Chinese Almond Cookies

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I have long loved and lusted after these Chinese Almond Cookies.  I actually do not know the exact name of them, this is my best guess.  I originally found them with my mother at a Jewish bakery.  Most recently though I discovered them at an Italian bakery in Coral Springs and that is where I was lucky enough to find a recipe.

These are about 90% as good as the originals which is pretty good!  And the recipe makes quite a lot of cookies, but you can freeze extras if you need to.  They have a soft texture, not very chewy and the chocolate adds an extra layer of flavor.  The original calls for rolling them in chopped walnuts, I didn’t have any so I used sprinkles.  Both would be fabulous options!

Chinese Almond Cookies

Recipe from Doris’s Italian Market in Coral Springs, Florida

Ingredients

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup almond past
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 12 ounces vegetable shortening
  • 4 large eggs
  • 5 cups floud
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 6 ounces melted semisweet chocolate, divided
  • 2 cups walnuts, chopped (or sprinkles which I used!)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Combine sugar and almond paste, works best using a hand mixer or electric mixer
  3. Add salt, baking soda, shortening, eggs, flour, vanilla and almond extract and mix on low speed until a smooth dough is formed
  4. Add 2 ounces of melted chocolate and mix in partially to create a marbled look.
  5. Separate the dough in half and form two logs about 2.5 inches in diameter.
  6. Roll each log in chopped walnuts or sprinkles.
  7. Cut each log into 12 discs.
  8. Place discs on baking sheet and bake for 12-14 minutes or until just barely golden brown.
  9. Cool completely and enjoy!

 

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Chocolate Chip Pecan Walnut Cookies

Smitten Kitchen Chocolate Chip Cookies 1Smitten Kitchen is one of my favorite blogs.  And chocolate chip cookies is one of my favorite desserts!  I have a bunch of different recipes saved in my bookmarks to try out and this recipe really hit the spot.  The pecans and walnuts were a nice addition for me.  If you are looking for a great cookie recipe, try this one out!

Smitten Kitchen Chocolate Chip Cookies 4Chocolate Chip Pecan Walnut Cookies

recipe from Smitten Kitchen

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold, cut into 1/2-inch (1cm) pieces
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
  • 1/2 cup pecans, toasted and chopped

Directions

1. Adjust the oven rack to the top third of the oven and preheat to 300F. Line three baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. Beat the sugars and butters together until smooth. Mix in the egg, vanilla, and baking soda.

3. Stir together the flour and salt, then mix them into the batter. Mix in the chocolate chips and nuts.

4. Scoop the cookie dough into 2-tablespoon balls and place 8 balls, spaced 4 inches apart, on the baking sheet.

5. Bake for 18 minutes, or until pale golden brown.

6. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack

Chocolate Mint Crinkles: Food Blogger Cookie Swap 2014

Mint Chocolate Crinkles 3

It is finally that time of year again, time for the annual food blogger cookie swap!  This is my third year participating.  It’s always a little challenging to think of a durable cookie recipe.   I am a huge fan of mint chocolate, so when I saw this recipe come up I got excited!  I find that mixing in melted chocolate to the base of the cookie makes for really wonderful, rich flavors in the cookie dough.

In other news, I was called in last night to delivery a baby.  It was my first time delivering a patient that I have known since her first prenatal visit.  It was such a rewarding and amazing experience!

A huge thanks to Krista at Destination Delish for her Chocolate Dipped Orange Spitz Cookies with Candied Orange Peel Sprinkles, Tanaya’s Table  for her Bourbon Pecan Pie Cookies and Elana from Stir and Strain for her Rum Balls.

Chocolate Mint Crinkles

recipe from Bakers Royale

Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp spooned and leveled bleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsps baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped (I used Trader Joe’s chocolate chunks)
  • 2 3/4 cups sugar, divided
  • 1/4 cup of canola oil
  • 3 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted and warm, not hot
  • 2 Tbsp light corn syrup
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ tsp of peppermint extract
  • 1 cup powdered sugar

Directions

  1. In a medium bowl, beat together well the flour, baking powder, and salt and set aside. Melt the chocolate in the microwave on 50 percent power for 1 minute, stir, and microwave for 15 seconds more and stir; set aside.  You can continue to microwave in 15 second intervals until all the chips are melted if needed.
  2. In a bowl using a hand mixer, beat together 2 1/2 cups of the sugar, the oil, butter and corn syrup to blend. Beat in the eggs, egg yolk, vanilla and peppermint extract. Then on low, beat in the melted chocolate. Add the flour mixture and beat in on low speed. Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.
  3. Heat oven to 325 degrees F. Line baking sheet with parchment. Take out about one-quarter of the dough at a time to shape. Roll the dough into 1 inch balls. Pour the remaining 1/4 cup granulated sugar into one bowl and the confectioners’ sugar in another bowl. Roll each cookie dough ball lightly in granulated sugar first, then very heavily in confectioners’ sugar.
  4. Arrange cookies 2 inches apart on the foil. For crisp cookies, bake 11 to 12 minutes. For a chewier cookie, bake 8 to 10 minutes. Bake one sheet at a time. Allow cookies to cool for 1-2 minutes, the press flat with a spatula.

Pumpkin Cheesecake with Gingerbread Crust

Pumpkin Cheesecake with Gingerbread Crust 4

If you are looking for an epic cheesecake recipe you have come to the correct place.  I made this for Thanksgiving last year and it was an absolute hit. This is a very light and fluffy cheesecake.  It has great pumpkin pie flavors that mesh well with the gingerbread crust.  The fresh whipped cream and candied pumpkin seeds are nice for an extra special touch but this would be delicious without them.

The key to making a cheesecake that does not crack on the top is to let it cool to room temperature in the warm oven. This allows the cheesecake to gradually pull away from the edges and the top to stay together.

Pumpkin Cheesecake Recipe

adapted very slightly from Brown Eyed Baker

Crust Ingredients
2 cups gingersnap cookie crumbs (about a 14-oz package of cookies, I used the Trader Joe’s Triple Ginger Snaps)
2 Tbps light brown sugar
Pinch of salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Cheesecake Ingredients
32 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
¾ cup granulated sugar
½ cup light brown sugar
2 cups (about a 15-oz can) canned pumpkin
4 eggs, at room temperature
2½ Tbps heavy cream
1 Tbps vanilla extract
1½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
¼ tsp ground cloves
¼ tsp ground allspice

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Double-wrap the bottom and outside of a 9-inch springform pan with heavy duty foil. Mix together the crust ingredients and press into the bottom of the springform pan. Bake for 6 to 8 minutes, or until lightly browned. Remove from oven and cool completely. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees F.

Pumpkin Cheesecake with Gingerbread Crust 12. Bring a pot of water to a boil for a water bath.

3. Beat together the cream cheese and the sugars on medium speed until smooth and creamy, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed, about 3 minutes. Add the pumpkin and mix on low until completely incorporated. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well until fully incorporated and scraping down the sides of the bowl between each addition. Add the heavy cream and vanilla and beat until well combined. Add the cinnamon, ginger, salt, nutmeg, cloves and allspice and mix on low to incorporate.

4. Pour the batter into the prepared crust. Tap the pan on the counter to release any air bubbles. Place the pan into a larger pan and pour the boiling water into the larger pan until it is about halfway up the springform pan.

5. Bake for 55 to 65 minutes, or until the edges are set, but the middle still jiggles a little. Keeping the oven door closed, turn off the oven and let the cheesecake rest in the oven for 1-3 hours. After 1 hour (wait at least one hour to prevent the top from cracking), remove the cheesecake from the oven, carefully remove it from the water bath, remove the foil and place the cheesecake on a wire rack to cool completely, about an additional 2 hours. Once completely cool, refrigerate for at least 6 hours (preferably overnight).

6. Cover any leftover cheesecake with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Wrapped, the cheesecake can be frozen for up to 2 months.

Sugared Pumpkin Seeds

Recipe from Sprinkle Bakes

Ingredients
1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds
1 egg white
pinch of salt
2 Tbsp granulated sugar
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
 
1. Line a cookie sheet with a piece of parchment paper
 
2.  Whisk egg white until frothy.  Place pumpkin seeds in another bowl, and pour in just enough egg white to coat the seeds (do not add the whole egg if you don’t need it).  You will most likely not use the entire egg white.  Add salt, sugar and cinnamon.  Toss well to coat.
 
3. Spread seeds on baking pan.  Bake for 15-20 minutes until they begin to dry and color.  Cool completely on a wire rack.  
 
4. Break the sugared seeds into large pieces and keep them separate from the cheesecake until just before serving.
5. Immediately prior to serving, pipe on fresh whipped cream to the edges of the cheesecake.  Then add pieces of sugared pumpkin seeds to decorate. This is a cheesecake that will impress everyone who sees and eats it!
 

Cinnamon Chocolate Chip Cookies

Cinnamon Brown Butter Cookies 3

I love chocolate chip cookies fresh from the oven.  In fact, I love them warm so much that I usually gently microwave all my cookies prior to eating them to recreate the melty chocolate goodness 🙂  I love trying out new recipes and these cookies had great texture and I loved the rich flavor added by the browned butter and cinnamon.  I also added some sprinkles for fun!

Cinnamon Chocolate Chip Cookies

recipe from une gamine dans la cuisine

Ingredients

  • 16 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup tightly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 Tbsp strong, brewed coffee cooled to room temperature
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 12 oz bag of semisweet chocolate chips

Directions

1 Place the butter into a medium-size saucepan. Melt the butter over medium heat.  Continue to stir the butter to prevent the bottom from burning.  The butter will become frothy and will begin to turn a golden brown.  Remove the saucepan from the heat and allow the butter to cool to room temperature.

2. In a separate, large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon and set aside.

3. Beat together the browned butter and both sugars on medium-high speed using a hand mixer until creamy and smooth (about 7 minutes).

4. Add the egg, egg yolk, vanilla, and coffee and beat on medium speed to combine.

5, On low speed beat in the dry ingredients until they’re incorporated into the wet.

6. Fold in the chocolate chips.

7. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate the dough for at least 12 hours.

8. Remove the dough from the fridge and allow it to come to room temperature.

9. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

10. Measure out about 1/4-cup of dough per cookie, and place them on the prepared cookie sheets, leaving about 2-inches of space between each mound of dough.

11. Bake for 12-16 minutes, or until the edges of the cookies are just starting to turn golden brown.  Remove the sheet from the oven and allow the cookies to rest for a few minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack.

* the center may appear under-baked but it will firm up as it cools

Darjeeling Tea Chocolate Chip Cookies

Darjleeing Tea Cookies 5

Oh chocolate chip cookies!  This is my favorite dessert, especially hot from the oven.  I rarely ever eat a room temperature cookie.  I have been working on perfecting my microwaving times to recreate fresh from the oven melty goodness.

Darjleeing Tea Cookies 3I found this recipe from one of my favorite bloggers une gamine dans la cuisine.  I had never tried to make a tea flavored cookie and felt up to the challenge.  I do not think I was effective in extracting as much butter as needed from the tea/butter mixture so I had to add butter in until I got the right texture for the cookie dough.  But the result was worth it, these cookies were soft with great texture.

Darjleeing Tea Cookies 2Above is the tea/butter mixture.  It smells delicious!  I found the tea flavor to be quite subtle but the cookie over all was fantastic.  I think making them without the tea would also be great!  Due to the variable amount of butter I added, I would not recommend this unless you bake enough cookies to be comfortable deciding if your dough is the correct consistency.

Darjeeling Tea Chocolate Chip Cookies

adapted from une gamine dans la cuisine

Ingredients

  • 12-16 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup Darjeeling loose leaf tea
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup plus 3 Tbsp firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 12 oz semisweet chocolate chips

Directions

Place the 10 tablespoons butter and tea leaves in a saucepan over medium low heat.  After the butter is melted, increase the heat to medium and cook the butter until it turns light brown and develops a nutty aroma.  Browning butter usually takes 5-8 minutes, if you try to brown it too quickly it will burn.   After the butter has browned, remove it from the heat and stir in the vanilla.  Let the mixture cool for 10 minutes.

Use a sieve to strain the butter into a bowl.  Using the back of a large spoon to press down on the tea leaves to squeeze out as much butter as possible.  Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in the microwave and add it to the strained butter.  Let cool for 15-20 minutes.  Add the white and brown sugar and beat on medium high speed with a hand mixer until combined.  Add the egg and beat in.

Add the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Beat on low speed until just combined.  Stir in the chocolate chips.

**at this point my dough was too dry so I added in 1 tablespoon at a time of melted butter until I got a cookie dough that was the typical consistency.

Place cookie dough onto baking sheets.  The cookies above were 1/4 cup full of dough.  The original recipe called for refrigerating dough for 12 hours.  I  did not and the cookies were still great!  Preheat the oven to 350 F.   Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the edges have set.  The centers will look undercooked, but they will finish baking while on the cookie sheet out of the oven.  Leave the cookies on the baking sheet for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool.  This is the key to having soft cookies the next day!

Darjleeing Tea Cookies 4

Chocolate Chip Cookie Butter Bars

Cookie Butter Bars 9

Ahhh, cookie butter!  Such a great food invention.  You can get cookie butter from Trader Joe’s.  They now have a crunchy version too.  Cookie butter is great by the spoonful, but I figured it would be good to see how it worked as an ingredient in baking adventures.  These bars are soft, chewy and decadent.  The cookie butter flavor is mild, but as far as chocolate chip cookie bars go these are more soft and really melt in your mouth if you eat them hot from the oven or zap them in the microwave for a few seconds.  They taste good with some vanilla ice cream on top too!

Cookie Butter Bars 1

Chocolate Chip Cookie Butter Bar Recipe

 

Mint World Peace Cookies

Mint World Peace Cookies 3

I’ve been seeing World Peace cookies on the food blogs for a while now.  When I came across this minty version I was intrigued and could not resist!  I have not made the original version, but after making the minty one I will definitely be trying the original soon!  These cookies have such a refined and delicate flavor.  They are melt in your mouth delicious and a perfect combination of mint and chocolate.

Mint World Peace Cookies 2I used Green and Black’s dark mint chocolate for the chunks, but you could also use Andes mints chopped up for the baking chips.  Alter ego also has an amazing dark mint chocolate bar that would be great in these!

Mint World Peace Cookies

adapted slightly from Une gamine dans la cuisine

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 11 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened to room temperature (or refrigerated chocolate melted in the microwave for 30 seconds)
  • 2/3 cup packed, brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure peppermint extract
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 3.5 ounce dark mint chocolate bar, cut into chunks

Directions:
In a large bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, and baking soda; Set aside.

With a hand mixer, beat the butter on medium-high speed until combined. Add the brown and white sugars, peppermint extract, and egg yolk and beat for about another minute.

Slowly mix in the dry ingredients on slow speed until combined (be careful not to overmix). Fold in the baking chips.

Place the dough onto a flat surface (I used a dry cutting board) and gather it into a ball. Divide the ball in half. One half at a time, shape the dough into two logs that are about 1 1/2-inches in diameter.  Wrap each log in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours (preferably overnight).

Mint World Peace Cookies 4

Preheat the oven to 325 F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Use a sharp knife and slice each log into rounds that are about 1/2-inch thick. Just pat them together if they crack while you cut them. Place the sliced rounds on the prepared cookie sheet, allowing for about 1-inch of space between each cookie.

Bake for about 10-12 minutes. The cookies won’t look done, but they will firm up as they cool off. Remove the sheet from the oven and allow them to cool for 5 minutes (or until they are cool enough to be removed with a spatula without breaking) .  Then place them onto a wire cooling rack. Eat warm or cooled to room temperature.  I always prefer eating cookies warm and fresh from the oven!  But these taste quite magical too at room temperature.

Mint World Peace Cookies 5

Peanut Butter Chip Brownies

Peanut butter chip brownies 5

Happy Belated Blogiversary to myself!  It was on June 27th but that was also my first day of residency training….so needless to say I am a bit behind with my food blogs.  I made these gems while visiting my Mom before moving out to Seattle.  These are so fudgey and perfect for ice cream sundaes!  Although I took it a step too far with the cookie dough in the ice cream, a basic vanilla would have done the trick too!

Peanut butter chip brownies 2

Find the recipe here at Sally’s Baking Addiction.  Enjoy!

Smitten Kitchen’s Brownies

Smitten Kitchen Brownies 1

I have a weak spot for ooey gooey warm brownies fresh from the oven.  So it is no surprise that I have over a dozen different brownie recipes bookmarked that I am eager to try!  I finally made Smitten Kitchen‘s favorite brownies and they were excellent!  I topped mine with sprinkles for a little extra crunch.  These are really easy to make and you will be so happy that you baked them!  I would recommend eating them with some ice cream on top!

Smitten Kitchen’s favorite brownies recipe

Smitten Kitchen Brownies 2