Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! This year, as every year, I have a lot to be thankful for- good health, the wonderful Mr. Sleuth, and a supportive family. I hope you all have a great day and that this is the start of a lovely holiday season for you. A few of my favorite fall cookie recipes are below. Gobble! Gobble!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Cinnamon Pumpkin Bars

This recipe has exhausted my pumpkin supply for the season. These bars are light and not too sweet. Come back on Thanksgiving for a recap of some of my favorite fall recipes. Now it's on to holiday mint and peppermint cookies!

1 cup graham cracker crumbs
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg
1/4 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup cinnamon chips

Preheat oven to 350F.
In a small bowl, mix together the graham cracker crumbs and 2 tablespoons of butter. Press the mixture into the bottom of an 8x8 baking pan. Bake for 5 minutes until crust is set.
In a another small bowl mix together flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
In a large bowl, cream together sugars and butter. Add vanilla and eggs. Mix in canned pumpkin. Gradually add in the flour mixture. Stir in the cinnamon chips.
Pour over the graham cracker crust.
Bake 20 minutes.
Yields 16 bars.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Chocolate Fudge Bars

Who doesn't love an easy chocolate dessert recipe? This chewy, dense bar came together very quickly. My only complaint was that the edges ended up being a little too crispy for me.

3/4 cups all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup unsalted butter
2 ounces dark chocolate
1 egg
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8x8 pan with cooking spray.
Sift the flour and baking soda together in a bowl. Set aside.
Melt together the butter and chocolate.
In a separate bowl, beat the egg until foamy and then beat in the sugar until well-blended. Stir in the melted chocolate mixture and vanilla.
Add the dry ingredients and spoon into the pan. 
Bake for 20-25 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes.
Yields 16 servings.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Bouchon Bakery Double Chocolate Cookie Mix

A few weeks ago we had a fun little shopping spree at William Sonoma to use up a gift card. Included in my purchases was Bouchon Bakery's Double Chocolate Cookie Mix. The mix is $19.95 and includes a sugar packet, dry ingredient packet, and chocolate chip/chunk packet. All I needed to add was 9 Tablespoons of butter and one egg. As you can see from the picture, my cookies ended up a little thinner than the picture on the box due to a little accident with the dry ingredient packet. The flavor of the cookies still was great (deep, rich dark chocolate flavor), but the texture was off. Even if all of the dry ingredient packet made it into the mixer, I do not think I would get this mix again due to the price and the good (but not amazing) flavor of the cookie. If you are in need of a baking mix, I would recommend Vosges and Specialty's.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

La Dolcerie & Papa John's

Mr. Sleuth had a business trip to the Dominican Republic recently and he brought me back two cookies from La Dolcerie. One was oatmeal raisin (extremely chewy with not too many raisins), and the other was chocolate chip (slightly crispy and buttery with plenty of chocolate chips). If you happen to be in Santo Domingo, it's worth a stop.

Something a little closer to home is the Papa John's chocolate chip cookie. For just $5.00 you can add an eight slice cookie to your order. The cookie was a little smaller than I thought it would be (about 8 inches across), but there was plenty to go around. The inside was chewy, and the edges were very crispy. Lots of chocolate chips helped, too. It's worth adding to your meal if you want a little something sweet and warm to finish it off with. I saved a slice of the cookie for the next day, and it stayed fresh.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies

Believe it or not, I needed a break from chocolate. This recipe from Two Peas and Their Pod had everything I was looking for- slightly chewy, texture from the oatmeal, and not overly peanut buttery. The original recipe included filling, and I skipped that portion today.


3/4 cup all-purpose flour 
1/2 teaspoon baking soda 
1/4 teaspoon baking powder 
1/2 teaspoon salt 
1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter 
1/2 cup granulated sugar 
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar 
1 large egg 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
1 cup quick-cooking oats 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat and set aside.
In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, peanut butter and both sugars on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla extract. Mix until combined. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the dry ingredients, mixing just until combined. Finally, add the oats and mix until just combined.
Take about 1 tablespoon of dough and roll into a cookie ball. Place on prepared baking sheet, leaving about 2 inches between the cookies. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the cookies are slightly golden and the edges are set. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.
Yields 2 dozen

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Recchiuti Triple Chocolate Cookies

I love Recchiuti Confections and this recipe from his website was a great version to make at home between visits. Below is the recipe, but I made a few changes since I was short on time. Instead of making into logs and refrigerating, I pressed the dough into an 8x8 pan and baked immediately in a 350 degree oven for 18 minutes. I also did not have a vanilla bean or fleur de sel available. I'm sure they would have made the bars even better, but I was still happy with the rich chocolate and crispy result.


1 1/3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon unsweetened natural cocoa powder 
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
12 tablespoons (6 ounces) unsalted butter with 82% butterfat, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated cane sugar
3/4 cup dark brown cane sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract, preferably Madagascar Bourbon or Tahitian
1/2 Tahitian vanilla bean, split horizontally 
1/2 teaspoon fleur de sel in fine grains
3 ounces 41% milk chocolate, roughly chopped
3 ounces 65% chocolate, roughly chopped

Make the dough:
Sift the flour, cocoa, and baking soda together into a bowl. Set aside.
Put the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium speed until creamy. Add both sugars and the vanilla extract. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the bowl. Sprinkle the salt over the top. Beat on medium speed just until combined.Reduce the speed to low. Add the dry ingredients in 3 additions, pulsing the mixer to incorporate each addition before adding the next one. Pulse just until a crumbly dough forms. Add both chopped chocolates and mix on low speed just until incorporated.Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Knead a few times to incorporate any crumbs.Divide the dough in half. Roll each half into a log about 1 1/4 inches in diameter and 12 inches long. As you roll, gently push the ends toward the center occasionally to prevent air pockets and to keep the logs at an even thickness.Wrap the logs in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, at least 3 hours or up to 3 days.

Bake the cookies:

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line the bottoms of two 12-by-18-inch sheet pans with parchment paper.Remove the logs from the refrigerator and unwrap them. Using a ruler to guide you and a sharp knife, cut each log into rounds 1/2 inch thick. If the dough crumbles as you cut it, reshape each slice. Place the rounds on the prepared pans, spacing them 1 1/2 inches apart.Bake on the middle shelves of the oven, rotating the pans 180 degrees halfway through the baking time, until set but soft enough to hold a slight indentation when pressed with a fingertip, about 14 minutes. Let cool completely on the pans on wire racks. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.

Yields 48 cookies.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Chewy Chocolate Cookies

Even though we just got through Halloween, I'm craving chocolate! This recipe is simple and makes just one dozen, so you can't get too carried away. These cookies are crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside. 

3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/8 cup unsalted butter
1/3 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
1 egg
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup mini semi sweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Melt together the bittersweet chocolate and butter.
while the mixture is cooling, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs, sugar and vanilla extract together.
To the egg and sugar mixture, gradually add in the melted chocolate. Then add in the flour mixture and semisweet chocolate.
Drop tablespoons of dough onto baking sheets and bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Cool completely on wire racks.
Yields 1 dozen