Soft Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Stop what you are doing, except for reading this post of course, because you will want to make these cookies.  Halloween is almost here and the little ghosts and gremlins will love these soft cookies, bursting with chocolate chips.

These are not all cakey-pumpkin-y blobs like some pumpkin cookies are.  These are soft, but just right.  They look like any other chocolate chip cookies, but with a mild pumpkin-spice flavor.  They are loaded with chocolate chips, and they stay soft for days (if they last that long).

I “fiddled” with my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe, adding a small amount of pumpkin puree in place of some of the butter, and included a variety of spices. They turned out incredibly good.

Even folks who say they don’t like pumpkin ate these and made note of how different and good they were.  I made no mention of the pumpkin in them.  I simply smiled and said, “Yes, they are good aren’t they.”  If you love chocolate chip cookies, try this “make-over” recipe for the perfect fall cookie.

IMG_8411

 

SOFT PUMPKIN CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

Yield:   30-34 cookies

Ingredients:IMG_8352

  • 10 Tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 6 Tbsp. pumpkin puree
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp, salt
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. allspice
  • pinch cloves
  • 3/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 350*F.  Line two baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.

2.  In the large bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugars.  Mix in the pumpkin and vanilla.

6 Tbsp. pumpkin added to creamed sugars and butter.

6 Tbsp. pumpkin added to creamed sugars and butter.

Add dry ingredients.

Whisk together the dry ingredients and add to creamed mixture.

Whisk together the dry ingredients and add to creamed mixture.

Mix well until there are no streaks in the batter.

Mix in the dry ingredients.

Mix in the dry ingredients.

Stir in the chocolate chips.

Add chocolate chips and stir into dough.

Add chocolate chips and stir into dough.

Cover and chill until dough is completely chilled and firm.  (I refrigerated mine over night,  baked them the next day, and they came out fine.)

3.  Use a medium scoop to portion out the dough for uniform sized cookies.   I used a 1 tablespoon scoop.  Place the dough 2-inches apart on the baking sheets.  If desired, press additional chips into the tops of each cookie.

Scoop out dough onto cookie sheets.

Scoop out dough onto cookie sheets.

4.  Bake for 10 – 11 minutes.  Allow cookies to rest on baking sheets for 2 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

They keep their shape once baked.

They keep their shape once baked.

Store cookies in an airtight container.

IMG_8412

 

Advertisements

Cookies and Cream Cookies

Cookies and Cream Cookies

Cookies and Cream Cookies

At my house we are just a little crazy for cookies and cream flavored anything:  candy bars, ice cream, milk shakes.  So when I came across this recipe for cookies and cream cookies I knew they would be a hit for sure.

They are based on a candy product by Hershey called “Cookies ‘n Creme Drops”.  They are available  in Target and other larger stores, but I also found them at my local grocery store.

IMG_7973

I remember back when there were Cookies in my Ice Cream!   That was back in the day….before ice cream was loaded with everything but the kitchen sink.   (Not that I’m complaining.)

These cookies are big, thick, substantial, chocolatey cookies.  Know what  Mr. D. is suggesting?   Topping one with a scoop of Cookies and Cream Ice Cream.   Now why didn’t I think of that?    See, that’s why I keep him around 🙂

You’ll need three mix-ins for these cookies:  the cookies and creme drops that I’ve already mentioned,  Oreo cookies, and white chocolate chips.  You’ll also need a muffin top pan or whoopie pie pan.  I found mine on Amazon.

IMG_7950

 

COOKIES AND CREAM COOKIES

Yield:  Makes 18 to 20 large cookiesIMG_7969

Ingredients:

  • 1  1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup dutch-process cocoa ( or any dark cocoa)
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter,
  • 2 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 3 eggs,
  • 1 TBSP. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup Hershey’s Cookies and Creme Drops
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips, reserving a few for the tops
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped Oreos

IMG_7953

Directions:

1.  Grease a muffin top/ whoopie pie pan with shortening.

IMG_7954

2.  Combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt.  Set aside.

IMG_7951

IMG_7952

3.  In a large bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar.  Add in the eggs one at a tine, beating until well combined.  Beat in the vanilla.

IMG_7956

4.  Add the flour mixture in 3 additions, beating on low.  Stir in the drops, chips, and Oreos.    The dough will be somewhat sticky.  Refrigerate it for 1 hour to make it easier to work with.

Stir in all the extra goodies.

Stir in all the extra goodies.

5.  Preheat oven to 350*F.

6.  Scoop 1/4 cup dough into each pan cavity.  Wet finger and lightly press the dough down and smooth out.  It may not cover the entire cavity of the pan; that’s ok.  Press a few of the reserved white chips onto the top of the dough. ( I forgot to do this with mine.)

IMG_7964

7.  Bake for 15 – 18 minutes.  Remove from the oven and let cool in the pan for 3 – 5 minutes.  Run a small spatula along the edge of the pan and lift onto a cooling rack.    Rinse the pan with cool water, regrease it, and continue baking the remainder of the batter.

IMG_7966

 

IMG_7970

IMG_7969

 

Make these.   You know you want to!!

 

SOURCE:   Cookies and Cups

Pumpkin Spice Blondies

Pumpkin Spice Blondies

Pumpkin Spice Blondies

Do you ever play the “what if” game?  It goes like this…..”What if I use a different kind of flour here?”    What if I use all butter instead of shortening in this cake?”

Today’s recipe came about when I asked ” what if I used a cookie mix to make some squares”?    Yes, I know there are a gazillion recipes out there that use cake mixes to make cookies, but what I had on hand was a boxed pumpkin spice cookie mix, but I didn’t really want to make cookies.  This is how I changed the directions to make blondies with all the flavors you would expect in a pumpkin square, and then some!!

Soooo Good!

Soooo Good!

These came out chewy, and chunky because of the extra add-ins.  I found that by using miniature marshmallows, they melt while baking leaving an extra gooey spot in the bar.   I also used caramel bits and dried cranberries in these and all the flavors combined will remind you of fall.  To make the glaze on top I used about a cup of powdered sugar and 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice mixed with about 4 teaspoons of water.  This was spread on after the bars had cooled completely.     Today’s game of “what if”  was successful…. my experiments don’t always turn out as well.  So I invite you to try them for yourself.  Any brand of pumpkin cookie mix will work, using the amount of butter and egg specified on the package.

IMG_8069

 

PUMPKIN BLONDIES

Yield:  Makes 16 barsIMG_8053

Ingredients:

  • 1 package ( 16.5-oz.) pumpkin spice cookie mix
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup ( 1-stick) butter, softened at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup each caramel bits, mini marshmallows, and dried cranberries
Disregard the can of pumpkin…I didn't use it.

Disregard the can of pumpkin…I didn’t use it.

Directions:

1.   Preheat oven to 350*F.  Lightly grease an 8x8x2-inch pan.

2.  In a medium bowl, stir together the cookie mix, egg and butter until a dough forms.

3.  Stir in the caramel bits, mini marshmallows, and dried cranberries until well incorporated.

4.  Scrape dough into prepared pan and press in evenly.

5.  Bake for 28-32 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool completely before topping with glaze.

Cool the baked squares before adding glaze.

Cool the baked squares before adding glaze.

6.  Glaze:  1 cup powdered sugar, 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice,  3-4 teaspoons water.  Whisk together to form a loose glaze that you can spread on top of the blondies.

IMG_8067

 

SOURCE:    a Carolyn’s Original

 

 

 

 

(Healthy) Peanut-Butter Cookies

Cookies packed into lunch boxes, cookies as after school snacks, cookies for anytime that urge for a sweet takes over.  Today we are making back to school cookies that are as “healthy” as I can make them after several attempts to take them from “big and bad” to “big and (almost) good for you”.  I really wish I could do something about eliminating those darn calories!!

We like our cookies really big around here.  I’m talkin’ Peanut Butter Cookies, here.   I like my peanut butter cookies to be really BIG. Big in diameter and big in thickness.  Thin little peanut butter cookies just don’t do it for me.  They need to be so  big that  two people can share one cookie and be satisfied with their half of it.

Are you wondering where I could have had such a cookie?  At a local Cider Mill near where I live.  Every Fall Mr. D. and I go for a ride to view the Fall foliage, and we stop at the cider mill to get apples, cider and a cookie.  Yep, just one, and we share it.  That cookie is my ideal where peanut butter cookies are concerned,  and I keep playing around with recipes trying to duplicate it.  The cookie recipe I’m presenting here comes pretty close, but they are still not quite thick enough.  I need to keep working on getting that right, but in the mean time  these are very good indeed.

First, are they chewy inside?  Check.  Are they really big?  They can be as big as you care to make them.  Are they crunchy?  Check,  I used chunky peanut butter.  How healthy are they?  Pretty healthy, really.  I used whole wheat flour for fiber (which you would never know if I didn’t tell you),  honey for some sweetness, that allowed me to cut back on the sugar, and only 4 Tablespoons of butter.  The remaining fat comes from the peanut butter and I used an “all natural” brand, so no corn syrup or other added stuff.  I used a 1/4 cup cookie scoop to measure out the dough.  The cookies spread while baking and puff up, but flatten out some as they cool so you get that chewy interior.

HEALTHY PEANUT-BUTTER COOKIES

YIELD:   about 20 cookies

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup all natural peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup (4 Tbs.) butter, softened
  • 1 egg
  • 2 Tablespoons honey
  • 1  1/4 cup whole wheat flour ( I used white whole wheat)
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • additional sugar for sprinkling on top

PREPARATION

1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.

2.  In a large mixer bowl, beat together the sugar, brown sugar, butter and peanut butter on low speed until well mixed.  Beat in honey and egg until well blended.

3.  Beat in as much flour as you can, then stir in the rest with a wooden spoon to create a smooth dough that is quite thick.

Ready for the oven.

4.  Measure out dough using a cookie scoop,  or form the dough into balls (about 1 1/2 inch).  Place on cookie sheets about 3 inches apart.  Flatten with a fork to form a crisscross pattern.  Sprinkle lightly with additional sugar.

Freshly baked, just out of the oven.

5.  Bake 7 to 9 minutes or until lightly browned. If cookies are really large, you may need an additional 1-2 minutes. Cool for 1 minute and remove from cookie sheets to cooling racks and cool for another 15 minutes.

 

If any of you know how to make these thicker while keeping their size, please share your secret with me.  I’m aiming for the kind of thick cookie you can get in a bakery.  Thanks, readers.

SOURCE:   This recipe is several adaptations removed from the recipe my mother used to bake.

Chocolate Chip Coconut Mounds

Chocolate Chip Coconut Mounds

Chocolate Chip Coconut Mounds

A bake sale table is always an inviting sight. All those assorted cakes, cookies, pies, breads and bars just begging to be taken home. Everything looks so good they practically sell themselves.

Bake sale items, by definition, are lovingly homemade in the same way as baked goods auctioned off at church suppers, or judged at country fairs.  They are the real deal, no fillers, no ingredients to prolong shelf life, or strange chemicals you can’t pronounce.

IMG_7477

 

The recipe I have for you today is a bake sale favorite that contains chocolate chips, flaked coconut, and chopped walnuts.  Probably  the chocolate chips alone would be enough to entice most people, but add in the coconut and nuts, and they become chock full of true blue flavor and goodness.IMG_7483

I made these recently to bring to an end of the year picnic event.  They disappeared “quick as a wink”.  Give these chunky cookies a try for your family or the next time you’re asked to bake for a bake sale.  They are really good!!

CHOCOLATE CHIP COCONUT MOUNDS

Yield:  About 2  1/2  dozen cookies

Ingredients:IMG_7472

  • 1  1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 5 tablespoons cake flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 10 tablespoons ( 1 stick plus 2 Tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 Tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1  1/2 teaspoons hot water
  • 2  1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (lightly packed) sweetened flaked coconut
  • 1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

Directions:

1.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, cake flour, baking soda, cream of tartar and salt.

2.  In the large bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter for 2 – 3 minutes on low speed.  Add the light brown sugar and beat for 30 seconds on moderate speed; add the granulated sugar and beat for 30 seconds longer.  Beat in the egg.  Blend in the hot water and vanilla extract.

3.  Add the flour in thirds, mixing well after each addition.  Remove the bowl from the beater, and stir in the coconut, chips and nuts.

Stir in chips, coconut and nuts.

Stir in chips, coconut and nuts.

Chill the dough, covered with plastic wrap, for 30 minutes.  Can leave longer if necessary, up to 48 hours.  No need to bring to room temperature prior to baking.

4.  In advance of baking, preheat the oven to 350*F.  Line 3 baking sheets with parchment paper.  Drop dough in mounds of approximately 2 tablespoon size, leaving 1  1/2 inches  between cookies.  A cookie scoop helps to form uniformly sized cookies.

IMG_7474

5.  Bake the cookies for 12 – 14 minutes, or until just set and light golden here and there around the edges and golden in spots on top.  Let the cookies cool on the sheets for 10 minutes, then transfer them to cooling racks, using a wide spatula.  Store the cookies in an airtight container, or pack in food-safe containers or bags for sale.

IMG_7476

 

A little chewy, a little crunchy, totally good!

A little chewy, a little crunchy, totally good!

 

IMG_7480

 

SOURCE:  A Country Baking Treasury by Lisa Yockelson, via Chocolatier Magazine

Whole Wheat Brownies

Whole Wheat Brownies

Whole Wheat Brownies

The start of the holiday weekend, and there we were with no desserts on hand.  Horrors!!  How can you even think of having a cookout without some kind of dessert to end the meal.  Just about everybody loves brownies, the fudgy-er the better.  And if a person wanted to add a scoop of ice cream and maybe a tiny drizzle of chocolate sauce, I certainly would be the last one to object.  Sooooo, brownies it is.

Was that a brownie sundae you wanted?

Was that a brownie sundae you wanted?

Let me see what I can do to make them “healthy”.   Gee, is there really such a thing as a healthy brownie?   Martha Stewart seems to think so, therefore I’ll take her word for it.  These whole wheat brownies get a healthy boost from whole wheat flour and applesauce, while cocoa powder and semisweet chocolate make them nice and fudgy;  really deep, dark and moist, but not heavy.

IMG_7399

WHOLE WHEAT BROWNIES

Yield:   Makes 16

Ingredients:IMG_7385

  • 6 tablespoons ( 3/4 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1  1/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce, or Lighter Bake
  • 1 large egg
  • 8 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped
Lighter Bake is made from applesauce.

Lighter Bake is made from applesauce.

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 350*F.  Butter or spray an 8-inch square baking dish.  Line it with parchment paper; leaving a 2″ overhang on all sides.  Butter or spray the parchment paper.

2.  Place butter and 6-oz. of the chocolate in a heat proof bowl set over (not in) a pot of simmering water;  stir until melted.  remove from heat and set aside to cool slightly.

Butter and chocolate melted together.

Butter and chocolate melted together.

3.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, cocoa powder, baking powder, salt and soda.

Mix dry ingredients together.

Mix dry ingredients together.

4.  In a large bowl, stir together the sugar, applesauce and egg.  Stir chocolate mixture into sugar mixture.  Add flour mixture and stir just to blend.

IMG_7391

Pour into prepared baking dish and top with the remaining 2 ounces of chopped chocolate.

Top batter with remaining chopped chocolate.

Top batter with remaining chopped chocolate.

5.  Bake about 40 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with moist crumbs attached.  Let cool in pan on a wire rack.  Use the parchment to lift from the pan, cut into 16 squares.

Lift brownies from pan with parchment paper.

Lift brownies from pan with parchment paper.

Cut into squares to serve.

Cut into squares to serve.

 

SOURCE:   MarthaStewart.com

Lemon Tarts

Lemon Tarts

Lemon Tarts

Sometimes being put on the spot with only a short amount of time does wonders for the imagination.  With very little time to plan and pull this off in grand style, I was asked to provide a dessert;  a “small finger-food” type that would not require a fork to eat it.  As most of you know by now, I would not be one to turn up with a pan of brownies cut into small squares.  I needed to come up with something with a little more pizzazz!!

So, an idea clicked into my head based on a picture I had seen of lemon-filled cookies.  I expanded on that concept and turned what would have been the cookie into a small tart, by pressing the dough into mini muffin pan/cups. Once baked, but still warm, I made a depression in the center of each one with a cork, then I filled it with lemon curd.   For this recipe I made a sugar cookie dough because I thought the sweetness of sugar cookie would be a nice contrast to the tart lemon curd.  As a time saver you could use a roll of refrigerated sugar cookie dough sliced and pressed into the mini-muffin pans to make the tart.  Lemon curd is available at the supermarket in the area where jams and jelly are displayed,  or of course, you could make your own, but this is intended as a quick recipe….let’s not do extra work here.

These are as yummy as they look.

These are as yummy as they look.

For a quickie dessert recipe, it got lots of compliments.  For the presentation, I dusted the whole tray of lemon tarts with confectioners’ sugar and topped each one with a small wedge of citrus-flavored jellied fruit slice candy.  When Mr. D. saw these going out the door with me, he said, “did you save any for us?’  Unfortunately I didn’t, so I really hoped I would be able to bring one or two home for him to sample.  (P.S. I rescued four.  You know—just to keep him happy.)

IMG_7311

LEMON TARTS

Yield:   Makes 36

Ingredients:

Simple Sugar Cookies:

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1  1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

Filling:

  •  1 ( 10-ounce) jar lemon curd

1.  In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Beat in egg and vanilla.  Combine the flour, baking powder and salt; gradually add to the creamed mixture.  Shape into 2 rolls, wrap each in plastic wrap.  Refrigerate for at least an hour or until firm.

2.  Preheat oven to 350*F.  Lightly grease each cup of the mini-muffin pans.  (Need 3 mini-muffin pans)

3.  Unwrap dough; slice into 36 slices.  Place each slice into a mini-muffin cup.  Using your fingers press the dough up the sides of the pan to form a “cup”.

Form dough into "cups" with your fingers.

Form dough into “cups” with your fingers.

4.  Bake at 350*F.  for 8 – 10 minutes.

5.  While the tarts are still warm, use a cork or small spoon to make a depression in the top of each one.  Do not go all the way to the bottom.  When the tarts have cooled, remove from the pans, and fill the depressions with lemon curd.

Make perfect depressions with a cork.

Make perfect depressions with a cork.

These will keep at room temperature for 2-3 days.

6.  To serve, dust the tops with a light coat of confectioners’ sugar, and decorate as desired.

IMG_7309

 

SOURCE:  Carolyn’s Originals, cookie recipe from Taste of Home

 

Fiesta Cookies

Fiesta Cookies

Fiesta Cookies

Which do you like better, cookies or cake?    That’s a tough one, I know.  But what if you could have both at the same time?  Sound too good to be true?    The recipe I have for you today is super simple to make from cake batter, yes, cake batter cookies.  So if you make these cookies, you’ll never have to choose again.

IMG_7154

IMG_7159

It all starts with a box of cake mix.  Add a few additional ingredients that you most likely already have, toss in some sprinkles for a “funfetti effect”, bake for a mere 10-12 minutes and there they are.    I decided to call these “fiesta cookies” because they are colorful and look as if they’re ready for a party.  There’s only one thing that could make them better:  eat them with ice cream.  After I baked mine and saw how large and round they got, I thought they would work perfectly for ice cream sandwiches.  See if you don’t agree.

These make yummy ice cream sandwiches.

These make yummy ice cream sandwiches.

 

FIESTA COOKIES

Yield:  about 24 cookiesIMG_7145

Ingredients:

  • 1 box vanilla cake mix
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1  1/4 cup sprinkles
  • 1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil
  • 2 eggs + 1 yolk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Directions:

1.  Preheat the oven to 350*F.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

2.  In a large bowl, whisk the cake mix with the baking powder and sprinkles to combine (be sure to break up any lumps).

IMG_7148

3.  In a small bowl or measuring cup, whisk the oil with the eggs, egg yolk and vanilla to combine.

IMG_7147

Add the oil mixture to the bowl of dry ingredients and mix until fully incorporated.

4.  Scoop out the cookie dough using a cookie scoop measuring about 2 tablespoons, and place mounds of dough onto the prepared baking sheets leaving at least 3/4-inch between each cookie to allow for spreading.

IMG_7150

5.  Bake until surface is crackly and the cookies are slightly golden around the edges, 10 – 12 minutes.  Cool before serving.

IMG_7151

These cookies are perfect for ice cream sandwiches.  Just scoop some slightly softened ice cream into the center of one cookie and top with another.  Freeze the sandwiches after you’ve assembled them, just until they firm up.    OOOOOH, so good!

IMG_7163

 

SOURCE:    PureWow

Dulce de Leche Fluff Brownies

Dulce de Leche Fluff Brownies

Dulce de Leche Fluff Brownies

So many celebrations this month!  May is one of the busiest months around here.  Beginning today with Cinco de Mayo and continuing right on through Memorial Day, I have something on my calendar every weekend, sometimes more than one event, and they all involve preparation of food on my part. I just hope I can keep up with it.  If I drop out of sight for a day or two you’ll know what happened…..I fell off the edge.

So,  today Mr. D. has an office pot-luck lunch in honor of Cinco de Mayo.  His co-workers have special dishes they prepare around that theme so I’m not going to compete with them,  I’ll tackle the dessert.   What I decided on are these Dulce de Leche Brownies.  Who doesn’t like brownies?   When you add toppings like Marshmallow Creme and Dulce de Leche plus chopped pecans…..swoon!!….If I were there, I’d start with dessert, thank you.

Imagine a fudgy brownie underneath all this gooey-ness.

Imagine a fudgy brownie underneath all this gooey-ness.

I just know these are fabulous brownies, I’ve made them before this.   I couldn’t taste them, however, because  when you bake for an event, you really can’t send a pan of brownies with one corner missing….. or can you?    Anyway I hope my photos get you salivating and anxious to try these wonderful brownies.  I omitted the chopped pecans on top because of possible nut allergies among the group of people who will be eating these.

DULCE DE LECHE FLUFF BROWNIES

Yield:    42 servings

Ingredients:

  • 6 0unces unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped

    A pan of brownies, + marshmallow creme, + dulce de leche=heaven.

    A pan of brownies, + marshmallow creme, + dulce de leche=heaven.

  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1  1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1  13.4- ounce can dulce de leche
  • 1  7-ounce jar marshmallow creme
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted

Directions:

1.  In a medium saucepan cook and stir unsweetened chocolate and butter over low heat until melted and smooth.  Remove from heat; cool slightly.  Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350*F.  Line a 13 x 9-inch baking pan with foil, extending the foil over the edges of pan.  Grease foil; set pan aside. I omitted this step because my brownies are going to travel in the baking pan which has a cover—-much safer for Mr. D. to carry to work.

2.  Stir sugar into chocolate mixture.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating with a wooden spoon after each addition just until combined.  Stir in vanilla.  In a small bowl stir together flour an baking soda.  Add flour mixture to chocolate mixture; stir just until combined.  Stir in semisweet chocolate pieces.  Pour batter into the prepared baking pan, spreading evenly.  Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until ages are set and center is almost set.

3.  Meanwhile transfer dulce de leche to a small microwave-safe bowl (or leave it in its jar if that is microwaveable).  Microwave on 100 percent power about 1 minute or until softened, stirring once.

4.  Remove brownies from oven and set pan on a wire rack.  Immediately spoon marshmallow creme in mounds on top of hot brownies. (Having a glass of water handy to dip knife blade into, makes dealing with the sticky marshmallow creme a whole lot easier.)

Drop mounds of marshmallow fluff on top of warm brownies.

Drop mounds of marshmallow fluff on top of warm brownies.

Drop spoonfuls of dulce de leche between mounds of marshmallow creme.  Let stand for a few minutes to soften.  Using a table knife or narrow metal spatula, gently swirl marshmallow creme and dulce de leche together to marble.  Sprinkle with pecans,  Cool in pan on rack.

Fill in the open spaces with dulce de leche, and swirl together.

Fill in the open spaces with dulce de leche, and swirl together.

5.  Using the edges of the foil, lift uncut brownies out of pan.  Cut into brownies, wiping knife as needed between cuts.

These brownies are oowey, gooey good!

IMG_7187

 

SOURCE:   Better Homes and Gardens

Toffee Almond Shortbread Cookies

Toffee Almond Shortbread

Toffee Almond Shortbread

Shortbread is a traditional teatime cookie, native to Scotland, but loved by everyone.  You know when you have a fine one because they snap crisply,  the butter flavor is intense, and they melt in your mouth.  There’s no need for any extra ingredients, the bare minimum is what these cookies are all about, letting you experience that wonderful butter flavor.

IMG_6961

Ordinarily I don’t add anything to a shortbread cookie, but this recipe calls for finely diced toasted almonds, and toffee bits that have been crushed sightly.  The toffee is not readily apparent when the cookie is baked,  but it does intensify the butter flavor, and the almonds just add a little texture to an otherwise smooth dough. To finish them off I sprinkled the tops with multicolored pink-green sanding sugar.

IMG_6967

By using a cookie cutter that is no more than 2-inches, you will get about 30 cookies.  My square cutter is 1 1/2-inches and I got 37 cookies.  They are small bites, just right for a light finish to a meal, to put on a dessert table, or to go with a cup of tea or coffee.

TOFFEE ALMOND SHORTBREAD COOKIESIMG_6958

Yield:   about 30 cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1  1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup, (1 stick) butter
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped toasted almonds
  • 2 tablespoons toffee pieces, slightly crushed  I used Heath Toffee Bits.
  • pink and green coarse decorating sugar

Directions:

1.  Preheat the oven to 325*F.  Baking sheets may be lined with parchment paper, or use un-greased.

2.  Combine flour and brown sugar in a bowl.  Cut in the butter with a pastry cutter, or rub the butter with your fingertips until the mixture looks like fine crumbs, and starts to cling together.

3.  Stir in the almonds and toffee bits.

4.  Bring the mixture together into a ball ( with your hands is best), and gently knead until smooth.

5.  Turn out onto a floured surface, roll out to about 1/4-inch thick. Using your cookie cutter, stamp out as many as are possible.  Gather the trimmings, roll out again, and press out more cookies.  Repeat until all the dough has been used.

Roll out to 1/4-inch thickness, cut with cookie cutters.

Roll out to 1/4-inch thickness, cut with cookie cutters.

 

Transfer to parchment lined  baking sheet.

Transfer to parchment lined baking sheet and sprinkle with sugar.

6.  Put the shortbread on the prepared baking sheets, sprinkle with decorating sugar, and bake for 10 – 12 minutes until bottoms are starting to brown and the edges are firm.  Transfer to cooling racks to cool completely.  Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

IMG_6961

Intensely butter flavored, they melt in your mouth.

Intensely butter flavored, they melt in your mouth.

SOURCE:  Better Homes and Gardens