Chocolate Turtle Cookies

December 12, 2012 § 1 Comment

The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap 2012

The time has come, the reveal of The Great Food Blogger Cookie Exchange! This is my first year participating and I am so in love with the idea, I hope to do this for years to come. The premise is simple: sign up to send 1 dozen cookies anonymously to 3 other food bloggers you are randomly assigned. Three other secret bakers have you. Ship the cookies out and then on the same day (today) everyone posts their cookie recipe! Very fun and very festive. I can’t tell you what a treat it is to come home to a surprise package that you know is full of sugary goodness.

Shipping Out

I chose to try a new endeavor  Chocolate Turtle Cookies. The idea of something that involved caramel overtook me and through the magic of Google and blogs, I came upon this post and I pretty much wanted to dive in the pictures. I knew I had to try it.

BITE

Ingredients from Pixelated Crumb (I doubled the recipe to ensure I had enough but this recipe should make about 30 cookies)

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg, separated, plus 1 egg white
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups pecans, chopped fine
  • 14 soft caramel candies
  • 3 tablespoons heavy cream

In a medium bowl, combine flour, cocoa, and salt in bowl.

Dry Mix

In a separate large bowl, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add egg yolk, milk, and vanilla and mix until incorporated. Combine wet and dry ingredients. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, 1 hour.

Dough

It should resemble… insert your own description here.

Adjust oven racks to upper-middle and lower-middle positions and heat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Whisk egg whites in bowl until frothy. Place pecans in another bowl. Roll dough into 1-inch balls, dip in egg whites, then roll in pecans. Place balls 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets.

This is best done with a stationed set up like so since it is a pretty messy process.

This is best done with a stationed set up like so since it is a pretty messy process.

Balls sans dent

Using 1/2-teaspoon measure, make indentation in center of each ball.

I kept thinking they resembled little birds' nests. I made an initial dent with the 1/2 tsp but wound up molding them with my fingers too.

I kept thinking they resembled little birds’ nests. I made an initial dent with the 1/2 tsp but wound up molding them with my fingers too.

Bake until set, about 15 minutes, switching and rotating sheets halfway through baking. Meanwhile, microwave caramels and cream in bowl, stirring occasionally, until smooth, 1 to 2 minutes.

Adding calcium to caramel

Once cookies are removed from oven, gently re-press existing indentations. Fill each with 1/2 teaspoon caramel mixture.

Lick any leftover caramel

Cool 10 minutes, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely. Then enjoy! Or if you’re participating in your own cookie exchange, pack ’em up and ship ’em out. These things are rich (this coming from someone who stuffed a good ole chocolate chip cookie with Nutella) so don’t over-do it kiddos. Have a happy if not healthy holiday season!

Cooling

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Nutella Stuffed Brown Butter and Sea Salt Chocolate Chip Cookies

October 2, 2012 § 6 Comments

Last week I received an email from my friend (Emily of Once In A Blue Room) with the subject simply, “I. Want. This. Cookie.” Naturally, I was intrigued. I clicked the link and was brought to a brilliant post at Ambitious Kitchen for what the author claims to be her favorite cookie ever. You had me at Nutella. So when last weekend we trekked to Tuscaloosa for the game, I knew exactly what I would be bringing to the tailgate.

Dry Ingredients

If you have never browned butter before, it is easier to melt in small pieces.

Over medium heat, constantly whisk butter until it fully melts. After a few minutes, it will start to foam (like so) and after this, it will begin to brown. As soon as you see brown particles start to gather in the bottom the pan, remove immediately and pour into a cool bowl. It will smell nutty.

Once you mix the butter and sugars together, it will smell like the best caramel ever and you will be tempted to stop here and dive in.

Once you combine the dry/wet mixes and add the chips, it is important to chill in the refrigerator. You can see the chips are even softening here from the warm butter.

Ok here is where it gets a little messy but if you choose to lick nutella off your fingers in between cookies, I won’t judge.

Before and After

Stuffed with goodness. A generous heaping of coarse sea salt is an absolute must.

These cookies were the perfect salty sweet combo and they really stayed fresh and moist from the nutella. Next time though, I may try using all dark chocolate or semi-sweet chips since that is what I prefer in my cookies.

 

 

 

Pecan Bars

July 25, 2012 § 6 Comments

Of course I couldn’t go to Memphis empty-handed. A certain someone I know “isn’t really a cookie person” (I didn’t know those people existed) and I knew a cake wasn’t going to make the 3 hour drive un-smushed, so I settled on the more stable pecan bar. I thought Smitten Kitchen’s pecan squares post was adorable and hysterical but this was my first attempt and 9 sticks of butter sounds intimidating so I opted for Claire Robinson’s recipe which uses just 5 ingredients. 5!

That looks like plenty o’ butter for me.

Do you ever get so excited about trying something new that your run out and buy all the ingredients without reading through the directions? I hate when I do that, and here comes the really embarrassing confession for someone who likes to fancy themselves as useful in the kitchen: I don’t own a mixer (those things are like $400!).

Hand whipped at maximum speed.

So there were many times throughout the course of making these bars when I just thought, “Wrong. Wrong, this is all wrong. They’re going to be terrible.” You may also fear this but let me tell you– these were insanely delicious. The texture was perfect. Even if you think they look like they could blow up your oven, they won’t and you will wind up averaging 4 a day.

The tin foil makes for extremely easy clean-up.

This thing was bubbling when I took it out of the oven. BUBBLING like my nephew’s spit (hopefully the analogy will knock one bar from your count list).

I would let these cool for at least an hour.

I mean look at that ratio– it’s PERFECT.

So ta-da. Easy pecan bars using no basic, essential fancy-shmancy tools and just 5 ingredients!

Blueberry-Lime Pound Cake

June 5, 2012 § 1 Comment

A friend’s mom served this cake when we were over for a barbecue one night and she claimed that she had just been dying for an excuse to make it. Now I know why–the hit of lime is a refreshing surprise and the blueberries make the pound cake light and exciting for summer. I found this recipe online and just had to try it out myself (gotta love billowy summer dresses when you start baking on a Monday).This is perfect after a light summer dinner served with vanilla ice cream or as a sweet ending to Sunday brunch topped with fresh berries.

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