Monday, April 30, 2012

Dare Maple Creme Cookies

I do enjoy maple every now and then. While I don't crave it, once I have some, it's hard to stop eating! That was the "problem" with these Dare Maple Creme Cookies that I found in a nearby specialty grocery store. The maple flavor isn't overly strong since only the filling is maple flavored. It's also not artificial tasting at all. If you can find them at your local store, definitely give them a try. I'm looking forward to testing out the lemon flavor. If you cannot find them, you can purchase in bulk from Amazon

For those of you now in a maple mood, I made a maple buttercream frosting for a recent birthday party. It was very sweet, and the maple flavor intensified overnight. The sweet frosting paired nicely with yellow cake from a boxed mix. I took a basic buttercream recipe (1/2 cup softened butter, 4 cups confectioner's sugar, 2 Tablespoons milk) and started by adding two tablespoons of maple syrup. From here taste test until you have your preferred amount of maple intensity, keeping in mind the flavor will get stronger as it sits.

Do you have any maple recipes to share? 

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Banana Chocolate Cookie Bars

The combination of banana, peanut butter, and chocolate is one of my favorite. Writing about it right now makes me hungry and very disappointed I just finished the last of these bars I made earlier this week. This recipe combines everything in one delicious bite- chocolate cookie base with a more banana bread like layer on top. I really liked the banana layer, so next time I will divide the dough so I have 1/3 for the chocolate cookie base and 2/3 for the banana layer. I added the peanut butter chips to the banana layer only, but the chocolate base could benefit for their extra flavor and texture.

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

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a loaf pan with cooking spray.
In a small bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Cream together the butter with the sugars. Add vanilla extract and the egg.
Split dough in half. To one half, add the mashed banana and peanut butter chips. To the other half, add the cocoa powder. Put the chocolate dough in the bottom of a loaf pan and put the banana dough on top.
Bake for 20 minute. Cool completely before serving.
Yields 12 servings.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Vanilla Wafers

I've had this recipe from Food Network's Alton Brown in my "try soon" folder for the longest time. It was so easy to make that I don't know why I didn't sooner! The vanilla flavor was excellent, and the texture was soft instead of crispy like the Nabisco Nilla Wafers. The recipe really does indeed make 70 small vanilla wafers. I'm saving the extra for banana pudding. Yum!
Note- To make vanilla sugar, stick a couple of vanilla beans in regular sugar. Regular sugar works fine in this recipe, too!

7 ounces all-purpose flour (about 1 1/2 cups)
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 ounces unsalted butter room temperature (1 stick)
3 1/2 ounces vanilla sugar (about 1/2 cup)
1 large egg
4 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon whole milk 

Position 1 oven rack in the top third of the oven and another in the bottom third. Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl and set aside. Cream the butter and vanilla sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer on medium speed for 2 minutes, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl after 1 minute. Add the egg and incorporate on medium speed for 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the mixer bowl. Add the vanilla extract and milk and blend on low speed for 15 seconds. Add the flour mixture and mix on low speed just to incorporate. Chill the batter in the refrigerator for at least 10 minutes before scooping.
Scoop the batter in teaspoon-sized balls and arrange them on 2 parchment paper-lined half sheet pans, approximately 35 cookies per pan. Use the heel of your hand to slightly flatten each ball. Bake, 2 pans at a time, rotating the pans halfway through the baking, until golden brown, about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the pans to a cooling rack to cool completely before removing the cookies from the pan.
Yields 70 wafers.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Flourless Chocolate Cookies

I came across this delicious sounding recipe on the kumquat blog, and the resulting cookies were every bit as delicious as I expected. I did cut this recipe in half, but the cookies were gone in one and a half days! Their strong chocolate flavor and chewy texture were amazing. I should have made the whole batch! They are so fast to make that it will be easy to make more.

3 cups powdered sugar 
2/3 cup cocoa powder 
1/4 teaspoon salt 
1 1/4 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips 
4 large egg whites 
2 teaspoons vanilla 


Preheat oven to 350.
Combine powdered sugar, cocoa powder, salt, and chocolate chips in a medium bowl. Add egg whites and vanilla; stir until well-combined.
Spoon batter onto parchment-lined baking sheets in 2 tablespoon mounds or a 1 1/2-inch cookie scoop. Bake at 350` for 14 minutes or until tops are cracked and glossy, and edges look done. Cool slightly; remove to cooling rack to cool completely.
Yields 2 dozen.

Monday, April 16, 2012


A couple of weekends ago I had a fabulous visit to Disneyland! As the Cookie Sleuth, I am always on the lookout for great cookies, so my day at Disneyland was not only a day of fun but also a day of investigation!
The great thing is you can get the best cookies Disneyland has to offer both inside and outside of the park. Both the Winnie the Pooh Bakery in Disneyland and Marceline's Confectionery in Downtown Disney have a similar selection. There is something for every craving at these places- chocolate chip, sugar, peanut butter, and frosted cookies, plus fudge, cupcakes, and other treats. Prices are reasonable (for Disneyland) with cookies starting at $3.25.
I had an amazing chocolate and white chocolate chip cookie that was about an inch thick, full of chocolate, soft and chewy. The other cookie I tried was a decorated Mickey sugar cookie. The cookie itself was just average, but the decorative frosting combined with the cookie was delicious.
I cannot wait for my next visit! Do you have a favorite Disney snack?

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Peanut Butter M&M Muffin Cups

A craving for peanut butter and chocolate hit that Reese's peanut butter cups could not satisfy! These tasted great but didn't turn out as well as I would have liked. Next time I will make these in cookie form. Getting these out of the muffin tins was no fun. :( Eating them out with a spoon sure was, though! Why does that always seem so much more sinful? :) 

1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup butter or margarine softened
1 cup shortening 
1/2 cup peanut butter
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 eggs
4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt 
1 cup peanut butter M&Ms

Heat oven to 350°F. In large bowl, beat sugars, butter, shortening, peanut butter, vanilla and eggs until well blended. Stir in flour, baking soda and salt. Stir in peanut butter M&Ms.
Spoon tablespoonfuls into mini muffin tins. Bake for 15-20 minutes. Cool completely.
Yields 24 minis.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Backpacker Bars

I was disappointed with this recipe I found on Betty Crocker for Backpacker Bars. I love Golden Grahams cereal and could not taste them at all. The bars had a great soft and chewy texture, and the crunch of the peanuts ruined that. Also, I should have added more chocolate. There simply wasn't enough! I would make these again with a few modifications: more Golden Grahams (not so finely crushed), no peanuts, and more chocolate. 

1 1/2 cups Golden Grahams cereal
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup butter or margarine softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup quick-cooking or old-fashioned oats
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped peanuts
1 cup (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoons quick-cooking or old-fashioned oats 

Heat oven to 350ºF. Crush cereal. Mix sugars, butter, vanilla and eggs in large bowl. Stir in flour, cereal, 3/4 cup oats, the baking soda, baking powder and salt. Stir in 3/4 cup of the peanuts and 2/3 cup of the chocolate chips.
Spread in ungreased rectangular pan, 13x9x2 inches. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup peanuts, remaining 1/3 cup chocolate chips and 2 tablespoons oats.
Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely, about 1 hour.
Yields 24 bars

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Lemon Sugar Cookies

With Easter coming up this weekend, I wanted to get into the spring mood. What better way than with these lemon cookies! Inspired by a recipe from Two Peas and Their Pod, I took a favorite sugar cookie recipe of mine and made a few modifications. The lemon glaze is excellent and would be great on muffins, too. This recipe makes a lot, perfect for Easter gatherings.

1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup powdered sugar
2 cups shortening
Zest of one lemon
1 large egg 
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
3 1/2 cups flour 
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt 

Lemon glaze- Mix two tablespoons of lemon juice with 1/2 cup powdered sugar.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
Cream together shortening and sugars. Beat in egg, lemon juice, and lemon zest.
In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Gradually add flour mixture to the creamed mixture, mixing on slow speed until just blended. Drop tablespoons of dough onto baking sheets, pressing down on the tops to flatten them.
Bake for 10 minutes. Do not allow the edges to brown. Cool completely before drizzling with lemon glaze.
Yields 3 dozen cookies.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Tintoretto & Sugar Factory- Las Vegas

Another weekend trip to Vegas... Two more bakeries to try! 

Tintorreto- The Venetian
I was intrigued by the Italian bakery at the Venetian with a wide array of cookies by the pound. I tried eight different kinds of cookies (about 4 bites each) for a little over $5. All were just average, but they will satisfy a craving and make a great afternoon snack. The M&M cookie was the best.

Sugar Factory- Planet Hollywood
What an amazing store! They have everything here from candies to ice cream sundaes to pastries. For $1.75 I tried a large chocolate chunk cookie. I will definitely be going back for another (plus try the brownie nut and peanut butter flavors). The cookie was soft and chewy with tons of chocolate chips. Yum!