Monthly Archives: December 2014

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Surprises

I had to make this cookie.  My favourite cookie combination is chocolate and peanut butter. I took this recipe from the Winnipeg Free Press Recipe Swap, published on Decemeber 11, 2014.

I measured out 1 tablespoon of all my chocolate dough and then 1 teaspoon of the peanut butter mixture. I found this made it easier to combine the two when assembling the cookie.  I found that some of the peanut butter mixture peeked out after baking.  I came out with 35 cookies.

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375 ml (1 1/2 cups) all-purpose flour
125 ml (1/2 cup) cocoa
2 ml (1/2 tsp) baking soda
1 ml (1/4 tsp) salt
125 ml (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
125 ml (1/2 cup) granulated sugar
125 ml (1/2 cup) golden brown sugar, packed
250 ml (1 cup) creamy peanut butter, divided
5 ml (1 tsp) vanilla
1 egg
175 ml (3/4 cup) icing sugar

1. Preheat oven to 175C (350F). Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, whisk together, flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter, sugars, and 60 ml (1/4 cup) peanut butter until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add vanilla and egg, beating to combine. Stir in the flour mixture and stir to combine. In a medium bowl, beat icing sugar and remaining 175 ml (3/4 cup) peanut butter until smooth.
2. Place a heaping 15 ml (1 Tbsp) chocolate cookie dough onto your palm and flatten. Take about 5 ml (1 tsp) peanut butter mixture and place it in the centre of the chocolate cookie dough. Wrap the chocolate dough around the peanut butter centre, forming into a ball and pressing gently to seal. Then gently flatten the cookie and place on prepared cookie sheet, spacing cookies about 5cm (2 inches) apart. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Cool on rack.

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Cinnamon Roll Cookies

I love this recipe!  The white chocolate drizzled over these cookies makes them look like mini cinnamon buns.

I found this recipe in my local newspaper “The Winnipeg Free Press” in the recipe swap section about a year ago.

I melted the white chocolate without the honey. I tried first, mixing the two together and the chocolate did not melt properly.

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228 g (1 cup) butter, softened
425 ml (1 3/4 cups) granulated sugar, divided
3 egg yolks
20 ml (1 Tbsp plus 1 tsp) honey, divided
5 ml (1 tsp) vanilla
625 ml (2 1/2 cups) all-purpose flour
5 ml (1 tsp) baking powder
2 ml (1/2 tsp) salt
2 ml (1/2 tsp) cream of tartar
15 ml (1 Tbsp) cinnamon
250 ml (1 cup) white chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 175C (350F). Line cookie sheets with parchment paper. In a large bowl, cream butter and 310 ml (1 1/4 cup) sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg yolks, 15 ml (1 Tbsp) honey and vanilla. Sift the flour, baking powder, salt and cream of tartar; gradually add to creamed mixture. Scrape down sides of bowl and mix well.
2. On a large plate, mix remaining 125 ml (1/2 cup) sugar with cinnamon. Shape a heaping 15 ml (1 Tbsp) of dough into a 15 cm (6 inch) log and roll in cinnamon-sugar mixture. Loosely coil log into a spiral and place on prepared cookie sheets 2.5 cm (1 inch) apart. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove to wire racks to cool completely. In a small bowl in microwave on low temperature, me it chocolate with 15 ml (1 tsp) honey, stirring until smooth. Drizzle icing over cooled cookies and let icing set.

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Eggnog Snickerdoodle Cookies

This recipe is super tasty and so easy to make.  I cut this recipe out of the “Winnipeg Free Press” years ago, so I do not know it’s original origin.

I could not find a small bottle of dark rum, so I just bought a 375 ml size of Appleton Estate Jamaica rum. It worked out just fine. (And in all honesty, I really can’t taste it in the cookie)

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750 ml (3 cups) all-purpose flour
10 ml (2 tsp) cream of tartar
5 ml (1 tsp) baking soda
2.5 ml (1/2 tsp) salt
185 ml (3/4 cup or 1 1/2 sticks) butter
500 ml (2 cups) sugar, divided
65 ml (1/4 cup) plain eggnog
15 ml (1 Tbsp) dark rum or brandy
5 ml (1 tsp) vanilla extract
2 large eggs
10 ml (2 tsp) cinnamon
2.5 ml (1/2 tsp) grated nutmeg

1. in a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
2. In a large bowl, use an electric mixer on high to beat the butter and 375 ml (1 1/2 cups) of the sugar until light and fluffy. Reduce the mixer speed to low and slowly drizzle in the eggnog, rum and vanilla, mixing until completely incorporated. Add the eggs, then beat until well mixed.
3. Add the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for 1 hour.
4. When ready to bake, heat the oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
5. In a small bowl, mix together the remaining 125 ml (1/2 cup) of sugar, the cinnamon and nutmeg.
6. Working with 15 ml (1 Tbsp) of dough at a time, roll the dough between your hands to form balls. Roll each ball in the sugar mixture to coat evenly, then arrange on the prepared baking sheet. Leaving 5 cm (2 inches) between the cookies on all sides. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until lightly golden, but still soft at the centre. Transfer to a rack to cool.

MAKES 36 cookies

NOTE: Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.

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Quick Cucumber Pickles with Rye Bread and Cheese

This amazing recipe is from “The Epicurious Cookbook” by Tanya Steel and the editors of Epicurious.

I brought this appetizer to a potluck Christmas dinner.  I loved the fresh taste of these pickles.  I made them an hour ahead and the cucumbers stayed nice and crisp.  I used a mandolin to cut the cucumbers.

As stated by the cookbook, you can jar these pickles to give as a gift, or serve alongside sandwiches in a buffet. The tart, lightly spicy crunch of the cucumber is a refreshing complement to most cheese, from Cheddar to goat.

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2 English cucumbers
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon dry mustard
2 teaspoons drained bottled horseradish
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
1 loaf rye bread (1 pound)
2 (6-8 ounce) pieces semisoft cheese (preferably German, such as Cambozola or Mirabo)

1. Cut the cucumbers crosswise into 1/8-inch thick slices, then toss with the salt in a bowl and let stand 15 minutes. Rinse and drain the cucumbers and pat dry with paper towels.

2. Whisk together the vinegar, sugar, mustard, horseradish, and dill until the sugar is dissolved. Stir in the cucumbers and let stand at least 5 minutes.

3. Slice the bread and serve with the pickles and the cheese.

YIELD: Makes 6 hors d’oeuvre servings

DO AHEAD: The pickles can be made 2 to 4 hours ahead and chilled, covered.

Chocolate-Pistachio Sables

I was on the hunt for a new Christmas cookie, so I started looking through the epicurious website.  I found this wonderful recipe there!!  The recipe is from Alison Roman and it was published in Bon Appetit magazine December 2013.

I found raw pistachios at Bulk Barn.  I bought one cup and the cost came to $6.50.  I also could not find flaky sea salt (Maldon), so I just used coarse sea salt, which worked perfectly.   I also chopped up 5 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate chips instead of buying the squares.

This recipe is a great “make ahead” cookie. Tips are listed below, you can freeze the batter or make it right away.

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2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups (2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups (lightly packed) light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg white
5 ounces bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
1 cup unsalted, shelled raw pistachios, coarsely chopped
Flaky sea salt (such as Maldon)

1. Whisk flour, cocoa powder, kosher salt, and baking soda in a medium bowl. Using electric mixer on high speed, beat butter, brown sugar, and vanilla until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Reduce speed to low and gradually add dry ingredients; mix just to combine, then mix in egg white. Fold in chocolate and pistachios.

2. Divide dough into 4 pieces. Roll each piece into 8″-long log about 1 1/2″ in diameter, pushing dough together if it feels crumbly. Wrap tightly in parchment paper and chill until firm, at least 4 hours. (The colder your dough, the easier it will be to slice.)

3. Place racks in lower and upper thirds of oven; preheat to 350F. Working with 1 log of dough at a time and using a serrated knife, cut logs into 1/4″-thick rounds and transfer to 2 parchment-lined baking sheets, spacing 1/2″ apart.

4. Sprinkle cookies with sea salt and bake, rotating baking sheets halfway through, until set around edges and centres look dry, 10-12 minutes. Transfer to wire racks and let cool.

YIELD: Makes about 8 dozen

MAKE AHEAD: Cookie dough can be made 1 month ahead; freeze instead of chilling. Slice frozen logs into rounds just before baking.

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