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Entries in Holiday (16)

Monday
Dec152014

Chocolate Pinwheels

Chocolate Pinwheels

For the third year in a row, I took part in The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap, hosted by Lindsay and Julie. I really enjoy trying new cookie recipes and sharing them with people. This year, those people were Lisa from Blogghetti, Sara from Confectionary Tales of a Bakeaholic, and Lynna from Hearts in my Oven. I hope you enjoyed these pinwheel cookies as much as I did, ladies! These cookies were relatively easy to make, and produced an impressive looking cookie in the end. I enjoyed the taste of these cookies as well, especially along with a cup of tea. One batch of these cookies made enough for me to send each of the ladies a dozen, plus left us with almost a dozen for ourselves, which didn’t last too long! I will most definitely be making them again!

1 cup + 2 tablespoons Butter, divided
1 cup Sugar
2 Egg Yolks
4 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
4 tablespoons Milk, divided
3 cups Flour
1 tablespoon Baking Powder
6 tablespoons Unsweetened Cocoa Powder

To make the chocolate swirl, start by melting 2 tablespoons of the butter in 2 tablespoons of milk in the microwave. Add the cocoa powder and mix well; set aside. In a large bowl, sift together the flour and baking powder. Meanwhile, in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the remaining 1 cup of butter and the sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg yolks one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla extract and remaining 2 tablespoons of milk, beating until well mixed. At low speed, gradually add the sifted dry ingredients and mix until incorporated. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat the dough until it leaves the side of the bowl. Remove 3/4 of the dough and set aside. That portion will become the vanilla swirl. To the dough remaining in the bowl, add the chocolate mixture and beat until fully incorporated. This portion will become the chocolate dough. Form the two doughs into balls and slice each ball into two equal halves. On a sheet of wax paper, roll the vanilla dough out into a rectangle that is about 7 inches wide and 8 inches long. Repeat with the chocolate dough. Flop the rolled chocolate dough onto the vanilla dough and peel off the wax paper. Lightly press the surface with a rolling pin to adhere the chocolate and vanilla doughs. With the short end facing you, roll the dough into a tight log, wrap it in plastic wrap, and chill in the fridge. Repeat with the other half of the vanilla and chocolate doughs. After about 30 minutes in the fridge, take the logs out of the fridge and roll on the counter to retain the circular shape. Wrap tightly again in plastic wrap and place in the freezer for about an hour (or store in a freezer-safe container and bake as needed). When ready to bake, thaw the cookie dough log slightly and slice 1/4-inch thick rounds with a sharp knife. Place the cookie slices on a parchment-paper lined sheet and bake at 325 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Cool cookies on a cooling rack and store in an airtight container. 

SOURCE: Sugary Winzy

Monday
Dec152014

Wookie Cookies

Wookie cookies

Usually, the Secret Recipe Club takes a break in December for the holidays. But this year, we did a cookie swap instead! We were paired with other members from all four groups who opted in to this fun exchange. This month, I was assigned to Debbi Does Dinner Healthy, written by Debbi of course. Debbi is a group C SRC member who just as her blog title says, is determined to make healthy, low-calorie meals without compromising any taste. I chose to make these Wookie cookies, because how can you pass on a name like that?! They are like an amped up chocolate chip cookie, with two different types of chocolate, plus a dash of cinnamon to give it a whole new dimension of flavor. I loved these cookies! In fact, I only baked up a few, and the rest of the dough is in my freezer for whenever the urge strikes! While this month was all about cookies, I did take a peek around some other recipes on Debbi’s blog too. She has quite the arsenal of delicious sounding recipes, such as Summer Squash Casserole, Sweet and Spicy Chicken with Broccoli, and French Onion Risotto! We may have had to make cookies this time, but I will most definitely be back to make some of your delicious recipes, Debbi! 

2 1/4 cups Flour
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
1 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
1 cup Butter, at room temperature
1 cup Brown Sugar, packed
1/2 cup Sugar
2 Eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
1 cup Milk Chocolate Chips
1 cup Semisweet Chocolate Chips

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon; set aside. In another bowl, cream the butter, brown sugar, and sugar with a mixer until light and fluffy. Mix in the eggs and vanilla. Slowly add the flour mixture until fully incorporated. Stir in both types of chocolate chips. Drop the dough by rounded tablespoons onto a baking sheet about 1-inch apart. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Makes 3 dozen. 

SOURCE: Debbi Does Dinner Healthy

Monday
Apr282014

Surprise Carrot Cake

Surprise Carrot Cake

Spring has sprung (finally) and with it has come another Secret Recipe Club reveal day. This month, I was assigned to Lynn’s blog, Turnips 2 Tangerines. Lynn is semi-retired from the retail/restaurant industry and is a certified Gourmet Chef and Caterer! Lynn married her junior high school sweetheart and now lives on a picturesque lake in an old home that she and her husband renovated on their own. She has quite the arsenal of recipes on her blog and I encourage you to take a look!

We hosted Easter dinner for my family this year and I needed a dessert to “wow” the crowd. For some reason, carrot cake seems like the most appropriate dessert for a spring holiday, although I’ve never made it before. I liked that this particular carrot cake recipe had something that set it apart from most. The surprise filling made it special. This cake was amazing! We all had a slice on Easter, and even after giving some to my mom and my sister-in-law to take home, I ended up with half a cake left. I ate some for breakfast and treated myself to dessert each night. I finally finished it up on Friday. It held up well in the fridge for almost a week! Thank you, Lynn, for sharing such a special dessert recipe!

For the Filling
1 (8 oz) package Cream Cheese, softened
1/4 cup Sugar
1 Egg

In a medium bowl, beat the cream cheese and sugar. Add the egg and mix well. Refrigerate the filling while making the cake batter. 

For the Cake
3 Eggs
1 3/4 cup Sugar
3 cups Shredded Carrots
1 cup Vegetable Oil
2 cups Flour
2 teaspoons Baking Soda
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
1 teaspoon Pumpkin Pie Spice
1 teaspoon Salt
1/2 cup Chopped Walnuts

In a mixing bowl, beat the eggs and sugar. Add the carrots and oil and beat until blended. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, and salt. Add the dry mixture to the carrot mixture and mix well. Stir in the walnuts. Pour half of the batter into a greased bundt pan. Spoon the cream cheese filling into the bundt pan and top with the remaining batter. Bake at 350 degrees for 55-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted near the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool the cake in the pan for 10 minutes before removing from the pan to cool completely. 

For the Frosting
1 (8 oz) package Cream Cheese, softened
1/4 cup Butter, softened
2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
4 cups Powdered Sugar (I only used 2)

In a small bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla until smooth. Gradually add the powdered sugar until the frosting has reached the desired consistency. Frost the cake and store it in the fridge until ready to serve.  

SOURCE: Turnips 2 Tangerines

Thursday
Jan022014

Candy Coated Popcorn

Candy coated popcorn

Happy New Year! I know it’s January and everybody has lofty plans to eat healthy, but I have one more Christmas recipe that I wanted to share with you before it got lost in the shuffle.

I In addition to cookies, I wanted to make a fun snack for Christmas. Inspired by a treat that I had at a friend’s baby shower a few weeks prior, I turned to popcorn. My original intention was to put bags together and hand them out to my friends at work, but once again, that never happened. I really have to become better at planning ahead…perhaps that can be a New Year’s Resolution! Anyway, Joel went to the movies with his parents one night and I opted to stay home, watch The Sound of Music, and make popcorn to share with my friends and family on Christmas. During commercials, I popped the popcorn on the stove, melted the candy in the microwave, stirred everything together in a giant bowl, and set it out on cookie sheets to harden. (Word to the wise: make sure you use a very large bowl. I thought mine was big enough and as I stirred everything together, popcorn poked up above the lip of the bowl, spilling to the floor!) To hand out the treats, I packaged the popcorn up in individual treat bags, stapled them closed with some festive scrapbook paper, and attached one bag per gift that we gave out to our family on Christmas. Everybody seemed to enjoy the popcorn as a welcomed alternative to mounds of cookies everywhere you look! 

16 cups Popcorn, air popped (~1/2 cup of kernels with about 1 tablespoon of oil)
16 ounces Vanilla Candy Coating (I used Make ’n Mold brand)
3 tablespoons Biscoff Spread or Cookie Butter
1-2 cups M&Ms
1/4 cup Sprinkles

Pop the popcorn according to package directions, then place it into a large bowl. Melt the candy coating in the microwave. Once the candy coating has melted, stir in the cookie butter until smooth. Drizzle the coating over the popcorn and gently stir until evenly coated. Mix in the M&Ms and sprinkles, then spread the popcorn out on wax paper to harden. 

SOURCE: Ever so slightly adapted from I Heart Nap Time

Monday
Dec232013

Jamaretti Cookies

Jamaretti

I have to say that with the exception of one, the cookies I chose to make for Christmas have been absolutely delicious; this one included. However, when making this cookie, I had a serious case of not reading the recipe carefully. I made the dough, chilled it, then rolled it out, but instead of rolling it into a 2-inch wide log, I just rolled it flat, kind of wondering how I was going to make the trench in the center, but kind of just assuming that the dough would puff up as it baked. Well, after I baked it the first time, I pulled the dough out to make the trench and the dough was so flat that I could hardly make a dent in the center. After spreading the jam down the tiny canal I created, I hoped that as it baked again, it wouldn’t just melt and drip off the cookie. Luckily, the jam stayed where it was placed and it all worked out in the end. This is one forgiving cookie that ends up looking elegant and tasting delicious, whether you read the recipe carefully or not!

2 1/4 cup Flour
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
1/2 cup Almond Paste (that is half of an 8oz jar)
3/4 cup Sugar
1 stick Butter, at room temperature
2 Eggs
1/2 cup Jam (I used seedless raspberry)
1 cup Powdered Sugar
4 teaspoons Milk

In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. In a food processor, pulse the almond paste and sugar until smooth. In another bowl (I used my stand mixer), cream the butter and the almond sugar mixture. Add the egg and blend until smooth. Add the flour mixture and mix until a dough forms. Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. On a lightly floured surface, roll each piece of dough into a 10-inch log. Transfer the logs onto parchment paper lined baking sheets and flatten them out to about 2-inches across. Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes, or until just dry. Remove the dough from the oven and make a trench down the center of each log using the handle of a wooden spoon. Spread about 2 tablespoons of jam into each trench. Return the cookies to the oven and bake an additional 8-10 minutes, or until they become golden brown. Let the cookies cool slightly, then transfer them to wire racks to cool completely. To make the glaze, whisk together the powdered sugar and milk until smooth. Drizzle the glaze over the logs of dough. Let the glaze harden for about 20 minutes. Using a serrated knife, cut the logs on the diagonal into 1-inch slices. Store the cookies in airtight containers for up to 1 week.

SOURCE: Martha Stewart