Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Week 13 of 52: Crunchy Coffee Cookies

This week, I had to come up with a dessert a bit early because I had an event that I needed to bring dessert. It had been a while since I made cookies, but since I have my "famous brownies" I wanted something that would rival them and yet be different enough to add to the list of "famous" recipes. So I turned to my favorite baker, Rosie. She has a recipe for a very chocolately cookie and a vairiation that adds white chocolate. So, I blended the two, and they are choc full of yummie chrunchies and enriched with espresso. Strangelyenogh, I had everything in my pantry! I suggest you keep a stock of baking chocolates (all varieties), espresso coffee, and lots of nuts. To do it again...I will add some coconut too!

This recipe makes the batter very thick and dense. I used a cookie scooper and it worked out great. I ended up getting 32 cookies out of the mix.


Crunchy Coffee Cookies


3.2 oz unsweetened baking chocolate, chopped
5 oz semisweet baking chocolate, chopped
6 T butter, unsalted

1/3 c flour
1 t baking powder
1/4 t sea salt

2 large eggs
2 t pure vanilla extract
1 T ground espresso coffee
3/4 c sugar

1/2 c semisweet chocolate chips
1/4 c white chocolate chips
1/3 c chopped pecans
1/3 c chopped walnuts


Preheat oven to 325F and prep baking sheets with a light spray of cooking oil for the first round of cookies.

In a small bowl, sift together flour, soda, and salt. Set aside.

Put baking chocolates and butter in a microwave safe bowl and heat for 20 seconds. Stir. Heat for 20 seconds. Stir. Heat for 20 seconds. Stir until all the chocolate chunks have melted and the mix is smooth and creamy. Set aside to cool slightly.

In the stand mixer, beat eggs, vanilla, and coffee on medium. Add sugar and incorporate until thick. Add the melted chocolate and blend for 1 minute. Add flour mixture on low just until incorporated. Remove bowl from the mixer and fold in the crunchies.

Using a cookie scoop, scoop dough onto prepped baking sheets. I got 8 on a standard sized sheet.

Bake for 15 minutes, the edges will be crisp and the cookies will have risen slightly.

Remove from baking sheets and cool on racks. Store in an air tight container.

Adapted from Soho Globs recipe from The Rosie's Bakery All-Butter, Cream-Filles, Sugar-Packed Baking Book by Judy Rosenberg, page 136.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Week 12 of 52: Banana Walnut Chocolate Bread Pudding

Last week I bought bananas. They were on sale for a great price (29 cents per pound) and of course I bought too many. So this weekend I had to use them, but I didn't want to make a plain old banana bread. So I went in search of banana dessert. Let me just say that there are far too many banana bread recipes and far too many recipes for bananas foster! Fortunately, I ran across a bread pudding recipe.

There are a number of things I remember from childhood. I can count them on my fingers! Everything else, I tend to be a bit uncertain. So let me say, I remember eating bread budding as a child, but, I can't remember where or when. One thing I do remember is liking it a lot.

So this weekend, I have adapted a recipe from Emeril Lagasse.* I added chocolate chips, because everything is better with chocolate. I omitted the liqueur because we don't cook with it in our house. And I decided to not add a sauce, because I thought it was rich enough.


Banana Walnut Chocolate Bread Pudding


4 T melted butter

2 demi loaves of french bread, cut into 1-inch pieces (toast if fresh) - I sliced bread thick about 12 slices each loaf, then cut each slice into 6 pieces each

2 c heavy whipping cream (1 pint)
2 c milk (2%)
4 large eggs
1 c light brown sugar (packed)
1/2 c granulated sugar
2 t vanilla extract
1 1/2 t ground cinnamon
1/8 t ground nutmeg
Pinch salt, sea

5 small/medium mashed ripe bananas
3/4 cup chopped walnuts
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips


  1. Put bread cubes in a large bowl. Pour melted butter over them and stir to coat.
  2. In another bowl, whisk together the milks, eggs, sugars, and spices. Pour over bread cubes and stir. Let sit for 30-45 minutes until bread is soggy and most liquid is absorbed.
  3. Preheat oven to 350F.
  4. Mix bananas, nuts, and chips. Fold into soggy bread mixture.
  5. Pour into prepared pan.**
  6. Bake for 30-45 minutes, until top is crisp and center is firm.

Serve warm.

*Read more at:

**I used two lightly greased loaf pans. But you also can use one lightly greased 9x12" baking dish.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Week 11 of 52: Chocolate Peanut Butter Patties

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

To honor this great holiday, and my love for McDonald's Shamrock Shakes, I decided to mix things up with my favorite brownie recipe. For this one, it had to be a white brownie, and for the mint...I added a cheesecake topping.

I did a bit of research on this one, as changing from a cocoa-based brownie to a white chocolate brownie means you have to reduce the butter and sugar. And the ratio for cocoa to chips is 1T cocoa = 1oz chips.

All this said...the dessert FLOPPED! I was so incredibly dissapointed, and I will have to go back to this recipe and figure it out, but for now I have decided to make a chocolate-dipped peanut butter patty.

This recipe came to me when I made the Peppermint Patty Brownies. I thought, these are great mints on their own, but what if I made them with peanut butter. And topped them with chocolate...well, because evertything is better with chocolate. So here goes!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Patties

Patty Ingredients
     14 ounces sweetened condensed milk
     1 teaspoon vanilla extract
     6 cups powdered sugar
     1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

Filling Ingredients
     1 cup creamy peanut butter
     1/2 cup powdered sugar
      generous pinch of sea salt

Chocolate Coating Ingredients
               8 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
               1 cube chocolate almond bark, chopped
               3 T margerine

Patty Directions – do this part first, then put discs in the freezer while you mix up the chocolate coating:
     Combine the sweetened condensed milk, peanut butter, and vanilla extract.
     Slowly add the powdered sugar and beat.
     Knead on a surface sprinkled with more sugar until dough is stiff.
     (The stiffer the better when it come to the topping part!) Add more sugar while kneading if the dough is sticky.
     Roll 1/2 inch thick.
     Cut into approximately 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 inch circles and make a small indentation in the center of each disc.
Note – The dough is very stiff if you add all 6 cups of powdered sugar.  It rolls out with a rolling pin very nicely.  I used one of the small condiment containers from Tupperware to cut my circles.

    Filling Directions
       1. Mix ingredients in a stand mixer. Place a small dollop in the indent of each disc.

    Chocolate Coating Directions
         1.  Slowly melt chips, bark, and margarine in the microwave, 10 seconds at a time.
         2.  Lay out patties on a cookie sheet.
         3.  Spoon chocolate over cold patties

Friday, March 15, 2013

Week 10 of 52: Cheesecake bars with mission figs and white chocolate

Okay, so I have to admit...Sunday went by too fast and though I made dessert, I just could not find the time to get this posted! But tonight is the night.

So last weekend was the celebration of National White Chocolate Cheesecake Day. And though My mama found my individual springform pans, I really wasn't in the mood for a whole cheesecake. So I went on the hunt for something that would inspire me and I went back to Rosie's cookbook. She did not let me down. Her recipe used golden raisins, but 1) I didn't have any, and 2) I did have some dried mission figs which I absolutely love, and I had to find a way to incorporate white chocolate.

I must say that the crust/topping kinda threw me for a loop on this one. It did not come together as much as I expected it too, but afterwards it was fantastic, so it works. But when you make it, you might think that it is too dry,but it isn't.

These went fast at the office on Monday, so plan to make these on more than one occasion. They are fantastic!

Week 10: Cheesecake Bars with Mission Figs and White Chocolate

Crust and Topping
1 1/2 c all-purpose flour
6 T confectioner's sugar
12 T butter, unsalted, room temperature, cut into about 50-60 pieces
2 T light brown sugar, lightly packed
3 chunks of vanilla bark, coarsely chopped

8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature (I used full fat)
3 T sour cream (I used full fat)
2 T fresh lemon juice (a small to medium sized lemon)
1 1/2 t lemon zest (I used the zest from the whole lemon)
1/4 c sugar
1 egg, large, room temperature
1 t pure vanilla extract
1/4 c dried mission figs, coarsely chopped


Preheat oven to 350F. Grease an 8x8" pan.

Make the crust...
1. Combine flour and confectioner's sugar in a food processor and pulse a few times to combine.
2. Add butter and pulse until the mix crumbles together.
FOR THE TOPPING...Remove 1 cup of the mix to a separate bowl and toss in brown sugar to mix. Set aside for topping.
3. Pour out remaining contents of food processor into prepare pad and press down to form crust.
4. Bake for 20 minutes until golden brown.
5. Let cool partially and then top with the white chocolate.

Make the filling...
1. Put all filling ingredients, except the figs into the food processor and pulse until very creamy.
2. Remove bowl and fold in figs.
3. Pour filling over white chocolate topped crust.
4. Bake for 45-50 minutes until top is golden and filling is set.
5. Let cool completely.

Remove from pan and cut into bars. Can keep in the fridge on Day 1 uncovered, and then for two more days covered.

Adapted from The Rosie's Bakery All-Butter, Cream-Filled, Sugar-Packed Baking Book by Judy Rosenberg

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Week 9: Peanut Butter Pound Cake

Welcome to March...National Peanut Month!

Strangely enough, it is also:

  • National Caffeine Awareness Month (if you are unaware of caffeine, especially in coffee, you should really investigate it),
  • National Celery Month (I can only imagine how celery growers celebrate?),
  • National Flour Month (good thing it gets a holiday!),
  • National Frozen Food Month (hence the freezer with coupons on sale at the grocery store),
  • National Noodle Month (this leads to lots of celebrating one can do),
  • National Sauce Month (surely celebrated in Louisiana), and last but not least,
  • National Nutrition Month (I have always believed that desserts are the most important piece of the food pyramid!).

In addition, March 1 is National Peanut Butter Lover's Day and tomorrow, March 4 is National Poundcake Day.

As you know, I attempted a creme-filled poundcake cupcake in Week 2. Despite my efforts to create a fluffier poundcake, the cupcakes were very dense and could not be filled properly. However, I do love a good poundcake.

Come to find out, my Grandma Harris, whom I referenced in Week 7 while creating the double-layer coffee cake, she also made poundcakes routinely. From scratch. Unlike what I learned this weekend...she actually made her streusel-style cakes from a box! No wonder I couldn't find her recipe! I learned this because my mother joined me for the baking today. She helped with the drizzle and determining the flavor it should be...good call, Mama!

For the recipe, I decided to go to Rosie's Bakery baking book. She had a recipe for cream cheese pound cake (pg 84). But since this was the month of the peanut, I modified it to include peanut butter instead, and thus cut the sugar a bit. And, thanks to Mama, added a lemon drizzle. According to Papa, it was dense and rich and he ate a large piece. I hope you enjoy!

Peanut Butter Pound Cake

3 sticks butter, unsalted, room temperature
2 1/2 c sugar
1 c peanut butter, creamy (I used reduced fat; I suggest if you use regular that you cut down a 1/4 stick of butter)
1 T pure vanilla extract
6 large eggs, at room temperature
3 c flour

3 c confectioner's sugar
2 t lemon extract
2 T light vanilla soy milk
Mix up drizzle in your stand mixer. Add additional soy milk as needed to make a drizzle that is not too thick and not too thin. This is all up to your taste!

Preheat oven to 325F. Lightly grease a tube pan (I use spray oil).

Cream butter, peanut butter, sugar, and vanilla in your stand mixer on medium-high until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time on medium until blended. Mix a bit more after all eggs are in. Mix in flour on low by the spoonful until incorporated. Batter will be thick.

Spoon into prepared pan. Bake until golden and firm to the touch and a toothpick comes put clean, about 1 hour 23 minutes.

Let the cake cool in the pan. Remove onto a cake plate. Add drizzle, cut, and serve!

Adapted from The Rosie's Bakery All-Butter, Cream-Filled, Sugar-Packed Baking Book by Judy Rosenberg

Friday, March 1, 2013

Week 8.5: Special Guest Baker...Heidi's Carmelitas!

I work in an academic department handling the human resources. Each month, the HR liaisons in our college get together to learn of new initiatives, policies, and the like. The meeting is run by a woman who is amazing. She barely looks old enough to have kids in high school, let alone to have GRAND-children! At every monthly meeting, she bakes and brings in heavenly desserts. They vary from cookies, to cakes, to caramel corn, to the dessert that brings us to Week 8.5: Carmelitas. If you have not had one, you are missing out. They are the perfect blend of chewy cookie, crumbly topping, and ooey-gooey caramel.

Thank you Heidi for sharing your recipe on my dessert blog!


2 c. flour
2 c. oatmeal
1 ½ c. brown sugar
1 t. soda
½ t. salt
1 ¼ c. butter, softened

Mix until crumbly. Flatten 3 c. of mixture in bottom of greased 9x13. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes.

3 T. flour
12 oz. caramel topping

Blend til smooth. Pour over hot crust. Sprinkle with 1 c. chocolate chips and 1 ½ c. chopped walnuts. Top with remaining crumbled topping. Bake at 350 for 18-22 minutes.