Christmas Cookie Madness!

When you’ve been having a tough week, it really helps though when you call your parents and they tell you that they got you the gift of your dreams! Something I’ve been thinking about getting for the past couple of years. They bought a KitchenAid Stand Mixer! OMGS, I essentially combusted due to the excitement!

Sooo of course, once I got home I had to bake up a storm. Also, my Pinterest has been flooded with so many delicious looking Christmas cookies, that I just had to try a few different ones. The three I decided upon were: itty bitty sugar cookie sandwiches, light gingerbread, and brownie cookies.

Screen Shot 2013-12-23 at 6.58.28 PM

First, let’s talk about the mini sugar cookie sandwiches. This is a Baker’s Royale recipe I’ve made a few times now, and I really love it! It takes no time to mix up, bake, and fill. Another plus is that this recipe is egg-free, so if you have an allergy or just don’t have eggs around, this is the perfect recipe for you! I made the dough, rolled it in various sprinkles and sanding sugars, and baked at 350 for exactly 8 minutes. Put the cookies in the freezer to cool completely, and in the meantime, make your favourite vanilla buttercream. Once cooled, pipe some buttercream onto the centre of each cookie, and squish together with another cookie of a similar size. These are a classic at my house, now!

Screen Shot 2013-12-23 at 6.58.37 PM

The gingerbread cookies are actually more like gingerbread-spiced shortbread cookies. They have a very light spice flavor, while the shortbread texture and taste really comes through as well. I received this recipe from a family friend, and it was originally published in a children’s picture book called Gingerbread Mouse. I’m not a huge fan of legitimate gingerbread cookies, so these were perfect! I had some leftover buttercream from the sandwich cookies so I spread it on, and topped the cookie with green sanding sugar and a star sprinkle.

Screen Shot 2013-12-23 at 6.58.56 PM

Now for the masterpiece: Brownie Cookies! This recipe is modified from Bakerella’s “Comfort Cookies” post, and is honestly the best combination of brownies and cookies I have ever had. Go ahead and add any combination of nuts and chocolate chips, because the more stuff that’s in it, the better it will taste.

All three of these cookies make great gifts, tea time treats, and would be great to leave out for Santa!

Have a great Holiday Season, and see you soon!

-G

Itty Bitty Sugar Cookie Sandwiches

Source: Baker’s Royale

Makes 36 sandwiches

1 cup butter, at room temperature

1/4 cup icing sugar, 1/4 cup plain white sugar

1 tbsp vanilla

1/2 tsp salt

2 cups all purpose flour

Sanding sugar, or sprinkles, optional

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Cream butter, sugars, salt until light and fluffy. Add vanilla and beat.

3. Add flour and beat until just combined.

4. Scoop by tsp and roll  into balls. Roll around in sanding sugar or sprinkles.

5. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until bottoms are golden.

6. Fill with buttercream (use any recipe you like), and make sandwiches.

Gingerbread-spiced Shortbread Cookies

Makes 24 large cookies

2 1/2 cups All purpose flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

2 tsp ground ginger

1 1/2 tsp cinnamon OR pumpkin pie spice

1 3/4 sticks butter (14 tbsp)

1 cup brown sugar

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla

1. Mix up dry ingredients.

2. Beat butter and sugar until creamy; then add egg and vanilla.

3. Stir dry ingredients into butter mixture.

4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Roll out dough and chill until firm.

5. Use cookie cutters to make shapes, and bake for 8-10 minutes.

Brownie Cookies

1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, slightly softened
1/2 cup white sugar

1 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup peanut butter
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • In a small bowl, mix flour, cocoa, soda and salt using a wire whisk and set aside.
  • In another bowl, cream butter, sugars and peanut butter until light and fluffy.
  • Add eggs and vanilla and mix until combined.
  • Add flour mixture to creamed mixture and mix until combined.
  • Stir in dark chocolate chips.
  • Roll cookie dough into 1-1/4 inch balls. (If desired, roll balls in chopped pecans.)
  • Place on parchment paper covered baking sheet.
  • Bake 10 minutes.
  • Place cookies on cookie rack to cool.
  • Makes about 30 2-inch cookies.
Advertisements

Chocolate Pudding Mini Trifles

Bonjour! I’m supposed to be working on my Thesis Committee meeting presentation…buutttt instead, I made these Chocolate Pudding Mini Trifles. Okay, I’m not THAT bad, we’re having a holiday lunch tomorrow at the lab, and I said I would bring dessert. I am trying to convince myself that my procrastination is justified. It may or may not be working…

IMG_20131212_154413

Anyways, back to pudding! Pudding was my favourite lunch treat back when I was a child. But, of course, it was always from the little plastic cups. This was my first time ever making pudding, from scratch. There is no powder with unpronounceable chemicals involved! Only real ingredients like whole milk, chocolate, and love. This trifle has four simple components: chocolate pudding, vanilla whipped cream, brownies, and strawberries.

IMG_20131212_154440

To make the pudding, just go ahead and follow the tutorial on The Kitchn (http://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-make-chocolate-pudding-from-scratch-cooking-lessons-from-the-kitchn-195012). SUUUUUPERRR easy! Don’t be frightened! The recipe says it will feed 8, but because of all the extra stuff I added, I got 16 servings.

IMG_20131212_154529

For the bottom layer, I baked brownies, and crumbled them up. Feel free to used a mix here, that’s what I did. I know, I know.

I found these cute little plastic wine glasses at the dollar store (don’t judge), and thought they would make a perfect presentation! The first layer was a spoonful of brownie crumbs, then pudding, followed by strawberries, and whipped cream. I topped off each trifle with grated chocolate for some panache!

Screen Shot 2013-12-12 at 3.35.56 PM

This is a great treat for a potluck, or Christmas party.

I hope you try it, and let me know how it goes!

-G

How To Make Chocolate Pudding from Scratch

Makes 8 servings (4 cups)

What You Need

Ingredients
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup heavy cream
3 large egg yolks
2 1/2 cups whole or 2% milk
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Equipment
Cutting board
Sharp serrated knife
Large heatproof bowl
Whisk
3-quart (or larger) cooking pot
2-quart storage container
Plastic wrap or wax paper

Instructions

  1. Chop the chocolate: Use a serrated knife to chop the chocolate into fine flakes. Set aside.
  2. Make a slurry: In a large heatproof bowl, whisk together the cocoa powder, cornstarch, and salt. Slowly whisk in the cream, a little at a time, until you have a smooth mixture.
  3. Whisk in the eggs: Whisk the eggs into the cream and cornstarch mixture.
  4. Combine the milk and sugar: Pour the milk into a 3-quart (or larger) saucepan. Add the sugar and warm over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the sugar is dissolved.
  5. Bring the milk to a simmer: Bring to a light simmer over medium heat. Watch for the surface of the milk to vibrate and for bubbles to form around the edges of the pot.
  6. Temper the egg mixture: Pour most of the hot milk into the bowl of cream and egg yolks. Whisk until well-combined, then pour everything back into the pot.
  7. Bring the pudding to a full boil: Warm the combined pudding mixture over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until it comes to a full boil. (It should look like lava boiling up!) At this point, the pudding will look much thicker.
  8. Cook the pudding for 2 minutes: After the pudding starts boiling, cook for 2 minutes, whisking constantly and vigorously. Get your whisk into all corners of the pot.
  9. Flavor the pudding: After 2 minutes, remove the pudding from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Then add the chopped chocolate and let sit for 1 to 2 minutes or until melted. Whisk vigorously until the chocolate is fully incorporated.
  10. Chill the pudding: Spread the pudding in a storage container and press plastic wrap or wax paper directly onto the surface of the pudding. Cover with a lid and chill. Best eaten within 3 days.

More Brownies!

Image

Can we have a little celebration right now, please? S and I have officially crossed the finish line of our four year marathon-I’m talking about undergrad! Everything is submitted: exams, posters, theses, and assignments are done done done! What’s that? There’s more school coming up soon?? That’s alright, let’s pretend that’s not true, have a brownie, and then take a loooooong nap!

Image

I made Peanut Butter White Chocolate Brownies-come on now, just judging by the name, you know it will make you giddy with joy! The peanut butter and chocolate combination is a classic, but when you add mini white chocolate chips, vanilla ice cream, and a warm caramel sauce, it becomes a magical experience. Image

The brownie recipe and overall inspiration is from a blog called Culinary Concoctions by Peabody, and the caramel sauce is modified from Smitten Kitchen’s Salted Caramel, which I had made for the Caramel Brownies a few weeks ago.

Image

This dessert was the perfect reward for getting through the ordeal that is exam season! Now that this time in our lives is coming to an end, moving on to the next chapter is both scary and exciting. New adventures, new places, new people!

Image

Just to let you know, there won’t be a post next week, but we will be back in two weeks. Don’t be too devastated! 😛

Thanks to V for the stunning photos!

Have a wonderful week, and see you soon!

-G

 

Chocolate-Peanut Butter Peanut Brownies

http://www.culinaryconcoctionsbypeabody.com/2009/10/03/hello-canada-and-hockey-fans/

4-5 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped finely
¾ cup unsalted butter
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
½ cup brown sugar, lightly packed
½ cup peanut butter
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup unsalted peanuts, coarsely chopped or white chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350F.

Spray a 9-x-13-inch pan with baking spray, or butter and flour it.

Using a double boiler, melt together the unsweetened chocolate and butter. When both are melted, remove from boiler and whisk together to blend chocolate and butter fully. Whisk in brown sugar and peanut butter until fully incorporated. Set aside.

Using a stand mixer (or a large bowl and an electric hand mixer) with the whisk attachment on medium speed, whisk together the eggs and granulated sugar until eggs become pale in color, about 2 minutes.

Add the vanilla and beat for another 30 seconds.

With mixer turned off, pour chocolate/peanut butter mixture into the mixing bowl. Mix together on medium speed until chocolate/peanut butter mixture and egg mixture are fully incorporated.

Remove bowl from mixer. Add flour and stir using a wooden spoon. You could keep it in the mixer, but I find if you do this step by hand you tend not to over mix. You want to make sure the flour is fully incorporated but not over mixed. Fold in chopped peanuts if using.

Pour into prepared 9-x-13-inch pan and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a wooden skewer or sharp knife comes out with a few fudgy crumbles stuck to it.

Caramel Sauce

Modified from Smitten Kitchen

1/2 cup granulated sugar
4-6 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/3 cup heavy cream

In a medium, dry saucepan over medium-high heat, melt your sugar; this will take about 5 minutes, stirring if necessary to break up large chunks. By the time it is all melted, if should be a nice copper color; if not, cook until it is. Remove from heat and stir in butter. It may not incorporate entirely but do your best. Stir in cream and salt and return saucepan to the stove over medium-high heat, bringing it back to a simmer and melted again any sugar that solidified. Cook bubbling caramel for a few minutes more, until it is a shade darker.

Mmmm Caramel Brownies!

1

I was going through the past posts on our blog recently, and I realized that we only have one brownie recipe! On a website called Sweet Little Brownies, there needs to be more brownie action! A friend of mine sent me the link to this Caramel Brownie recipe, and I thought it would be the perfect addition to our growing repertoire.

2

The recipe is from Smitten Kitchen, which is a great blog. I once made her “100% from scratch” marinara sauce, and it was amazing! So, I was not at all hesitant to try this recipe out, and it did not disappoint! I followed the recipe and instructions exactly, and they turned out great!

3

These brownies are really yummy! They’re the perfect balance between cakey and fudgey, and then you get the extra oompf from the gooey caramel. To be perfectly honest, they’re one of the best brownies I’ve ever had. The bestest brownies ever are served at a restaurant on campus, and they’re are affectionately called “Crack Brownies” by my friends and I, so I think second place to those is a bit of an achievement.

Below, I included the link to the Smitten Kitchen blog, where you can find detailed process pictures and directions.

4

Thanks for coming by this week! Enjoy the beautiful spring weather!

-G

 

Caramel Brownies

From Smitten Kitchen

http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2013/02/salted-caramel-brownies/

Makes 1 8×8 pan of brownies which you can cut into 16 2-inch squares

Caramel
1/2 cup granulated sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter (or salted, but then ease up on the sea salt)
1/8 teaspoon table salt, more to taste
3 tablespoons heavy cream

Brownie
3 ounces (85 grams) unsweetened chocolate, roughly chopped
1 stick (4 ounces or 115 grams) unsalted butter, plus extra for pan
1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla extract

1/8 teaspoon table salt
2/3 cup (85 grams) all-purpose flour

Make caramel: Set a square of parchment paper over a medium-sized plate. Lightly butter or coat the parchment with a spray oil, just as an added security measure.

In a medium, dry saucepan over medium-high heat, melt your sugar; this will take about 5 minutes, stirring if necessary to break up large chunks. By the time it is all melted, if should be a nice copper color; if not, cook until it is. Remove from heat and stir in butter. It may not incorporate entirely but do your best. Stir in cream and salt and return saucepan to the stove over medium-high heat, bringing it back to a simmer and melted again any sugar that solidified. Cook bubbling caramel for a few minutes more, until it is a shade darker.

Pour out onto parchment-covered plate and transfer plate to your freezer. Freeze until solidified, which can take anywhere from 20 to 30 minutes in a decent freezer to 40 minutes in my terrible one.

Meanwhile, or when your caramel is almost firm, make your brownies: Heat oven to 350°F. Line an 8×8-inch square baking pan with parchment, extending it up two sides. Butter the parchment or spray it with a nonstick cooking spray.

In a medium heatproof bowl over gently simmering water, melt chocolate and butter together until only a couple unmelted bits remain. Off the heat, stir until smooth and fully melted. You can also do this in the microwave in 30-second bursts, stirring between each. Whisk in sugar, then eggs, one at a time, then vanilla and salt. Stir in flour with a spoon or flexible spatula.

Assemble brownies: When caramel is firm, remove it from the freezer and chop it into rough 1-inch squares. Gently fold all but a small amount of caramel bits into batter. Scrape batter into prepared pan, spreading until mostly even. Scatter remaining caramel bits on top. Bake in heated oven for 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Cool thoroughly — a process that can be hastened in the freezer, which will also produce cleaner cuts — and cut into squares or other desired shapes.

Treat Yo’ Self with Brownie Cupcakes

Hello!

This week has been super busy for both of us, so I have a short and sweet recipe for you today. Our blog is called “Sweet Little Brownies”, so obviously we NEED to have an awesome brownie recipe! I promise, this is the first of many brownies!

Image

Since I love cupcakes so much, I thought why not merge to two and make a brownie-cupcake chimera (ooo fancy science word lol)! I personally love fudgy super intensely chocolatey brownies, but I know many of you are dark chocolate haters, so this one is cakey and sweet and just plain scrumptious.

Image

You honestly only need one bowl and a big spoon or whisk to make these, and if you put these in the oven before an episode of Parks and Recreation, you’ll have some brownies, so you can treat yo’ self! ;P

Image

Anyone see last week’s episode?!?!

Anywho, I got this recipe from joyofbaking.com, which is a great resource, and has lots of fool-proof treats.

Here are all the exotic ingredients I used to make the brownie cupcakes:Image

We only use omega 3 eggs here at SLB-our treats are good for your brain AND your heart!

For the cupcakes, first melt the semisweet chocolate and butter over a double boiler. Then once it is cooled slightly, add sugar, and vanilla, and 3 eggs (one at a time). Once that’s blended really well, add flour and salt. Pour that into your muffin pan, and bake at 325 degrees Celsius for 20-25 mins.

To make the frosting, melt more chocolate (really good for you, trust me ;P), and once it has cooled, add butter, and then sugar and vanilla. I used less sugar because I found they didn’t need as much, but of course, it’s really upto you. I used the Wilton 1M tip for the frosting, but you can even skip the frosting, and eat them plain, maybe with some powdered sugar sprinkled on top? Image

Scroll down for the full recipe.

Thanks again to V for the awesome artsy photos!

Thanks for visiting us! See you next week, for some fab treats by S!

-G

Brownie Cupcakes

Recipe adapted from Joy of Baking

Makes 12 cupcakes

Ingredients:

Brownies:

½ cup semisweet chocolate

½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature, and cut into pieces

1 cup white sugar

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

3 large eggs

¾ cup All Purpose flour

¼ tsp salt

Chocolate Fudge Frosting:

½ cup semisweet chocolate

2/3 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

¾ to 1 1/3 cup icing sugar, sifted (depending on how sweet you like your brownies)

1 ½ tsp pure vanilla extract

Brownies:

1. Preheat oven to 325 C, and line muffin tin with wrappers. Adjust your oven racks so the rack is in the middle.

2. Melt chocolate and butter over double boiler. Once smooth, remove from heat and cool for a few mintues.

3. Stir in sugar, vanilla, eggs, one at a time, until smooth.

4. Add flour and salt, mix well.

5. Divide batter into cupcake tin, and bake for 20-25 minutes. You want moist crumbs to stick to the toothpick when you check. If the toothpick comes out clean, then the brownies will be dry.

Frosting:

1. Melt chocolate in double boiler, remove from heat and cool to room temperature.

2. With a hand mixer, break butter until creamy, and add sugar then beat for 2 minutes. Add vanilla, continue beating.

3. Add chocolate and beat on low speed until thoroughly combined. Increase the speed and whip up the frosting until it is smooth and glossy.

4. Once brownie cupcakes are cooled completely (feel free to throw them into the freezer to speed up the process), frost them. Dust with icing sugar, if you like!