White Chocolate Peppermint Butter Cookies

One of my favorite flavors of anything is peppermint. Peppermint frozen yogurt, peppermint mocha, peppermint candy, and peppermint baked goods. These little heart-shaped cookies were made possible with my cookies press. There is peppermint extract in the cookie dough and the candy canes on the outside add a crunch as well as more peppermint flavor. This is a variation of the Golden Butter Cookies using a cookie press. They are delicious, but keep in mind they are a little time consuming when you have to bake the cookies, wait for them to cool, then dip them in chocolate and candy crumbs and wait for it to set. A pretty, minty addition to any cookie tray.

Rating 5/5

 

White Chocolate Peppermint Butter Cookies

Oven Temp: 350°F

Cooking Time: 7-8 minutes

 

1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

1 cup white sugar

2 eggs, room temperature

2 tsp peppermint extract

1/4 tsp vanilla extract

4 cups all-purpose flour

red food coloring

1 (12 oz) bag white chocolate chips

1 tbsp shortening

10-12 candy canes, crushed into small pieces

 

Preheat oven to 350°F. In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar together until fluffy. Scrape the sides of the bowl. Continue mixing on low, adding eggs, one at a time. Beat in peppermint and vanilla extract. Slowly add flour until just combined. Add a few drops of red food coloring and mix enough the swirl the red into the dough without turning the whole thing pink.

Bake for 7 to 8 minutes or until lightly browned on the bottom. Cool for 1-2 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. In a medium mixing bowl, microwave white chocolate chips at 15 second intervals, stirring in between, until melted and smooth. Stir in the shortening.

Once the cookies have completely cooled, dip half of each cookies into the white chocolate, shaking off any excess chocolate. Dip the chocolate-coated portion of the cookie into the candy cane crumbs and place on parchment paper to set. Allow to set for 2-3 hours or overnight. Store in an airtight container.

Enjoy.

Advertisements

Black Bean Brownies

I know it sounds weird, but hear me out on this… Black bean brownies. I first heard about this back when I was in school in one of my nutrition courses where we were required to take regular recipes and turn them healthy. I thought black bean brownies sounded like such an insult to the delicious, fudgy brownies I was use to making. Never considered actually making any until now. They turned out to be pretty great.

The best thing about these brownies is there is no flour. It’s mainly black beans. There is also no sugar. I use erythritol, which is a sugar alcohol derived from fruits. It does not affect blood sugar levels, is only partially absorbed during digestion, and prevents tooth decay. How great is that? You use cocoa powder for the chocolate flavor which doesn’t add any sugar. And you can throw in some walnuts, a good source of omega-3 fatty acids.

You can add walnuts or if you want to cheat and go for more chocolate, add chocolate chips. Serve warm with a scoop of vanilla bean coconut ice cream on top. A decadent dessert with no guilt! Found the recipe here.

 

Rating 5/5

 

Black Bean Brownies

Oven Temp: 350°F

Cooking Time: 20-25 minutes

 

1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed thoroughly

2 large eggs

2 tbsp coconut oil, melted

3/4 cup cocoa powder

1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup erythritol (I use Swerve)

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

2 tbsp almond milk

1/4 cup chopped walnuts or semisweet chocolate chips

 

Preheat oven to 350°F. In a food processor or blender, blend the black beans until smooth. Add black bean puree to a large bowl and whisk in eggs, one at a time.

Whisk in the coconut oil, cocoa powder, salt, vanilla extract, erythritol, baking powder, and almond milk until combined. Fold in the walnuts or chocolate chips.

Scoop about 3 tablespoons of batter into a greased 12-slot muffin pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until dry on top. Allow to cool and store in an airtight container.

Enjoy.

 

Spiced Pumpkin Cheesecake

Holy cheesecake! I just keep getting better and better at these delicate and creamy desserts. Cheesecake was one of the first “adventurous” desserts I tried as a beginner baker and it is still one of my favorites to make. My parents are having an Oktoberfest party today and I knew a cheesecake was REQUIRED. Eight months ago I had made a Baileys Irish Cream cheesecake with a Guinness glaze for their annual St. Patrick’s Day party. Unfortunately I did not have the time to blog that one… guess I’ll just have to make it again!

Anyways, back to the pumpkin cheesecake. This recipe I found in an issue of Cook’s Illustrated magazine. I completely trust any recipe I try from them. They spend hours and hours retesting and reformulating recipes until they are perfect. Then they share the final recipe in their magazines. This cheesecake requires the addition of cinnamon, cloves, and ginger to the graham cracker crust in addition to the pumpkin and spices you add to the actual cheesecake.

I’ve found that the hot water bath method when baking cheesecake results in the best tasting and most creamy cheesecake versus just baking the cheesecake in the oven by itself. This is a technique I will always use when making cheesecake. Another big tip about cheesecake is removing it from the oven when the middle just barely jiggles. Do not wait for it to crack then it is overbaked! Cheesecake is a dessert that takes a few attempts to master, but the results are well worth the work. This spiced pumpkin cheesecake is perfect for Oktoberfest.

 

Rating 5/5

 

Spiced Pumpkin Cheesecake

Oven Temp: 325°F

Cooking Time: 15-20 minutes for crust; 1 1/2 hours for cheesecake

For the crust:
9 whole graham crackers, broken into large pieces
3 tbsp granulated sugar
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
6 tbsp unsalted butter, melted

 

For the filling:
1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp salt
1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin puree
1 1/2 pounds (2 1/2 packages) cream cheese, cut into 1-inch chunks and left to soften at room temperature
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp lemon juice from 1 lemon
5 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup heavy cream
Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat oven to 325°F. Spray bottom and sides of 9-inch springform pan evenly with nonstick cooking spray. Pulse crackers, sugar, and spices in food processor until evenly and finely ground, about fifteen 2-second pulses. Transfer crumbs to medium bowl, drizzle melted butter over, and mix with rubber spatula until evenly moistened. Turn crumbs into prepared springform pan and, using hand, spread crumbs into even layer. Using flat-bottomed ramekin or drinking glass, press crumbs evenly into pan bottom, then use a soup spoon to press and smooth crumbs into edges of pan. Bake until fragrant and browned about the edges, about 15 minutes. Cool on wire rack while making filling.
For the filling, bring about 4 quarts water to simmer in stockpot. Whisk sugar, spices, and salt in small bowl; set aside.
To dry pumpkin: Line baking sheet with triple layer of paper towels. Spread pumpkin on paper towels in roughly even layer. Cover pumpkin with second triple layer of paper towels and press firmly until paper towels are saturated. Peel back top layer of towels and discard. Grasp bottom towels and fold pumpkin in half; peel back towels. Repeat and flip pumpkin onto baking sheet; discard towel.
In standing mixer fitted with flat beater, beat cream cheese at medium speed to break up and soften slightly, about 1 minute. Scrape beater and bottom and sides of bowl well with rubber spatula. Add about one third of sugar mixture and beat at medium-low speed until combined, about 1 minute; scrape bowl and add remaining sugar in two additions, scraping bowl after each addition. Add pumpkin, vanilla, and lemon juice and beat at medium speed until combined, about 45 seconds; scrape bowl. Add 3 eggs and beat at medium-low until incorporated, about 1 minute; scrape bowl. Add remaining 2 eggs and beat at medium-low until incorporated, about 45 seconds; scrape bowl. Add heavy cream and beat at low speed until combined, about 45 seconds. Using rubber spatula, scrape bottom and sides of bowl and give final stir by hand.
Set springform pan with cooled crust on 18-inch-square doubled layer heavy-duty foil and wrap bottom and sides with foil; set wrapped springform pan in roasting pan. Pour filling into springform pan and smooth surface; set roasting pan in oven and pour enough boiling
water to come about halfway up side of springform pan. Bake until center of cake is slightly wobbly when pan is shaken, and center of cake registers 145 to 150°F on instant-read thermometer, about 1 1/2 hours (see note). Set roasting pan on wire rack and use paring knife to loosen cake from sides of pan. Cool until water is just warm, about 45 minutes. Remove springform pan from water bath, discard foil, and set on wire rack; continue to cool until barely warm, about 3 hours. Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled, at least 4 hours or up to 3 days.
Let cheesecake stand at room temperature about 30 minutes before serving, then cut into wedges and serve.
Enjoy.

Apple Crisp In a Bowl

Ok, I will admit I’m getting a little desperate for desserts. I saw some delicious looking granny smith apples at the grocery store and instantly thought “apple pie sounds delicious right now”! I knew I could throw a single serving together by making an apple crisp instead and swapping out regular ingredients for diet-friendly ones. This kind of reminded me of the “cookie in a mug” and “cake in a mug” recipes.

The only swaps I made to the recipe below is I used erythritol baking sugar instead of white sugar, gluten-free oats in place of regular oats, and ghee (clarified butter) instead of regular butter. Topped it off with some vanilla bean coconut ice cream… It tasted just like the real thing!

Now you can make yourself a single serving of apple crisp without using a huge baking pan and making more than you need.

 

Rating 5/5

 

Apple Crisp In a Bowl

Oven Temp: 350°F

Cooking Time: 25 min

 

1 granny smith apple, peeled and cubed

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tbsp butter

1/2 cup instant oats

1 tbsp butter, melted

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

1 tbsp white sugar

pinch of salt

 

Preheat oven to 350°F. In a oven-safe bowl, toss apple chunks and 1 tsp ground cinnamon together. Dot the top with 1 tbsp butter.

 

In a separate bowl, combine oats, melted butter, 1 tsp ground cinnamon, 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg, white sugar, and a pinch of salt. Sprinkle oat mixture over bowl of apple chunks to completely cover the apple.

 

Set apple crisp bowl on a cookie sheet in the oven. Bake for 25 minutes or until apples are nice and soft and oats are golden brown. Top with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

 

Enjoy.

German Chocolate Cake

2014-06-14 19.01.32

Many people have expressed to me how much they love german chocolate cake, one of these people being my Dad. So for Father’s Day I ended up making this cake for him instead of going out and buying him a gift he would never use. He absolutely loves this cake, even more so when it is made from scratch. I’m not sure if I have ever even made this cake before so I was happy to use him as an excuse.

Rating 5/5

 

German Chocolate Cake

Oven Temp: 350°F

Cooking Time: 30 to 35 minutes

 

1 package (4 oz) Baker’s German’s Sweet Chocolate

1/2 cup water

4 eggs, room temperature, separated

2 cups flour

1 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened

2 cups white sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup buttermilk

1 recipe Coconut Pecan Frosting

 

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease two 8- or 9-inch cake pans or line the bottoms with parchment paper; set aside.

In a small microwave-safe bowl, add the 1/2 cup water and sweet chocolate and microwave, covered, for 2 minutes. Stir until chocolate is completely melted and set aside.

Using a hand mixer or stand mixer, beat the 4 egg whites in a medium bowl until stiff peaks form; set aside.

In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

Using a mixer, in a large bowl, beat butter and white sugar until fluffy. Add egg yolks, one at a time, until combined. Add melted chocolate and vanilla; mix until combined.

Slowly add flour mixture alternating with buttermilk, beating until well combined. Add egg whites and stir by hand until blended.

Pour the batter evenly among the two cake pans and bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool cakes for 15 minutes and turn out onto wire rack to cool completely. Frost with coconut pecan frosting.

Enjoy.

 

Found the recipe here.

Strawberry Meringue Cookies

2014-05-15 15.26.42

Meringue cookies are always described as light, airy, and crunchy. Having never baked these cookies myself, they sounded different, but delicious. I had to try these out. They were surprisingly easy and you can make them any flavor and any design you’d like. I have a large collection of piping tips. I ended up using the 1M star tip and 2D star tip to make pretty rose-like swirls and a plain round tip to make heart shapes. This recipe proved to be easy with a very good turnout. I will no longer be intimidated by meringue cookies!

Rating 5/5

 

Strawberry Meringue Cookies

Oven Temp: 190⁰F

Cooking Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

 

3 egg whites, room temperature

3/4 cup superfine sugar

1/4 tsp cream of tartar

1/4 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp strawberry flavoring

few drops red food coloring

 

Preheat oven to 190⁰F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. In a large bowl with a stand mixer or hand mixer, whisk the egg whites until frothy, about 20 seconds. Adding one tablespoon at a time, blend in superfine sugar until dissolved.

(I did not have superfine sugar, so I processed 3/4 cup of granulated sugar in my food processor before adding to the egg whites)

Add cream of tartar and blend another 20 seconds. Then add vanilla extract, strawberry flavoring, and red food coloring. Beat on high speed for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the egg whites result in stiff peaks (see picture below).

Add spoonfuls of the meringue mixture onto the baking sheet or use a piping bag and frosting tip to pipe meringue into different shapes. Allow the meringue to sit on the baking sheets for 1 hour.

Bake the two baking sheets for 45 minutes, flipping them around and switching racks, and bake for another 45 minutes. Once the baking time is up, turn the oven off, leaving the meringues inside and propping the door open with a wooden spoon. Leave the cookies in the oven for a minimum of 4 hours, up to overnight. Store them in an airtight container at room temperature.

Enjoy.

Found the recipe on Pinterest here.

Mini Oreo Cheesecakes

2013-07-14 18.19.44

A lot of people are intimidated by cheesecake. They see cheesecake as a dessert they would never be able to bake with a finished product that’s even edible. I am here to tell them to not be so afraid! Cheesecake was one of the very first desserts I learned to bake. It has been one of my favorites ever since. Make them even easier by using a cookie for the crust and pouring the batter into muffin cups instead of a springform pan!

My sister turned 20 this month and she requested an oreo cheesecake instead of a birthday cake. No problem! I went with some easy, but equally tasty mini cheesecakes!

1 package oreo chocolate cookie sandwiches

2 (8 oz) packages cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup sour cream

1/2 tsp vanilla

2 eggs

2013-07-13 15.47.51

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with muffin paper cups and place an oreo cookie in each one. Bake the cookie for 10 minutes. Allow to cool completely.

2013-07-13 15.54.27

In a large bowl, beat together the cream cheese and sugar until combined. Add and mix in sour cream and vanilla extract. Beat in eggs, one at a time, just until incorporated.

2013-07-13 16.04.07

2013-07-13 16.06.57

2013-07-13 16.08.54

Coarsely chop the remaining cookies and stir in to the cream cheese mixture. Spoon mixture into the 12 muffin cups.

2013-07-13 16.13.58

2013-07-13 16.19.03

2013-07-13 16.26.51

Bake for 20 minutes or until the centers are almost set. Cool completely and refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours or overnight.

2013-07-13 16.48.57

2013-07-14 18.19.28

The mini cheesecakes tasted just as good as if I had created a whole cheesecake with an oreo crumb crust and oreo pieces mixed in. My sister was very happy with them. And what’s nice about the easy, mini desserts is the fact that they are so easy to share with others!

Rating 5/5

I used a basic cheesecake recipe from Kraft.