Saturday, May 18, 2013

Toffee Snickerdoodles

When my husband tried these he said, 'I didn't think you could improve on a snickerdoodle'; but I guess I have.  The crispy outside/chewy center makes for the perfect bite.  Cinnamon sugar coated, buttery, tangy flavor - awesome.  Add toffee bits and chocolate chips - Perfection!

2 1/2 c. flour
2 tsp. cream of tartar
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
2 c. sugar, divided
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 c. butter, softened
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. almond extract
1 c. mini chocolate chips
2/3 c. toffee bits (you can use the chocolate toffee bits, I used the plain ones)

1.  Preheat oven to 350.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
2.  Sift together the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt; set aside.  In a small bowl, stir together 1/2 c. of the sugar and the cinnamon; set aside.
3.  In a large mixing bowl, beat together the butter and remaining sugar on medium speed until smooth.  Add the eggs, vanilla and almond extract; mix until blended.  Add the flour, slowly, being sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed, just until incorporated.  Stir in the chocolate chips and toffee bits. 
4.  Using a tablespoon: scoop out a heaping tablespoonful (to measure about 2 tablespoons full), roll into a smooth ball, then roll the ball in the cinnamon/sugar mixture.  Place about 3" apart on prepared baking sheets. 
5.  Bake for about 14 minutes, until edges are golden and center is still pale.  Cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet before transferring to a wire cooling rack.
6.  Store in a tightly covered container for up to 3 days.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Nearly the Best Ever Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie

I did not make this recipe up, I found it on another blog, and out of respect for them, here is the link to the original makers of this delicious recipe

I liked these cookies.  The texture is perfect, nice and fluffy and chewy and yummy; they did, for me, lean a little too far to the very sweet side.  If I were to make these again, I would, for sure, not use unsalted butter.  I enjoy the almost undetectable contrast of salt/sweet that is found in your run-of-the-mill chocolate chip cookie. 
The recipe is well worth keeping around though.

3/4 c. unsalted butter, softened
3/4 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. sugar
1 egg
2 tsp. vanilla
2 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cornstarch
1 c. chocolate chips.

1.  Preheat oven to 350.
2.  Using a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugars until light and fluffy.  Add the egg and vanilla; blend.
3.  In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients.  Incorporate them in to the sugar mixture.  Stir in the chocolate chips.
4.  Using a standard sized cookie scoop, divide the dough onto prepared baking sheets.  Bake for 8-10 minutes (do not exceed 10 minutes, the tops will still be a very pale color).  Cool on the cookie sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire cooling rack.

Raspberry Lemonade Bars

I did not make this recipe up, I found it on another blog, and out of respect for them, here is the link to the original makers of this recipe.

I had REALLY high hopes for this recipe.  It sound like it would be right up my alley.  I had all kinds of visions in my head of how to morph this recipe using other combinations with my favorite citrus fruits.  I did enjoy them, but not quite as intensely as I'd thought I would.  The color is beautiful and they are easy to serve.  They, also, are a little too tart for my liking, don't get me wrong.  I really like sour food, but something about these were not super awesome.  I also didn't really love the texture; I am enthusiastic about my enjoyment of lemon bars.  The smoothness of the lemon layer is very pleasing to me.  These bars were a little bit more on the jello-ish side.  I think it's because of the 3 egg whites, but don't quote me on that one.
Anyway, you can be the judge as to whether these are worth keeping around.  I didn't save the printout that I had magneted to my fridge for the weeks leading up to baking day.

9 T. (1 stick + 1 T.) butter

¼ c. sugar

1 c. flour

1 t. vanilla extract

pinch of salt

12 oz (heaping 2 c.) frozen raspberries thawed

¾ c. sugar

c. lemon juice (about 4 lemons)

2 T. lemon zest (3 lemons worth)

3 egg whites

1 egg

c. flour

pinch of salt

powdered sugar for dusting on top
1.  Preheat oven to 350ยบ F. Line an 8x8 baking pan with parchment paper so you can easily lift the bars out once they've cooled. If you don't have an 8x8 that's ok. I did this in a smaller rectangular pan too and they turned out just fine. You may have to adjust the baking times depending on the size.

2.  Cream the butter and sugar together with an electric mixer, then add in vanilla. Add flour until just incorporated. Dump dough in baking pan and press with your hands until it evenly covers the bottom of the dish. Bake for 20 - 25 minutes until slightly golden brown. 

3.  Put the berries in a fine mesh sieve and press them through (this removes the seeds) into a large bowl. If you don't mind seeds, you can add them in whole. Or if you don't have a sieve, you can blend them up in a food processor or blender. Add sugar, egg whites, egg, lemon juice + zest, flour, and salt to the bowl and stir to combine. Pour the mixture into the crust (don't worry, it's a very loose mixture, it will thicken) and bake for 25 - 30 minutes depending on your oven and the sized baking dish you use.
4.  Let cool to room temperature and then place in the refrigerator for 4 hours (or until they've cooled completely). You can place them in the freezer if you need them sooner but refrigerator is best. If you let them cool overnight, they're even better!

Grape Salad with Coconut Topping

I did not make this recipe up, I found it on another blog, and out of respect for them, here is the link to the original makers of this delicious recipe.

Super yummy.  It feels like you're eating something healthy because it is grapes.  But what your brain doesn't remind you is that while you're eating those healthy grapes, you are also eating a less-than-healthy-but-well-worth-it-because-of-deliciousness cream cheese/sour cream/sugar 'dressing' and topping made with a high portion of brown sugar.
I'm someone who loves food, even if the haters out there deem it 'unhealthy'.  My mouth is a judgment-free zone.

Large bag of grapes (red, green of both), enough to fill a 9X13 pan

8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/3 c. sugar
8 oz. sour cream
1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 heaping c. Grape Nuts cereal
2/3 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. coconut flakes

1.  Beat together cream cheese, sugar and vanilla, then fold in sour cream.  Stir grapes in with the creamy mixture then spread out in a 9X13 class pan.  Refrigerate.
2.  RIGHT BEFORE SERVING: Combine topping ingredients well and add over the top of the grapes.