Thursday, April 30, 2009

Chocolate Surprise Cookies

These may be my Favorite chocolate cookies ever! This chocolate dough is very versatile, it's sweet but not too sweet with the perfect amount of chocolate.

Chocolate Surprise Cookies

Recipes adapted from Best-Loved Cookies

2 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 cup (2 sticks0 butter
1 ½ cups packed brown sugar
½ cups plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar, divided
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup chopped pecans, divided
1 package (9 ounces), caramels coated in milk chocolate (I used rolo candy)
3 squares (1 ounce each) white chocolate, coarsely chopped

Preheat oven to 375˚F. Combine flour, cocoa, baking powder, and baking soda in a medium bowl set aside.

Beat butter, brown sugar and ½ cup granulated sugar with electric mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy; beat in eggs and vanilla. Gradually add flour mixture and ½ cup pecans; beat well. Cover dough; refrigerate 15 minutes or until firm enough to roll into balls.

Place remaining ½ cup pecans and 1 tablespoon sugar in shallow dish. Roll tablespoonful of dough around 1 caramel candy, cover completely; press one side into nut mixture. Place nut side up, on ungreased cookie sheet. Repeat with additional dough and candies, place 3 inches apart.

Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until set and slightly cracked. Let stand on cookie sheet 2 minutes. Transfer to wire rack; cool completely.

Drizzle with chocolate. Let stand about 30 minutes or until chocolate is set.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Meringue Drops

Making meringues on a whim turned out to be a great experience. Personally I had never tried meringues before today but I was pleasantly surprise at how much I like them. I’m looking forward to trying different extracts and experimenting with flavors. This recipe can be easily halved for fewer drops.

Meringue drops
Makes 16 dozen drops

4 large egg whites, room temperture
1 cup sugar
1 pinch cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
food coloring
6 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
2 teaspoons canola oil or pure vegetable shortening

Preheat oven to 200 degrees with two racks centered. Line four baking sheets with parchment paper. Fill a medium saucepan 1/4 full with water. Set the saucepan over medium heat, and bring water to a simmer.

In the heatproof bowl of an electric mixer, combine egg whites, sugar, and cream of tartar, and place over the saucepan of simmering water. Whisk constantly until sugar is dissolved and whites are warm to the touch, 3 to 3 1/2 minutes. Test by rubbing between your fingers.

Transfer bowl to electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment; whip, starting on low speed and gradually increasing to high, until soft peaks form, about 5 minutes. Add vanilla and just a few drops of food coloring; beat to combine, and continue beating until stiff peaks form.

Fill a piping bag fitted with a 1/2-inch tip with the meringue. Pipe 3/4- to 1-inch drops onto prepared baking sheet; after each drop is piped by squeezing the bag, release from squeezing, and pull straight up with the bag to create the very fine curled tip on each drop. Bake until drops are hard to the touch but not browned, about 1 1/2 hours. Repeat to use all meringue. Meringue drops may be made a day ahead and kept in an airtight container at room temperature.

Melt chocolate in a heat-proof bowl, or the top of a double boiler, set over a pan of simmering water, stirring occasionally. Stir in the oil or shortening until well combined. Dip the bottom of each cooled meringue drop into the melted chocolate; stick two together if desired. Turn upside down on a cooling rack, and let chocolate harden -- this can take up to 50 minutes at room temperature -- or just freeze on parchment paper for 5 minutes. Serve

Monday, April 20, 2009

Cookies and Cream Ice cream! (no ice cream machine needed)

Yummy ice cream for a sunny day, no ice cream machine required!

3 egg yolks
1 14-ounce can condensed milk
4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chocolate sandwich cookies, coarsely crushed
2 cup heavy cream, whipped

In a large bowl, beat the egg yolks and stir in the condensed milk and vanilla. Fold in the crushed cookies and whipped cream. Pour mixture into a 9x5-inch loaf pan lined with foil. Cover and freeze for 6 hours or until firm.
To serve, scoop ice cream from pan or cut into slices.

Yield: 8 servings
Recipe courtesy Paula Deen

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Peanut Butter Cup Cupcakes!

Coming home this weekend I was itching to bake some cupcakes. You can easily replace the cupcake recipe with a boxed devils food cake mix.

Makes 24 cupcakes
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup boiling water
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
5 large eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line the bottom of two 12-cup muffin tins with paper liners.
2. Melt chocolate in a double boiler over simmering water. In a bowl, stir baking soda into the boiling water; stir this mixture into chocolate. Set aside to cool slightly.
3. Using an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until the mixture is light and pale yellow in color. Add eggs, one at a time, and continue to mix until thoroughly incorporated. Add flour and buttermilk, alternating between small amounts of each, and blend well.
4. Add the melted chocolate and vanilla to the batter, and stir well. Pour the batter into the paper cups, and bake until a cake tester comes out clean when inserted into the center of a cupcake, about 30 minutes. Remove cupcakes from the oven, and allow them to cool briefly in the muffin tin before removing them to a wire rack to cool completely.

Peanut Butter Frosting :
2 1/2 tablespoons softened unsalted butter
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1/3 cup plus 2 1/4 teaspoons powdered sugar
1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons whole milk

While the cakes cool, make the frosting, with an electric mixer beat together the butter and peanut butter until smooth. Gradually beat in the powdered sugar and 1 1/2 teaspoons milk until frosting reaches a spreadable consistency. (If needed, add up to an extra 1/2 teaspoon of milk to make frosting smooth.)