Cherry Chocolate Kisses

The peanut butter blossoms are the cookies I always thought of when using chocolate kisses. It was only a couple of weeks ago I spotted this recipe on Pinterest and realized this would be so much better (and prettier) for my Christmas cookie boxes. The idea of a cherry flavored cookie with a little bit of chocolate on top sounded very new and exciting to me. It led me to look up even more variations of this type of cookie, but I ultimately decided on trying this one and saving the others for another time.

They were very simple to make. I made the mistake of putting them down on parchment paper instead of just the cookie sheet when the recipe clearly said “ungreased cookie sheet”. This caused my cookies to spread out a little more than they should have, but they still looked very nice, especially when they were all in a big pile of chocolatey cherry goodness. I had to give one a try before sticking them in the freezer. If you like maraschino cherries and you like chocolate, this is such a good combo. You can roll them in red colored sugar instead of regular granulated white sugar to make them look even more festive!

Rating 5/5

 

Cherry Chocolate Kisses

Oven Temp: 350°F

Cooking Time: 10-12 minutes

 

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

1 cup sifted powdered sugar

1/8 tsp salt

2 tsp maraschino cherry liquid

1/4 tsp almond extract

2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup chopped maraschino cherries

white sugar for rolling

48 chocolate kisses, unwrapped

 

Preheat oven to 350°F. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter until fluffy. Add the powdered sugar and salt; combine. Beat in cherry juice and almond extract, scraping the sides of the bowl.

Slowly beat in flour until just combined. Stir in chopped cherries. Cover and refrigerate for one hour.

Using a cookie scoop or spoon, shape dough into 1-inch balls, rolling them in white granulated sugar to coat. Place each ball of dough about 2-inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet and flatten with the bottom of a drinking glass.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until edges are light golden brown. Immediately press a chocolate kiss into the center of each cookie while they are still hot. Transfer to wire rack and allow to cool and chocolate to set overnight (or place them in the freezer for about 20 minutes to speed up the hardening of the chocolate). Store in an airtight container.

Found the recipe here.

Enjoy.

Advertisements

Chocolate Sandwich Cookies


image

Lately I have been craving Oreo Cookies, peeking at them every time I’m at the store. I remembered I had found a recipe for these on Pinterest that looked amazing! Even though I’m on summer break, I am still finding it hard to bake more at home. With my free time I am out exploring new hiking trails with my pooch. However I can not forget about my passion because it is what makes me happy! This afternoon had “relaxing baking time” written all over it.

For the cookies:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup dutch process cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt

For the filling:
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
2 tbsp half and half
1 tsp vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
3 to 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
image

In a large bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until creamy. Add the egg and vanilla extract until well combined.

image

image

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt.
image

Gradually beat flour mixture into butter mixture on low speed until just combined.

Form dough into a ball. Separate ball into 2 disks, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for one hour.
image

Preheat oven to 350º F. Roll out dough one disk at a time on a lightly floured surface. Cut out dough using a 2-inch round cookie cutter. Place cookies on a parchment-lined baking sheet about an inch apart.

image

Bake for 12 minutes. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack immediately. Cool completely.
image

To make the filling, beat together the butter, half and half, vanilla, and salt. Slowly mix in the powdered sugar, one 1/2 cup at a time. You want a thick frosting-like consistency.
image
image

Once the cookies are cooled completely, pipe a small amount of frosting onto half of the cookies. Sandwich them with the second half. You can use a piping bag with a frosting tip or a ziploc bag with the tip cut off.

image

I loved these cookies. I’m going to stash this recipe in my collection for later. They were so easy to frost and assemble. The 12 minute baking time was spot on. They harden slightly once cooled so they are ready to be frosted.

image

Rating 5/5

Recipe found here.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Cheesecake

I feel so ashamed! It has been at least two months since I baked or cooked anything and posted it on my blog! I feel so deprived of my relaxation time. I only have my busy schedule and lack of energy to blame. While I’ve had plenty of extra money to go all out and bake my butt off, I have not had any time. Only five more weeks until summer break and I can bake (or cook) to my heart’s content!

This past week was spring break for me. This gave me a little extra time to make something special for my boyfriend’s family. I had some cream cheese in the fridge and a package of chocolate chip cookies. I came up with chocolate chip cookie cheesecake.

I was very sad about making the cheesecake with a disposable pie pan. Not only are they not very deep, but it just doesn’t create a beautiful cheesecake like a spring form pan (which my sister lost). Either way the cheesecake came out pretty tasty.

1 1/2 cups finely crushed chocolate chip cookies

1/3 cup butter, melted

3 (8 oz) packages cream cheese, softened

1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk

3 eggs

2 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips

1 tsp all-purpose flour

6-7 chocolate chip cookies, crushed by hand

1 tsp mini semisweet mini chocolate chips

20130405_155655

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Combine finely crushed cookie crumbs with melted butter in a small bowl until crumbs are moistened. Press onto bottom and sides of a pie pan or spring form pan. Bake for 10 minutes. Set aside to cool.

20130405_155911

20130405_160422

In a large bowl, beat cream cheese with a hand mixer on medium speed until smooth. Add sweetened condensed milk until smooth.

20130405_163544

Mix in vanilla extract and eggs one at a time.

20130405_164106

In a ziploc bag, shake together the 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips and flour. Coating them in flour will allow them to keep their shape and prevent them from sinking to the bottom while baking.

20130405_164114

Stir in mini chocolate chips and the remaining chocolate chip cookies by hand. Pour cheese mixture into prepared crust. Top with more chocolate chips.

20130405_164621

Bake for 1 hour at 300 degrees F. Turn off oven and leave cheesecake inside for 30 minutes. Look for some light browning on the top and no jiggle in the center. Do not leave the cheesecake in the oven long enough for cracks to form. At this point, the cheesecake has overcooked. Remove from oven and cool completely. Allow to refrigerate 3-4 hours or overnight before serving.

100MEDIA_IMAG0476

I apologize for the poor quality picture of the cheesecake. I was not present to take a picture and so I had my boyfriend text me a picture. Luckily I was able to try this recipe because my boyfriend saved me a slice. It was perfect. It tasted like a chocolate chip cookie without being overwhelming and I got some positive feedback from others. I want to buy myself another spring form pan and continue to try and perfect the cheesecake.

Rating 5/5

Assembling the Cookie Bundles

Only a week away from Christmas and it is time to assemble the cookie tins that I have been so excited about completing. I pulled everything from the freezer and grabbed all of the containers I had bought.

20121218_182059

I lined each container with pretty Christmas tissue paper and used muffin cups for the cinnamon almonds and peppermint bark.

20121218_183735

It was fun to color coordinate the containers with tissue paper and pick out all of the cookies to fill them with. It gave me a chance to reflect on the recipes I tried. I was able to see which ones I liked best and how they stood up being in the freezer for a couple of weeks.

20121218_191635

Everything still tasted great. It was hard to keep my sister and my dad from eating all of the leftovers. All of the cookies that are left will become a cookie platter to share with the family on Christmas day. I am so pleased with these gifts. I can not wait to share them with everyone and I think I may have to do this again next year.

20121218_193351

20121218_193423

Tropical Chewies & Gingerbread Boys

Two very good cookie recipes I am sharing with you today. The tropical chewies are a new one for me. I received the recipe from a friend a year or two ago in a clipping from a food network magazine and never had the chance to try them. Just looking at the ingredient list made me think of tasting a little bit of paradise.

The gingerbread boys recipe is very special to me. It was given to me by my grandma who has been making them for Christmas for over 50 years. She made them when my dad was very young and I remember going over to her house when I was little to bake them with both of my grandparents. Now it is my turn to continue making these cookies every Christmas. Even the cookie cutter I used is special! It is also over 50 years old and it’s still being used for the same cookies today. My grandma got it for free in a bag of flour way back in the day. To decorate these cookies, I recruited my sisters to help me out.

20121214_092830

1 1/2 sticks butter, melted

3/4 cup dark brown sugar

3/4 cup white sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 eggs

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

2 cups white chocolate chips

1 cup chopped macadamia nuts

1/2 cup chopped almonds

3/4 cup shredded coconut

20121214_075628

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Beat butter, brown sugar, and white sugar together. Add vanilla extract and eggs; stir until combined.

20121214_081128

In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt. Slowly add dry mixture to the butter mixture. Stir in chocolate chips, macadamia nuts, almonds, and shredded coconut. Cover and chill dough for 30 minutes.

20121214_081801

20121214_082633

Scoop dough into 1-inch balls, placing on ungreased cookie sheet 2 inches apart, and sprinkle with coconut; bake 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown on the bottom. Move to wire rack to cool completely.

20121214_092826

20121217_132521

1 cup Crisco vegetable shortening

1 cup sugar

1 egg

1 cup light molasses

2 tbsp vinegar

5 cups sifted all-purpose flour

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

2 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp ground cloves

20121215_191751

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Thoroughly cream shortening and sugar together. Stir in eggs, molasses and vinegar; beat well.

20121215_192143

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, salt and spices. Stir into molasses mixture. Chill overnight.

20121215_193444

20121215_194003

20121215_195141

On a lightly floured surface, roll dough to 1/8-inch thick, cut with gingerbread cookie cutters. Place cookies 1 inch apart on a greased cookie sheet. Decorate with candies and sprinkles.

20121217_120714

20121217_120859

Bake for 6 to 7 minutes. Cool slightly then remove to wire rack to cool completely. Finish decorating with icing if preferred.

20121217_112207

The chewies were, well, chewy, and very delicious. The gingerbread cookies brought back a lot of memories and tasted just how I remembered. Everyone in my family was after the cookies like sharks!

Enjoy.

Chocolate Chip Cream Cheese Cookies

These chocolate chip cookies came to be because I had some more ingredients laying around that I wanted to get rid of – cream cheese and chocolate chips. Why not put cream cheese into a chocolate chip cookie? I only see good coming out of this combination. I pulled together a recipe that combines the two perfectly. I plan on saving all of the cookies for an upcoming bonfire I will be having with my long time friends (to go with the smores of course).

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened

6 oz cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup sugar

1 cup packed brown sugar

1 egg

1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

2 1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1 (12 oz) package semisweet chocolate chips (about 1 1/2 cups)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl, combine butter, cream cheese, sugar, and brown sugar until creamy.

Add vanilla extract, egg, baking soda, and salt. Gradually mix in flour a little bit at a time until well combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Drop by spoonfuls, about a tablespoon, onto the ungreased parchment paper. I had just received an ice cream scoop from my grandmother with the intention to only use it for baking cookies. I was excited to use it and I have to say I love it!

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until the bottoms begin to brown. Allow to cool and store in an air tight container.

I was worried when they came out of the oven that they would not be cooked through on the inside being the size that they are. I thought if I took out the egg in the recipe that the structure wouldn’t hold so much and they would flatten a little more and cook better. Once I tasted them, I realized they were perfect. Very tasty and I was able to use up the cream cheese along with the chocolate chips!

Cheesecake Factory Oreo Cheesecake

Every Christmas Eve my family gets together at my grandmother’s house to enjoy cioppino and dessert. I always make a cheesecake. The nice thing about this little tradition is that I get to try a different cheesecake recipe each year. However, this year there was a request for me to make my oreo cheesecake. I wasn’t able to find my original oreo cheesecake recipe so I settled on a copycat recipe from the Cheesecake Factory provided by CopyKat Recipes. This cheesecake was so good. Very rich and probably could have passed off as Cheesecake Factory if it had been presented the same way.

For the crust:
1 1/2 cups oreo cookie crumbs (about 23 cookies)
2 tbsp melted butter
For the filling:
3 (8 oz) packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
5 large eggs
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup all purpose flour
8 ounces sour cream
5 oreo cookies, coarsely chopped (for the batter)
10 oreo cookies, coarsely chopped (for the topping)

 
For my cheesecake I used a 9-inch springform pan which allows the sides to lift off the cheesecake. This makes an easy and delicious presentation of your cheesecake. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

I crushed the oreos by placing them in a ziploc bag within another bag and crushing them with a mallet. Next time I think I may use the coffee grinder to make the crumbs more fine for a smoother finish. Mix melted butter with oreo crumbs and press to bottom and up the sides of the pan, set aside.


For the filling, beat cream cheese until fluffy. Slowly add in sugar while beating on low setting until well mixed. Add eggs one at a time, beat until blended.

Add in the vanilla extract, salt and flour. Blend well. Mix in sour cream.

Stir in coarsely chopped oreos by hand. Pour mixture into cheesecake pan over the crust. Top with the remaining coarsely chopped cookies. Place on top rack of oven and bake for one hour and 15 minutes.

When done baking, prop the oven door open with a wooden spoon handle. Leave cheesecake to set in oven for one hour. Remove after one hour and place in refrigerator.

Everyone in my family loved the cheesecake and even asked if there were any leftovers the next day. I shared the rest with some friends of mine who requested a slice after seeing the photo on facebook! Thanks for the recipe CopyKat!