Browsing Tag

Christmas

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Nutella Blossoms

December 22, 2014

Nutella Blossoms | Espresso and Cream

 

This year I’m entirely behind my baking game. By this point in the month on most typical years I’ve already managed to bake through my standard rotation of Christmas goodies, but this year I’ve just started baking a few days before Christmas. I’m finding this to be a very smart way to get around my lack of willpower. At least I only have a few days to indulge rather than an entire month!

My family from Idaho is coming to visit for the week starting tomorrow, so the last handful of days have been devoted to preparing the house, grocery shopping and getting ready for their arrival. Although I didn’t get all the baking done that I would have liked, I did manage to make a few of our favorite family recipes as well as a few new recipes, like these Nutella Blossoms.

Joe requested the traditional peanut butter blossoms, but when I saw that jar of Nutella in my pantry I knew it needed to be put to use. Although I can’t say these cookies are better than the original (that’s setting the bar pretty high!) they do make a fun new addition to the holiday cookie tray. So for all you other baking procrastinators out there, if you’re looking for a new cookie recipe to try I would highly suggest these little gems!

Nutella Blossoms | Espresso and Cream (1)

Nutella Blossoms
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert, Snack
Serves: 24
 
Ingredients
  • ¾ cup Nutella chocolate hazelnut spread
  • ½ cup shortening
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • ⅓ cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • Additional sugar for rolling cookies
  • 24 Hershey's kisses
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 375F.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the Nutella and shortening until well-combined. Add in the sugar and beat 1 to 2 minutes more until fluffy and combined. Add in the egg and vanilla, beating until just combined.
  3. In a medium mixing bowl, stir together the flour, salt and baking soda. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and beat until combined.
  4. Roll heaping tablespoons of the dough in between your hands to form balls. Roll balls in sugar and place 1 inch apart on greased cookie sheet. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until edges are set and cookies are puffy. Immediately place one Hershey's kiss in the center of each cookie. Cool 3 minutes on baking sheets. Transfer to wire cooling rack to cool completely.

 

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Marshmallow Creme Thumbprint Cookies

December 16, 2013

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This weekend the weather finally warmed up a bit! Okay, so when I say it warmed up, I mean the high was in the 20’s instead of -2, but you would be amazed at how warm 20 degrees feels after a week of weather in the negatives! The warmer weather meant that I wanted to get out and about rather than hibernate in my house, so Joe and I decided to bring cookies to our neighbors, along with a Christmas card. Many of our neighbors are older individuals, so we rarely see them outside during the winter months. We didn’t meet half our neighbors until April/May of this year!

Lately I’ve been obsessed with white cookies. I know that colorful cookies tend to be the thing to make this time of year, but something about all white cookies with various textures just makes me incredibly happy. Plus, how fancy and sophisticated do these cookies look?

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I updated the classic thumbprint in a couple ways. First, I added cream cheese to the dough to give these cookies a smooth, dense texture. Second, instead of filling them with jam or lemon curd or something more expected, I used a homemade marshmallow creme buttercream mixture that is out-of-this-world delicious. The marshmallow flavor is subtle, but certainly still noticeable. If you want the flavor to shine a little more, leave out the vanilla/almond extract, which tends to cover up the marshmallow flavor a bit.

Thumbprint_Cookies_2

Marshmallow Creme Thumbprint Cookies
Makes 24 cookies

Ingredients
Cookies
6 tablespoons butter, softened
2 oz cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
2 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract
1 1/2 cups flour
Filling
1 cup marshmallow creme
1 stick butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Directions
Heat oven to 375F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper or nonstick baking mat (Silpat). Set aside.

In medium mixing bowl, beat together the butter and cream cheese until smooth. Beat in the sugars until fluffy. Beat in the egg yolks and vanilla until just combined, followed by the flour. Roll dough into 24 balls (about 1 inch in diameter) and place 1-inch apart on baking sheet. Press index finger into the center of each cookie to make a deep indentation.

Bake cookies 10 minutes or until just barely golden brown around edges. Cool 5 minutes on baking sheet. Cool completely on wire cooling rack.

Meanwhile, in medium mixing bowl, beat together the marshmallow creme and butter until smooth. Beat in the extract, salt and powdered sugar until well combined and smooth. Pipe some of the filling into the center of each cookie. Garnish with sprinkles, if desired.

Happy Baking!
Madison

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Food Blogger Cookie Swap: Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing (plus a chocolate version!)

December 11, 2013

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Happy Cookie Day! Once again I took part in the Food Blogger Cookie Swap with a bunch of other amazing bloggers. The funds raised from the cookie swap goes toward kids cancer research. Cookies and a great cause? I’m in! If you want to participate in next year’s swap, you can sign up for updates here.

I’ve actually been really behind on baking cookies and desserts this year. Christmas just came up way too fast this year! We’re having a Christmas open house on Sunday night, so I’ll be getting my holiday baking on very soon. These sugar cookies were the first bit of holiday baking I did all season. Although I typically hate decorating Christmas sugar cookies, I had so much fun making these fun sugar cookies, inspired by Bon Appetit magazine. They’re ultra simple, buttery and delicious – pretty much the prefect classic cookie.

If you’re afraid of decorating cookies, don’t be! The secret is having the right type of icing. Although royal icing isn’t the tastiest type of icing, it produces the most beautiful results. Just place the icing in a pastry bag fitted with a small round tip and get creative! As you can see, below, I made a bunch of different looking cookies.

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In case you’re looking for some great cookie recipes, I also received a bunch of awesome goodies from these ladies:

Joanne from Joanne Eats Well with Others
Devangi from Pistachio Doughnuts
Erika of The Pancake Princess

Thanks so much, ladies, for sending me such great cookies! They were enjoyed by all at my house.

Christmas_White_Cookies_1
Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing

Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit December 2013

Ingredients
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups chilled butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon hazelnut or almond extract
1 recipe Royal Icing (below)

Directions
Heat oven to 325°F. In large bowl, combine salt, baking powder and flour until well combined.

In a separate bowl, using an electric mixer on high speed, beat butter and sugar until smooth and well combined. The mixture doesn’t need to be fluffy. Beat in the egg, egg yolk and hazelnut or almond extract. Add flour mixture to wet mixture and beat until just combined. Form dough into two discs. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 2 hours.

Let dough sit at room temperature until softened slightly, about 10 minutes. Place on lightly floured surface and roll to 1/4-inch thickness. Cut into desired shapes (I stuck with circles and stars for simplicity) and place on parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake 10 to 14 minutes or until edges are just lightly golden brown. Cool 5 minutes on cookie sheets. Transfer to wire cooling rack to cool completely.

Royal Icing/Decorating
Recipe from Bon Appetit (method adapted slightly)

Using electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat 3 1/4 cups powdered sugar and 2 large egg whites until white, thickened and tripled in volume, about 5 minutes. Add water by the tablespoonful until icing no longer holds a peak. Place some of the icing in a pastry bag fitted with a very small round tip. Outline the cookies with the icing.

Add an additional 2 to 4 tablespoons water to the remaining icing until it is slightly softer and runs a little more freely. Spoon a small amount of icing into the center of each lined cookie. Tilt the cookies around so icing in center completely fills the outlined cookie. Immediately cover with desired sprinkles. Allow cookies to set, about 30 minutes.

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Chocolate_Christmas_Cookies_1
Painted Chocolate Sugar Cookies
To make the chocolate sugar cookies, swap out 1/2 cup of the all-purpose flour for 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder. Make as directed.

Painted Decorating Method
I was in love with the method in Bon Appetit when I first saw it on the cover. However, I made a few tweaks that gave me a little more success the second time I made them. To make the “paint” combine 1 teaspoon luster dust (I purchased mine at Michaels in the cake decorating section) with a couple drops of alcohol, such as vodka or amaretto. The original recipe called for using lemon extract, but I found that the flavor of the lemon extract was overpowering with the cookies. Use a small paint brush to paint desired decorations on cookies decorated with royal icing.

Happy Baking!
Madison

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

December 5, 2011
Now that we have officially entered the month of December, I feel like I can post cookie recipes nonstop without shame. Growing up, cookie baking was a huge deal in my house during the weeks leading up to Christmas. My mom and I would scour our favorite cookbooks looking for the perfect combination of recipes. Once said recipes were chosen, we spent an entire day baking and making a mess. Usually I would bake and my mom would clean. Quite the system if I say so myself. 
Although our cookie baking has scaled down slightly in the past few years, there is still nothing I love more at Christmastime than baking. Partly because it’s tradition and partly because it’s delicious!
These cookies are a new addition to the holiday cookie collection I’ve spent years cultivating. I’ll be sharing a few of our families favorites in the weeks to come, but it’s kinda fun starting with something new. Chewy and brownie-like, these cookies are perfect for the real chocolate-lovers out there. They are unbelievably easy to pull together and stack well, which is important if you’re planning on shipping off cookies to loved ones across the country. 

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies
Recipe from Chow.com 
Ingredients
*4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
*1/4 cup vegetable or canola oil
*2 cups all-purpose flour
*2 teaspoons baking powder
*1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
*2 cup granulated sugar
*2 teaspoons vanilla extract
*4 large eggs
*1 cup powdered sugar
Instructions
*Place the chocolate and oil in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring occasionally until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat.
*Stir together the flour, baking soda and salt. Stir together until well combined. Set aside.
*Place the sugar and the chocolate-oil mixture in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat for 1 to 2 minutes until well combined. Add in the vanilla and eggs, one at a time, beating to incorporate after each addition, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Mixture will be soft. 
*On low speed, beat in the flour mixture until just combined. Refrigerate dough for at least two hours or overnight. 
*Preheat oven to 350°F. Scoop tablespoon-sized balls of cookie dough into parchment-lined baking sheets or baking sheets lined with a silicone baking mats. Roll balls in powdered sugar. Flatten balls slightly with the palm of your hand. Bake for 10 to 13 minutes (10 for chewier cookies and 13 for cookies with a crispier edge). Cool slightly on the baking sheet and cool on a wire rack. 
Happy Baking!
Madison

Outstanding Christmas Butter Cookies

December 22, 2009

I didn’t intend to leave the blog unintended over the past week, what with it being the peak of Christmas cookie season and all, but this past week has left practically no time for baking, and almost everything I’ve eaten has been take-out, from a restaurant, or a box of cereal. Hardly worth blogging about. What has been keeping me so busy? A little thing called graduation and all that goes with it: family visiting from Florida and moving into a new apartment! After an exhausting week of settling into a new place I was more than ready to bake, listen to Christmas music, and to present to you the most delicious Christmas cookie recipe I’ve found in quite some time.

With Dad and my little sister, Taylor

Mom and me at graduation

This entire Christmas season, I’ve been struggling to find a cookie recipe that was inspiring. Typically, I spend an entire day in full cookie production, baking anywhere from 6 to 12 different kinds of cookies. But this year I was in search of one perfect cookie. One perfect cookie enough to surpass a dozen average ones. Where did I turn? The lovely Deb of Smitten Kitchen, a beautiful blog full of recipes that always deliver.

Of course, I thought it necessary to make a few changes of my own. Using the base recipe provided by Dorie Greenspan via Smitten Kitchen, I tossed in a half a cup of dried cranberries and a teaspoon of cinnamon. In the second batch, since my mom always taught me to double every batch of Christmas cookies, I tossed in 2 Tbsp. cocoa powder, 1/2 cup toffee bits, and 1 tsp. cinnamon.

Light and mildly sweet, these cookies are not your average Christmas cookie. They sing of sophistication and simplicity, begging to be eaten with a cup of coffee or hot chocolate, perfect for when friends drop by, or for sending in the mail to those you love, since they are sure to bring a smile to the face of everyone who receives them.

Happy Baking!

Madison

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