Toffee Cookies with Chocolate and Cayenne

I hate Valentine’s Day. Wait, not quite correct. I hate all card-company made up holidays that make you think you need to purchase a (cheesy) card for someone and basically waste money. These holidays include both Mothers’ and Fathers’ Days too. Ugh, so gross.

Valentine’s the the most egregious though made up holiday.  Overpriced roses that have no smell whatsoever. A meal out that is meh at best and again, overpriced. Pressure for the whole evening and lord help you if you have just started a new relationship. Just wait and ask her/him out in March or something. Go out for Guinness on St. Patrick’s Day – it worked for me.

That said, I took a recent cookie recipe and make sweet little heart cookies with chocolate and then did the perfect thing – added cayenne. Hey, why not, right?

D&D_260816 Tbs unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
2 egg yolks
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon sea salt
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate – Ghirardelli
1/4 cup chopped toasted walnuts
Fleur de sel / Maldon
cayenne

Preheat the oven to 350F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together the butter and brown sugar. Add the egg yolks one at a time and mix well. Combine the flour and salt in a small bowl, then add the flour mixture to the butter-sugar mixture, mixing until well combined.

Shape the dough into a flat disk, wrap it in plastic, and refrigerate for 10 minutes.*

Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface to about 1/4 inch thick. Cut out hearts with a cookie cutter and place the cookies on the baking sheet.

Bake for 11 to 13 minutes, until the edges are golden brown. Let cool completely on the baking sheet.

Bring water to a simmer in a double boiler, or set up a heatproof bowl over a small saucepan with water in the bottom. Melt the chocolate over the simmering water. When the cookies are cool, spread them gently with a thin layer of melted chocolate. Before the chocolate dries, sprinkle lightly with the pecans and a few grains of fleur de sel and a pinch or so of cayenne – let your conscious be your guide here. Let the chocolate set. The cookies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. Makes 20 – 24 cookies – all depends on your cookie cutter.

*It took more than 10 minutes – way more – just leave the dough in the fridge overnight.

 

Johnson Brothers – Old Britian Castles – pink.

Smoked Almond Toffee Mini Milk Chocolate Kisses

Ever since I tried smoked almonds a few months ago I’ve been planning on making some kind of cookies with them. So here we are.

D&D_266016 Tbs unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup smoked almonds, chopped
8 ozs toffee pieces
5 ozs mini milk chocolate kisses

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.

Over a piece of waxed paper, sift together flour, baking soda, and salt.

In bowl of stand mixer, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time and blend well after each addition. Mix in vanilla. Add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Add almonds, toffee, and kisses.

Scoop dough onto baking sheet with a couple inches in between. Sprinkle with a little Maldon salt if you’re in the mood. Bake for 8 – 10 minutes, turning the pans half way through.

Let cool completely on a wire rack.

Source: Mod Meals on Mendenhall & cute firefighter guys never hurt. Recipe modified by, um, me.

2 Feb 2018

Toffee Cookies with Dark Chocolate Glaze

Here I am with another roll-out cookie. Why do I keep doing this to myself? This is my least favorite part of baking – cookies, crackers, pie crusts – rolling things out – even if I do have a great rolling pin – which I do. French rolling pin – made in America. Yep. D&D-9181

You get the idea. Ugh. But this just seems like such a good idea that I could not help myself.

I also plan to do this in my two day method to see if it works – make dough day one, and bake and chocolate on day two. We’ll see, as always.

Baked the cookies one day and did the chocolate bit the next day and then had way too much fun with the toppings – walnuts, Maldon salt, red sprinkles, and a little cayenne. And then did pretty much an evil thing. Mixed up all the cookies in the same container. Take a risk and see what you get. Let’s just say I put the cayenne on the smallest cookies. I think I really like bittersweet chocolate with cayenne. But pretty sure not all my friends will. Like I’ve said before my “test kitchen tasters.”

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16 Tbs unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
2 egg yolks
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon sea salt
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate – Ghirardelli
1/4 cup chopped toasted walnuts
Fleur de sel / Maldon

Preheat the oven to 350F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together the butter and brown sugar. Add the egg yolks one at a time and mix well. Combine the flour and salt in a small bowl, then add the flour mixture to the butter-sugar mixture, mixing until well combined.

Shape the dough into a flat disk, wrap it in plastic, and refrigerate for 10 minutes.*

Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface to about 1/4 inch thick. Cut out circles with a 2-inch round cutter and place the cookies on the baking sheet.

Bake for 11 to 13 minutes, until the edges are golden brown. Let cool completely on the baking sheet. Bring water to a simmer in a double boiler, or set up a heatproof bowl over a small saucepan with water in the bottom. Melt the chocolate over the simmering water. When the cookies are cool, spread them gently with a thin layer of melted chocolate. Before the chocolate dries, sprinkle lightly with the pecans and a few grains of fleur de sel. Let the chocolate set. The cookies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. Makes 20 – 24 cookies.

Source: The Kitchn adapted from Salty Sweets by Christie Matheson. I think you could sub out other nuts. I did – used walnuts but pecans were called for in the original recipe. Pistachios might be excellent as well, especially with the color contrast on the dark chocolate. Love me some pistachios, but I am keeping this bag for baking not for just munching on. Maybe. We shall see.

*Well, 10 minutes in the fridge was no where near enough. I did, sort of, leave the butter out for a couple of many days. So I left the dough in the fridge overnight and it worked out just fine. Not as an easy dough as the chocolate sugar cookie dough from the other day, but not too difficult.

Brownie Roll Out Cookies

I try to make chocolate things for the other people in my life because they just are not for me. Chocolate  – meh-ish to me. This seemed like an interesting idea though. Kind of, basically, a chocolate sugar cookie and then you can mess about with the toppings. Toppings that are mostly sugar and I do love the crunch of that.

D&D_2593I remember when I first started making my favorite sugar cookies,  I would just put plain old white sugar on them. They were beautiful and I just loved the crunch. The Boy did too. So simple – nothing extra to buy and just lovely. I see these cookies in the same light. I’ve said it so many many times, simple is often just the best.

I really like to get input on what I do and the Boy is always an interesting source. See his ideas below.

3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
16 Tbs unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2/3 unsweetened cocoa
Sanding sugars

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Over a piece of waxed paper, sift together flour, salt, and baking powder. In a bowl of a stand mixer, beat together butter and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time then add vanilla and cocoa. Add flour a little at a time and mix until smooth. Wrap in plastic and chill for at least an hour.

Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface about 1/4 inch thick. Cut into desired shapes. Place on baking sheet, top with any kind of crunchy sugar (this time raw sugar and pretty white sanding sugar), and bake for 8 to 11 minutes until edges are firm. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Source: smittenkitchen.com/2008/04/brownie-roll-out-cookies/

Dough 31 December 2017

Bake 4 January 2018 @ midnight – lovely. Ugh – it is just what I do. I cannot help myself.

Bake 5 minutes, turn, and bake for 3 more.

New idea for toppings – mostly from my chief taste-tester – the Boy – raw sugar/Maldon and cayenne. Or brickle bits maybe w/some cayenne as well.

Really easy dough to roll out which make it a favorite for me because I pretty much hate rolling out dough for cookies or crackers – kind of  totally annoying.

Chocolate Dipped Pretzels

I’ve been meaning to do this for donkey’s years, but finally got around to a first round this week. Trying to get some practice in before Christmas, because I was thinking I might make some for little Christmas treats for friends and what not. Not a big deal, but a handmade treat that I think most people would like. I am, as mentioned ad nauseum, not a chocolate person, but give me a pretzel with a simple chocolate coating, especially if semi-sweet or white chocolate and I am so all there. Need to work on the decorating, but that will come and I also see how you could make this work for lots of different holidays by changing colors.

D&D_2402I suppose you could do the same with other kinds of pretzels, but this seems to make the most sense for now, at least until someone convinces me otherwise. Chocolate pretzels in a pint glass – something about that makes lots of sense – to me anyway.

1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
1 tablespoon vegetable shortening
16 pretzel rods
And lots of different kinds of toppings

Line a baking sheet with wax paper or silpat.

Heat chips and vegetable shortening in small, dry, uncovered, microwave-safe bowl on medium high power for 1 minute; Stir. The chips may retain some of their original shape but just keep stirring. Microwave at additional 10 – to 15 -second intervals, stirring just until chips are melted.

Dip pretzel rods as far as you can into melted chips, using a spoon to help coat each pretzel rod. Sprinkle with toppings. Place on prepared baking sheet. Refrigerate for 20 minutes or until set. Store in airtight container at room temperature. Best when eaten within a few days.

These are so stupidly amazing. I cannot make them again, because if I do, I think I might eat them all. In this case, I only ate the little stubby pretzels that I dipped in just the chocolate and that made me happy. But that should be as far as it goes. I bought the strange white sprinkles for these, especially. That is, again, just so sad. Or maybe just so very cool. Not sure.

Yep, but you know I am going to come up with even a better way to make them and that will just be a bad thing for me.

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Stupidly – Easy Chocolate Fudge

My mom always made fudge for Christmas. She would put them in her Christmas tins, and me, being me, do the same thing. I would have a bit or two, but – again – not a chocolate person – even then, as a kid. Well, it is what it is. D&D_2579

I have tried to recreate my mom’s fudge with not a whole bunch of success.  I do not like recipes that use marshmallow stuff (fluff, cream, um, whatever), or, heaven forbid, peanut butter – dear lord, who thinks either one of those things are a good idea. Also, all fudge needs nuts and as usually, I prefer walnuts.

While this made shite-loads of fudge (in my opinion), it was also pretty damn good and it recalls my mom’s fudge – and that was enough just to make me happy. So here it is – stupidly good, really easy, chocolate fudge.  Sometime, simple is just best. Yep.

4 Tbs unsalted butter
16 ozs semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate
1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
1/8 tsp kosher salt
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Spray 8 x 8 inch baking pan with cooking spray. Line with parchment, with an overhang on two sides for easier removal from pan.

Place a large glass bowl over a pot of barely simmering water – do not let bowl touch water or get water in chocolate mixture. Combine all ingredients except walnuts until just melted and well combined. Mix in nuts – sorry – required.

Put fudge mixture into prepared pan and refrigerate until set – 4 hours, but best overnight. Using parchment sling, lift fudge out of pan and cut into small pieces (this is rich, so smaller is better.)

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Source: www.cookingforengineers.com via the New York Times

Sour Cream Chocolate Chip Muffins

I love a recipe where I pretty much have everything on hand and this is one of those kind of recipes. My chip stash (various forms of chocolate, butterscotch, peanut butter, white chocolate chips and probably some random crunch chips and toffee bits too) in the fridge and the freezer is, in my mind anyway, legendary. And then the chocolate bars too. I can not help myself, I buy when things are on sale and store them in the fridge or freezer. The same way I do when butter is on sale. It is just a thing.D&D_2386

I did chocolate inventory recently and if I had to divulge it in public, I think it might be slightly embarrassing.

This is a one bowl, easy-peasy no-brainer kind of dessert.

1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1 cup sour cream
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips

In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Combine the egg, sour cream, butter and vanilla. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in chocolate chips.
Fill paper-lined muffin cups three-fourths full. Bake at 350° for 18-20 minutes, turning half way through and then check with a toothpick to make sure it comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack.

Source: Taste of Home

1 December 2017 – made them after our work Christmas party. It was just that easy.

D&D_2390That said, I think this is a recipe that you could make many variations with the basic batter. So, next time no chocolate chips, but maybe some blueberries and lemon zest. Or just some lemon juice/zest and a lemon glaze. Or cinnamon, walnuts, and raisins with a cream cheese frosting. Just keep in mind that the batter, without the additions, is pretty simple and not too sweet. To my mind that makes it a pretty blank canvas to work with and I plan to work through my ideas as this holiday season fades into the icky part of winter. Baking always makes winter feel a little bit better. With the days so short, you need to have something to look forward to.