The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap:  Filled Sugar Cookies with Nutella, Maraschino Cherries and Honey Caramel

The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap: Filled Sugar Cookies with Nutella, Maraschino Cherries and Honey Caramel

Filled Sugar Cookies with Nutella, Maraschino Cherries and Honey Caramel


I have done lots of cookie swaps, but this was my first cyber exchange and it was great fun!  Each participant made 3 dozen cookies and sent 1 dozen each to 3 other participants.  Sponsored by Julie and Lindsay of thelittlekitchen.net and loveandoliveoil.comIn case you missed out or want more information, you can sign up to receive a notice about next year’s swap at http://eepurl.com/hsS-Y or search #fbcookieswap on Twitter.
I received my cookies from Kara at karaismochibunny.blogspot.com who made wonderful sugar cookies with roasted brown rice and tea leaves; Annakate at laaguacate.com who sent me some lovely lemon cookies; and some great chocolate cookies with peppermint marshmallow toppings from Vicki at wildeinthekitchen.blogspot.com.  We enjoyed them all (pretty much the same day they arrived) and thanks so much for sending them!

Green Tea and Lemon Cookies


Chocolate Cookies with Peppermint Marshmallow Tops


As usual, I was running behind and sent mine the last day – so sorry to the reciepients!  I had a great time making them and we did do a thorough job of taste testing before we mailed them.  Because of the mailing issue, it took me a while to decide but I ended up using my favorite sugar cookie recipe making them in a flower shaped cupcake pan filling them with nutella, maraschino cherries and honey caramel.
The basic recipe is one I use often:
Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 cup butter softened
3 tsp almond extract
1 egg
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cream of tartar
Procedure:
1. Mix powdered sugar, butter, almond extract and egg in large bowl.  Stir in remaining ingredients except chocolate.  Dough will be thick, but should not be dry.
2. Divide dough in half. Roll each half into a log about 3 inches in diameter and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
3. Heat oven to 375ºF.
4. Remove rolls from refrigerator and slice into 1/2 inch rounds.
5. Place on ungreased cookie sheets 2 inches apart.
6. Bake 10-15 minutes or until edges are light brown. Remove from cookie sheet. Cool on wire rack.
For these, after making the basic dough to half I added 3/4 cup pecans in case some don’t like or allergic to nuts.  Instead of rolling, refrigerating and slicing the dough, I rolled small balls about 1/2 inch in diameter, flattened them and placed into the cupcake pan making a hole with my thumb.

Filled Holiday Sugar Cookies


Next I put in the filling:  Nutella, cherries or a small ball of caramel (if you don’t want to make your own, the wrapped soft caramels cut in 1/4ths would work fine).  I experimented with making a one layer thumbprint type cookie with the caramel but it bubbled out of its holes a little so it’s probably best to do a second “cover” layer on those too.

Filled Holiday Sugar Cookies - Nutella


Next I covered the filling with a second layer of cookie rolled and flattened like before. Make sure to gently seal around the edges if you want the filling not to show although it looks kind of neat when you can see the layers too so it is up to you.  For the cherry ones, I placed one cherry with no stem inside then stuck another with the stem into the top of the second layer.

Filled Holiday Sugar Cookies - Nutella


Then baked and drizzled them with white and dark chocolate.

Chocolate Dipped Pecan and Cherry Cookies

Chocolate Dipped Pecan and Cherry Cookies

Chocolate Dipped Pecan and Cherry Cookies

These are wonderful holiday cookies and is one of five recipes chosen to be published in the Las Vegas Review Journal .  Starting with a basic sugar cookie dough I added two of my favorites, pecans and cherries and of course for the rest of the family they had to have chocolate.  I’ll be posting more variations soon!
Printable Version
Chocolate Dipped Pecan and Cherry Cookies
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 cup butter softened
3 tsp almond extract
1 egg
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cream of tartar
3/4 cup toasted chopped pecans
3/4 cup chopped dried cherries
1 cup melted chocolate
1 cup melted white chocolate
1. Mix powdered sugar, butter, almond extract and egg in large bowl.  Stir in remaining ingredients except chocolate.  Dough will be thick, but should not be dry.
2. Divide dough in half. Roll each half into a log about 3 inches in diameter and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
3. Heat oven to 375ºF.
4. Remove rolls from refrigerator and slice into 1/2 inch rounds.
5. Place on ungreased cookie sheets 2 inches apart.
6. Bake 10-15 minutes or until edges are light brown. Remove from cookie sheet. Cool on wire rack.
7. Microwave chocolate until melted starting with 30 seconds and checking at 15 second intervals.
8. Dip and/or drizzle cooled cookies in white, dark or mixed chocolates (if the chocolate is too thick, add a small amount of corn syrup or vegetable oil to thin).
Servings: 24
 

Chocolate Dipped Pecan and Cherry Cookies

 

The Daring Bakers' Challenge:  Povitica (really great nut swirl sweet bread)

The Daring Bakers' Challenge: Povitica (really great nut swirl sweet bread)

Povitica

This was another challenge I could totally appreciate – a great sweet bread with nuts, cinnamon and sugar swirled throughout!  As a special bonus, this one is pretty good for a workout – lots of kneading and rolling but totally worth it.    Thanks so much to Jenni of The Gingered Whisk where you can find her beautifully photographed and detailed instructions.  I followed them (below) and it came out perfectly.  It makes 4 good sized loaves so I only filled 2 and froze one of the completed loaves and the dough to make two fresh ones for Thanksgiving when we will have some houseguests.   I plan on filling one with apple/cinnamon/honey caramel and the other with strawberry jam.  There will be a nice variety but nothing too heavy so the appetites will be safe for the big meal.  I think I’ll make another batch for holiday gifts too!

Povitica

The Daring Baker’s October 2011 challenge was Povitica, hosted by Jenni of The Gingered Whisk. Povitica is a traditional Eastern European Dessert Bread that is as lovely to look at as it is to eat!

Povitica

Printable Recipe
Ingredients
To activate the Yeast:
2 Teaspoons (10 ml/9 gm) Sugar
1 Teaspoon (5 ml/3 gm) All-Purpose (Plain) Flour
½ Cup (120ml) Warm Water
2 Tablespoons (30ml/14 gm/½ oz/2 sachets) Dry Yeast
Dough:
2 Cups (480ml) Whole Milk
¾ Cup (180 ml/170gm/6 oz) Sugar
3 Teaspoons (15 ml/18 gm/2/3 oz) Table Salt
4 Large Eggs
½ Cup (120ml/115 gm/one stick/4 oz) Unsalted Butter, melted
8 cups (1.92 l/1.12 kg/39½ oz/2½ lb) All-Purpose Flour, measure first then sift, divided
Walnut Filling:
7 Cups (1.68 l/1.12 kg/2.5 lbs) Ground English Walnuts
1 Cup (240ml) Whole Milk
1 Cup (240ml/225 gm/2 sticks/8 oz) Unsalted Butter
2 Whole Eggs, Beaten
1 Teaspoon (5ml) Pure Vanilla Extract
2 Cups (480ml/450 gm/16 oz) Sugar
1 Teaspoon (5 ml/4 gm) Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
1 Teaspoon (5 ml/3 gm) Cinnamon
Topping:
2 Tablespoons (30 ml/28 gm/1 oz) Granulated Sugar
Melted Butter
Directions:

To Activate Yeast:
1. In a small bowl, stir 2 teaspoons sugar, 1 teaspoon flour, and the yeast into ½ cup warm water and cover with plastic wrap.
2. Allow to stand for 5 minutes
To Make the Dough:
3. In a medium saucepan, heat the milk up to just below boiling (about 180°F/82°C), stirring constantly so that a film does not form on the top of the milk. You want it hot enough to scald you, but not boiling. Allow to cool slightly, until it is about 110°F/43°C.
4. In a large bowl, mix the scalded milk, ¾ cup (180 gm/170 gm/6 oz) sugar, and the salt until combined.
5. Add the beaten eggs, yeast mixture, melted butter, and 2 cups (480 ml/280 gm/10 oz) of flour.
6. Blend thoroughly and slowly add remaining flour, mixing well until the dough starts to clean the bowl.
7. Turn dough out onto floured surface and knead, gradually adding flour a little at a time, until smooth and does not stick. Note: I did not use all 8 cups of flour
8. Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces (they will each weight about 1.25 pounds/565 grams)
9. Place dough in 4 lightly oiled bowls, cover loosely with a layer of plastic wrap and then a kitchen towel and let rise an hour and a half in a warm place, until doubled in size.
To Make the Filling
10. In a large bowl mix together the ground walnuts, sugar, cinnamon and cocoa.
11. Heat the milk and butter to boiling.
12. Pour the liquid over the nut/sugar mixture.
13. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix thoroughly.
14. Allow to stand at room temperature until ready to be spread on the dough.
15. If the mixture thickens, add a small amount of warm milk.
To Roll and Assemble the Dough:
16. Spread a clean sheet or cloth over your entire table so that it is covered.
17. Sprinkle with a couple of tablespoons to a handful of flour (use flour sparingly)
18. Place the dough on the sheet and roll the dough out with a rolling pin, starting in the middle and working your way out, until it measures roughly 10-12 inches (25½ cm by 30½ cm) in diameter.
19. Spoon 1 to 1.5 teaspoons (5ml to 7 ½ ml/4 gm to 7 gm) of melted butter on top.
20. Using the tops of your hands, stretch dough out from the center until the dough is thin and uniformly opaque. You can also use your rolling pin, if you prefer.
21. As you work, continually pick up the dough from the table, not only to help in stretching it out, but also to make sure that it isn’t sticking.
22. When you think it the dough is thin enough, try to get it a little thinner. It should be so thin that you can see the color and perhaps the pattern of the sheet underneath.
23. Spoon filling (see below for recipe) evenly over dough until covered.
24. Lift the edge of the cloth and gently roll the dough like a jelly roll.
25. Once the dough is rolled up into a rope, gently lift it up and place it into a greased loaf pan in the shape of a “U”, with the ends meeting in the middle. You want to coil the dough around itself, as this will give the dough its characteristic look when sliced.
26. Repeat with remaining three loaves, coiling each rope of dough in its own loaf pan.
27. Brush the top of each loaf with a mixture of ½ cup (120 ml) of cold STRONG coffee and 2 tablespoons (30ml/28 gm/1 oz) of sugar. If you prefer, you can also use egg whites in place of this.
28. Cover pans lightly will plastic wrap and allow to rest for approximately 15 minutes.
29. Preheat oven to moderate 350°F/180°C/gas mark 4.
30. Remove plastic wrap from dough and place into the preheated oven and bake for approximately 15 minutes.
31. Turn down the oven temperature to slow 300°F/150°C/gas mark 2 and bake for an additional 45 minutes, or until done.
32. Remove bread from oven and brush with melted butter.
33. Check the bread at 30 minutes to ensure that the bread is not getting too brown. You may cover the loaves with a sheet of aluminum foil if you need to.
34. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack for 20-30 minutes, still in the bread pan. Remember, the bread weighs about 2.5 and it needs to be able to hold its own weight, which is difficult when still warm and fresh out of the oven. Allowing it to cool in the pan helps the loaf to hold its shape.
35. It is recommended that the best way to cut Povitica loaves into slices is by turning the loaf upside down and slicing with a serrated knife.

Bavarian Apple Cheese Cake Tart

Bavarian Apple Cheese Cake Tart

Bavarian Apple Cheese Cake Tart


I recently made this for a graduation dinner party for a friend who went back to college and completed her degree.   I found the recipe at Food.Com and modified it slightly.  You can get their recipe Bavarian Apple Cheese Cake Tart or here is my version.  The crust is very light, the filling sweet but thin almost like a pastry cream so the apples are the star.
Printable Version Bavarian Apple Cheese Cake Tart

  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 8 ounces cream cheese softened
  • 3 eggs
  • 4 cups apples, peeled,and sliced fairly thin (I used granny smith as I like them a little tart and make sure you immediately place them in a bowl filled with cold water and about 1/4 cup of lemon juice to keep them from browning)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup caramel sauce (I used honey caramel)

Instructions:

  1. Mix butter, flour, 1/2 cup of the white sugar and 3/4 teaspoon vanilla.  Press into greased 10″ springform pan covering the bottom. (The dough was softer than I expected but it came out perfectly when baked.)
  2. Mix cream cheese, 1/2 cup white sugar, eggs and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla and beat until fluffy.
  3. Pour into the springform pan on top of the dough.
  4. Combine the apples, brown sugar and cinnamon and arrange in a nice design over the cream cheese.
  5. Bake at 350 for 45-55 minutes, or until tester comes out clean.  Drizzle with caramel sauce just before serving.
Daring Bakers' Challenge: Nutella, chocolate, honey caramel, almond and blueberry croissant

Daring Bakers' Challenge: Nutella, chocolate, honey caramel, almond and blueberry croissant

Nutella, Chocolate and Blueberry Croissant


This is a challenge I could really appreciate!  Freshly baked croissants, using Julia Child’s recipe.  What could be better?  Although I love them I’ve never attempted these before and I have to admit it takes a while, mostly just waiting for them to rise though so the actual work wasn’t bad.  Of course, I had to make them sweeter so I filled some with Nutella, chocolate, almonds and blueberries and topped some of the others with honey caramel (recipe here) and almonds.

Blueberry and Nutella Croissant


The Daring Bakers go retro this month! Thanks to one of our very talented non-blogging members, Sarah, the Daring Bakers were challenged to make Croissants using a recipe from the Queen of French Cooking, none other than Julia Child!
Sarah provided a beautiful set of instructions which I followed for the dough Croissant Instructions.  Added to that recipe, I filled some with Nutella, chocolate, honey caramel, almonds and blueberries.

Fillings for Croissant


Fill with Nutella and Almonds then roll


Croissant



Chocolate Panna Cotta Shooters

Chocolate Panna Cotta Shooters

Chocolate Panna Cotta Shooters


Here’s another creamy and of course chocolate, dessert.  I’ve always loved custards but since doing the Daring Baker’s Challenge and realizing how simple to make and wonderful it is,  I’ve kind of switched over to Panna Cotta lately.  The Panna Cotta is creamy and chocolaty combined with just a dash of syrups (lime, blueberry and maraschino cherry).  I found some plastic shooter glasses at the dollar store and couldn’t resist. They are perfect for parties, allow for a taste of several flavors and look so cute! For an adult version, top with a layer of liqueur, maybe amaretto, Kirsch or Gran Mariner.  You can also do any size glasses you have and even molds if you prefer.

Chocolate Cream Cheese Panna Cotta


Printable Recipe for Chocolate Panna Cotta Shooters
Ingredients:
1 packet powdered gelatin
1 ½ cup milk (two ¼ cup and one 1 cup measures)
1 ½ cup cream
½ cup honey
6 oz softened Philadelphia cream cheese
6 oz good quality chocolate
Procedure:
Sprinkle the gelatin over ¼ cup of cold milk in a small bowl and let stand for 5 minutes to bloom.
While the gelatin is blooming, combine the honey, 1/2 cup milk, cream and chocolate and microwave for about 1 minute, then at 15 second intervals just until the honey has dissolved and the chocolate has melted into a smooth mixture.  Do not boil –  it should be just warm enough to melt the chocolate.  (If you prefer, you can do this in a small saucepan over a low heat.)
Microwave the gelatin for 5-10 seconds, just enough to dissolve so it is clear and smooth.  No boiling here either!  (This also can be done in very small saucepan over low heat if you prefer.)
Whisk the dissolved gelatin to the chocolate mixture.
In a small bowl or measuring cup mix remaining ¼ cup of milk with the Philadelphia cream cheese and mix until very smooth.
Whisk in the Philadelphia cream cheese/milk mixture with the chocolate mixture.
Strain and pour into serving dishes or molds.  You can layer with various flavors of syrup, jam or jelly (such as strawberry, cherry, lime, blueberry, caramel) or pie filling such as cherry or lemon curd.   Cover well with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 4 hours. Once they are set they can be topped with a small layer of liquor (which would be too thin on the bottom), fruit or nuts and/or whipped cream.
Yields 8 full ½ cup desserts or 2-3 dozen mini-desserts depending on the size of the glasses.

Chocolate Panna Cotta Shooters