December
17
Filed Under (Cookies, Sweet Stuff) by Colleen on 17-12-2009

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Hubby has a work Holiday party tomorrow so I decided to make cookies instead of cupcakes for a change.  Plus, who can resist some of the great cookie recipes synonymous with this time of year.  I went with a tried and true favourite – the peanut butter cookie with a chocolate kiss pushed into the top.  While at the store buying kisses I saw the white and red striped peppermint variety and thought how fun they would look in a chocolate cookie, so I made those also.

Here are the two quickie recipes which will have you rolling in cookies in very short order:

Red Green Candy Bar

Like I said, after seeing how cute the peppermint kisses were I just had to make a chocolate cookie to put them on.  I had some red decorator sugar in the pantry and rolled just the tops of the cookie balls into that before baking for some extra holiday sparkle.

Chocolate Peppermint Kiss CookiesPrint recipe here


Chocolate Peppermint Kiss Cookies
Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 8 ounces unsalted butter (2 sticks), softened
  • 1 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 chocolate kiss for each cookie

Method:

1.  Sift together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt and place aside.

2.  Cream together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Beat in vanilla.

3.  On low speed, beat in flour mixture a little at a time, until well blended and smooth.

4.  Drop chocolate cookie dough onto greased baking sheets or silicone mat by rounded teaspoons, about 2 inches apart.   I rolled mine in coloured decorator sugar before placing them on the tray.

5.  Bake at 350° for 12 to 15 minutes, or until set.

Gently push a kiss into each cookie as soon as they come out of the oven.

Makes about 3 dozen cookies.

***TIP***  If you don’t have the coloured decorator sugar available you can make your own but you will still need powdered food colouring to add to regular white sugar.  Place 1 cup of white sugar into a container with a tight fitting lid and to that add about 1/4 teaspoon of powdered food colouring.  Shake the container until the white sugar turns coloured.  Of course you can adjust the amount of food colouring to make stronger or paler colours.

Red Green Candy Bar

Peanut Butter Chocolate Kiss Cookie 

Ingredients:Holiday Peanut Butter Chocolate Cookie

  • 1/2 cup of unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup of white sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter (I like to use crunchy but we only had smooth on hand)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 3/4 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Hersheys Kisses – 1 for each cookie

Method:

1.   Preheat the oven to 375°F.
2.  Cream together butter, both sugars and peanut butter.
3.  Add the egg and vanilla.
4.  Add flour, baking soda and salt.
5.  Form into small walnut sized balls.
6.  Roll in white sugar and place them on a cookie sheet.
7.  Bake for 8 to 10 minutes.
8.  Press Hershey Kiss into each cookie when fresh out of the oven.Makes about 2 1/2 dozen.

***TIP*** It really helps to have removed the foil wrappers from the kisses BEFORE the cookies come out of the oven.  I did it for the first batch but was scrambling to get them unwrapped for the second batch before the  cookies cooled too much as they break up more when pushing in the kisses if too cool.

Also, some recipes say to return the cookies to the oven for a minute once the kisses are on the cookie but I really don’t prefer this as the kisses lost their point and looked more like the teats off a baby bottle… um no.  You can see the difference in the two photos since I didn’t do it on the chocolate peppermint cookies.

Have a wonderful time making these cookies for your family and friends!  I know I did.  As always, your email questions are most welcome.

~Colleen

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December
06
Filed Under (Sweet Stuff) by Colleen on 06-12-2009

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Print recipe here

I love hot chocolate.  My daughters love hot chocolate.  In the past we’ve bought and tried many packaged mixes with some degree of pleasure.  It’s a cold day here in Oklahoma so I thought why not try making some from scratch.  This is a recipe my Mum passed on to me.  Very easy, tasty and rich.

Ingredients:

1 can of sweetened condensed milk (I prefer Eagle Brand)
1/2 cup cocoa or drinking chocolate (I used Cadbury’s this time, yum)
1 teaspoon of vanilla
pinch of salt
3 cups of milk
3 cups of warm water

Mini marshmallows are optional but a nice addition.

Method:

Place all ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat.  Stir to combine.  Heat all ingredients until the desired temperature but do not boil.  You can keep this covered in the refrigerator for later drinks, warming in the microwave or on the stovetop.

Serve warmed to desired temp and topped with mini marshmallows!  You can also add a dash of peppermint essence for a choc mint treat or for those of us who indulge, try adding a shot of Kahlua.. mmmmmm..  ENJOY and Happy Holidays to you all.

Colleen 🙂

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January
24
Filed Under (Cakes, Sweet Stuff) by Colleen on 24-01-2009

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50th birthday cake travels 500 miles to surprise party in Omaha Nebraska.  Chocolate-yellow marble cake with mocha filling and chocolate ganache frosting.My friend Curt turned the big 50 recently. His wife Kristi and family threw him a party in Omaha’s Old Market area. I offered to make the cake and also wanted to surprise him by just showing up at the party.

I made him a four layer chocolate/yellow marble cake with a mild coffee flavoured ganache as filling. I also covered the cake in a ganache frosting and made chocolate tombstones as decoration. The board was also covered in a swirl of different coloured chocolate. My husband and I packed the cake in a heavy duty box surrounded by ice packs to make the long 500 mile journey from Oklahoma City to Omaha Nebraska and set off about 4:30am on the Saturday morning of the party.

The trip was going well until we were about 20 minutes south of Wichita Kansas. It had been raining heavily during the week and we totally disregarded the Turnpike truck with the big arrow on one of the side exit ramps. It wasn’t flashing or out in the middle of the interstate so all must be ok. Not two minutes later the traffic came to a halt.

So we sat on Interstate 35 North for an hour before a nice police officer came to tell us that there was impassable water over the road just ahead of us and we could drive up the inside of the trucks and turn through the 4ft high median where there was a break. Long story short… We arrived in Omaha about two hours late but they all got to enjoy the cake and Curt was really surprised. The restaurant Chef said he and the staff thought it was one of the best cakes they had tasted in a long time! Yay! Happy Birthday Curt xx.

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January
14
Filed Under (Cakes, Sweet Stuff) by Colleen on 14-01-2009

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Today’s cake is a chocolatey mint layer cake.  My friends told me it tastes just like a girl scout thin mint cookie so that is what I’ve decided to call it!  I started with two 10 inch devils food cakes soaked with a kahlua simple syrup.  These were split and layered with a mild mint flavoured French buttercream.  To finish off I crumb coated the entire cake with the mint buttercream and then covered it with a crusting chocolate American buttercream.  Fresh mint leaves dipped in chocolate were used as decoration and I also made a rose from chocolate modeling fondant which isn’t in this photo.

I will type up the entire recipe tonight and add it to this post, promise!

chocmint

Thin mint layer cake cut by Cake Artisan

The cut cake showing the many layers of mint cream and chocolate cake!

Recipe for Thin Mint Layer Cake

Components

2 Devils food cakes – I used 10 inch
French Buttercream
American Buttercream
Fresh Mint Leaves dipped in melted chocolate or ganache.
Chocolate Modeling Fondant for Rose if you like.

Devils Food Cake
(You will need to use a digital scale for these measurements)

Ingredients

12.6 oz. Cake flour
15.12 oz. Granulate sugar
7.5 ounces Emulsified shortening
2.5 ounces Cocoa powder
0.38 ounce Salt
0.5 ounce Baking powder
0.3 ounce Baking soda
1.58 ounces Dry milk powder
0.3 fluid ounce Vanilla extract
2.5 ounces Corn syrup
11.35 fl. oz. Water, cold
10 oz Eggs

Method

1.    Mix the cake flour, sugar and emulsified shortening in a large mixer bowl on low speed for 5 minutes.

2.    Add the cocoa powder, salt, baking powder, baking soda, dry milk powder, vanilla, corn syrup and 1 quart (1 liter) cold water. Blend well, and then scrape down the bowl.

3.    Combine the eggs with the remaining 1 quart 8 ounces (1250 milliliters) of cold water and add to the batter in three equal parts, blending well and scraping down the bowl after each addition.

4.    After all the ingredients are incorporated, blend on low speed for 2 minutes.

5.    Divide into greased and floured pans, scaling for each sheet pan or 1round layer.

6.    Bake at 340°F (170°C) until springy and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

French Buttercream

Ingredients

1 lb. 3 oz. Granulated sugar
3 ounces Corn syrup or glucose
6 fluid ounces Water
3 Eggs
10 Egg yolks
1 lb. 10 oz. Unsalted butter, room temperature
1 fluid ounce mint extract

Method

1.    Combine the sugar, corn syrup or glucose and water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil.

2.    Meanwhile, place eggs and yolks in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the whip attachment; start whipping the mixture on medium speed the moment the sugar solution begins to boil.

3.    Continue boiling until the syrup reaches 250°F (121°C). When the syrup is ready, increase the mixer speed to high and carefully pour the sugar syrup in a steady even stream down the inside of the bowl.

4.    Continue whipping until the mixture is cool and mousselike.

5.    Reduce the speed to medium and gradually add the soft butter; whip until light and aerated.

6.    Add mint extract.
American Buttercream

Ingredients

1 pound Lightly salted butter, softened
2 ounces Pasteurized egg, optional
2 pounds Powdered sugar, sifted
2 teaspoons mint extract

Method

1.    Using a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter until light and fluffy.

2.    Beat in the egg if desired. Gradually add the sugar, frequently scraping down the sides of the bowl.

3.    Add the mint extract and continue beating until the icing is smooth and light.

Cake Assembly

Cut both cakes into two layers.
Brush on some of the simple syrup.
Fill layers with mint french buttercream.
Crumb coat all stacked layers with mint buttercream.
Freeze until crumb coat is solid.
Remove from freezer and frost cake with chocolate buttercream.
Allow it to “crust” or dry some.  Using a Viva Brand paper towel (no pattern) place paper towel over frosting and smooth with frosting smoothing tool or hand.  Move paper towel around the cake continuing to smooth.  Decorate as you wish.  Eat and enjoy!

Original recipes courtesy of  On Baking – Labensky (slight modifications by me)

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