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.

Butter beer cupcakes

With the end approaching at the stroke of midnight as the ceremonies monumentalizing the fall of the Bastille conclude, imperative tribute is taking design for the marvelous characters whose lives’ we have vicariously shared during the last decade.

Ari says this is the day her childhood ends and she will likely dress in more black than the black in such she generally wears, a stark contrast to the butterfly pastel Italian frock flaunted when we first met little Harry, with his big eyes brazenly taking on the nasty noseless – or, rather then, the vile vapor.

The celebration will certainly include barf flavored jelly beans and jelly slugs for Ron, and also butter beer cupcakes – we’ve attempted butter beer itself with… Results..

Ari spent nearly three hours in total brewing the cupcakes and I believe she will agree, that was well worth the effort.

 

The cake of the cupcake was one of the best I’ve had, speaking as a non cake person, and those were injected with butterscotch ganache then topped with buttercream frosting. Fittingly rich for the wonderful story and universe we have enjoyed.

-D

Linguini everywhere

The young ones conspired to out poll the pappardelle, leaving us to languish in linguini for Sunday’s special, poll-winner dinner.

Presuming the big noodles would roll victorious, a more traditional pappardelle had been portent, with possibly a pappardelle, pastry thing with apples and cinnamon for dessert.

 Another time:  Nixed by linguini, the plan evolved to involve linguini in everything — results were mixed.

The main meal (not a surprise) was fantastic, though the gorgeous loaves of bread

were miserable failure, not because the internal linguini, rather the off flavor and texture, likely the result of our liberal substitutions, that, as the blog author wherefrom this came says, “Don’t.”  We had a slice anyhow, just for novelty.

The main plate was perfect, each alone, and, the components combined – complimentary:  Curried spinach sauce over linguini with red lentil and potato, broccoli linguini tossed with broccoli and kale (sauteed with garlic and tossed with a lemon miso broth), and a raw bean, olive and fruit salad.

Broccoli noodle with garlicky broccoli and kale, garnished with sweet potato straws:

The two noodle dishes went really well together and the salad was a nice, bright palate cleanser, a perfect counterpoint .

Dessert was weird. 

Parts of it were sensational:  That was the custard from a fellow of the region

Additionally, the mandarin orange with the drizzled and fresh mint was really good. 

But the shell, made with coconut flour (half) noodles boiled in lemonade, they tasted okay, but the oddity ruined the dessert (and the flavor was just a bit off).

This could be really good with some alteration, begun with the elimination of the noodle shell, instead served in a cracker tart shell and use a white mint drizzle so it doesn’t look so garish.

-D

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.