Raspberry Swirl Cookies

These cookies are easy (for me, you can make your own assumptions) to make and look AWESOME!!!

These are a sugar cookie dough with the pink dough having a slight raspberry flavor.  Sugar cookies with raspberry?  weird, right?  Actually , these were de-lic-ious!

Put the cake flour, baking powder, salt, and sugars in a mixer.  Again, I didn’t have the special flour, so I made my own cake flour.  This is the recipe for each cup of flour.  Measure 1 cup of all-purpose flour and measure out 2 tablespoons of flour and return to the flour bowl.  Add in 2 tablespoons of cornstarch, and you have cake flour.

Add the butter in small chunks.  Beat on a low speed until it is the consistency of cornmeal.  If it forms a ball, don’t worry about it.  Add the vanilla and process until the mixture just forms a ball.  I was expecting some liquid in this recipe, but all that butter helps bring the cookie dough together.

Take out 1 1/2 cups of dough and set aside.  This will be the white part of the swirl.  Add the raspberry extract, red food coloring, and flour.

If you have cake flour, add that.If you made your own, you can just add 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour.  Mix, feel free to add more red or raspberry extract depending on how much color and flavor you want.

Roll each portion between 2 sheets of waxed paper.  Try to get each ball into the same shape preferably a rectangle (normal paper size) that is 1/4 inch thick.  Put the doughs in the fridge for 2 hours or in the freezer for 20 minutes (I’m always running on a tight schedule, so I picked the freezer option).

Take firm, cold dough out of the fridge.  Remove the top wax paper layer from both doughs.  Brush the vanilla dough with water to help fuse the doughs together.  Stack the pink dough on top.  Press doughs together.  Trim the edges of the dough so the doughs overlap.  Let it sit for a few minutes until the dough is pliable.  It should be able to bend with cracking.

Start with the long end of the dough, and start rolling the dough.  Roll tightly, so you don’t have any air pockets.

My dough was pretty pliable, which made for easy rolling.  Don’t let your dough get too soft because there is loads and loads of butter in this dough that will start to warm and make rolling hard.

Next up the sprinkles.  You can approach this two ways.  My recipe said to put the sprinkles in a 13 x 9 pan and roll your jelly roll around in it.  This didn’t work quite well, so instead I just spread the sprinkles out on the wax paper with my roll.  Then, roll your roll around.

Notice the matching blue nail polish.  Those are the lovely hands of my friend, Allison who came over to help me back cookies and desserts galore.

Try to get all the dough covered with sprinkles, but if you have a few bare spots, don’t worry about it.  Here is the mini roll Allison made from the scraps when our doughs weren’t the same size.  Cute, yes? It will look better when cut, so don’t panic just yet.

Wrap your colorful roll in plastic wrap, and put it back in the fridge/freezer.  Fridge: 4 hours minimum. Freezer: 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 325˚F.  Next, remove your jelly roll (it reminds me of coloring and fun when I was a wee little lad).  Why can’t I go back and be 5 again?  Remember when your homework was coloring and copying sentences?  I’m getting sad just thinking about it.

Sorry for that tangent, back to the cookies.  Remove your jelly roll in all its rainbowy glory. Start slicing the roll into 1/4 1/2 inch slices.  Look at the beautiful spiral just  hiding under all those colorful sprinkles.   

Only cut the cookies you will be using for each batch.  Put the rest of the dough in the fridge, so it doesn’t thaw.  I cut mine all at once and left them out on the counter.  The last batch of cookies didn’t look as great as the first because they were too soft.  The edges got a little too crisp.

I’m still amazed at how great these look.

Bake these bad boys for 15-17 minutes.

Enjoy these lovely  swirl cookies!

Recipe from Sprinkle Bakes

Recipe:  Raspberry Swirl Cookies

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Chocolate Whoopie Pies with Salted Caramel Frosting

Every recipe has salt.  Salt adds a bit of flavor and helps bring out the other dominant flavors in a concoction.  I seem to have a heightened salt tastebud, so I always add carefully.  This recipe called for a salted caramel frosting, so I was a bit weary.  No need.  This icing was delicious with a subtle salt flavor that brought out the caramel notes.

On to the recipe and making of this recipe:

Ever have one of the those days while baking, when it seems everything wants to go wrong.  I had one of those.  Thankfully, the final product was amazing.

Preheat the oven to 350F (I seemed to skip this step thinking the oven was still on, big mistake).  Mix together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt with a whisk.

Stir the buttermilk and vanilla in a separate bowl.  I used powdered buttermilk, so I added the powdered part to the flour mixture above.  I added the water for the buttermilk with the vanilla.

Beat the butter and brown sugar for about 3 minutes until light and fluffy.  

Add the egg and mix.

Reduce speed of mixer.  Add flour mixture and buttermilk alternatively and mix until smooth.  For larger whoopie pies, spoon 1/4-cup mounds of batter on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray.  For smaller whoopie pies, use about 2 tablespoons of batter.  I used a small melon baller or you may use a ice cream scooper.  

Bake for 9-12 minutes until the rounds spring back when touched. I baked these cookies for 25 minutes because my oven was off for the first 15 but still warm.    Let the cookies cool on a wire rack, and then match the cookies in pairs.

Frosting:

I had to make the frosting twice because the first time, I got a rock-hard piece of caramel (tasty but not suitable for frosting).

To make the caramel, put the granulated sugar, water, and corn syrup in a heavy saucepan over medium heat.  

While it is cooking, put the salt and cream in another saucepan over low heat. Stir sugar mixture constantly until it is a light gold, and immediately remove from heat.  This is where everything can go wrong if the mixture cooks to long.  When the mixture starts to brown at all, take it off the heat. Add the cream and salt mixture to the caramel.  Let cool for a minute, and then whisk in the sour cream.  Set aside to cool.  

Once the caramel mixture is cool, beat the butter until smooth.  Add the caramel mixture and the powdered sugar.  Beat until it is a smooth consistency.  I kep tasting this and tasting this, and boy was it delicious.   Spread frosting over one cookie, and sandwich the frosting with another cookie. Enjoy.

This cookie had a subtle chocolate flavor (feel free to add more if you would like) with a delicious caramel frosting with a hint of salt flavor.

Recipe from Cate’s World Kitchen

Recipe:Chocolate Whoopie Pies with Salted Caramel Frosting

Espresso Cupcakes

Sorry for my time away.  I just completed my four-day bread baking class at King Arthur Flour, and I am trying to recover from my carbohydrate overload.    I will be posting some recipes from my time in the next few weeks.  To keep you satisified, here is a lovely cupcake recipe.  Also, this is my first cupcake recipe, hopefully there will be more on chem and crew in the next month when I head back to Smith.

Who doesn’t love chocolate and who doesn’t love espresso?  If you said no to either question, are you sure you’re alive?  These cupcakes are delicious blend of both flavors.  The espresso helps to bring out the chocolate in this recipes.

I had a small get-together with friends, so I made a half recipe.  The recipe called for espresso powder.  I scoured the coffee aisle to no avail.  I found it recently at King Arthur Flour, baking speciality store.  Instead, I used fresh espresso made by my espresso machine.  You could use espresso, strong coffee, or instant coffee powder.  I would suggest the first two or espresso powder if you can find it.

This recipe also called for self-rising cake flour, which I also didn’t have and you probably won’t either.  Instead, I made my own self-rising flour by mixing 1 cup flour, 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder, and 1/2 tsp. salt.  The cupcakes were still delicious.

Preheat the oven to 400˚F.

Cream together the the butter and brown sugar.  

Add the eggs one at a time and mix.

Stir in the flour, cocoa, and espresso/espresso powder/coffee.  Add in the milk and melted chocolate.

Spoon into lined muffin pan (I made mini cupcakes for bite-size delectables).

Bake for 12-16 minutes.

Icing:

Cream together the butter, espresso/espresso powder/etc, and chocolate.  Microwave for 15-30 seconds, until mixture is smooth and melted.  Be careful to not burn the mixture.  Mine was very close to burning but I saved it.  Spread over cooled cupcakes.

Enjoy!

Recipe courtesy of Nigella Lawson

Recipe:  Espresso Cupcakes

Preview: Focaccia and Homemade Crackers

Recipe and stories to follow.

Bread Baking up a Storm

So today, I’m on my way up to Vermont.  Tomorrow, my mom and I are embarking on a 4-day, 20-hour bread baking class at King Arthur Flour Company (the popular flour company).  They have a smorgasbord of baking classes ranging from breads to pizzas to kids classes to professional classes.  I’ve taken another bread class earlier this year there.  It was awesome. I hope to post about my class, so keep your eyes peeled.  Honestly, I had so much bread, I was giving it away.  As well, after 4 days of bread, bread, bread, I was ready to go home and eat some non-carb food.  Well, wish me luck.

Here’s a picture of the all the bread I baked, shaped, and kneaded at my last class.

Zebra Cake

This cake is a really cool cake with zebra-esque stripes.  I’ve been wanting to try this recipe for awhile now.  It was time-consuming but worth the time.  My friend Sarah and I decided to give it a whirl.

The basic recipe for the cake is simple.  The batter is divided into two and cocoa added to one.

Add five tablespoons of one of the batters to the center of a greased round cake pan.  Add the opposite batter to the center of the existing circle.  Continue to add about 5 tablespoons of each batter in opposite order creating a bulls-eye.

My bulls-eye started drifting to one side, so I ended up making two centers.

Once you get going, decrease the amount of batter you add.  This is to make sure your new circle addition doesn’t take over the previous circle.

I’m sorry if this sounds complicated, but you’ll get the hang of it.  If possible, only have 1 center unlike my two.  Also, you may want to wait a few minutes if you’re center circle gets too small.  This will let the batter spread out a bit.

Another option (to save time and for a different design): Make you circles much bigger maybe 6-7 tablespoons, so your rings are more pronounced.

This may take a while, but it is well worth it.  Here’s my finished set of rings.  

I don’t quite see a zebra but it still looks pretty cool.

I put it in a 350˚ oven for 30-40 minutes.  Here it is fresh out of the oven.

I see a face with two eyes and a nose, but you can use your imagination.

The recipe mentioned that this cake is good plain as a snack cake or topped with icing.  I decided to use a clear sugar glaze which was just a mixture of water and powdered sugar.  This added a touch of sweetness to the cake and helped seal in freshness.

I think making bigger circles will make more defined rings or stripes.

This cake was delicious, but definitely more of a snack cake than dessert cake.  This type of cake design can probably be made with any cake batters as long as they’re thin enough.

If you have some time on your hands and want to wow your friends, give this cake a try.

Here’s Sarah ready to cut our masterpiece and see how it tastes.

Our beautiful zebra cake in all its glory.  

Recipe courtesy of King Arthur Flour

Recipe:  Zebra Cake

Scotch Toffee (i.e. Key to Happiness)

So, I posted earlier about the chocolate-chocolate chunk cookies that were aptly named world peace cookies for their status as delicious cookies that could solve the world’s problems.  I disagree with this, but in my family, this recipe equals HAPPINESS (plus a few extra pounds).  I originally thought this recipe was a family recipe shrouded in secrecy, but I was quick to discover this is a common recipe known throughout the nation.  So much for that secret family recipe that was my key to greatness and fame (remember Bush’s baked beans commercials).  Well, I was cleared by my mother to share this recipe, which doesn’t matter now that I know everyone can get this recipe with a click of a button.  This recipe is one of a few recipes that my mom has kept over the years. Here’s her secret box of family recipes and other important info like my social security number (just kidding on that last part).

Another mother story:  Allegedly, someone in my family made a double recipe of scotch toffee in two separate pans.  On a family trip,  my mom and her brother (when they were children) were in the car with the pans.  They started off with 2 pans and ended up with one.  Where the other bars went, no one would admit quilt, but you can make your own assumptions.

This recipe can be whipped up in no time (I did it in 3 minutes, okay, maybe 4 but you get the idea).

Mix together the melted butter and oats.

You can use old-fashioned or quick cooking oatmeal.  Add the rest of the ingredients minus the chocolate chips (brown sugar, corn syrup, salt, and vanilla).  This is a picture on the right of the mixture.

I had light corn syrup when the recipe calls for dark corn syrup.  I was quick to discover that the light has a few different ingredients than the dark but the main difference is molasses. Karo’s website describes light corn syrup as perfect for a food needing a light, delicate flavor, while dark corn syrup produces a more robust flavor.  I don’t know?

Well, I also discovered that difference between light and dark brown sugar is the molasses content.  So, I used dark brown sugar and light corn syrup to make a long story short.  Use whatever you have on hand.

This mixture is spread into a pan (9×9, 8×8, or 13×9, depending on how thick you want your bars).  This mixture is put into a 325˚F oven for 15-25 minutes until the edges start to get browned.

When the bars come out, spread the chocolate chips on top to melt.

Come back in a few minutes (or wash the dishes you dirtied, the downside of baking) and spread the melted chocolately goodness.  

These bars cut better when they’ve had time to cool, but they always look so delicious still warm with that melted chocolate on top.

These cookies have a delicious toffee, caramelized sugar taste with a hint of chocolate.

Recipe: Scotch Toffee

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