Saturday, December 24, 2011

malted m&m cookies

The last few days of work I cleaned up my work computer.  Taking the bookmarks or files I would need.  Sadly after 13 years on the same computer there was not much I wanted or needed.  I took my bookclub reading list, my supper club matrix and a few recipes that I had bookmarked along the way (pre-pinterest).  I bookmarked these cookies back in 2005!  After 6 seasons of still thinking about them and coming back to the url I finally made them.  I am sad I waited 6 years to make these cookies.  They are a good classic cookie with a little twist with the malt powder.  The bake a little thin but, the inside is soft and chewy.  The festive green and red m&ms makes them stand out on a cookie plate and just perfect for hands of both kids and adults to enjoy.

We will be leaving a few of these for santa tonight.  Rumor is he likes these.

Hope you had a fantastic holiday season. 

malted m&m cookies
adapted: culinary in the dessert

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons shortening
8 tablespoons butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup malt powder
1 1/2 cups m&ms
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt.

In a large mixing bowl, cream the shortening and butter together.  Add both sugars and beat until combined.

Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing until combined after each. Mix in vanilla. Add the malt powder and slowly mix until combined. Add the flour gradually and mix just until combined. Stir in m&ms and chips. Cover and refrigerate dough for at least 1 hour.

Drop dough by tablespoons onto baking sheets lined with silpat. Bake until golden and almost set in the center, about 10 to 12 minutes. Let cookies cool on the baking sheets about 5 minutes before transferring to a rack to completely cool.

Monday, December 19, 2011

fluffernutter chocolate gobs

I just hosted my 5th annual cookie exchange.  I really like traditions.  I like parties that people can count on each year.  During my fall melt down I was thinking that I would just pass on the cookie exchange.  Then the calls and emails started rolling in wondering why I had not sent out the evite.  It wasn't pressure.  It was the kick in the butt I needed.  My friends were requesting me to get us all together for holiday cheer.  Even though the evite was out I could not get motivated.  I wasn't searching for a cookie recipe.  I wasn't stocking up on baking supplies to make some of my annual treats.  As the day got closer I started to realize I needed to pull it together.  I toned down the party.  No signature cocktail just a champagne bar and sweet nibbles.  After I made a few of the classics (christmas crack, rolo pretzel candy, and oreo truffles) I was feeling the baking high.  I was on a roll.  Each girl has to bring four dozen of one cookie.  I made three new cookies this year and we decided that this was the cookie to offer up at the exchange.  It has a little something for everyone.  A soft peanut butter cookie, a gooey center, chocolate glaze and a festive appearance.  They were really good.  I ate four or five.  I will definitely make these again but, they were not the cookie that every raved about.  I will get to those cookies later this week.  My holiday baking started out a bit shakey but, in the end I was really happy my friends got me into the spirit.  Note to self for next year ... having four dozen cookies in your house is not a good thing.  Especially when champagne is involved.  Happy holidays.

fluffernutter chocolate gobs
adapted: bakergirl

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
mini marshmallows

3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons milk

Preheat oven to 350°F. Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl and set aside.

Beat the butter, peanut butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar for 2 minutes until light and fluffy. Add in the egg and vanilla.

Gradually add in flour mixture on low speed. Chill dough for at least 15 minutes in the refrigerator.

Place by rounded spoonfuls on a lightly greased cooking sheet and bake for 7-9 minutes, until edges are very lightly browned. Remove from oven, lightly flatten each cookie with a spatula and then  using a melon baller press a small bowl in the center of each cookie.  Fill each bowl with 4 mini marshmallows. Return to oven for 2-3 minutes, until the marshmallows are melted. Let cool completely.

When cooled completely, make the glaze by melting the butter in the microwave. Stir in the cocoa powder and mix until smooth. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.  Slowly stir in the powdered sugar, gradually adding the milk as needed to get it the desired consistency.  Spoon a small amount over the top of each cookie. Sprinkle with holiday decor if desired.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

reindeer sugar cookies

I have been trying to limit my pinterest time.  I have spent hours upon hours building my dream home.  My dream home is incredible.  I am ready to move in.  Pinterest is such a great source of amazing ideas.  I love all the ideas.  I hate that I am not creative enough to think of them.  I love that I can leverage all these amazing ideas and kinda look like a rock star.  Since I could not turn my house into a reality I decided to turn to pinterest for an idea I could actually use today.  Carter was share person and wanted to bring a fun holiday snack.  I saw these adorable reindeer cookies plastered all over pinterest. I used a basic sugar cookie recipe which turned out both tasty and cute.  The kids loved them, the teachers loved them, and best of all Carter and I made them together.  I got asked for the recipe.  I basically rocked shared day in Carter's eyes.  These are a perfect addition to a holiday cookie plate because they have whimsy and kid appeal.  Happy Holidays!

reindeer sugar cookies
style source: pinterest
recipe source: allrecipes

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
mini and regular m&ms
mini chocolate covered pretzels

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. 

In a small bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, and baking powder. Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in egg and vanilla. Gradually blend in the dry ingredients. Roll rounded teaspoonfuls of dough into balls, and place onto ungreased cookie sheets. To make the reindeer shaped face pinch the bottom of the ball before baking.

Bake 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, or until golden. While cookies are still warm press in the eyes, noses and antlers.  Let stand on cookie sheet two minutes before removing to cool on wire racks.

Monday, December 12, 2011

sweet potato and black bean enchiladas

This month of the secret recipe club I was assigned the blog Biking & Baking.  Biking and Baking is written by Sarah a resident physician that not only loves healthy cuisine but, also loves road biking.  After you look at all of her healthy posts, learn that she is a resident physician and has biked across country with her family you kinda feel like a lazy slug.  Sarah's blog could not have come my way at a better time.  I have kinda lost healthy inspiration in the kitchen.  Her posts motivated me to get out to the produce section and look for colorful, healthy and seasonal ingredients.  After much debate I landed on her sweet potato enchiladas.  Sarah is a vegan so, I did alter the recipe to vegetarian but, tried to stay as true to her recipe as possible.  I made a full 8x8 pan of enchiladas and used the extra filling to make 2 large burritos for the freezer.  I was not surprised that I loved the enchiladas but, I was shocked that my 2 year old polished several of these off.  As much as I love seeing the smile on my kids face when they enjoy one of my baked goods I am absolutely over the moon when they love a healthy meal packed with all the seasonal good stuff.  I often underestimate their palates and this dinner reminded me if I don't put it in front of them they won't have the opportunity to experience and enjoy it.

Happy Monday and thank you Biking & Baking and Secret Recipe Club for another fun month:

sweet potato and black bean enchiladas
adapted: Biking & Baking

2 large sweet potato, peeled and diced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can green chilies
4 cloves garlic, diced
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
8oz block reduced fat cream cheese, softened
1 cup  jack cheese, shredded
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
2 cups green enchilada sauce
12-16 corn tortillas

Preheat oven to 400. Toss diced sweet potato with olive oil. Roast potatoes on rimmed baking sheet for approximately 20 minutes. Cool potatoes and divide in half.  Coarsely mash half of the potatoes.  Add the diced potatoes, black beans, green chilies and garlic to the mashed potatoes. 

In another bowl, combine cream cheese, 1/2 cup cheese, cumin, chili powder, cilantro and 1/2 cup of enchilada sauce.  

Microwave tortillas approximately 1 minute until softened and warm. Spread 1/2 cup of enchilada sauce in the bottom of a your baking pan (9x13.) Divide filling amongst tortillas, roll them up, and place seam side down in the baking dish. Pour remaining enchilada sauce over tortillas. Sprinkle remaining cheese over enchiladas.

Bake at 400 for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and enjoy!

Monday, December 5, 2011

spicy persimmon brunch cake

The month of November was an emotional blurr.  After 13 years I left my job.  I have started my new life as a stay at home mom.  This is absolutely the best decision for my family and I feel so fortunate that we are in a position that allows me this awesome opportunity.  I have always known that being a stay at home mom would be much harder then my corporate job but, I had no idea how hard it would really be.  My nanny made it look so easy.  At the end of  day I feel tired down to the bone not to mention I look like a frazzle disaster.  Until we get into a groove the me time, baking, bloging, showering, and exercise have fallen to the bottom of the list.  Play dates, tennis lessons, story time and the park have risen to the top.  I need to find some sort of balance in these whirlwind days. 

GG "great grandma" has a persimmon tree in her backyard.  This week a huge box appeared on my doorstop.  Her tree is a hachiya tree which produces the acorn shaped fruit that is used for baking.  My mother in law gave me one of her favorite junior league cookbooks when we got married.  Recently I have read the book cover to cover all the while cherishing the fact that some of my mother in laws favorite recipes come from this book.  The book was written in the 70s and while reading the book you can just feel the homeyness of each recipe.  These are family favorites that have been passed down from generation to generation.  They are not fancy.  They are solid classic dishes.  In honor of two of my favorite past stay at home moms I made this persimmon brunch cake using my mother in laws recipe and her mother's persimmons.  The result was an absolute hit.  This is a simple spicy cake.  You could spruce it up by baking in a bundt pan but, for our casual meal the 8x8 worked great.  There are no eggs in this cake ... weird.  I read the recipe several times and no eggs.  You add the baking soda to the persimmon puree which makes a gelatin like substance after a few minutes.  I have no idea why it does that but, I am assuming this concoction replaces the egg.  As long as the persimmons arrive at our door this will be a family favorite baked with lots of love.

spicy persimmon brunch cake
adapted: california heritage - junior league

1 1/2 cup pureed fresh persimmon, hachiya variety (see note below)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
2 cups sifted flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cinnamon chips
confectioner’s sugar

Stir together the persimmon puree and the baking soda in a small bowl until blended and set aside.

Sift together flour, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice and salt and set aside.

In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the puree to the creamed butter and sugar.  Gradually blend the dry ingredients into the persimmon mixture.  Stir in the cinnamon chips, mixing just enough to blend.

Spoon the stiff batter into a well-greased and floured 8 x 8 x 2-inch cake pan or 5-cup bundt pan. Bake in a preheated 350 degree F oven for 35 to 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool the cake in the pan for 10 minutes and turn out onto a rack to continue cooling another 20 or 30 minutes before serving (or serve directly from the pan if using an 8 x 8 x2-inch pan). Sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar and serve warm. Cake is also good at room temperature.  Cake can be reheated with foil cover for 10 minutes at 325.

Note: A fresh Hachiya persimmon should feel soft and jellylike when ripe.  The ripe fruit should feel like a water balloon in your hand.  Cut it in half and scoop the flesh from the skin with a spoon. Use a blender or immersion blender to smooth the pulp. Use at once or freeze. The puree tends to turn brown if left, and a small amount of lemon juice may be added if desired, to prevent discoloration.
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