Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Dipped in deliciousness sprinkled with love

If there is one recipe to me that is Christmas in a cookie - it's these Dipped Gingersnaps. They've been a favorite for a VERY long time. Since we'd get a plate from a family friend every year. This recipe makes a LOT of cookies. I mean a LOT. But that's more to eat, more to share, more to gift!
I do have a trick to dipping them. I don't dip them in half way - I dip them in a quarter... what? Yes.. just half of the top - then add some chunky sugar crystals to the wet white chocolate or almond bark. You can get really fancy and add special sprinkles. I have very little patience for specially placed sprinkles so chunky sugar is the way I go.

Dipped Gingersnaps
What you need!
2 cups sugar
1 ½ cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
½ cup molasses
4 cups flour
1 tbls ground ginger
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp salt
4 tsp baking soda
1 pkg. white almond bark
additional sugar

Make it!
Combine sugar and oil, mix well. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each. Stir in molasses. Combine dry ingredients and add slowly to creamed mixture and mix well.
Roll into ¾” balls and roll in sugar. Place 2” apart on ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 350 for 10 - 12 minutes or until cookies springs back when touched. Removed to wire rack and cool.
Melt bark and dip cookie ½ way. Shake off excess and place on waxed paper to dry.

Friday, March 17, 2023

Annamae would approve

I was feeling the itch to bake something and Sour Cream Coffee Cake sounded pretty delicious. All the crumb topping and soft yummy cake. It was nice to make a coffee cake that wasn't too big - this square in a 9 x 9 worked out nice for a Sunday morning breakfast and a few other mornings for Andy. Now this still doesn't top my Grandma's Yum Yum Coffee Cake, nothing does. Maybe I should make that sometime soon. I still think my Gram would like this one.
Anyway - this was an easy recipe that made for a quick breakfast on a morning we had to be a church early.

Sour Cream Coffee Cake (with Crumb Topping)

Cinnamon Crumb Mixture
2/3 cup (135g) packed dark or light brown sugar
3/4 cup (95g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
2 and 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
6 Tablespoons (85g) unsalted butter, cold and cubed

1 and 1/3 cups (166g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
3/4 cup (150g) granulated sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup (120g) full-fat sour cream, at room temperature*
2 Tablespoons (30ml) milk (any kind, dairy or nondairy, is fine)

Vanilla Icing (Optional)
1 cup (120g) confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 Tablespoons (30ml) heavy cream or milk

Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line an 8-inch square pan (9-inch square is too big, see Notes for other pan sizes) with lightly greased parchment paper or directly grease the pan. I usually use this square pan or this square pan.
Make the cinnamon crumb mixture: Combine the brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon together in a medium bowl. Cut in the chilled butter with a pastry cutter or two forks (or use a food processor or your hands) until the mixture is in pea-sized crumbs. Some larger crumbs are OK. You’ll have a little over 2 cups of crumb. Refrigerate until step 5.
Make the cake: Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl. Set aside. In a large bowl using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar together on high speed until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Add the eggs and vanilla, and beat on medium-high speed until combined. Beat in the sour cream. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula and beat again as needed to combine. Mixture will be lumpy.
Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients, and beat on low speed until just combined. Finally, beat in the milk. Do not overmix this batter. The batter will be thick. You’ll have about 2 and 1/2 cups of batter.
Carefully spread about half of the batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle 1 cup (about half) of the crumb mixture evenly on top. Carefully spread the remaining batter on top (every last drop of it!). This can be a little tricky since you’re spreading thick batter on top of crumbs, but do your best. I usually use a spoon or small offset spatula. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Sprinkle the remaining crumb mixture evenly on top.
Bake for around 30–35 minutes or until the cake is baked through. To test for doneness, insert a toothpick into the center of the cake. If it comes out clean, it is done. Allow cake to cool in the pan set on a wire rack for 15 minutes.
Make the icing: Whisk all of the icing ingredients together. Drizzle over warm cake.
Lift the cake from the pan using the overhang parchment paper around the sides and slice into squares. Or, if you didn’t use parchment, slice directly in the pan. Serve cake warm or at room temperature.
Cover leftovers tightly and store at room temperature for up to 3 days or in the refrigerator for up 1 week.

Tuesday, March 14, 2023

Kissed with a kiss

These Peanut Butter Blossoms are what I think of when I think about Christmas cookies. We make a cookie box for the neighbors and I wanted to put these in there this time. I figured the kids would like putting these together. Nicholas was a pass - but Bronwyn was a go... but we had a neighbor girl locked out a few days in a row - so things lot a little late - but we made cookies anyway. These are easy to mix up, chill, then roll, bake and plop a kiss on top. I love that the kiss melts but keeps it's shape and becomes one with the cookie. I wanted to use red or green sanding sugar... Andy said nope - white was better... maybe I won't listen next time and be a rebel!

Classic Peanut Butter Blossoms
1 and 1/4 cups (156g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick; 115g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1/2 cup (100g) packed light or dark brown sugar
1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
3/4 cup (about 185g) creamy peanut butter
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
24 chocolate kiss candies, unwrapped

1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
OR: 1/4 cup (50g) green sanding sugar and 1/4 cup (50g) red sanding sugar

Whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl. Set aside.
In a large bowl using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat the butter for 1 minute on high speed until creamy. Switch to medium-high speed and beat in the brown sugar and 1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar until completely creamed and smooth, about 2 minutes. Add the egg and beat until combined, about 1 minute. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Add the peanut butter and vanilla extract and beat until combined.
Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and beat on low speed until combined. The dough will be very creamy and soft. Cover and chill the cookie dough in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour, and up to 3 days.
Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. (Always recommended for cookies.) Set aside. Also, make sure there’s room in your freezer because the cookies will need to be placed inside to prevent the chocolates from melting.
Roll & Bake: Scoop and roll cookie dough, about 1 heaping Tablespoon of dough each. Roll each ball in the 1/2 cup of sugar (or sanding sugar) and arrange on the baking sheet about 3 inches apart. Bake for 11–13 minutes or until the tops begin to slightly crack. Remove cookies from the oven and allow to cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes.
Set the chocolate: Press a chocolate kiss candy into the center of each, then, using a thin spatula, immediately transfer the cookies to a large plate or a few smaller plates (gently—they’re soft). Place the plate(s) of cookies in the freezer for 10 minutes to quickly set the chocolate in the cookie.
Remove from the freezer and serve.
Cookies stay fresh covered at room temperature for up to 1 week.

Friday, March 10, 2023

Dutch Cookies for the neighborhood

Windmill cookies are the cookies of my people - my Dutch People. Most people call them Speculoos, not windmill cookies. In fact I bet most Speculoos isn't in the shape of a windmill since who has that shape of cookie cutter or stamp? No one I know... maybe I should add it to my wish list... Oh Amazon?!?!
Anyway - we made these for our neighborhood cookie boxes. I don't know if our neighbors appreciate the super spiced cookies - but I sure did. These would be even better with some sliced almonds but as is, this works perfect with our cookie stamps. At first we sprayed the stamps with vegetable spray but later I just put some on a plate and dipped the cookie dough in it - that worked better than anything we tried. Made for some very fun cookies to bake.


1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup white sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon cardamom
1 3/4 cup flour
cinnamon sugar

Cream the butter with the sugar until well mixed. Really, really well mixed, cream for 5-10 minutes in a stand mixer until the mixture is lemon yellow and fluffy.
Add the egg and vanilla and mix well.
In a separate bowl combine the baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cardamon and flour. Then add the flour mixture to the mixing bowl. Mix until the flour is just mixed in, but don't over mix.
Refrigerate the dough for at least an hour.
Preheat the oven to 375 F.
Roll the dough into 1 inch balls. Place the dough balls on a well floured table or pastry board.
Use a cookie stamp to flatten the balls until they are 1/4 inch thick. Keep the cookie stamp well floured, dipping in flour after every use. Use a knife to move the stamped cookies to a cookie sheet covered in parchment paper.
You can also use a springerle rolling pin or cookie cutters to shape the cookies if you don't have cookie stamp.
Sprinkle the tops of the cookies with cinnamon sugar.
Bake for 11 minutes, until lightly brown around the edges.

Tuesday, March 7, 2023

News Flash: Kids beg for dessert with chocolate in it!

It's rare that bake something with chocolate in it that my kids beg me to make sure there's some for them. These bars - were that rare diamond in the rough. I made these for a Christmas lunch at work. It's not too fancy but pretty down home delicious - also bars are easy and soft delicious. Bronwyn was my taste tester and begged for left overs. Thank heavens there were left overs and they were able to enjoy more. I even made a pan for my family Christmas - which ended up in the freezer because our Christmas got pushed back a week... darn germs. So news you can use - they freeze well too! I'm glad I found something my kids love and it's even chocolate. This is similar to another chocolate chip cookie bar recipe but half the size... we hardly finish the giant pan - so this is smaller and more manageable. Also used melted butter so you can make them on the fly instead of waiting for butter to soften.

Soft M&M Cookie Bars

2 and 3/4 cups (343g) all-purpose flour (spoon and leveled)
1 and 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks or 230g) unsalted butter, melted & cooled for just 5 minutes
1 cup (200g) packed light or dark brown sugar
1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 and 1/4 cups (about 260g) mini or regular-size M&Ms
3/4 cup (135) semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C). Adjust oven rack to the center rack position. Line the bottom and sides of a 9×13-inch metal or glass baking pan with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on the sides to easily lift the bars out of the pan. Set aside.
Whisk the flour, cornstarch, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk the melted butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar together until no brown sugar lumps remain. Whisk in the eggs and vanilla extract. Pour this into the flour mixture and mix together with a large spoon or rubber spatula. The dough will be very soft, slick, and thick. Fold in the M&Ms and chocolate chips. The M&Ms and chips may not stick to the dough because of the melted butter, but do your best to combine them.
Transfer dough to the prepared baking pan and press/smooth into an even layer. Bake for 26–30 minutes or until lightly browned on the sides and top and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean with a few moist (not wet) crumbs. Do not over-bake. If you notice the bars browning too much before 25 minutes, tent the pan with foil. Bars puff up in the oven, but settle as they cool.
Allow the bars to cool in the pan set on a wire rack for at least an hour. While they’re still warm, I like to press a few more M&Ms and chocolate chips into the tops, just for looks (optional!). Once relatively cool, lift the bars out of the pan using the overhang on the sides and cut into squares.
Cover leftover bars and store at room temperature for up to 1 week.
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