Tag Archives: cookies

valentine’s day roundup

Now that I’m (sort of) unemployed and finally have all kinds of time to craft, I don’t seem to have the space, money, or supplies. Currently I’m in temporary housing and all of my crafting supplies are packed in a storage unit. Also, I haven’t happened upon a craft store yet, and I don’t think I’m braving the 18 degree weather today to find one.

Even still, I have been scouring the craft-loving internets for Valentine’s Day inspiration.

Horny for you

How perfect are these cookies? I just love animals with horns! This Etsy shop delivers by V-Day and there’s even a unicorn cookie!

I love this ombre paint chip wreath. This is a craft I can certainly make in the apartment I’m staying in and it probably cost less than $5.

Here’s another cheap and beautiful ombre d.i.y. made with paint chips. I’ve really got to get on the “paint chip craft” bandwagon.

This 3D fringe heart would make the best party decor. Right?

This Pom Pom Heart Wreath looks simple and quick to make. I wonder if it could work with cotton balls or home made pom poms.

And finally, show your friends you really do put your heart into your baking with this tutorial. How lovely are these cupcakes?

So, have you finished your Valentine’s Day crafts yet?

pumpkin-shaped sandwich cookies

I couldn’t pass up a $1 pumpkin-shaped cookie cutter from the craft store. Normally, when I buy cheap cookie cutters, well, you get what you pay for – sloppy edges and rounded corners that resemble some type of cookie shape. You’re just not sure what. At least it’s still a cookie. That’s the great thing about baking.

I had a really great feeling about this cookie cutter. And while I know I’ll only use it once this year, it was worth it, because these cookies were fantastic.

Pumpkin Cookies

See below for ingredients and printable instructions.

In a small bowl, whisk together the cocoa powder, flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk the melted butter and sugar together until you get a custardy look.

Whisk

Add the egg and the vanilla extract. Continue whisking.

whisk egg

Once blended, begin mixing in the melted chocolate chips, until they’re fully combined and you get a nice, smooth chocolate texture.

add chocolate

Slowly fold in the flour mixture until well combined and you get a thick dough ball.

add flour

I switched to a wooden spoon here. You want your dough to look something like this.

chocolate dough ball goodness

On a piece of wax paper, roll the dough flat. You want it to be about 1/4 inch thick. Then let it firm up in the firm up in the fridge for about fifteen minutes. If you’re having a hard time rolling the dough flat, stick it in the freezer for a few minutes.

roll it flat

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

After the dough has set, pull it out of the fridge and get to work with that cookie cutter.

cookie cutting

You can ball up the extra dough and roll it out flat. If it gets too gooey, just stick it back in the fridge or freezer for a few minutes.

Cookie Doughcookie cutouts

Place them about an inch apart on a parchment-lined cookie sheet. These cookies spread a little. Bake for 20 minutes.

Let them cool before you add the frosting.

frosted cookie

I added about a tablespoon in the middle and Smush!

For the Filling
Beat all of the ingredients until they are soft and creamy. Add food dye until it looks like this (or desired color).

orange filling

These cookies are great for Halloween. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a good picture of the baked pumpkin shapes. I was too busy eating them.

pumpkin cookiescookies

pumpkin-shaped sandwich cookies
 
Author:
Yields: 12 3-inch sandwiches or 24 cookies
Ingredients
Cookies
  • ½ cup cocoa powder
  • 2 cups flour
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup butter, melted
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1½ cups semisweet chocolate chips, melted
  • 1 egg
Frosting
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 1½ cup confectioners sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. milk (I used almond milk)
  • red and yellow food coloring
Other Things
  • Whisk
  • Wax Paper
  • Parchment Paper
  • Cookie Cutter
Instructions
For the Cookies
  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the cocoa powder, flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk the melted butter and sugar together until you get a custardy look.
  3. Add the egg and the vanilla extract. Continue whisking.
  4. Once blended, begin mixing in the melted chocolate chips, until they're fully combined and you get a nice, smooth chocolate texture.
  5. Slowly fold in the flour mixture until well combined and you get a thick dough ball.
  6. On a piece of wax paper, roll the dough flat. You want it to be about ¼ inch thick. Then let it firm up in the firm up in the fridge for about fifteen minutes. If you're having a hard time rolling the dough flat, stick it in the freezer for a few minutes.
  7. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
  8. After the dough has set, pull it out of the fridge and get to work with that cookie cutter.
  9. Place the cookies about an inch apart on a parchment-lined cookie sheet. These cookies spread a little. Bake for 20 minutes.
  10. Let them cool before you add the frosting.
For the Filling
  1. With an electric mixer, beat all of the ingredients until they are soft and creamy.
  2. Add food dye until it reaches the desired color

This post is linked here, here, and here.

vegan banana chocolate chip cookies

A black cloud in my baking repertoire is my lack of experience baking vegan. It’s my dirty little secret. Frankly, vegan baking terrifies me. I get how certain ingredients like eggs and butter work within a recipe. They’re safe and uncomplicated. But when you start replacing eggs with oils and butter with margarine, I’d rather have someone else prepare my desserts for me, which is why I started simple.

vegan banana chocolate chip cookies

My bestie sent me this recipe a year ago, so with her seal of approval, I tried it.

Vegan Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies
adapted from this recipe; yields 24; prep time: 10 min; cook time: 13

1 1/2 cups whole-wheat all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 pinch of salt
2 large bananas
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup almond butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup vegan chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375.

In a large bowl, mash the bananas. Then mix in vanilla, almond butter, brown sugar, and sugar until well combined. I didn’t use an electric mixer, just the good old arm.

In a small bowl, mix flour, baking powder, and salt.

Add the dry mixture to the wet mixture a little bit at a time, until well combined. Once all of the ingredients are mixed, pour in the chocolate chips. Let’s face it, this is my favorite part.

Once they’re good and covered, time to scoop about a tablespoon of batter onto a baking sheet lines with parchment paper. You’ll have to squish them down into cookies sized shapes, since they don’t bake down or out. I baked 12 at a time. Bake for 13 minutes.

cookies

And, yum.

I was so happy with how tasty these were. And how easy the prep was – probably due to fewer ingredients.

The bananas kept these from drying out like my normal association with vegan baked treats. The original recipe called for peanut butter, which I would have preferred. But I didn’t have any, so I subbed almond butter instead. Yes, I’m the freak that has a house without peanut butter.

wilton method decorating basics – class 1

I stopped by Publix today to pick up a birthday cake for my boss and I was appalled at the sights I saw. Really, it was cakewrecks [fantastic blog!] worthy. I would be too embarrassed to take a picture, but the selection was terrible and all of the frosting was squished on the plastic. I’m not sure how professionals let that happen. Also, the color choices were sickening.

Really this was all my fault, because I completely forgot to pick up a cake yesterday, when I would have had more time. I remembered this morning in the shower. I did happen to find a beautiful cake, but I just had to pay more than I would have liked for it.

This whole instance had me thinking about how I’d like to start decorating cakes. I bought a great kit at a garage sale for a steal of $5 a while back, and it’s just been taking up room in my kitchen. I hate having things in my house that are of no use. So I called the only place I could think of that had cake decorating classes – Michael’s. This next part was really luck, because there were classes starting today [day after payday!]. Impulse buy? Yes, but the idea has been stewing in my mind for a while. Also, classes were 50% off, so I paid $23.

Michael’s uses the Wilton Cake Decorating Course. While I would really like to apprentice with a professional baker, I guess I can’t do that until I have some basics down. It’s a lot more challenging than it looks.

cookie4Today we did stars – both the decorating technique and the shape. I don’t know what made me think I could decorate this, because I can’t even draw a star.

cookie1

Since my camera was stolen, I took these pictures using a low-quality digital camera I borrowed from my dad this Thanksgiving.

cookie2

They make you practice on a laminated sheet before you move up to the cakes. Today we didn’t even get that far, it was cookies only.

cookie3

Since I was late signing up, I didn’t even get a chance to buy supplies, but a nice woman sitting next to me had an extra set [happenstance] and let me have it.

cookie6

This was supposed to be a snowflake. It would have worked out, if I could have centered the frosting a little more.

cookie7

The Wilton cake decorating course is very structured, which means there isn’t much room for experimentation, which I think is always worthwhile. Also, in the decorating book, it shows the type of cakes we’ll be able to make, some of them are pretty ugly, but some aren’t that bad. The course only uses one type of frosting and it’s not spectacular. It’s one of those lard and powdered sugar frostings, which works well with decoration, but isn’t strong on the taste side. It also uses artificial butter flavor for the buttercream, not real butter (this should be appalling for any baker). I’m not so concerned about the frosting choice, but I’d like to learn how to decorate with other types. I’m optimistic the skills can transfer from one frosting to another. I hope I’m not wrong.  One final note, we don’t really learn how to bake a decent cake, which I thought would go without saying. Our instructor suggested box mixes, which are great, if we don’t plan on eating them.

I don’t mean to sound so critical of the course. I’m really excited to give this a go. If I am any good, I’ll eventually be able to work with fondant and make all sorts of fun shapes.

halloween whoopie pies

 

halloween-whoopie-pies

You know I couldn’t make these without  saying, “I made whoopie…pies.” I have a lot to say about my experience making whoopie pies.  Yes, they’re fun to say and pretty easy to make, but I’m not crazy about the taste and, of course, the sugar factor. That oozing cream filling that you see up there, well that’s two cups of marshmallow fluff mixed with another two cups of confectioners sugar and a cup of butter. Just looking at these things are sinful. And the mallow filling is far too sweet. I just assumed that whoopie pies were made with buttercream frosting, but that’s not the case. The authentic Amish whoopie pie is made with marshmallow. Next time, if there is one, I’d much prefer to stuff them with buttercream. The only saving grace was the buttermilk I placed in the cake. It left room for extreme sugar.

Recipie: Chocolate Whoopie Pie
I followed a variation of this epicurious recipe.

For cake:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup well-shaken buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 large egg

Whisk together flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt in a bowl until combined. Stir together buttermilk and vanilla in a small bowl. Beat the butter and brown sugar until you get a fluffy mixture. Don’t wimp out, it takes time to do this. Once it’s fluffy enough, you can place the egg in. Slowly put in the flour mixture and buttermilk mixture, alternating between the two. This also took a lot of time and beating, but it’s worth it because it makes them fluffy.

Drop the batter on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. The Epicurious recipe called for 1/4 scoops, but I did a 2 tablespoon scoop and placed them about two inches apart. Be sure to round out the drops of batter, so they’ll rise in a nice shape. Bake for 11 to 13 minutes. Pull parchment paper and cookies off of the baking sheet and transfer to cooling rack until finished. I only had one baking sheet, and it only fit 8 cookies, so I had to do this a second time.

Total Time: 45 minutes
Yields: 16 cookie halves, or 8 full pies

Surprise! I made blondie whoopie pies also!

halloween-whoopie-pies-2

Well, I dyed them orange, that’s why they’re not blonde. They’re also filled with chocolate! It was remarkably difficult to find a recipe for blondie whoopie pies on the internet. My instinct told me to just find a cake recipe, but I didn’t want this to be a disaster. In fact, the only place I could find one was from Redbook. Yes, the magazine. I should have known. What do they know about baking? (They’re the ones I got the filling recipe from.)

But they didn’t turn out all bad. I switched this recipe a little. Instead of adding milk, like the recipe called for, I substituted buttermilk. After all, I had an entire quart of it, and I didn’t plan on using it. Here’s a caveat with this recipe, these suckers spread out and make huge saucer patties. They’re twice the size of the chocolate whoopie pies.

While the cookies cooled, I worked on the frosting. Take a look at how pretty they looked on cooling sheets. I love Halloween colors.

halloween whoopie pies 3

 

The Epicurious filling recipe had awful reviews, and I was scared away from trying it. So instead I went with the Redbook filling recipe. I followed the instructions and split the filling into two parts, so I could make one chocolate and one orange. By the way, orange has got to be the hardest color to make out of food dye. I mean, I used an entire bottle of both red and yellow for the cookies and the filling.

This filling was pretty disastrous. It just started running everywhere. The cookies were completely cooled off. It’s not a pretty sight.

halloween-whoopie-pies-5

It’s like all of the whoopie pies decided to burp at once.

Regardless, it was quite a delicious dessert. I also didn’t have too much of a problem with the frosting spreading on the blondies. I attribute this to two reasons: 1. They were huge and could take excess movement, 2. The chocolate I added worked as a stabilizing agent.

I made them for a much in-demand game night that my boyfriend and I usually host. What’s more fun than good old fashion aggression and board games? I hope my guests enjoy these. I couldn’t imagine them even finishing one of them though. They’re huge and very sweet.  The end result:

halloween-whoopie-pies-6