Italian Chocolate Cookies – 2013 Food Blogger Cookie Swap

I was so excited to particpate in my first blogger based baking event this year. What a great group to work with and with such awesome results….over $13,000 raised by participant entry fees and sponsor gifts, all given to Cookies for Kids Cancer! Wahoo!!!!!
As soon as I entered the exchange, I knew exactly what cookies I wanted to make. And then realized they were already on this blog….my Michigan shortbread. Doh!20131122_220456

But that’s ok – I had a great back up plan….Italian Chocolate Cookies!!!  I am not sure how this recipe had not  yet made it onto the blog…other than Dan does most of the food blogging…but I was grateful.

There is a wonderful little Italian Bakery close to home that I love to wander into every so often….mainly for tasty samples and to take in all of the wonderful smells…..freshly frosted cakes, hot-out-of-the-oven bread and of course their cannoli’s.  But they also have a wonderful assortment of cookies.  I will sometimes splurge on a small box to take home to treat Dan and the kids.  But their chocolate cookies…well, those are a rare treat at over $10/pound!  Ouch!

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So, one Saturday about a year ago, My Mom and I poured over countless recipes online and even bought a few cookies to sample to pick up on certain flavors, spices, etc and set out to make our own.  We did a fantastic job and can make dozens of these beauties for less than what the bakery charges for a pound! Win!!

I had a great time making these for the cookie exchange.  Packaging and shipping proved to be a bit of a challenge…so I hope the recepients received them in good condition.

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These quickly became a hit in my family and they really are super easy to make.  I hope they become one of your favorites, too!

Also, I would be remiss if I didn’t give a shout-out to those that I received wonderful cookies from. Do yourself a HUGE favor and check out their food blogs.  Absolutely gorgeous and scrumptious food going on over there….seriously!!

Peppermint Double Chocolate Chip Cookies – Jenn – http://therebelchick.com/

Old Fashion sugar cookies – Chris – http://thekeenancookbook.com/

Citrus cookies – Melanie – http://www.melanieinthemiddle.com/

I apologize for lack of pictures of those….they were quickly devoured!!!

Also – if you are interested in participating in this fun and tasty exchange next year (and remember – it’s for a good cause!) – go here to get on the mailing list.  Trust me, you won’t regret it!

Italian Chocolate Cookies

Original Recipe by: Jennifer Endicott

Yields: approximately 5 dozen

3 cups flour
4 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup butter – softened
1/3 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 tbls cinnamon
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Pre-heat oven to 375

Mix flour, baking powder, sugar and cocoa powder and set aside.

Cream butter then blend in flour mixture.

Add milk, vanilla and chocolate chips. Mix thoroughly.

Pinch off about a tablespoon and roll into balls. Don’t place them too close…but these do not spread too much. They will not flatten.

Bake for 10 minutes till bottom edge seems done.

Cool for about 10 minutes before applying drizzle.

Drizzle:

1/4 cup hot milk
1 tbls butter melted
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups confectioners sugar

Blend together and drizzle over the cookies, as much or as little as you would like.

Let the drizzle harden before packing the cookies or putting in cookie jar.

White Chocolate Cherry Almond Shortbread

We live right around that cherryJen here.  Sunday was Christmas cookie day in our house and I set out to create a new cookie.  Over the summer, I picked up the Michigan shaped cookie cutter but knew I wanted to do something different from a sugar cookie.  Cherries are a popular commodity of Michigan and what goes better with cherries than white chocolate and almonds.

I made a basic shortbread cookie and added the other items by sight – I would say about a 1/2 cup of each.

It was difficult to roll out the dough due to the lumpiness from the add-ins, so I wound up taking small portions and patting it down.  This obviously took a bit more time but in the end, these were oh so worth it.

I never had a problem with them cracking or breaking while transferring them to the cookie sheet and they turned out perfect.

I am putting the recipe here to share with all of you as I had a hard time finding one that I liked online, so I made it up myself….but I am also putting it here to document it for future use.  These will be made again….maybe in a different shape!

Jen’s Original White Chocolate Cherry Almond Shortbread

Makes: approx. 36 cookies

Prep time: 45 minutes (rolling out and cutting each one individually)

Bake time: 30 minutes

Temperature: 300 degrees

Ingredients:

2 sticks unsalted butter- softened

2 1/2 cups flour

1/2 cup sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup dried cherries

1/2 cup slivered almonds

1/2 cup white chocolate chips

Combine softened butter and sugar. Blend well. Add in vanilla, continue to blend till creamy. Gradually mix in flour till well incorporated – batter will resemble crumbs at this time.

With a large wooden spoon or spatula, fold in cherries, almonds and chips.

Gather up a handful of batter and with your hands mix together.  You will notice that the batter will easily mix together and become smooth.

At this time, on a lightly floured surface, pat the batter down to approx 1/4 inch thick.  Use a cookie cutter of your choice, but remember to dip it lightly in flour.  This will help prevent sticking.  Cut out desired shapes and transfer with a spatula to a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.

Bake for 20 minutes in a 300 degree oven.  You only want them slightly brown, so definitely watch them at the last couple of minutes.

Remove to a cooling rack.  Enjoy!

Side affects

Looking for ideas for tote-able lunches, we found some great suggestions from YourVeganMom, though Jared shot down the edamames, saying that was more of a dinner thing.

We made a couple batches of the cheesy crackers, one as written and also an herbed variation.

Aren’t they ducky? 

Jared said they were awe-some.

We also made the oatmeal cookies which were as good raw as cooked. 

The recipe made 80 small cookies; I think we are down to about 50.

-D

Happy PB Chocolate Chip Cookies

The Happy Vegan Face is one of Dan’s favorites food blogs.  I figured if hubby liked it, I should probably check it out.  And wow, I picked a good day to look.  These cookies were the newest post on her blog.

I was craving something sweet but again, trying to be good.  These definitely hit the spot!

You can find the recipe here.  The batch I made gave me 2 dozen cookies.  By the time I tried one, and the kids tried their share, we were down to just a handful. Dan called them addictively good!  My niece tried one today and gave me the thumbs up!  I will definitely be making them again as they satisfy my sweet tooth without the guilt.

Be My Valentine

I thought it would be fun for the kids to take in cookies for their Valentine treat this week.  My sister thought it would be fun for my niece to do the same.  And since I was making a bunch of cookies, what’s a few more!

And then this week hit, and I realized we had religion classes, science olympiad practices, packing for our trip to Chicago at the end of the week…..on top of homework and oh yeah, we are suppose to get 10 inches of snow dumped on us tomorrow!  So, I purchased pre-cut cookie dough….threw some sprinkles on it and called it a day.  Ok, well not quite a day…..I will package them neatly with a red ribbon garnish.  Ok, now done.


Who Doesn’t Love a Chunky Monkey?

When I was pregnant with Jared, I craved Ben and Jerry’s Chunky Monkey ice cream.  I couldn’t understand why it only came in a pint size….I mean seriously, this pregnant woman would’ve downed a gallon at a time.  And that is why I still carry baby weight and Jared is 8 years old.  But that’s another story for another time.  Or maybe that’s just a story I will keep to myself.

Today I stared at 4 squishy bananas in the basket and thought it was such a waste to throw them out.  But I just couldn’t fathom making banana bread.  It sounded so ‘blah’. And so I was this close to just tossing them away.  But my food processor was calling out to me.  My fancy new one with the dough blade was just begging to be used.  So I went to TasteSpotting and searched bananas.  And what to my wandering eyes did appear – Chunky Monkey Biscotti!  This appealed to me in several ways.  Well, ok 2 – the catchy name and the fact that it was biscotti…..that hits home with this Sicilian.

I made a batch this afternoon and then bagged some up and shared them as early Valentine treats with the family.

The recipe comes courtesy of Sugar Plum.

Chunky Monkey Biscotti

(Recipe from Sugar Plum)
Yields: approx. 30
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
1/2 cup mashed ripe banana
2 large eggs
1/2 cup chunky peanut butter   (*I used natural creamy PB – and it was just fine!)
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Melted chocolate for dipping, optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Coat a large cookie sheet with cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt; whisk in sugar and chocolate chips until combined.  In a large mixing bowl, whisk together banana, eggs, peanut butter and vanilla until well combined.  Stir in dry ingredients until well combined.  Divide dough and shape into three (9 x 2 1/3–inch) logs on cookie sheet.

Bake for 30 minutes; cool 5 minutes before transferring logs to wire racks to cool an additional 15 minutes.  Transfer to a cutting board and cut rolls diagonally into 1/2-inch thick slices.  Place, cut sides down, on baking sheet.  Reduce oven temperature to 300 degrees; bake 10 minutes.  Turn cookies over; bake an additional 15 minutes (cookies will be slightly soft in center but will harden as they cool).  Remove from baking sheet; cool completely on wire racks.

Dip in melted chocolate if desired.