Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween! We don't get that many trick or treaters at our house. Each year I'm hopeful we will have more than our usual 10-12, so I buy way too much candy. If you're like me and have some extra candy on your hands, give these recipes a try.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Blackmarket Bakery & The Cravory Revisited

I just made my way to Blackmarket Bakery's new location in The Camp. What a magical store! Some items are a bargain (large, rich hot chocolate just $2.30 and homemade graham crackers- $3.75 for 8), but others seem a bit overpriced ($3.75 for 8 small, two-bite shortbread cookies). The store is absolutely worth a visit. Everything is fresh and uses high quality ingredients. The mocha shortbreads were especially good and were very crispy. Even though they had a rich chocolate taste, I could have eaten all 8 in the package at once. The homemade graham crackers were crunchy and not overly sweet- perfect for any time of day. 
If you need a Halloween gift or just some inspiration for what to do with some extra Halloween candy, look no further than The Cravory's October Flavors of the Month. For $38, you can try two of each of the six special flavors. The Almond Joyous and Pumpkin S'mores were the best. The PB Butterfinger and Snick or Treat were nothing special, and the Eminem's cookie was not overly creative but well-executed. The Twixed was very delicious as well. 

I've reviewed The Cravory previously. Take a look at my first and second reviews of their cookies.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Oatmeal Coconut Cookies

The Back In the Day Bakery Cookbook by Cheryl and Griffith Day has so many amazing recipes. This was no exception. Besides producing a deliciously sweet and chewy cookie, the recipe itself has ingredients that every home cook will have on hand.
3/4 cups all purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 stick of butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg, at room temperature
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup shredded coconut, toasted

Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat it to 350′ F.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl and set aside.
In a large bowl, cream together the butter, and both sugars on medium speed until light and fluffy.
Add the eggs and vanilla and mix until light and fluffy.
Mix in the oats until just combined. Add in the flour mixture.
Sprinkle in the coconut and mix until just combined.  
Bake the cookies, one sheet at a time, for 10-12 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time to ensure that they bake evenly.  The finished cookie should be golden brown most of the way through. 
Yields 2 dozen

Monday, October 21, 2013

Pumpkin Cranberry Cookies

I'm not one of those people who gets tired of pumpkin flavored foods and drinks during the fall. I could eat it all year-round, but it does seem to taste better in fall. :) These not-too-sweet cookies make a great morning or afternoon treat.

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 
1 teaspoon baking powder 
1 teaspoon baking soda 
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon 
1/2 teaspoon salt 
1/2 cup butter softened
1 cup granulated sugar 
3/4 cup canned pumpkin
1 egg 
1/2 cup dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt; set aside.
In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar. Stir in pumpkin and egg. Stir in flour mixture. Fold in dried cranberries.
Drop on tablespoonfuls of dough onto the cookie sheets.
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes. Cool completely on wire rack.
Yields 3 Dozen

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

Fall is here! I book marked this recipe from Baking Bites last fall and was excited to make this over the weekend to usher in the season. I did not have any pumpkin spice, so I used cinnamon, which worked nicely. I also used only one cup of rolled oats and preferred to use mini-chocolate chips.

1 cup all purpose flour 
1 teaspoon baking powder 
1/2 teaspoon baking soda 
1/2 teaspoon salt 
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (pref. homemade)
1/4 cup butter room temperature
1/2 cup white sugar 
1/2 cup brown sugar 
1 large egg 
1/4 cup pumpkin puree 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
2 cups quick cooking oatmeal 
1 cup chocolate chips 

Preheat oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and pumpkin pie spice.
In a large bowl, cream together the butter and the sugars until fluffy. Beat in the egg, followed by the pumpkin puree and the vanilla extract. Working by hand, stir in the flour mixture and the oatmeal until just combined and no streaks of flour remain. Stir in the chocolate chips.
Drop rounded tablespoonfuls of the dough onto the prepared baking sheet.
Bake for about 11-13 min. Cookies will be lightly browned at the edges when done. Don’t be tempted to over-bake them in the hope of browning them more, or they can dry out.
Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 4-5 minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.
Yields 2 dozen

Monday, October 14, 2013

Chocolate Cake Mix Cookies

This recipe was inspired by one I found on Cookies and Cups. It was such an easy cookie to put together because of the cake mix. It's a little sweet, so next time I'll cut the brown sugar in half. These tasted best warm and right from the oven. Yum!

1/2 cup margarine, room temperature

1/2 cup brown sugar 
1 egg
1 cup devils food cake mix 
1/2 cup flour 
1/2 teaspoon baking soda 
1/2 teaspoon salt 
3/4 cups mini chocolate chips 
In a small bowl, mix together the cake mix, flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add in eggs and vanilla and beat until smooth.
Gradually add in the cake mix and flour mixture. Stir in the chocolate chips.
Refrigerate dough for 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place tablespooonfuls of dough onto a cookie sheet with parchment paper. 
Bake for 8-10 minutes until cookies are set.
Yields 2 dozen.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Chocolate Studded Oatmeal Bars

I found this recipe on the Scharffen Berger website and made a couple of adjustments. They were delicious and tasted better the next day. Do allow this chewy treat to cool completely before digging in.


1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a medium bowl, beat together the butter and sugars until light and creamy. Add the eggs one at a time. Beat well. Add the vanilla.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and cinnamon. Add the flour mixture to the butter and egg mixture. Mix until just blended. Add the oatmeal and the chocolate chips.
Press the dough into an ungreased 8x8 inch baking pan. Bake for 30 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Cool. Slice into bars.
Yields 16 servings.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Specialty’s Cafe At-Home Semi-Sweet Chocolate Cookie Mix

Several years ago I tried Specialty's Cafe cookies for the very first time. Since then I have been a regular, and I was excited to try their at-home mixes so I could make my own Specialty's cookies. The cookie mix is $12 and comes in semi-sweet chocolate, milk chocolate, and white chocolate varieties. Each box comes with a bag of sugar/flour mixture and a bag of chocolate chips. All you need to add is 5 Tablespoons of butter, vanilla, and 1 egg. They came together in a breeze and go right into the oven after mixing (not refrigeration time required). 12 minutes later I had delicious semi-sweet chocolate chip cookies that were very similar to the real thing. For me the only difference was the size (cookies from the mix were slightly smaller) and the texture (mine were a little gooier and softer in the middle than cookies from the bakery). I also froze a couple of balls of dough and made them two nights later. They turned out just as good as the first round and did not require any thawing. I just left them in the oven about three minutes longer. Overall, this mix is definitely worth a try and would make a great gift!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Chewy Toffee Bars

I saw Jamie Deen make these delicious (and easy to make) bars on his Food Network show. They tasted even better than they looked. I didn't toast the pecans since I was short on time. The corners that didn't have the toffee or pecans in them had a rich brown sugar taste and were wonderfully chewy.

Nonstick spray 
1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter 
2 1/4 cups light brown sugar 
2 cups all-purpose flour 
2 teaspoons baking powder 
Pinch salt 
3/4 cup pecans, chopped 
2 large eggs 
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract 
1 cup toffee pieces 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Adjust the racks to the center of the oven. Spray an 8-by-8-inch baking pan with nonstick spray. 
Melt the butter in a medium saucepan and stir in the brown sugar until melted together. Let cool for 5 minutes. 
While the mixture is cooling, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. 
Toast the pecans in medium skillet over medium heat. Remove to a plate once toasted. 
Stir in the eggs, one at a time, and vanilla extract into the cooled sugar and butter mixture. Add the dry ingredients into the saucepan until combined. Fold in the toffee and chopped pecans; the batter will be very thick. 
Spread the mixture into the prepared pan. Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes before slicing into squares. 
Yields 16 servings