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Friday, December 9, 2016

Churro Chex mix

Every winter, my friends on Long Island throw a huge party.  Each year, as of late, it has had a theme.  Two years ago?  It was a summer themed party (remember these PiƱa Colada cupcakes I made for it?), last year was Oktoberfest themed (my desserts did not match the theme at all), and this year it's Cinco de Mayo themed.  Since Cinco de Mayo themed desserts can be pretty awesome (tres leches...churro....Mexican chocolate...margarita....Yes, to all of them!), I figured it would be easy to arrive to the party with an arsenal of delicious Cinco de Mayo treats!

First up?  Churro Chex mix.  I guess technically they're muddy buddies, but I just like the sound of churro Chex Mix better.  This recipe actually came about by a serious of errors.  The recipe called for cinnamon chips.  I even had them!  See, I can't find them at my local grocery store, but they sell them at -- of all places -- the Hershey's Store in Times Square.  So if I ever find myself in that touristy area of the city, and if the line isn't too long, I pick up a bag or two.  Unless it's swamped with tourists and has a long line, in which case, I skip it.  Which is precisely what happened when I was there the past two times.  But I digress.  I had 2 bags in my cabinet, and even though it was past the "best by" date, I figured I try them.  Simply put?  They did not work.  But as they were not melting, I noticed that they were probably cinnamon flavored white chocolate chips.  So I set up with batch number two, this time using white chocolate chips and a heaping half tablespoon of cinnamon.  This time, though, the butter and white chocolate wouldn't fully combine, so instead of tossing batch number two, I poured off as much of the butter as I could.  Problem solved!  (If you don't feel like going though the task of melting -- and then disposing of -- a stick of butter, you can skip that step and look for the cheat in the recipe below).  The result is a cinnamon-y delicious addictive Chex mix!

Churro Chex Mix (aka Triple Cinnamon Chex Mix)
adapted from this recipe from Oh, Sweet Basil


1 regular sized box of cinnamon chex (about 8 cups)
2 cups of white chocolate chips
1 1/2 Tbsp ground cinnamon, divided
1/2 cup butter
1 cup powered sugar
1/2 cup sugar


Place the cereal in a large bowl.
Cover 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.

In a saucepan over medium heat, add the butter and begin to melt it down halfway.
Add the chocolate chips.
Stir until combined.
Add a heaping 1/2 Tbsp of cinnamon.
Drain any butter that is not incorporated.

*Alternately, you can melt 2 Tbsp butter with the chocolate chips in the microwave in 30 second increments, stirring inbetween, until fully incorporated.  If you do this, I would add 1 tsp of ground cinnamon instead of the heaping 1/2 Tbsp. *

Meanwhile, gently stir together the powdered sugar, sugar, and cinnamon in a bowl.
Set aside.

Once the chips are all melted (and the butter drained), pour over the cereal.
Fold with a rubber spatula to coat.
Then add half of the cinnamon sugar mixture.
Continue folding to coat.
Spread out on the cookie sheet and sprinkle with remaining cinnamon sugar mixture.
Toss to coat.

All to cool on the baking tray before packaging up (if there's any left....have I mentioned how addictive this it?!).

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Cream cheese sugar cookies -- two ways!

The holidays are rapidly approaching (or at least it seems that way), and with Channukkah and Christmas falling at the exact same time this year (remember Thanksgivukkah, when Channukkah fell on Thanksgiving?  Just to jog your memory...), I have double baking duty: Channukkah treats for my family, and Christmas treats for my doormen and favorite baristas.

So I started early this year.  I was thinking of making my butter cookies or even cut-out sugar cookies, but then I came across this recipe for cream cheese sugar cookies, and I thought that they just sounded perfect (and they were).  But here's the thing -- this recipe makes a TON of dough.  So much so that I ended up freezing half of it and still got an insane amount of cookies.  Like, I shouldn't have been surprised -- the recipe called for over 5 cups of flour!

Knowing my antsy and unable-to-delay-gratification self, and not wanting to wait at least 2 hours for the dough to chill. I went ahead and used the soft, fresh dough to make spritz cookies - i just added a few nonpareils on top before baking.  They held their shape and they were delicious.  I packaged them up (after a little sample for each of us) for B to bring to work, since I knew I'd be making more of the dough later in the form of cut-out cookies.  After (not so) patiently waiting for the dough to chill (and baking another kind of cookie....don't worry, they'll be up soon), I went ahead and made adorable little cut-out cookies in hearts and stars.  These cookies would really be awesome decorated with royal icing, but I was pressed for time, so I drizzled these with white chocolate and then sprinkled a few more nonpareils on top.  But remember that dough that I froze for later?  Yeah, those'll be decorated with royal icing.

Those other cookies, you must be wondering...what are those?
Well, my friends, those will be up shortly.... :-)

Cream Cheese Sugar Cookies
From Cookies & Cups


1 8oz brick of cream cheese, at room temperature
2 cups of butter, at room temperature
2 cups granulated sugar
2 egg yolks
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
5 1/4 cups flour

Nonpareils for decorating
White chocolate, for drizzling


If making spritz cookies, preheat oven to 350F.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter until creamy, about 2 minutes.
Scrape sides as necessary.

Add sugar and beat for an additional 3 minutes.
Mixture should be fluffy and pale in color.
Turn mixer to medium-low.
Add in egg yolks, vanilla, and salt.
Mix until combined.

Turn mixer to low.
Slowly add in flour.
Mix just until all flour is incorporated.

If making cut out cookies, wrap dough in disks in plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours.
Continue below at the *.

If making spritz cookies, transfer dough to a cookie press or a piping bag fitted with a decorative tip.
Pipe dough onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. 
Sprinkle with nonpareils or sprinkles. 
Bake at 350F for 10-12 minutes.
Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

* If making cut-out cookies, remove dough from fridge.
In portions, roll dough to 1/2 inch thickness on a floured surface.
Using cookie cutters, cut the dough.
Place cut cookies onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Bake at 350F for 10-12 minutes.  If making smaller cookies, like I did, start checking them at 7 minutes.  My mini cookies took 8 minutes to bake.
Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

If icing cookies, wait until completely cooled before icing cookies.
I'll post my royal icing recipe when I post the decorated cut out cookies later.  
Drizzle with white chocolate and sprinkle with nonpareils.  
NOTE: Cookies can be kept at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 1 week.