Thursday, December 29, 2011

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Sugar Cookies

Merry Christmas! In need of a dependable sugar cookie recipe? Give this a try. I made the dough two weeks ago and kept it in the fridge. The dough freezes well, too. For the frosting, I just used a tub of Duncan Hines vanilla frosting to save some time. If you would like to make your own, whisk together one 16 ounce box of powdered sugar with 2 teaspoons of light corn syrup and 1/8 teaspoon vanilla (may need w a couple of teaspoons of water to thin it out).
Ingredients
3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tablespoon milk
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla


Instructions
In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
Cream butter for three minutes until well softened and creamy. Add in sugar and mix well. Stir in egg, milk, and vanilla.
Gradually mix in the flour mixture.
Refrigerate dough for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Roll out dough and cut into shapes and place on a ungreased baking sheet. Or drop flattened tablespoonfuls of dough onto the baking sheet.
Bake for 10 minutes until slightly browned on the edges. Cool completely on a wire rack before decorating.
Yields 2 dozen

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies

I recently found Nestle dark chocolate chips at the grocery store, and the recipe on the back of the bag for Jumbo Dark Chocolate Cookies sounded great. I refrigerated the dough for a couple of days before baking, perfect for the busy holiday season. I also made the cookies half the size recommended (yielded 24 instead of the 12 listed on the recipe).

Ingredients
1 10 ounce package (about 1 2/3 cups) of dark chocolate chips, divided
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup baking cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup margarine, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 

Instructions
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Melt 2/3 cup of the dark chocolate morsels in a microwave safe bowl, stirring frequently. Set aside.
In a small bowl, mixed together the flour, baking cocoa, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
Cream together margarine and sugars until well-blended. Mix in vanilla and egg. Stir in melted chocolate.
Gradually stir in the flour mixture until just combined. Fold in the 1 cup of remaining dark chocolate chips.
Drop 1/4 cup balls of dough onto baking sheets. Bake for 16 to 18 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet before moving to a wire rack to cool completely.
Yields 12 jumbo cookies.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Andes Mint Cookies

I promise this is my last mint cookie recipe for a while! I saw Andes Baking Chips at the grocery store last week and just had to try them. I just followed the recipe on the back of the bag, and it worked great.
For more mint flavor, you can add a 1/2 teaspoon of mint extract. I halved the recipe, used unsalted butter, and only chilled the dough for 15 minutes.


Ingredients
1/2 cup salted butter - softened
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup white granulated sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 package (10 oz.) Andes® Crème de Menthe Baking Chips
2-2/3 cups sifted all-purpose flour


Instructions
Preheat oven to 350° F.
Blend butter, sugars, baking soda, baking powder, vanilla and eggs until mixed.
Stir in Andes Baking Chips and then flour. Chill approximately one hour in the refrigerator.
Measure out approximately 1 oz. of dough. Form a ball and slightly flatten.
Bake at 350° F for approximately 8 - 10 minutes. Cool on pans for two minutes before removing.


Yields 4 dozen.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Holiday Gift Guide

The holidays are on their way! Can you believe that 2011 is coming to a close? This has been quite a year, and we are not even done yet. To make your holiday shopping a little easier, below is a list of the top places to order cookies for your family and friends (or perhaps even yourself!).
Aunt Joy's Cakes- great cookies, friendly staff, phone orders during limited hours only, basic packaging


David's Cookies- easy ordering, delicious cookies, cookies arrive in a tin


Fairytale Brownies- easiest ordering, wide variety of flavors, cookies wrapped in pairs inside decorative boxes


The Cravory- best cookies on the list, cookies wrapped in pairs in festive boxes, able to create customized cookies


Gecko Cookies- wide variety of treats, extremely friendly and helpful staff, limited ordering hours


Cooperstown Cookies- great for baseball fans, cute cookies and packaging, stick with shortbread

Monday, December 12, 2011

Double Chocolate Chunk Mint Cookies

To me chocolate and mint are synonymous with the holidays, so I was excited to try this recipe from McCormick using their peppermint extract. I used only 1/2 of the amount they recommended (definitely should have used all of the amount recommended), and it was easier to use 1 cup of chocolate chips instead of chopped chocolate. The resulting cookie was chewy, minty, and delicious. It makes me excited for Christmas!

Ingredients
1 cup flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
3 ounces semi-sweet baking chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Instructions
Preheat oven to 350°F. Mix flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt in medium bowl. Set aside. Beat butter and sugars in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs and extract; mix well. Gradually beat in flour mixture on low speed until well mixed. Stir in chocolate and walnuts. 
Drop by rounded tablespoons about 2 inches apart onto baking sheets sprayed with no stick cooking spray. 
Bake 8 to 10 minutes or just until cookies are set. Cool on baking sheets 2 minutes. Remove to wire racks; cool completely.
Yields 2 Dozen.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Geoff and Drews

Let me save you some trouble this holiday season. Skip ordering cookies from Geoff and Drews. I ordered the $20 celebration box containing 8 assorted cookies. The average sized cookies (individually wrapped) were nothing special. My box contained two chocolate chunk, two double fudge, two sugar, and two oatmeal cranberry. 

The sugar cookies were just average. The oatmeal cranberry we hearty and full of cranberries. While the chocolate chunk and double fudge were very good with lots of chocolate, they are not worth getting again. It was obvious Geoff and Drews uses fresh and high-quality ingredients, but even so, their cookies did not impress.


On a separate note, the order process online was simple, but while their website claims you can call to make an order, you can only leave a message and hope someone will call you back. Same goes for customer service assistance. They only ship Monday-Wednesday, so keep that in mind if you decide to order. Visit www.geoffanddrews.com for more details.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Peanut Butter Pretzel Cookies

I ate waaay too many of these cookies, but they were too delicious to stop eating! These chewy cookies paired well with the chocolatey, salty crunch of the pretzels. I liked bigger chunks of pretzels. I also added in a 1/2 cup of chocolate shavings to boost chocolate flavor and add more color to the cookie.

I have heard of a potato chip cookie. Have you ever tried it? This pretzel cookie combo makes me think it would be worth a try...




Ingredients
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2  cup peanut butter
1/4 cup butter or margarine, softened
1/4 cup shortening
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup chocolate covered pretzels, chopped 


Instructions
Preheat oven to 375°F. In large bowl, beat sugars, peanut butter, butter, shortening, vanilla and eggs until creamy. Stir in flour, baking powder and baking soda. Stir in pretzels.
Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls about 2 inches apart on a baking sheet.
Bake 10 minutes or until light brown.

Yields 2 dozen.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Dark Chocolate Mint Cookies

This indulgent treat is actually very easy to make. I melted dark chocolate in the microwave and added it before stirring in the mint chocolate chips. It produced a rich chocolate cookie that was very hard to stop eating!

Ingredients
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cocoa
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
1/4 cup melted dark chocolate
1 cup mint chocolate chips

Instructions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Combine flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add egg. Gradually beat in flour mixture.
In the microwave, melt dark chocolate. Stir into the cookie dough.
Stir in morsels. Drop by well-rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.
Bake for 11 to 13 minutes or until cookies are puffed and centers are set.
Yields 18 cookies.

Monday, November 28, 2011

North End- Mike's Pastry & Bova's Bakery

This Italian food mecca in Boston is THE place for Italian restaurants and groceries. I find it a lot easier to navigate and more friendly than New York's Little Italy, and the food is just as delicious. I can't stop eating even when I'm full! Desserts from Mike's Pastry and Bova's Bakery were no exception.

Everyone who lives in or who has visited Boston knows Mike's Pastry and their canolis. Any why wouldn't they? They're delicious and well known as the best in the city. Behind the canolis are their cookies! Of the butter cookies and giant bakery cookies, I selected the M&M cookie ($1.50). Soft and saucer-sized, it was full with M&Ms AND chocolate chips. I planned to share half of it, but ended up eating 3/4. They cookie was scrumptious (eaten the next day after the canoli- still remained very fresh), and I will be sure to get one next time I stop in for a canoli. Visit www.mikespastry.com for more details.


Bova's Bakery is off the beaten path. The cashier was chatting with a customer about the Red Sox game when we came in. It's definitely a true family run business. Cookies (mostly butter cookies) are by the pound. I tried four different kinds, and my total was $1.72. The chocolate walnut cookie (about 1 tablespoon in size) is a great after dinner treat and was my favorite. The chocolate chip lacked flavor. If you're not in the mood for chocolate, the crumbly butter cookies with sprinkles melt in your mouth. Visit http://bovabakeryboston.com for more details.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Quincy Market/Faneuil Hall

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I'm not baking cookies today, but here's another review from my trip to Boston...


What trip to Boston is complete without a stop at Quincy Market and Fanueil Hall? Two bakeries caught my eyes as I was going through the row of enticing flavors and smells. 


Kilvert & Forbes Bakeshop- Maggie's Sweets 



Their slogan under the chocolate chip cookie display read, "less butter, more chips". I don't know if they really used less butter (the cookie was chewy and just slightly sweet), but they sure used more chips! Delicious! I declare their Heath Cookie the best in Quincy Market. Super chewy with a great combination of toffee, chocolate chips, and white chocolate chips, this cookie had it all. Giant cookies are $3.50 each.


Carol Anns Bake Shop
After trying Maggie's Sweets, this was a disappointment. Oatmeal raisin, M&M, and chocolate chip varieties were available. I tried the small sized chocolate chip. It tasted like an average grocery store bakery cookie- too sweet, crispy on the edges and overly soft in the middle. Small cookies are $1 each. Large cookies are $3 each.



Do you have a favorite food in Quincy Market?

Monday, November 21, 2011

Gecko Cookies


With the holidays coming up (Watch in the coming weeks for a list of top cookies gifts!), I wanted to share an easy holiday gift option with you. Gecko Cookies makes all of their desserts fresh daily (made to order only) and has a super-friendly staff to help with suggestions.


When I created my own "Confection by the Dozen" box, I tried:
Butter Shortbread- light and slightly buttery and sweet
Chocolate Chip- very few chocolate chips, but a great brown sugar base, slightly crispy
Oatmeal Butterscotch Coconut- chewy and dense, somewhat salty base worked well with the sweet butterscotch chips- my favorite
Canyon Cookie- like a ranger cookie with chocolate chips, dried cherries, and coconut- the cherries were a little large for my liking, but overall a great cookie
Snickerdoodle- lots of cinnamon sugar, great cookie for kids
Peanut Butter- a somewhat sandy texture, but a balanced peanut butter flavor
Lemon Sugar- slight lemon flavor, crispy
Nutella Fudge Brownies- didn't taste nutella, but it was super fudgy 

Treats are $2.25 a piece. Their website (www.geckocookies.com) has a variety of lovely gift boxes, too.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Chocolate Graham Cookies

I have been on a graham cracker kick recently and wanted to find another way to eat them! This is a great chocolate cookie that doesn't overpower the graham crackers. Depending on how you prefer your graham crackers, you can crush/break them to the size of your choice. Mini chocolate chips would mix in nicely as well.

Ingredients
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cocoa
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 large egg
2 cups crushed graham crackers (not finely crushed)

Instructions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Combine flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add egg. Gradually beat in flour mixture. 
Stir graham crackers. Drop by well-rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.
Bake for 11 to 13 minutes or until cookies are puffed and centers are set.
Yields 18 cookies.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Cook's Farm

Copley Square in Boston is always busy (not the overwhelming annoying busy, but the always something interesting going on busy). Twice each week there are mini-farmer's markets. Mixed in with all of the flowers, bread, and fresh produce was the tent for Cook's Farm.  


Cookies, brownies, pies, jams, bread, and maple syrup heaven! With everything I had been eating, I controlled myself and just got one chocolate chip cookie (even though I could have purchased 3 for $5!)



The cookie was HUGE. Crispy and not overly sweet, it tasted like a traditional Toll-House recipe chocolate chip cookie. For it's great size, I was hoping it would be more magnificent. I enjoyed it though, since it tasted just like a jumbo version of my grandmother's chocolate chip cookies. (Even though it's just the recipe on the back of Nestle chocolate chips, I can't seem to make them taste just like hers. Do you have that problem with any of your family recipes?)



Cookies are $2.00 a piece. For more information, visit the Cook's Farm and Bakery website: http://cooksfarmandbakery.com/

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Oatmeal Chocolate Chunk

I am getting so hungry thinking of these cookies! They are chewy inside and crunch when you bite into them. They have just the right amount of chocolate, too, and are best eaten warm when the chocolate can ooze out. I had one of these two days after making them, and with 10 seconds in the microwave, they tasted just like they did when they came out of the oven. Do you prefer chewy or crunchy?


Ingredients
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick unsalted butter, cold – cut up
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 egg
1 cup chocolate chunks

1 cup rolled oats


Instructions
Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt, set aside.
Cream butter and sugars in large mixer bowl. Add egg and stir.
Gradually add flour mixture. Stir in oatmeal and chocolate chunks. Make large disks of dough (a little less than 1/4 cup each). Refrigerate for 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place dough on lined cookie sheets about 3 inches apart. Bake at 375 degrees for 12-14 minutes. 

Yields 8 cookies.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Peanut Butter Chip Cookies

Peanut butter and chocolate is such a classic combination, and there are so many directions to go when combining the two. In the past I have done, Peanut Butter Cup CookiesPeanut Chocolate Swirl Bars, and Chocolate Dipped Peanut Butter. Today I wanted a softer cookie and something with just a hint of peanut butter flavor. This was just right! 

Ingredients
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cocoa
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 large egg
1 1/2 cups peanut butter chips

Instructions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Combine flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add egg. Gradually beat in flour mixture. 
Stir in chips. Drop by well-rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.
Bake for 11 to 13 minutes or until cookies are puffed and centers are set.
Yields 18 cookies.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Coolidge Corner- Zaftigs & Party Favors

Coolidge Corner is a great area with a "Main Street USA" feel. One of our favorite restaurants (Boca Grande) is there, so we could make an afternoon of our visit. This time, we tried cookies from two spots:

Zaftigs had a line out the door when we walked by, so we figured this deli had to be good. Fortunately, there was no line for bakery take out! Saucer-sized cookies are just $1 each. Only sugar and chocolate chip are available, so of course, I selected chocolate chip. When the cashier pulled a cookie from the jar, she commented "they're soft today", so I'm wondering if there's an issue with consistency. This chewy cookie was certainly delicious and chocolatey, so I understand the cashier's excitement. With the sweet and chocolatey flavor, I would probably enjoy it if it were crispy, too. For more details, visit their website: http://www.zaftigs.com/.

Party Favors was just a party supply store when we lived there, but now they have expanded and sell cookies, cakes, and chocolates. Small seasonal cookies are available from $0.69 to $1.39 in all sorts of cute shapes. The fall leaf cookies were just gorgeous and tasted like a classic sugar cookie. Sold by the pound (2 cookies were $1.70) in a separate case, they had their year round flavors- sugar, chocolate chip, etc. From here, I tried the pistachio cookie and pina colada cookie. In the pistachio cookie, I tasted just a regular sugar cookie with green food coloring. There were a few pecan pieces (not pistachios!) mixed in. The pina colada cookie had a tropical taste with a little bit of coconut and a lot of sugar. Both cookies were very sugary, though. For more information, visit their website: http://www.partyfavorsbrookline.com/

Next time I'm in Coolidge Corner, I'll definitely stop at Zaftigs and skip cookies from Party Favors. 

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween! I hope you all are having a spooktacular day! While we are getting ready for a wave of trick-or-treaters, I've put together a list of my favorite candy cookies- perfect for leftover candy or any clearance candy you pick up tomorrow. Or, if you're like me and eat candy all year-round, you can enjoy these cookies throughout the year, too! Take a look at my posts from earlier this month for more ideas. 
Oatmeal Raisinettes Cookies

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Finale

I just got back from a great trip to my former hometown of Boston. I lived in the city for four years and loved it! Now that I am in Southern California, I really miss being able to walk or hop on the subway (locally known as the "T") to amazing restaurants and historical sites. I fell in love with the city (and met Mr. Sleuth while I was there!) and wouldn't trade my time there for anything (even the super cold weather)!



One of our favorite places to go when we lived in Boston was Finale. This incredible dessert restaurant has several locations in the city, but the Park Plaza location is definitely the best. For dine in, their molten chocolate cake is the best ever! They were on the bandwagon before everyone and their mother started serving molten cake. 

In their bakeshop, you can buy cookies, cupcakes, and mini desserts to go. Of course, I tried four of their cookies. At $1.99 each, they are not a big investment. The cookies are a little bigger than the average size you would make at home. 


Here's a quick recap of the cookies:
Triple Chocolate- Dense, rich, brownie-like cookie. It satisfies brownie and chocolate cravings but not a cookie craving.
Chocolate Chip- Favorite of the group- Instead of chocolate chips, this cookie had layers of chocolate. Yum!
Chocolate Chip Walnut- Traditional and buttery- This cookie had lots of chocolate chips and walnuts.
Snickerdoodle- Bread-like, lacks flavor. With all of the other great desserts Finale makes, it's hard to believe this came out of their kitchen. After two bites, I decided to save it for breakfast the next day.

I could go on forever about Finale, but I will spare you the dissertation. Email me or leave a comment if you have questions. Visit www.finaledesserts.com for more information.

Finale on Urbanspoon

Monday, October 24, 2011

Kit Kat Bar Cookies

Kit Kats are some of my favorite candies to have at Halloween! I always try to find the variety packs with dark, milk, and white chocolate bars. This time I've tried out another way to enjoy these delicious chocolate covered wafers. As an added bonus, these are easy to prepare! The cookie itself is soft, so it pairs with the chocolaty crispiness  of the Kit Kat well. I thought it needed a little more chocolate, so I added mini chocolate chips, too.
What's your favorite Halloween candy?


Ingredients

3 Tbsp margarine
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 egg
2/3 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
6 packages of "fun-sized" Kit Kats, broken into large chunks
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Instructions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a loaf pan with cooking spray.
Cream margarine and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg and mix.
Gradually fold in the flour and baking powder. Stir in chocolate chips.
Put half of the dough on the bottom of the loaf pan. Place Kit Kats in a layer on top of the dough. Spread remaining dough on top of the Kit Kats.
Bake for 15 minutes until lightly browned on top.
Yields 8 servings.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Rice Krispies Treats with Skittles

Here's the second Rice Krispies treat recipe I promised! If you like your cereal with a fruity twist, then this is the treat for you! It sounds odd, I know, but it is hard to go wrong with this combo. I liked the Skittles mixed in, but you can certainly make regular Rice Krispies treats and top them with Skittles instead.


Ingredients
1 Tbsp margarine
1 1/2 cups marshmallows
2 cups Rice Krispies cereal
1 fun sized package of Skittles


Instructions
Melt margarine and marshmallows in a sauce pan. When melted, remove from the heat and stir in cereal and Skittles. Press mixture into an 8x8 pan and allow to cool before cutting into squares.
Yields 16 squares.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Peanut Butter Rice Krispies Treats with Peanut M&Ms

With Halloween coming up, I've created two versions of Rice Krispies treats to use some of the extra candy you may have around. Watch for the other kind later this week. This version was addictive and tasted great warm and cooled. You could even mix in peanuts and chocolate chips in addition to the Peanut M&Ms if you'd like. 

Ingredients


1 Tbsp margarine
1 Tbsp creamy peanut butter
1 1/2 cups marshmallows
3 Tbsp ice cream topping (I used chocolate fudge Magic Shell)
2 cups Rice Krispies cereal
1 fun sized package of peanut M&Ms


Instructions
Melt margarine, peanut butter, and marshmallows in a sauce pan. When melted, remove from the heat and stir in cereal and ice cream topping. Press mixture into an 8x8 pan. Press peanut M&Ms on top and allow to cool before cutting into squares.
Yields 16 squares.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Aunt Joy's Cakes

Is it possible for two people to eat one pound of cookies in 24 hours? YES! I'm not proud, but Mr. Sleuth and I (mostly me) consumed a one pound bag of bite-sized chocolate chip cookies from Aunt Joy's Cakes in less than 24 hours. Thin and crispy, these delicious melt-in-your mouth morsels were slightly larger than a half dollar and made with lots of chocolate chips. Looking at the cookie, I was concerned about the chocolate chip to cookie ratio (too many chocolate chips, I feared), but it was just perfect.


Aunt Joy's offers a variety of cookies, cakes and other treats. One pound of the bite-sized chocolate chip cookies is $16. Delivery and shipping charges vary. Pick up times are limited to Monday-Friday 8am to 4pm (my only complaint). For ordering information, visit their website http://www.auntjoyscakes.com/ or call 818-845-4326.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Coconut M&M Cookies

Have you tried the new Coconut M&Ms? I must admit I was a bit disappointed with them since there wasn't much coconut flavor. I decided to use them for some coconut chocolate cookies instead! 

This recipe produces a chewy, brownie-like chocolate cookie. The M&Ms add a nice crunch. Since the coconut M&Ms are larger than the average M&M, I topped the cookies with them. If you prefer them mixed it, give them a rough chop first. The cookies would taste great either way!


Ingredients
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cocoa
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1 package coconut M&Ms


Instructions
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Combine flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add egg, Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in coconut. Drop by well-rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets. Top each cookie with two M&Ms.
Bake for 11 to 13 minutes or until cookies are puffed and set.
Yields 18 cookies.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Almond Joy Cookies

In celebration of Halloween coming up, I made a cookie version of one of my favorite candies- Almond Joy (I have a lot of favorite candies!). These cookies are deliciously soft and chewy. I used whole almonds to top the cookies, but next time I will try sliced almonds so the crunch is less harsh.


Now, to be fair, I haven't always been a fan of Almond Joy and would be disappointed when it showed up in my Halloween candy bucket. I feel like Almond Joy is more of an adult candy, so I won't be plaguing the neighborhood kids with it. What treats are you handing out this Halloween?

Ingredients
1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoons unsalted butter or margarine
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
1/3 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup shredded coconut
48 almonds

Instructions
Preheat oven to 350 F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a microwave safe bowl, combine the chocolate chips with the butter. Heat in microwave until almost melted.
In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.
In a large bowl, beat egg and brown sugar together until the mixture is light and fluffy. Gradually add the melted chocolate and mix until well-combined. Fold in dry ingredients until just combined. Fold in coconut.
Refrigerate the dough for 15 minutes.
Drop rounded tablespoons two inches apart on the lined baking sheets. 
Bake for 12-15 minutes. When removing the cookies from the oven, immediately press two almonds into the top of each cookie.
Cool cookies completely on a wire rack before enjoying.
Yields 2 dozen cookies.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Patagonia

After a delicious lunch at BGR (try their veggie burger!) at the Miracle Mile in Coral Gables, I made a stop at Patagonia, a neat little cafe/shop specializing in delicacies from Argentina, including bite-sized treats!

After trying my three selections from the case, I think a trip to Argentina may be in order! I had an almond cookie and two versions of alfajores (dulce de leche spread between two shortbread cookies and then dipped in chocolate). The almond cookie was grainy and forgettable. The alfajores were spectaclar! Be on the lookout for a make at home version. Version 1 was the size of a jumbo marshmallow. Two thin, soft shortbread cookies held a 3/4 inch layer of dulce de leche. The entire sandwich was drenched in chocolate. Version 2 had significantly more cookie (shell shaped sugary butter cookies) with just a thin layer (hardly visible) of dulce de leche filling. About a quarter of the cookie was dipped in chocolate. Version 2 was more to my taste plus it was a lot easier to eat!

Desserts from their case are sold by the pound. My three items were $2.44 with tax. For details on their menu and three Florida locations, visit www.patagoniausa.net.
Have you ever had alfajores?