Friday, October 31, 2008
I figured for Halloween that these were somewhat similar to a candy bar with the nuts and caramel. I make a couple of things with caramels, but it’s always such a pain to unwrap all of those little caramels. I was at the store and ran across caramel bits, which were the same caramels, but unwrapped and in smaller bits so they were easier to melt down. What a great idea! Not having to unwrap caramels was such a time saver.
This recipe comes from Sticky, Chewy, Mess, Gooey, which has to be the best name for a cookbook ever. This cookie is from the gooey category. It wasn’t too messy coming together, and cutting wasn’t too bad either. In fact, these came out of the pan beautifully even though they were still a little warm.
1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
1 Teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon salt
4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 bag (14 oz.) caramel candies, unwrapped
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of salt
1 cup cashews
Spray a 9 x 13 pan with cooking spray. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
In a large bowl, combine the butter and sugars. Mix on medium speed until creamy. Add the vanilla and salt and beat until combined. Sift the flour into the butter mixture and beat on low speed until a smooth soft dough forms.
Press one-third of the dough evenly into the pan to form a bottom crust. Bake until firm and the edges are a pale golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool. (Refrigerate the remaining dough until firm, at least 30 minutes.)
While the bottom crust is baking and the remaining dough is chilling, make the caramel filling. Place the caramels in a small saucepan. Add the cream, vanilla, and salt. Het on medium low until caramels are melted and the mixture is smooth.
Sprinkle the cashews over the bottom crust. Pour the caramel filling over the cashews, using a small metal spatula to nudge the filling evenly over the crust. Remove the remaining chilled dough from the refrigerator and crumble it evenly over the caramel. (I didn’t use all of the remaining dough.) Return the pan to the oven and bake until the filling is bubbly and the crumbled shortbread topping is firm and lightly golden, about 30-45 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.
Recipe adapted from Taste and Tell who adapted the recipe from Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey by Jill O’Conner.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Clara of I Heart Food4Thought selected this week’s Tuesdays with Dorie recipe, Chocolate Chocolate Cupcakes. We were celebrating a birthday at work recently and this fit in perfectly. I wanted to try something a little different, so I decided to make the cupcakes as small squares instead.
I made the recipe by the book and the pans were about the same size so it made the same number as the original recipe. I baked them for a few minutes less than the recipe called for, about 18 minutes. I made a little more glaze because I wanted to completely cover the cakes if I could.
These were very chocolately and I probably could have taken them out of the oven about a minute sooner than I did. They taste a little different than a cupcake because they have edges, but they were very good. They were a big hit at the birthday celebration!
Friday, October 24, 2008
These are a great party cookie: very portable and look fancy. They are basically miniature pecan pies, with a cream cheese pastry. You may need to make more of the egg/brown sugar filling, as I found that I was a little short of filling.
I had made these before, but this time the stuck to the pan. I don’t recall that ever happening before, but you never know! I think that I may have used too much of the egg filling, which seeped underneath the crust and caused it to stick. That would also explain why I didn't have enough of the egg/brown sugar mixture.
½ cup butter, room temperature
3 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup flour
¾ cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon butter, room temperature
Pinch of salt
½ cup chopped pecans
Make the dough: Combine the butter and cream cheese until smooth. Stir in the flour and refrigerate the dough about an hour.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Mix the egg, brown sugar, butter vanilla and salt in a small bowl. Set aside. Shape to dough into 24 balls. Place balls into miniature muffin cups. Press dough onto bottom and sides of each cup.
Spoon 1 teaspoon pecan in each cup and then fill with the egg mixture. Bake for 25 minutes or until filling is set.
Recipe from Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook (1981 edition)
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Kelly from Sounding My Barbaric Gulp! picked this week’s Tuesdays with Dorie recipe: Pumpkin Muffins (see her blog for the complete recipe). Now, I’m not really a fan of pumpkin, but I like the spices that are usually paired with pumpkin so I decided that I would give these a try.
The original recipe called for golden raisins and nuts. I thought that I would try something different. I decided to use dried cranberries and white chocolate chips. Unfortunately, my supply of white chocolate chips was low so instead I used regular semi-sweet chips. Why do I always think that I have white chocolate chips?
I made 1-1/2 times the recipe, since I was planning on taking these to work and a dozen isn’t quite enough for the folks at work. This ended up making 2 dozen muffins, rather than the 18 that I was expecting, but that’s ok.
I only baked these 17 minutes, much less than the 25 minutes that the original recipe called for. I think I have regular size muffin pans, but maybe they are on the small side! They turned out well and although I don’t like pumpkin that much, these are very good. The chocolate chips were a fabulous addition. I think they make the muffin. The pumpkin is not very strong, which I’m ok with.
Friday, October 17, 2008
I was looking for cookies to make and I came across the traditional peanut butter cookie. Those are good, but I wondered if I could make them with Nutella. This chocolate-hazelnut spread has the same consistency as peanut butter, so why wouldn’t it work? My husband and I were talking about it and I figured I would give it a try.
I took the recipe from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking from My Home to Yours and made a couple of changes. I used Nutella instead of the peanut butter, I increased the salt since I wouldn’t be getting the salt from the peanut butter and I added a little bit of vegetable oil to the dough since the Nutella is a little less oily than peanut butter. The first batch I flattened the cookies like you would with a traditional peanut butter cookie, but the dough was a lot softer, so I decided to not flatten the second batch and they turned out great.
This made a lot of cookies (something like 7 dozen) which wasn’t a problem since they were SO GOOD that we couldn’t stop eating them. They are nice and crispy crunchy and have a great chocolate hazelnut flavor. The chocolate isn’t super pronounced, like it would be in a chocolate chip cookie, but it blends well with the hazelnut flavor. (Hmm, another chocolate hazelnut creation!) I’ve now made these a second time within a week, and I will certainly be making them again.
2-1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 sticks butter, softened
1 cup Nutella
1 cup brown sugar, packed
3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1-1/2 cups chopped, toasted hazelnuts
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cookie sheets with silicone baking mats.
Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
Put the butter in the bowl of a mixer and beat until smooth. Add the Nutella and beat until combined. Add the sugars and mix about 3 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating one minute after each addition. Stir in the flour mixture and stir until just combined. Add the vegetable oil and the hazelnuts.
Drop by tablespoons (or a little smaller) onto the cookie sheet. Bake 12 minutes. Cookies will look a little undone. Cool for a couple minutes on the baking sheet and then remove to a wire rack to cool.
Adapted from Baking from My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Gretchen of Canela & Comino selected this week’s Tuesdays with Dorie recipe. I was excited to try this biscotti recipe. It had been a while since I had made biscotti and these looked really good. I read through the variations of this recipe and decided that I would add dried cranberries to the standard recipe. I soaked 1/3 cup of dried cranberries in Amaretto overnight to give them a little more flavor.
This recipe is a little different from others that I have tried in that they contain cornmeal. I think the cornmeal that I used was a little coarser than maybe I would have liked. It did add a nice crunch, but I’m not sure that I liked the texture in the end. It was ok, but I prefer some other biscotti that I have made in the past.
I changed the baking times a bit from what was listed in the original cookbook. You were supposed to bake the cookie logs for 15 minutes and then cut them and bake them for 15 more minutes. I checked the dough after the first 15 minutes, and it was really underdone. I let it bake about 5 more minutes and it had set up quite a bit. I let it cool and then sliced them up and baked another 15 minutes. They were still fairly soft, quite un-biscotti-like. I baked them 5 more minutes, then 5 more. I probably should have taken them out of the oven about 3 minutes earlier than I did. A couple of the biscotti got a bit too browned.