Friday, December 31, 2010

Chocolate Crinkles

Not only are these cookies dense, fudgy, and delicious, but they don't take much time to throw together either.

These also work well if you freeze them uncooked, and pop in the oven as needed (just add a few minutes to the bake time). Yummy!

Chocolate Crinkles
Adapted from Joy of Baking
Makes about 3 dozen cookies

4 tablespoons (56 grams) butter
8 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped (or use chips)
1/2 cup (100 grams) sugar (or honey sucanat)
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups (195 grams) all-purpose flour (or 7 oz Soft White wheat flour)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder


1 cup (110 grams) confectioners sugar, sifted

Preheat oven to 325º, and place oven rack in the center of the oven. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Melt chocolate and butter in a stainless steel bowl, placed over simmering water. Stir until smooth. Remove and set aside.

Using an electric mixer, beat eggs and sugar until mixture is thick, pale, and fluffy. (Mixture should fall into the bowl in slow ribbons when beaters are raised). Beat in vanilla. Stir in chocolate mixture.

Whisk together flour, salt, and baking powder in a small bowl. Add to chocolate mixture. Stir until just incorporated. Cover dough and refrigerate until firm enough to shape dough into balls. (About 3 hours).

In a shallow bowl, place the confectioners sugar. Roll dough into 1-inch sized balls, with lightly greased hands. Roll balls in confections sugar, until fully coated. Tap off excess, and place on cookie sheet. Space cookies about 2 inches apart. (If dough becomes too soft, allow to firm up in the fridge).

Bake just until the edges are slightly firm, but centers of cookies are still soft, about 8-10 minutes. (You want to be careful not to overbake these, as this will make them dry.) Allow cookies to cool on a wire rack. (Best eaten the day they are baked). Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Puppy Chow

Oh my...I love puppy chow! It is so yummy! Highly habit forming though... Would you believe I had never even heard of it until about a month ago? My sister-in-law made some for a gathering and I fell in love with it. Mmmmm....

Consider yourself warned - you will probably want to eat the whole bowl : ) This recipe is a snap to throw together, and can easily be cut in half (just weigh out 7 oz of the cereal, or measure out about 6 cups). Yummy!

Puppy Chow
Adapted from
Makes about 36 1/2-cup servings

1 (14 oz) box Corn Chex (can use Wheat Chex instead)
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1 cup smooth peanut butter (or almond butter!)
1 (12 oz) bag (or 2 cups) chocolate chips (I use semi-sweet)
1 lb confectioners sugar (or about 3 cups)

Melt butter, peanut butter, and chocolate chips over medium-low heat, stirring often, until smooth.

Pour Chex cereal into a large bowl. Pour chocolate mixture over cereal. Gently stir or fold cereal until all the squares are evenly coated with the chocolate. Add confectioners sugar. Stir until well coated, and there are no clumps of cereal (they should be in individual squares). Enjoy!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Apple Pizza

Have you ever had a "dessert pizza"? If you haven't, then you are in for a treat. If you have, then you already know how yummy they are. I particularly love apple dessert pizzas. However, the ones from you get from your local pizza joint may or may not be made with ingredients that I wouldn't recommend consuming. So here is a recreation that tastes just as good, if not better, then the ones you get for purchase.

This scrumptious dessert is a bit more time consuming then some other desserts out there, but it is so, so worth it. I could eat an entire pizza myself...if I only had the stomach room : )

Apple Pizza
Dough adapted from 17 and Baking
Apple filling adapted from
Makes one large pizza

1 batch of dough (recipe follows)
1 batch of apple filling (recipe follows)
1 batch of streusel topping (recipe follows)
1 batch of glaze (recipe follows)

Roll dough out and place on floured cookie sheet or pizza pan. Bake for 10 minutes, or until just starting to brown. Remove from oven and spread apple filling evenly over crust. Sprinkle streusel topping evenly over apple topping. Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Once pizza has been removed from oven, drizzle glaze evenly over the top. Best when served warm. Enjoy!

For the dough:
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, room temperature
1/4 cup warm water (105ºF to 115ºF)
2 tsp. instant dry yeast
1/4 cup sugar, divided (or honey sucanat)
3/4 tsp. salt
1 large egg, slightly beaten
1/2 cup whole milk or buttermilk, room temperature
2 1/4 cups flour, divided (or 10 oz Soft White wheat flour)

To make the dough: Lightly butter a bowl and set aside. In a stand mixer bowl combine water, yeast, and 1 teaspoon of the sugar. Stir until the sugar is dissolved, and let stand about 5 minutes, or until foamy.

Add remaining sugar, salt, butter, egg, milk, and 1 1/2 cups of the flour. On low speed, mix until combined. Switch to dough hook, and slowly add remaining flour, with mixer on low, 1/4 cup at a time. Once all the flour is in, increase speed to medium and mix until dough is smooth and slightly tacky, but not too sticky. If the dough is too wet, add 1-2 tablespoons more flour. Continue mixing for 3-4 minutes. Turn off mixer and shape dough into a ball.

Put dough in greased bowl, and turn so that it gets lightly coated in butter. Cover with plastic wrap so that it will not be exposed to much air. Allow to rise in a warm place until doubled (I only let mine rise for about 30 minutes). After it has doubled, punch down, and turn out on a lightly floured surface. Roll into a rectangle and place on a floured cookie sheet, or roll into a circle and place on a floured pizza pan.

For the apple filling;

2 cups peeled and finely chopped apples (2-3 apples, depending on the size)
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/2 cup sugar (or honey sucanat)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt

Add apples, lemon juice, and sugar to a saucepan. Simmer on medium-low until apples are slightly tender (about 5 minutes). In a bowl, combine spices, flour, cornstarch, and salt. Stir until thoroughly mixed. Add to apples and cook an additional 3 minutes (or until apple mixture is slightly thickened). Set aside until ready to spread over top of crust.

For the streusel topping:

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, cubed and chilled
1/2 cup flour (or 2.5 oz Soft White wheat flour)
1/2 cup sugar (or honey sucanat)

In a small bowl, mix together flour and sugar. Cut in butter cubes using a pastry cutter, two knives, or your fingers. Work in the butter until mixture is crumbly. Set aside until needed.

For the glaze:

1 cup powdered sugar
1-2 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Mix together powdered sugar, 1 tablespoon of milk, and the vanilla. Mixture should be thin enough to drizzle. If too thick, add additional milk. (An easy way to drizzle the glaze is from a zip-top bag. Just transfer glaze to baggie, snip off a corner, and you're ready to go!). Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Peanut Butter Blossoms

For some reason I get nostalgic about peanut butter blossoms, (and sugar cookie blossoms, too, for that matter). I think it must be from the fond memories I have from my childhood of my siblings and I pressing the kisses into the freshly baked cookies, and having to wait a whole 2 minutes before we were allowed to eat one, so that the chocolate could melt.

These cookies are quick, easy, and delicious. They can also be made ahead of time and frozen in their uncooked state. Super handy to have when you need something yummy on short notice.

Peanut Butter Blossoms
Adapted from Hershey's
Makes 3-4 dozen cookies

48 (or one per cookie) Hershey's chocolate kisses
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1/3 cup granulated sugar (or honey sucanat)
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar (or honey sucanat)
1 egg
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (or 7.5 oz Soft White wheat flour)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
Granulated sugar for rolling cookies in

Preheat oven to 375º.

In a large bowl cream butter and peanut butter until well blended. Add sugars and beat until mixture is fluffy. Add the egg, milk and vanilla extract. Beat until incorporated. In a small bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Gradually add to peanut butter mixture. Stir until combined.

Shape dough into balls, about 1 inch wide. Roll balls in granulated sugar, and place onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Unwrap chocolate kisses while cookies are baking.

Bake cookies until lightly browned, about 8-10 minutes. After removing from oven, immediately press a chocolate kiss into the center of each cookie. (The cookie should crack slightly around the edges). Remove cookies from pan and place on a wire rack to cool completely. Enjoy!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Hot Cocoa

The temperatures are dropping, and to help you stay warm I have a recipe for rich and delicious hot cocoa.
Did you know that there actually is a difference between hot cocoa and hot chocolate? Hot cocoa is made using cocoa powder (which no longer contains the cocoa butter), whereas hot chocolate is made from melting chocolate (like a chocolate bar) in milk. I thought it was interesting, since the terms are often used interchangeably. Anywho, without further ado...

Hot Cocoa
Adapted from Hershey's
Makes one serving

2 tablespoons sugar (or honey sucanat)
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
dash salt
1 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Mix together the sugar, cocoa, and salt in a small bowl.

Heat milk on stovetop, or in the microwave until hot.

Add cocoa mixture to hot milk, and stir until well blended.

Stir in vanilla, and pour into mug. Enjoy!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Mini Apple Pies

These mini pies are so cute! Great for holiday gatherings because you can just grab and eat. You don't need plates or forks like you would with a large pie.

You can make either the double crust pies or the single crust pies (or both!). Feel free to play around with the filling. You could make mini cherry pies, mini pecan pies, mini strawberry pies.... you get the idea : )

Mini Apple Pies
Inspired by Bakerella
Recipe adapted from
Makes about 16 pies

1 cup finely chopped apples (1-2 apples, depending on the size)
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 cup sugar (or honey sucanat)
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1 tablespoon flour
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 (9 inch) pie crust, unbaked

In a bowl, stir together apples and lemon juice. In a separate bowl, combine the sugar, spices, flour, cornstarch and salt. Mix thoroughly. Add to apple mixture. Stir until combined. Set aside.

Roll out pie crust until it is about 1/8 of an inch thick. Using a linzer cookie cutter, or 1 1/2 - 2 in round cutter, cut circles out of crust.

For double crust pies:

Place half of the pie circles on a tray. Spoon about 1 teaspoon of the apple mixture onto the center of each crust. Top each with another crust, and crimp sides. (Optional: Place lollypop stick in each pie before crimping top crust).

Brush tops with melted butter, if desired, and bake at 350º for about 15 minutes, or until slightly browned.

For single crust pies:

Press crust circles into mini muffin tins. Spoon about 1 tablespoon of the apple mixture into each. Bake at 350º for about 20 minutes, or until crust edges are brown, and pie filling looks thick.

I like to make both the double crust, and single crust pies out of the same batch. Just make about the same number of each. (Because the double crust pies use more crust, and the single crust pies use more filling). Enjoy!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

All Butter Pie Crust

Here is a quick and easy recipe for flaky pie crust. No, it doesn't use the hydrogenated anomaly known as vegetable shortening. It uses butter instead. It tastes great, and is very versatile. I love it!
All Butter Pie Crust
Adapted from this recipe
Makes one 8" or 9" crust

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (or 5 oz. Soft White wheat flour)
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar (optional) (or honey sucanat)
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, chilled and diced
1/4 cup ice water (or more)

Combine flour, salt, and sugar (if using) in a bowl. Cut the butter into flour mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs (you can leave a few pea-sized lumps of butter - it will create a flakier crust). Adding water one tablespoon at a time, stir mixture until it forms a ball. Knead a few times, until smooth. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate 2-4 hours, (or overnight), until chilled.

Roll out dough to fit into pie plate. (I sometimes roll it out between two sheets of plastic wrap, or parchment paper). Place crust in pie plate, and press down evenly. Use as directed. Enjoy!