Category Archives: confectioners sugar

Twenty-Five Days of Cookies: Nutmeg Bites

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Christmas is twenty-one days (gulp) away and what better way is there to countdown to the big event than to feature a cookie recipe each day? Think of it as a cookie recipe advent calendar. And to fill that advent calendar I’m featuring twenty five of my favorite holiday cookie recipes that are sure to fill your holidays with cheer. Bake them to fill your cookie trays, bring them to a cookie swap or eat them yourself; they are guaranteed to bring about holiday joy. And if you love baking as much as I do, making them is a fun filled gift unto itself. Enjoy!

I love these little cookies from King Arthur Flour because they are a bit different than your usual holiday spiced cookies. Whereas most cookies are rich with brown sugar, cinnamon and ginger, the only spice these cookies contain is nutmeg. The nutmeg makes them spicy yet light but the rum icing provides the punch that makes these cookies exciting. If possible, use freshly ground nutmeg. You will notice a difference. And as an added bonus you can make the dough ahead of time and chill it until you are ready to bake them.

NUTMEG BITES

For the cookie dough:

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla

For the rum icing:

1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
3 tablespoons rum

  • Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl combine all of the ingredients. Using an electric mixer set on medium speed, beat  until a soft, smooth dough forms.
  • Wrap and chill the dough for 1 hour. Towards the end of the chill time, preheat the oven to 350°F.
  • Drop tablespoon-sized dough balls onto your baking sheet.
  • Bake the cookies for 8 to 10 minutes. The edges will be slightly browned and the cookies will be round and domed.
  • Cool the cookies completely.
  • Prepare the icing by blending the softened butter and confectioners’ sugar.
  • Add rum one tablespoon at a time until you have a spreadable icing.
  • Top each cookie with a dollop of icing and a dash of nutmeg.

Yield: Approximately 3 to 4 dozen cookies.

Lavender & Lemon Shortbread Cookies

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Lavender is one of these herbs that is more often associated with perfumes and beauty products than with cooking. After all, who hasn’t smelled the sweet smell of a lavender infused soap or a sachet packed tucked into a drawer. For me, the smell alone elicits images of purple fields under a summer sky. But as is the case with many herbs, their purposes are varied. Lavender can be used in the afore mentioned beauty and household products as well as in cooking.
These cookies remind me of a French summer and appropriately so, come from the The French Farm website. With the perfumed scent of lavender paired with with tangy lemon zest they are the epitome of a summer cookie. Because lavender is a surprisingly strong flavor, a little goes a long way when it comes to cooking since you don’t want to overpower the rest of the flavors. In this cookie, the lavender is tempered by lemon zest and infuse the buttery shortbread with just the right amount of flavor.
Dried lavender is available at many farmer’s markets and online cooking resources but do as I do, and grown your own. Not only will it provide a fragrant addition to your garden but it will also provide you with a ready supply of flowers for all of your culinary needs.
LAVENDER & LEMON SHORTBREAD COOKIES
1/2 cup confectioners sugar
2 teaspoons dried lavender flowers
Zest of one lemon
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
  • In a food processor fitted with a steel blade, gently blend the powdered sugar, dried lavender flowers, and lemon zest until all of the ingredients are incorporated.
  • Add the softened butter to the food processor and pulse until the butter has been creamed into the sugar mixture.
  • Add the flour and salt and mix until just combined.
  • Remove the dough from food processor and place it on a large sheet of waxed paper.
  • Gently form the dough into an 8-inch log.
  • Carefully roll the paper around dough to create a smooth log and chill far at least 4 hours or up to a three days.
  • When ready to bake, heat oven to 375 degrees and slice the chilled dough into 1/4-inch slices.
  • Bake for 13-15 minutes, then remove from oven and cool completely before serving.

Yields: 36 cookies

Peanut Butter Bars

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Who doesn’t love the combination of chocolate and peanut butter? I know I certainly do so when the craving strikes these bars from Add A Pinch are the perfect treat. These taste like a homemade Reese Peanut Butter Cup only better. They are also ridiculously easy; so easy that it is almost embarrassing. There is even no need to turn on the oven so technically you aren’t even baking. But they are so good that you too will find yourself making them again and again.

PEANUT BUTTER BARS

For the crust:
1 cup unsalted butter, melted
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1½ cups creamy peanut butter

For the topping:
¼ cup creamy peanut butter
2 cups chocolate chips

  • Combine the ingredients for the crust in a large mixing bowl mixing until well-combined and smooth.
  • Spread evenly into a 9×13 baking dish making sure to push the crust into the corners of the dish.
  • Place the remaining peanut butter and the chocolate chips in a microwave proof bowl.
  • Melt in the microwave for 1 minute at a time on 80% power. Remove from the microwave and stir until smooth.
  • Spread the chocolate mixture over the top of the peanut butter bar base and place in the freezer for 15 minutes.
  • Remove from the freezer and cut into individual bars.

Yields 36 bars

Dark Chocolate Guinness Cake w/ Bailey’s Buttercream

 

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Dessert anyone?

This cake has been all over the Internet in recent weeks so I’m not really sure whose recipe it really is. I  first found it on Global Table Adventure so that is where I’m going to let the credit lie). But back to the cake….or cupcakes as I made them. Oh my goodness is this cake good–which probably explains why they have been everywhere.

The cake is rich and chocolately without being overly sweet. Best of all it is so easy to make, and unlike so many cakes, it isn’t fussy and cake be made in a matter of minutes. Top it all with rich butter cream frosting and you have an unforgettable treat that is perfect for St. Patty’s Day or any day of the year. Yum!

DARK CHOCOLATE GUINESS CAKE w/ BAILEY’S BUTTERCREAM

For the cake:

1 1/2 sticks butter

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa

1 cup Guinness Stout

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 1/4 cups flour

1 tsp baking soda

2 eggs

For the buttercream:

3 sticks unsalted butter, softened

1 lb powdered sugar, sifted

2-4 Tbsp Bailey’s Irish Cream, as needed

  • Preheat the oven to 350F.
  • Line two 24 cup miniature muffin pans with baking papers or lightly grease and flour 2 8″ round cake pans. Set aside.
  • In a small saucepan, melt butter.
  • Whisk in the Guinness, vanilla extract and cocoa and immediately remove from the heat.
  • Whisk together the sugar, flour and baking soda in a large bowl.
  • Add the Guinness mixture and then whisk in the eggs, one at a time. Beat until the batter looks shiny.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pans, filling each cup 3/4 of the way full.
  • Bake the cupcakes for 12 to 14 minutes or the cakes for 30-35 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean.
  • Meanwhile, make the buttercream by whipping together the softened butter and sugar in a standing mixer fitted with a wire whip.
  • Add the Bailey’s, one tablespoon at a time, until the mixture is light and fluffy. Beat the buttercream for an additional 5 to 10 minutes.
  • When the cakes are completely cool, pipe or smooth on the buttercream.
  • Eat!

Yields: 48 miniature cupcakes or 1 8″ 2-layer cake

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