Tag Archives: pecans

Dusty Bliss Chocolate Espresso Cookies

cookies

Chocolate is good. Coffee is good. And when you combine these two delicious ingredients you have something truly amazing; case in point these chocolate espresso cookies from Saveur magazine.  All I can say is “oh my”.

I like to add a touch of espresso powder to my chocolate baked goods since it enhances the complexity and depth of the chocolate taste. But when you add more, here a full 1/4 cup, you are rewarded with an intense dose of coffee flavor that is actually tempered by the chocolate. The pecans, both mixed into the dough and then dredged on top of the finished cookie (with more chocolate of course), adds crunch. These are really amazing cookies and are quickly becoming a favorite in my house.

So why don’t you try them for yourself? They make the perfect mid afternoon pick-me-up –with or without a cup of coffee.

DUSTY BLISS CHOCOLATE ESPRESSO COOKIES

34 cup sifted confectioners’ sugar
14 cup instant espresso
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 large egg
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
23 cups finely chopped pecans, divided
6 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted
  • Heat the oven to 375°. Line to baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
  • In a large bowl, beat the sugar with the espresso powder and butter on medium speed of a hand mixer until fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  • Add the egg, beating well until smooth, then beat in the bittersweet chocolate and vanilla.
  • Add the flour and beat on low speed until the dough just comes together, then stir in 1 cup pecans.
  • Pinch off pieces of dough and roll into 1 12-inch balls then place the prepared baking sheet, spaced 2 inches apart.
  • Press each cookie gently with the palm of your hand to flatten, then bake until set, about 10 minutes.
  • Transfer the cookies to a rack and let cool completely.
  • Pour the melted semisweet chocolate into a bowl. Dip each cookie halfway into the chocolate then dredge in the remaining 23 cup pecans.
  • Transfer the dipped cookies to a sheet of parchment paper and let the melted chocolate set before serving.
Yields: 3 dozen cookies

 

Brown Sugar Sweet Potato Cake

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Here is an easy cake from The Washington Post that makes use of any left over sweet potatoes you may have lying around. (Of course it is so good that I intentionally bake extra potatoes just for this purpose). To me this cake combines the best flavors of the season–sweet potatoes, dried fruits and nuts, and lots of spices–and packs them into a tasty bundt cake. This cake is wonderfully versatile and can easily be altered to fit your liking. You can substitute pumpkin if you don’t have sweet potatoes. I added dried cherries, toasted pecans and candied ginger pieces to my batter but you can use whatever nuts and fruits you have on hand or omit them entirely.

The cake is dense and just slightly sweet; dust it with a bit of confectioners sugar to dress it up for a dessert or serve it as is for an afternoon snack with a cup of tea. Glenn brought slices of this cake in to work for their morning coffee break and returned home with an empty container and just a few crumbs.

 

BROWN SUGAR SWEET POTATO CAKE

3 cups flour

1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons ground ginger

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

16 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 1/2 cups firmly packed dark brown sugar

1/3 cup granulated sugar

4 eggs, at room temperature

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

3 tablespoons molasses

2 cups sweet potato puree

1/2 cup dried cherries, chopped

1/2 cup toasted pecans, chopped

1/4 cup candied ginger pieces, chopped

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Coat the inside of a 10-inch Bundt pan with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and cloves into a medium sized bowl. Set aside.
  • Using a hand held mixer and a large bowl, beat the butter on medium speed for 4 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
  • Add the dark brown sugar in three additions, beating for 1 minute after each one.
  • Add the granulated sugar and beat for 1 minute longer.
  • Beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing for 30 seconds after each addition, to blend.
  • Blend in the molasses and vanilla extract on low speed.
  • Add the sweet potato puree; beat on low speed to incorporate. The mixture might look slightly curdled at this point, but it will smooth out once the sifted mixture is introduced.
  • Continuing on low speed, add the sifted mixture in three additions, stopping to scrape down the bowl after each one and mixing just until absorbed.
  • Fold in the cherries, nuts and candied ginger pieces.
  • Spoon the batter into the prepared baking pan. Use a rubber spatula to smooth the top.
  • Bake for 1 hour or until a wooden pick inserted in the cake emerges clean.
  • Transfer (in the pan) to a wire cooling rack to cool for 10 minutes, then invert the cake onto a separate cooling rack and remove the pan.

Serves 16

Twenty Five Days of Cookies: Cinnamon Bun Pin Wheels

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Christmas is just three 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!

Warm cinnamon buns bursting with brown sugar, cinnamon and pecans are the perfect morning treat. But who says these flavors have to be saved for breakfast? Not King Arthur Flour; these cinnamon bun inspired cookies are the ultimate holiday indulgence. They are the perfect compliment to your holiday baking and they taste pretty darn good when served slightly warm.

I’ve even been known to keep a roll of the dough in the freezer so I can bake up a fresh batch when the mood strikes. And why not? It is the holiday season after all!

CINNAMON BUN PIN WHEELS

VANILLA DOUGH

½ cup confectioners’ sugar

¾ cup (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter

½ teaspoon salt, extra-fine preferred

1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract

1 ½ cups all purpose flour

CINNAMON DOUGH

¼ cup dark brown sugar

2 tablespoons honey

½ teaspoon salt, extra-fine preferred

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

¾ cup (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

½ cup chopped pecans, toasted

1 ½ cups all purpose flour

 

To make the vanilla dough:

  • In a medium-sized mixing bowl cream together the sugar, butter, salt, and vanilla. 
  • Add the flour, stirring to make a cohesive dough.
  • Flatten the dough into a disk, wrap it in plastic, and refrigerate until ready to use — at least 1 hour.

To make the cinnamon dough:

  • In a saucepan combine the sugar, honey, salt, vanilla, butter, and cinnamon.
  • Heat over medium heat until the butter has melted and the sugar has dissolved.
  • Remove from the heat and allow to cool briefly. 
  • Transfer the cinnamon mixture and the toasted pecans to a food processor, and process until smooth.
  • In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine the pecan mixture and flour to make a cohesive dough.
  • Flatten the dough into a disk, wrap it in plastic, and refrigerate until ready to use — at least 1 hour.

To shape the cookies:

  • Place parchment or waxed paper on your work surface and dust it lightly with flour.
  • Lay the vanilla dough on the parchment and roll it into an 18″ x 12″ rectangle. Set it aside.
  • Using more parchment paper or waxed paper, roll the cinnamon dough slightly smaller than the first, into a 17 ½” x 11 ½” rectangle.
  • Place the smaller piece of dough on top of the larger piece of dough, using the parchment to transport.
  • Starting with a long edge, use the parchment to help you gently roll the stacked dough into a tight log, with no gaps.
  • Press the edge to seal, then wrap the log in plastic wrap or parchment, and freeze for 1 hour.
  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • Remove the dough from the freezer, unwrap it, and place it on a clean work surface. Let it thaw for 15 minutes, or until it’s soft enough to cut. 
  • Use a sharp knife to gently cut the log into ¼” slices. If the dough becomes too soft to handle, place it back in the freezer briefly. Transfer the cookies to the prepared baking sheets.
  • Bake the cookies for 12 to 14 minutes, or until they feel firm. Remove them from the oven and transfer to a rack to cool.
  • When cool, store airtight, at room temperature; freeze for longer storage.
  • Yield: 4 dozen cookies.

Twenty-Five Days of Cookies: Maple Pecan Shortbread Cookies

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Christmas is just seven 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!

For me, nothing is more New England than real maple syrup so when I’m longing for home this holiday season, this is one of my go-to recipes. The recipe is adapted from Cuisine At Home and brings together the rich buttery flavor of shortbread with toasty pecans and of course, maple syrup. With its sweet and nut filled filling, these bars are reminiscent of a maple flavored pecan pie. If you prefer and it is readily available, feel free to substitute maple sugar for either or both of the brown sugars. You can also use toasted walnuts instead of pecans. Regardless of which nut or sugar you use, be sure to use real maple syrup in the filling. Anything else is simply not acceptable. So bake up a batch of these tasty bars today and celebrate the start of a new season.

MAPLE PECAN SHORTBREAD BARS

For the crust:

12 sticks unsalted butter plus more for the pan, at room temperature

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1 3/4 cup all purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

For the filling:

1 cup pure maple syrup

2/3 cup packed brown sugar

2 eggs, lightly beaten

2 tablespoons bourbon

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup toasted pecans, chopped

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Lightly coat an 8 inch square baking pan with softened butter; line the pan with parchment paper then coat the pan, sides and parchment paper with non-stick cooking spray. Dust the pan with flour, shake out the excess then set aside.
  • To make the crust, using an electric mixer, cream the butter with the sugar in a medium sized bowl.
  • Add the flour and salt and mix until completely incorporated.
  • Press the dough into the prepared pan making sure the crust reaches the corners.
  • Chill the pan in the refrigerator for 1/2 an hour.
  • Bake the crust until lightly browned, about 20 minutes.
  • To make the filling, using an electric mixer, beat the syrup, sugar, eggs, bourbon, vanilla and salt in a medium sized bowl until frothy.
  • Stir in the nuts until combined.
  • Pour the filling over the crust and bake until brown and set, 35-40 minutes.
  • Transfer the pan to a rack and let cool for 10 minutes before running a knife around the edges and corners of the pan to loosen the bars.
  • Cool completely before cutting into squares.

Yields: 9 bars

Twenty-Five Days of Cookies: Soft & Chewy Vanilla-Orange Cranberry Cookies

cookie

Christmas is twelve 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!

Cranberries are a quintessential holiday fruit and and when you pair them with a bit of orange zest you have a sure winner of a holiday cookie. I absolutely adore this cookies from King Arthur Flour. Filled with cranberries, orange zest and toasted pecans, they are chewy and crunchy, sweet and tart….well they are simply delicious. And best of all they are super easy and quick to make. Exactly what you are looking for with Christmas just days away.

SOFT & CHEWY VANILLA-ORANGE CRANBERRY COOKIES
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature3/4 cup sugar

grated peel of 1 medium to large orange

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 large egg

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 cup dried cranberries

1 cup pecans, toasted and chopped

  •  Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
  •  In a large bowl, beat together the butter, sugar, orange peel, vanilla, baking powder and salt.
  •  Beat in the egg. The mixture may look slightly curdled; that’s OK.
  • Add the flour, cranberries and nuts, stirring until well combined.
  • Drop the dough by heaping teaspoonfuls onto the baking sheets, leaving about 1 1/2″ between them. Using the flat bottom of a glass dipped in sugar, flatten the cookies slightly, to a scant 1/2″ thick.
  • Bake the cookies for 6 to 7 minutes, until they’re barely set, and a light golden brown around the edges. Don’t over-bake; if you do, the cookies will be hard, not soft and chewy. Gently lift one of the cookies and look at the bottom; it shouldn’t be brown. 
  •  Remove the cookies from the oven, and cool them right on the pan. If you need a pan to bake the remainder of the cookies, give the cookies about 5 minutes to set before transferring them to a rack to cool completely.

Yield: 4 dozen cookies.

Twenty Five Days of Cookies: Monkey Cookies

 

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Christmas is fifteen 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!
When I was in college my alma mater had a cherished tradition of providing pre-bedtime snacks for the students every evening. Called “Milk and Cookies” or “M&Cs”, this 0930 pm ritual was an event we could set our watches to. As the witching hour approached we would anxiously wait outside of the kitchen doors to see what the evening’s snack would be. Sometimes they treats would veer towards the healthy-fresh vegetables and dip or fruit, but at least a couple of times a week M&Cs would be a baked treat. And one of my favorite treats of all time was something that was affectionately called “chipmunk cookies”. These cookies were thin and buttery, crisp and filled with chopped nuts. I thought they were really good at the time and they must have been since I still remember them after all of these years.
With these cookies in mind I set out to create my own, more adult version of my beloved chipmunk cookies. My cookies have the same chopped nuts as the original ones but I’ve added chocolate chips, a healthy dose of spices and bananas (because if they contain fruit they must be healthy, right?). And because of the bananas, I’ve renamed them monkey cookies. They aren’t nearly as crisp as the ones I remember and are more like a banana bread cookie. And to make them extra special, I’ve added a simple sugar glaze. And these cookies are good. So good in fact that they just might rival the originals.
So go ahead and bake up a batch yourself. But to make them a real M&C treat, don’t forget to enjoy them with a glass of cold milk. Wearing pajamas while eating them is optional……..
MONKEY COOKIES

For the cookies:

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 cup vegetable shortening

1/4 unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 cup packed brown sugar

2 eggs

1 cup mashed ripe banana (the riper, the better)

3/4 cup chopped pecans

3/4 cup miniature chocolate chips

For the icing:

3 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar

1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted

3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 tablespoons milk

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two large cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  • Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, cream shortening and butter together using an electric mixer; add the brown sugar, beating well until all of the ingredients are incorporated.
  • Add eggs and banana to the butter mixture and beat well.
  • Add the flour mixture into batter, stirring well until combined.
  • Fold the pecans and chocolate chips into the batter.
  • Drop the dough by rounded tablespoonfuls, 2 inches apart onto the prepared cookie sheets. 
  • Bake for 12 minutes. Remove to wire racks to cool.
  • To make the icing, combine the confectioner’s sugar with the melted butter, vanilla extract and milk, stirring until smooth.
  • Once the cookies have cooled, drizzle with the icing.

Yields: 36 cookies

Twenty-Five Days of Cookies: Port Balls

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Christmas is twenty 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!

We’ve all heard of rum balls but port ball? Why not? After all, port is a very popular drink here in Belgium. I have yet to see a restaurant menu that doesn’t offer a wide selection of this rich drink on its menu. And wander into the wine section of any shop and the selection of port is literally overwhelming. (When we were in Albania for some reason it was impossible to find port in any shop so I guarded my stash closely and foreign visitors knew the quickest way to please their hostess was by bringing a bottle with them). But, since it is so readily available here, when I saw this recipe from The Noble Pig, I just knew I had to make them. Sure enough, I wasn’t disappointed and found myself making a second, larger batch. So try them yourself. You won’t be disappointed. I promise.

PORT BALLS

1 – 11 ounce package Nilla Wafers
1/2 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 cup pecans, whole
3/4 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup corn syrup
1/2 cup Port
1/2 cup confectioners sugar

  • In a food processor, pulse the Nilla wafers, cocoa powder and 1 cup whole pecans until fine crumbs form.
  • Add the Port and corn syrup to the crumb mixture and pulse again until well blended.
  • Scoop out the very sticky mixture into a bowl and add 3/4 cup coarsely chopped pecans.  Mix in pecans with a spoon until fully incorporated.
  • Roll into 1-inch balls and place on parchment paper.
  • Place the confectioners sugar on a large plate and roll each ball in the sugar.

Yields: 48 inch balls

 

 

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