Articles for the Month of December 2014

Chocolate Dipped Thumbprint Cookies

I seem to be in a “Let’s half dip everything in chocolate!” mood lately. Is there some Freudian explanation for that? Some hidden meaning behind wanting my cookies to all take a dunk in melted cocoa? Is it a sign of something? Like when women get pregnant and they know before the tests confirm it because they have these weird cravings for pickles and ice cream (I am definitely not pregnant by the way, for anyone who just freaked out there for a second). What does this dipping in chocolate obsession mean??

Chocolate Dipped Thumbprint Cookies

Chocolate Dipped Thumbprint Cookies

Oh I know! (1) That I have a borderline pathological need to make recipes more delicious by making them more complicated or adding extra steps (2) Everything looks cuter when half of it is covered in chocolate. Phew! Glad we figured that out.

Toffee and Candied Pecan Snickerdoodles

They say that, in general life, necessity is the mother of all invention. In baking, leftovers are the mother of all invention. I can’t count how many recipes I’ve come up with that came out of having extras of an ingredient I used for a different recipe and compulsively needed to use up. It’s like with all the random specialty or seasonal ingredients I’ll buy: for the intended recipe I may only need 1/2 cup but I have to put the remainder to use! Hence three different pomegranate scones, lemon thyme basil scones, and cinnamon chip scones/cinnamon chip pumpkin bread, just to name a few. Once inspiration for those leftovers hits, I often have to run to the grocery store to buy a different specialty ingredient for that recipe and then end up with leftovers of the new ingredients. And thus the leftovers dilemma continues. It’s a vicious cycle my friends.

Toffee and Candied Pecan Snickerdoodles

Toffee and Candied Pecan Snickerdoodles

Combine that with my other compulsive baking need to find some twist on a recipe or figure out some way to make it a little more complicated, and you end up with Toffee and Candied Pecan Snickerdoodles before I even get around to making a solid basic snickerdoodle cookie. Oops. I blame Thanksgiving and salad.

Pinwheel Cookies

Pinwheel Cookies

Both of my parents learned very important lessons while I was making these cookies. Let’s start with my mother.

Pinwheel Cookies

Pinwheel Cookies

Before commencing the annual Cookie Baking Extravaganza this year, my mom and I sat down together and planned out which cookies we wanted to make. Some were old standby classics. Others were brand new recipes that we had never tried before. We prioritized, scheduled, and planned the cookie baking. We also broke that plan the very first day. But the conflicting importance of scheduling and abandoning the schedule is not the lesson learned. It’s the just long, unnecessary backstory to why we were making Pinwheel Cookies. These were Mom’s first pick for new recipes.

Pomegranate Dark Chocolate Scones

Pomegranate Dark Chocolate Scones

Feeling a little inundated with cookies right about now? Between Christmas parties, office afternoon teas (is it just my dad’s office that does that?), your holiday traditions, and yes I’ll admit to some blame myself, you have been surrounded by cookies for weeks now! Cookies are delicious and traditional for this time of year, but I totally understand needing a moment to step away from the cookie sheets. I won’t judge. In fact, I’ll join you! I’ll join anything to have another batch of these pomegranate dark chocolate scones.

Pomegranate Dark Chocolate Scones

Pomegranate Dark Chocolate Scones

I mentioned EONS ago that I wanted to try these Chocolate Covered Pomegranate Scones with fresh pomegranate arils instead of the pomegranate flavored fruit jelly covered in dark chocolate. 

Chocolate Chocolate Morsel Cookies

Chocolate Chocolate Morsel Cookies

You know what we’ve had a dearth of on this blog lately? Chocolate. Sure we throw various chocolate chips into our scones and cookies. Heck sometimes we even melt some down and spread it all over our cookies. But true, unadulterated chocolate? Definitely lacking.

Chocolate Chocolate Morsel Cookies

Chocolate Chocolate Morsel Cookies

The holidays aren’t just about all things cinnamon, eggnog, peppermint, pumpkin, white, and cranberry. They are about thinking about the people in your life and what you can do to make them feel special. Isn’t that what presents are? Our acknowledgment that the receiver was in our hearts and minds and that we want to give them something specific to their unique tastes? Well, the same goes with Holiday Cookies. I may love peppermint and cranberry anything, but my mom craves anything eggnog. My brother just asks after pumpkin pie. No cookies, just pumpkin pie. And my aunt? She looooooooooves anything chocolate! See? Everyone has different tastes in their sweet treats, and making a type of cookie specifically with them in mind is a great way to show people how much you love and understand them.

And the best excuse to make a million batches of cookies EVER. Come on, we can’t always be selfless.

Hershey’s has introduced this new line of chocolate chips called Morsels. They are slightly bigger than regular semisweet chocolate chips, but they are filled with deliciousness! So far I’ve found peanut butter, mint, raspberry, and caramel and I snatched up a few bags immediately before I even thought of what to make with them. I have a habit of doing that. My original idea was to just swap out regular chocolate chips in my family chocolate chip cookie recipe with the Morsels because anything in my mom’s chocolate chip cookie recipe is a winner. But with mint? Why not appeal to a new audience with the richest, most fudge, brownie like chocolate cookies chipped with Mint Morsels?

Chocolate Chocolate Morsel Cookies

Chocolate Chocolate Morsel Cookies

You’re welcome! And simultaneously, I’m sorry. You’ll need to make quite a few trips to these baking aisle once everyone gets ahold of these Chocolate Chocolate Morsel Cookies. I mean, they taste like a soft, thick Thin Mint! And who doesn’t love Thin Mints? Or brownies? Everyone does, so everyone will love these cookies. The mint is present, but neither too overwhelming of the chocolate nor too overwhelmed by the chocolate. Let me know if you get that one 😉 I also made these with the peanut butter Morsels and those were a hit too! Chocoholics unite!

Don’t be scared off by the heavy and sticky cookie dough. How else are you going to get thick and fudgy cookies? Just chill the dough for a little while to reduce the stickiness before dropping them on the cookie sheet and you’ll be reaching for that necessary glass of milk in no time.

Chocolate Chocolate Morsel Cookies

Chocolate Chocolate Morsel Cookies

chocolate chocolate morsel cookies

ingredients

  • 1 cup (125 g) all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup (80 g) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • ½ cup (115 g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • ½ cup (100 g) brown sugar
  • ½ cup (100 g) granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp lowfat milk
  • 1 package Hershey Morsels (1 batch with mint, 1 batch with peanut butter)

 directions

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk the flour, cocoa powder, soda, and salt.

In the bowl of stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and both sugars on medium, about 2-3 minutes. Beat in the egg and the vanilla extract. Make sure you are always scraping down the sides as needed.

Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, mixing on low speed. Once combined, add the milk. Fold in the Morsels. Dough will be heavy and sticky. Chill if necessary.

Drop cookies on sheet in 1 ½ tbsp dough balls 3 inches apart. Bake for 10-13 minutes, less time for gooier cookies. Remove to a wire rack to cool immediately.

White Chocolate and Pistachio Dipped Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies

White Chocolate and Pistachio Dipped Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies

Wow. Four cookie recipes (I’m counting the peppermint bark since remember our gluten-free cookie sneakiness?) in a week. Come to think of it, have I ever posted four recipes that quickly? Must be all the sugar I’m consuming in testing these recipes that has me writing at the speed of the convection oven. Regardless, these cookies have been and will be all delicious so it’s totally worth the Costco sized block of butter you’ll go through making all of them.

White Chocolate and Pistachio Dipped Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies

White Chocolate and Pistachio Dipped Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies

Butter=Deliciousness. Mathematical proof right there.

Hidden Candy Cane Kiss Cookies

Shhhhhh! Don’t tell anyone what’s inside these cookies until they eat them! Let’s keep it a secret, a top secret, between us baking friends. It’s fun that way, isn’t it? It’s also super fun to watch the looks on people’s faces when they unsuspectingly bite into a simple looking cookie and find they’ve bitten into….a giant white chocolate-peppermint kiss! And not just any Hershey’s Kiss: A Kiss beautifully swirled with red and white stripes like the candy canes they are named for, softly melting into the buttery dough and bursting with white chocolate and peppermint flavors. It’s like we took candy canes, which are already awesome, and elevated them to even better, cookie covered heights.

Hidden Candy Cane Kiss Cookies

Hidden Candy Cane Kiss Cookies

The year I first made these cookies, I made 13 batches (not even exaggerating).

Chocolate Chip Russian Teacakes

There are a lot of cookies coming your way in the next month. Some are the classic holiday cookies straight from my mother’s kitchen, and others are new but soon to be classics, and still others are cookie extravaganzas straight from the weirdly cookie and scone obsessed mind of, well, me! Those cookies and desserts might get a little multi-step on you, so let’s ease our ovens into the cookie season with an easy, breezy twist on a classic.

Chocolate Chip Russian Teacakes

Chocolate Chip Russian Teacakes

Remember our discussion about teacakes? Long time ago, I know.

Peppermint Bark Bites

Peppermint Bark Bites

Welcome back! Did you enjoy your rest from sweets and rich foods once you finished all your Thanksgiving leftovers? (Thanks to a wonderful invention called the freezer, I still have some leftovers to consume, as well as even more Hidden Pumpkin Spice Kiss Cookies, Apple Cinnamon Cakelets, two loaves of Pumpkin Cinnamon Chip Cheesecake Bread, and scones that have yet to be published.) I thought I’d be nice and give you a week to recover before I dived face first into the season of holiday cookies!!!!! You’re welcome. And juuuuuust in case your oven wants a little bit longer of a nap–or it still smells like the self cleaning setting, blech–today’s recipe is NO BAKE!

Peppermint Bark Bites

Peppermint Bark Bites

My favorite holiday flavor just might be peppermint. I wait every year for the holiday displays to go up in grocery stores so I can pounce on the cartons of mini candy canes. Not entirely sure why I prefer mini candy canes to full sized ones….anyways, this means I obviously love peppermint bark!

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