Thursday, December 21, 2006

Russian Tea Cakes

This was one of the goodies that I sent to my BBM pal at Gastronomicon
I tasted quite a few, for quality assurance reasons of course :) and I have to say that these are very good! I got the recipe from Betty Crocker . I took one of their suggestions and added some coconut to it, which I really enjoyed since I'm a coconut fan! I hope my BBM pal did too!!

Russian Tea Cakes
From Betty Crocker
1 cup butter or margarine, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/4 cups Gold Medal® all-purpose flour
3/4 cup finely chopped nuts
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/4 teaspoon salt
Powdered sugar for dusting

1.Heat oven to 400ºF.
2.Mix butter, 1/2 cup powdered sugar and the vanilla in large bowl. Stir in flour, nuts and salt until dough holds together.
3.Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Place about 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheet.
4.Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until set but not brown. Remove from cookie sheet. Cool slightly on wire rack.
5.Roll warm cookies in powdered sugar; cool on wire rack. Roll in powdered sugar again.

Here's another item that I sent to my BBM pal, which doesn't really have a recipe because well, the name, Chocolate Dipped Pretzels with Sprinkles, pretty much says it all :

Monday, November 13, 2006

Pumpkin Rolls with Cream Cheese Filling

Here's a great fall treat! I used the recipe found here only when I started making it, I realized that my pan's larger than the requested 15 by 10 inch. Mine is a 17.5 by 12 inch jelly roll sheet (where did I get such a strange sized sheet anywa?) so I took the recipe and scaled it to fit my pan. After scaling, I rounded a bit to make the measurements easier. The results are fairly good, so I guess the bigger pan size didn't affect it too much. The below are my adaptations:

Pumpkin Roll with Cream Cheese Filling:
Adapted from Allrecipes
4 eggs
1-1/3 cups sugar
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 cup all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1-1/2 cups chopped walnuts
For the Filling:
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted
6 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F .
2. In a mixing bowl, beat eggs on high for 5 minutes. Gradually beat in white sugar until thick and lemon-colored. Add pumpkin and lemon juice.
3. In another bowl sift flour, cinnamon, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg. Fold into the pumpkin mixture.
4. Line a 17.5 by 12 inch baking pan with waxed paper. Grease and flour the paper. Spread batter into pan and sprinkle with walnuts.
5. Bake at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) for 15 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly touched.
6 Immediately turn out onto a linen towel dusted with confectioners' sugar. Peel off paper and roll cake up in the towel. Cool on wire rack.

To prepare the filling:
Use mixture to beat the cream cheese, powdered sugar, butter and vanilla extract in small mixer bowl until smooth. Carefully unroll cake and remove towel. Spread cream cheese mixture over cake and reroll cake. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least one hour. Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Caramel Apples

Caramel apples are very popular this time of the year. I bought a whole bag of apples for just $2.50, and decided to make some caramel apples with these. I made some with plain caramel but of course couldn't resis the urge to roll some in walnuts and dip some in chocolate. The recipe is from Allrecipes and is fairly simple to make. Just make sure you don't do what I did and stick your finger in the hot caramel!

Caramel Apples
adapted from Allrecipes


6 apples
6 wooden sticks (I used bamboo skewers)
1 (14 ounce) package individually wrapped caramels, unwrapped
2 tablespoons water
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


1. Insert wooden sticks into apple. Place apples on a cookie sheet covered with lightly greased wax paper.
2. Combine caramels and water in a saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring often, until caramel melts and is smooth. Dip each apple into the caramel and gently run apples around insides of saucepan to scrape off some of the caramel. Scrape excess caramel from the apple bottoms using the side of the saucepan. Place on the wax paper and place in fridge.

Roll the apples immediately in a bowl of chopped nuts after dipping in caramel, if desired.
After the caramel layer is cool, melt some chocolate chips and shortening in a bowl and drizzle over the top, or dip the caramel apple into the chocolate mixture.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

oatmeal chocolate chip cookies

I love cookies and I love oatmeal...put them together and I'm one happy girl. Unfortunately I'm not a fan of raisins so the most common form of the oatmeal cookie, oatmeal raisin cookies, doesn't really excite me that much. Chocolate chips, on the other hand, are decadent paired with oatmeal, so here's my version of the oatmeal cookie, with chocolate chips, adapted from soft oatmeal cookies from Allrecipes

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3 cups quick cooking oats
1 cup chocolate chips

1. In a bowl, cream together butter, white sugar, and brown sugar. Beat in eggs one at a time, then stir in vanilla. Combine flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon and stir into the first mixture. Mix in oats and fold in the chocolate chips. Cover, and chill dough for at least one hour.

2. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and grease cookie sheets. Roll the dough into walnut sized balls, and place 2 inches apart on cookie sheets. Gently press to flatten each one

3. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in preheated oven. Cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Pecan Bars

Wow, it's been a while since I last posted. I've been making things but didn't bother taking pictures. Anyway, the autumn weather is definately making it's appearance! When I think of autumn many food related items come to mind: pumpkin, sweet potato, squash, pomegranate, and my favorite, the nuts! Pecans were on sale over the weekend, so I bought a bag and decided to make pecan bars. The recipe is from Epicurious and involves two steps: a shortbread base, and a sticky caramel like topping.

Pecan Pie Bars
Source: Epicurious

Shortbread Base:
1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt

Pecan filling:
8 ounces pecans (about 2 cups)
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup honey
2 tablespoons heavy cream

1. For the shortbread base: Preheat oven to 350°F.
Blend together all of the ingredients and use a spatula to pat mixture into a 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking pan.. Bake shortbread in middle of oven until golden, about 20 minutes.
2. While shortbread is cooking:
Chop pecans into pieces of desired size. In a saucepan melt butter and stir in brown sugar, honey, and cream. Simmer for 1 minute and stir in pecans. Pour pecan mixture over hot shortbread and spread evenly. Bake in middle of oven until bubbling, about 20 minutes. Cool completely in pan and cut into 24 bars.

Note: I only baked the filling for 15 minutes because it was starting to bubble and I didn't want to end up with a burnt filling.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Double Chocolate Chip Cookies

I think this is the last recipe I'm going to try from Alice Medrich's book. I think I need to take a break from baking since I feel my arteries clogging up and my pants fitting a little too tight. I froze some of the dough for later use though!

Double Chocolate Chip Cookies
Alice Medrich

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 unsweetened cocoa powder, dutch process
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
8 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup granulate sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Position the racks in the upper and lower thirds of oven.
2. Combine flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a bowl and mix together. Set aside
3. Beat the butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar with the back of the spoon or with a mixture until smooth and creamy but not fluffy. Mix in the egg and vamilla. Add the flour mixture and mix just until incorporated. Stir in the nuts and chocolate chips.
3. Scoop slightly rounded tablespoons of dough and place about 2 inches apart on cookie sheet. To bake later, form dough into an 11 by 1.75 inch log and wrap in foil. When ready, slice and place on cookie sheet. Bake 12 to 14 minutes, refrigerated dough may need an extra minute. Remove from oven and place on cooling rack immediately.

Espresso Swirl Brownies

You can probably tell I'm trying to get the best use of Alice Medrich's book before I have to return it. Here's another brownie recipe, based on the classic brownie recipe that I posted earlier.

Espresso Swirl Brownies
Alice Medrich

Ingredients for classic brownie recipe without the nuts
1 Tbsp instant coffee or espresso powder
1 Tbsp water
8 ounces softened cream cheese
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg

1. Line a 9 inch square pan with foil or parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 350 F and position a rack in the lower third of the oven
2. Mix the batter for the Classic Brownies. Spread all but 1/2 cup of the batter in the pan. Set aside
3. Combine the coffee powder with water. Mix cream cheese with sugar and vanilla until smooth. Stir in the egg and the coffee mixture until well blended. Spread the cream cheese mixture over the batter in the pan. Spoon dollops of reserved brownie batter on top. Draw a knife through the dollops to swirl but do not scrape the bottom of the pan.
4. Bake 25 minutes and cool on rack. Refrigerate and chill thoroughly before cutting into 16 squares.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Turtle Bars

My copy of Alice Medrich's book is about to expire, so I've been trying a much as I can from her cookbook. Here's another one, called Turtle Bars, that are very very rich, sweet, and totally satisfying for a chocolate/nut/shortbread/caramel lover like me!

Turtle Bars
Alice Medrich's Cookies and Brownies

12 Tbsp butter
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups pecan halves

8 Tbsp butter
3/4 packed light brown sugar, lump free
1 cup milk chocholate chips or 6 ounces milk chocolate, chopped

1. Line a 13 by 9 inch pan with foil on all 4 sides. Preheat oven to 350 F. Position a rack in the lower third of oven.
2. For crust: melt butter in a large sauepan oer medium heat. Remove from heat and add sugar, vanilla, and salt. Gently mix in the flour until just incorporated. Press the dough evenly over the bottom of the pan. Scatter the pecans over the dough
3. Bake 10 to 12 minutes until pecans are lightly toasted
4. For topping: combine the butter and brown sugar in a small saucepan. Bring mixture to a boil oer medium heat, stirring ocasionally. Boil for 1 minuted and pour mixture over pecans on the crust. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, or until the topping is dark and bubbling.
5. Remove pan from oven and scatter chocolate chips over it. Let sit for a few minutes to melt the chocolate before using a knife to spread the chocolates evenly over surface. Cool the bars in the pan on a rack. Cut into 24 bars when cooled.

Lemon Bars

Another great treat from Alice Medrich. Very tart yet sweet and totally addicting.

From Alice Medrich's Cookies and Brownies:

8 Tbsp butter
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp salt
1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup plus 2 Tbsp sugar
3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
3 large eggs
1.5 tsp finely grated lemon zest
1/2 cup strained fresh lemon juice
2 to 3 Tbsp powdered sugar for dusting

1. Line an 8-inch square pan with foil on all 4 sides. Preheat oven to 350 F. Position a rack in the lower third of oven
2. For crust: melt butter in medium saucepan. Remove from heat and stir in sugar, vanilla, and salt. Add the flour and mix just until incorporated. Press the dough evenly over the bottom of the pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the crust is well browned at the edges and lightly browned in center.
3. For topping: while the crust is baking, stir together the sugar and flour in a medium bowl until wel mixed. Whisk in the eggs. Stir in the lemon zest and juice. When crust is ready, turn the oven down to 300 F and slide the rack out without removing the pan. Pour filling over hot crust.
4. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until the topping is pufed at the eges and no longer jiggles in the center when pan is tapped. Set on a rack and cool completely in pan. When cooled, lift the foil liner and transfer to cutting board and cut into 16 bars. Sieve powdered sugar oer bars just before serving.