Spicy Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookies

Food

I’m an avid fan of Food Network‘s Holiday Baking Competition and, as a result, have watched many-a-baker create Mexican hot chocolate inspired goodies. While I’ve never had the pleasure of enjoying Mexican hot chocolate, I’m a sure-fire (spicy reference intended) fan of chocolate and pepper combined and have been eager to try out this flavor profile during the holidays.

This weekend I made my first batch of Mexican hot chocolate cookies and it was truly love at first bite!

SO gooey, with a satisfying zip of spice from the cayenne pepper and chili powder. The recipe is also really easy which is another plus, especially this time of year!

Ingredients

  • 1 stick (4 ounces) butter
  • 4 ounces good-quality unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped (you can also use bitter chocolate chips)
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. Melt the butter and unsweetened chocolate together in the microwave (in a microwave-safe bowl) in 25-second increments, whisking between each interval. Cool the chocolate mixture to room temperature.
  3.  Beat the brown sugar, granulated sugar, vanilla extract and eggs on low speed until well combined. Pour in the cooled chocolate and continue to mix until the ingredients are evenly distributed.
  4. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, cinnamon, chili powder, baking soda, salt and cayenne pepper. Add the dry ingredients to the chocolate batter and mix on low speed until just combined.
  5. Fold in the chocolate chips with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon.
  6. Scoop the dough onto a parchment-lined sheet pan, leaving at least 1 1/2 inches of space between each cookie (they expand!).
  7. Bake the cookies for approximately 14 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through cooking time. The cookies should be puffy and still fairly soft when removed from the oven.
  8. Immediately slide the cookies, still on the parchment paper, onto a wire cooling rack.
  9. Enjoy this recipe with friends, co-workers and loved ones this holiday season.

P.S. 13 days until Christmas!

Original recipe retrieved from http://www.cookingchanneltv.com/recipes/spicy-mexican-hot-chocolate-cookies-1962907#reviewsTop
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Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Food

With every season there are a handful of recipes that are on my absolute must-make list. For fall, we’re talking butternut squash, homemade applesauce, cheesy bowtie bratwurst casserole and pumpkin chocolate chip cookies.

It’s no secret that pumpkin spice is a an all-time favorite for most (#PSL season started two months ago), and this recipe combines the rich, rustic spices of fall with milk chocolate for a winning combination.

As I’ve mentioned before, I also love this recipe for the cookies’ consistency (think dessert AND breakfast) and love how many batches the dough renders.

And while this recipe is super simple, it’s also quite elegant – great for both cookie connoisseurs and beginning bakers alike!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 cups (12-ounce bag) milk chocolate chips, not semisweet

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Spray cookie sheets with nonstick spray or line them with parchment paper.
  3. Using a mixer, beat the butter until smooth. Beat in the white and brown sugars, a little at a time, until the mixture is light and fluffy.
  4. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then mix in the vanilla and pumpkin puree.
  5. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg.
  6. Slowly beat the flour mixture into the batter in thirds.
  7. Stir in the chips.
  8. Scoop the cookie dough by heaping tablespoons onto the prepared cookie sheets and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the cookies are browned around the edges.
  9. Remove the cookie sheets from the oven and let them rest for 2 minutes. Take the cookies off with a spatula and cool them on wire racks or paper bags.
  10. Share with friends and family for a hyggelig time!

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*Original recipe retrieved from FoodNetwork.com

Grandma Labriola’s Pat a Choux Dough Recipe

Food

Growing up, I was very fortunate to come from a food-loving Italian-American family. With homemade meals and desserts set on our table day in and day out, I grew up learning to appreciate food and the culture and traditions that come with it.

While my grandmother is adept at making absolutely every kind of dessert imaginable, one of my favorite treats was always cream puffs. (I think most children could empathize with this).

Below you will find her recipe for pat a choux, a light pastry dough used for making cream puffs and eclairs, among other French-inspired treats.

While the end result of a homemade cream puff is quite impressive, I think you’ll find that the process to making them is actually quite approachable.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup water
  • ½ cup butter
  • 1 cup flour
  • 4 eggs
  • powdered sugar for sprinkling

Directions:

  1. Bring 1 cup water and ½ cup butter to a boil in a sauce pan on high heat
  2. Once boiling, shut the stove off
  3. Add 1 cup of flour and stir until the dough forms a ball
  4. Take the dough off of the stove and beat in four eggs, one at a time
  5. Use a spoon to drop the dough onto an un-greased baking sheet, spacing them apart. There should be enough dough to make 12 cream puffs.
  6. Bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 35-40 minutes, or until golden brown
  7. Allow the pastries to cool, away from drafts
  8. Once cooled, cut off the tops of the pastries
  9. Pull out the soft dough in the middle of the pastry
  10. Fill the pastries with filling (whipped cream for cream puffs– homemade or, if you’re in a rush, store bought)
  11. Top with powdered sugar
  12. ENJOY!

Thanksgiving Pumpkin Roll Recipe

Food

‘Tis the season for pumpkin spice and nothing is more decadently delicious than a pumpkin roll!

As I’ve mentioned before, this dessert certainly looks more complicated then it truly is. So if you’re looking to break the usual thanksgiving pie cycle, look no further.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar, plus more for sprinkling
  • 9 oz of cream cheese
  • 1 1/2 sticks of butter (3/4 cup), room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions to make the cake:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Grease and flour a 17 1/2- by 12 1/2-inch jellyroll pan.
  • Beat the eggs, granulated sugar, pumpkin and lemon juice until smooth, using an electric mixer.
  • Sift together the flour, ginger, salt, baking powder and cinnamon.
  • Add the sifted ingredients to the egg mixture and blend until fully combined.
  • Spread the batter in the jellyroll pan.
  • Bake until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, approximately 15 minutes.
  • Cool the cake in the pan for 5 minutes.
  • Sprinkle some of the confectioner’ sugar on a large tea towel.
  • Invert the cake onto the towel.
  • Fold the sides of the towel over the cake.
  • Roll the cake up in the towel starting with a 12 1/2-inch side. (In other words, roll it “hamburger style”).
  • Cool in the refrigerator for 45 minutes.

Finishing touches:

  • Combine the confectioners’ sugar, cream cheese, butter and vanilla and beat until smooth.
  • Unroll the cooled cake and spread the mixture on top of the cake.
  • Re-roll the cake and refrigerate until ready to be sliced and served.
  • Dust with confectioners’ sugar just before serving.
  • Enjoy with family and friends!

pumpkin-roll

The original recipe has been adapted by the author, resulting in the recipe above.

Spicy Football Sunday Bean Dip

Food

In our household, as in most households, football Sundays are associated with cooking tailgate-style foods.

While we try to change it up from week to week, making chicken wings, jalapeño poppers, cheese dip and other assorted goodies, this spicy bean dip has become a football Sunday staple.

Extremely simple to put together and requiring few ingredients, this hot and savory dip is the fastest way to enjoying a perfect game day.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1(16 ounce) container of sour cream or plain Greek yogurt (Being as I work at Chobani, I use Plain Chobani yogurt instead of sour cream)
  • 1(16 ounce) can of refried beans
  • 1(8 ounce) package of cream cheese
  • 1/3 cup or 1 package of taco seasoning
  • 3-4 jalapeño peppers
  • 2 cups of Mexican blend and/or cheddar cheese

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. Mix all ingredients except for the shredded cheese together in baking dish. (I highly recommend leaving the cream cheese out ahead of time to soften, making it easier to mix).
  3. Mix in half of the cheese.
  4. Slice your jalapeño peppers and lay the slices on top of the dip.
  5. Spread the remaining shredded cheese on top.
  6. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the cheese on top is thoroughly melted.
  7. Enjoy with tortilla chips!

 

Whoopie Pies

Food

As I shared to my Facebook friends and Instagram followers today, I took time off from working on my comprehensive exam to make whoopie pies for the first time.

Actually very simple and not overly time consuming, I followed this recipe. So thank you One Girl Cookies,’ the recipe was awesome! (And they look pretty cute, if I do say so myself).

I did deviate from the recipe a little, further simplifying by dropping the cakes/cookies onto the pan rather than piping them. I initially tried piping out of a plastic bag, but it got messy pretty quickly.

If you already possess piping abilities, than by all means go for it! I was just struggling and (thankfully) piping wasn’t necessary.

I also had a lot of cream cheese frosting leftover. I froze what remained and am looking forward to using the rest for another creation!

Popovers

Food

Looking for something different for breakfast? Then I would highly recommend popovers. Easy to make, these pastries reheat well and can act as great on-the-go breakfasts during the week.

All you will need are a handful of ingredients and a muffin tin (if you don’t have a popover tin handy).

Ingredients:

1 cup of milk

1 cup of flour

1/4 tsp salt

1 tablespoon melted butter

2 tablespoons chilled butter

Instructions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Whisk together all ingredients except for the chilled butter. The consistency should resemble heavy cream.
  3. Spray your pan with non-stick spray and place on the center rack of your oven. Allow the pan to preheat for 2 minutes.
  4. After the pan is hot, cut the chilled butter into 12 even pieces and put one in each muffin cup. Place the pan back in the oven until the butter is bubbly.
  5. Fill each cup with an even amount of batter and bake 20 minutes.
  6. After 20 minutes, reduce the heat to 325 degrees Fahrenheit and bake for another 15 to 20 minutes.

*Do not open the oven while your popovers are baking. This will affect the consistency.

When they are done, they should look something like this:

#popovers for #breakfast!

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While I like to eat them with butter, you can also pair them with jam or syrup. So next time you are stuck with limited ingredients and are craving something different for breakfast, I hope you give popovers a go!

Chocolate Frosting (Happy Birthday Dad!)

Food

Growing up, my mother would always get annoyed with my father’s birthday cake request: cake made from packaged mix (such as Betty Crocker, Duncan Hines, etc.). Although she always wanted to make a homemade cake, he insisted that he liked pre-packaged mix the best.

Although I was once opposed to boxed cake mix myself, I have come to realize that it doesn’t really matter if your cake is homemade or not. What matters is the frosting. And you most definitely want homemade frosting.


This is convenient, as making homemade frosting is much quicker than making a homemade cake. That being said, below is an easy chocolate frosting recipe that is not only delicious but requires little effort and ingredients:

What You Will Need:

3 cups confectioner’s sugar

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa

1 stick butter, softened

3-4 tablespoons heavy cream (or however much you need to achieve desired consistency)

1 teaspoon vanilla

Directions:

  1. Sift sugar and cocoa together.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine 1 cup of sugar mixture with butter and 1 tablespoon of cream. Beat until smooth.
  3. Keep adding the sugar mixture cup by cup, with each accompanied by another tablespoon of cream.
  4. Continue until all ingredients are combined and frosting is fluffy.
  5. Mix in vanilla.
  6. Frost your cake!

If the requirement for heavy cream isn’t enough indication that this recipe is delicious, take my word for it!

And if you find yourself in a situation that calls for packaged cakes, don’t fret. Simply enhance it with homemade frosting.

IMG_1127

Easter Bunny Cake

Food, Holiday

Out of all the shaped and festive cakes you could make for various holidays, this is probably the absolute easiest. I first tried making this Easter bunny cake last year and cannot stress how incredibly simple it was to make and assemble.

So if you are looking to create a simple (but adorable) holiday goody, you have come to the right place!

Cake:

While I chose to make a carrot cake (for obvious reasons) you can essentially use any cake with a spongy consistency. This means using a cake that is moist as opposed to crumbly so that it won’t fall apart when you cut it into shapes.

If you are a box-cake kind of person, that’s totally OK! Cakes made from baking mixes tend to be quite moist and should hold up when you are slicing into it.

Bake the cake in 2 nine-inch pans. Leave one of the circles in tact and cut the other into three pieces to make the bow tie and bunny ears.bunny-cutout-cake-template

Frosting:

Last year I used canned cream cheese frosting for lack of time, and the cake was no worse for it. This year however, I plan on making my own frosting. This recipe looks promising.

Decoration:

Adorn the bunny’s face using colored frosting, candy or whatever strikes your fancy! I also used sprinkled nutmeg to add texture.

Easter Bunny Cake

So there you have it: simplest shaped cake in the world. I hope everyone has a happy Easter and that it is filled with delicious foods and sweets!

(This year’s cake:)

This year's #cake. Hoppy #Easter!

A post shared by Emilee Smith (@emileejaysmith) on