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Sunday, February 20, 2011

Heart and Linzer Cookies


I know Valentine's day is over, but unfortunately I didn't have time to post these in time for the holiday. Hopefully heart shaped cookies are not only for Valentine's day though and you all can get some use out of these. If anything, they are just darn cute to look at :)

Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 cups butter softened
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 5 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Jelly for the Linzer filling



Directions
  • Cream the butter and sugar together in a large bowl, then beat in eggs and vanilla
  • Stir the dry ingredients into above mixture
  • Split dough so that you can mix half of it with red food coloring
  • Let dough chill in the refrigerator covered for at least one hour, or overnight
  • Once chilled roll the dough onto a floured surface and cut into desired shapes. For the Linzer cookies, use a mini cookie cutter to cut little hearts into the top layer. Be sure to have an even number of tops with the heart cut-outs and regular heart shaped bottoms!
  • Bake for 6-8 minutes
  • Once cool, brush the red ones and regular ones with a powder sugar glaze (mix powdered sugar and water until it is like glue) and then dip them in sprinkles. For the Linzer cookies you just sandwich them with jelly.



Monday, February 14, 2011

A Junk Food Experiment


There's really no other way to describe this other than a junk food experiment. Inspired by awesomely bad county fair foods, thisiswhyyourfat.com, and pure genius we took the following junk food items, wrapped them in Pillsbury crescent dough, and baked them at 375 degrees for 14 minutes:
  • Twix: This was my favorite one.
  • Dark chocolate Reese's: Coworkers got to it before I did so I'll just assume this was a good one! :)
  • Caramello: This one was up there with Twix. Perhaps comparable to a real low-quality chocolate croissant with caramel.
  • Kit Kats
  • Twinkies: Second favorite.
  • Hostess cupcakes: Least favorite.
The most disturbing results of this experiment were:
  1. I realized I'll eat almost anything with sugar and butter, preferably lots of butter (assuming Pillsbury uses real butter).
  2. Hostess cupcakes and Twinkies are indestructible!! I mean it. We baked the Hostess cupcake at 375 degrees and nothing melted! Not to mention neither the Twinkie nor the Hostess cupcake had an expiration date. Only a month and a day...no year? I'm telling you, something is not right!
  3. These thing were GOOD, and I'd make them again.
Caramello

Hostess cupcake

Twinkie

The indestructible duo

Reese's
Kit Kat

Twix

So next time you're feeling like you need a guilty pleasure, treat yourself to these. They're obviously easy to make and they take no time at all!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Italian Polenta Cookies

I figured it was time to start representing my Italian roots on here (you're welcome mom) and what better way then through Italian cookies?! I'll admit that the polenta in these cookies threw some people off. I think it was an unexpected extra crunch for some and a pleasant surprise for others :) Personally, I think they are good. They are crisp, light, and unique cookies. Perfect for a snack and similar to a tea cookie. Just think of them as a light sugar cookie with cornmeal and you'll know what to expect.

Preheat oven to 350
Note: You'll need a piping bag and a star tip (e.g. Ateco #825)

Ingredients:
  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 1 cup polenta (or coarse cornmeal will do)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 2/3 cups white sugar
  • 1 tbs lemon zest
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
Directions
  • Whisk together flour, polenta, and salt in a bowl
  • Beat butter, sugar, and lemon zest in an electric mixer until pale and fluffy for about 2 minutes
  • Add egg and egg yolk one at a time, mixing after each addition
  • Mix in vanilla
  • Gradually add flour mixture
  • Add batter to the piping bag
  • Pipe into 'S' shapes, or whatever shape you like. Have fun with it! Shapes should be about 3" long and spaced 1" apart on a parchment lined baking sheet
  • Place the shapes in the freezer (on the baking sheet) for about 30 minutes
  • Once they have been in the freezer to hold their shape a little better, bake them for 15-18 minutes until golden brown; rotating half way through
And there you go. Italian cookies completo!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Chocolate Cookie Bites for Valentine's Day!

Haters gon hate, but I love Valentine's day! I always have. Hallmark holiday or not I think the cards, candies, and colors are just delightful. I made these chocolate cookie bites for some little Valentine's day packages I plan to send out and if you are looking for something to make for your loved ones this Valentine's day I suggest these. They are cute and easy to make!

I used the Cook's Illustrated chocolate chip cookie recipe and changed it a little by adding a bunch of baker's cocoa, baking them in a mini-cupcake pan, and adding cute candy! Unfortunately I just eye-balled the baker's cocoa so I can't give you exact measurements, but I say add as much as you need depending on how chocolatey you want them.

Preheat oven to 375

Ingredients
  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 3/4 sticks unsalted butter (14 tbs)
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 1/4 cup chocolate chips
  • Brach's Valentine nougat, or any Valentine candy of your choosing that would fit in the cookie bite
Directions
  • Melt the butter
  • Add the melted butter to the sugar and egg and mix together. The directions say to mix for 30 seconds, let the mixture stand for about 3 minutes, and then repeat about 1 or 2 more times until the mixture is smooth
  • Add the vanilla
  • Add all the dry ingredients and mix until there are no flour lumps
  • Add the mixture by the tablespoon full to a greased mini cupcake pan
  • Bake for 10 minutes
  • When the bites are right out of the oven, squish the candies on top
  • Place the cookies in the refrigerator for about 5-10 minutes until they are cooled enough that you can pull them out of the pan
Then pass them out and wish folks a happy Valentine's day!