Tag Archives: Baked goods

S’mores Cookie Bars

S'mores Cookie Bars

S'mores Cookie Bars

We are in the throes of the lazy, hazy days of summer around these parts.  With all the sun, my basil and hot peppers are loving life, though we have been wilting a little under 90+ degree days.  However, this weekend is glorious.  Sunny and warm days with cool nights, it is perfect weather for sitting by the campfire under the stars and toasting marshmallows.

Beating the dough

Beating the dough

Unfortunately, with all the birthday parties and visitors this weekend, there is no time to go camping.  Luckily, we found this recipe for s’mores that you can make in your oven.  While it might be blasphemous, I dare say these s’more cookie bars are even better than the original.   Layers of chocolate bars and marshmallow sandwiched between two graham-cracker flavored dough sheets, all baked until melty and golden… well, it’s pretty darn close to campfire heaven.

The layers

The layers

So if you can’t get to the campground this weekend, don’t despair.  Eat these cookies while sitting in your backyard, looking at the stars, and you will feel like you are truly roughing it… and you don’t have to sleep on the ground. 

Fresh from the oven

Fresh from the oven

S’mores Cookie Bars

Adapted from Hershey’s

Ingredients:
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1-1/3 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs (about 6 squares)

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

4-5 (1.55 oz. each) HERSHEY’S Milk Chocolate Bars

1 cup marshmallow creme

To Make:

Heat your oven to 350°F and grease an 8-inch square baking pan.

Beat butter and sugar in large bowl until light and fluffy.  Add egg and vanilla and beat until well blended.  In a small bowl, stir together flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking powder and salt.  Add to butter mixture and beat until blended.  Divide the dough in half and press half of it into the prepared pan.

Next, arrange the chocolate bars in a single layer over dough, breaking as needed to fit.  Spread the marshmallow creme evenly over the top of the chocolate.   Break off pieces of the remaining dough and gently press them over the marshmallow creme to form a solid layer.  If you feel like being a perfectionist, you can roll out the dough and place it carefully over the top of the marshmallow.  Either way, it tastes delicious.

Bake the bars until lightly browned, about 30 to 35 minutes.  Cool completely in pan on wire rack.

To Serve:

Cut into 16 bars.  Enjoy outside with a glass of milk, campfire optional.

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Citrus-Almond Bars

Citrus-Almond Bars

 

In my opinion, one of the best things about winter is the availability of fresh, US-grown citrus.  We try to eat locally as much as possible but in the middle of winter, I really start to miss fresh fruit.  Come January, my definition of local expands to include Florida so we can load up on oranges, grapefruits, and lemons. 

Filling ingredients

 

 In addition to providing lots of nutrients, all this citrus brings a much needed dose of sunshine into otherwise dreary days.  We eat oranges plain, juice lemons to add to sauces, and use all kinds of citrus to make desserts.  These citrus-almond bars are one of our favorites.  This recipe offers a little twist on the traditional lemon bar by using chopped almonds in the crust and a mix of lemon and orange juice and zest in the filling.  There are more almonds studding the top of the filling with a little extra crunch.  Dust the whole thing with powdered sugar once it has cooled and your wintery day suddenly seems a little bit brighter. 

Baked bars, dotted with almonds

 

Citrus Bars 

Adapted from Better Homes & Gardens Smoke Cooking 

Ingredients:

Crust

1/3 cup butter 

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 cup all-purpose flour

3 tbls finely chopped almonds 

Filling

2 eggs 

3/4 cup granulated sugar 

2 tbls almond meal (you can substitute all-purpose flour) 

The zest of one medium orange 

2 tbls freshly squeezed orange juice 

The zest of one lemon 

1 tbls freshly squeezed lemon juice 

1/2 tsp baking powder 

3 tbls finely chopped almonds 

Powdered sugar for dusting (optional) 

To Make: 

 For crust, in a medium bowl beat the butter with an electric mixer on medium-high speed for 30 seconds.  Add the 1/4 cup granulated sugar.  Beat until thoroughly combined.  Beat in the 1 cup flour and 3 tbls nuts until the mixture is crumbly.  Press the mixture onto the bottom of an ungreased 8x8x2-inch baking pan.  Bake in a 350 degree oven about 10 minutes or until lightly browned. 

Meanwhile, for the filling, in a small bowl stir together the eggs, the 3/4 cup granulated sugar, the almond meal, the orange and lemon zest, the orange and lemon juices, and baking powder.  Beat on medium speed about 2 minutes or until combined.  Pour over hot baked layer and sprinkle with 2 tbls of chopped nuts. 

Bake (350 degrees) for about 20 minutes more or until the edges are lightly browned and the center is set.  Cool pan on a wire rack. 

To Serve: 

Sift powdered sugar over the top if desired.  Cut into bars.  Store, covered, in the refrigerator.  Makes about 20 small bars.

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Overnight Cinnamon Rolls

Overnight Cinnamon Rolls

Merry Christmas.  I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas day.  Things here at chez Wicked Whisk were lots of fun.  Thing 1 oohed and ahhed her way through three hours of presents while Thing 2 stared somewhat slack-jawed at all of the colors and lights. 

Dough ball

Then after the orgy of present opening was over, we feasted on strata and the most delicious cinnamon rolls ever created.  While I realize that many have had their fill of rich food by now, this recipe is one you should try to squeeze in before the New Year’s resolutions. 

Rolling the dough

Serving cinnamon rolls on Christmas morning has long been a tradition in my family, one that I am proud to keep alive now that I have a family of my own.  Historically, we always had Pillsbury cinnamon rolls but last year, I went on a search for something better.  I found this recipe for cinnamon rolls from Alton Brown.  I generally like Alton Brown so I gave them a whirl.  Once I had one, I was completely hooked.  These really are the best cinnamon rolls I have ever eaten… just the right ratio of roll to cinnamon-flavored brown sugar and topped with a sweet and creamy icing.

Cutting the rolls

The best part about these rolls is that most of the work has to be done the night before.  That makes them perfect for a morning when you want something delicious but don’t want to have to work too hard (*cough* New Year’s day).  The dough is made, rolled, spread, and shaped the night before.  The next morning, the rolls are proofed with a bit of boiling water in the oven, then baked.  The icing takes minutes to make and spread once the rolls are baked.  So while these rolls are excellent on Christmas morning, don’t wait that long.  Make and serve them on New Year’s day as one last hurrah before we all go back to our healthy eating habits.

Proofed and ready to bake

Overnight Cinnamon Rolls

Recipe from Alton Brown

Dough Ingredients:

4 large egg yolks, room temperature

1 large whole egg, room temperature

2 ounces sugar (approximately 1/4 cup)

3 ounces unsalted butter, melted (approximately 6 tbls)

6 ounces buttermilk, room temperature

20 ounces all-purpose flour (approximately 4 cups), plus extra for dusting

1 package instant dry yeast (approximately 2 1/4 tsp)

1 1/4 tsp kosher salt

vegetable oil or cooking spray

Filling Ingredients:

8 ounces light brown sugar (approximately 1 cup)

1 tbls ground cinnamon

pinch of kosher salt

3/4 ounce unsalted butter (approximately 1 1/2 tbls)

Icing Ingredients:

2 1/2 ounces cream cheese, softened (approximately 1/4 cup)

3 tbls milk

5 1/2 ounces powdered sugar (approximately 1 1/2 cups)

To Make:

For the dough: in the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, whisk the egg yolks, whole egg, sugar, butter, and buttermilk. Add approximately 2 cups of the flour along with the yeast and salt; whisk until moistened and combined. Remove the whisk attachment and replace with a dough hook. Add all but 3/4 cup of the remaining flour and knead on low speed for 5 minutes. Check the consistency of the dough, add more flour if necessary; the dough should feel soft and moist but not sticky. Knead on low speed 5 minutes more or until the dough clears the sides of the bowl. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface; knead by hand about 30 seconds. Lightly oil a large bowl. Transfer the dough to the bowl, lightly oil the top of the dough, cover and let double in volume, 2 to 2 1/2 hours.

Combine the brown sugar, cinnamon and salt in a medium bowl. Mix until well incorporated. Set aside until ready to use.

Butter a 9 by 13-inch glass baking dish. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Gently shape the dough into a rectangle with the long side nearest you. Roll into an 18 by 12-inch rectangle. Brush the dough with the 3/4-ounce of melted butter, leaving 1/2-inch border along the top edge. Sprinkle the filling mixture over the dough, leaving a 3/4-inch border along the top edge; gently press the filling into the dough. Beginning with the long edge nearest you, roll the dough into a tight cylinder. Firmly pinch the seam to seal and roll the cylinder seam side down. Very gently squeeze the cylinder to create even thickness. Using a serrated knife, slice the cylinder into 1 1/2-inch rolls; yielding 12 rolls. Arrange rolls cut side down in the baking dish; cover tightly with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator overnight or up to 16 hours.

Remove the rolls from the refrigerator and place in an oven that is turned off. Fill a shallow pan 2/3-full of boiling water and set on the rack below the rolls. Close the oven door and let the rolls rise until they look slightly puffy; approximately 30 minutes. Remove the rolls and the shallow pan of water from the oven.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

When the oven is ready, place the rolls on the middle rack and bake until golden brown, or until the internal temperature reaches 190 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, approximately 30 minutes.

While the rolls are cooling slightly, make the icing by whisking the cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer until creamy. Add the milk and whisk until combined. Sift in the powdered sugar, and whisk until smooth. Spread over the rolls and serve immediately.

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Gingerbread Whoopie Pies with Lemon Creme

Gingerbread Whoopie Pies with Lemon Creme

I went on a crazy baking spree early in December.  I churned out batches of cookies, candies, fudge, bars, and other delicious goodies.  I took things to parties, gave some away, and we ate some (okay, a lot).  When I woke up from my sugar-induced holiday stupor the other day, I realized,with some amount of panic, that we were almost out of Christmas goodies… and with Christmas less than a week away.

Molasses goodness

Clearly that would not do.  I refuse to have my first Christmas with Thing 1 old enough to know what is going on be without delicious treats.  I knew I had to do something and before you can say advent calendar, I was back in the kitchen whipping up my third batch of these cookies.  The first two batches were whisked away to parties, despite the longing glances from Marc and Thing 1.  They were such a hit that it was only fair for me to make a batch for us to enjoy.

Making the cookies

And enjoy we have.  I think the gingerbread is just right… not too sweet, not too spicy, crispy on the edges and soft in the middle.  The lemon creme is a perfect complement.  Make them small for bite-sized treats, a little bigger if you want a heartier cookie.  It is helpful if you let them chill in the fridge a little before eating so the creme can firm up.  Of course, if you are anything like us, devouring them as soon as they are put together tastes pretty awesome too.

Little balls of gingerbread heaven

Gingerbread Whoopie Pies with Lemon Creme

The folks at McCormick have really outdone themselves with this recipe.  I adapted it slightly

Ingredients:

3 cups flour

2 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp freshly ground nutmeg

1/4 tsp ground cloves

1/4 tsp salt

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, divided

3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1/2 cup molasses (I like robust or blackstrap)

1 egg

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 jar (7 oz) marshmallow cream

4 oz cream cheese, softened

1 tsp lemon extract

zest of 1 lemon

To Make:

Mix flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda, nutmeg, cloves, and salt in large bowl.  With a mixer set on medium speed, beat 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy.  Add molasses and egg and beat well.  Gradually beat the flour mixture until well mixed.  Press the dough into a flat disk, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 4 hours (or overnight).  The firmer it is, the easier it is to handle so don’t skimp on this step.

After chilling, pull off pieces of dough and roll into balls, about 1 inch in diameter.  I used a melon baller to make my dough balls uniform in size (I also made them a little smaller than 1 inch).  Roll each ball in granulated sugar and place on an ungreased cookie sheet. 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and bake for 8-10 minutes or until the edges just begin to brown.  If you oven is anything like mine, turn the cookies half way to ensure even browning.  Remove to wire racks to let cool completely.

To make the cream, mix the remaining butter, cream cheese, marshmallow cream, extract, and lemon zest until well blended.  Spoon 1/2-1 tbls of cream on the flat side of a cookie and top it with another cookie, pressing gently to spread the filling.  Place on a tray and refrigerate 30-60 minutes to firm up the cream.

To Serve:

Makes 30-40 whoopie pies, depending on size.  McCormick suggests rolling the finished cookies in chopped peppermint candies.  While I think this looks pretty, peppermint, lemon, and gingerbread really don’t work for me.  If you think this sounds like a good combination, then go for it.

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Filed under Baked goods, Cookies, Dessert, Recipes