Chocolate Fudge Pepper Cookies

I haven’t been able to stop thinking about the Chocolate Cupcakes with Pepper and Raspberry Filling I recently shared.  The flavor combinations were something I was not used too nor comfortable with… until I tried them.

Now I crave a little complexity with my desserts.

Cocoa Fudge Cookie with Pepper

I loosely based this recipe off of a Cocoa Fudge Cookie recipe I found on myrecipes.com.  While the original recipe creates a thin, crispy cookie, my recipe is a dense cake-like cookie that has the fudginess (why isn’t fudginess a word?) of a brownie with a slight kick of a peppery aftertaste.

Chocolate Fudge Pepper Cookies

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 7 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl sift flour, soda, salt, pepper and cocoa. Set aside.
  2. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat.
  3. Remove pan from heat and stir in both sugars; the mixture should resemble coarse sand.
  4. Add in sour cream and vanilla to sugar mixture and stir to combine.
  5. Add in flour mixture and stir until fully incorporated.
  6. Drop heaping tablespoons onto a parchment lined baking sheet at least 2 inches apart. Using a small ice cream scoop or measuring cup is a good way to ensure consistency.
  7. Bake at 350 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes or until top appears slightly cracked. Remove from oven and allow cookies to cool to room temperature.
Schema/Recipe SEO Data Markup by ZipList Recipe Plugin
http://iambaker.net/chocolate-fudge-pepper-cookies/

Fudgy Chocolate Cookies with Coarse Ground Pepper

 

I only added a small amount of the coarse pepper because I am a seasoning sissy. Really.  Sometimes I think ketchup is too spicy.  So I really liked the subtle (very subtle) hint of pepper.  If you are more daring you can up your pepper amount and maybe even use a finely ground.  (Heck, maybe you could even add cayenne!)

Chocolate Cookie with Pepper

This cookie pairs really well with a red wine.

Just trust me on that. :)

 

The Giving Cookie

 

I have the amazing privilege and honor to be able to homeschool my kids.  I have spent hours going over curriculum and studying learning styles and trying to determine the best ways to teach my little ones everything they need to know about english, math and science.

But as any parent knows, we teach our kids so much more than history and literature. We are fortunate enough to be a part in the growing of their hearts.

This past Saturday sweet little 4 year old Audrey and I were hanging out in the kitchen.  I was making a grocery list and she was lamenting over not having anything to do.

On a whim, we decided to bake some cookies.

Audrey Helping with Cookies! “And what should we do with all these delicious cookies Audrey?”

“Eat them!”

“Well, we can’t eat all of them.  Do you think we should give some away?”

She got very quiet and I knew she wanted to say no.  I could just see her trying to figure out a way for us to be able to keep all the cookies (and trust me, the thought crossed my mind, they were yummy!).

She finally said, “I guess.” Sensing she needed a little more motivation I said, “How much do you love getting cookies Audrey?”

“I LOVE IT!  Its my favorite thing in the world!”

“Well,” I started slowly, “wouldn’t it be nice to let someone else have the same feeling a joy?  Wouldn’t you love to see a friends face when they realize they get to eat our delicious cookies?” She nodded excitedly. So I decided that we would give our cookies to our local fire department.

Cookies for Random Acts of Kindness

We packaged them up nicely and the kids wrote cards and we all got in the car and drove to the Fire Station.  In the car we talked about acts of kindness, about how giving to others was truly a gift to ourselves, about how we look at and think about the world. (going for a lesson on optimism)

We pulled into the Fire Station.  It was closed.  Not a soul in site.

So we drove miles and miles to the neighboring community and found their Fire Station.  Which was also closed.

I sat in my car in the deserted parking lot and felt my shoulders slump.  Great lesson I was teaching my kids here.  We did all that work and they didn’t get to experience the joy of giving.  I turned the car around and tried to ignore the feelings of failure.

As we were turning on to our road the kids noticed the neighbors outside doing some yard work.  ”Mom, mom, mom!!  Lets give the cookies to them!”

Well, yes!  Of course.  Why didnt I think of that right away? I pulled into the neighbors drive and the kids rushed out of the car cookies and card in hand.  ”We brought you a gift!” Audrey shouted to a woman she had never met. (We just moved here a couple months ago)

Our sweet neighbor came over and accepted the cookies from the kids.   We all introduced ourselves and had a wonderful conversation.  Leigh and her husband were so appreciative of the gift and I could tell that we were going to be fast friends.

When we got home that night the kids told dad all about their experience with giving and how good it felt.  I think they, even more so than me, were able to see the beauty in a random act of kindness.  It has definitely inspired then to want to do more… to give more… to get out and build up relationships with the people around us.  They are excitedly talking about writing cards to friends and baking more treats to bring to Leigh’s and our other neighbors. In the end what I had perceived in a failed lesson was actually a fun and rewarding learning experience for us all!

The Best Part is an online community that’s dedicated to brightening your day—every day. How? By spreading optimism, one share at a time. The Best Part posts inspirational stories, encouraging quotes, good news and other upbeat items on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram—and encourages fans and followers to share that optimism with their friends. Because when optimism is shared, it grows, making an even more positive impact on our world. Check out what others are sharing on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

 

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Lactation Cookies

So I recently put a post up on my facebook page about some lactation cookies I had made.  I ended up getting more emails and private messages than I knew what to do with.  So I decided to get this recipe up fast so that everyone would be able to make them!

Dairy Free Lactation Cookies

 

What is a lactation cookie exactly?  It a cookie that has a few key ingredients that promote lactation, or increase a nursing mom’s milk supply.

For instance, in this cookie I have included oats.  Researchers have long since known that oatmeal has properties in it that help to lower cholesterol and maintain a healthy blood pressure.  Oats also provide plenty of iron as well as an abundance of healthy vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.  New moms definitely need all that!

Lactation Cookies

These delicious cookies also contain Brewers yeast, ground flaxseed and dairy free mini chocolate chips.  The yeast and flaxseed are classic components to a Lactation cookie, but I wanted to take it one step further.  I decided to use all shortening instead of butter and the dairy free chocolate in my recipe to ensure it was dairy free.

I know when I was nursing Eddie I experimented with a dairy free diet in the hopes it would help with his colic.  To have been able to enjoy a scrumptious chocolate chip cookie during that time would have been such a treat!

Dairy Free Lactation Cookies

These cookies do contain cinnamon and all spice and you may certainly omit them if you have a sensitivity.

In the research I did, it wasn’t recommended to use a cinnamon supplement while breastfeeding or consume more than 1 tsp per day. (In very small doses cinnamon can actually be beneficial.)

These cookies have a crispy crunchy exterior and a chewy center.  I loved the juxtaposition!

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Lactation Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp all spice
  • 1 tsp cocoa
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3/4 cup shortening
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 tsp Brewers yeast
  • 1 tbsp ground flaxseed
  • 1 1/2 cups oats (can be quick oats)
  • 1 10 oz bag Dairy Free mini chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 350 (I baked at 325 in convection oven)
  2. In medium bowl sift flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, all spice and cocoa.
  3. In stand mixer on medium speed, add shortening, sugar and vanilla. Add in eggs one at a time. Mix on medium high for 1-2 minutes to ensure well combined.
  4. Turn mixer to lowest setting in slowly add in flour mixture. Mix until just combined.
  5. Remove bowl from mixer and add in oats, mini chocolate chips, yeast and flaxseed. Mix by hand.
  6. These cookies work best when on silpat or parchment paper on your baking sheet. I made each cookie roughly a tablespoon and placed about 2 inches apart.
  7. Bake for 7-9 minutes and then cool on cooling rack. Keep a close eye on these cookies and remove when edges are just barely browned. The center may appear slightly "wet" and that is ok. Cookie will continue to bake after it is removed from oven.
Schema/Recipe SEO Data Markup by ZipList Recipe Plugin
http://iambaker.net/chocolate-chip-oatmeal-lactation-cookies/

Dairy Free Lactation Cookies

Here is the nitty gritty.  New moms need all the blessings they can get.  To be able to make cookies for a nursing mom that not only help her but taste good?  AND its recommended to eat about 4 a day.

I cant think of a better perscription!

***These cookies are delicious and can be eaten by anyone.

Triple Chocolate Devils Food Cookies

I remember the first time I met my husbands grandma Carol.  We had been dating a little over a year and I was still very eager to impress all his family members.  (and failing miserably, buts thats another story)  I remember being very anxious and nervous and wishing I had brought flowers or something as a gift.

We arrived a home smelling of freshly baked cake and smiles around.  I was in shock, it appeared that his grandma had baked for us!  Carol was a busy wife and grandma (taking care of her wheelchair bound husband) and it was such a precious gesture on her part.

Triple Chocolate Devils Food Cake Mix Cookies!

“Thank you so much Carol!  This is delicious!  And thoughtful.  And delicious!  Did I mention delicious?  I cant believe you took the time to bake for us today.  It just means the world to me!”

I couldn’t stop gushing.  Her act of confectionery kindness had taken all my nervousness away.  I was starting to feel welcomed by Chad’s family.  He just might be a keeper! ;)

I was chatting with some of soon-to-be-hubby’s extended family while devouring the fantastic cake and mentioned just how good I thought it was.  Someone leaned over and whispered into my ear as if to share a deep dark family secret.

“Its from a box.”

Devils Food Cake Mix Cookies

A box?  Wasnt all cake from a box? (This was many years ago, long before I had ever baked a cake!) I was silenced and confused.

That moment changed me.  I couldnt for the life of me figure out why they would tell me that.  I could not figure out why it was even significant!  Never mind the fact that I had no clue that cake could even be made without a box, I just thought it was so unnecessary to point it out.

It hurt me.  I can only imagine how Carol would have felt had she heard.

Did the source of the ingredients decrease the value of the gift?

Fast forward to 2013.  There is still an ongoing baking war in terms of box vs. scratch.

People dismiss and reject others that do not profess to be 100% from-scratch bakers.  Magazines, authors, publishers, fellow bloggers all esteem that “from scratch” is the only way to bake and that anything less is unacceptable.  If you cannot prepare (and create!) quality from-scratch recipes then your value as a baker is significantly diminished.  I too, have been sucked into the “from scratch is best” way of thinking.  You will see that if I ever share recipes on my blog that involves a box mix I find a way to explain it or give a list of excuses why, as if trying to defend myself.

These days its pretty common knowledge that you will not be considered for any awards or publication if you embrace the “lazy” way.  People look down their nose at box cakes and actually sneer as they discovered that a  .99 box was the entire ingredient list.  Then there are those folks who pride themselves on instantly being able to determine if synthetically chemically flavored preservative laden box mix was served or if the ingredients were from scratch!

Why is there in innate fear of proclaiming the use of boxed cake mix?

When did it become shameful to admit that Betty Crocker had a hand in your confectionery masterpiece?

 

Devils Food Cake Mix Cookies

I get it.  I get it.  From-scratch is better for you.  Its sometimes cheaper.  Its more easily personalized.  Some think it tastes better.  Some think the crumb is better.  You are a real true, honest-to-goodness, original and accomplished baker if you make it from scratch.

And in all honesty, I am not concerned as to why people choose box vs. scratch.  What does concern me is the intent behind it.

I know there is no way I can win this particular baking war, but I would like to try and wage at least one small battle.

My goal is simple.  Look beyond the cake.  Yes, taste and appearance is of utmost importance and I fully support you embracing what you love best.  But its almost as if we have missed a small step in the directions.

Remember the big picture.  The giving, sharing, and devouring of cake together is a wonderful gift.  It is a time to celebrate people and make memories.

I cant think of a single time I ever made and decorated a cake to simply devour it all myself in private.  To not photograph it or show it to family or share it with friends.

Cakes are made to be shared.

At that glorious moment when a surprised birthday girl cuts into a beautiful pink cake or when a tired neighbor opens the door only to see a sinfully decadent chocolate cake in front of a friendly face… in that moment it surely does not matter if the cake was a box or from scratch.  What matters is that you touched someones heart.

That you brought them joy.

That you now have a lifelong memory based on a generosity of spirit and a willingness to serve.

That is what matters, right?

Devils Food Cake Mix Cookies

That being said, I proudly share with you today a far-from-scratch recipe that I have come to love.  Its over the top and rich and easy and wonderful.  There is an obscene amount of white chocolate chips and that is just the way I like it.  (You can certainly decrease the amount you use to accommodate your tastes.)

I share it with you in the hopes that it brings you as much joy as it has brought us.  But if you just cant beyond the fact that I used a box mix, I understand.   I cant help but think that maybe somewhere along the line though, you may miss a blessing.

Triple Chocolate Devils Food Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 box Devils Food Cake Mix
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup White Chocolate Chips
  • 1/4 cup Milk Chocolate Chips

Instructions

  1. Pour dry ingredients into medium bowl.
  2. Add oil and eggs and mix until well combined.
  3. Stir in all chips.
  4. Using a small ice cream scoop or tablespoon, scoop out small balls of dough. This recipe makes 18-24 cookies, so I had three cookies sheets prepared.
  5. Place eight dough balls on each cookie sheet. (If you would prefer a smoother appearance for your cookie, go back and roll each cookie between your hands.)
  6. Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes.
Schema/Recipe SEO Data Markup by ZipList Recipe Plugin
http://iambaker.net/triple-chocolate-devils-food-cookies-box-versus-scratch-baking/

Enjoy!

Here is the from scratch version:

Triple Chocolate Cookies from the Pioneer Woman

 

 

Rose Neapolitan Spritz Cookies

I wish I had OCD for something like laundry or eating celery.  But no.  I have to be obsessed with Neapolitan.  And ‘rose’ anything.

Like the Neapolitan Rose Cake.   Or the Neapolitan Chocolate Cookies Cups with Strawberry Buttercream.  I cant even tell you about all the Neapolitan desserts and Rose themed desserts I have made… well I could but lets just move on.

I aint here to bore ya.  Today.

Neapolitan Rose Spritz Cookies!  from iambaker.net

Believe it or not, I have never made a basic Spritz cookie before!  They are so good, so nice and buttery and light.  Hardly what I am used to baking… which is rich, heavy, sugary flavors.  These sweet cookies have just a hint of vanilla sweetness in their buttery crispiness.

So I paired it up with an even more subtle buttercream… marshmallow.  I dont know if I can detect a marshmallow flavor, but I do love the light airy texture that the fluff provides to this particular cookies sandwich.

Here is the Marshmallow Buttercream recipe I used.

Neapolitan Rose Spritz Cookies from iambaker.net

 Then I decided to get all crazy and make chocolate and strawberry too!  Because, ya know, that whole OCD with Neapolitan and Rose thing.

Now, just a heads up in the Spritz recipe.  I tried to find an origin, or the original recipe to give someone credit, and lost an hour of my life perusing google.  So let it be known, the vanilla Spritz cookies are NOT my original recipe!  I did however make up the strawberry and chocolate versions… but am sure they are not original either.  If you know who invented these sweet treats (I have a feeling they lived before the inter-web was invented) then please let me know and I will give full credit!

This one I am crediting to my MIL until notified otherwise. ;)

Rose Neapolitan Spritz Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup room temperature butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Strawberry Spritz:
  • 1/4 teaspoon strawberry extract
  • pink gel food coloring
  • Chocolate Spritz:
  • 1/4 cup cocoa

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 400°F. Combine butter, sugar, egg and extract in mixer. Blend at medium speed, scraping bowl often, until creamy. Add flour and salt; and blend at low speed until well mixed. Divide and tint dough, if desired.
  2. To make Rose Cookie Spritz, insert a 1M or 2D tip into pastry bag. Fill bag with cookie dough. I found that if the dough was a bit warm (as in heated by the warmth from my hands) it was easier to pipe out these cookies.
  3. Bake for 5 to 8 minutes, or until slightly golden.
  4. To make Strawberry Spritz Cookies:
  5. Replace vanilla extract with 1/4 teaspoon strawberry. Tint dough with pink gel food coloring.
  6. To make Chocolate Spritz Cookies:
  7. Replace 1/4 cup of flour with 1/4 cup of cocoa. Do not use almond extract.
Schema/Recipe SEO Data Markup by ZipList Recipe Plugin
http://iambaker.net/rose-neapolitan-spritz-cookies/

Tips for success:

Do not chill the dough.  You will need it about room temperature for easier piping.

If you have ever made a Spritz cookie before, this dough should be exactly the same as that.  Like in here and here.   Piping it through a large star tip should be the same experience as using a cookie press.  This a basic recipe, with no major alterations.  If you end up adding more liquid the cookies will definitely spread and you will not have a defined shape.

I would make the chocolate dough separately and not try to divide one recipe into three.  If you do so the proportions will be off and the cookies will spread.

A reader suggested using a smaller amount in your piping bag to help it warm quicker and to allow for easier piping.  I had about 2-3 cups of dough in my pastry bag, but can see how using 1 cup at a time might be easier!

*The recipe I originally posted called for 2/3 cup of sugar, but I have since switched it to 1/2 cup.  While I found success with 2/3 cup, seems that some did not.

Since I made like 47,957 of these cookies I decided I needed to share them.  I found these fun ice cream containers and made up a handy dandy little label in photoshop.

Neapolitan Spritz Cookies:  Fun Food Packaging!

Just in case you might ask, I got the strawberry extract at Walmart.  But you can also get it online, through sites like Amazon.

Strawberry Extract on Amazon

I ordered the Ice Cream containers from Sweet Bliss Containers.

The 1M tip is from Wilton and you can get them online as well. (I use mine for everything!  From cupcakes to rose cookies to my Original Rose Cakes!)

Photography inspired by Cannelle et Vanille 

 

Triple Chocolate Sugar Cookies with White Chocolate Buttercream

I adore sugar cookies. I love how they keep their shape and you can make anything you want out of them.

Add chocolate… and I am pretty much smitten.

This recipe was originally inspired by the brilliance that is Sprinkle Bakes. Her chocolate sugar cookie recipe has been a favorite of mine for more than a year now!

I just wanted to make some minor adjustments to include my favorite flavor of chocolate.

So I added chopped white chocolate.

And White Chocolate Buttercream on top. (Don’t click on that recipe unless you have a serious sweet tooth!)

And then they were so sweet I added Pink Himalayan Sea Salt. Yes. That was good. But I can’t decide whether I like them best with salt or no salt. And I can’t decide if its just a pregnancy thing, so I just left the salt out of the recipe and you can make the final call.

 

But do make sure you use a good quality vanilla. I have made these with imitation vanilla, and I could actually tell the difference. There seemed to be a lack of depth in the chocolate.

(Granted, I am pregnant and have super-human taste buds and smelling abilities.)

Overall, I just love the deep rich chocolate flavor of these cookies paired with the lighter white chocolate. And I also love that they are a sugar cookie, and you can use whatever shape cookie cutter you want!

Triple Chocolate Sugar Cookies with White Chocolate Buttercream

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 sticks room temperature butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup cocoa powder
  • 2-3 ounces chopped white chocolate
  • Pinch of salt

Instructions

  1. In a stand mixer, combine room temperature butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy.
  2. Turn mixer to low, and add in egg and vanilla. Mix until just incorporated.
  3. With mixer still on low, add in flour a cup at a time. Then add in cocoa powder and then sprinkle with pinch of salt. Mix until cocoa is incorporated, then turn off mixer.
  4. Roughly chop 2-3 ounces of white chocolate (try to not use chips) and add to dough. Stir in by hand.
  5. The dough will appear to be a bit sticky.
  6. Transfer dough to a piece a parchment paper. Place another piece of parchment paper on top and roll out dough to desired thickness. (Mine were about 1/2 inch thick)
  7. Place dough (still sandwiched in parchment) in refrigerator for about an hour, or freezer for 15 minutes, until dough is firm.
  8. When ready to bake, turn oven to 350. Remove dough and then remove one side of parchment. Using your chosen cookie cutter shape, cut out cookies and place on prepared cookie sheet.
  9. After you have cut out all your cookies, roll dough scraps back together and roll out again.
  10. Bake cookies for 8-11 minutes. Allow to cool to room temperature.
  11. Cover cookies in white chocolate buttercream and enjoy!
Schema/Recipe SEO Data Markup by ZipList Recipe Plugin
http://iambaker.net/triple-chocolate-sugar-cookies-white-chocolate-buttercrea/

Special Cake for a “Picky Palate”

Have you ever met Jenny?  She is the genius force behind the amazing blog, Picky Palate.

And… she is having a baby!  A few friends got together to throw a virtual baby shower, and I was fortunate enough to be able to bring a cake!

Well, did you know that sweet Jenny INVENTED the Oreo stuffed chocolate chip cookie?  You’ve seen it everywhere right… that glorious creation of a chocolate chip cookie with an entire Oreo hidden in the center?  Jenny was the Original!  Isnt that cool?

So I decided to make a cake that was as unique and as fun as she is.  Which is no easy challenge!

The outside I based on her adorable blog design.

The border is made to mimic Jenny’s pretty scalloped blog header.

The rattle is a “baby-fied”  interpretation of her knife, fork, and spoon logo.

And the inside…

A chocolate chip cookie Oreo stuffed Cake!  You totally saw that comin right?  I posted a quick “recipe” for this cake below, but be sure to check out Jenny’s Original Recipe to make mouth watering Oreo Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies!

Oreo Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake

Ingredients

  • 36 oz of cookie dough (I use the Nestle tub)
  • 14-15 Double Stuff Oroes
  • 2 cups Buttercream

Instructions

  1. In a well prepared 8in cake pan, place half of your cookie dough. Press down so that iy is a flat layer. Starting in the center, place Oreo's flat on top of cookie dough. Press down remaining cookie dough over Oreo layer.
  2. In an oven heated to 350, bake for 25-35 minutes. At 25 min. I placed an aluminum foil ring around the edge of the pan so the cookie edges would not burn, and then watched closely.
  3. Remove from oven when center is no longer shiny.
  4. Let cool and cover in buttercream.
Schema/Recipe SEO Data Markup by ZipList Recipe Plugin
http://iambaker.net/special-cake-for-a-picky-palate/

 

 

 So many folks love Jenny and made special treats for her!  I cant wait to stop by and see all of the beautiful creations!
Angie: Bakerella Baby Faces
Bev: Bev Cooks Horseradish Deviled Eggs
Bridget: Bake at 350 Cute as a Button Cupcakes
Cheryl: TidyMom Salted Caramel Cupcakes
Gaby: Whats Gaby Cooking Blueberry Buttermilk Cake
Heather: Heather’s Dish Perfect Pancake Bites
Julie: The Little Kitchen Mixed Berry Mint Slushies
Kathy: Panini Happy Baby Oreo Ice Cream Pies
Kristan: Confessions of a Cookbook Queen Homemade Animal Crackers
Lauren: Lauren’s Latest Mini Chocolate Lava Cakes
Maria: Two Peas and Their Pod Cookies ‘n Cream Sheet Cake
Marion: Sweetopia Baby Shower Cookie Favors
Marla: Family Fresh Cooking Blueberry Mint Agua Fresca
Michelle: Brown Eyed BakeShrimp Nacho Bites
Robyn: Add a Pinch Blue Velvet Cake
Shaina: Food For My Family Ginger Plum Preserves
Shelly: Cookies and Cups Oreo Pop Baby Rattles

Zucchini Desserts: Three Ways!

My husband is a fabulous gardener.  Every year we get get to enjoy the fruits of his labor, and this year is no exception.  We have an abundance of zucchini, and have been eating every day since the picking began!

I would love to share with you three sweet zucchini recipes that we enjoy.

First up, White Zucchini Cake!

Recipe adapted from An Oregon Cottage.

White Zucchini Cake

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup room temperature butter
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp good quality vanilla
  • 3 egg whites
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2/3 cup milk (I used skim)
  • 1 cup drained (mostly dry) finely shredded zucchini
  • 1/2 tsp lemon zest

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare two 8in baking pans.
  2. In mixer with whisk attachment, combine butter, oil, sugar, vanilla and egg whites. Beat on med for 30 seconds, then on high for 2-4 minutes. You are looking for a light and fluffy sugar mixture.
  3. In separate bowl, sift together flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt. Alternating as you go, add the flour mixture and milk to sugar mixture. Mix on low to med. until just combined. Remove bowl from mixer and add zest and zucchini. Fold in by hand.
  4. Pour batter into prepared pans and bake 25-30 minutes.
Schema/Recipe SEO Data Markup by ZipList Recipe Plugin
http://iambaker.net/zucchini-cake-zucchini-cookies-zucchini-brownies/

 

 

Tips for success:

If you want an even more light and airy cake, you can beat your egg whites to a stiff and frothy consistency, then add them in at the end with the zucchini.

My thoughts on this cake were mixed.  The first bite… or that first moment when the cake meets your tastebuds… was not overwhelming.  But as soon as I finished chewing, I wanted another bite.  And then another.  This cake tastes not only sweet, but almost fresh.  Its addicting!

Its definitely a great way to change things up if you often pair zucchini with all things chocolate.  As I did in adding the chocolate frosting!  I thought it might overpower the delicate cake, but that didnt end up being the case at all.

*****

Next up to the part is Zucchini Snickers Cookies. Recipe adapted from Tasty Kitchen.

Zucchini Snickers Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup room temp butter
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup drained zucchini finely shredded
  • 2-4 chilled Snickers bars
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. In mixer add egg, butter, brown sugar, honey, and vanilla and mix on med. until well combined. In separate bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside.
  3. Roughly chop Snickers bars until in small pieces.
  4. Your zucchini should be one cup after it is drained. (mostly dry) I find that finely shredding up two cups typically yields one cup of drained zucchini.
  5. With mixer on low, add flour mixture to sugar mixture and mix until just combined. Remove bowl from mixer and fold in Snickers and zucchini by hand.
  6. I used a 1/4 cup measuring spoon for the cookies and placed them on a parchment lined cookie sheet.
  7. Bake for about 12 minutes.
  8. If you want to drizzle the cookies with chocolate, simply melt chips in a plastic pastry bag in thirty second intervals. After chocolate is melted, cut off tip to the bag and drizzle over cookies.
Schema/Recipe SEO Data Markup by ZipList Recipe Plugin
http://iambaker.net/zucchini-cake-zucchini-cookies-zucchini-brownies/

Tips for success:

This is a big cake like cookie. Its thick and light and subtle. (unless you add four Snickers bars and drizzle with chocoalte, then its just crazy sweet)

In my original recipe I only added two Snickers bars, but I thought they needed more.  So I then decided to add up to four.  However, its very difficult to identify these cookies as zucchini based at that point, as they just taste awesomely sweet.  If you are a purist and want a clean flavor, stick with two chopped up bars.

Working with very chilled Snickers bars is best.

*****

And finally, we have Zucchini Brownies.

I think.

I adapted the recipe from allrecipes.com and they definitely call these brownies.

Zucchini Brownies

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups finely shredded and drained zucchini

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 and prepare a 9x13 pan.
  2. In mixer, combine oil, sugar, and vanilla until fully incorporated. (usually about 2 min on med speed)
  3. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. With mixer on low, add flour mixture to sugar mixture and mix until just combined.
  4. Remove bowl from stand and fold in zucchini by hand.
  5. Spread brownie mixture into pan and bake for 25-30 minutes.
Schema/Recipe SEO Data Markup by ZipList Recipe Plugin
http://iambaker.net/zucchini-cake-zucchini-cookies-zucchini-brownies/

Tips for success:

This batter is THICK.  You will not pour it into the pan!  It reminds me of a loose cookie dough.

Dont overcook!  I pulled mine out of the over right at 25 minutes and they were perfect.

Dont get freaked out that there is no egg and no butter.  You would never know the difference.  They brownies do not lack for flavor on any level.

While I know these are called brownies, they did have a cake like quality to them.  The crumb is defiantly cake like.  However, they stick to your teeth like an ooey gooey brownie should.  So for me its a toss up… call it brownie or cake… whatever you call it they are fantastic.

Truly.  This recipe is on par with all brownie recipes I have tried.  (Well, maybe not the Oatmeal Milky Way Brownies, but those are pretty much the exception to every brownie rule, ever.)

 

 

 

 

Oatmeal Cherry Morsel Cookies

These cookies are awesome.

You must make them.

If you like oatmeal, cinnamon, chocolate, cherry dipped cones from DQ, or basically anything with sugar, then these are going to be your new go-to cookies.

Cherry Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp all spice
  • 1 tsp cocoa
  • 1 1/2 cups whole oats
  • 1 1/2 cups Cherry flavored baking morsels
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1/4 cup room temp butter (unsalted)
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup white sugar

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. In medium bowl sit flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, all spice and cocoa. In your mixer cream on medium speed, add shortening, butter, brown sugar, white sugar, and vanilla. Add in eggs one at a time. Mix on medium high for 1-2 minutes and make sure ingredients are well combined.
  3. Turn mixer to low and add flour ingredients to wet mixture and mix until just combined. Remove bowl from mixer. Add in oats and cherry morsels and finish mixing together by hand.
  4. These cookies work best using silpat or parchment paper on your baking sheet. I made each cookie about 2 tablespoons big and placed each spoonful about 2 inches apart.
  5. Bake for 9-11 minutes and then place hot cookies on a cooling rack.
Schema/Recipe SEO Data Markup by ZipList Recipe Plugin
http://iambaker.net/oatmeal-cherry-morsel-cookies/

 

A couple of tips with this cookie:

There is a big difference in texture in between cooking them for 9 minutes or for 11 minutes.  Make sure you are keeping an eye on them starting at eight minutes!  I remove my cookies when they appeared almost under done.  The center is still a bit glossy in appearance.  The cookies should be fully cooked, but a very soft and delicate center is the best way to eat these.

You can easily substitute chocolate chips for the cherry morsels.  These cookies actually derived from my Oatmeal Cranberry Chocolate Spice Cookie.  This is probably the best base recipe for an Oatmeal Raisin cookie I have ever encountered.  I will be blogging that soon!

I have been testing the recipe on my neighbors for the last week, and have gotten pretty darn good positive feedback.  Most people want more.  The combination of a subtle sweet cherry morsel and the brown sugar and cinnamon along with a soft and chewy texture just puts this cookie over the top.

In honor of the upcoming July 4th celebrations, I made a little revision to the recipe.

I removed 1/2 of the cherry morsels and then coarsely chopped up 1/4 cup of white chocolate and 1/4 cup of blue tinted baking chips.

These are fun and patriotic and would be the perfect addition to any celebration, but just know this.

They are SWEET!  So sweet.  Like, give you a toothache sweet.  Unless you have really good teeth.  Then you are fine.

I buy my Cherry Morsels at Walmart in the fall for $3 a bag and usually stock up.  You can also buy them on Amazon, but I find these to be a bit expensive.  If you are a baker or retailer, feel free to leave a link to anywhere that offers a better deal! :)

Dark Chocolate Cookies with Champagne Buttercream

I meant to post this last week, but never was able.

Please accept my sincere apologies.  I wish I could send you each some of these cookies to make amends.

They are absolutely amazing.  Completely decadent.  Totally befitting an enchanting evening such a New Years Eve.

I used Sprinkle Bakes Chocolate Sugar Cookies.  She describes them as being ideal for decorating, and I couldn’t agree more!

The champagne buttercream is just a basic recipe I have been using, with the substitution of champagne for the heavy cream.

Champagne Buttercream

Ingredients

  • 1 2 lb bag powder sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3 tablespoons champagne
  • 1-3 tablespoon milk

Instructions

  1. Put butter and shortening in mixer and combine until smooth. Add sugar in one cup at a time until fully incorporated. When almost done mixing, add in champagne. You can use more or less to taste. I wrote milk into my recipe because I found the frosting to be very stiff and hard to use, therefore needed a bit more moisture. You may not need any milk.
Schema/Recipe SEO Data Markup by ZipList Recipe Plugin
http://iambaker.net/dark-chocolate-cookies-champagne-buttercream-recipe/

 

Tips for success:

Use a good quality cocoa.  These cookies are rich and you can really taste the deep cocoa flavor.  The better the cocoa, the better the cookie.  Seriously, Heather knows her stuff.

Use a champagne you enjoy.   You only need three tablespoons for the recipe… wouldn’t it be a shame to let an opened bottle of champagne to go to waste?

If you want to make the cute little poinsettia design I did, simply grab a Wilton #366 tip and have at it.  I threw on some gold sprinkles for good measure.

Have fun!  Lick the bowl and eat some cookie dough.  Then run 27 miles so you can fit into your pretty New Years Eve outfit.

P.S.  I am totally going to post the Snow Globe tutorial soon!  Its on my list!