I’ve been on a hiatus from posting going on a few weeks now. There has been so much going on over here that my mind hasn’t been in the recipe writing mode. I really cannot stand those days(or weeks), ugh!
The great news is, though? I found out this past week that I’m going to be an Aunt! How awesome is that?! I’m so excited! I could not have asked for a better way to ring in February(which is usually the worst month of winter here; way cold and so much rain and snow!).
Since Valentine’s Day is coming up this Sunday, I have every excuse to include chocolate upon chocolate in these shortbread cookies. It’s pretty hard for me to avoid using chocolate in everything I bake, can you tell?
But seriously, things got real here in my kitchen and shortbread cookies got an upgrade! You’re bound to win someone’s heart with these things. Though, besides the heart shape, they don’t look at all festive; but really, all that matters is that they include a ton of chocolate and toffee popcorn piled on top, right? Right.
Toffee Popcorn + Chocolate = Heaven pretty much for me. Even though these cookies may take a little time to put together, they’re not at all difficult. They’re worth every minute you put into them. Oh, and hopefully all that toffee popcorn makes its way onto the cookies and not into your stomach. I may have had a little difficulty with that rule…
2 tablespoons dutch-process cocoa powder (can use Hershey's Special Dark cocoa)
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup granulated sugar
8 ounces bitter-sweet chocolate, chopped
2 cups popcorn (I used store-bought, but you can pop your own if desired)
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup salted butter (2 sticks), cubed
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and cocoa. Set aside.
With an electric mixer or a wooden spoon, beat the butter and sugar together till light and fluffy. This part is crucial to how the shortbread will turn out, make sure the butter is soft enough, but not melting, to cream with the sugar.. Add the butter to the flour mixture and mix with a wooden spoon till it becomes crumbly in large chunks. Now use your hands and knead it till all the ingredients are incorporated. It shouldn't be dry after squishing it around in your hands for a short while, it should be like handling playdough.
Turn out onto a flat surface* and form into a ball, with your fingers flatten it out some and with a rolling pin, roll the dough into a circle that is about 1/4 inch thick. With a heart shaped cookie cutter*, cut-out 12-14 hearts and place them on a large cookie sheet. With a toothpick or fork, poke a lot holes in each cookie.
Place the baking sheet of cookies in the fridge and chill till firm, about 25-30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Once preheated, remove the cookies from the fridge and into the oven. Bake for 20 minutes. Cool on the pan for 10 minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.
Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with aluminum foil.
In a medium sauce pan, add the butter by cutting into cubes. Add the sugar and vanilla. Stir over medium heat till the butter is melted. Allow the toffee to come to a boil, stirring occasionally but keeping a close eye on it. When the toffee reaches a dark amber color, remove from heat and immediately add the two cups of popcorn, stirring till all the popcorn is covered. Transfer to prepared pan and flatten down with a spoon. Let it cool completely till hardened. About 1-2 hours. Once the toffee has hardened, shatter into pieces and set aside in a bowl till needed.
After the cookies are cooled and the toffee is hardened; chop the bittersweet chocolate into small pieces and place in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave for 15-30 seconds intervals till the chocolate pieces start to look melted, remove from microwave and stir the chocolate with a spatula till smooth and all the chocolate lumps are melted. Take each cookie and dip the side with the holes face down into the melted chocolate, sprinkle on the toffee popcorn and place on a large plate to let the chocolate harden, drizzle with chocolate if desired. Repeat till all the cookies are assembled. You can put the plate of cookies in the freezer for about 5 minutes to speed up the chocolate hardening. Enjoy!
*To make things easier(and cleaner!), I rolled the dough out on a large piece of parchment paper so when I cut out the hearts, they were easily peeled from the paper and put on the pan without distorting the shape.
*The cookie cutter I used was about 2.5 to 3 inches in diameter, I was able to cut out 14 cookies.
I know it’s already been a week since the new year started but, Happy New Year a little late! I was off of here for a couple weeks enjoying time with all my family, but I’m back now!
Since it’s officially citrus season, I’m probably going to start bombarding you with all things orangy-lemony-grapefruity on here, so sit tight! I’m starting it off with these ginger cookies that are filled with a lemon cream filling.
They’re super easy and don’t take up a lot of time in the day. Also, the lemon cream is like, THE best thing. I had to stop myself from eating the bowl once or twice…
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from meyer lemons)
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon zest
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Whisk together the flour, baking soda, spices, salt, and set aside.
With an electric mixer, beat the sugar and butter till creamy. Add the molasses and beat till combined. Add the egg and beat till combined. Scrap down the sides and gradually add flour in 1/3 increments, beating till just combined each addition.
Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper. Scoop the dough out and very slightly roll the piece into a ball(don't roll it smooth, leave some cracks in it) it should be about 1 inch in diameter. Lightly coat the dough balls in sugar and place on the pan, spacing each ball 2 inches apart from each other.
Bake in preheated oven for 12-13 minutes. Let them cool on the pan 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely.
LEMON CREAM FILLING
Beat the cream cheese till smooth, add the lemon juice and beat till combined. Add the powdered sugar and lemon zest and beat well. Transfer into a piping bag with a #12 round tip attached.
Pipe the lemon cream onto the flat side of the cookie, leaving about 1/4 inch of space around the edges. Squish another cookie onto the cream a gently press them together till the cream comes out to the sides(but does't flow out). Repeat till all the cookies are assembled. Let them sit for an hour to let the cream harden.
Cookies, cookies, cookies everywhere! That is the line I keep saying to myself as all the recipes I’ve been coming up with recently, involve cookies in some way. Guess I’m just in the holiday cookie baking spirit! Next week should be fun, too. I’ll be up to my neck with cookies as I’m doing my annual Christmas cookie delivery to all the neighbors. It’s always fun, and they really look forward to getting their boxes of goodies every year.
When I first wrote this recipe out and made it, I thought they would turn out so well as the dough tasted so good. Nope. I had to completely re-do the recipe and take out a few things. About 5 minutes after being put in the oven I looked through the door and saw the most devastating sight.. my cookies were one, giant puddle! Thank goodness I had them in a rimmed cookie sheet and not my flat one, or else I would’ve been cleaning up a ton of burnt cookie out of the oven. This reconstructed recipe is much better and is bound to turn out nicely. They kept their shape perfectly while baking, so I was a happy camper! They taste delicious, too!
I love the combination of peppermint candy and chocolate, they’re seriously the best stuff ever. Plus, they’re just so pretty together in photos!
Slice 'N Bake Peppermint Shortbread Cookies Dipped in Chocolate
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour and salt, set aside.
In an electric mixer beat the butter and sugar till just mixed together(about 30 seconds), add the peppermint and vanilla extract and beat till combined. Add the flour to the butter mixture in 1/3 increments, beating on low speed till each addition is just combined. The dough will be somewhat crumbly, keep adding a tablespoon of water* till the dough comes together and is moist and soft, not dry. *About 3-4 tablespoons of water.
Remove the dough from the mixer and place on a flat surface and shape into a log that is about 10-12 inches long, wrap in saran/plastic wrap and place in the fridge to chill for at least 4 hours or overnight.
Before taking the dough out of the fridge, preheat your oven to 325°F.
When the oven has finished preheating, remove dough from fridge and with a sharp knife, cut the dough into 1/4 inch thick slices. Place each slice on a large cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 25-27 minutes. Let cool fully on racks when done.
While the cookies are cooling, chop candy canes into fine pieces/small chunks and set aside.
Chop the chocolate and place in a microwave safe bowl, heat in the microwave till smooth melted, stopping to stir every 10-15 seconds.
When the cookies have cooled completely, dip halfway into the melted chocolate and then sprinkle on the candy cane pieces. To get the chocolate to quickly harden on the cookies, place in the freezer for about 5 minutes till the chocolate is no longer glossy.
“Ice cream sandwiches are a summer thing..,” is a sentence you won’t ever hear in my house, not even on the coldest of days! My dad and all my siblings are ice cream lovers, so we have it a lot.. but I really don’t mind cause I love it, too! It’s only the best stuff ever.. well, next to dark chocolate. Dark chocolate will always be number one on my list of favorite things to indulge in.
So, who wants to eat a bunch of cold gingerbread ice cream sandwiches with me? These are probably my new favorite way of eating gingerbread cookies this season. Seriously! They’re so good, especially that ice cream. Vanilla ice cream + bourbon and caramel, equals the best combination. And probably the only way I’ll have bourbon, the stuff by itself is straight up nasty to me, but I will say I could eat this ice cream all day with it in there cause it’s that good.
Another good thing about these cookies/ice cream is you can mix them together in a jiffy at 10 o’clock at night, throw in the freezer/fridge overnight and then bake and assemble first thing in the morning. Pretty easy!
Boozy Caramel Gingerbread Ice Cream Sandwich Cookies
In a mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, and spices. Set aside.
With an electric mixer, beat together the butter and brown sugar till light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides, add the egg and molasses and beat till just combined. Scrape the sides down again and gradually add the flour mixture. Mix on medium speed till all the flour is just incorporated. The dough should be stiff but still a little sticky.
Remove from mixer and onto a lightly floured surface. Knead into a cube and wrap well with plastic wrap. Chill in the fridge over night, or at least 3 hours.
Take the chilled dough from the fridge and turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Cut dough in half and place the unused half back in the fridge while you work with the other one. Roll each half out into 1/4-inch thickness. Using a round cookie cutter 3-inch in diameter, cut out as many rounds as possible. Place each round at least 1-inch apart from each other on a large cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake at 350°F for 10-12 minutes until edges are firm to touch and the center is somewhat soft. Cool 5 minutes on the pan then transfer to cooling rack to cool completely. Repeat the rolling, cutting, and baking process with the other chilled half and all the extra dough pieces are used.
With a sharp knife slit open the vanilla bean and scrape out all the seeds, place in a large bowl with the condensed milk and bourbon. Stir well until all the seeds are distributed throughout.
Beat the heavy cream until stiff peeks form and then gently stir into the condensed milk mixture until combined. Add the caramel and swirl with a knife.
Pour the mixture into a loaf pan and evenly spread around. Cover tightly with foil and place in freezer to freeze over night or at least 7 hours.
ASSEMBLE the sandwiches
Place all the cookies in the freezer for 5 minutes and then remove when cold. Remove ice cream from the freezer and spoon about 3 tablespoons of ice cream onto a cookie and sandwich together with another cookie. Quickly place each assembled cookie/sandwich in a freezer safe container and freeze till you're ready to eat them.
You must be quick about putting each cookie together as the ice cream that binds them together starts to melt very quickly. Before eating them, make sure the ice cream has hardened to the cookies(30 minutes in the freezer to get that).
I got a total of 30 cookies out of this recipe, so that made 15 ice cream sandwiches.
Well, like I said, I was going to be making and posting more sweet recipes with my leftover chocolate bars. These cookies were the first to pop to my mind! They’re so good. And GIANT. Who doesn’t like giant cookies?! Especially when they’re chocolate chip… with Snickers. I really can’t turn those down, people. Not when they have Snickers in them, okay? Okay. Plus, it’s Friday movie night here at my house, so what’s a movie without a sugary treat? I’m allowed to eat one.. or two. Although I really shouldn’t. I already ate too many sweets this week with a birthday party and all, and I may have eaten 75% of the fudge I made. Yeah. Maybe I shouldn’t eat a cookie. Actually you know what? I’m going to eat a darn cookie.
Ugh. The struggle is real, y’all.
But yeah, these are seriously the best cookies I’ve made so far. Just one weighs like half a pound but, who cares. Make these cookies. They’re good. The center is the best cause that’s where the party is at!
Just so you get the idea of how they looked before the oven, here you go! They’re pretty easy. once you get it in a ball you just press them down slightly and throw them in the oven till the edges are slightly golden. This recipe makes exactly 12 cookies if you shape the dough into the right size.
I also may have taken waaaay too many pictures of these cookies, only cause they’re just so photogenic, ha!
4 regular sized snickers bars, each cut into thirds
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper, or lightly grease without the paper.
2. Chop the four snickers bars into thirds, you should have enough for 12 cookies.
3. Sift together the flour, almond flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
4. With an electric mixer, cream the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar till fluffy. Add vanilla. Scrape down the sides and then add eggs, one at a time, until incorporated.
5. Add flour mixture in 3 batches, beating each addition till just mixed in, about 17 seconds each. Mix in the chocolate chips until incorporated.
6. Evenly divide the dough into two separate bowls. With the first bowl, scoop out twelve dough balls, they should be slightly smaller than a golf ball. Place them on the baking sheet, spacing each one about 2 1/2 inches apart. Place the chopped Snickers pieces on each dough ball. Now using the second bowl of dough, repeat the process as you did with the first bowl, making 12 dough balls, this time place each ball ontop of the other dough pieces, and sandwitch them together, with the snickers in the center. Shape each piece into a ball and slightly press down with your hands. When they're all pressed down, place them in the fridge for 30 minutes.
7. When they come out of the fridge, bake them for 10-15 minutes until the edges are slightly brown.
8. When done, let them sit on the baking sheet for 3 minutes before placing them on a rack to cool.
9. Cool on racks for 20 minutes and then enjoy them with a tall glass of milk!