Archive for November, 2012

Starting December 1st, I will be sharing with you 12 days of Christmas cookies!


Before we get to 12 new recipes, let’s take a look at the 12 cookies that I shared last year!!

1. Nut Ball Cookies

2. Pfeffernuesse Cookies

3. Santa Claus Cookies

4. Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

5. Snickerdoodle Cookies

6. Molasses Cookies

7. Brownie Cookies

8. Meringue Cookies

9. Kolachi Cookies

10. Santa’s Whiskers

11. Lofthouse Sugar Cookies

12. Angel Wings

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Holiday season is the time for sharing and Peta of Peta Eats is sharing a dozen cookies, some classics and some of her own, from all over the world with us.

While Peta shared a dozen cookie recipes with us, our challenge for the month was to choose one of the recipes to make!

I chose to make Chocolate Coconut Cookies! This recipe came via Baking Glory and is a delicious chocolate cookie with a coconut macaroon filling. I did have a little issue with the dough, so I had to change the way I formed the cookie. The cookie dough is supposed to be formed like a purse to hold the filling. While I formed my cookies this way, they didn’t hold their shape well during baking. You will see in my pictures below how I formed the cookies and what they looked like after being baked, but I have to say that I gave up! I took pictures after baking a dozen cookies, then with the rest of the dough, I just made thumbprint cookies! That was easier and they still tasted the same- no matter how they looked :)

Chocolate Coconut Cookies
Recipe lightly adapted from Baking Glory

Coconut Filling:
6 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
2 1/4 cups sweetened shredded coconut

Cookie dough:
1 3/4 cups flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg

To make the coconut filling:
In a medium-sized bowl, cream together (either by hand or with a hand-held mixer) the cream cheese and sugar. Add in the egg yolk and vanilla bean paste. Stir in the shredded coconut. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

To make the cookie dough:
In a medium-sized bowl, mix together the flour, cocoa powder, salt, and baking soda. Set aside. In a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar. Mix on medium speed for 2 minutes. Add in the egg and mix until well combined. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add in the flour mixture (the cookie dough will be stiff).

To make the thumbprint cookies:
Use a small-sized ice cream scoop (or a tablespoon), scoop the dough and roll it into a ball. Place on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet, and using your thumb, create a well in the middle of the dough. Place a teaspoon-sized amount of the coconut filling into the well of the cookie.
Bake in a preheated oven for 12-15 minutes or until the cookies are set. Remove from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, move the cookies onto cooling racks and let cool completely. Enjoy!

How the cookies looked when I formed the dough around the filling…

how the cookies looked when I made them as thumbprint cookies!

Made with love, not calories!

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Happy Thanksgiving!

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November 21st is National Gingerbread Day!

Gingerbread is a sweet food product flavored with ginger and typically using honey or molasses (treacle) rather than just sugar. Gingerbread foods vary, ranging from a soft, moist loaf cake to something close to a ginger biscuit. The different types likely share a common origin.
The first documented trade of gingerbread biscuits dates to the 16th century, where they were sold in monasteries, pharmacies and town square farmers’ markets. One hundred years later the town of Market Drayton in ShropshireUK became known for its gingerbread, as is proudly displayed on their town’s welcome sign. The first recorded mention of gingerbread being baked in the town dates back to 1793; however, it was probably made earlier, as ginger was stocked in high street businesses from the 1640s. Gingerbread became widely available in the 18th century.” (Source)

While my first thought of gingerbread went to gingerbread men and gingerbread houses, I knew I wanted to make a soft gingerbread dessert. Note: I have never made a gingerbread house. I need to make a gingerbread house! I did some searching and found a recipe for gingerbread cupcakes. Ok, now what kind of frosting? I knew a cream cheese frosting would be really good, but that wasn’t thrilling me. I decided on a salted caramel frosting. The combination is wonderful! The cupcakes are a delight- rich with molasses and spices, while the frosting has a little hint of salt that hits your tongue, followed by the sweetness of the caramel. Don’t be too surprised when I post this combination in other recipes!

One Year Ago: Apple Cider Bread Pudding

Gingerbread Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Frosting
Cupcake recipe from Martha Stewart
Makes 18 cupcakes

1 cup boiling water
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
2/3 cup brown sugar, packed
1 cup molasses
2 eggs, lightly beaten

Salted Caramel:
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/3 cup water
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup salted caramel sauce
3 tablespoons milk
2 3/4 cups powdered sugar

To make the cupcakes:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease or line 18 muffin cups with liners. Set aside.

In a small heat-safe bowl, whisk together the boiling water and baking soda. Set aside. In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, spices, salt, and baking powder. Set aside.

In a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and brown sugar. Add in the molasses and the water/baking soda mixture, and mix well. With the mixer on low-speed, slowly add in the flour mixture. Add in the eggs and mix until well combined. Fill the muffin cups 3/4 of the way full. Bake in a preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, remove the cupcakes from the pan onto cooling racks and let cool completely.

To make the salted caramel sauce:
In a medium-sized saucepan, combine the sugar and water and cook over medium-low heat until the sugar has dissolved. Increase the heat to medium and bring to a boil. Continue to boil until the mixture reaches 350 degrees on a candy thermometer, or is a medium brown color. Note: you will usually see the color start to change in the center of the pan. Once you see that happening, start to carefully swirl the pan the make sure the sugar mixture doesn’t burn in the center.
Once the mixture has turned medium brown, remove from the heat and add in the butter. Carefully stir until the butter has melted, then add in the heavy cream. The mixture will bubble and boil when the cream is added, so be careful and don’t lean directly over the pan. Return the pan to the heat, this time over low, and continue stirring until the mixture is smooth. Once it is smooth, remove from the heat and add in the vanilla bean paste and sea salt. Let cool completely before using it in the frosting. Note: The caramel sauce can be refrigerated until needed. Use any leftover sauce over ice cream or apple pie!

To make the frosting:
In a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, cream together the butter and salted caramel sauce. Add in the powdered sugar, alternating it with the milk. Mix until you have the frosting consistency you like (adding more powdered sugar or milk to get the consistency you prefer).

To finish the cupcakes:
Once the cupcakes are cool, frost the cupcakes. Note: I used a pastry bag with a star tip. Once the cupcakes are frosted, drizzle on additional salted caramel sauce, if desired. Enjoy!

I’m linked to: Chocolate, Chocolate & More!, Taste and Tell.

I’m featured at Taste and Tell!!

Made with love, not calories!

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It’s been a while since I have posted a brownie recipe. Which is a shame, because I really, really like brownies!!

Pumpkin and chocolate go well together. Add in some cheesecake and I will say that you have a tasty brownie! These are simple to put together, as I took a little help from the store and used a box brownie mix. However, you can use your own homemade brownie recipe if you like. The pumpkin cheesecake mixture is creamy with just the right amount of pumpkin and spices. As an added Fall touch, I added leaf sprinkles to the tops of the brownies, but they aren’t necessary!

One year ago: Apple Cider Cinnamon Raisin Bread

Pumpkin Cheesecake Swirl Brownies

1- 19.5 oz. box brownie mix
3 eggs, divided
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1- 8 oz. package of cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
1 tablespoon brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a 13 x 9 baking pan, by either greasing it or lining it with aluminum foil and then greasing the foil. Note: I use aluminum foil and cooking spray. Set aside.

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine the brownie mix with 2 eggs, the water, and vegetable oil. Mix until everything is well combined. Pour the brownie batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly. Set aside.

In the same bowl (no need to wash it!), and using a hand mixer, combine the cream cheese, pumpkin, remaining egg, brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Once the mixture is well combined and is smooth, spread it evenly over the brownie batter. Using a dinner knife or a small spatula, swirl the 2 mixtures together. Note: I accomplish this by doing an up and over motion with the brownie batter, all the way around the pan. Then drag the knife back and forth, width-wise and length-wise (you can see in the picture below, the drag marks made length-wise).

Bake in a preheated oven for 33-35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center of the brownies. Remove from the oven and let cool completely. Cut into pieces and enjoy!

One additional note: another way to accomplish the marble effect would be to layer the 2 batters. Put half of the brownie batter in the pan, top it with all of the pumpkin cheesecake batter, then add the remaining brownie batter by little spoonfuls. Then use your knife to drag through the circles. There really isn’t a wrong way, so have fun with it!!

Made with love, not calories!

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Another week…another weekly running recap!

Sunday: rest
Monday: 30 minute workout
Tuesday: 1 hour treadmill incline walk
Wednesday: 20 minute run (outside- yay!)
Thursday: 30 minute workout
Friday: 1 hour workout
Saturday: Rest

The weather has been a little warmer this week. It’s still cold in the morning (it was 29 degrees yesterday at 7:30am…brr!), but then it warms up (high 40’s/low 50’s). That’s good for me, as I am still trying to run outside, the few days a week that I am running! I also think I am getting better at dressing for this weather. I read an article the other day (sorry, I don’t remember where I read it), that said to dress like it is 10 degrees warmer than it is. That advice has helped me to make better decisions with what I wear.

Anyone signed up to run a Thanksgiving Turkey Trot this year? While I won’t be running in a local race, I have signed up to do a virtual Turkey Trot! The Daily Mile is having a 5k run, with proceeds going to charity: water. I’m pretty sure I won’t burn enough calories to justify the amount of dessert I plan on eating, but oh well!

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Have you ever come across a picture that features food, and thought “I have to make this”?

I do. Sometimes it’s a gentle thought- hmm, that sounds good, or hey, that looks simple and quick. Then there are times that it just smacks me right in the face! MAKE ME!!!

That’s what happened when I saw a picture for a yeasted meringue coffee cake. I had never heard of such a thing, but I knew I needed to make it. Regardless of the ingredients. Regardless of how long it might take. Regardless that I had other recipes planned out to make. This picture just took over.

And I am so glad it did :)

One year ago: Caramel Pecan Shortbread Cookies

Yeasted Meringue Coffee Cake
Recipe from Life’s a Feast

4 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 package dry active yeast
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
2 eggs

1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup mini chocolate chips

3 eggs whites, at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
1/2 cup sugar

Egg wash:
1 egg
1 teaspoon water

To make the dough:
In a small saucepan, combine the milk, water, and butter. Heat over medium heat until the butter is melted.

In a large bowl, combine 1 1/2 cups flour, sugar, salt, and yeast. Using a hand mixer, gradually add the warm liquid and mix until well blended. Increase the speed to medium and mix for 2 minutes. Add in the eggs and 1 cup of flour and mix for another 2 minutes.

Switch to a wooden spoon, and add in enough of the remaining flour to make a stiff dough. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead for 8 to 10 minutes, until the dough is soft and elastic (adding additional flour as needed).

Place the dough into a lightly greased bowl (I used cooking spray). Cover the bowl lightly with plastic wrap and set aside to let rise until it has doubled in size (about 1 hour).

To make the filling:
In a small bowl, combine the sugar and cinnamon, then set aside. Note: I found it easier to sprinkle on the mini chocolate chips separately, instead of combining it with the cinnamon-sugar.

Once the dough has doubled, make the meringue:
In a stand mixer, beat the egg whites and salt until foamy. Add in the vanilla bean paste and slowly add in the sugar while the mixer is running. Beat the egg whites until you have stiff peaks.

To assemble the meringue cakes:
Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper. Punch down the dough and divide in half. On a lightly floured surface, roll out half of the dough to a 20 x 10 inch rectangle. Spread half of the meringue onto the dough, leaving 1/4 inch around all the edges. Sprinkle on half of the cinnamon-sugar mixture, then half of the mini chocolate chips.

Starting with the long side, roll the dough up jelly-roll style. Pinch the seams closed and very carefully transfer the dough onto one of the prepared cookie sheets. Form a ring with the dough and tuck one end into the other end, then pinch the dough to seal it. Using kitchen scissors or a sharp knife, make cuts along the outside edge of the roll, spacing about 1 inch apart, without going through the inside edge of the dough (see pictures below).

Repeat the process with the remaining half of the dough.

Lightly cover the coffee cakes with plastic wrap and set aside to rise for 1 hour.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Make your egg wash by combining the egg and water and mixing well. Remove the plastic wrap from the dough and brush the tops with the egg wash. Bake in a preheated oven for 25 to 35 minutes, or until lightly golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, carefully move the coffee cakes from the parchment paper onto cooling racks and let cool completely.

Note: These are best eaten the same day or the next day.

Dough- before rising

Dough- after rising

Meringue spread on the dough…

then topped with cinnamon-sugar and chocolate chips!

I’m linked at: Chocolate, Chocolate, and More!, Flour Me With Love

Made with love, not calories!

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