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I’m at it again! Changing up my grandmother’s recipe for snickerdoodles (original, Biscoff filled, and chocolate chip)!

This time, I added lime zest and coconut!

Lime and coconut are the 2 ingredients for this months Behind the Curtain challenge. Each month participants are assigned 2 ingredients that we must use in a dessert. I don’t recall making anything with lime and coconut together, so this was a new flavor combination for me! I thought the flavors would go well in a snickerdoodle, so I zested a few limes and added some desiccated coconut. The lime zest gives the cookies a nice bright flavor, while the coconut adds a chewy texture to a crunchy cookie.

Lime Coconut Snickerdoodles

One Year Ago: Butterscotch Brownies

Lime Coconut Snickerdoodles

1 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups + 2 tablespoons sugar
Zest of 3 limes
2 eggs
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup + 3 tablespoons desiccated coconut, divided
2 1/2 cups flour, sifted

Make lime sugar:
Combine sugar and lime zest in a food processor. Process until well combined (about a minute). Put 2 tablespoons of the sugar mixture into a small bowl and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, cream together the shortening and the remaining lime-sugar. Add in the eggs and stir until well combined. Stir in the cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt. Add in 1/2 cup desiccated coconut, then stir in the flour. Refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Using a medium ice cream scoop, scoop the dough then roll only the tops and sides in the lime-sugar mixture. Place on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet and flatten the tops slightly with the palm of your hand. Sprinkle a little desiccated coconut onto the tops of each cookie. Bake in a preheated oven for 10-12 minutes or until the edges are a light golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool for 8 minutes. After 8 minutes, move the cookies onto a cooling rack and let cool completely. Enjoy!

Lime Coconut Snickerdoodles

Made with love, not calories!

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The end of the month means that it’s time for another Daring Bakers’ challenge!

This month, Natalia of Gatti Fili e Farina challenges us to make a traditional Savarin, complete with soaking syrup and cream filling! We were to follow the Savarin recipe but were allowed to be creative with the soaking syrup and filling, allowing us to come up with some very delicious cakes!

I stayed pretty simple with the soaking syrup and the filling. I really wanted to use up items that I already had, and even though I had a lot of ideas, I kept it simple and easy. For the soaking syrup, I made a honey syrup with equal parts honey, sugar, and water. For the filling, I used an already-made whipped topping and then covered that with fresh strawberries. The texture of the Savarin is different, but I don’t mean that in a negative way! It is like a cross between a bread and a cake. The recipe is a little time-consuming, so this isn’t something that you can just whip together. That said, it would be a wonderful addition for a Mother’s Day brunch.

Savarin

Natalia provided us with the Savarin recipe, along with detailed instructions and photographs. My honey soaking syrup was 1 cup each of honey, sugar, and water. I put the 3 ingredients into a saucepan, brought it to a boil, then let it boil for 5 minutes. I kept it warm until I was ready to soak the Savarin. Later, when the Savarin was ready to serve, I filled the center hole with whipped topping and fresh strawberries.

Savarin

Made with love, not calories!

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Eggs and bacon were the 2 ingredients for this months Improv Challenge.

I wanted to do something savory for this challenge, so I made a turkey meatloaf and covered it with slices of bacon. However, while I liked the taste of the meatloaf, it really didn’t impress me. Also, Nick doesn’t care for meatloaf, so I knew I wouldn’t end up posting the recipe.

For my second attempt, I turned to making something sweet. Why I didn’t go this route in the first place- who knows! Now, while I was “eh” about the meatloaf, I was really happy with the blondies. The white chocolate chips give a little touch of sweetness that balances nicely with the saltiness of the bacon. And, since they contain bacon and eggs, I’d say that they would make for a wonderful breakfast treat!!

Brown Sugar and Bacon Blondies

Brown Sugar and Bacon Blondies
Makes 1- 8×8 inch pan

3 pieces bacon (I used medium cut)
6 tablespoons butter, melted
2 tablespoons bacon grease
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cup flour
1/4 cup white chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium-sized skillet over medium heat, cook the bacon until crisp. Remove the bacon from the pan and place on a paper towel. Pour the bacon grease through a fine mesh sieve, that has been lined with a coffee filter or cheesecloth and placed over a bowl. Reserve 2 tablespoons of the filtered bacon grease. Finely chop the bacon once it has cooled. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl combine the melted butter, bacon grease, and brown sugar. Mix well. Stir in the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla extract. Add in the salt and baking powder. Stir in the flour until just combined. Add in the white chocolate chips and all but 1 tablespoon of the chopped bacon. Stir until everything is combined. Spread the dough evenly into an 8 x 8 inch baking pan that has been lined with aluminum foil, and sprayed with cooking spray. Sprinkle the remaining bacon over the dough. Bake in a preheated oven for 26-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let cool. Enjoy!

Brown Sugar and Bacon Blondies

Made with love, not calories!



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Pretzels and caramel…what a great combination!

They are the ingredients for this months Behind the Curtain dessert challenge! As soon as I saw the ingredients, I knew what I wanted to make…homemade Take 5 candy bars! Layers of pretzels, peanut butter, caramel, and peanuts, all covered in chocolate. YUM!

I ended up making 2 batches of these, as I wasn’t completely happy with the first batch- the peanuts didn’t stick to the caramel. I knew what I did wrong right away (I let the caramel cool too much), so it was an easy fix. The funny thing is that the first batch was gone before I made the second batch (5 days later)! Yeah, they are that good (even without the peanuts!). I have a feeling the second batch won’t last much longer!

Homemade Take 5 Candy Bars

Homemade Take 5 Candy Bars

Mini pretzels (I needed 77 + a few broken pieces)

Peanut Butter Layer:
2 cups creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Caramel Layer:
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup light corn syrup
1 cup heavy cream (also called whipping cream)
5 oz (just shy of 2/3 cup) sweetened condensed milk
1 cup salted peanuts, finely chopped

Milk chocolate for dipping

Line an 10 x 15 inch cookie sheet with aluminum foil and spray lightly with cooking spray. Set aside.

To make the peanut butter layer:
In a microwave-safe bowl, mix together the peanut butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract. Stir until all the powdered sugar has been incorporated. Microwave for 20 seconds on high, then stir. Repeat this again. Spread the mixture evenly on the aluminum foil of your prepared pan. Place your pretzels onto the peanut butter mixture, leaving a very small space between each one (enough for a knife to go through). Note: Mine was 7 pretzels across and 11 pretzels down. This left me with a space along the bottom that wasn’t wide enough for another row of pretzels, so I filled it with broken pretzels. Place the tray in the freezer while you are making the caramel layer.

To make the caramel layer:
In a large saucepan, combine all the ingredients except for the peanuts. Place this over medium heat and bring to a boil, stirring continuously. Boil (continue stirring- the caramel will burn if you stop stirring) until the mixture reaches 236 degrees. Remove from the heat and stir until it stops bubbling. Add in the chopped peanuts. Set aside for a moment.
Remove the cookie sheet from the freezer. Carefully flip the peanut butter layer onto a cutting board (or another large cookie sheet). Peel off the aluminum foil and place it back onto the original cookie sheet. Your peanut butter layer should now be facing up. Transfer this onto the aluminum foil (if it breaks, that’s ok, just press it back together).* Pour the caramel layer over the peanut butter in an even layer. Note: I only used 3/4 of the caramel and poured the rest into a greased ramekin.** Set the cookie sheet aside to cool completely (about an hour).

After an hour, place the cookie sheet in the refrigerator for an hour.

To finish the candy bars:
Line a cookie sheet with wax paper. Set aside. Melt the milk chocolate according to your favorite melting method. Remove the candy from the refrigerator and flip it out onto a cutting board. Remove the aluminum foil. Cut the candy, following the spaces between the pretzels, making 11 rows. Then cut after every 2nd pretzel (see picture below). Flip the candy over (this is the last time, I promise!), and using a fork, dip each piece into the melted chocolate. Let the excess drip off for a second, then place it onto the wax paper lined cookie sheet. Repeat until all the candy has been dipped (or you run out of room on the cookie sheet). Refrigerate for 5-10 minutes, or until the chocolate has set. Peel the candy off the wax paper, and if needed, finish dipping the rest of the candy. Enjoy!

Notes:
*The process I just described- I am having you invert the candy. I did this as the peanut butter mixture is a little too thick to spread it on top of the pretzels (and to keep the pretzels in nice, neat rows).
**I only used 3/4 of the caramel in order to keep all the layers even in thickness. If you like more caramel, go ahead and use all of it for your candy bars.

Homemade Take 5 Candy Bars

Homemade Take 5 Candy Bars

This is showing the peanut butter/pretzel layer inverted. Now it’s ready for the caramel.

Homemade Take 5 Candy Bars

Made with love, not calories!

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I’m linked at: Frugal Girls, Craftionary, The Busy B Hive, Semi Homemade Mom, Hungry Little Girl, Cornerstone Confessions, Dysfunction Junction, My Turn For Us.

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Ruth from Makey-Cakey was our March 2013 Daring Bakers’ challenge host. She encouraged us all to get experimental in the kitchen and sneak some hidden veggies into our baking, with surprising and delicious results!

For anyone who doesn’t know, I don’t like vegetables. Ok, so maybe a couple- but not very many. I can remember many nights when I was younger, still sitting at the dinner table while everyone else had finished, staring at my vegetables. Luckily we had a dog! Fluffy (our shih-tzu) would sit by my feet (she was no dummy!), and I would have a conversation with her while I fed her my vegetables. Yup, I talked to the dog. I had too- she was a noisy eater!

Nowadays, I am trying to make an effort to eat more vegetables. It’s a slow process though. So when I found out what the challenge was for this month, I was hesitant, but game. My first thought was to use beets, but my local store didn’t have any (I didn’t want to use the canned ones). However, they did have avocados. So that’s what I went with. I made 2 recipes. Chocolate avocado brownies (which I’m sharing with you today) and chocolate avocado cookies (grain-free), which I will share with you soon. I really liked the brownies. They are moist and right in the middle of fudgy and cakey. I couldn’t taste the avocado- which to be honest was my goal!

Chocolate Avocado Brownies

One Year Ago: Dutch Crunch Rolls and Corn Muffins

Chocolate Avocado Brownies

1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 avocado
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/3 cup flour
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla bean paste

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Line an 8×8 inch pan with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray. Set aside.

In a microwave-safe bowl, combine the chocolate chips and heavy cream. Microwave on high, for 30 second intervals, stirring after each one until the chocolate is melted and smooth.

In a food processor, add the avocado, egg, and egg yolk. Process until smooth (you may have to stop and scrape down the sides once). Add in the sugar, salt, baking soda, cocoa powder, and vanilla bean paste. Process until smooth. Add in the melted chocolate and process until incorporated. Add in the flour and pulse until combined. The batter will be thick, so spoon it evenly into the prepared pan. Smooth the top with the back of the spoon. Bake it in a preheated oven for 28-32 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center is clean. Remove from the oven and let cool completely. Enjoy!

Chocolate Avocado Brownies

Made with love, not calories!

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“A hot cross bun is a spiced sweet bun made with currants or raisins and marked with a cross on the top…In many historically Christian countries, buns are traditionally eaten hot or toasted during Lent, beginning with the evening of Mardi Gras (the evening before Ash Wednesday) through Good Friday, with the cross standing as a symbol of the Crucifixion.” (Source)

I made these for the March Twelve Loaves challenge. The challenge was to make a bread that you would associate with Easter or St. Patrick’s Day. I chose to make Hot Cross Buns- and I added chocolate chips!

Hot Cross Buns

One Year Ago: Coconut Thumbprints with Blood Orange Curd

Chocolate Chip Hot Cross Buns
Recipe lightly adapted from Joy of Baking

1 cup milk
1 packet (1/4 oz.) active dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon sugar
3 1/2 – 4 cups flour
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons butter, melted
2 eggs, divided
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
1-2 tablespoons milk or heavy cream

In a microwave safe dish (or mug), warm the milk until it is lukewarm (about 100 degrees). Whisk in the yeast and 1/2 teaspoon sugar. Set aside for 10 minutes and allow to foam.

In a stand mixer using the paddle attachment, combine the flour, brown sugar, spices, and salt. Once the yeast is foamy (after 10 minutes), add the yeast mixture into the flour mixture and mix until well combined. Add in the melted butter and one egg and mix until incorporated. Switch to the dough hook, and add in the chocolate chips. Continue mixing on low speed and allow the dough to knead until it is smooth and elastic (add a little more flour if necessary).

Spray a medium sized bowl with cooking spray. Place the dough into the bowl, turning once to coat both sides. Cover the bowl lightly with plastic wrap and allow to rise in a warm spot until almost doubled (about 1 1/2 to 2 hours).

Once the dough has risen, gently punch down the dough. Place it on a lightly floured work surface and divide it into 12 equal pieces. Form each piece into a ball and place on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Make an egg wash by beating the remaining egg with 1 teaspoon water. Brush the tops of each dough ball with the egg wash. Spray a piece of plastic wrap with cooking spray, then gently cover the balls of dough. Allow to rise in a warm place for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Brush the balls of dough with the egg wash again, and bake in a preheated oven for about 15 minutes or until the tops are golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove the cookie sheet from the oven and let cool.

To make the glaze:
Whisk together the powdered sugar and milk (starting with 1 tablespoon) until you reach the desired consistency. Once the buns are cooled, drizzle or pipe on the glaze. Enjoy! 

Hot Cross Buns

Hot Cross Buns

Made with love, not calories!

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My love of baking came about when I was a sophomore in high school. I had complications from a surgery that was done a few days before Christmas, and those complications kept me from going back to school for almost 3 months. During that time, my parents went back to work and my brother was in school, so I was home alone. Homework only kept me busy for so long, so I ventured into the kitchen. If I remember correctly, my mothers only complaint was that I didn’t clean up after myself (I’m still working on that!). I have been baking ever since!

I have to say though, that having this blog has made me step outside of my baking comfort zone. Past the chocolate chip cookies and plain brownies, I now enjoy making my own marshmallows and caramel. Angel food cakes and ice cream. Decorated sugar cookies and yeast doughs/breads.

I am a part of a few monthly baking challenges. This month, the surprise ingredients for one of the groups- “Behind the Curtain“, are almond paste and pastry. The almond paste has to be homemade and the pastry can be whatever kind we prefer. I had never worked with almond paste before, and now it is something I have made, used, and eaten twice within 3 months time!

I decided to make chocolate almond pastries. I used a “mock” puff pastry recipe from King Arthur Flour, which is very simple to make (though messy) and takes about 45 minutes (instead of a true puff pastry dough which takes a few hours). The center of each pastry has a nice amount of almond paste and a sprinkling of mini chocolate chips. As someone who enjoys sweets, I put no limitations on when desserts (or pastries) must be eaten. These were enjoyed warm the night I made them, and then at room temperature the next day for breakfast!

Chocolate Almond Pastries/Bake, Run, Live

One Year Ago: Brown Sugar Cookies

Chocolate Almond Pastries
Pastry dough lightly adapted from King Arthur Flour
Almond Paste recipe from Daring Bakers’
Makes 12 pastries

Pastry dough:
2 cups flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup (2 sticks) cold butter, cut into pieces
1/2 cup sour cream

Almond paste:
4 oz. raw almonds
4 oz. sugar
1 egg
1/4 teaspoon vanilla bean paste

6 tablespoons mini chocolate chips
1 egg

To make the dough:
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder. Using a fork or a pastry cutter, work in the butter until the mixture resembles large pebbles. Stir in the sour cream- the mixture will still be very crumbly. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead it until it starts to come together (this is messy, so don’t get discouraged). Pat the dough into a log and roll it into an 8 x 10 inch rectangle (again, the dough will still look like a mess, stay strong and just keep moving forward with the directions!). Lightly dust the dough with flour, then take one of the short ends and fold it towards the center of the dough. Take the other short end and fold it over the first fold (like you are folding a business letter). Give the dough a 90 degree turn and roll out into an 8 x 10 inch rectangle. Repeat the folding sequence. Lightly wrap the dough in plastic wrap, then place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes*.

To make the almond paste:
In a food processor, process the almonds until they are finely ground. Add in the sugar and let the machine run for 1 to 2 minutes. Again, we are looking for a very fine texture. Stop the machine and add in the egg and vanilla bean paste. Turn the machine on and let it run until the mixture is well combined. It will come together like a ball of dough. Move the almond paste into an air-tight container and refrigerate until needed**.

To make the pastries:
Remove the pastry dough from the refrigerator. Unwrap and place the dough onto a floured surface. Roll the dough out into a large rectangle. The dough should be about 1/8 inch thick. Using a sharp knife or a pizza cutter, even up the edges, then cut 12 equal pieces. Separate the almond paste into 12 equal pieces (the almond paste can get a little sticky- I found that flouring my hands helped to keep this to a minimum). Roll each piece of almond paste into a log and place onto the dough. Note: As you can see from the picture below, I laid my almond paste at an angle, as that was how I wanted to fold the dough. Gently flatten the almond paste. Sprinkle on 1/2 tablespoon of mini chocolate chips and gently press them into the almond paste. Fold up 2 edges of the dough (across from each other) , dab on a little bit of water onto the dough, and press to seal. Move the pastry onto a parchment paper lined cookie sheet, then repeat with the remaining pastries.

Once all the pastries are on a cookie sheet, place it in the freezer for 10 minutes. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a small bowl, whisk together 1 egg with 1 teaspoon water. After 10 minutes, remove the cookie sheet from the freezer and brush the dough with the egg wash. Bake in a preheated oven for 16-18 minutes or until the pastries are golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool completely. Enjoy!

*The pastry dough can be made ahead of time and frozen for up to 2 months. Thaw the dough in the refrigerator overnight before using.
**The almond paste can also be made ahead of time, however, it is best to use it within 4 to 5 days.

Chocolate Almond Pastries/Bake, Run, Live

Chocolate Almond Pastries/Bake, Run, Live

I’m linked at: Taste and Tell, The Busy B Hive, The Frugal Girls, Craftionary, Cheerios & Lattes, Pamela’s Heavenly Treats, Call Me PMc, Six Sisters’ Stuff, Susie QTpies Cafe, Create With Joy, Addicted to Recipes, The Chicken Chick.

Made with love, not calories!

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Sarah from All Our Fingers in the Pie was our February 2013 Daring Bakers’ host and she challenged us to use our creativity in making our own Crisp Flatbreads and Crackers!

A few weeks ago I was in a snacking mood. Nothing in the cupboard suited my craving, and I was too lazy to drive to the store. So, to the internet I turned, and found a recipe for homemade Cheez-its! Yes- that is what I wanted! 30 minutes later, Nick and I were snacking on homemade cheese crackers. I’ve now made this recipe twice, and I know it’s one that will make a regular appearance in our cupboard!

Cheese Crackers/ Bake, Run, Live

One Year Ago: Banana, Peanut Butter, and Chocolate Chip Bread

Cheese Crackers
Recipe lightly adapted from Smitten Kitchen

6 oz. shredded cheddar cheese
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter
1/8 teaspoon table salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
3/4 cup flour
Sea salt for sprinkling on top (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

In a food processor, combine the cheese, butter, table salt, garlic powder, and flour. Let the machine run until everything comes together and forms a ball of dough. Remove the dough and knead it a few times (this just gets any bits and pieces incorporated). Split the dough in half (doesn’t have to be exact, I just find it easier to work with a portion of the dough). On a lightly floured surface, roll out one half of the dough, to about 1/8 of an inch thick. Using a sharp knife or a pizza cutter (you could also use small cookie cutters if you wanted to make certain shapes, like goldfish!), cut the dough into 1 inch squares (they don’t have to be this exact size- mine never are!).  Transfer the squares onto the prepared cookie sheet (I used an offset spatula for this, that way I could move multiple pieces at a time and not have to touch them). The crackers will puff up a little, but they don’t spread, so you can line them up pretty close to each other on the cookie sheet. Continue cutting out the crackers until all the dough has been used. Using a fork or a toothpick, prick the tops of the crackers, then sprinkle with sea salt (if using. We like salt, so I did this step).

Bake in a preheated oven for 10-13 minutes or until the crackers are a light brown. The time will depend on how big the crackers are (I had a few small crackers that baked faster, so I had to move them off the cookie sheet before the rest were done). Once the crackers are done, remove them from the oven and let cool. Once completely cool, store in a zip-lock bag or a plastic container. Enjoy!

Note: You can use any cheddar cheese that you like. The 1st batch I made, I used a pre-shredded Colby and Cheddar mix. The 2nd batch I used a pre-shredded Fiesta blend.

Cheese Crackers/ Bake, Run, Live

Cheese Crackers/ Bake, Run, Live

I’m linked at: 2 Girls and a Party, Semi Homemade Mom, Hungry Little Girl, Lady Behind the Curtain, Cheerios and Lattes, Pamela’s Heavenly Treats, Addicted to Recipes, The Busy Bee’s, Chocolate, Chocolate & More.

Made with love, not calories!

 

 

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Here is the final challenge* from Willow Bird Baking…Cheesecake!

I believe I have mentioned before that while I like making cheesecakes, they don’t seem to really like me! I almost always get cracks in mine. And while cracks don’t affect the taste of the cheesecake, they just don’t look as pretty as I would like (and I’m not crazy about covering them up with sour cream. Chocolate, yes. Sour cream, no.). However, I do like making mini cheesecakes. They don’t seem to crack! Yay!

For our final challenge, I made pumpkin gingersnap mini cheesecakes. (Sorry about all the pumpkin recipes lately.)  I used store-bought gingersnap cookies as the crust. No need to crush them- a whole cookie goes in the bottom of the cupcake liner! Then a simple pumpkin cheesecake batter gets spooned over each cookie. A quick bake, and you have a fun hand-held dessert that you can take to a Halloween party!

One Year Ago: Eye Balls (Cake Balls)

Pumpkin Gingersnap Mini Cheesecakes
Makes 24

24 gingersnap cookies (I used store-bought)
2- 8oz. packages of cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
1 cup pumpkin puree
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/8 teaspoon cloves
1/8 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin/cupcake pans with 24 liners. Place one gingersnap cookie on the bottom of each liner. Set aside.

In a stand mixer (a hand-held mixer would also work), cream together the cream cheese and sugars. Add in the pumpkin puree and the eggs and mix well. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides. Turn the mixer back on and add in the spices and salt. Once everything has been combined, evenly distribute the batter over the gingersnap cookies. Bake in a preheated oven for 17-20 minutes, or just until the cheesecakes are set in the centers. Remove from the oven and let cool for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, refrigerate for 3 hours before serving. Enjoy!

* Willow Bird Baking had 5 weeks of challenges. Sadly I missed the first one. Below you will find links to the big revels and what I made for weeks 2-4.
Week 2 challenge: Breakfast BraidsNutella Breakfast Braid
Week 3 challenge: Stuffed CookiesSamoa Stuffed Sugar Cookies
Week 4 challenge: Filled cupcakesBoston Cream Pie Cupcakes

Made with love, not calories!

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Willow Bird Baking handed out our Week 3 baking challenge…Stuffed Cookies!

I have made stuffed (filled) cookies before (here, here, and here) and I think the idea is a lot of fun. The finished product is pretty tasty too!! So I was excited to once again create a stuffed cookie. I sometimes get flavor combinations that get stuck in my brain, just waiting for the right recipe to come along. Caramel, coconut, and chocolate have been whispering in my brain recently. You might recognize these as the flavors that make up Samoa’s. They are one of my favorite Girl Scout cookies, but I only limit myself to one box a year.

Anyways, I decided to use those flavors as the “stuffing” for my cookies, surrounded by a simple sugar cookie. The finished cookie may not look like much, but it is full of flavor. I think you will like them as much as I do!

One year ago: Cinnamon Chip Oatmeal Cookies

Samoa Stuffed Sugar Cookies

Cookies:
1 cup butter, melted
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1/4 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 1/4 cups flour

Samoa Filling:
1 cup caramel bits
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 cups toasted coconut
1/3 cup mini chocolate chips

In a large mixing bowl, mix together the melted butter and sugars. Stir in the egg and the vanilla bean paste. Add in the salt, baking soda, and flour, and stir until well combined. Refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes.

In the meantime, make the filling mixture. In a microwave-safe bowl, combine the caramel bits and heavy cream. Microwave on high for 30 second intervals, stirring after each one, until the caramels are melted. Add in the toasted coconut and stir to combine. Let this mixture cool for 10 minutes before adding in the mini chocolate chips.

Once the dough has chilled and the filling mixture is ready, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Using a medium-sized ice cream scoop, scoop out dough and flatten slightly (I do this in the palm of my hand). Add 1 heaping teaspoon of filling mixture into the center of the dough, then form the dough to cover the filling. Make sure there are no holes or the filling will run out while it is baking. Place this seam side down onto the cookie sheet, leaving 3 inches between each cookie.

Bake in a preheated oven for 10-12 minutes or until the cookies are set and lightly golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool for 8 minutes. After 8 minutes, move the cookies onto cooling racks and cool completely. Enjoy!

Made with love, not calories!

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