recipes below for a Gingerbread Cake and your traditional Gingerbread Men. You could also use the cookie recipe to make your own Gingerbread House.

Gingerbread Cake

Gingerbread Men

Gingersnaps

  • Servings: About 2 Dozen
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Ingredients:

1/3 cup shortening

1/2 cup sugar

1 large egg, at room temperature

2 tablespoons molasses

1 cup flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/8 teaspoon salt

Additional sugar to roll the cookie dough

Directions:

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

In a large bowl beat the shortening and sugar together using a hand mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg and the molasses.

In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, ginger and salt.

With the mixer speed on low, gradually beat the flour mixture into the sugar mixture until incorporated.

Shape tablespoonfuls of the dough into balls and place on the prepared baking sheets 2-inches apart. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Scoop 1/4 cup of sugar into a small bowl. Roll each of the dough balls in the sugar and return to the baking sheets. Bake in the pre-heated oven for 8-10 minutes. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets for 2 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Store in an airtight container.

Recipe from Taste of Home

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

Gingerbread Cake

While peppermint gets all the glory as the flavor of the holiday season there is another flavor that is just as popular… Gingerbread. And while you may only think of houses and cookies when it comes to gingerbread, it’s also a great flavor for a holiday themed cake.

So, what exactly is gingerbread flavor? Well, it’s a combination of spices – ginger, cloves, nutmeg and cinnamon – and usually sweetened with molasses. I honestly think it’s the molasses that gives gingerbread it’s distinct flavor more so than the spices.

To make things a little easy I used a spice cake mix as the base for my cake and then added in some additional spices, molasses and other ingredients to doctor it up. I got the recipe from fellow blogger Baking with Blondie. She made cupcakes with her recipe whereas I opted to use the recipe to make 2 6-inch cake layers. Once they were cooled, I wrapped them in plastic wrap and refrigerated them overnight before frosting. Frosting cold cakes is a lot easier than frosting cooled, but still room temperature ones.

I left the cakes in the refrigerator overnight and before removing them I made a Spiced Almond Cream Cheese Frosting. This frosting is so good I could eat spoonful’s as dessert!

Once the frosting was ready I torte the cakes and filled and frosted them with the frosting.

And finally, I decorated the cake with gingerbread men (you could bake them or, do as I did and use store-bought ones), fresh rosemary and sugared cranberries.

Gingerbread Cake with Spiced Almond Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients:

For the Cake:

3 large eggs

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

2/3 cup sour cream

2/3 cup buttermilk*

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup molasses

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1 box spiced cake mix

For the Frosting:

2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 8oz. block cream cheese, at room temperature

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon almond extract

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 cup heavy cream

4 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted

Gingerbread Men, Fresh Rosemary Sprigs, Sugared Cranberries for decoration

*I made my own by combining 2/3 cup whole milk with 3 teaspoons of white vinegar. Stir together and let it sit for 10-15 minutes. It will begin to curdle when ready.

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray two 6-inch pans with baking spray and set aside.

To make the cake: In a large bowl combine all the ingredients for the cake, except the spiced cake mix, and stir together until well combined. Sift the cake mix into the mixture and stir all the ingredients together until just combined. Divide the batter among the prepared pans and bake in the preheated oven for 35-40 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the middle of the cakes comes out clean.

Let the cakes cool in the pan for 15 minutes before removing them and transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the frosting: Using a hand mixer, or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter and cream cheese on high speed until light and fluffy. Add in the vanilla extract, almond extract, cinnamon, nutmeg and heavy cream. Continue mixing and gradually add in the confectioners’ sugar until thoroughly combined.

Torte the cooled cakes and then frost about a cup of the frosting on one of the cakes. Stack the other cake on top and crumb coat the cake. Refrigerate for about 15 minutes and then use the remaining frosting to finish frosting the cake. Decorate with gingerbread men, sugared cranberries and fresh rosemary.

Recipe from Baking with Blondie

Sugared Cranberries

Ingredients:

1/2 cup water

1 1/2 cups sugar

12oz. bag fresh cranberries

Directions:

Combine 1/2 cup sugar and the water in a medium saucepan over medium heat stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Stir in the cranberries until well coated. You will want to work fast as the cranberries may begin to burst.

Use a slotted spoon to transfer the cranberries to a parchment lined wire rack to dry for at least an hour.

Pour the remaining sugar into a bowl. Once the cranberries are dry work in batches to coat the cranberries in the sugar. Transfer to a clean piece of parchment paper and let the cranberries dry for at least an hour.

Cookie Palooza: Chocolate Dipped Butter Cookies

I normally end Cookie Palooza with a no-bake option for those individuals who just don’t have the time to bake or for those who baking is just not their thing. Unfortunately, not this year though. Although, I am bringing you a cookie that’s pretty fool-proof and will have people asking you if you made them yourself. A Chocolate Dipped Butter Cookie.

 

I began by making the dough. In a large bowl I creamed together butter and confectioners’ sugar and then added in vanilla extract and finally flour. I covered the bowl with a piece of plastic wrap and refrigerated the dough for an hour.

After an hour I removed the dough from the refrigerator and used a cookie scoop to scoop the dough and then formed it into small logs that I placed about 2 inches apart on parchment lined baking sheets. Yes, they are closer than that in this picture, but it was only for the picture.

Next, I pressed about three-fourths of the cookie with a fork to flatten it. To prevent the fork from sticking to the dough, since it was starting to get a bit sticky from being handled, I dipped the fork in flour every few cookies. I’ll admit that they did look a little wonky before going into the oven and I was having doubts that they would look good after baking…

But, after baking them in a 350 F preheated for about 15 minutes, they didn’t look all that bad. Especially after dipping the unflatten part of the cookie in melted chocolate and sprinkling it with holiday sprinkles. And while I used holiday sprinkles, you could totally do chopped nuts instead or your favorite color of sprinkles.

Final verdict… These were a hit! Sometimes butter cookies can be on the dry side and/or lacking flavor, but these were neither. I was actually asked if I had made them myself, they were so good! This is definitely a nice cookie you can gift to anyone on your list this year. But, if you are still doubting you could whip these up, check out the no-bake option I ended last year’s Cookie Palooza with… A Chocolate Dipped Shortbread Cookie. Which is eerily similar to how I ended this year.

I hope you have enjoyed this year’s Cookie Palooza. As the year winds down and we look forward to 2021, that will hopefully be better than this year, stay safe and be healthy!

 

Chocolate Dipped Butter Cookies

  • Servings: 30 Cookies
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Ingredients:

For Cookies:

2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups flour

 

For Dipping:

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 tablespoon shortening

Holiday sprinkles

 

Directions:

In a large bowl cream together the butter and confectioners’ sugar using a handheld mixer on medium speed. Add in the vanilla extract and mix well. Gradually add in the flour until combined. Cover the bowl with a piece of plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and preheat oven to 350F. Shape tablespoonfuls of the dough into 2 1/2-in x 1/2-in logs and place 2-inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. With a fork, flatten three-fourths of each log lengthwise. Bake in the preheated oven for 14 – 16 minutes, or until the cookies are set. Cool on the baking sheets.

Combine the chocolate chips and shortening in a microwave safe bowl and melt in 30 second intervals, stirring between each interval. Dip the round end of the cookie into the chocolate and then place on a piece of wax paper. Before the chocolate sets sprinkle with the sprinkles. Let chocolate firm. To speed up the process you can place the cookie in the refrigerator for a few minutes.

Recipe from Taste of Home

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

Cookie Palooza: Spicy Chocolate Cookies

Winter is the perfect time to enjoy a warm mug of hot chocolate. I am partial to peppermint hot chocolate myself. Today’s Cookie Palooza cookie, Spicy Chocolate Cookies, has all the decadence of hot chocolate in one bite, but, with the addition of cinnamon and cayenne pepper they are reminiscent of a Mexican Hot Chocolate. Don’t fear though, the cayenne doesn’t make these super spicy or anything. It’s actually a nice complement to the chocolate. And the chocolate chunks added to the cookies melt perfectly while baking to create a nice smooth texture within them. To top them off, they are rolled in turbinado sugar before baking… Yum!

Spicy Chocolate Cookies

  • Servings: 30 Cookies
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Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups unbleached flour

1/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon coarse salt

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 cup dark brown sugar

1 large egg, at room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chunks

1/2 cup turbinado sugar

 

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 325 F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

In a medium bowl whisk together the dry ingredients – flour, cocoa powder, cinnamon, salt, cayenne pepper and baking soda.

In a large bowl, using an electric hand mixer on medium-high speed, beat the butter and dark brown sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg and vanilla extract until well combined. Reduce the speed to low and beat in the flour mixture until just combined.

Place the turbinado sugar in a small bowl. Use a cookie scoop to scoop the dough and then roll into a ball and gently roll in the turbinado sugar and then place on the prepared cookie sheets 2 inches apart.

Bake in the preheated oven for 11 to 14 minutes, or until the cookies begin to crack slightly. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes until transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Recipe from Martha Stewart’s Cookie Perfection

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