ANNOUNCING: Change is part of life, and apparently, it's part of blogging, too. As of September 5, 2013, I'm merging The Virtual Goody Plate with Disco Mom Takes on the World and whatever else may henceforth spill from my fingertips (and kitchen), into one great new blog. I hope you'll join me there in exclaiming, "THIS IS AWESOMELAND."

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Blueberry Fool

When we were in England in May, my sister-in-law Michelle made us this awesome simple dessert from the local grocery store magazine. In England grocery stores have whole cream sections - single, double, clotted, custard, etc. It was glorious to behold. So naturally they have recipes to take advantage of their lactic bounty. This one was awesome, and got gobbled up fast.

Luckily it's one that can handle slight variations, so I've included rough American equivalents.
And as you can imagine, all while eating The Fool, and pretty much the rest of the week, Dave and I snuck in "I PITY THE FOOL!" as often as possible, as in "I pity the fool that don't get no Blueberry Fool!"

300g blueberries, plus some for garnish (about 1 1/3 cups)
3 T caster sugar (superfine granulated)
350ml double cream (just under 1 1/2 cups - heavy whipping cream)
25g pistachios, roughly chopped (about 2 Tablespoons)

1. Put blueberries in a small pan and add sugar and 2 T water. Simmer over low heat 5 minutes. Crush with a fork, then let them cool.

2. Beat the cream until thick, then gently fold in cold fruits. Leave to settle in the fridge for an hour or so before serving. Sprinkle with blueberries and chopped pistachios.
Serves 4

Monday, June 29, 2009

Lethal Peppermint Chocolate Cake

This was for the preschool fun fair cake walk. My friend's mom won it, got a knife from the school kitchen, brought it out to a picnic table, and starting cutting into it and serving it up to her grandkids on the spot. It was a beautiful, gratifying thing to watch from my nearby perch at the bake sale.

Below you've got three recipes: Chocolate Ganache for the outside, chocolate cake, and Peppermint Buttercream Frosting for between the layers. Make the ganache first so it can cool while the cake cooks. While the cake is cooking or cooling, make the peppermint frosting. Then be sure to inhale deeply while assembling (and lick your fingers - no one will know!)

Chocolate Ganache
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
8 oz. semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 T Peppermint Schapps or 1/2 tsp peppermint extract

1. Place the cream in a small heavy saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, stirring. Meanwhile, place the chopped chocolate (yum!) in a large mixing bowl. Remove the pan from the heat and pour the hot cream over the chopped chocolate (yum yum!) Stir until the chocolate is melted. Stir in the extract.

2. Let ganache stand at room temperature for 4 hours, or chill it until it thickens and is spreadable.

Chocolate Cake
Even with generous grease and flour, sometimes my layer cakes fall apart trying to get them out of a pan, so I usually do this extra step that's worth the effort. Trace cake pans on parchment paper, then cut out circles slightly smaller than the tracing. Place inside cake pan after greasing/flouring, and pour batter on top. Comes out every time, then all you have to do is peel the parchment off the cake.

1 pkg plain devil's food cake mix
3 T unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/3 cups buttermilk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract

1. Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350. Grease two 9-inch round cake pans with shortening and dust with flour. Set aside.

2. Place cake mix, cocoa powder, buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla in a large mixing bowl. Blend with an electric mixer on low for 1 minute. Stop, scrape sides, increase speed to medium and beat 2 minutes more until thick and well combined. Divide batter between prepared pans, smoothing it out with rubber spatula. Place pans in oven side by side.

3. Bake cakes until they spring back when lightly pressed with finger and just start to pull away from the sides of the pan, 28-30 minutes. Remove pans from oven and place them on wire racks to cool for 10 minutes. Run a dinner knife around the edge of each layer and invert each onto a rack, then invert them again onto another rack so that the cakes are right-side-up. Cool completely, 30 minutes more.

4. Prepare peppermint frosting.

Peppermint Buttercream Frosting
This recipe is just for filling between the layers; double it to frost a whole cake.

4 T (1/2 stick) butter, room temperature
1/4 cup finely crushed peppermint candy
1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
1 to 1 1/2 T milk
1/4 to 1/2 tsp peppermint extract

1. Place the butter in a large mixing bowl. Blend with electric mixer on low speed until fluffy, 30 seconds. Stop the machine and add the peppermint candy, sugar, milk and extract. Blend with the mixer on low speed until the sugar is well incorporated, 1 minute. Increase to medium speed and beat until frosting is light and fluffy, 1 minute more. Blend in more milk if frosting is too stiff.2. Place one cake layer, right side up, on serving platter or cake stand. Spread the top with peppermint frosting. Place the second layer, right side up, on top of the first layer and frost the top and sides of cake with chocolate ganache that has cooled and is spreadable. Work with clean, smooth strokes. Chill the cake until ready to serve.

I decorated the top with Junior Mints left over from the surprise mint cookies I was also making for the bake sale. Other garnish ideas: more crushed peppermint candy, crushed regular or mint Oreos, York peppermint patties, fresh mint leaves, shaved chocolate, drizzled melted white chocolate. I don't usually get too creative decorating cakes, but an empty canvas like a ganached layer cake calls for something!Recipes from The Cake Mix Doctor by Anne Byrne

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Molasses Gingersnaps

Gingersnaps are simply a classic, but it's amazing how often we just buy them instead of making them, especially considering how inferior the store-boughts are (except for Trader Joe's Triple Gingersnaps which are in a class by themselves.) Here's the recipe I grew up eating and making, straight from the kitchen of Florence Manwaring (see this post for more on Florence.)

1 cup sugar

¾ cup shortening

¼ cup molasses

1 egg

2 cups flour

¼ tsp salt

2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp cloves

1 tsp ginger

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

2. Mix together sugar, shortening, molasses and egg, scraping down sides.

3. Add flour, salt, soda and spices; mix well.

4. Roll the dough in 1-inch balls, dip in sugar and flatten slightly on greased cookie sheet. Bake for about 10 to 12 minutes.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Chocolate Peanut Butter Surprise Cookies

I just had to make these for the bake sale. These jumbo cookies are all heft - no light teatime treat here, but a heavy, serious no-messing-around indulgence. Just one of the many reasons I love them. Massive chocolate-chocolate chip cookie with a generous dollop of brown-sugared peanut butter tucked inside. Make way, your tastebuds are in for an ambush.

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup Dutch cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
8 T (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup pure vegetable shortening
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 1/4 cups packed light brown sugar, divided
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup peanut butter

1. Sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and baking soda. Set aside.

2. In electric mixer bowl, beat butter, shortening, granulated sugar, and 1 cup light brown sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, mixing until fully combined between each addition. Add vanilla and beat to combine. Gradually add dry ingredients, and mix on low speed until fully combined. Remove from mixer. Using a wooden spoon, stir in chocolate chips. Cover bowl with plastic wrap or lid and chill until firm, at least 1 hour.

3. Preheat oven to 350. Line baking sheets with parchment or Silpats. In a small bowl, using a rubber spatula, stir together peanut butter and remaining 1/4 cup light brown sugar.

4. Using a 1 1/4 inch cookie scoop or heaping tablespoon, drop dough onto prepared cookie sheets about 2 inches apart. Make a thumbprint in the center of each cookie. Fill thumbprint with 1 tsp of peanut butter mixture. Top with a second scoop of dough, and carefully mold dough to cover "surprise."

5. Bake until firm, about 15 to 18 minutes. Transfer sheets to wire racks to cool about 5 minutes, then transfer cookies to racks. Makes about 21 big cookies.Recipe from

Friday, June 26, 2009

Lime Meltaways

Made these for the good old preschool bake sale, and while I was afraid that making five kinds of cookies and two kinds of bread might have been overboard, in the end I was glad. Mid-afternoon someone came by looking for something sweet that had no eggs, and I was proud to have these goodies to offer. But even if you don't have food restrictions, these tart, powdery gems are a super summer treat.

I'm horrified to admit I didn't take a picture. I made these the night before the bake sale, and they were almost immediately wrapped up and I must have just forgotten. Here's a stock photo from Martha, though:

3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar
Finely grated zest of 2 limes
2 T fresh lime juice (2 limes'll do it)
1 T pure vanilla extract (that's right, Tablespoon - not teaspoon)
1 3/4 cups plus 2 T all-purpose flour
2 T cornstarch
1/4 tsp coarse salt

1. Put butter and 1/3 cup powdered sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, and mix on medium speed until pale and fluffy. Add the lime zest and juice and the vanilla, and mix until fluffy.

2. Whisk together flour, cornstarch, and salt in a bowl. Add to butter mixture, and mix on low speed until just combined.

3. Divide dough in half. Place each log on an 8x12 sheet of parchment. Roll in parchment to form a log 1 1/4 inches in diameter. Refrigerate logs (in water glasses on their sides, so no side gets flat) until cold and firm, at least 1 hour.

4. Preheat oven to 350. Remove parchment from logs; cut into 1/4-inch thick rounds. Space rounds 1 inch apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Bake cookies until barely golden, about 13 minutes. Transfer cookies to wire racks to cool slightly, 8-10 minutes. While still warm, toss cookies with remaining 2/3 cup sugar in a resealable plastic bag. Cookies can be stored in airtight containers at room temperature up to 2 weeks.

Recipe from Martha Stewart's Cookies

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Bake Sale Report

Hallelujah - camera cord has arrived so I can get back to blogging! It's high time for a bake sale report.

It was a grand success! A little crazy, a little stressful, but a screaming success. Friday, the day before, everybody dropped their goodies off at my house, and amongst all the boxes (we'd been in the house 6 days), a kingly mound of sweets developed on the dining table. Around 8pm my friend Lori came by and we hunkered down to a night of Diet Dr. Pepper, cellophane and ribbon. I printed off return-address size labels for each item, telling name and price, and we individually wrapped several hundred goodies in bags, plus about a dozen loaves.

The next morning I took my baskets, boxes, table cloths, aprons (I'd gone a little project-nuts one day and made iron-on "Carlin Hall" aprons for the Bake Sale workers), and lists and headed to the school. We set up a U-shape under a tent, with goodies on 2 tables, pizza on the third, and coolers of drinks and ice pops on the ground nearby. Someone dug out foamboard posters from the school attic and we hung them up - open for business!
Luckily the weather was perfect! Partly sunny, in the 80's - warm but not too hot. We ordered pizza from Domino's and sold it by the slice, made a killer profit on the water and sodas, and raked it in on the goodies. The other two workers and I were hopping the whole 3 hours of the fair, and I only ever stepped away to call for more pizza or run over to bid at the silent auction. Ed and the girls passed by once in awhile on their way to or from games, and for the occasional treat. By 4 o'clock the fair was over, everything was cleaned up, I was sweaty and had a killer headache, only realizing then that I was probably hungry and dehydrated.
Overall the fair made a record profit, about $2500, and the bake sale make about $400. I've got big plans for next year, like ordering more pizza (we kept running out) and charging more for it (at $1 a slice we only made $1 profit per pizza), rallying more help with the packaging (it took two of us almost three hours), and buying less water (I bought five cases from Costco and only used one.)

But what we really care about is what I made:

Cookies: Lime Meltaways, Chocolate Peanut Butter Surprise Cookies, Molasses Gingersnaps, Peanut Butter Cookies, Mint Surprise Cookies

Bread: Chocolate Zucchini Bread, Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread (from a Trader Joe's mix)

Cake: Lethal Peppermint Chocolate Cake

Come back over the next week or so to get the recipes I haven't posted yet.

As a side note, the twin-sized quilt my Mom made for the silent auction brought in $150, and we're already planning for next year's. My cookie-of-the-month offering only brought in a disappointing $25 but I scored winning this awesome herb pot for my deck - chives, parsley, rosemary, basil, mint, thyme and oregano, and no work on my part!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Blueberry Pot Pie with Sour Cream Ice Cream

In the non-chocolate realm, it doesn't really get better than this. I usually stay away from pie-making because the crust is such a pain, but this one was workable (no sticky rolling pin, plus it's only on top.) And delicious - and finally blueberries are affordable!!!

And the ice cream! This will be my new standby go-to awesome vanilla ice cream - the sour cream and eggs add such a custardy flavor. While it chilled in the fridge I threw in some used vanilla bean pods I had, to soak for extra flavor. And it's one of the few ice creams I've made that gets really thick and stiff in the machine. We had this for Memorial Day dessert and everyone loved it. Most importantly me.

Welcome to summer.

Blueberry Pot Pie
(make in 6 individual ramekins, a deep dish pie pan, or like I did, a round casserole dish)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 cup chilled butter, cut into pieces
1/4 cup whipping cream, divided
4 cups fresh blueberries
1/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 T cornstarch
2 T fresh lemon juice
Dash of salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 T sugar

1. Spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour through salt in a food processor; pulse until combined. Add butter, pulse 6 times or until resembles coarse meal. With processor on, add 3 T cream through processor chute, processing just until combined (do not form ball.) Press mixture gently into a 4-inch circle on plastic wrap, and cover. Chill at least 1 hour.)

2. Preheat oven to 400.

3. Combine blueberries through salt in a small bowl; toss gently. Divide evenly among ramekins or pour into deep pie/casserole dish.

4. Unwrap chilled dough, divide into 6 even portions if using ramekins. Pat each ball into a rough disk that will fit over top. Top berries with dough, inside top rim of ramekin.

5. Brush top with remaining 1 T cream. Combine cinnamon and sugar and sprinkle over crusts.

6. Place ramekins or dish on baking sheet and place in oven. Bake for 20 minutes or until crust is golden brown and fruit is bubbling (drool, drool.) Serve warm or room temperature with Sour Cream Ice Cream.
Sour Cream Ice Cream
(The original recipe called for raw eggs, no cooking. I just didn't want to try it so I adjusted the recipe to cook the eggs a bit like custard - don't know how the original turns out but mine is better!)
1 1/4 cups half-and-half
3/4 cup plus 2 T sugar
3 eggs
8 oz. sour cream
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Dash of salt

1. In a medium saucepan whisk half-and-half, sugar and eggs. Cook, stirring, over medium heat until thick and steaming, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and bring to room temperature or cooler in refrigerator, several hours.

2. Mix in vanilla, sour cream and salt. If necessary, continue to chill until nice and cold.

3. Pour mixture into freezer can of an ice-cream maker; freeze according to machine instructions. Spoon ice cream into a freezer-safe container; cover and freeze 1 hour or until firm.
Recipes from Cottage Living, April 2005

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Chocolate Twix Surprise Cookies

It's been too long since we've had a surprise cookie, and they're so darn fun! These are rich chocolate cookies with a little piece of Twix candy bar tucked inside - surprise!
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup chopped pecans, divided
6 (2-ounce) packages chocolate-caramel cookie bars (Twix), cut into 1-inch pieces
1 T sugar
2 (2-ounce) vanilla bark coating squares, optional

1. Preheat oven to 375. Line baking sheets with parchment or silicone.

2. Beat butter at medium speed until creamy. Gradually add sugars, beating well. Add eggs, 1 at a time, and vanilla, beating until blended after each addition.

3. Combine flour, cocoa, and soda; add to butter mixture, beating at low speed until blended after each addition. Stir in 1/2 cup pecans. Shape 1 T dough around each candy piece, covering completely, to form balls. Try to keep the Twix near the top of the ball, just under dough with more dough underneath it so it doesn't goo out the bottom while cooking.

4. Combine remaining 1/2 cup pecans and 1 T sugar. Gently press the top of each ball into pecan mixture. Place balls, pecan sides up, 2 inches apart on baking sheets.

5. Bake for 7 to 10 minutes. Cool on baking sheets 2 minutes. Remove to wire racks to cool completely.

6. Optional: melt coating squares in a saucepan over low heat, stirring until smooth. Drizzle over cookies. Makes about 3 dozen

Recipe from Southern Living, March 2002

Monday, June 15, 2009

Sour Cream Hazelnut Bundt Cake

What delectable deliciousness awaits you in this post! I don't even remember how I found this one online - sometimes I just start wandering around until something strikes me. I've been struck. Brought this to a friend's house for dinner. And brought my camera so I could take a picture after it had been cut into. My friends understand.

My usual concern about cakes made from scratch is that they might be dry - heaven knows I've made enough to justify the fear. But when I saw this cake has SIXTEEN OUNCES of sour cream in it, I thought we may just be onto something here. Plus I was enthralled with the concept of dusting the sprayed pan with breadcrumbs instead of flour - talk about a cake coming out easily!

So yes, the vanilla white cake was moist. Flavorful. Of perfect texture. Love it. And we haven't even gotten to the chocolate hazelnut ribbon rippling through the middle! Make it. Eat it. Enjoy it. No need for a special occasion. A half-empty jar of Nutella in your cupboard is occasion enough. But if you do have something coming up - someone's birthday, a holiday, Father's Day, ladies' brunch, high tea - it'll do for that, too.

It'll do, pig. It'll do.

Cooking spray
1 T dry breadcrumbs
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 (16 oz.) carton fat-free sour cream
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup chopped hazelnuts, toasted
2 T chocolate-hazelnut spread (Nutella)
Powdered sugar for dusting

1. Preheat oven to 350. Coat a 12-cup Bundt pan with cooking spray; dust with breadcrumbs.

2. Place granulated sugar and butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended, about 2 minutes. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla and sour cream; beat until well blended.
3. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups, and level with a knife. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk until well combined. Add flour mixture to sugar mixture, stirring just until combined.

4. Spoon half of batter into prepared Bundt pan; sprinkle evenly with hazelnuts. Drop small spoonfuls of Nutella over nuts. Spoon remaining batter over chocolate spread; swirl batter using the tip of a knife. Bake at 350 for 55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean. Cool in pan on wire rack for 15 minutes; remove cake from pan. Cool completely, then sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving.

Recipe from Cooking Light, November 2004

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Fresh Whole-Wheat Pitas

Yet another reach into the world of yeast. I am super excited at how well these turned out. I've never even attempted anything like pita so the fact that they're perfect is due to Cooking Light's excellent test kitchen.

They're not quite the COSMIC pita I could get at the Middle Eastern bakery in Brooklyn, but they're a far cry from the sawdust rounds I usually buy at the grocery store, and worth the little extra effort. I found them slightly bland so ended up sprinkling salt on some for a little extra flavor. I like to fill pita with sandwich fixings or chicken salad, but when I made these we had them for dinner with Mediterranean Turkey Burgers - really awesome and easy. Make the patties oval and half fits in half a pita perfectly.

1 T sugar
1 pkg dry yeast (about 2 1/4 tsp)
1 cup plus 2 T warm water (100-110 degrees F)
1o ounces bread flour (about 2 1/4 cups)
4.75 ounces white whole-wheat flour (about 1 cup), divided
2 T 2% Greek-style yogurt
1 T extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 tsp salt
Olive oil cooking spray

1. Dissolve sugar and yeast in 1 cup plus 2 T warm water in a large bowl, with a pinch of sugar. Let stand 5 minutes. Weigh or lightly spoon flours into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Add bread flour, 3 ounces (about 3/4 cup) whole-wheat flour, yogurt, oil, and salt to the yeast mixture. Beat with a mixer at medium speed until smooth. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Knead dough until smooth and elastic (about 10 minutes); add enough of remaining whole-wheat flour, 1 T at a time, to prevent dough from sticking to hands (dough will feel sticky.) Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat top. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85 degrees), free from drafts, for 45 minutes or until doubled.

2. Position the oven rack on the lowest shelf.

3. Preheat oven to 500F.

4. Divide dough into 8 portions. Working with one portion at a time, gently roll each portion into a 5 1/2-inch circle. Place 4 dough circles on each of 2 baking sheets heavily coated with cooking spray. Bake, 1 sheet at a time, at 500 for 8 minutes or until puffed and browned. Cool on a wire rack. Makes 8 pitas
Recipe from Cooking Light, March 2009

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Coconut Milk Pudding Rolls

I came across this recipe while browsing breakfasty brunchy recipes and it gave me pleasant pause. Hmm, yeasty buns with a puddingy under-frosting. DEFINITELY worth trying. So I made them one night when family was coming over, as an exotic side to slow-cooker apricot and lamb tagine.

They are YUMMY! A little sticky, just-right sweet. You pour the sauce over risen rolls just before placing in the oven - it all goes to the bottom during cooking! Breakfast, brunch, dinner, dessert (mmm, imagine with mango sorbet!) Just waiting for my next potluck to bring these!

Coconut Milk Pudding Rolls (print recipe)
1 pkg active dry yeast
3 1/4 cups plus 1 T all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter, melted and cooled, plus more for buttering bowl
1 tsp salt
1 egg
1 (13.5 oz) can coconut milk (I used light and it was fine)

1. Dissolve yeast in 1 cup warm water in large bowl with a pinch of sugar. Stir in 1 1/2 cups flour, 1/4 cup sugar, melted butter, salt and egg until smooth. Stir in 1 1/2 cups flour more and knead into soft dough, adding 1/4 cup flour as needed. Put dough in a large buttered bowl. Cover and allow to rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour. Punch down and allow to double again, about 30 minutes.

2. Whisk together coconut milk, remaining 3/4 cup sugar, and 1 T flour until smooth. Set aside.

3. Divide dough into 24 small balls. Put them in a 9x13 baking pan (6 rows of 4), cover and allow to double, about 30 minutes.

4. Preheat oven to 350. Pour reserved coconut milk mixture over raised rolls. Bake until golden brown, about 25 minutes.

Recipe from Sunset, April 2007

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Fudge Ecstasies

I made these one night during the house-buying process when I needed some SERIOUS chocolate therapy, and they delivered. Close-your-eyes-and-breathe-deep chocolatey; just what the name implies and just what the doctor ordered.

1 12-oz. pkg semisweet chocolate pieces (2 cups)
2 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped
2 T butter
2 eggs
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 cup chopped nuts (I used pecans and salted peanuts)

1. Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease or line a cookie sheet; set aside.

2. In a medium heavy saucepan heat and stir 1 cup of the chocolate pieces, the unsweetened chocolate, and butter over low heat until smooth. Remove from heat. Add eggs, sugar, flour, vanilla and baking powder. Beat until combined, scraping sides of pan occasionally. Stir in remaining 1 cup chocolate pieces and the nuts.

3. Drop by rounded teaspoons 2 inches apart onto the prepared cookie sheet. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until edges are firm and surface is dull and crackled. Transfer to wire rack to cool. Makes about 3 dozen

Recipe from Better Homes and Gardens Ultimate Cookie Book

Friday, June 5, 2009

Double Chocolate Mall Muffins

I guess these are supposed to resemble the big-top muffins you might find at a mall bakery, but they're way, way better. Sour cream, plenty of chocolate, and a nice crunchy top come together to make a totally indulgent breakfast or snack.

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 3/4 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup sour cream
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup miniature chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 425. Arrange oven rack to 2nd shelf from top. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners. Spray top of muffin pan and liners with nonstick spray. Stack 2 baking sheets together and line top sheet with parchment paper. Place muffin pan on prepared baking sheets.

2. In a mixer bowl, cream butter and sugar and then add eggs. Blend in sour cream and vanilla.

3. In a separate bowl, stir together flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Blend gently into batter. Once partially blended, fold in chocolate chips. If batter seems too loose, add a few T of flour (no more than 4) to make batter a bit stiffer. If batter seems too thick, stir in a bit of milk (up to 1/4 cup.)

4. Using a large ice cream scoop, scoop a generous amount of batter into each muffin cup. Bake 15 minutes and then reduce oven temperature to 400 and finish baking, about 12 to 14 minutes more, until muffins spring back when gently pressed with fingertips.

5. Let cool 5 minutes before removing from pan. Optional: drizzle with melted white or dark chocolate or dust with confectioners' sugar.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Chocolate Everything Cookies

These puppies were originally named "Ultimate Chocolate Comfort Cookies." And while they are very good cookies, I think that name somehow misses the mark. I would describe them as more exciting than comforting. But they are definitely show-stopping, and a huge hit with the kids in our playgroup. I renamed them "Everything Cookies" because it's such an interesting ingredient list - cream cheese, cranberries, chocolate, nuts and even marshmallow cream (a first for me in cookies!)

But they all come together splendidly to make one totally fun, and plenty chocolatey, goody!

1 cup unsalted butter, softened
3 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
2 (1 oz.) squares unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
2 T milk
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups plus 2 T all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup Dutch process cocoa or regular cocoa powder
1 cup marshmallow cream
1 cup chopped pecans
2 cups semisweet chocolate mega-morsels or white chocolate morsels (or 1 cup of each)
1/2 cup sweetened dried cranberries (like Craisins)

1. Preheat oven to 325. Line baking sheets with parchment or Silpats.

2. Beat butter and cream cheese at medium speed until creamy; gradually add sugar, beating well. Add egg, beating well. Add melted chocolate, milk and vanilla; beat well.

3. Combine flour, baking powder, salt and cocoa powder; add to butter mixture, beating well. Stir in marshmallow cream and remaining ingredients, mixing well. I didn't mix too well at this point; I wanted the marshmallow cream to be a little swirly for fun.4. Drop dough by heaping tablespoonfuls onto lightly greased cookie sheets. Bake for 13 minutes or until done. Cool 1 minute on cookies sheets; remove to wire racks and cool completely. Makes about 4 dozen.

Recipe from Oxmoor House, January 1999
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...