Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Biscoff Brownie Cake



I came across this cake a long time ago, and had Pinned it to make. Well, about two years later, I finally made it. I made this dessert for Easter dinner at my parent’s house.  I suppose that it isn’t a very Eastery dessert, but it’s something that I thought my mom would like. It’s chocolate and Biscoff/cookie butter, so it couldn’t be too bad, right?

I remember when Biscoff was just impossible to find. I looked at every grocery store and couldn’t find it anywhere. Of course now it’s easy to find, but it still can be kind of expensive depending on which store I go to.  I really like the version that Trader Joe’s makes, Cookie Butter, and I always try to keep that in stock at home. This frosting is made with Cookie Butter.

The base of this brownie/cake is a single saucepan brownie. It doesn’t have any leavening, so it’s a very dense brownie. I think I could have baked my brownie about a minute or two less; I think this brownie would have been good a little on the gooey side. This makes more frosting than you need, but having leftover tasty frosting is ok by me. This cake is deceivingly rich. I cut fairly big pieces for Easter dessert, and they were too big. This is a nice little cake that very decadent, and best served with a big glass of milk.


Biscoff Brownie Cake
½ cup butter, cut in pieces
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
1-1/2 cups sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 eggs
1 cup flour
2 tablespoons cocoa powder

1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup Biscoff or Cookie Butter spread
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1-2 tablespoons heavy cream
Melted chocolate
Chocolate sprinkles

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9” pan with cooking spray and line the bottom with parchment paper. Spray the parchment with cooking spray.

In the top of a double boiler, place the butter and chocolate. Heat the mixture over simmering water, stirring until melted. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly. Add in the sugar, salt, and vanilla and stir until blended. Add in the eggs, one at a time, stirring to incorporate before adding the second egg. Add the flour and cocoa; stir until the mixture is smooth.

Spread the batter in the prepared pan and bake for 35-45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out almost clean. Do not over bake.

Cool on a wire rack. Remove from the pan, peel away the parchment and allow to cool completely.

Make the frosting: In a large mixer bowl, combine the butter, Biscoff, and powdered sugar. Mix on low speed until smooth. Add 1 tablespoon heavy cream and beat on medium until light. Add additional heavy cream if the frosting is too thick.


Evenly spread the frosting on top of the cooled brownie cake. Drizzle the melted chocolate on top of the frosting and swirl the chocolate and frosting together into a decorative pattern. Sprinkle the edge of the cake with chocolate sprinkles. Cut into wedges to serve.

Recipe from Bakers Royale

Friday, April 18, 2014

Coconut Pecan Bars



I searched for quite a while to find which cookies to bake this week. I had planned to not make a bar cookie, but that’s what I ended up with anyway! My husband the other night was asking if we had any cake, and the cake (well the frosting really) we like a lot is chocolate cake with coconut pecan frosting. We didn’t have cake, but when I came across this bar cookie with a topping very similar to coconut pecan frosting, I knew I couldn’t resist.

I made the base as originally was stated in the recipe, but I couldn’t get it to cover the base of the pan. I made a little bit more of the base and then I was ok. The amounts in the recipe below reflect the larger quantity of base ingredients. There seemed to be plenty of topping, so I didn’t change anything from that part of the recipe. 

These do bake up quickly, which is nice. Mine got a little too browned along the edges, where there wasn’t as much of the coconut pecan topping. These bars don’t look super fancy, but they are the perfect bar for me. The shortbread crust remains crisp but the topping turns into a gooey, brown sugar topping, similar to the filling in pecan pie. These bars are really wonderful and while they aren’t quite cake with coconut pecan frosting, they have some of the same flavors.


Coconut Pecan Bars
1/2 cup butter, softened
1-3/4 cups packed brown sugar, divided
1-3/4 cups flour, divided
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
1-1/2 cups sweetened coconut

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a 9” x 13” baking pan with foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray.

In a large mixer bowl, cream together the butter and 3/4 cup of the brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add 1-1/2 cups of the flour and mix on low until the mixture comes together. It may be slightly crumbly. Press evenly into the prepared pan.

Bake for 12 minutes. Make the topping while the crust is baking.

In the same mixer bowl, mix together the remaining cup of brown sugar and ¼ cup of flour. Stir in the eggs, vanilla and salt. Add the chopped pecans and coconut and stir with a spatula. Carefully spread the mixture over the partially baked crust.

Bake for an additional 15 minutes, until browned. Cool completely.

Lift the bars by the foil and remove from the pan. Peel away the foil and cut into bars.

Recipe from Taste and Tell

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Cantuccini




This week’s Tuesdays with Dorie recipe is for Cantuccini, which is a lot like biscotti. I like baking biscotti-like recipes, but they aren’t really my favorite to eat. I prefer a much more decadent cookie, but I still like them enough. This version is very classic; flavored with whole almonds and a small bit of cinnamon. You can get the recipe with a quick web search. Make sure you check out how the other Tuesdays with Dorie bakers fared with this week’s recipe on the Tuesdays with Dorie blog. I’m sure there are some interesting variations!

I halved this recipe, just making one “log” of cookies. The dough was very crumbly, but I just worked it A LOT and it did come together. I wasn’t sure about the whole almonds in the dough, as I’ve had trouble with other sliced cookies with large chunks of nuts. They shaped up just fine and looked really good after the first baking. I let them cool and hoped that I would be able to cut them in the ¼” slices like the recipe specified.

I was very happy that the cookies, while seemingly dry, cut beautifully. Only one or two were crumbly around the edge and the whole almonds were no problem at all. It was tempting not to bake them the second time, and have a softer cookie, but that’s not really the point of these cookies! They smelled wonderful baking and the almond flavor is so nice. The cinnamon flavor is subtle but it’s there. Although not my favorite style of cookie, these are very nice and perfect to go with a cup of tea.

Recipe from Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan, pages 313-314

Friday, April 11, 2014

Caramel Pecan Brownies



I think that Werther’s Caramels are fairly new on the market. I had seen ads for them for a while, and it seems like I see ads for several months before I ever see the products in the store. When I saw them, I picked them up and figured there would be something that I could make with them. I was actually surprised that there weren’t all that many recipes using these particular caramels. I suppose that any recipe that uses caramels would work.

I ended up making these brownies. The recipe is on the back of the bag, so I figured that was as good as place as any. The recipe called for using a boxed brownie mix, but I just made up a batch of brownies using the chewy brownie recipe from King Arthur Flour. You then top the cooled brownies with caramel and pecans: not too hard!

This isn’t a very thick brownie. I know sometimes when I make brownies they are so thick that I can hardly cut them! The caramels take quite a while to melt, but don’t turn the heat up too much or you risk scorching the caramel. I chopped the pecans fairly large, and they didn’t stick to the caramel very well. By the time I had cut them into bars, most of the pecans had fallen off. Oh well, they still taste good, you can’t go wrong with caramel and chocolate.

Caramel Pecan Brownies
¾ cup butter, cut in pieces
2 cups sugar
1 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon vanilla
3 eggs
1 cup flour

9 ounces Werther’s Caramels, unwrapped
1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a 9” x 13” baking pan with foil and spray the foil with nonstick cooking spray.

In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Once the butter is melted, add the sugar and stir until combined. Heat briefly, until the mixture looks shiny. Remove from the heat and stir in the cocoa powder, salt, baking powder, and vanilla. Whisk in the eggs, one at a time, and then whisk in the flour. Spread the mixture into the prepared pan.

Bake for 28-32 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the brownies comes out almost clean. Do not over bake. Cool before topping.

In a medium saucepan, combine the caramels and water. Heat on low heat, stirring frequently, until the caramels melt and the mixture is smooth. Drizzle over the cooled brownies and sprinkle with the chopped pecans. Cut into squares.

Recipe from Werther’s. Brownie recipe from King Arthur Flour

Friday, April 4, 2014

Chocolate Hazelnut Cookies with Sea Salt



It’s spring break at work this week. Since I was away from work a couple of weeks ago to go to a conference with my husband, I am working this week. It’s good, because I have a lot of work to do with the launch of our new library website. I do have to say, it’s quite strange being at work when it is so quiet, with the students gone. Others in the library are working too, and it’s nice being able to help out when I can.

There are fewer people at work, and I could have picked a recipe with a smaller yield, but that’s a big fail for this recipe! This recipe made about 5 dozen cookies, which is quite a lot. I guess I could have halved the recipe, but I didn’t think about that at the time. The original recipe said it only made about 3 dozen, but with 2-1/2 cups of flour and ¾ cups of cocoa powder, I should have known better.

I love chocolate and hazelnuts, and my husband is always complaining that I never make chocolate chip cookies, so I was hopeful that this recipe would appease him. This is just a chocolate chip cookies recipe with added cocoa powder and hazelnuts and some salt to finish. You do have to be careful that you don’t over bake them; there’s nothing worse than a dry chocolate cookie. I baked mine 11 minutes and they looked gooey when I took them out of the oven, but they are great once they set. I liked these cookies a lot, and the salt adds a lot to these cookies. I think the hazelnut flavor could be stronger, but I really love hazelnuts!

Chocolate Hazelnut Cookies with Sea Salt
2-1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 cup butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup coarsely chopped hazelnuts
Sea salt

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

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder. Set aside. In a large mixer bowl, cream the butter, sugar, and brown sugar. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating for one minute after each addition. Stir in the vanilla.

With the mixer running on the lowest speed, gradually add the flour mixture and beat until just combined. Stir in the chocolate chips and hazelnuts.

Shape the dough into 1-1/4” balls and place on the prepared baking sheets. Flatten the cookies slightly with the palm of your hand and then sprinkle with sea salt.

Bake cookies for 8-12 minutes, or until cookies are set, but still soft in the center. They may still look wet in the center when you remove them from the oven. Do not over bake, cookies will set as they cool. Allow to cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet and then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.