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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Dried cherry and white chocolate Rice Krispie treat hearts

I started my Valentine's Day treats a little early this year.  I guess less than 3 weeks before Valentine's Day isn't technically early, but it's early for me.  Especially because I still owe you guys that Salted Caramel Apple Pie from Thanksgiving....like, gulp, 2 months ago...

But on Monday night there was an impending blizzard in NYC and there was the potential (thought let's face it, with my luck it wasn't going to happen) for a snow day on Tuesday.  And I had some goodies around the apartment (and a last minute trip to the grocery store to prepare for the impending blizzard yielded a bag of marshmallows and a 5 lb bag of flour)...so I set out to make a yummy Valentine's Day treat for my Valentine.

The answer came in the form of heart shaped dried cherry and white chocolate chip Rice Krispie Treats.  And the added bonus was that I snacked on all...of....the...scraps!  Well, not the added bonus for my waistline, but for me in general, because these are delicious!

Dried Cherry and White Chocolate Chip Rice Krispie Treats (Heart-Shaped for Valentine's Day)


3 Tbsp butter (unsalted)
1 bag large marshmallows (about 40)
5 cups Rice Krispies Cereal
2/3 cup dried cherries (I used dried tart cherries, since that's what I had on hand)
2/3 cups white chocolate chips


Spray a rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray.
Set aside.

Melt the butter in a large microwave safe bowl.
Add the marshmallows and toss to coat in the butter.
Microwave again, on medium-high heat, for 30 seconds.
Mix and return to microwave.
Microwave again for 30-60 seconds until the marshmallows are melted and mix easily.

Add the rice krispies, dried cherries, and white chocolate chips.  (I added mine in 3 batches, to ensure that they all mixed up well.)
Turn the Rice Krispie-marshmallow mixture onto the greased baking tray.
Working quickly, press down the Rice Krispie treats into a 1-1.5 inch layer.  (I used a piece of wax paper sprayed with cooking spray.0
Do not worry if the mixture doesn't cover the whole tray.  Don't make them too thin.

Again, working quickly, while the mixture is still warm, use a heart shaped cookie cutter to cut out the hearts (it's easier to do when they're a little warm, because when the chocolate chips harden again, it's harder to cut through the treats.)

Remove the hearts and place them on a piece of wax paper to finish chilling.

Eat the scraps, all of them.  Because they're so good.  And this way you can keep some for your Valentine :)

Happy Valentine's Day!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Browned butter brown sugar cookies

I had really been a bum when it came to baking this month.  Sadly, the last two posts that I put up today were from a few weeks ago -- and that's the last time I actually baked anything.  It's a shame, really.  But the decadence of these cookies more than makes up for the lack of baking I've been doing.  Like I-think-I-gained-back-the-few-pounds-I-lost-in-the-past-week-or-so decadent....and I just ate one!

The secret is actually two-fold: don't use regular butter, use browned butter*....and don't use sugar, don't use light brown sugar, but use dark brown sugar.  Uber decadent.  Uber rich.  Thank goodness they're so rich I can't eat more than one at a time, because if I could, I would....and that would be dangerous!

* When it comes to making browned butter, be careful.  It goes from perfectly browned and nutty and aromatic to burnt in a few seconds.  Trust me, it happened to me the first time I made browned butter and it turned me off to making it for a while.  And then I made it again today for these cookies and....in the span of 2 seconds, I burned the batch again!  Bottom line?  Watch it.  Like a hawk.  Consider yourselves forewarned.

These cookies are delicious.  But they aren't for the faint of heart (or the diabetics....)...

Browned Butter Brown Sugar Cookies
From Eats Well With Others


14 Tbsp unsalted butter (1 3/4 sticks)
1 3/4 cups packed dark brown sugar (if you have light brown sugar and molasses, you can find a conversion online to turn your light brown sugar into dark brown sugar....trust me, it's what I had to do)
2 1/4 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda (Looking back, I may have used 3/4 tsp)
1/4 tsp (Looking back, I may have used 1/2 tsp....my head was clearly in the clouds today)
3/4 tsp salt
1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
1 1/2 Tbsp vanilla
(You can see, from above, that my head may have been in the clouds a little when I was measuring the ingredients, since I'm not sure if I 1.5-2 timesed the baking soda and powder.  The cookies turned out perfectly, so I'm not sure what happened, but that might explain why my cookies were a little fluffier than I thought they would've been.  But I digress...)

1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
(I couldn't do the conversions again for the light to dark brown sugar for this one, so I just used 1/2 cup light brown sugar plus 2-3 Tbsp granulated sugar, mixed well, and that worked perfectly!)


Preheat the oven to 350 F.
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Melt butter in a skillet or frying pan over medium heat.
Allow to simmer until it starts to turn an amber color, and smelly nutty and fragrant.
Remove from the heat, and place in a separate bowl.
Allow to cool for 15 minutes.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the browned butter and brown sugar until well-blended.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
Set aside.

Add the egg and egg yolk to the sugar/butter mixture, one at a time.
Scrape down the sides of the bowl after each addition.
Mix in the vanilla.

Mix the flour mixture into the mixer, stirring until just combined.

In a small bowl, combine the sugar and brown sugar (or, use the mixture I gave above).

Scoop the cookie dough into balls using a 1 1/2 Tbsp cookie scoop or scoop into rounded tablespoons.
Roll each ball in the sugar mixture.
Place on the prepared baking sheets, leaving 2 inches between cookies.
I pressed mine down a little bit.

Bake for 10-12 minutes or until cookies are starting to set around the edges.
Allow to cool before serving.

Dried apricot-studded shortbread cookies

I was kinda on a roll with those fruit-studded shortbread cookies.  I made them with cranberries for the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap this past year, then I tried them out a few weeks later with a mixture of sweet and tart cherries, and in between I made them with some toasted coconut....and then I even went a step further and dipped those coconut beauties into some semisweet chocolate and sprinkled them with some salt.  But something was missing.  Namely one of my all-time favorite dried fruits....the apricot.  So, I set out one last time to make those shortbread cookies with some diced dried apricots.

Dried Apricot Shortbread Cookies
Adapted from this recipe


1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
2 Tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 - 1 cup dried (Turkish) apricots, diced or chopped


Chop the apricots by hand into smaller pieces -- I diced mine to make sure they were more uniform in size.
Set aside.

In a large bowl, using a mixer, cream the butter and sugar together on medium speech until fluffy.
Add milk and vanilla.
Beat to combine.

With the mixer on low, gradually add the flour and salt.
Continue beating until the dough forms.
Add the chopped apricots.
Mix with a spatula to combine.

Divide the dough into 2 portions.
Shape each piece into a log.
Wrap logs in plastic wrap.
Place in the freezer for 30 minutes.
Then, move to the fridge for another 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350F.

Using a sharp knife, cut each log into thin slices, about 1/4 inch thick.
Place cookies onto a ungreased cookie sheet (I used a parchment lined cookie sheet).
Bake until edges are just starting to turn brown, about 12 minutes (mine took about 10 minutes).

Remove from the oven.
Place cookies on a wire rack to cool.

Chocolate chip cookies

At the beginning of the month, I made some chocolate chip cookies.  They weren't really special chocolate chip cookies, nor were they a new recipe, but there was something momentous and exciting about these cookies.  See, these were the first cookies I baked a B's apartment.  We were running errands and ended up at the grocery store, and I decided on a whim to make some chocolate chip cookies.  I used a standard recipe (Toll House's recipe, because, well, why not?!), and subbed in some fancier chocolate chips (namely Guittard chocolate chips) and a teensy weensy pinch more salt.

The cookies were delish (but again, this should come as no surprise), and I loved being able to serve B cookies fresh out of the oven (he always gets them a day later, or at best a few hours later), because that's really when they're the best!

Gussied Up Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies
Adjusted -- minimally -- from the Toll House semi-sweet morsels bag


2 1/4 cups of flour (all-purpose)
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt, plus a small pinch
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar (granulated sugar)
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 cups (12 oz package) high end semi-sweet chocolate chips (I used Guittard; ghirardelli would work, too, and frankly, you could use Toll House, too)


Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. Set aside. 
Beat butter, both sugars, and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy....or in my case, when a mixer isn't available, a whisk and a lot of upper body strength work nicely.
Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. 
Gradually beat in flour mixture. 
Stir in chips.

Drop by tablespoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheets (I used parchment paper-lined baking sheets)
Bake for 9-11 minutes or until golden brown
Let cool on baking sheets.