3 Sweet Treats

I've been thinking about this year's Christmas baking ever since we started planning our kitchen renovations and the experience was everything I dreamed it would be. Counter space, a convection oven and a dishwasher really do change the whole game. So with my new kitchen backing me up, I decided to try a few new recipes, and they all turned about great! No crumbly caramel disasters this year. I suspect it's going to be hard to keep these around for another week!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups
via Poppytalk

I can't technically call these cups, since I decided to save myself the trouble and just cut them into squares. But they are just as delicious as the cups we all know and love, just upside down. If I had to choose a favourite of the three new recipes, this would be my pick!

1 cup melted, unsalted butter
2 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 1/2 cups icing sugar
1 cup smooth natural peanut butter
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 cups semisweet chocolate (or your choice of chocolate)

1. In a saucepan on the stovetop, melt 1 cup of unsalted butter.
2. In a stand mixer on low setting, or mixing by hand with a wooden spoon in a medium bowl, mix together melted butter, graham cracker crumbs, icing sugar, peanut butter and vanilla extract until combined.
3. Pour into the baking pan and spread evenly along bottom of pan.
4. In a double boiler (or using a ceramic or metal bowl over top of a saucepan of low boiling water), melt the chocolate. 
5. Pour melted chocolate on top of graham cracker layer and spread evenly. 
6. Place in refrigerator to set, about 30 minutes. 
7. Using a circular cookie cutter, punch out circle shaped peanut butter cups! Or just cut out into squares (or some sort of shape) with a knife.

Mexican Chocolate Bars
via Food and Drink Magazine 2012 Holiday Issue

Imagine that nanaimo bars joined a biker gang... this is what they would look like. These bad boys are seriously rich, triple rich to be exact: a chocolate crust; a soft, spicy chocolate centre; and a hard chocolate top. But don't let their decadence intimidate you, just make sure you cut your squares small and pour a glass of milk before you dig in!

1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp grated orange grind
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted

1 1/2 cups whipping cream
1 cinnamon stick, broken into pieces
1/2 tsp allspice berries
1/2 tsp whole cloves
1/4 tsp chili flakes
8 oz (1 cup) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 large egg, beaten

2 oz (1/4 cup) bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 tbsp unsalted butter

1. Preheat oven to 350°F and line a 9-inch square pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
2. Combine graham cracker crumbs, walnuts, cocoa powder, sugar, salt and orange rind in a bowl. Add egg and melted butter and stir until well combined. Scrape mixture into prepared pan and use your fingertips to press it down into an even layer. Bake for 10 minutes or until crust looks matte and is dry to the touch. Set aside.
3. Pour whipping cream into a small heavy pot. Use a mortar and pestle to crush cinnamon stick, allspice and cloves into coarse pieces (this will be strained out later, so you don't have to go crazy). Add crushed spices and chili flakes to cream. Bring cream just to a boil over medium heat. Remove and let stand 20 minutes to steep.
4. Heat oven to 325°F.
5. Place chocolate in bowl. Return cream to medium heat and bring just to a boil again. Immediately pour through a strainer onto chocolate. Let chocolate stand 30 seconds, then stir until melted and smooth. Stir in egg until just combined. Pour chocolate mixture onto prepared crust and bake in the oven for 18 to 20 minutes or until just set with a slight wiggle in the centre. Cool and chill for 30 minutes or until firm.
6. Melt butter and remaining chocolate in double boiler or heavy-bottomed sauce pan and spread evenly over top layer. Chill for another 30 minutes or until firm. Cut into squares.

Super Soft Snickerdoodle Cookies

A nice break from all the chocolate, these are kind of like a cinnamon roll in cookie form. If they weren't so sweet already, I'd be tempted to ice them. They didn't turn out as flat as shown in the original recipe, but they are still light and fluffy, as promised, and difficult to eat just one.  I burned a batch (still getting used to that new oven), and the commentators seem to insist that cream of tartar is necessary, so maybe I'll give it another go with a more traditional recipe.
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
3 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
1 teaspon vanilla extract
For the cinnamon sugar:
1/4 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
Heat the oven to 425°F. Gently melt the butter in a saucepan or in the microwave and let it cool while you mix the dry ingredients. Stir together the sugars, flour, spices, baking soda, and salt. Whisk the eggs into the cooled butter and add the vanilla. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, stirring just until it comes together.
In a soup plate or shallow bowl, mix together the white sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Form small 1 1/2-inch balls of dough and roll them in the cinnamon sugar. Place them on an unlined, ungreased baking sheet and flatten slightly. Bake for 7 minutes then remove and let cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes. Remove to a wire rack.
The dough can be refrigerated for up to 5 days, well-wrapped. It can also be frozen in logs.

1 comment

Anonymous said...

thank you for the recipe !! i just baked them.... they are delicious and I had to hide the box where I put them :) my children keep eating them !