Wednesday, December 7, 2011

On the first day of Christmas, Kristen gave to thee...

Okay, so the first post of my 12 days of Christmas Cookies series is actually the first three days.
I know, I know, I should do 12 different posts, but I have a few cookies that are my Christmas staples that were already on my blog and I defiantly won't have the time or the funds for 14 cookies. So I apologize.
So I have a question for all those who are reading my blog, (thank you for doing so), which picture do you like better, the mint chocolate chip cookies or the other two, based on quality that is? Comment on the bottom of this post!
Now for the cookies:
Day 1: Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies

               These cookies are possibly my favorite cookie for this season. I've been looking forward to making them for a while so that is why I made them first. They're easy to make and oh so delicious. I always eat one fresh out of the oven and then eat one a day in a very specific way: microwave them 8-10 seconds and then dip them in hot chocolate. Uh-may-zing!
Day 2: White Chocolate Raspberry Cookies

               Everyone's favorite. I'm serious. If you want something that will impress everyone, make these. The more raspberry the better too. They're so soft and the combination of the raspberry and white chocolate are pretty addictive.
Day 3: Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookies

               I made these last year and I was on the fence about them, however, after giving out my cookies everyone was telling me how much they loved them! There's a hint of chocolate and after a few bites you taste the spicy flavor of the chipotle chile in them. It's a great change of flavor from the usual Christmas cookie. I like the extra details that these cookies have with rolling them in extra sugar, cinnamon, and chipotle. I promise that this will be a cookie that everyone will remember and will ask you about.
I got the recipe from the Busty Baker.

Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookies
makes 3 dozen cookies

2 1/4 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon, (divided)
1/2 teaspoon ground chipotle chile, (divided)
2 sticks unsalted butter, (softened)
1 3/4 cups sugar, (divided)
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Line two baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, cream of tartar, baking soda, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and 1/4 teaspoon ground chipotle chile, set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together butter and 1 1/2 cups sugar on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 to 4 minutes.
Add the eggs, one at a time, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed.
Add vanilla and beat to combine.
Reduce speed and add the flour mixture, beat to combine.
In a small bowl, combine 1/4 cup sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and 1/4 teaspoon ground chipotle.
Form tablespoons of dough into balls and roll in the mixture.
Place on prepared baking sheets, spacing 3 inches apart.
Bake about ten minutes, or until the cookies begin to crack.
Let cool on sheets for 5 minutes before transferring to the wire racks to cool completely.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Raspberry Cream Cheese Brownies

Happy December 1st! Christmas is just around the corner! I'm so happy I've finished my shopping, now I just have to pay off my credit card..
I've never realized how expensive wrapping paper is. It's kind of ridiculous. And shipping things is even worse.
I've done raspberries with cupcakes and with cookies so of corse the next this is brownies! My obsession with all things raspberry is out of control but it is so delicious. I wonder what I can make with raspberries next? Any ideas?
I really wanted to bring something delicious to my cousins house for Thanksgiving, I wanted something that went with the theme of Thanksgiving but there is a small problem: I hate cranberries & pumpkins, and I just made spiced cookies for halloween. I called my mother and she gave me the very smart advice to just make something that is good. So I dug up this recipe.
As soon as I saw Dessert Candy's Raspberry Swirl Brownies I bookmarked it immediately and added the note "make with dark chocolate cocoa". I'm not a big chocolate bar person, but dark chocolate  raspberry bars are my weakness. Notice that I said "Dessert Candy's Raspberry Swirl Brownies" and the picture of my brownies are not swirled. Well, I did swirl them, but I got a little excited with the raspberry jelly, thinking, "You can never have enough Raspberry!", and the raspberry mixture was a little watery and there for became a raspberry layer instead of a raspberry swirl, but I'm not complaining! I was right! You really can't have too much raspberry! The only problem is the raspberry swirl is pink, mine came out eggplant colored because I had to cook the brownies almost 20 min longer to cook the brownies underneath the raspberry layer, they were still rich and gooey and oh so delicious. I would also like to brag that this was my first time using just an egg white and I totally did it like a pro.
I will be making these again. But eating more than one next time!
Raspberry Cream Cheese Brownies

for the brownies:
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, (cubed)
1 1/4 cups sugar
3/4 cup dark cocoa powder, (natural and/or dutch-process)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
1/2 cup flour

for the swirl
4 oz cream cheese, (softened)
2 tablespoons sugar
1 egg white
1/4 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 cup raspberry jam

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
Grease an 8" square baking pan or line with parchment paper.
For the cream cheese batter: Beat all the ingredients, without the jam, together until light and creamy.
Set aside.
For the brownies: Place butter in a saucepan and heat until the butter is just melted on medium heat.
Add the cocoa and sugar and stir until everything is smooth and warm to the touch.
Remove from heat and set aside until the mixture is only warm.
Stir in the vanilla with a wooden spoon.
Add the eggs one at a time, stirring vigorously after each one.
When the batter looks thick and shiny add the four, stirring until it is blended in.
Beat vigorously for 40 strokes with your wooden spoon.
Spread evenly in the pan.
Dollop about 1/3 of the cream cheese mixture over the batter in blobs.
Stir in the raspberry jam in the remaining cream cheese mixture.
Dollop the raspberry mixture over the batter in blobs.
Use a toothpick to make swirls in the batter with the blobs.
Bake 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick emerges slightly moist with batter.
Let cool completely on a cooking rack.