Sunday, December 30, 2012

Sweet Love Child

At the start of the new year, many of you will vow to cut out sweets from your life, go on diets and jump on the treadmill, desperately trying to drop a few holiday pounds. I get very lonely when that happens :-) Since I have a couple more days before 2013 gets here, I thought I'd share one last recipe in 2012 that's full of buttery, sugary goodness. Can I tempt any of you with Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Coffee Cake? There are oats and raisins in it, so don't feel so guilty. 

My very own photo/blog assistant!

I saw this recipe and had to make it, because I love me a good oatmeal raisin cookie. It's such a simple cookie, but it delivers every time- chewy raisins and oats, crunchy and buttery edges...oh, so good! There are oats in the cake batter, in the filling and the top cookie crumble. It's got raisins scattered throughout with spicy cinnamon and nutmeg perfuming the whole thing. It's practically health food. If coffee cake and cookies got together and had a love child, this would be it. And what a sweet love child it would be. While there is no coffee in this cake, a warm cuppa is the perfect accompaniment. 

Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Coffee Cake adapted from Baking Bites

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For The Cake:
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup quick cooking oats
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cups brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For The Cookie Crumble:
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 2/3 cup raisins
  • 1/3 cup quick cooking oats

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9-inch springform pan.

To make the cookie crumble: In a medium mixing bowl, combine flour, brown sugar and cinnamon. Using your fingertips, rub the butter into the flour mixture until well combined and the mixture is coarse and sandy. Stir in raisins and oats until mixed throughout. Set aside while you make the cake batter.

To make the cake: In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, oats, baking powder and salt; set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time.

Blend in half of the flour mixture until just combined. Add all of the buttermilk and the vanilla and stir until  well mixed, then blend in the remaining flour mixture and mix until just combined, but do not overbeat.

To Assemble: Pour half of the batter into prepared pan. Top with half of the cookie crumble. Pour remaining batter on top and spread carefully to the sides of the pan. Sprinkle the remaining crumble evenly over the batter.

Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow cake to cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes, before running a knife around the edge and carefully removing the springform ring. Allow to cool completely before serving. 

Store cake in an airtight container.

Thank you for the support and encouragement you all have shown me here at Lick The Bowl Good. I couldn't do this without each and every one of you. I hope to bring you many new and delicious creations in the upcoming year. Please be safe as you ring in 2013. Cheers!

~Monica H

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Last Minute Treats and Handmade Gifts

I am so cookied out! I keep thinking of other cookie recipes I want to make, but in reality, I really don't want to stand on my feet in the kitchen for hours on end, reaching into the hot oven. After baking 22 dozen cookies, I'm looking for an easy way out. And these cookie sandwiches are the golden ticket. 

I found these on my friend, Michelle's blog, One Ordinary Day and they could not be simpler. The hardest part was unwrapping all the shiny gold foil off the chocolate covered caramels, the rest was just easy peasy. You line up your crackers, top them with Rolos, bake for 3-5 minutes, then top with another Ritz and you're done. From start to finish, these took me about 10 minutes, so if you're in need of a quick sweet treat, these are for you. 

Rolo Stuffed Ritz Crackers adapted from One Ordinary Day

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  • Rolo Candies
  • Ritz Crackers

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 

Place Ritz crackers on a cookie sheet face side down, and top each one with a Rolo candy.

Bake for 3-5 minutes to soften (but not fully melt) the Rolos, Remove from the oven and immediately top  the Rolos with a second Ritz cracker. Cool completely before storing in an airtight container. 

NOTE: There are about 55 Rolos candies per bag. 

If you need a last minute gift for the grandparents, these salt dough ornaments are perfect. You only need three ingredients to make the dough, and acrylic paint and ribbon to embellish them. You can make them as fancy or as simple as you want, it's the handprint and the memory of spending time with your child that's important. 

Salt Dough Handprint Ornaments adapted from Once A Month Mom 

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup salt
  • 7 tbsp water
  • Round cookie cutter large enough to go around the handprint
  • 1 drinking straw
  • Craft paint
  • Ribbon
Preheat oven to 250°F. 

Mix together flour, salt, and water. Knead for 10 minutes til smooth and no longer sticky. Add a little flour at a time, if necessary.  

Roll out the dough to no more than 1/4-inch thick, then use the cookie cutter (or glass) to make rounds. Press a hand into dough. If you’re doing this with really little ones, you may have to go back and make deeper impressions of their hands with your fingers or a kitchen utensil–the deeper the impression, the better your ornaments will turn out. 

Use a straw to poke a hole in each ornament (this is where the ribbon will go later). Place on a baking sheet and bake for 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until ornaments have completely dried out. 

Remove the tray from the oven, once they're cool enough to handle, place ornaments on a cooling rack and allow to cool before painting. Paint or decorate as you want. When the decorations have dried, thread ribbon through the hole. Hang on your tree. 

Hot Cocoa Cupcakes

Hi Everyone, 

I mentioned last week that my Hot Cocoa Cupcakes were going to be featured on The link for Kid Friendly Holiday Cupcakes went live on Tuesday and out of the 14  festive cupcakes featured, mine were front and center. I am beyond thrilled! Thank you for stopping by and sharing in my joy. And thank you Brooke for asking me to be a part of this segment- I'm honored to be included with so many other talented bakers. 

~Monica h

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Festive Muffins for Eating and Sharing

I promised you all another eggnog recipe, and here it is! Only this one uses real eggnog and is enhanced with rum extract and nutmeg to heighten the eggnog flavor throughout the muffins. And nothing says its the holidays more than eggnog and cranberries nestled together in a spicy crumb topped  muffin. There's freshly ground nutmeg in the muffin, as well as cinnamon and more nutmeg in the topping. They're warm and spicy, then you get a tart little bite of the bright cranberry. They're moist and tender, then crumbly and crunchy. Delicious and perfect when eaten with an eggnog spiced hot coffee. 

I've made these a couple of times now, tweaking along the way until I was happy with them and now I'm sharing with you...and the neighbors. I made a fresh batch yesterday morning to take to the neighbors on either side of us. They usually bring over my favorite pecan butter balls and tins of still-warm-from-the-oven gingerbread. I love eating homemade baked goods, that I didn't have to labor over, don't you? So whether you choose to make these for yourself on Christmas morning or as gifts, keep in mind that this recipe only makes 9 muffins, which might be a good thing, if you can't seem to put down the cookies and need portion control (like me). 

Cranberry Eggnog Crumb Muffins from Monica h

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For the crumb topping:
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 Tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
For the muffins:
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 6 Tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/3 cup eggnog
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon rum extract
  • 1 1/8 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh cranberries

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.  Line 9 muffin cups with paper liners.  

To make the crumb topping: In a small mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg; stir to combine. Using a pastry blender or your fingers, cut the butter into the dry ingredients until a coarse, sandy mixture forms. Refrigerate the mixture, while you make the muffin batter. 

To make the muffins: In a large mixing bowl, combine sugar, melted butter, egg, eggnog, vanilla and rum extract. Stir until well combined.  

Add flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg to the wet ingredients and stir just until incorporated.  The batter may appear thick and dry, once you add the cranberries, it will loosen up a bit. Fold the chopped cranberries into the batter, but do not overmix. 
Divide the batter evenly between the prepared muffin liners, filling them about two thirds of the way full.

Sprinkle the crumb mixture evenly on top of the muffin batter.
Bake for about 18-20 minutes, or a until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes, before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.  

Makes 9 muffins. 

I have one more festive recipe for you, so I'll be back in a couple days. Happy Wednesday! 

Monday, December 17, 2012

The Great Cookie Thief

I spent the weekend stocking my freezer with Aunt Mary's Sugar Cookies and these Eggnog Snickerdoodles. In the process, I discovered my son is a great climber and a cookie thief!  Since I was working at the kitchen island, I set the wire rack on the breakfast table full of cooling cookies. Before I knew it, that monkey of mine had climbed up onto the chair and was on the table taking bites out of cookies. I think over the course of an hour, he had stolen half a dozen cookies, bit onto them and fed them to our dog, Autumn. What a stinker!

The Great Cookie Thief!

My friend Maranda, shared this recipe with me a few weeks ago for Eggnog Snickerdoodles. This is very much like regular snickerdoodles (a cinnamon-sugar coated sugar cookie) but it uses nutmeg instead of cinnamon, and rum instead of vanilla. Um, yes please! I used my small cookie scoop to portion out the dough and baked them for 10 minutes (per the directions) but I think they over baked slightly, because while all my cookies were nice and blond in color they all wound up crunchy and not at all chewy, like a typical snickerdoodle. Nonetheless, they were tasty, and my family prefers crisp cookies anyway. If you wan them chewy, bake for 8-9 minutes or use a larger cookie scoop and just adjust the baking time accordingly. 

I have another eggnog flavored recipe coming soon. Have a good week, everyone!

Eggnog Snickerdoodles
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 sup shortening
  • 2 cups sugar, divided
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon rum extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon white rum, optional
  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 1/4 teaspoons ground nutmeg, divided
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. 

In a shallow bowl, combine 1/2 cup sugar and 3 teaspoons of nutmeg. Stir to combine and set aside. 

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg and salt. Set aside. 

In a large bowl, cream the butter, shortening, and 1 1/2 cups sugar until light and fluffy, 

Beat in the eggs, the extract and the rum, if using. Gradually add the flour mixture and mix well. 
Roll dough into 1-inch balls. (I used a small cookie scoop to portion out the dough). Roll dough balls into sugar mixture, coating well. 
Place on ungreased cookie sheets, placing them 2-inches apart. 

Bake for 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove to wire racks to cool. 

Makes 5 dozen 2-inch cookies. 

He may be a cookie thief, but he also likes to share with his uncle Aaron.  He's such a sweet boy. 

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Hot Cocoa Cupcakes for!

I still haven't made any Christmas cookies, but I made these adorable cupcakes for As in People Magazine!!! Outside I'm calm and collected, inside I'm jumping up and down with glee! How exciting is that? I was asked to contribute a kid friendly holiday cupcake photo and I didn't have anything on my blog that was quite right, so I came up with these hot cocoa cupcakes that were not only cute but tasty and full of holiday flavors. 

I started off with my favorite chocolate cupcake recipe and substituted prepared hot cocoa in place of the water and added a handful of chocolate chips for extra richness and flavor. Then instead of frosting, I used an array of cocoa toppings that included fresh whipped cream, mini marshmallows, mini chocolate chips and crushed peppermints. Since these cupcakes are essentially mugs of hot cocoa, I finished them off with edible mini candy cane handles. I loved how these turned out! If you like chocolate and mint, these are sure to be a hit with your little elves. 

Hot Cocoa Cupcakes from Monica h

For The Cupcakes:
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1 cup prepared hot cocoa, cooled
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
For The Whipped Cream
  • 1 1/4 cups heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • mini marshmallows
  • mini chocolate chips
  • crushed peppermints
  • 18 mini candy canes

For The Cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line cupcake tins with 18 paper liners and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Using a wire whisk, blend the dry ingredients thoroughly.

Add the oil, prepared hot cocoa, vanilla and eggs to the dry ingredients. Whisk until well incorporated and no lumps remain. Stir in the chocolate chips. 

Evenly divide the batter between the lined cupcakes tins.

Bake the cupcakes for 18 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow to cool for 10 minutes; then place them on a rack to cool completely.

For The Whipped Cream: In a medium bowl, combine heavy cream, powdered sugar and vanilla extract. With an electric mixer on medium speed, beat until thick, creamy, and slightly stiff, being careful not to overbeat. 

To Assemble The Cupcakes: Pipe or mound the sweetened whipped cream onto the cooled cupcakes. Garnish with a sprinkling of mini marshmallows, mini chocolate chips and crushed peppermints. Add a mini candy cane tucked into the side of the cupcake, to make a handle for the "mug" of hot cocoa. 
Serve immediately. Cover and refrigerate any leftovers. 

Makes 18 cupcakes. 

Monday, December 3, 2012

Latte Cheesecake and Wacky Weather

Happy December! I always wondered what Christmastime in a tropical climate was like. Wondered if people decorated their palm trees with C-9 bulbs and tinsel garland while wearing flip flops and tank tops, stopping to take a break to beat the heat with an icy beverage. Then I realized that 2012 would be the year that I got to experience that, only I'm still in Texas! This weather is so strange. It was 80 degrees today and does not feel the least bit like winter. I had lunch with a friend today (hi L!) and went to pick up Hayden at my mom's house, only to find him wearing nothing but a diaper helping Grandma stick candy canes in the ground. It was a sweet image, but nekkid babies playing outside in December??? It's unreal!

Needless to say, I have yet to start  my holiday baking. There has not been a single cookie to grace my Silpat lined sheets but I will get there. In the meantime, I hope you'll enjoy this recipe for Brownie Latte Cheesecake.  I made it last month as part of the Cake Slice Bakers and it was delicious.  Cheesecake is holiday-ish, right? It probably won't be a part of any cookie trays this year but sometimes you need a nice centerpiece dessert and this is it. 

Instead of a typical cookie crumb crust, this cheesecake has a thick, dense, fudgy, chocolate rich base. In contrast, the filling is ultra creamy and light in texture. The flavors of chocolate, espresso, vanilla, and Kahlua compliment each other so well. This is definitely one for sharing and a little sliver goes a long way but that's what makes it ideal for holiday gatherings and celebrations, that and it can be made a couple days in advance. I'll get my act together, paint the windows with a can of fake snow and flip the switch on my fireplace to get me in the butter baking mood. If y'all have any great holiday cookie recipes for me, please share!

Brownie Latte Cheesecake adapted from The Cake Book

For The Brownie Layer: 
  • 4 oz. semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons
  • 1 Tablespoon instant espresso powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
For The Latte Filling: 
  • 1 1/2 pounds (24 oz.) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons espresso powder, dissolved in 1 Tablespoon hot water
  • 2 Tablespoons Kahlua
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup sour cream 
  • 1 Tablespoon cornstarch
  • 4 large eggs
To make The Brownie Layer: Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Lightly grease the bottom and sides of a 9x3-inch springform pan. Cut an 18-inch square of heavy duty aluminum foil and wrap around the outside of the pan. 

In the top of a double boiler, melt the chocolate with the butter over barely simmering water, stirring occasionally. Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl and stir in the espresso powder, vanilla extract and salt. Whisk in the sugar until combined. Whisk in the eggs one at a time, until blended. Stir in the flour until no traces remain. 

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth it into an even layer. Bake the brownie for 25-30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached to it. Place the pan on a wire rack and let cool while you make the filling. Leave the oven on. 

To Make The Latte Filling: In the bowl of an electric mixer, using the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese at medium-low speed until creamy and smooth, about 2 minutes. Gradually add the sugar and beat until blended. Add the vanilla extract, espresso mixture, Kahlua, salt, sour cream and cornstarch and mix until well blended. At low speed, add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. 

Scrape the batter onto the brownie layer and smooth the top. Place the springform pan in a roasting pan or a large baking pan. Pour enough hot water into the roasting pan to come about 1 inch up the sides of the springform pan. Bake the cake in the water bath for 70-80 minutes, until the center is set but slightly wobbly (the cheesecake will continue to set up as it cools). Turn the heat off and crack the door, allowing the cake to cool in the oven for about 30 minutes. Remove the cake from the water bath and place on a rack and cool to room temperature. 

Refrigerate the cheesecake for at least 4 hours or overnight before serving. 

Sleeping Beauty

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