Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Spumoni Cookies


I love mixing flavors and one of my favorites (and my daughter, Erin's) is Spumoni.  The chocolate, cherry and pistachio is a match made in heaven!

The ice cream, which these cookies were inspired by, is a favorite among Italians and thankfully brought to North America by immigrants.  Did you know that November 13th is National Spumoni Day in Canada?  This fruit and nut cookie is almost as good as the ice cream:-D

Spumoni Cookies
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup Butter-flavored shortening
1 1/4 cups firmly packed dark brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
3 cups King Arthur All-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt

2 oz bittersweet chocolate, melted
1 T Dutch-processed cocoa

1/2 cup Pistachios, chopped
1/2 tsp. almond extract
2 drops green food coloring

1/3 cup maraschino cherries, chopped and patted dry
2 drops red food coloring

In a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment, cream the butter and shortening together.  Add the sugars and cream until fluffy, scraping down the sides of the bowl, as needed, with a rubber spatula.
Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.  Add the vanilla extract and mix again.

Add the dry ingredients and mix on low speed just until incorporated.  Divide the dough into thirds (about 14 1/2 oz. each, if you have a scale.)  To one third of the dough, stir in the melted chocolate and cocoa; the next, Pistachios, almond flavoring and green food coloring, and the last third, the maraschino cherries and red food coloring.

Chill dough 30 minutes to 1 hour.  Preheat oven to 375F-degrees.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Use a small scoop to form small balls (or you can roll the dough).
 Bake in the preheated oven 8-10 minutes.  Remove from the oven and allow the cookies to cool slightly before transferring them to a rack to cool completely.  

These little specialties are being sent to my grandson who asked for a tri-flavored cookie!  If he's like his mom and auntie, he'll eat each flavor separately! Enjoy!

 

Friday, September 11, 2015

Pumpkin~Cranberry Tea Cake & September's Give-Away Apron

Finally! I actually sewed the apron earlier this week, but haven't had the time to bake something to go along with the post.  I leave tomorrow for an event in Orlando, where I'm teaching and the week has just flown by.

I guess you can say I'm rushing the season, baking with pumpkin and cranberries, but there are signs that Fall isn't far behind.  Some of the maple trees are starting to turn and we've had some leaves fall already.  I just wish the temperatures would have gotten the message that we should be in the 70s and not in the upper 80s with stifling humidity.

Pumpkin~Cranberry Tea Cake
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup boiling water
Pour the boiling water over the cranberries and allow to sit for 15 minutes.

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 oz. (1/2 stick) cream cheese, at room temperature
1 3/4 firmly packed light brown sugar
3 large eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups canned pumpkin
1 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
2 3/4 cup King Arthur all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 350F-degrees.  Spray two loaf pans (or you can use a Bundt pan) with baking spray and set aside.

In a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment, cream the butter and cream cheese together.  Add the brown sugar and continue to cream until fluffy.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until completely incorporated.  Add the vanilla and pumpkin pie spice and mix together.  

Stir together the dry ingredients and add to the batter along with the dried cranberries.  Mix on low just until ingredients are combined.

Divide between two loaf pans or Bundt pan.  Smooth tops and bake for 40-45 minutes or until tester comes out cleanly from the center.  Allow to cool about 10 minutes in the pan(s), then transfer to a wooden board or serving plate.

A quick tea cake to have for the morning or through the afternoon as I continue to have a busy day.  Happy Fall, y'all...Enjoy!


Albert Camus, the Nobel Prize winning author and journalist wrote...


"Autumn is
a second
Spring when
every leaf
is a Flower."
That's exactly what I was thinking when I espied this beautiful fabric.  If you would like to win this apron, just post a comment during the month of September and your name could be chosen:-D
 

Monday, September 7, 2015

Frightfully Decadent Salty Caramel Thumbprint Cookies & August's Apron Winner

Well, that's a mouthful...but a good one!  Ever since a friend of mine posted on Facebook a similar looking cookie, I couldn't help stop thinking about how I could come up with a recipe that would be close.  I hope once she sees this recipe, she'll let me know.

As far as the flavor combination, I first fell in love with caramel and chocolate together, with a hint of sea salt, while living in the Pacific Northwest.  Fran's Chocolates is a Seattle landmark and her chocolate-covered caramel is a favorite of mine, my daughters, and thousands of people who know these confections.  It's just one of the things I miss, although you can order-on-line.

My other inspiration was a new sugar that King Arthur Flour has come out with...Sweet & Salty Caramel Sugar.  Rolling the "thumbprint" cookies in it before baking certainly gave it that taste I miss with Fran's caramels.  And, just to make them a little more decadent, I added a bag of Health Toffee Bits; that one was for Kelly because that was her favorite candy bar:-D
With August behind us, September is here, which means that getting ready for the holidays is only a matter of time; short time.  I think these will definitely be in my cookie boxes this year.

Frightfully Decadent Salty Caramel Thumbprint Cookies
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
4 oz. (approx. 3/4 cup) bittersweet chocolate chips melted and slightly cooled
2 1/2 cups King Arthur all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup Cocoa Rouge (or Dutch-processed cocoa)
1-8 oz. bag of Health Toffee Bits

Sweet & Salty Caramel Sugar
1 bag of Kraft caramels (you'll only use about 1/2 bag) cut in half


Drizzle:
2/3 cup bittersweet chocolate chips, melted with 1 tsp. shortening

Preheat oven to 350F-degrees.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment, cream the butter.  Add the sugars and cream to combine, scraping down the sides of the bowl, as needed, with a rubber spatula.  Add the eggs, one at a time, and the vanilla extract.  Add the melted chocolate and beat on medium to combine.  

Mix the dry ingredients together and add them to the batter, along with the toffee bits.  Mix on low to combine.  Place about 3 tablespoons of Sweet & Salty Caramel Sugar in a bowl or dish.  Scoop up the dough and roll in the sugar.  Place the cookie balls on the parchment-lined sheets and use your thumbprint to indent the center. Add one-half piece of caramel.
Bake the cookies for 12 minutes.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool about 7-10 minutes before transferring them to a rack to cool completely.  This is why two sheets are convenient; you can have one baking and one cooling!

Prepare drizzle by melted the bittersweet chocolate and shortening together.  Transfer to a small pastry bag, or a small plastic bottle.  Drizzle the chocolate over the almost cooled cookies and allow to set about an hour.
These are so good...really good if you a chocolate/caramel lover. Enjoy!


Now, the winner of August's Apron is Brenda!  Please email me your address and I'll get this out to you ASAP!  Congratulations:-D

I am sewing September's Apron today and will have it up tomorrow; stay tune.
 

Old Fashioned Soft Oatmeal~Raisin~Pecan Cookies

I love crunchy chocolate chip cookies, but my oatmeal cookies need to be soft and chewy. Yes, I'm quirky, but if you have the same...