Friday, May 22, 2015

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

I always find it interesting when I find out what someone's favorite dessert is, whether it be a cookie, cake, pie, etc.  Take my own family for instance.  I love ice cream, my sister loves cookies, my mom's fave is cake, and my dad will take pie over anything else.  The neat thing about knowing someone's favorite treat is that you get to see their eyes light up when you make it for them.  

Case in point.  My friend recently had a birthday.  As I do every year, I gift her with a cookie assortment.  Over the years, I've given her various types - peanut butter, chocolate chip, chocolate mint, snickerdoodles, etc.  But, last year, I happened to make these Chocolate Crinkles for her, and voila!  I found her FAVE cookie in the world just like that.  She raved about them and couldn't get enough.  So, this year, when her birthday rolled around again, I remembered and made these cookies for her.  She was thrilled!!!  As soon as I gave them to her, she opened up the bag and began eating them in complete and total delight.  I have no doubt that the dozen cookies did not last long.  And, who can blame her?  These cookies are amazing!  Rich, chocolatey, fudgy, like a cookie and brownie rolled into one.  With the powdered sugar adding a crispy, sweet, outer shell to counteract the soft, dark middles, they are simply irresistible.  Try them and you're sure to find that they'll be your new favorite too.    
Chocolate Crinkle Cookies (from The Moveable Feasts)

 4 oz. unsweetened chocolate
1/4 c. butter
1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp. baking powder
pinch of salt
4 large eggs
2 c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 c. powdered sugar

Combine the butter and chocolate in a double boiler and stir until the mixture melts.  Remove from heat and let cool.  Beat the eggs, sugar, and vanilla until well combined.  Mix in the chocolate mixture.  Stir in the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt until well combined.  Chill the dough in a covered container for at least 2 hours. 

Remove the chilled dough from the fridge and roll into 1-inch balls.  Roll the balls in the powdered sugar until completely coated.  Place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and bake at 350F for 12 minutes.


Sunday, May 3, 2015

Cinnamon Swirl Pumpkin Banana Bread

For this month's Secret Recipe Club, I was assigned to Danielle's blog, Mostly Food and Crafts.  She is a stay at home mother to two lovely children.  And, from the looks of her blog, she is one amazing mother too. There are so many posts about recipes and crafts that she made, not by herself, but with her children.  I can only imagine how much fun they must have together and how much they are learning every day.  And, since Danielle herself is a fantastic cook and crafter, you know that they're learning from the best!  

While browsing through her blog, I came across some very yummy recipes that I wanted to try:  Toffee Squares (which I still intend to make this week), Rosemary Sriracha Chicken (oh yes!), and her Swirled Pumpkin and Chocolate Cheesecake (decadent and so pretty).  But, the recipe I decided to go with was her Cinnamon Swirl Pumpkin Banana Bread.  It seemed to combine all of my favorites - banana bread, pumpkin bread, and cinnamon bread, all in one.  Now how could I resist that?

The bread was super moist and flavorful.  And it was interesting because sometimes you would take a bite and taste more banana, and other times you would take a bite and taste more pumpkin.  Of course, all the bites were super delicious and that cinnamon swirl completed the trifecta.  I thoroughly enjoyed it!  

Cinnamon Swirl Pumpkin Banana Bread (adapted from Mostly Food and Crafts)

2 c. flour
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice (I increased this to 1 1/2 tsp.)
3/4 c. pumpkin puree
2 ripe bananas, mashed
4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
1/3 c. plain Greek yogurt
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla

For the swirl:
1/4 c. sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon (I increased this to 1 Tbsp.)

Combine the bananas and pumpkin and mix well.  Add in the brown sugar, butter, and yogurt, then beat in the eggs and vanilla.  Combine the dry ingredients and add to the wet ingredients, mixing till just combined.  Grease 4 mini loaf pans.  Fill each pan with 1/2 c. batter.  Sprinkle with 1 Tbsp. of the cinnamon-sugar mixture.  Top off with 1/2 c. of batter and spread evenly.  Sprinkle with more cinnamon sugar.  Bake at 350F for 40-45 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Lemon Almond Crumb Bars

I absolutely love lemon bars.  In fact, once I went on a search for the best one and ended up making three different recipes.  And it seems that my family must love lemon bars just as much as I do because they had no problem gobbling up each of the attempts.  I honestly didn't think that there was a way to make them any better, but I was wrong.  This recipe switches out the powdered sugar topping with a lovely, crumbly, almond-y layer.  Oh my!  It's a great way to counteract the sweetness of the filling and also gives a contrast in texture to the smoothness inside.  I added a little candied ginger too and these bars were oh so tasty.  I think I may have just found my new fave lemon bar. 

Lemon Almond Crumb Bars (adapted from Bake or Break)

1 c. all-purpose flour
pinch salt
6 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1/4 c. sugar

1/4 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
3 eggs
1 c. sugar
1/3 c. lemon juice
1 Tbsp. lemon zest

6 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1/4 c. sugar
pinch salt
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cold
1/4 c. sliced almonds
3 Tbsp. crystallized ginger, finely chopped

Combine the flour, sugar, and salt.  Cut in the butter until mixture is pea-sized.  Press into a parchment paper lined 8x8 pan and bake at 350F for 15-20 min., or until lightly browned.

For the filling:
Whisk together the eggs and sugar.  Mix in the lemon juice and zest, then add in the flour.  Pour over the crust and bake 15-20 min.

For the topping:
Whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt.  Cut in the butter.  Mix in the almonds and chopped ginger.  Pinch the mixture together to make large crumbs and scatter over the filling.  Bake 20-25 min. (I baked mine for 30 minutes), or till lightly browned and almonds are toasted.  Let cool, then chill in the fridge before cutting into bars.