Monday, December 2, 2013

Chocolate Peppermint Cookies

Chocolate Peppermint Cookies

I needed chocolate to offset all the turkey and dressing leftovers I’ve been eating for the last few days so I made some quick cookies on Sunday.

Cookies chocked full of chocolate …

White Chocolate Peppermint M&M's

… and peppermint M&M’s.

White Chocolate Peppermint M&M's

I blame Target and their huge end cap seasonal Christmas candy displays for these cookies. I was shopping with my mom and walked right past these until she pointed out they were white chocolate inside.

White Chocolate Peppermint Cookies

Yes. White chocolate peppermint M&M’s. Yum.

Cookie Ingredients

So naturally, I had to buy a couple of bags. Some to snack on and some to bake with. And some to snack on while I’m baking.

Plus, it never hurts to have white M&M’s on hand for random decorating.

Mixing Cookie Dough

I used dark cocoa for the chocolate in these cookies but you can use regular, too.

Chocolate and M&M's

Spoon please.

Baking Cookies

Roll the dough into balls and bake.

I like to reserve some of the chips and candies to press into the balls after they are rolled so the chips aren’t all hidden inside the cookie.

It helps them look prettier and more pepperminty this way after they are baked.

Warm Peppermint Cookies

Not that any looks would stop me from warm, soft cookies. Big bites right out of the oven are always a must.

Dark Chocolate Peppermint Cookies

Servings: 2 dozen cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup natural unsweetened cocoa (I used Hershey’s Special Dark if you can find)
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons instant coffee crystals
  • 1/2 cup butter, slightly softened
  • 1 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup white chocolate peppermint M&M’s
  • 1 cup bittersweet chocolate morsels

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Mix flour, cocoa, soda, salt and coffee crystals in a medium bowl using a wire whisk. Set aside.
  3. Cream butter and sugar.
  4. Add eggs and vanilla and mix until combined.
  5. Add flour mixture to creamed butter and mix until combined.
  6. Stir in M&M’s and chocolate chips and then chill dough for about 30 minutes.
  7. Roll into balls. (Note: reserve a few chocolate chips and candies to press into the tops of the dough just before baking.)
  8. Bake for about 10-12 minutes or until done. Cool and eat.
Source: Bakerella.com

Dark Chocolate Peppermint Cookies

Enjoy these “I can’t eat any more turkey” treats!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Hay There!

Scarecrow Cake Pops by Bakerella

I just had to get these in before Christmas sets in. It’s still Fall after all. And I thought these Scarecrow Cake Pops would be a fun Thanksgiving alternate to my Turkey Pops.

Candy mold

First up. Scarecrows need hats. You know, to hold their hay hair in place. Rolos can work. Reese’s peanut butter cups, too. But I didn’t have any in the house so I made my own with a handy silicone candy mold. Fill the cavities with chocolate and tap the mold on the counter to make solid pieces.

Candy Cups

Or, just coat the sides. You can fill the cups and then turn them upside down and tap out the excess or you can brush the chocolate on the sides of the molds. I like this hollow version better because the shape rests on top of the cake pop nicely cupping the curve of the pop so it looks more natural. The solid version sticks up higher.

Dipping pops

Dip your cake pops in tan-tinted coating. I used white wafers with a little brown and orange too. But only because I had the orange out to use later.

Note: Here’s the full cake pop how-to here if you haven’t made any yet.

Cake Pops

Right after you dip the pop, rest the hat on top. Press gently to secure and then let dry.

Shredded Wheat

Ahhh. Now for the hair. The hay. The shredded wheat. Yes, we’re talking cereal. Perfect for tiny scarecrows to look their best.

Scarecrow Pops

To attach the hay, apply some melted coating to the pop and sprinkle or press into position in a messy, haphazard way. Do the sides first and then the bangs and let dry. Try to get the top of the bangs to attach flat against the pop. They can stick out all they want in front though.

Then use a toothpick dipped in chocolate coating or a squeeze bottle filled with coating and draw a brim over the bangs. You can try to make it straight or make it floppy looking. Floppy is easier since the bangs aren’t super smooth.

Scarecrow Pops

For the faces, draw on the noses with orange melted coating and a toothpick. Attach black confetti sprinkles for eyes and draw on stitched smiles with a black Americolor Gourmet Writing Pen.

Attach a couple of jumbo leaf sprinkles and then your scarecrows are ready to scare … absolutely no one. They’re just too cute.

sprinkles

You can also take them up a notch if you want. And I want. Because these scarecrows need to look a little more stuffed. Add a lifesaver collar and attach more “hay” with some melted coating.

And then there’s black coated sunflower seeds.

You know where I’m going with these …

Scarecrow Cake Pops

That’s right … little black crows with dotted candy coating beaks and eyes.

Scarecrow Cake Pops

Yep. Definitely not being taken seriously at all here. I guess they’re just too sweet to scare.

Hope you guys enjoy them!

Hugs and happy Fall y’all!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Wrapped and Ready

Cake Pops Holidays Wrapping Paper

Have you guys started getting ready for the holidays yet? For the last few years, I’ve waited until the last minute, but this year I’m trying to get ahead of the game and wrap some gifts that I already know I’ll be giving.

Cake Pops Holidays Books

My Holidays book is a good way to start. And I wanted to wrap them in a cute, quick and totally customizable way. So I’m working with Zazzle.com to create fun, custom cards and packaging. You can upload your own photographs or artwork to their site to make endless types of unique gifts from shirts and phone cases to lunch boxes and lamps. Lots of stuff.

Cake Pops Cards

I stayed with paper products though and made something special for the holidays. I used some of my photographs from the book to create illustrated versions of my cake pops, so the whole gift could be one cute coordinating package.

I started with cards, but soon stumbled onto stamps!

Cake Pops Stamps

Ack! Have you ever made your own stamps? This is such a cool extra touch that makes mailing something more special.

The only problem is they are so cute I don’t know if I can stand to send them away. I think I’m going to just have to order more to keep for myself.

Custom Cake Pops Stickers

I also made these sweet stickers in pink and green… because, as usual I couldn’t decide on just one color to stick with.

But let me show you my favorite new thing to make.

IMG_6324

Wrapping Paper!!!!

Custom Cake Pops Wrapping Paper

Yes, rolled wrapping paper. You can get so creative with this for special occasions. Birthdays, anniversaries, the holidays, of course. I can’t wait to make more.

Okay, let’s get wrapping!

Cake Pops Lollipop Sticks

Oh yeah, I’m popping a few sticks inside the box with my book, so I relabeled them to match the packaging.

Packaged

Wrap in tissue, stuff with some coordinating paper filler and then seal with a sticker.

Cake Pops Wrapping Paper

Add a coordinating bow and it’s wrapped and ready!

Yay! One present down.

Cake Pops Frosty Friends

And here’s a few more. Pink wrapping paper for these adorable little Frosty Friends Mini Kits.

I’m thinking stocking stuffers.

Cake Pops Stamped Envelope

Now, who should I send some to?

Cake Pops Custom Packaging

I thought I’d give away three gift sets if you’d want to get ahead of the game this holiday too and let me wrap a present for you.

Enter for a chance to win one of three (3) Cake Pops Gift Sets that includes a signed Cake Pops Holidays Book with lollipop sticks and a Frosty Friends Mini Kit all wrapped in cute custom paper.

  • To enter, just leave a comment on the blog and tell me if you’d rather have pink or green wrapped presents. Or if you can’t decide, then just share what kind of wrapping paper you’d like to make one day.
  • Deadline to enter is Thursday, November 14, 2013 at 6:00 p.m. ET. Sorry, Time’s Up! Winners announced below.
  • Three (3) winners will be chosen at random and announced sometime Thursday evening.

P.S. Two new December Book Signings! - I’m happy to share that I’m making up the Cake Pops Holidays book signing from last year that was cancelled in New Jersey due to Superstorm Sandy. And I have a new one in my home state of Georgia. I hope you can make it if you live nearby.

Good Luck on the Giveaway!

 

Holidays are made for you at Zazzle. Find gifts they’ll love at Zazzle.

 

Okay guys, we have three winners. Joanna McC, Jenn and Sophie! I hope you enjoy your holiday gifts.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Give Books this Holiday!

#GiveBooks

I’m hosting a fun giveaway today from my publisher, Chronicle Books. Last year they launched a GIVE BOOKS holiday campaign to encourage people to share the love of books during the holiday season, to support local bookstores and to help promote literacy. And I’m excited that they are doing it again this year. But this year they are doing it bigger. Giving bigger. They’ve joined forces with First Book, a non-profit organization that provides access to new books for children in need. And for every #GiveBooks tweet, pin, and online pledge, Chronicle Books will donate a children’s book to First Book.

Here’s how you can help them reach their goal of giving 10,000 books this holiday with a simple tweet, pin or pledge.

#GiveBooks this Holiday

And now let me show you ten books I picked out from Chronicle that I want to give this holiday. They’re cookbooks of course. Sweet ones.

Top Pot Doughnuts

Top Pot Hand-forged Doughnuts
Secrets for the Home Baker

 

Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey

Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey
Desserts for the Serious Sweet Tooth! Every one of the recipes in this book are calling my name.

 

Cake Pops Holidays by Bakerella

Cake Pops Holidays
Hmmm… this one looks familiar. I couldn’t resist : )

 

Pretzel Making

Pretzel Making at Home
Make your own crunchy, chewy, savory or sweet artisan pretzels. Fried Pretzels with Cinnamon Sugar? Why yes.

 

Hand-crafted Candy Bars

Hand-crafted Candy Bars
From-Scratch, All-Natural, Gloriously Grown-Up Confections

 

Snoopy and Friends Cupcake Kit

Snoopy and Friends Cupcake Kit
Okay, this isn’t a cookbook but you do get to make cupcakes. That counts, right. Besides … it’s Snoopy with adorable liners and flag toppers. Chronicle has the cutest gift items too.

 

Flour, too

Flour, too
Joanne Chang shares recipes for her Café’s most loved sweets and savories.

 

Tarting Book No 3

Tartine Book No. 3
This soon-to-be-released cookbook is third in a series of collectible titles from Tartine Bakery & Cafe in San Francisco. We’re talking bread baking and pastry making.

 

The Model Bakery

The Model Bakery Cookbook
Sensational artisan baked goods including Peach Streusal Pie, Brandied Pumpkin Pie, Amber Ale Bread and their famous english muffins that I can’t wait to try.

 

The Little Kitchen in Paris

The Little Paris Kitchen
Rachel Khoo shares simple, classic French recipes in her cookbook that’s just as charming as she is. Plus there’s French desserts. Win! Win!

 

#GiveBooks

Speaking of win. How would you like to win these 10 awesome books? I’m giving them away to one lucky reader and it might be you.

To enter for a chance to win all ten:

  • Leave a comment on the blog post and tell me which of these books sounds fun to give or which one you’d like to get the most.
  • Deadline to enter is 8:00 pm ET on Saturday, November 9th, 2013. Sorry, time’s up. Winner announced below.
  • One winner will be chosen at random and announced sometime Sunday… just in time to receive them for the holidays.

Good luck and of course, I hope you can help #GiveBooks to children this holiday.

P.S. – Receive 30% off + free shipping at ChronicleBooks.com (*excluding personalized products). Promo code GIVEBOOKS (valid through 12/31/13).

 

Okay – time to announce the winner! And time to give away a bunch of sweet books. Congratulations Katie Z!!!

#GiveBooks

Cute kitty cat illustration by Gemma Correll.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Butterscotch Apple Mini Galettes

Butterscotch Apple Galettes

We’re talking personal pies. Flat little freeform pies that are full of charm. They’re casual and fancy at the same time. And you can make them with all kinds of fillings. But today we are all about apples bathed in butterscotch. I’m not complaining.

Bountiful

The recipe for these is from my friends, Todd and Diane’s new cookbook, Bountiful. The recipes inside are inspired by the things they grow in their garden. It’s an absolutely beautiful book, but that’s a given with these two. They are amazing photographers and videographers. You may remember that I worked with them last year on a fun little holiday video. But, If you aren’t familiar, check out the White on Rice Couple Blog for more of their beautiful recipes.

Okay … Galettes! Let’s go.

Butterscotch sauce ingredients

Butterscotch sauce ingredients: sugars, butter, heavy cream, vanilla, scotch and salt. P.S. Yay for heavy cream and brown sugar.

Butterscotch sauce

Because it all comes together to make glorious butterscotch sauce.

A little scotch

And you can kick it up a notch with a little scotch. Like my airline size bottle? If I bought anything bigger, it would most likely just go to waste.

Filling ingredients

Filling ingredients: Apples, apples, apples and a little sugar, flour and lemon juice.

Sliced apples

Peel, core and slice those babies so they are nice and thin.

Pie crust ingredients

Then we’re on to the pie crust.

Pie dough

Prepare the dough and divide into four small discs.

Pie circles

Roll it out into an 8 inch circle. Use a cake pan pressed in the dough as a guide if you want a more perfects. Then just cut off the excess.

Butterscotch sauce

Fill the center with apples and spoon on the sauce.

IMG_6094

Then just fold the edges, creasing as you go and bake until golden brown.

Apple Galettes

And dress them up a little bit if you want, too. I used these cute little leaf pie crust cutters I found at Williams-Sonoma.

Butterscotch-Apple Mini Galettes

Servings: 4 mini galettes

Ingredients

Butterscotch

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1-2 tablespoons Scotch or Whiskey
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Filling

  • 1 1/2 pounds apples, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

Crust

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 3 tablespoons ice water
  • heavy cream for brushing on crusts

Instructions

For the butterscotch:

  1. In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium-low heat. Before butter is completely melted, stir in both the sugars. Gently cook stirring occasionally for about five minutes, until the sugars transform from grainy to smooth.
  2. Add the cream and whisk until completely combined. Increase the heat to medium and cook for 8 more minutes, whisking occasionally. Let cool for 10 minutes. Then stir in vanilla, salt and whiskey. Set aside.

For the filling:

  1. In a bowl, combine the sugar, flour and lemon juice. Add the sliced apples and toss together until mixed evenly. Set aside. Preheat oven to 425 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

For the crust:

  1. In a medium bowl, use your fingertips to pinch together the flour, butter, salt and sugar until the mixture is crumbly. Make sure any large pieces of butter are flattened or broken apart.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk egg yolks with ice water until combined. Add yolks to the flour mixture and incorporate until the flour binds together and forms a rough ball, kneading if necessary.
  3. Divide dough into four equal pieces, flatten into disks and place in the freezer for 5-10 minutes to firm up.
  4. Roll out dough into an 8-inch circle on a lightly floured work surface. Use a cake pan as a guide to cut a more perfect circle. Then transfer disk to one of the prepared pans. Pile apples in center of disk about 5 inches and wide and three layers deep in apples. Pour a couple of spoonfuls of butterscotch sauce over apples and spread evenly. Then fold dough up and over apples, creasing every inch or so. Repeat with three remaining dough disks. Brush crusts with a little heavy cream.
  5. Bake for 20 minutes. Rotate sheet pans and reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees and continue baking for 15-20 more minutes or until crusts are golden brown. Note: I forgot and baked them at 350 the whole time and they were fine that way, too.
Source: © 2013 Bountiful by Todd Porter and Diane Cu

Butterscotch Apple Galette

Now normally I would lather something like this up with ice cream because you know fruit isn’t my first choice in a dessert, but after the first bite – oh my…so good – it didn’t need anything else.

Hope you enjoy and don’t forget to check out Bountiful. It’s beautiful.

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