Friday, March 15, 2019

Lemon Cream Cheese Cookies

While I know the calendar is approaching spring, it sure doesn’t seem like it. My car has a chime that goes off if it is cold outside and the roads could be treacherous. I think that chime has gone off every single day since the beginning of February. While it is getting closer and closer to more normal temperatures, it is still quite chilly in the morning when I go to work. I am by no means a sun worshipper, but I am looking forward to some nicer weather.

This is a bit of a strange week at work, with our college going through Accreditation and the library having extended hours before finals. When I left work, I asked my friend if they wanted lemon or chocolate, and she picked chocolate. I was ready to make either cookie, but the lemon ones did sound great, like a hint of spring is a cold winter.

I thought that lemon and cream cheese would be an interesting combination. They do have to chill for an hour or so, but overall, they don’t take that long to make. For this recipe, since the zest is a part of the glaze, make sure that the zest is finely chopped. I use a microplane to zest, and for this recipe I gave it a chop to make sure there were no large pieces. These cookies have a lovely lemon flavor, and gives me hope that winter will soon end!

Lemon Cream Cheese Cookies
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon lemon extract
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1-3/4 cups flour

1-1/2 cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons lemon juice
Zest of 1 lemon

In a large mixer bowl, beat the butter and cream cheese on medium until smooth. Add the sugar and beat for 1 minute on medium, until light. Add the egg, vanilla, and lemon extract and stir to combine. With the mixer running on low, gradually add the baking powder and flour, mixing until combined. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour.

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

Scoop the dough onto the prepared baking sheets. Flatten the cookies slightly with the bottom of a glass dipped in sugar.

Bake for 9-11 minutes, very lightly golden along the edges. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

Once the cookies are cool, make the glaze. In a small bowl whisk together the powdered sugar, lemon juice and zest. Spoon the glaze on top of the cookies and spread to cover. Allow the glaze to harden before serving.

Recipe from Call Me PMC

Friday, March 8, 2019

Twix Brownies

I have a lot of recipes saved and so many of them I never get around to making. My baking board on Pinterest is full of things that I was interested in baking, but then time gets away from me and I end up making items that I have recently pinned. This week when I was picking what cookie to bake, I planned two different recipes. Both were bar cookies, but in the end, I decided to bake these Twix brownies. Surprisingly, I had pinned this recipe quite some time ago and I didn’t forget about it.

Twix candy bars are very popular at work, so I figured that these brownies would be a hit. In writing up the recipe, I realize that there are a lot of ingredients in these bars! There are multiple steps to these bars, and I made them less stressful to make by making the brownies, shortbread layer, and caramel layer one day, and then I topped them with chocolate, cut them and photographed them the next. It’s important that you allow the layers to cool before moving on, so don’t rush this recipe.

My main concern with these bars was that the shortbread layer wouldn’t stick to the brownie layer, and that they would fall apart. Thankfully the shortbread layer is quite sticky, so they hold together nicely. I may have baked the brownies a minute too long, but they aren’t too bad; perhaps just not as gooey as I’d like. They are very reminiscent of Twix candy bars, although the cookie/shortbread layer isn’t quite as crunchy as the candy bar. They are very rich, so cut them small!

Twix Brownies
1 cup butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 1/3 cups flour

10 ounces shortbread cookies
6 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar

11 ounces caramel bits
2 tablespoons milk

1 1/2 cups milk chocolate chips
1 tablespoon shortening

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9” x 13” baking pan with foil and spray the foil with non-stick spray.

In a large mixer bowl, beat the butter and sugar on medium until combined. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix on medium until combined. In a separate bowl, whisk together the salt, cocoa powder and flour. With the mixer running on low, gradually add the flour mixture. Spread the batter into the

Bake 25 to 28 minutes, until a knife inserted in the center of the brownies comes out clean. Allow the brownies to cool completely.

Make the shortbread layer: place the shortbread cookies in a food processor and crush into fine crumbs. Place crumbs in a large mixer bowl with the cream cheese and sugar. Beat on medium until combined. Press the shortbread into an even layer over the cooled brownies.

Make the caramel layer:  place caramel bits and milk in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave in 30 second increments, stirring in between, until melted. Pour over shortbread layer and spread to make an even layer. Refrigerate the bars until the caramel is set.

Finish with the chocolate layer: place the chocolate chips and shortening in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave in 30 second increments, stirring in between, until melted. Pour over caramel layer. Allow the chocolate to set before cutting into bars.

Recipe from Life in the Lofthouse

Friday, March 1, 2019

Peanut Butter Chunker Cookies

I have to say that I am always a fan of a comforting, homey cookie. This cookie is not fancy, but it has so many excellent elements that it has to be great! I think that this is a recipe that you can tailor to ingredients that you may have on hand, if you want to use up things in your cupboard. I did a big clean of my baking cupboard recently and I was surprised that I didn’t have as many half full bags of chocolate chips, etc. I’m stocked up again!

The original recipe called for both light and dark brown sugar, but I just used light brown sugar. Ages ago I used to keep both on hand, but I just don’t use it up fast enough to keep both on hand. I substituted regular semi-sweet chocolate chips for dark chocolate chips, and I used the version of toffee chips that has chocolate in them, but either type will work. I used a bag of pretzels that I bought at the college cafeteria; it’s handy having a cafeteria so close.

This recipe makes a large batch, nearly five dozen. I may have made five dozen had my husband not helped eat some of the dough. The dough is quite soft, and I was worried how they would bake up. You often refrigerate peanut butter cookies to help counteract the very soft dough. These cookies were fine, but you do need to be careful that you don’t over bake the cookies. While they do set as they cool, it’s ok to if they cookies are still a little gooey. They cookies are so very good, a perfect mix of nutty, sweet, chocolatey and salty.

Peanut Butter Chunker Cookies
1 cup butter, room temperature
2/3 cup peanut butter
2 cups packed brown sugar
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla
2 eggs
2 cups flour
1 cup rolled oats
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup milk chocolate chips
1/2 cup toffee bits
1 cup pretzel pieces, crushed
1/2 cup honey roasted peanuts

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

In a large mixer bowl, beat the butter and peanut butter on medium until creamy. Add the brown sugar and beat on medium until light. Add the eggs, one at a time, and the vanilla and mix until combined. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, oats, baking soda, cornstarch, and salt. Add half of the flour mixture and mix on low. Add the other half of the flour mixture and mix on low until nearly fully incorporated. Stir in the chocolate chips, milk chocolate chips, toffee bits, pretzel pieces and honey roasted peanuts.

Scoop the dough onto the prepared baking sheets, using a generous tablespoon of dough for each cookie.

Bake for 10-12 minutes, until the cookies are set. The cookies may not look fully baked but will firm up as they cool. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.