Friday, January 11, 2019

Chocolate Marshmallow Cookie Cups

After all the baking that many folks do around the holidays, it always feels a little strange to be baking in the new year, when everyone else is trying to eat healthy and all those other types of new year resolutions. I don’t do resolutions at all, but I do enjoy getting back in the normal swing of things, where life isn’t quite so busy.

If you are looking for a quick cookie to make, that makes a decent sized batch, these are the cookies for you. The dough is quick to make, and they bake up all at the same time. The original recipe said that this made three dozen cookies. I just made two dozen, with a small amount of leftover dough. I could have made another half dozen or so, but I didn’t feel like digging another pan out of the cupboard.

My dough was a little crumbly, so I ended up using two eggs in the dough instead of one and that worked well. These cookie cups are so easy to make as you don’t even need to press the dough into the pan, just scoop it in and go. Some cups had more dough than others, but once they bake, come out of the oven, and cool they all look about the same. You don’t need much marshmallow fluff, and don’t worry about piping it perfectly as it melts into place with the warm cookie cups.

Chocolate Marshmallow Cookie Cups
1 ½ cups flour
¼ cup cocoa powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ cup butter, room temperature
½ cup sugar
½ cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
7 ounce jar marshmallow fluff

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Spray a 24 cup mini muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray.

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, salt and baking soda; set aside. In a large mixer bowl, beat the butter, sugar, and brown sugar on medium until creamy. Add the egg and vanilla and mix again to combine. With the mixer running on low, gradually add the flour mixture, mixing until the dough comes together.

Scoop the dough into the prepared mini muffin cups, filling each about ¾ full.

Bake for 13 minutes. Once the cookie cups come out of the oven, make an indentation in each cup using the end of a wooden spoon. Allow the cookies to cool for 5 minutes.

After 5 minutes, place the marshmallow fluff in a piping bag and fill the indentation of each cookie with the fluff.

Recipe from Whitney Bond

Friday, January 4, 2019

Hazelnut Marzipan Bars

Each year for Christmas, my husband makes a traditional British Christmas cake, which is a fruitcake. His fruitcake is a little different each year, depending on which dried fruits are used and whether he adds nuts. He doesn’t add any candied fruits, which is what you often come across in American fruitcake. This year he used hazelnuts in the cake batter.

After the cake is baked (and is doused with alcohol for a bit) it is covered with jam, a layer of almond paste, and then covered with royal icing. Since he used hazelnuts in the cake, he decided that he wanted to make his own hazelnut paste. Hazelnut paste isn’t too complex, just hazelnuts, egg, and sugar for the most part. The recipe made much more than was needed for the Christmas cake. I wanted to find a cookie recipe that used the remaining hazelnut paste.

Most of the recipes that use almond paste are amaretti, and I have made those before. I found several variations of this recipe online, a cookie base with a marzipan topping. You could certainly use almond paste and chopped almonds if you don’t have hazelnuts on hand. I used a 9” pan, instead of the 8” pan that the original recipe called for, and the bars are plenty thick. I reduced the amount of chopped nuts in the recipe here to ½ cup, as the 1 cup in the original recipe was a lot. You’ll want to cut these bars small as they are very rich and very gooey.

Hazelnut Marzipan Bars
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon hazelnut extract
2 cups flour

8 ounces hazelnut or almond paste
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup chopped hazelnuts

Preheat the oven to 350. Line an 9-inch square pan with foil and spray the foil with nonstick cooking spray.

In a large mixer bowl, beat the butter and brown sugar on medium until fluffy. Add the egg, vanilla and hazelnut extract and mix on medium to combine. With the mixer running on low, gradually add the flour, stirring until the dough comes together. Pat the dough evenly into the prepared pan.

Bake for 20 minutes.

While the base is baking, make the topping: in a large mixer bowl, beat the hazelnut paste, brown sugar and egg until combined.  When the base comes out of the oven, spread the topping on the base and then top with the chopped hazelnuts.

Bake for about 20 minutes, until the marzipan topping is browned and set. Allow to cool completely before cutting into bars.
Recipe from Just About Baked

Friday, December 28, 2018

Cranberry Orange Shortbread

I hope that you all had a good holiday and the days have been filled with positives. I had a lovely Christmas this year and had good gatherings with my family and friends. I f you’re like me, you probably don’t want or need any additional sweets around the house! I wasn’t sure if I wanted to bake this week or do a flashback Friday post for a recipe that I really liked from the past. I decided I had the time and would bake.

I had a small amount of fresh cranberries left in the refrigerator, and this recipe was perfect for using those up. It’s rare that I have fresh cranberries, as I typically put them in the freezer as soon as I buy them. For most recipes, you can use fresh and frozen cranberries interchangeably. I don’t know if frozen cranberries would work in this recipe, but mt inclination is that they would work as long as you can get them chopped finely. For slice and bake cookies like these, you don’t want large chunks of the add-ins in the dough.

The recipe as written here is the while recipe, but I only made a half recipe. I didn’t really need too many cookies around, although my house currently has an abundance of mince pies, Christmas cake, and chocolates and not so many cookies. Half of this recipe made about 18 cookies, although it depends on how thinly you slice the cookies. I wasn’t sure if these cookies would be super tart, as cranberries can be very tart. The aren’t too bad at all; I really love how the cranberries pair with the richness of the butter cookie. These not-too-sweet cookies are perfect for wrapping up the festive season!

Cranberry Orange Shortbread  
1 cup fresh cranberries
1 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon orange zest

In a food processor, process the cranberries until finely chopped. In a large mixer bowl, beat the butter and sugar on medium until blended. With the mixer running on low, gradually add the flour. Add the cranberries and orange zest and stir on low until the dough comes together.

Divide the dough into two halves. Shape each half into a log and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least an hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with silicone baking mats.

Slice the dough into ¼” slices and place on the prepared baking sheets.

Bake for 16-20 minutes, until the cookies are set and very lightly browned along the edges. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheets.