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Dark Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

20 May

I was craving dark chocolate yesterday, and I had a few free hours. I love spending my Sunday mornings baking and listening to NPR (how Chapel Hill I’ve become!). I whipped these up pretty quickly — they’re not hard to mix up, and they don’t take long to bake.

Mmm

They turned out kind of… weird. The flavor is AMAZING. Very rich and chocolate-y. But the texture was odd. The cookies held together just fine, but then have a sandy texture when you chew them. But still buttery, so kind of like greasy sand. There’s also hardly any oatmeal.

Chocolate-y

I’ll still definitely eat them, because as I said, the flavor is amazing. And the texture isn’t too weird. But I was kind of surprised they were weird. It seemed like this recipe had been posted by quite a few blogs, and none of them mentioned this issue. Maybe I didn’t follow the recipe somewhere. I dunno. Calling all bakers out there: Can you see anywhere in the recipe that you’d edit? I was surprised there was no egg… maybe it needs one or two? Or something else? What do you think?

Update: My coworker had one and said, “I don’t think it’s weird. It’s like a shortbread, which I guess makes sense if there wasn’t any egg in the recipe.” … So I guess she’s got a point! As I’m not the biggest fan of shortbread cookies, I don’t eat them often, so I didn’t really recognize the similarity until she pointed it out. 

Chip-tastic

Dark Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies from Epicurious

3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 heaping tablespoons traditional oats
1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Whisk first 4 ingredients in a medium bowl.

With an electric mixer, beat butter in large bowl until fluffy. Add sugar and vanilla; beat until blended. Add flour mixture and beat until moist clumps form. Mix in oats with spatula until evenly distributed (dough will be very firm). Add chocolate chips and knead gently to blend.

Using moistened palms, shape 1 generous tablespoon dough into ball. Place on prepared sheet; flatten to 2-inch round. Repeat with remaining dough, spacing rounds about 2 inches apart.

Bake cookies until center is slightly firm and top is cracked, about 16 minutes. Cool on sheet.

Tied up pretty

Linking up with:

YOLO Mondays from Still Being Molly and Lipgloss and Crayons
Monday Meet Up from Covered in Grace
Market Yourself Monday from Sumo’s Sweet Stuff
Made by you Monday from Skip to my Lou
Anything and Everything Blog Hop from My Thrifty Chic
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

Coconut Cream Cake

13 May

All I have wanted to do lately is just sit and watch TV. I don’t know what has me so low-energy, but dang. So in getting ready for my weekly blog post, I was looking through my pictures, and I realized that I haven’t made anything recently to blog about! I guess you have to do the projects before you can write about said projects. I’ve even had some celebrations to bring desserts to lately, and instead of making desserts, I’ve bought them — gasp!

So today I kept scrolling through my old pictures and found some snapshots of a coconut cake from two summers ago that I forgot to post. The pictures aren’t all that great quality, but it is a delicious cake, so why not? This one is not hard, but is a little time-consuming, as filled layer cakes tend to be. It’s worth it though.

Happy birthday!

I made this one for a friend’s birthday, which we enjoyed at the pool on a beautiful North Carolina June day. Thinking about it while I sit looking at a gorgeous North Carolina May day makes me really want some coconut cake. Maybe this will finally give me some energy to get off the couch. We’ll see.

Mmm... coconut...

Coconut Cream Cake

Cake

2 cups sugar
3/4 cup butter
3 eggs, separated
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup flaked coconut
1 cup coconut milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 9″ round pans. Separate the eggs, reserving both the yolks and the whites.

In a large bowl, mix together 2 cups sugar and 3/4 cup butter. Add 3 egg yolks and beat well.

In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and coconut flakes. Stir the dry ingredients alternately with the coconut milk into the sugar mixture. Beat well. Stir in vanilla. Whip egg whites until stiff, and fold in whipped egg whites.

Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.

Filling, from Martha Stewart

3 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar, scant
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups milk
3/4 cups coconut flakes
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Whisk egg yolks in a large bowl and set aside.

Combine sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a saucepan and cook over medium heat. Gradually whisk in milk. Cook, stirring constantly, over medium heat until mixture thickens and comes to a boil, about 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from heat.

Whisk 1/2 cup hot milk mixture into the reserved egg yolks to temper. Slowly pour warm yolks into the saucepan, stirring constantly. Cook slowly, stirring, over medium-low heat, until mixtures begins to bubble, 5 to 6 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in coconut and vanilla.

Transfer filling to a medium mixing bowl. Lightly butter a piece of plastic wrap, and lay it directly on top of filling to prevent a skin from forming. Chill until firm, at least 1 hour.

Classic Buttercream Frosting from Savory Sweet Life

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened but not melted!
3-4 cups confectioners (powdered) sugar, SIFTED
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
up to 4 tablespoons milk or heavy cream

Beat butter for a few minutes with a mixer on medium speed. Add 3 cups of powdered sugar and mix on low until incorporated. Add vanilla, salt, and 2 tablespoons milk/cream. Beat on medium for 3 minutes.
If you prefer a thicker or more stiff frosting, add sugar until desired consistency. If you desire a thinner frosting, add remaining milk a little at a time until desired consistency.
Assembly
Slice the dome off the top of one of the cake layers to achieve a flat top. Spread with a liberal amount of cream filling. Place the second cake layer on top. Cover the entire cake, top and sides, with frosting. Press coconut flakes into frosted cake.

If desired, you could slice each cake layer in half in order to have 4 layers with filling in between each.

Linking up with:

YOLO Mondays from Still Being Molly and Lipgloss and Crayons
Market Yourself Monday from Sumo’s Sweet Stuff
Time for a Party from Fine Craft Guild
Made by you Monday from Skip to my Lou
Anything & Everything Link-Up from My Thrifty Chic and The Sapphire Bee
Time to Sparkle from Love Grows WildInside BruCrew LifeThe Recipe Critic, and The Gunny Sack
TGIF Link Party from A Peek Into My Paradise
Create It Thursday from Lamberts Lately
All Things Pretty from Sparkles and a Stove and My Fashion Forward Blog

Mini Cheesecake Bites

6 May

My big sister made these awesome little cheesecake bites for our brother’s wedding last month. She made three flavors: plain, chocolate chip, and caramel pecan. The funny part was that she didn’t really think about recipe yield when she started off, and just followed the standard recipe… for all three of them. Since she went with mini, she ended up with over 200 cheesecake bites. We had enough for the rehearsal dinner AND for the dessert buffet at the wedding!

Everyone’s favorite was the caramel pecan. What do you think? Which one would be your favorite? Or would you create a new flavor? The cool thing about this recipe is that it’s easy to swap toppings to customize your own. Chips, nuts, candies, jams, syrups… so much could work here.

Caramel Pecan

Chocolate chip was pretty good too, though I would prefer it to be a little more chocolate-y. Maybe Oreos? Or a fudge layer? I might have to think about that and try this recipe again.

Chocolate Chip

Mini Cheesecake Bites adapted from KraftRecipes.com

1 cup graham cracker crumbs
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, divided
3 tablespoons butter, melted
3 (8 oz) packages cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 eggs
Optional toppings: chocolate chips, caramel ice cream topping and pecans, chopped fruit pieces, etc.

Preheat oven to 350 F. Mix graham crumbs, 2 tablespoons sugar, and butter until well-blended. Press onto bottoms of paper-lined mini muffin tin cups.

Spread desired toppings over crust: (1) For plain, skip this step. (2) For chocolate chip, add chocolate chips. (3) For caramel pecan, add caramel ice cream topping and crushed pecans.

Beat cream cheese, remaining sugar, and vanilla with mixer until thoroughly blended. Add eggs one at a time, mixing on low speed after each one until just blended. Pour over crusts. Sprinkle a few more pieces of selected toppings.

Bake 15-18 minutes or until centers are almost set. Cool completely. Refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight before serving.

Enjoy!

Linking up with:

YOLO Mondays from Still Being Molly and Lipgloss and Crayons
Monday Meet Up from Covered in Grace
Market Yourself Monday from Sumo’s Sweet Stuff
Time for a Party from Fine Craft Guild
Made by you Monday from Skip to my Lou
Anything & Everything Link-Up from My Thrifty Chic and The Sapphire Bee
Time to Sparkle from Love Grows WildInside BruCrew LifeThe Recipe Critic, and The Gunny Sack
Blog Link Party from Somewhat Simple
Create It Thursday from Lamberts Lately

Coconut Macaroon Cookies

15 Apr

These coconut macaroons are so easy! Any time I need a last-minute dessert, I turn to this recipe. (Well, if it’s truly last-minute, then I go to the grocery store, but you know what I mean.)

C is for Cookie

They’re very simple and quick, but so delicious that your fans won’t know that you just threw it all together. These are a great dessert for a picnic or an excellent little addition to a potluck or dessert spread. I love to make them at Christmas time as ‘snowballs,’ but the coconut is so fresh that they’re equally satisfying in the middle of summer. To get even more fancy, dip the bottom half of each cookie in melted chocolate after they are completely cool. Yummm.

My only warning with this recipe? Double or even triple it. This recipe only makes 10 or 12 small cookies.

A whole plateful

Easy Coconut Macaroons  from Food.com

1 1/3 cup coconut
1/3 cup sugar
3 tablespoons flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 egg whites
1/2 teaspoon almond extract

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Whisk dry ingredients together. Stir in egg whites and almond extract, and mix well.

Drop from teaspoon on lightly greased baking sheets. Bake at 325 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Remove cookies from sheet immediately after baking.

Coconut Macaroons

Linking Up With:

YOLO Mondays from Still Being Molly and Lipgloss and Crayons
Monday Meet Ups from Covered in Grace
Market Yourself Monday from Sumo’s Sweet Stuff
Time for a Party from Fine Craft Guild
Made by you Monday from Skip to my Lou
Anything & Everything Link-Up from My Thrifty Chic and The Sapphire Bee

Mountain Dew Cake

8 Apr

My brother got married! I can’t believe it! It was a beautiful day for a beautiful wedding. The bride was lovely, the groom was happy, and everyone had a great time. I really enjoyed spending the past few months helping my new sister-in-law plan her wedding, and it was a lot of fun being the ‘wedding planner’ for the weekend.

While I helped plan some logistics and decorations for their big day, my oldest sister prepared the dessert table. After a few days in her kitchen, she had banana pudding cups, strawberry shortcake cups, over 200 mini cheesecake bites, and these mini Mountain Dew bundt cakes.

The bride wanted a rustic theme in lime green and navy blue. The groom kept trying to make that rustic redneck, and my sister helped that along with cakes baked with Mountain Dew, his favorite soda. But aside from these, the bride and I managed to swing the theme back toward rustic chic. With the wedding held outdoors at a vineyard on the first gorgeous North Carolina weekend of spring, it was perfect.

Whether you have a casual wedding or a weekend barbecue, try these cakes. They’re delicious little conversation starters.

Mountain Dew Cakes

Mountain Dew Cake from DuncanHines.com

Cake

1 box lemon cake mix
1 box lemon Jell-O instant pudding mix
4 large eggs
1 can (1 1/2 cups) Mountain Dew
1/2 cup vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour a mini bundt or cupcake pan.

In a large bowl, combine the cake mix with the pudding mix. Add the eggs and oil, then slowly add the Mountain Dew. Mix at medium speed until blended.

Pour batter into prepared muffin tins and bake for 18-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the mini cakes cool for 10 minutes and then remove to a wire rack.

Glaze

1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup Mountain Dew

While cake is still slightly warm, melt 1/2 cup butter in a saucepan over low heat. Add 1 cup of sugar and 1/2 cup Mountain Dew to the melted butter. Turn up the heat and bring to a boil, stirring often. Boil for two minutes and remove from heat.

Poke holes in cake with a wooden skewer or the tines of a fork, and then spoon the hot glaze over the cakes. Cool completely before serving.

On the dessert table

 

Linking Up With:

YOLO Mondays from Still Being Molly and Lipgloss and Crayons
Monday Meet Ups from Covered in Grace
Market Yourself Monday from Sumo’s Sweet Stuff
Your Great Idea Link Party from Or So She Says
Time for a Party from Fine Craft Guild
Made by you Monday from Skip to my Lou

Alfajores

11 Feb

Last month was my turn to host book club. I chose Daughter of Fortune by Isabel Allende, which a friend recommended. I loved it! It was the last book I read in 2012, and it was a great way to end my literary year. If you’ve never read any of her work, check it out.

For the club meeting, I wanted to prepare food that fit the theme of the book. Allende is Chilean, and the main character in this book, Eliza, is also. After some research, I come up with two dishes: empanadas and alfajores. I balanced it out with chips, guacamole, and a few other snacks.

Alfajores are traditional cookies in Spain and many Latin American countries. This particular version I found online as ‘authentic Chilean.’ I prepared them the day of our meeting, and they were amazing! It’s pretty simple…

Make some thin, slightly crunchy, round sugar cookies.

Cookie

Make some gooey, caramelly dulce de leche, kind of to the texture of taffy.

Dulce de Leche

Smush them together into a sandwich.

Sandwich

Dust them with a bit of confectioners sugar.

Dust

Serve. Mmm…

Serve

Alfajores adapted from Mummy’s Busy World

1/4 cup  and 3 tbsp butter, room temperature
1/4 cup and 3 tbsp sugar
3/4 cup and 3 tbsp of flour
1 egg
Powdered sugar for dusting
1 can of sweetened condensed milk

Cookie:

Beat the butter and sugar until creamy. Add the egg and flour, and mix until incorporated. Once combined, divide into two. Form each into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap, and freeze for 10 minutes.

Preheat oven to 325 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Flour the surface of your work space and roll one section of the dough out very thinly — about 1/8″. Cut with a round cookie cutter and place on prepared baking sheet.

Bake for about 12 minutes or until edges get slightly brown.

Dulce de leche (adapted from CFE)

Most dulce de leche recipes call for boiling a can of condensed milk for a few hours. I decided to try a different route — one that wouldn’t take as long and seemed safer than risking an exploding can. Still, be very careful with this method. The candy gets hot enough to burn and really sticky.

Pour the sweetened condensed milk into a large mixing bowl. Microwave at medium heat for 2 minutes. Remove and stir with a whisk.

Continue microwaving on two-minute intervals until the dulce de leche has a taffy-like texture after whisking.

Assembly:

Once the cookies have cooled, form the dulce de leche into small coin-sized pieces. Sandwich the dulce de leche between two cookies. Use a fine-mesh sieve to sprinkle a dusting of confectioners sugar on top of each cookie. Serve.

Alfajores

Linking up with:

YOLO Mondays from Still Being Molly and Lipgloss and Crayons
Monday Meet Ups from Covered in Grace
Market Yourself Monday from Sumo’s Sweet Stuff

Homemade Caramel Sauce

14 Jan

I usually am a chocolate person, but lately, I’ve been really excited about caramel. I’ve liked it more and more as I’ve gotten older, but I think this particular obsession started with this year’s apples with caramel dip.

(While you’re here, like W&P on Facebook!)

My grandma lives in Hendersonville, home of the North Carolina Apple Festival. It’s an amazing little mountain arts & crafts festival held every year on Labor Day. We always go up, stay with the family, and spend hours walking through the festival. Grandma lives only a couple blocks from downtown, so we can walk up to Main Street whenever we get bored or need a snack. The apple theme pops up everywhere, from the food to the crafts for sale.

This year, as every year, we had apple slices with hot caramel dip. We also had apple pie, a frozen apple slushie, and apple cider. And we took a bag of apples home. Seriously, there’s no end to the apple shenanigans.

Since then, I’ve been all about apples and caramel, though not necessarily together. And when my BFF Lauren told me about the “best caramel sauce ever,” I had to check it out. And really, this is the best caramel sauce ever. It never hardens into that chewy or hard caramel, even when it cools. It’s always perfectly smooth. And it’s super easy!

Caramelly

When I first made this, I just whipped up a chocolate cake from a box mix to go with it. I’ve made it a couple times since then, including a big batch I jarred for my mom and gave her for Christmas. So far, I’ve had it on chocolate cake, as a dip for apples, as a dip for brownies, and as ice cream topping.

Caramel on Chocolate... doesn't get any better than that

My mom was super excited about Christmas this year. She received both a huge jar of caramel sauce and a cotton candy machine. By 7am, she was eating caramel by the spoonful and adding dollops of it to her breakfast oatmeal. And by 8am, she was handing out cones of fluffy pink cotton candy. That’s Christmas!

A jar of caramel sauce is way better than a jar of jam, IMHO

By the way, the sauce tends to absorb into the cake. If you decide to top a cake with it, wait till just before you serve it to drizzle the caramel sauce on top. You could put your caramel in a gravy boat or some such dish and get all fancy with your presentation.

Drizzle

Homemade Caramel Sauce from My Fabulous Recipes

3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup butter
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon vanilla

Heat all except vanilla in a saucepan over medium heat, and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Once boiling, reduce to low and cook 20-30 minutes, stirring frequently until the sugar is completely dissolved and it has a caramel color. Stir in the vanilla and remove from heat. Can be served warm or chilled.

Beautiful

Linking up for:

YOLO Mondays from Still Being Molly and Lipgloss and Crayons
Monday Meet Ups from Covered in Grace
Made by you Monday from Skip to my Lou
Make Something Monday from Sarahndipities

Oh, Fudge!

7 Jan

Just before the holidays, my dear friend Hillary came over, and we spent an afternoon making fudge! We made huge delicious batches of chocolatey goodness to cut up and deliver to coworkers in cute little holiday packages.

I love making holiday treats for my office. I only have 9 coworkers, so it’s not that difficult to prepare for everyone, but some years, it just doesn’t happen. I have our huge annual fundraising event in early December, and it seems like by the time that’s over, I’m just wiped. I don’t have the energy for much.

But I had been thinking about it, and thought about possibly fudge. And the next day, Hillary called to say we should get together to make… fudge! So that seemed like a clear sign that it needed to happen. With a partner in the kitchen, who coincidentally was interested in the same project as I was, it was quite fun to whip these up. And, like all my favorite projects, it was super easy.

We set out to make 3 different flavors. Classic chocolate, salted chocolate peanut butter, and a double batch of mint chocolate chip. Yum!

And I may or may not have cracked myself up multiple times by muttering “Fudge!” when I screwed up or dropped something, and then realizing what I said. Ha.

FUDGE!

So here you go… 3 recipes in one post! It’s your lucky day.

Classic Chocolate Fudge adapted from Martha Stewart

2 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
3 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 can (14-oz) sweetened condensed milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon salt

Coat an 8-inch square pan with cooking spray and line with parchment paper, leaving extra paper on all sides.

Place the butter and chocolate chips in a medium heatproof bowl. Microwave for 30 seconds, then remove and stir well. Repeat, microwaving at 30-second intervals and stirring well between each time, until chocolate is melted.

Add condensed milk, vanilla, and salt. Stir well.

Pour immediately into prepared baking dish and spread evenly. Refrigerate until set, 2 hours or overnight (wrapped). Using the overhanging parchment paper, lift from pan and cut into squares.

Classic

Salted Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge adapted from Martha Stewart

2 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 can (14-oz) sweetened condensed milk
1 cup chunky peanut butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Sea salt (optional)

Coat an 8-inch square pan with cooking spray and line with parchment paper, leaving extra paper on all sides.

Place the chocolate chips in a medium heatproof bowl. Microwave for 30 seconds, then remove and stir well. Repeat, microwaving at 30-second intervals and stirring well between each time, until chocolate is melted.

Add condensed milk, peanut butter, vanilla, and salt. Stir well.

Pour immediately into prepared baking dish and spread evenly. Refrigerate until set, 2 hours or overnight (wrapped). Using the overhanging parchment paper, lift from pan and cut into squares. Top with coarse sea salt.

Mmm... sweet & salty...

Mint Chocolate Chip Fudge adapted from Martha Stewart

2 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
3 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 can (14-oz) sweetened condensed milk
1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
Andes baking chips

Coat an 8-inch square pan with cooking spray and line with parchment paper, leaving extra paper on all sides.

Place the butter and chocolate chips in a medium heatproof bowl. Microwave for 30 seconds, then remove and stir well. Repeat, microwaving at 30-second intervals and stirring well between each time, until chocolate is melted.

Add condensed milk and peppermint. Stir well.

Pour immediately into prepared baking dish and spread evenly. Top with mint chips, as desired.

Refrigerate until set, 2 hours or overnight (wrapped). Using the overhanging parchment paper, lift from pan and cut into squares.

Mint Chip

Linking up for:

YOLO Mondays from Still Being Molly and Lipgloss and Crayons
Monday Meet Ups from Covered in Grace
Made by you Monday from Skip to my Lou
Make Something Monday from Sarahndipities

Microwave Chocolate Pecan Toffee

24 Dec

It’s Christmas Eve! For those of you who celebrate Christmas, I hope you’re ready to enjoy a wonderful day. I have kind of mixed results on my holiday preparedness this year. I had most of my gift shopping done early, but we didn’t decorate our place at all. Once it got close to the holidays and we still hadn’t done anything, the BF and I agreed that it was kind of silly to put a lot of effort into decorations when it’s just the two of us here and we’ll be spending much of our holiday time at our parents’ houses. So instead of going all out, I just put little tiny star ornaments on our bamboo plant. That works, right?

O Christmas Bamboo O Christmas Bamboo...

All I have left to do is bake! Today, I’ll definitely be making a couple apple pies — one for each family’s house — and the apple cinnamon baked oatmeal. After I talk to my brother and sisters, that plan might be slightly expanded. After all, it’s not Christmas without coconut balls.

If you still need something to add to your family’s dessert table or something to take to a holiday party, try this amazing toffee. It’s super easy, so you’ll be able to get it done in between wrapping those last-minute presents and blow-drying your hair.

The only thing better than a delicious candy recipe is an easy delicious candy recipe. I had never made toffee before, and for some reason, I had it in my head that it’s a difficult thing to make. But it wasn’t at all. It was actually super simple. And DELICIOUS. Toffee is kind of like a hard caramel. Yum!

YUM

Somehow this recipe came to me through a long chain: a friend of the stepmom of an ex-boyfriend of a friend. So who knows where it first came from, but I’m glad it arrived in my inbox.

I made a few batches of toffee as gifts for volunteers who helped out with a big work event. It was quick and easy:

Microwave all the toffee ingredients together.

Step 1

Pour it on a pan and spread the chocolate chips over top that.

I have no idea what's up with that weird shadow.

Let it cool/harden, and then break it up into bite-sized pieces.

DONE

I packaged them up in cute little boxes that I got from AC Moore and tied some ribbon around them. Adorbs.

Packages tied up with string...

The only downside to this recipe is that it can get a little expensive. It doesn’t really make a ton of toffee, especially if you’re trying to fill a box, so I had to make quite a few batches. With butter, chocolate, and nuts… not the cheapest.

But it’s so delicious and good-looking, it makes an excellent gift. After I packaged all the pieces up, I collected all the leftover little pieces that were too small to load into the boxes, chopped them up even smaller, and packaged them in a jar as Toffee Crunch Ice Cream Topping. Yum!

Toffee Crunch Ice Cream Topping... It's a little frosty from the fridge, but dang if I'm not craving a bowl of ice cream now.

Well, all that’s left is the recipe. Hope you enjoy it. Happy Holidays!!

Microwave Toffee with Chocolate and Pecans

1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup water
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Coat the sides of a large mixing bowl with butter and place the remaining butter in the bowl. Add sugar, salt, and water; do not stir. Microwave on high for 11 minutes or until mixture begins to turn light brown. Pour onto a greased cookie sheet.

Sprinkle chocolate chips over the toffee and let stand 1 minute. Spread chocolate over the toffee to form a melted layer, and sprinkle with pecans. Chill until firm.

Break into bite-size pieces. Package or serve. Yields about 1 pound.

Delicious delicious toffee

Linking up for:

Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap 2012 + Holiday Cookie Recipes

17 Dec

Here it is… all the cookie recipes you could possibly need. About 576 of them, actually.

Here’s the sitch on the GFBCS2012:

The GREAT FOOD BLOGGER COOKIE SWAP brings together food bloggers from around the world in celebration of all things scrumptious. The premise is this: sign up. Receive the addresses of three other food bloggers. Send each of them one dozen delicious homemade cookies. Receive three different boxes of scrumptious cookies from other bloggers. Eat them all yourself (or, you know, share. If you want. No judgement either way.) Post your cookie recipe on your blog. See everyone else’s cookie recipes. Salivate. Get lots of great ideas for next year’s cookie swap. Rinse and repeat.

I sent 3 lucky recipients my Chinese Chai Cookies:

Chinese Chai Cookies

Chinese Chai Cookies

And I received 3 batches of delicious cookies:

  • Peppermint Mocha Cookies from Traveler in the Kitchen. I usually am not a fan of coffee, but mint chocolate is my fave, so these cookies were amazing. The giant chocolate chunks were perfect.
  • Delicious cookies from Sweet Jeanette. They had an amazing kind of pecan praline thing going on.
  • Yummy, buttery cookies (If I can find the recipe, I’ll update)
Peppermint Mocha Cookies

Peppermint Mocha Cookies

The hosts of the Cookie Swap rounded up on the recipes and posted them on their blogs. If you need inspiration for your cookie swap party or your holiday dessert table, look no further! Love & Olive Oil is hosting the Recipe Roundup Part 1, and The Little Kitchen is hosting the Recipe Roundup Part 2.

Enjoy your holiday baking!

Linking up for:

YOLO Mondays from Still Being Molly and Lipgloss and Crayons
Monday Meet Ups from Covered in Grace
Linky Party from Fine Craft Guild