chocolate dipped snickerdoodles

soooooo……

right after i talk about how i’m too lazy to get into the christmas spirit, i’m here with some chocolate dipped snickerdoodles for a cookie exchange!!

yes my friends… it’s that time of year again!!

the great food blogger cookie swap!!

if you didn’t catch the low down last year, i’ll give you the short story.

lindsey and julie organize a cookie swap among bloggers… you sign up and they match you receive the address of three food bloggers and three food bloggers receive your address. everyone sends everyone some delicious homemade goodness.

in addition to the fun-ness of the homemade goodness, we also partner with cookies for kids’ cancer. so you not only get the homemade goodness but everyone raises money for a good cause.

did i mention the homemade goodness??

right…. on to that!

see last year’s cookie swap inspired me to host my own with my friends and for this year’s food blogger cookie swap, i sent some of my friend rachel’s chocolate dipped snickerdoodles. last year when she brought them over, i was a little suspicious. see, i love some snickerdoodles but dipping them in chocolate. i hate to admit, i was skeptical. i mean, i like snickerdoodles and i like chocolate but it kinda weirded me out to combine the 2.

but was i wrong!

these ended up being the cookies that i would eat one, then another, then 5 more. after that, i knew immediately, that these would be this year’s food blogger cookie swap cookie.

and because i can’t help but tinker, i tinkered. i swapped out half of the shortening for butter because i feel that butter brings some flavor to the party. and i added some vanilla because vanilla makes everything better. but really… other than those changes, rachel’s recipe was pretty on point. i really hope that valerie, deanna and caitlin enjoyed these as much as i did!!

chocolate dipped snickerdoodles

oh and check this out…. here’s the recipe!

rachels chocolate dipped snickerdoodles

so what did some amazing bloggers send me you ask?

well…..

the first package i received were some gorgeous swirled sugar cookies from alicia over at balancing motherhood. {and funny side note, alicia is based in north carolina and i got her package when i came home from north carolina! happy coincidence!}

rlk and l. smith from first time foods sent some wee little pecan tassies. they were like mini pecan pies!

and finally i received what i thought was the most festive of my packages from sara over at the pajama chef. there is something about the cranberry pistachio citrus cookies that makes me feel like the deliciousness is perfect for the holidays!

i hope that these cookies, and all the other ones from the other participating blogs, inspire you to bake some up and have some friends and family over for the holidays!

kisses.

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king cake bread pudding

so i’ve recently been thinking about making the big move…

… ya know to try to become a bonafide blogger. one that has a “real” address without the .wordpress or .blogspot or .whateverfreehostimusing.

but part of that idea is to be really active on social media. and i kinda am. i mean i have the twitter, instagram and facebook accounts. but lately, not so much. and honestly that’s partly not on purpose. see last week, i was busy and i rarely got on twitter or facebook. and i didn’t check instagram as frequently. and rather than feeling like i was missing out on so much, it was kinda refreshing. so i decided that i was going to take the rest of the month “off” from it. i mean i still get on every now and then, like when i’m waiting for spin class to start but i’m setting the phone down and aside until this weekend.

and why is it that i feel the need to share my self imposed social media diet?

i don’t know.

because it’s been raining here like it’s nobody’s business?

really i have no good reason.

but i do have a good bread pudding.

this bread pudding was inspired after lunch at a local restaurant (bistro byronz)… i was trying to figure out what to have for dessert for a girls’ night and this was brought up. ding ding ding. it’s really a standard bread pudding but it gets amped up with the use of king cake and cinnamon in addition to the brioche. i also added a really simple glaze of powdered sugar, milk and vanilla – so simple, i don’t even have exact measurements – instead of a traditional rum sauce.

i hear you now… “emily, king cakes are long gone until next year and really wouldn’t that be a lot of sugar with that frosting and such?”

well first things first…. don’t use a frosted king cake. i promise that you can call your local bakery and ask for a plain one and they’ll make it for you.

secondly… they don’t make king cakes in your area? simple fix! just use a cinnamon bread. try to find one that is a thicker slice rather than a thin slice. make sure that when you cut up the bread, you do it a couple days ahead so it can get good a stale.

king cake bread pudding

king cake bread pudding

  • 3 c stale king cake (or cinnamon bread), cut into 1″ cubes
  • 2 c stale brioche, cut into 1″ cubes
  • 6 eggs
  • 3 c whole milk
  • 2/3 c + 1/8 c sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 tbs cinnamon, divided
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • purple, green and gold sanding sugar, for decorating
  1. preheat oven to 375F. butter a 9×13 baking dish; add the bread cubes.
  2. iin a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, 2/3 c sugar, vanilla extract, 1-1/2 tbs cinnamon and vanilla bean paste. pour over the bread cubes and let the liquid soak 10 min.
  3. in a small bowl, whisk together the remaining sugar and cinnamon. sprinkle over the soaked bread cubes.
  4. bake uncovered until the bread pudding is puffy and set, about 45-60 min; a knife inserted into the middle should come out clean. remove from the oven and let cool 15 min before serving.
  5. serve with a glaze made of approximately 1 c powdered sugar, 1 tsp vanilla and 1 tsp milk. you want the glaze to be thick. sprinkle with purple, green and gold sprinkles!

i know mardi gras is over but this is a little way to have it all year long!

laissez les bon temps rouler!!

kisses.

slightly adapted from: pure vanilla by shauna sever

this post is linked up to these fun link parties: what’s cooking wednesday and taste and tell thursdays

spiced vanilla cream cupcakes

ok….

so the cookbook these came out of really call them eggnog cream cupcakes but i feel like no one drinks eggnog after christmas. so we’re going to go with spiced vanilla cream cupcakes.

true story… i’m not a huge fan of eggnog. maybe it’s because it has the word “egg” in it or maybe because it reminds me of thick milk / runny milkshake…. none of that appeals to me. so when i was looking for a recipe to bring to our office christmas lunch, i looked hard at these. i realized that these cupcakes were really nothing more than a boozy spiced cupcake with a boozy semi-homemade vanilla pastry cream. i can go for that.

and i’m totally glad i did. they were delicious. the cupcake had just the right spice to make you feel like you could be all homey and warm by a fire and the boozy pastry cream…. oh.my.geez.

spiced vanilla cream cupcakes

eggnog cupcakes

cupcakes:

  • 1/2 c (1 stick) butter, room temp
  • 1 c sugar
  • 2 eggs, room temp
  • 1/4 c dark rum, such as myer’s
  • 1/2 c milk, room temp
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 1-3/4 c flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp allspice
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • spiked pastry cream (recipe below)
  • spiked whip cream (recipe below)
  1. preheat oven to 350F. line one 12 cup cupcake pan with paper liners.
  2. whisk together flour, baking powder, allspice,cinnamon and nutmeg together in a large mixing bowl. set aside.
  3. cream together butter, sugar and salt until light and fluffy, about 3 – 5 min. beat in eggs. mix in rum, milk, vanilla and almond extract. add the dry ingredients to the batter, beating until just combined.
  4. fill the cupcake liners 2/3 of the way full. bake 20-22 min, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. remove from the oven and let cool completely on a wire rack.
  5. once the cupcakes are completely cool, use a sharp knife to cut a hole 2/3 deep into each cupcake. fill each center with pastry cream. top each cupcake with whip cream and garnish with shaved chocolate, if desired.

spiked pastry cream

  • 1 3.3oz box of french vanilla instant pudding
  • 1-3/4 c milk
  • 2 tbs light rum
  • 3/4 c heavy cream
  1. beat the pudding mix and milk together on high speed for 2 min or until it starts to thicken. stir in rum. in a separate bowl, beat the heavy cream until stiff peaks form. gently fold the whipped cream into the pastry cream. cover and chill for at least 1 hour.

spiked whip cream

  • 1/4 c brown sugar
  • 3/4 c heavy cream
  • 3 tbs rum, light or dark
  1. beat together the brown sugar and 1/4 c of the heavy cream on high speed. gradually add the remaining heavy cream and rum until stiff peaks form.

aside from this being a boozy cupcake, which we all know i love… the second best part of this is that it can all be made the night before and assembled the next day, although i would recommend making the cupcakes the day of.

kisses.

recipe from: booze cakes

hot cocoa thumbprints

i don’t even have words.

let me start with this…

i had initially written the body of this post friday night while, like many others, i was glued to my tv trying to take in the day’s events. normally, i’m a complete smartass and sarcastic and any other word you can think of similar. that is my honest personality. but with these events, i feel that i can take a moment from that. i can be serious and honest. especially since it feels like anything i have to say is irrelevant. my heart is absolutely broken for the people in the community of newtown, ct. it weeps the deepest tears.

like i said, i was going to be smartassy about my cookie exchange that was inspired by the food blogger cookie swap. but that smartassiness can be put aside for one post. i am not a serious person by nature but in light of what happened, i’m going on the serious side of the cookie exchange.

i am so thoroughly excited that i participated in the food blogger cookie swap and was inspired to host one with my friends. while not everyone that i would have liked to have been there could attend, the friends that were involved hold an absolutely unbelievable place in my heart and i could not have been happier than to have them all together. at this time of year, especially with what has transpired recently, i feel like it is a time to hold your family close to you, even if its family who do not have the same blood running through their veins. my friends are some of my most cherished “things”.

i take this serious note because there are two things that help me… cooking and writing. i know there is very little i can personally for the community of newton other than send my deepest, heartfelt prayers that they find peace but if i could, i would send every single person that lives in that community these cookies.

hot cocoa thumbprints

hot cocoa thumbprints

  • 3/4 c flour
  • 1/4 c cocoa
  • 1/4 tsp salt
    1/4 c semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 c butter, softened
  • 1/4 c sugar + more for rolling
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 egg yolk, room temp
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  1. sift together flour, cocoa and cinnamon; set aside. melt the chocolate chips in a double boiler until smooth; set aside to cool slightly.
  2. beat together butter, sugar & salt until pale and fluffy. mix in yolk, vanilla, and melted chocolate chips. on low speed, mix in the flour/cocoa mixture and mix until just combined. refrigerate 1 hour, covered.
  3. preheat oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with parchment/silpat.
  4. put 6 tbs of sugar into a bowl for rolling. using a cookie scoop, scoop cookie dough into 3/4 in balls; roll in the sugar to coat. place balls 1 in apart on the cookie sheet; press center down slightly with your thumb. bake 10 min. press centers again with the end of a wooden spoon making 3/4 in indentations. bake until slightly cracked and set, about 5 min. cool completely before filling with marshmallow buttercream.

marshmallow buttercream

  • 1 tbs vanilla
  • 1 7 oz jar marshmallow creme
  • 3 c powdered sugar
  • 1 c (2 sticks) butter, softened
  1. beat butter until creamy. add in marshmallow creme, beat 2-3 min before adding the  vanilla. on low, beat in 1 c of powdered sugar at a time; beat 2-3 min more.

these cookies were absolutely fantastic. and that buttercream… well i’m kinda obsessed. as in this is my new favorite buttercream and it will be making an appearance again. you can bet on that.

oh and you might notice mine aren’t rolled in sugar… because i totally forgot so just pretend like its there k?

hold on a little tighter to those that are dear to you tonight.

kisses.

cookie recipe adapted from: martha stewart’s cookie cookbook, buttercream recipe from: how sweet eats

brown butter snickerdoodles

did you know that today is election day?

because it totally is.

which means let’s talk politics!

psych!

c’mon… didn’t you know it’s not polite company to talk politics?

(and can we please bring back all the good old school sayings??)

but i will say this…. go vote. by now you should have educated yourself on where everyone stands on the issues that are important to you. so get out there and go vote.

and ya know what i vote for… more brown butter in everything. i mean if butter is good, then it’s only natural that brown butter is better. i mean like lots and lots better. and it can take a dish and elevate it to the next level. that fragrant nuttiness.

oh. my. geez.

needless to say, when i was making these snickerdoodles and realized that i was supposed to melt the butter it was a no brainer. i mean if i’m going to melt the butter than you can be damn sure, i’m browning it. and then to take them up another notch, i used pumpkin pie spice instead of just cinnamon. i mean it’s finally feeling fall around here (and let’s be honest, i will pretend it does no matter what) so what would be better than this simple cookie?

brown butter snickerdoodles

  • 1 c (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 c dark brown sugar
  • 1 c + 1/4 c sugar
  • 3 c flour
  • 1 tsp + 1 1/2 tbs pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  1. melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. while it is melting, gently swirl it around while it turns a light amber and starts to smell nutty. watch it when it starts to turn the brown because it can burn easily.  set it aside to cool while you gather the rest of the ingredients.
  2. stir together the dark brown sugar, 1 c sugar, flour, 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice, baking soda and salt. whisk together to combine.
  3. after the butter has cooled to room temperature, whisk in the eggs and vanilla.
  4. preheat oven to 400F and prepare your baking sheets.
  5. stir in the butter mixture into the dry ingredients, mixing until it just comes together.
  6. in a small bowl, mix the remaining 1/4 c sugar and 1 1/2 tbs pumpkin pie spice.
  7. using your cookie scoop, scoop out the dough and roll it around in the sugar / spice mixture. place the balls on the cookies sheets, about 2 in apart, and flatten the tops slightly. bake for 7 min and let them cool on the cookie sheet for 1-2 min. remove to a cooling rack and let cool completely.

so like i said… brown butter makes these delicious. i may or may not have eaten about a dozen straight out the oven.

kisses.

recipe slightly adapted from: the kitchn

buttermilk spice muffins

i am not a morning person. never have been, never will be. i’m not one of those people who have to get up at the crack of dawn because they don’t want to waste the day away. i mean who said the day started at the crack of dawn anyway?? whoever it was, they were severely off their rocker. i mean for real. my day starts when i say it starts okay? ok so maybe sometimes my days start a little later than most and i might be a little late to the party on that. (not to be confused with being late to events which i am not.)

maybe my lack of being a morning person is what translates into my lack of being a breakfast person. don’t get me wrong. i can enjoy a good peanut butter toast or some fluffy pancakes but it’s not my favorite meal of the day. i much prefer a good dinner. and i’m totally willing to skimp on lunch if i know dinner is going to be rocking. which these muffins help accomplish. they were super filling. as in i think i ate lunch at like 2p…. HOURS after i ate a muffin. and even then i barely ate a sandwich. it may have had something to do with the fact that i may have made these jumbo muffins but i’m pretty sure that they would have been just as filling as standard muffins.

buttermilk spice muffins

  • 1/2 c (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temp
  • 1 c + 2 tbs + 1/2 c sugar
  • 3 eggs, room temp
  • 2 c all purpose flour
  • 1/2 c whole wheat flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp + 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 3 tsp cinnamon, divided
  • 1/2 tsp + 1/4 tsp cloves
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 c + 1 tbs buttermilk
  • 1 c pecans, chopped
  • 1/4 c light brown sugar
  1. make the streusel topping: combine the pecans, brown sugar, 1/2 c sugar, 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp allspice, 1/4 tsp cloves in a small bowl and set aside.
  2. preheat oven to 375F. line a standard muffin tin with liners.
  3. cream together the butter and remaining sugar until thoroughly combined and fluffy. add the eggs, one at a time, and beat until combined.
  4. in a separate bowl, whisk together the flours, baking soda, allspice, cinnamon, cloves and salt. slowly add the dry ingredients and buttermilk to the butter/sugar combo, alternating dry and wet (start and end with flour mixture). mix until just combined.
  5. fill each muffin cup 3/4 full with batter. sprinkle about 1 tbs of streusel topping on each muffin and gently press down into the batter so it sticks.
  6. bake 20-28 min, until golden brown and the muffins pass the toothpick to the center test.

if someone wants to come and make these for me in the mornings, maybe you can convert me to a morning person.

what’s your favorite meal?

kisses.

recipe adapted from: my life as a mrs

martha’s chewy molasses cookies

why hello friday!

i feel as though its been an eternity since i last saw you. yes i realize it’s been only 7 days but do you have any idea how long 7 days can feel like?? although if i’m being totally honest, this week didn’t really drag on but it didn’t really fly by either. it felt like a week, no shorter no longer.

what did i do this week you ask?

well for starter’s i went to spin class monday with maddie at 530 IN THE MORNING! ugh. that’s not exactly the way i want to start my week but that evening ended with ryan lochte in a speedo so… then we went to see brave. SO cute! i absolutely love the fact that this disney princess isn’t a traditional disney princess that ends with the happily ever after love story. she’s her own strong person that doesn’t need a guy. loved that.

oh i also made these martha’s cookie madness cookies. they were yummy. as in, i kept half the baked cookies at home so i could eat them. also as in, i was told that they probably wouldn’t last through lunch the day i brought them to work. they remind me of gingerbread cookies but not quite. they would make a perfect pairing to a scoop of ice cream in between two for a super yummy ice cream sandwich… ahem mike.

martha’s chewy molasses cookies

  • 1/2 c unsulfered molasses
  • 1/2 c (1 stick) softened, unsalted butter
  • 1/2 c sugar + 1/4 c for rolling
  • 1 c light brown sugar, packed
  • 2 eggs, room temp
  • 2 tbs vegetable oil
  • 2 c flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  1. mix together the flour, ginger, cinnamon, and allspice together in a bowl; set aside.
  2. beat together butter, sugars, and salt until smooth, about 3 min. mix in eggs, one at a time; follow with the molasses and oil.
  3. reduce speed to low; gradually add in flour mixture and mix until just combined. cover dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, approximately 1 hr or up to overnight.
  4. preheat oven to 325F. line your pans with parchment paper or a silpat.
  5. using your handy dandy cookie scoop, scoop balls of dough out and roll in the remaining 1/4 c sugar. space the balls about 3″ apart on the lined baking sheets. bake until the cookies are flat and centers are set, 15- 17 min. let cool completely.

a couple things… i’ve been asked about if parchment paper / silpat is necessary. normally, the answer is a light no; not absolutely necessary but definitely useful. in this case, my answer is more a firm yes. see these cookies are pretty sticky and if you were to just use a baking sheet, they would stick and you’d end up with broken cookies pieces. not a bad thing if all you want these cookies for is an ice cream topping but definitely not good if you want cookies. also, and i hate to disagree with martha, these cookies aren’t exactly chewy. they are when they are hot out the oven and not fully cooled but once they are cooled, they are more crispy with a small chewy center. they are exceptionally delicious dipped in a glass of cold milk though.

kisses.

recipe from: martha stewart’s cookie cookbook