Chocolate Peppermint Cookies

31853324196_cd7ec88b7a_o

Downtown Seattle looking festive

Another Christmas has come and gone. I survived another year of relatives, parents, parents’ friends probing me about when I will reach certain life milestones like my peers. Yikes.

The Holidays can be wonderful…and stressful. Thank goodness for these Chocolate Peppermint Cookies I adapted from Two Peas & Their Pod blog to make things better. I carried a huge box in my backpack on my Seattle to Bay Area flight and went straight to a Christmas Eve party from the airport and they were a big hit!

31050221664_d50bd92aa8_o

What you’ll need (This recipe makes about 3 dozen cookies!):

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup Dutch processed cocoa
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup crushed peppermint candies

Prep work (TIP: do this hours before baking!):

  • leave butter out at room temp
  • leave eggs out at room temp

I took left over candy canes from my office holiday party (I knew no one would miss them, so I put them to good use!)

31854093206_ecb336c23e_k

The funnest part of the recipe

  1. Crush the candies!
  2. Pre-heat the oven to 350°F and line your cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Take the flour, baking soda, sea salt, cocoa – blend well, until it’s a light brown color.
  4. With a stand mixer, pour in your sugars and then add in butter – cream together.
  5. Add one egg, mix, add the second egg, mix until just blended.
  6. Add in peppermint and vanilla extracts.
  7. Little by little, pour in the dry flour mix. Starting and stopping the mixer to scrap the sides if needed. I did this about 6 times before it was all in. Do not over mix.
  8. Lastly mix in the chocolate chips.
  9. If the cookie dough feel a little too sticky or thin to easily hand roll into balls, then stick the dough in the fridge for 1 hour, should help firm it up.
  10. Scoop out about 1 tablespoon of dough and roll into little balls.
  11. “Dip” them into the crushed peppermint candy and place them on your sheet with about 2 inch spacing.
  12. Bake for 10-11 minutes, until centers are still soft, but candy has not melted.
  13. Remove from oven and let cool for about 3-5 minutes.
  14. Transfer to cool completely on a wire rack.
  15. Taste test and enjoy!

31743066532_d005b0a13f_o

31743068072_272409fd56_o

31517771220_4e0e31562c_o

31517768720_bc45f2555b_o

Hope you all enjoyed a wonderful holiday, whether you were with friends, family, or just hiking alone in the mountains – be thankful for the gift of the present and not just the presents under the tree!

Advertisements

Cranberries & White Chocolate Cookie Bars (“Ruby & Pearls Bars”)

Hello! It’s Christmas Eve (how did that happen?!) and I’m whipping up some last minute edible gifts for family and friends…because quite honestly I’m a broke grad student with no time to shop or money to do so.

I just realized exactly a year ago I made Cranberry White Chocolate Walnut Cookies, I guess the tradition continues! The tart cranberry + sweet white chocolate pairing is perfection and this time it comes in bar form. 23952780785_caa95401fa_zI followed the White Chocolate Cranberry Cookie Bars recipe from WonkyWonderful. Like a cross between a brownie and a cookie, these are soft and chewy, bursting with flavorful sweetness!23870283231_ed5b04cbbc_zI could have just made last year’s recipe again, but I really wanted to try something different and I’ve never made cookie bars before! I love the idea of not having to roll dough or scoop cookie balls over and over again. What can I say- I’m a lazy baker!  23926582236_c9540e3ed8_zI’m finally on holiday break after a super-stressful Autumn quarter, so I was really looking forward to taking the time to just enjoy baking and being in the kitchen with some Pandora music. Also, since these were going to be gifts, I wanted to make sure I did not rush it and took my time to do everything carefully. I even remembered to leave the butter out to soften hours before!

Preheat your oven to 350°F.

What you need for the bars:

  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar (I used light brown sugar)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries (I roughly chopped them)
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips

What you need for the glaze (optional):

  • 1/4 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1/2 teaspoon coconut oil

In one large bowl, mix sugar, butter, brown sugar, egg and vanilla until smooth and well blended.

In another smaller bowl mix: flour, baking powder, and salt together. Slowly add the dry mixture into the wet mixture, and it should start getting pretty thick with a cookie dough texture. 23325904713_013bcfa6d4_z

Add in the cranberries and white chocolate chips. 23324433624_9c16a39499_z

Spread the dough into a greased 8X8 inch square pan with a spatula. Yes, I know you see a circle cake pan…I threw away my old 8×8 pan because it was rusting and I didn’t buy a new one yet. Clearly, I’m not the most prepared baker, but at least I’m a creative problem solver! Bake for about 25-30 minutes. Mine came out perfectly with slightly crispy edges at 27 minutes. After letting it cool completely – since it’s really cold in Seattle right now, took about 1 hour. I flipped it over on wax paper and decided to pre-cut the bars BEFORE the glaze. 23324482834_552d632090_kMy boyfriend taste tested the bars and said they tasted great and didn’t see the need for the glaze. I think the glaze completes the look and doesn’t necessarily add anything in terms of taste. 23326016623_3a084e8af3_z23324562884_0ba6d7fb81_zI microwaved and stirred the chocolate with 10 second intervals until it was completely melted and smooth.

I spread out the bar pieces so the glaze would drizzle down the sides of the bars too.

23870286771_5dea68a4e8_zWith a spoon, steady hands, and no hesitation I started “drawing” diagonal lines back and forth over the bars and wax paper. 23326014463_1a73d14e6c_zAnd voila! You have lovely glazed cookie bars! 23952784295_39077ac1b0_zThey will disappear faster than Santa up the chimney I promise. 23324551214_5dfb181339_zPack these in a pastry box or throw a few in clear gift bags, tie it off with festive ribbon and there you have a cute, homemade gift. 23952779045_3509047991_zAfter this posting this blog entry, I may have to go and make a second batch…might have done a little bit too much “taste- testing”! 23326001243_b6826eab4a_z

Hope you all have warm, safe, happy holidays…

sharing good eats with good people! 

 

Pumpkin Toffee Cake Cookies

Hey all, sorry I’ve been MIA for most of summer but I just came back from a month in New Zealand(!) and been getting back into school mode. Missed out on most of the hot, hot summer in Seattle and went right into the chilly, dreary Autumn weather of the PNW. Time to heat up the oven and brighten up the season with some pumpkin and spice! 21455966323_e5d5d1bfa7_o

You know this season is all about pumpkin, besides it tasting delicious, pumpkin puree is a healthy addition to baked goods. I did not want to do the typical pumpkin and chocolate chip combination, so I found this Pumpkin Toffee Cookie recipe from I Wash…You Dry blog. I’m always down to try some new combos!  22064636952_5361041a1e_o

This recipe makes about 3 dozen cookies and you will need:

  • ½ cup butter – softened
  • 1½ cups dark brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1½ cups pumpkin puree
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ cup caramel sauce (I had some leftover TJ’s pumpkin caramel sauce in the fridge so I used that instead!)
  • 2½ cups flour
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp ground allspice
  • ¼ tsp ground clove
  • 1 cup Heath Toffee Bits

First pre-heat your oven to 350°F and grease your cookie sheets (unless you want to use parchment paper, which makes clean up super easy). Start off by creaming the room temperature butter with the dark brown sugar and vanilla until it’s a thick creamy texture.

Next add in the pumpkin puree, eggs, and the caramel sauce- mix until well incorporated (It will look a little watery with the eggs added in).

22077109705_2df39b2dec_o 21890198019_bda39b93c9_o

In a separate mixing bowl: combine all the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, and nutmeg) except for the crushed Heath Bar bits. Next slowly add the dry ingredient mix to the wet mixture 1/2 cup by 1/2 cup until it’s pretty thick. If you have a handheld mixer, better make sure it has enough power to turn this batter.

21890197249_e56629ae71_o 21888901730_dd7e488ccd_o

Lastly add and fold in the 1 cup of toffee candy! Yum!

22064629132_be19063dbb_o

I am so glad I finally bought a cookie batter scooper from the cooking store – it’s a game changer! I can finally make uniform cookies with minimal mess! The batter with the pumpkin puree is pretty “fluffy” and light, for sure the cookies will be much more “cakey” than usual cookies. 
21455966963_5a83483168_o 21455969443_04511a003a_o

The one challenge I did have was figuring out the perfect baking time for these little guys. Luckily there was a lot of batter and each cookie sheet I filled, I tested different times. The original recipe said to bake the cookie for 8-10 minutes. With my oven I definitely needed to bake it for longer. I tried out 10, 11, 13, and 15 minutes. Even at 15 minutes I ended up with very cakey, soft cookies and they were barely turning brown. So depending on how you like your cookies, you should try different times.

22087100661_7d7153644b_o

They came out great looking though! Once out of the oven I cooled them on wire racks. Taste test: the cookies were soft, great pumpkin pie flavor but not too sweet and and once cooled the toffee pieces gave a great, fun crunch! These cookies would be great with a glass of milk, coffee or some chai tea. 21889200068_45ed4ff52f_o

Cranberry White Chocolate Walnut Cookies

I am back in the Bay Area for the holidays and excited to bake in my parents’ huge, nice kitchen. I’m a broke graduate student again so I decided to bake some treats for everyone as gifts! I adapted Food Network’s White Chocolate Cranberry Cookies Recipe with it’s festive colors and awesome combination of flavors to make these big chunky cookies. 2014-12-22 23.22.40

Ingredients (with adjustments I made):

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 cup dried cranberries, chopped
  • 3/4 cup white chocolate chips — 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup macadamia nuts, chopped — 3/4 cup walnuts pieces, chopped

Most of my family and friends don’t like “overly-sweet” foods and white chocolate are especially sweet compared to regular chocolate, so I lessened the amount. The store did not have macadamia nuts (*sad face*) but walnuts were a worthy replacement. 

2014-12-22 21.36.35Leave it to my Chinese mother to hand me a giant cleaver, when I asked for something to chop the cranberries with…

2014-12-22 21.51.32Start off by creaming the butter, white sugar, and brown sugar together until it’s nice and fluffy. Next beat in the egg and then 1 tablespoon of vanilla. 

In a separate bowl sift together flour and baking soda – then add in the flour mixture spoon by spoon to the butter/sugar mixture.

2014-12-22 21.56.11With a spatula or wooden spoon, stir in the white chocolate, cranberries, and nuts. It should be a pretty thick dough so be sure to mix the ingredients evenly.

To make large gift-worthy cookies, drop heaping spoonfuls (about 1 1/2 – 2 tablespoons) of dough onto a cookie sheet with parchment paper. I was able to make about 20 cookies. Bake in the oven at 350°F for about 12-16 minutes.
2014-12-22 22.06.51When they have a nice golden edge, take them out of the oven and let them cool for a few minutes- they will still be very soft! Use a flat spatula and gently transfer them to a cooling rack.

I couldn’t help but taste test one while they were still warm! Mmm! The cranberries give it a sweet-tart flavor, the white chocolate is sweet and smooth and the walnuts give it a nutty crunch!
2014-12-22 22.40.45

2014-12-22 23.22.32

These cookies will disappear quickly, so make extra for your friends, Santa, co-workers (or yourself!)2014-12-23 00.25.10

 Wishing you all happy holidays! – Sweet Therapy

Jam Thumbprint Cookies

Soon I will have to change my blog introduction to “Welcome to my (tiny) slightly larger kitchen! I am a social worker graduate student who works, lives, and plays studies in the amazing city of San Francisco Seattle!…”

Yes it’s true I’ve been busy preparing for a big out-of-state move and one of my biggest challenges will be to use up all the food and ingredients I have in the kitchen! I decided to make Jam Thumbprint cookies to bring to work.

IMG_0315

But I will confess- I had ulterior motives:  I needed to get rid of the jars of fruit jams/preserves in my fridge! 

2014-08-11 18.08.44

I don’t usually care for “regular” jams like Smuckers strawberry, but I have collected some pretty unique flavors: Lingonberry (with IKEA’s meatballs-SO good.)preserves, Trader Joe’s Fig Butter, Hawaiian Sun Pineapple Jam (gift from HI), and locally-made Blue Chair Strawberry-Blood Orange Jam with Rosemary (so good with fancy cheese).

2014-08-11 18.09.49

The cookie base is your standard butter cookie recipe:

  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), softened
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped from pod or 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup jam of your choice

I excluded the sugar for rolling, because I definitely did not want any more sugar added to it and other versions of this recipe did not call for it.

In a small mixing bowl, whisk the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, and salt together.

With a hand mixer or stand mixer (I’d recommend the stand mixer if you have one unless you have really buff arms and powerful handmixer) whip the softened butter and sugar until it’s fluffy, for about 5 mins. Beat in the egg and vanilla until it’s just combined.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats.

Slowly beat in the dry ingredients in 2 additions, mixing just until incorporated.

I found the dough WAY too sticky and soft to roll, so I placed it in the fridge for about 1 hour.

Scoop the dough into 1-inch balls with a cookie scooper and place them about 2-inches apart on the baking sheets.

IMG_0317

Here’s the fun part:

Press a thumbprint into the center of each ball, about 1/2-inch deep. I used the back of a clean measuring spoon for cleaner and more uniform indentations.

Fill each indentation with about 3/4 teaspoon jam. Be sure not to over fill with jam, it will melt while baking and spill over the cookies and it won’t look neat and pretty.

Bake cookies until the edges are golden, about 15 minutes. (For even color, rotate the pans from top to bottom about halfway through baking.) Cool cookies on the baking sheets.

2014-08-11 22.37.34-1

IMG_0319

IMG_0320

I made pineapple jam thumbprints, fig butter thumbprints, and strawberry-blood orange jam thumbprints! The butter cookie was rich, soft and not too sweet to balance out the flavors of the jam. Great with a cup of tea!

Choco-mint Cookies

It’s been awhile since I made some good ol’ cookies…first time and only time I ever made this was years ago in college and it turned out great, I just don’t know why I never made it again! These cookies are fun to make, easy, and delicious! Anyone a fan of mint and chocolate (like my boyfriend) will love these.

2014-01-19 20.35.27

For Chocolate Mint Cookies I you will need:

  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 1 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 cup of semisweet chocolate chips
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • mint wafers –> for some reason I couldn’t find Andes Mints at Safeway so I got Dove milk chocolate mint candies (awesome substitute though less of the minty flavor I think)

Let’s get to it! Start by melting the butter, sugar and water on low heat.

2014-01-19 20.41.58

Add chocolate chips and stir slowly until it’s partially melted. Turn off the heat and keep stirring until the mixture is all melted and smooth. Pour into a heat proof bowl and cool for 10 mins. 2014-01-19 21.04.45

In my trusty stand mixer I beat the in eggs (one at a time) into the chocolate mixture at high speed. Reduce speed to low and start adding in flour, baking soda and salt, beating until blended. Cover with saran wrap and chill dough for about 1 hour.

2014-01-19 21.27.14 2014-01-19 22.35.30

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Preheat the oven for 350 degrees F.

Start rolling the dough into balls (I used my 1 tablespoon measuring spoon to make perfect equal balls) and placing them 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. I used my Silpmat, if you guys don’t have one- get one it will change your baking life. Bake the cookies for about 8-10 mins.
2014-01-19 23.18.02

2014-01-19 22.57.19

I had to resist popping these into my mouth as I unwrapped them! I chopped them in half and it’s definitely enough to cover one cookie.

2014-01-19 22.59.05

The minute the cookies are out of the oven, while they are still piping hot, plop a chocolate mint candy on each cookie and just let it sit for about 3-5 mins. Use the back of a spoon and spread it evenly over the cookie like frosting. 2014-01-19 22.59.54

Allow the cookies cool and the “frosting” to harden. You will know when the chocolate frosting is not shiny anymore. 2014-01-19 23.08.03
Okay last step, taste test one or a few to make sure they are good.
2014-01-19 23.19.19

2014-01-20 08.01.24

This is a huge recipe, I made almost 3 dozen, so I took some to a girls’ night party and brought vanilla ice cream to make some ice cream sandwiches. Yums! 2014-01-24 21.12.21

Best Chocolate Chip Cookies with a Holiday Twist!

So despite some holiday season sniffles, I got the energy to make some good ol’ fashion chocolate chip cookies. Of course there are countless of recipes online and I’m sure everyone thinks theirs is the best. However I wanted to give this Best Chocolate Chip Cookies a try and use a bag of Tollhouse dark chocolate and mint chips that I bought to make holiday goodies.

DSCN2944Butter, sugar, and more sugar!

DSCN2945Key is to add every thing one at a time and make sure it is mixed thoroughly.

DSCN2946

DSCN2948At this point it was time to put down the electric hand mixer (some day a Kitchen Aid stand mixer….some day….) and work those arm muscles and beat in the flour and chips with old fashion hand mixing.

DSCN2951

DSCN2952This is the point where I wish I would just invest in a good cookie dough scooper, I think it would be a life changer. I’m also a horrible cookie dough spacer, I guarantee there’s going to be some “twins” cookies when I take these out of the oven. Even though the recipe said to keep them in the oven for only 10 minutes, my first batch came out a little under-baked. I’d say 12 minutes to 13 was perfect for my oven.

DSCN2955I tried to make these extra small to make a big batch to share at work, these turned out great! The mint and dark chocolate are one of the best “holiday flavors” ever!

I can’t believe this was my first cookie recipe for my blog! The recipe was straightforward and easy, it makes a great basic cookie recipe and you can substitute the chocolate chips for all sorts of things like M&Ms, nuts, and dried fruits! Mix and match to your tastes.

Happy Holidays! 🙂 Merry eating~