Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Chocolate Sprinkle Thumbprint Cookies

Rarely do I make a cookie that looks like this. Very rarely do I make a cookie that I continually calls my name back to the kitchen to eat them. This cookie does that. It combines some of my favorite things, cookies, frosting, and sprinkles. What's not to love?

The cookie it's self goes together rather quickly, more of a short bread. It's then rolled into some chocolate sprinkles or whatever color sprinkle you happen to have on hand. I gave the sprinkle rolling job to Rigby, she enjoyed pressing her thumb into cookie. Then the cookies are baked, cooled, and topped with chocolate frosting. Then they are tasted, perhaps shared with the person that helped you bake them, perhaps not. I promise you this, if you make them on a holiday or weekend, or for someone else, the calories don't count!

Chocolate Sprinkle Tumbprint Cookies

2½ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Chocolate sprinkles
Chocolate Icing:
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1½ cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
4 tablespoons whole milk
½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Pour the chocolate sprinkles into a small bowl; set aside.

Using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream together the butter, powdered sugar and vanilla extract until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour and salt. Once it is mostly incorporated, slowly increase the speed back to medium-high and beat for another minute or so until a dough forms. My dough was a little dry and crumbly, so I added just enough water to form a ball

Scoop out a tablespoon of dough, (I used a small ice cream scoop for this) roll it into a ball, and then roll it in the chocolate sprinkles and place it on the baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough, spacing cookies about 1½ inches apart on the baking sheet. Make a slight indentation with your thumb on the tops of all the cookies. Bake for 10 minutes, then make a deeper indentation in the middle, and bake for an additional 8 minutes. The cookies should not brown much at all around the edges. Transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.

Make the chocolate icing for the filling. Beat the butter with an electric mixer on medium-high speed for 2 to 3 minutes, or until light and creamy. Reduce speed to low, add the powdered sugar and cocoa powder and mix until combined, then increase the speed to medium and beat until smooth. Add the milk and the vanilla extract and beat until light and fluffy. Add more powdered sugar or milk to achieve the desired consistency.

Once the cookies are cool, pipe some frosting into the middle of each cookie. Leftovers can be stored at room temperature for up to 5 days.

Source: Brown Eyed Baker

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Chicken Cacciatore Soup

Last we had some friends over for dinner. Normally when someone is coming for dinner, I know exactly what I'm making way in advance, but this time around ...... I spent part of Monday looking at cooking magazines and websites searching for inspiration, nothing. I read cook books, nothing.  Monday night as I layed in bed watching The Family Guy, I thought Pasties and some kind of soup. Hubby came home he thought it sounded good.  So yesterday morning as I sat enjoying my Pumpkin Spice Latte and once again looking at cook books, I came across the recipe for Chicken Cacciatore Soup.

Instead of using precooked chicken (of which I didn't have or store bought stock) I boiled a chicken and made my own stock.  Anyway the soup was delicious and it tasted like chicken cacciatore, except in a soup form.  Served with a side of warm Pretzel Bread, it was the perfect meal.

Chicken Cacciatore Soup

  • 2 medium leeks, sliced white portions only
  • 8 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • olive oil
  • 6 - 8 cups chicken broth
  • 1 whole chicken, boiled, skin and bones removed, chopped
  • 2 (14 1/2 ounce) diced tomatoes with basil, garlic, and oregano, undrained
  • 1 medium zucchini, quartered lengthwise and sliced
  • 1 medium green, yellow, and red pepper, chopped
  • 1 cup uncooked bow tie pasta
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced

In a large sauce pan, saute mushrooms, garlic, and leeks in olive oil until tender.  Stir in the broth, chicken, tomatoes, zucchini, peppers, pasta, thyme, and ground pepper.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 15-20 minutes or until vegetables and pasta are tender.

Adapted from Taste of Home

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Almond Joy Layer Cake

This week has been pretty interesting. On Thursday hubby and I started taking a three part wine course. The first class was wine 101, how wine's made, the types of wines, home wine making, etc. The next class is touring a vineyard and some wine tasting and the last class is food and wine pairings. I'm not sure what I expected out of the class, but we did find another wine that we love.  Beaujolais- Villages Louis Jadot 2009. A lovely red burgundy, we shared a bottle with a friend on Friday night and the wine was delightfully smooth. It was worth the 30 minute drive to get a bottle.

For dessert Friday night I made an Almond Joy Layer Cake. Guess what it tastes like? Almond Joy, go figure.  I was concerned with about the cake being to dry, as I somehow forgot to put the coconut in the cake and the texture of the batter was similar to that of a brownie. But it turned out just fine. After the cakes cooled {I was out buying wine while this part was happening} I split the layers in half and started to fill the cake with a delicious coconut and sliced almond filling.  {Burned the first batch of almonds when I forgot them in the oven}  The cake is then wrapped with plastic wrapped and refrigerated until completely set. The cake is then iced and sprinkled with remaining almonds and served. This is one of those cakes that a glass of milk or a good cup of coffee is needed to off set the sweetness.  

Almond Joy Layer Cake

  • 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1 stick of butter, cut into pieces
  • 3 ounces semisweet chocolate
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 cup packed coconut
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups sliced almonds
  • 3/4 cup cream
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 3 cups packed coconut
  • 2 1/4 cups heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup confectioners sugar
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Prepare 2 8 inch round baking pans and set aside.

In a medium saucepan, bring 2/3 cup water to a boil.  Whisk in cocoa powder until smooth.  Whisk in butter and chocolate over low heat until melted, about 2 minutes.  Remove from the heat and stir in the sugar, vanilla, and salt.  Whisk in eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.  In a large bowl stir together, flour, baking soda, and baking powder.  Gradually stir in the chocolate mixture until smooth.  Stir in 1 cup packed coconut.  Divide batter between the two pans and bake in the lower 1/3 of the oven for 30-35 minutes.  Let cool in pans on racks for 10 minutes and then remove cakes from pans and cool on racks.

While the cake cools, spread the almonds on a rimmed sheet and toast for 12 minutes; let cool.

In a saucepan combine heavy cream, sugar, pinch of salt, and vanilla.  Simmer over medium heat until sugar has dissolved.  Remove from heat and stir in 3 cups of packed coconut and 1 1/2 cups of sliced almonds.

Split the layers to make 4 layers.  Spread 1 cup of coconut filling on first layer, top with second cake, and repeat, finishing with just cake as the top layer.  Wrap with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator to allow filling to set.

Beat the heavy cream with confectioners' sugar and frost the cake. Sprinkle top of cake with remaining almonds.