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Chocolate Chip Pretzel Cookies

17 Feb

Alright, y’all. I have totally hopped on the sweet & salty train. It actually worked out really well for me because the salted caramel trend hit right at a time when I discovered I actually like sweet/salty combos. See, as a kid, I hated that. I didn’t like desserts that had nuts or peanut butter in it, because those things are supposed to be salty, and desserts should not have salt in it. My older sister always got all the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups out of my Halloween haul.

But maybe my adult palate is becoming more adventurous. Whatever it is, I’ve been excited to experiment with salt on desserts. Last month I tried the salt-on-top method with my Salted Nutella & Caramel-Stuffed Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies. AMAZING. This time I tried the salt-baked-in method by adding pretzel pieces to chocolate chip cookies.

They were so tasty, and I really enjoyed them. My preference is for cookies to be slightly undercooked so that they’re super gooey and chewy. And with lots of extra chocolate. And straight out of the oven so it melts in your mouth.

These were really not that hard if I were making a normal batch. But I was making them for our local Meals on Wheels, and I needed SIX DOZEN, so it became a bit more of a project than I realized.

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A couple tips I learned while baking these:

  • The dough needs to be chilled when it goes in the oven. If it’s too warm, the cookies will spread a lot more while they bake, and you’ll end up with a thin cookie. So if you’re making a large amount of cookies and it’s taking a while to scoop them all out and rotate them in and out of the oven, periodically pop the dough back into the fridge to chill a bit.
  • Don’t drop an entire baking sheet of cookies on the floor because that is very frustrating when you need a certain amount of cookies and you’re almost out of flour.
  • Don’t turn off the oven when you meant to turn off the timer because then the cookies won’t bake enough and in your attempts to not waste that batch you might cook them a lot longer because you can’t tell when they’re done and then end up baking them to a crisp.

If you can find caramel chips in the store (I couldn’t, and I was in a hurry, so I didn’t look elsewhere) you should definitely consider adding them in, like the original recipe called for. I bet that’s tasty.

Cookies

These were really good, but I won’t lie, they would probably be better with even more mix-ins — more chocolate chips, more pretzels, and those caramel chips. Feel free to play around with the mix-ins with your batch. This recipe should yield about 2 dozen cookies.

Chocolate Chip Pretzel Cookies adapted from By Stephanie Lynn

1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup white sugar
1 egg
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/3 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/3 cup crushed pretzel pieces

In a medium bowl sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl beat the butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. With the mixer on low speed, gradually add the eggs and vanilla. Mix well.

Slowly add the flour mixture and beat just until there are no streaks of flour showing. Stir in the chocolate chips, caramel chips and pretzel pieces.

Cover and chill the batter in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Using a cookie scoop drop rounded tablespoon portions of the dough, about 2 inches apart, onto an un-greased baking sheet.

Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 1 minute prior to moving to a wire rack to cool completely.

Linking Up With:

Funday Monday from Still Being Molly
Made by you Monday from Skip to my Lou
Inspiration Monday from Twelve O Eight
Wonderfully Creative Wednesday from All She Cooks
Create It Thursday from Lamberts Lately
Full Plate Thursday from Miz Helen’s Country Cottage
All Things Pretty from Sparkles and a Stove

Brown Sugar Sweet Potato Pie

23 Dec

Two days till Christmas! Are you ready? I’m not. Working on it though. I am so excited to have the next two weeks off work. After last-minute Christmas prep and then holiday celebrations with family, I’m going to enjoy a nice staycation through the new year. I don’t usually get this much time off, so my holiday spirits are pretty high right now.

I finished my Christmas shopping pretty early this year — that was the one thing I was on top of. (We don’t even have a tree!) This last minute, I think I’m just going to skip the decorating this year. So all that’s left is baking, which is happening all day today, so look forward to some post-Christmas blog posts with delicious treats! Oh, and I’m going to put on my favorite Christmas music and wrap presents today — I’ve been putting it off only because wrapping presents is my favorite, and I wanted to keep looking forward to it!

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Need some last-minute inspiration for holiday baking? Try a sweet potato pie! I’m not sure I had ever eaten sweet potato pie before, much less made one. But one of the BF’s friends gave him a whole bag of sweet potatoes from her family’s farm, so we added sweet potato pie to our traditional apple pie for Thanksgiving. This pie, topped with a little whipped cream, would make a great dessert any night or would be delicious enough for a classic Thanksgiving or Christmas spread.

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Classic and tasty, give this a try! Making the sweet potatoes from scratch really wasn’t so hard. I made my pie in a tart pan, which I thought was super cute. I had some extra filling, so I whipped up a little bit of graham cracker crust, pressed it into the bottoms of a mini muffin pan with my dough tamper (the small end fits perfectly in a mini muffin cup), and used the extra filling to make mini pie bites.

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Oh, and a little update:

1) All the recipes for the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap are live! There were 555 submissions of delicious holiday cookies. Check out the Recipe Roundup, part 1 and part 2.

2) Congrats to Elly on winning the Clinique giveaway!

Happy Christmas!

Sweet Potato Pie adapted from Joy the Baker

Crust:

1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled to room temp
2 tablespoons cold milk
1 1/2 teaspoons white sugar
1 teaspoon salt

Filling:

2 cups mashed cooked sweet potatoes, from 2 medium sweet potatoes
1 cup + 4 teaspoons packed brown sugar, divided
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup (2 ounces) unsalted butter
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup milk
3 eggs

For the crust: Mix together crust ingredients: flour, melted butter, milk, teaspoons sugar, and salt. Blend evenly. Spread mixture into a 9″ pie pan, pushing dough evenly across the bottom and up the sides.

For the filling:

Peel the sweet potatoes and dice into small 1/2″ chunks. Place potato pieces in a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil over medium high heat. Reduce heat to medium, and simmer until potatoes are tender throughout, about 20 minutes. Test the doneness of the potatoes using a knife. If the knife meets any resistance, simmer the potatoes a bit longer. Once finished, drain into a colander.

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

In the same large pot place cooked  potato pieces, half the packed brown sugar, all of the spices, salt, butter, and heavy cream. Cook on low, using a potato masher to mash the potatoes as they cook. Simmer for about 5 minutes. Make sure that the mixture is as smooth as possible. Once mixture is smooth and fragrant, remove from fire and let cool in pot.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the milk, the rest of the brown sugar, eggs, and vanilla extract. Whisk well. Pour the egg mixture into the warm sweet potato mixture.

Pour the prepared filling into the pie crust. Place on a baking sheet and bake until cooked through, about 45 to 50 minutes.

To test the pie for doneness, lightly shake the baking sheet. If the center of the pie has a wavy jiggle, it needs more time in the oven. If the center of the pie has a lighter, more structured jiggle, it’s done!

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Linking Up With:

Funday Monday from Still Being Molly
Block Party from Sumo’s Sweet Stuff
Inspiration Monday from Twelve O Eight

Salted Nutella- & Caramel-Stuffed Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies

11 Dec

Whoa! That title is a mouthful. And so are these cookies.

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In case you couldn’t tell from the name, these cookies are delightfully (and maybe a little sinfully) decadent. But when I was considering options for the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap of 2013, I knew I needed something big. And since I went with something a little more mature and restrained last year — Chinese Chai Cookies — I decided to go all out. 2013 seemed to call for it.

Oh hai there little choco chip

As you can imagine, Salted Nutella- & Caramel-Stuffed Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies were a bit of a project, but they were worth it. And after I called in reinforcements — my BFF Lauren, aka Betsy Bundt — it really wasn’t too difficult with two people.

As an expert caramel-maker, Lauren took on that project while I whipped up the cookie dough. Once they were both ready, I rolled out balls of dough and pressed them out, Lauren filled them with a bit of caramel and a dab of Nutella, and I rolled out a second cookie disc to press on top and sandwich it all together. The cookie assembling took quite a while, so I finished up that while Lauren managed the multiple batches of cookies going in and out of the oven. See? Teamwork!

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I highly recommend eating these right out of the oven. They’re even gooier and richer and decadent-er. Plus, once they cool, the caramel is a little too tough. In the unlikely scenario that you can’t manage to enjoy the entire batch fresh from the oven and you have a few cookies leftover, just heat them in the microwave for 15-20 seconds before eating so the caramel gets all gooey again.

After I let all the cookies cool down, I packaged them up in adorable little gift boxes and sent them off to my 3 matches from the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap!

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Before I launch into the recipe for these delectable treats, a couple updates…

1) Today’s the last day to enter my first-ever giveaway! Check it out in last week’s post.

photo (9)

2) Wine & Plum now has an Etsy shop! Right now there’s hand-knit scarves, like the eco-friendly wine and plum scarf pictured here, and creaseless hair elastics. In the next few days I’ll add new jewelry items as well. Order soon and receive your items just in time for Christmas gifts!

scarf

And now the recipe!

Salted Nutella- & Caramel-Stuffed Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies from Top With Cinnamon

1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder (I used half regular and half extra dark cocoa powder)
2 eggs
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp baking powder
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
fleur de sel, for sprinkling
approx. 1/2 cup (8 tbsp) nutella
1 recipe for Salted caramel OR 15-16 caramel-filled chocolates
Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

In a medium saucepan, melt the butter. Take off the heat and stir in the brown sugar and eggs. Then add the cocoa, salt, and baking powder. Stir until well combined. Add the flour and stir until well combined. Fold in chocolate chips.

Make the caramel, if using (follow link for recipe).

Take 1 heaped tbsp of dough and roll into a fat disc shape. Use your finger make a large indentation the centre of the dough; fill the indentation with a small blob of nutella (like 1/4 tsp ish), and top it up with the still-warm salted caramel (or a caramel-filled chocolate). Top with a flattened tablespoon of dough, and seal the edges. (You may need to dab on a little extra dough to seal the edges.)

Sprinkle with fleur de sel, and bake for 8-10 minutes.

Yield: 15-18 cookies.

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Linking Up With:

Funday Monday from Still Being Molly
Block Party from Sumo’s Sweet Stuff
Made by you Monday from Skip to my Lou
Inspiration Monday from Twelve O Eight
Time to Sparkle from Love Grows Wild
Wonderful Food Wednesday from All She Cooks
Create It Thursday from Lamberts Lately
Full Plate Thursday from Miz Helen’s Country Cottage
All Things Pretty from Sparkles and a Stove

Milky Way Pecan Pie

10 Nov

Back in September, I bought a huge bag of chocolate candy — the good stuff, like M&Ms, Snickers, Milky Way, Twix. I told the BF it was enough to last us through Halloween and the fall season, and I wasn’t wrong. Even after leaving a bowl out for the neighbors on Halloween night, we still have a ton left.

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I had predicted this and decided to sacrifice a dozen mini Milky Way bars on Halloween afternoon. I needed a dish to share at a party, and it felt right to include candy in some way. And once I tasted this, I knew I had made the right decision. Because really, pecan pie is great, but it’s even better with chocolate.

Still have leftover Halloween candy? Use Milky Way bars or whatever chocolate candy you like for this recipe. Don’t have any left? Just go out and buy some. This pie is worth it. The graham cracker crust gives it kind of a cookie bar texture and flavor. So it’s kind of like a pie-shaped slice of a chocolate pecan cookie bar. Also known as heaven.

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Milky Way Pecan Pie adapted from Bakerella

Crust:

3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
3 tablespoons white sugar
3 tablespoons melted butter

Pie:

1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 Tablespoon self-rising flour
1/4 cup white sugar
2 tablespoons hot water
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup melted butter
2 eggs
3/4 cup pecans
1 cup chopped Milky Way bars (~10 fun-size bars)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Mix the graham cracker crust ingredients together until thoroughly blended and press into the bottom of an 8″ pie pan. Bake for 5-7 minutes.

Place brown sugar and flour in a large bowl and whisk until combined.

In a small bowl, mix together white sugar and hot water until sugar is dissolved. Add to the large bowl. Add vanilla, and stir until thoroughly combined.

Add melted butter. Fold into mixture until it disappears.

Loosely beat two eggs in a separate bowl and fold into mixture until the eggs disappear. Fold in pecans and Milky Way chunks.

Pour mixture into prepared pie pan. Return to oven and bake for about 35 minutes, or until pie has set and edges are browned.

Milky Way Pecan Pie

Linking Up With:

Funday Monday from Still Being Molly
Block Party from Sumo’s Sweet Stuff
Made by you Monday from Skip to my Lou
Inspiration Monday from Twelve O Eight
Time to Sparkle from Love Grows Wild
Wonderful Food Wednesday from All She Cooks
Create It Thursday from Lamberts Lately
Full Plate Thursday from Miz Helen’s Country Cottage
All Things Pretty from Sparkles and a Stove
Foodie Friday from Simple Living & Eating

Biscoff Blondies

21 Oct

So after Biscoff Brownies, my first experiment with cookie butter, I was both completely enthralled by Biscoff and I still had some left in the pantry. So since brownies had already been done, I tried my hand with blondies. And this is rare for me, because as you know, I’m a straight-up chocaholic, but…

OH MY STARS Y’ALL THESE ARE SO GOOD YOU HAVE NO IDEA STOP READING AND MAKE THESE RIGHT NOW. RIGHT. NOW.

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Here’s the thing. Once cooled and cut into bars, these are just as good as any other brownie or blondie. Delicious, but not completely insane.

But if you bake these, pull them out of the oven, and then proceed to immediately eat them with a fork out of the pan? You will think you have died and gone to heaven. Oh yes you will.

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Like, after I cut them up the next day into actual bars, I tasted one, and it was good. But really, I was trying to give the bars to family and friends and coworkers to get rid of them as fast as I could in order to justify baking another batch to eat straight out of the oven. I guess it would have been smarter to leave them in the pan and re-heat them in the oven the next day, but I just didn’t know any better. Please, learn from my mistakes. I beg you.

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Here’s the recipe. You’re welcome.

Biscoff Blondies from The Traveling Spoon

3 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup Biscoff cookie butter spread
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease an 8×8-inch baking pan lightly with butter. In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, melt butter, Biscoff spread, and brown sugar until just combined. Stir until smooth. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

In a small mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

Stir egg and vanilla into the cooled Biscoff mixture until just blended. Add the flour mixture, and stir until smooth. The batter will be very thick. Fold in chocolate chips.

Transfer mixture into the prepared pan, spreading evenly with the back of a spoon (or mush it with your fingers, if necessary). Bake for 20 minutes or until the edges just begin to brown. Eat directly from warm pan! (Or, if you just gotta be like that, cool in pan on a wire rack before cutting and serving.)

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Linking up With:

Funday Monday from Still Being Molly and Lipgloss and Crayons
Block Party from Sumo’s Sweet Stuff
Made by you Monday from Skip to my Lou
Inspiration Monday from I Should Be Mopping the FloorTwelve O Eight,Redhead Can Decorate, and Scattered Thoughts of a Crafty Mom
Melt In Your Mouth Monday from Make Ahead Meals for Busy Moms
Time to Sparkle from Love Grows WildInside BruCrew LifeThe Recipe Critic, and The Gunny Sack
Create It Thursday from Lamberts Lately
Full Plate Thursday from Miz Helen’s Country Cottage
All Things Pretty from Sparkles and a Stove and My Fashion Forward Blog
Foodie Friday from Simple Living & Eating

Almond Squash Pie

7 Oct

Squash Pie. Yep. I said it. At first I was really hesitant, but then I figured that we eat pumpkin pie and sweet potato pie, and both of those are pretty good. So why not try a squash pie?

I had a TON of yellow squash because for a few weeks at the end of the summer, we were getting them every week in our CSA. I used them in quiches and burritos and enchiladas and still had some leftover.

So in addition to taking a vegetable quiche to my grandma’s over Labor Day weekend, I decided to take a pie.

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This came out pretty good. It is super thin — more like a tart than a pie. Also, I made it in a tart pan, so there’s that.

The flavors are pretty subtle. There’s not a ton of sugar, and squash has a mild flavor, so the almond really takes over here. I think it would be cool to try it again with vanilla extract instead of almond and see how that goes.

Overall, it was good. Not necessarily my favorite, but also I prefer my desserts to be overloaded with sugar and chocolate. But if you’re looking for a more subtle flavor, this may be it.

(Also, I think I might have over-cooked it a little bit because I was watching Doctor Who and got distracted. C’est la vie.)

Have you ever had a squash pie? What do you think of it?

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Almond Squash Pie adapted from Food Network

1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup canola oil
2 tablespoons cold milk
1 1/2 teaspoons white sugar
1 teaspoon salt

2 medium yellow squash, sliced
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon almond extract
1 egg

For the crust:

Mix together flour, oil, milk, sugar, and salt. Blend evenly. Spread mixture into a 9″ pie pan or tart pan, pushing dough evenly across the bottom and up the sides.

For the pie:

Put the squash in a large pot and fill with water. Bring to a boil over medium heat and cook until tender, 20 minutes. Drain and press the squash with a spoon to remove any excess water.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Transfer the squash to a blender. Add the butter and flour, and blend until pureed. Add the sugar, almond extract, and egg; blend until smooth. Pour the filling into the pie crust.

Bake until the filling is set, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Let the pie cool to room temperature before slicing and serving.

Linking up With:

Funday Monday from Still Being Molly and Lipgloss and Crayons
Block Party from Sumo’s Sweet Stuff
Made by you Monday from Skip to my Lou
Inspiration Monday from I Should Be Mopping the FloorTwelve O Eight,Redhead Can Decorate, and Scattered Thoughts of a Crafty Mom
Melt In Your Mouth Monday from Make Ahead Meals for Busy Moms
Time to Sparkle from Love Grows WildInside BruCrew LifeThe Recipe Critic, and The Gunny Sack
Create It Thursday from Lamberts Lately
Full Plate Thursday from Miz Helen’s Country Cottage
All Things Pretty from Sparkles and a Stove and My Fashion Forward Blog

Biscoff Brownies

23 Sep

I have been hearing so much about Biscoff spread lately! I’ve seen about a bazillion Biscoff-themed pins on Pinterest. And this came on the heels of the BF gently telling me that Biscoff, a.k.a. Europe’s favorite cookie with coffee, is vastly superior to whatever cookies I mistakenly brought home from the grocery store. So when I realized that this Biscoff spread existed and was created out of the same cookie that is Europe’s and the BF’s favorite cookie with coffee, I thought a Biscoff dessert would be appropriate.

I was craving chocolate, so Biscoff Brownies sounded perfect. But here I am using the word “Biscoff” a dozen times in a row, and I didn’t even use actual Biscoff in this recipe. I’m a fraud! I used a knock-off “cookie spread” from Trader Joe’s. And let me tell you, it was delicious.

Look at those Biscoff swirls!

I may try to use this brownie recipe either on its own or with other spreads, like Nutella. The brownies are so ooey-gooey and mushy and fudgy — my favorite kind of brownies. The original recipe called for 3 eggs, and I only had two, so I substituted 1/4 cup homemade applesauce for the third egg. Maybe that’s what made it extra gooey. Just in case, I will definitely make it with applesauce from now on. Also, the original recipe called for vanilla extract, and I just now realized that I completely forgot to put it in. I didn’t even notice. But do with that information what you will.

They’re so good! There may or may not be a hole cut into the middle of the brownie dish right now… I like the gooey center pieces so I avoid the edges. I’m going to go off to have another brownie while I research other Biscoff recipes now. Cheers!

Mmm... chocolatey gooey goodness

Biscoff Brownies adapted from Unsophisticook

3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2/3 cup cocoa powder
2 eggs
1/4 cup applesauce
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup Biscoff Spread, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a square 8×8 or 9×9 baking pan with parchment paper or give it a coating of baking spray.

Melt the butter in the microwave. Whisk in sugar, salt and cocoa powder.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk the eggs well, and then whisk in the applesauce and chocolate mixture until well combined.

In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder until well combined. Stir the flour mixture into the chocolate mixture until just combined.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Melt Biscoff Spread in the microwave and drizzle over the top of the brownie batter. Use a clean butter knife to swirl the Biscoff Spread into the batter.

Bake at 350 degrees for 35-45 minutes. When you jiggle the pan, the center of the brownies should be firm. Cool on a wire rack.

Linking up With:

Funday Monday from Still Being Molly and Lipgloss and Crayons
Block Party from Sumo’s Sweet Stuff
Made by you Monday from Skip to my Lou
Inspiration Monday from I Should Be Mopping the Floor, Twelve O Eight, Redhead Can Decorate, and Scattered Thoughts of a Crafty Mom
Melt In Your Mouth Monday from Make Ahead Meals for Busy Moms
Time to Sparkle from Love Grows WildInside BruCrew LifeThe Recipe Critic, and The Gunny Sack
Create It Thursday from Lamberts Lately
All Things Pretty from Sparkles and a Stove and My Fashion Forward Blog