Cookie Dough Truffles

Unless you’ve been living under a rock (which sounds like a nice, quiet place to be sometimes), you are keenly aware that Christmas is 5 days away. And good news for me, I have officially figured out my dessert dilemma.

And it didn’t take a 20 mile bike ride to sort it out, either….

The decisive moment occurred when J informed me that we would be having a few extra guests on Christmas Eve. These are people from his office that have recently moved to Austin and will be alone for the holiday. And since my parents started their Christmas Eve tradition built on that same premise, it makes me very happy indeed to know that we will be sharing the joy of the season, as well as the copious amounts of food we have planned.

Ok, ok, you got me – it also means I can make the extra desserts :)

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Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Truffles  - adapted from the Cookie Dough Lover’s Cookbook

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
2 tbs. milk
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips ( I used the regular size)
chocolate candy coating

In a large bowl, beat butter and sugars with an electric mixer until light and fluffy (about 3 minutes). Mix in milk and vanilla. Add flour, and mix on low until combined, then stir in chocolate chips. Roll or scoop into 1-inch balls. Place rolled balls on a parchment lined baking sheet and chill for at least 15 minutes.

Melt candy coating following instructions on the package. Remove a couple of balls from the freezer at a time and insert a toothpick into the ball. Dip in candy coating and let any excess fall off back into the bowl.

Add small sprinkles on top and place on wax paper to set. If the chocolate pools at the bottom of the ball, dot the balls on the wax paper until most of it is pulled off the ball and then place it on a clean spot of the wax paper to set.

Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to a week.

 

My favorite Chocolate Biscotti

Christmas Eve is a week from today.

say what? Inhale….. and exhaaaaaale. 

However, I do believe that I am approximately 65% ready. Which, in my twisted math-skills world, means I am ahead of where I thought I would be at this time, but a bit behind of where I should be at this time.

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Does that make sense?

Chocolate Biscotti – adapted from a Dacor Oven recipe

These biscotti are definitely meant to be dunked – they are very crisp and unless you want to risk a broken tooth, I recommend dipping them into either a glass of milk, or (my favorite) a steaming cappuccino.

  • 2 2/3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tbs. instant espresso powder
  • 2/3 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 1/2 cups toasted pecans, chopped
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda, espresso powder, chocolate chips and pecans. In another bowl, whisk together the eggs and vanilla. Using an electric mixer, add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and beat until incorporated. Turn the mixture out onto a work surface and knead until it comes together. Divide the dough between the two baking sheets, and form each half into a log about 2 “ wide. Bake until firm to the touch, 30-35 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Using a serrated knife, cut the logs on the diagonal into 3/4” thick slices. Arrange the biscotti back onto the baking sheets and return to the oven. Bake for another 15-20 minutes, or until crisp on both sides. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.

Double Chocolate Cookie Cake

I have a bit of spectacular news to share today, news that means this holiday season will be the best ever.

I realize I said that last year, but this year really, really, really will be the best. 

The Queen Mother and Dad (aka Il Grande Formaggio) are coming to Texas for Christmas. Can y’all believe it?

I know, I know, I’ll stop now

But I’m so excited, because this is our first Christmas in Austin. And even though we’re not in our permanent home, I’m going to deck these halls and make it super festive. I’ve got my lists started, the decorations pulled, lights untangled, and extension cords everywhere.

Now if I can just keep Dyna from chewing the aforementioned extension cords, everything will come together perfectly.

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Of course, if she bites down hard enough while they’re connected, maybe that will teach her not to do it.

This could be interesting to watch…

Double Chocolate Cookie Cake – adapted from Cookie Madness

The original recipe was written so that the dough was divided between two 9″ pans, and frosted with buttercream frosting. I made it in one pan, and left off the icing. I imagine (and I will test this theory) that this dough will make really good drop cookies, as well as the original cookie cake it was designed for.

  • 8 tbs. unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 tbs. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup extra dark chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Spray a 9-inch round cake pan with nonstick spray and set aside

In a mixing bowl, using low speed of an electric mixer, beat the butter and cocoa powder until well mixed. Gradually add both sugars, increasing speed to medium and scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in the vanilla extract and egg. When well mixed, add the baking powder and flour, and mix on low speed until incorporated. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Spread the batter into the prepared pan, and bake cookies on center rack at 350 degrees for 20 -30 minutes or until set.

Let cool completely in pan. Cut into wedges and serve.

Our Favorite Chocolate Chip Biscotti

There’s a very old saying that I’m quite fond of which goes something like this…. “You get what you pay for”.

And it’s true.

There’s another, albeit less well-known (less well-known to anyone under the age of 21, I suppose) saying that I’ve become quite fond as well – and I think it was on Ina Garten’s cooking show that I first heard it – “Don’t cook with a wine you wouldn’t drink”.

And it’s true, too. 

Case in point (you knew this was going somewhere good..) last night I was preparing this recipe for Chicken Marsala, and against my better judgment, used a very, very inexpensive (read: CHEAP) bottle of Marsala wine.

** shudder **

In my defense, it was the only brand that Randall’s carried. The liquor store next door was closed, and the last thing I felt like doing last night was braving the traffic to trek over to HEB. If you are familiar with the congestion on 620N around rush hour, you know exactly what I’m talking about.

Moral of the story? Next time, plan ahead a bit better, or suck it up and face the traffic.

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My consolation prize was two of these biscotti with the last of my (good) wine.

They were delicious :)

Chocolate Chip Biscotti – adapted from Williams Sonoma

  • 1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tbs. instant espresso powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper, and set aside.

Cream together butter, both sugars, and espresso powder until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, until light and fluffy. Sift together dry ingredients and add to butter mixture. Mix until combined. Add chocolate chips.

Divide dough in half on baking sheets. Spread with spatula, forming logs about 3-4” wide and 3/4” thick. Bake until firm to the touch, about 25 minutes. Remove from the oven. Let cool for 5 minutes.

Transfer logs to cutting board and cut into 1/2” diagonal slices. Place each cookie on baking sheet, cut side down. Bake for 10 minutes, then turn over and bake another 10 minutes. Cool. Makes about 3 dozen.

Skillet S’More’s

It’s the last day of June!

Which means……holy smokes…………. 82 days until MY birthday.

*** big grin ***

Yes, I’m going to start counting down, because this birthday is going to be really special. I mean, last year, I was in Italy on my birthday – which, by far, was the best birthday EVER!

Thank you Mom and Dad :)

But this year, I’m in a new state, with my posse and my beloved J……. all that’s missing are my parents, but hopefully I can persuade them to come out, because I think know we will all have an epic time.

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I’m already planning my cake….. and you can bet your last dollar that it will contain mass quantities of chocolate :)

Skillet S’More’s – adapted from cookies and cups

  • 1 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 2 cups chocolate chips
  • 1 1/2 cups mini marshmallows (Or cut large marshmallows in half, which is what I did)
  • 8-9 Giant Marshmallows

Preheat oven to 350°
In bowl of stand mixer beat butter and sugar together for 2 minutes, or until light and fluffy. Add in eggs, one at a time, then add vanilla and mix until evenly combined, scraping sides as needed. Add in baking soda, continue mixing until incorporated. Whisk together the baking soda, graham cricket crumbs and flour, then stir into the butter mixture.

Spread half of the dough into skillet, then sprinkle the chocolate chips over the dough. Top with mini marshmallows. Cover marshmallows completely with remaining dough. Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes.

While cookie is baking cut your giant marshmallows into thirds. Remove cookie from oven and top with marshmallows. Return to oven for 10 more minutes. If the marshmallows aren’t browned enough, turn oven onto broil and toast for 15-20 seconds until golden brown.
Serve warm or at room temperature.

Oatmeal Raisin Bars

With our impending move imminent on the horizon, my next task (aside from not losing my mind) is to use up as much stock in the pantry as I can.

Operation throw-out-all-the junk-I’m-not-moving was a complete and total success – and quite frankly, I am giving myself a well-deserved pat on the back for being so organized and so productive this early in the game. The way things are progressing, it appears that my house may have sold much faster than I anticipated.

As in, the first people that looked at it put in an offer.

However, until there’s a signature on the bottom line (and the cash in the bank), I am not going to fret unnecessarily or alter the current course of action.

So ….. back to my plan. My freezer currently resembles a bachelor pad, which is a nice way of saying it contains ice….. and not much else….

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Well, that’s not entirely true. Now, residing on the shelf at precisely eye-level, is a batch of these exceptionally tasty, soft and chewy mmmmmm mmmmmm good cookie bars. Which, based on how easy they are to make (and consume), will definitely be made again using chocolate chips to appease the non-raisin eater in the house *Alexander*.

Of course, the fact that I have a 5 pound bag of oatmeal to use up is a contributing factor as well…..

Oatmeal Raisin Bars – adapted from Martha Stewart

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted, plus more for pan
3/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup raisins
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with foil, leaving an overhang on two sides; spray foil with nonstick spray and set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together butter, sugars, egg, and cinnamon until smooth. Add flour, oats, and raisins; fold in just until combined.
Spread batter in prepared pan, and bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out with moist crumbs attached, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool completely in pan. Using paper overhang, lift cake onto a work surface; cut into 16 bars.

Chocolate Chip Cookie in a Mug

Oh boy, am I in trouble.

Big trouble.

No, I didn’t blow up another appliance (although that was a good guess).

The source of my predicament? I am weak sometimes. Very weak. You know, I’m not perfect. Never claimed to be. I have lots of flaws. I do my best to hide them, yet sometimes they escape to the surface.

An unavoidable addiction to chocolate is one of my biggest flaws.

The chocolate craving hit me last night. I couldn’t resist. After pushing myself with a 15 mile bike ride, and a Cross-fit workout (don’t say it!), I caved in big time. I made myself this single serving chocolate chip cookie in a mug. It was delicious.

And then I had to shield my eyes from the envious glare of someone that could not partake in the craving with me.

I felt bad.

But not bad enough to not eat it.

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And how I have to suffer the consequences, because she isn’t speaking to me…..

Chocolate Chip Cookie in a Mug – adapted from Sweetest Kitchen

  • 1 tbs. unsalted butter
  • 1 tbs. granulated sugar
  • 1 tbs. dark brown sugar
  • ⅛ tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 3 tbs. all purpose flour
  • 2 heaping tbs. dark/semisweet chocolate chips

Choose a microwave-safe mug/ramekin/small bowl. Place the butter in the mug and melt in the microwave; do this in 15 second intervals at about 70% power (it should be melted, not boiling). When you have small bits of butter remaining, take it out of the microwave and gently swirl, or stir, the butter until the bits have melted. To the melted butter, add sugars and vanilla. Stir well. Add the egg yolk and stir well to combine. Add the flour, and stir until combined. The consistency of the dough should be similar to real cookie dough; if it’s too runny, add a touch more flour until the consistency is firmer, or if it’s too stiff, add a splash of milk. Add the chocolate chips and stir to evenly distribute throughout the dough. Flatten the surface of the dough with the back of the spoon. Microwave at about 70% power for 30-40 seconds. Do not overcook.
If you overcook it, it will be become dry and hard, so always err on the side of less cooking time.