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Desserts

Pair your morning, afternoon, and evening cups of coffee with a Mocha Biscotti, a chocolate cookie with a deep coffee flavor, for a little something special.

Mocha Biscotti

Today marks my last recipe for #ChristmasCookies Week. I’ve been busy bookmarking and pinning all sorts of wonderful Christmas cookies to make this month, and next year, and the year after that…. there has been so many amazing cookies this week! That again to Ellen at Family Around the Table for hosting this event. If you haven’t already, you can enter to win the giveaway for a prize pack from our sponsor, Nielsen-Massey Fine Vanillas & Flavors – a set of their pure flavors: 2-oz. each of Orange, Lemon, Peppermint, Almond, Chocolate, Coffee, Rose Water, and Orange Blossom Water. I’ve used a number of their products, and I can’t recommend them enough. Enter to win in the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post.

I’m not sure if it’s the dreary weather or what, but lately, my afternoon cup of tea or coffee has become essential to making it through the day. Adding a cookie to that afternoon pick-me-up definitely makes the afternoon meetings, emails, and planning sessions much easier to get through.

Mocha Biscotti

And since I posted kid-friendly recipes earlier this week, I knew I had to post a little something that would have more appeal to adults this holiday season. These biscotti have a wonderful chocolate-coffee flavor, with just a hit of toffee, which I chose to add instead of a more traditional nut. Softer than store-bought biscotti, these cookies are delightful on their own or dunked in a warm coffee or cocoa. These cookies were a happy addition to my breakfasts and afternoon snacks this week.

What cookie are you most excited about making this year? Is it a new recipe or an old, well-loved standby?

Mocha Biscotti

Yield: 18 large biscotti

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 c. sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/4 c. unsalted butter, melted
  • 4 tsp. instant coffee (I like Starbucks Via, 4 packets)
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 c flour
  • 1/2 c unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 c. toffee pieces, mini chocolate chips, slivered almonds, or other desired mix-ins (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat sugar, eggs, melted butter, instant coffee and vanilla extract on medium-low speed until well blended. Add in flour, cocoa powder, and baking powder, mixing on low speed until almost completely mixed. Scrape down sides of bowl, add desired mix-ins, and mix until completely incorporated.
  3. Turn out dough onto prepared baking sheet and form into a long, 2 inches thick and about 12 inches wide. Bake for 25 minutes.
  4. Remove from oven and allow to sit until cool enough to handle. Using a serrated knife, cut cookies into pieces about 3/4-inch thick, on the diagonal. Turn cookies cut-side down and bake for another 12-15 minutes. Then, remove from oven and flip over. Cook another 15 minutes, until cookies are toasted on both sides.
  5. Remove from oven and allow cookies to cool on a wire baking rack.
  6. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.
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Adapted from Kraft

Mocha Biscotti on Books n' Cooks

And finally, before you see the Rafflecopter to enter the giveaway, we have Friday’s #ChristmasCookies Week recipes. As always, you can search social media for #ChristmasCookies to see photos of these goodies. Happy Baking!

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Soft, melt-in-your-mouth Christmas Sprinkle Cookies have a sweet almond flavor that adults and kids alike will love.

Christmas Sprinkle Cookies

I have a confession to make. I’m a cookie snob.

I’m the person you don’t want to invite to your holiday cookie exchanges, because I will almost never like anyone else’s cookies as much as the cookies I bring. I want my holiday cookies soft and to stay soft even if it takes us a couple of days to eat the batch. I want them full of sweet yet subtle flavors, not cookies overpowered with lots of cinnamon and nutmeg.

So after a couple of disappointing cookie exchanges, I decided it was probably better for me to stay home and bake the cookies I enjoy, and then to push them on friends and coworkers so that I don’t become a blimp during the holiday season. Truthfully, I’m bummed that I didn’t enjoy the cookies I took home at those exchanges more than I did, because I truly enjoy trying new cookies. But I just didn’t fall in love with any, and my friends and coworkers haven’t complained yet. So I guess this arrangement will do.

Christmas Sprinkle Cookies

So today, for this day on #ChristmasCookies week, I bring you a recipe that I discovered within the past couple of years. This recipe isn’t a seasonal classic in my house (that would be our seven layer cookies and our cranberry oatmeal cookies), but everyone loves these cookies so much that we now make a batch every month or two – for holidays as well as everyday entertaining. These cookies are slightly crispy on the outside but generally have soft throughout, a melt-in-your-mouth sort of texture. And the flavor is wonderful.

These cookies are also one of my favorites to make with kids. Miss Hazelnut and Mr Nutterbutter absolutely love to make it since they get to pick out which sprinkles they use. They love making all cookies but there’s something special about them each getting their own bowl of sprinkles for them to roll the cookies in. And then, of course, to be licking spilled sprinkles off the counter.

So if you’re looking for a new cookie to make this holiday season, may I suggest these Christmas Sprinkle Cookies. Not into sprinkles? Check out the collection of cookie recipes at the bottom of this post for even more inspiration. And don’t forget to enter the giveaway!

Christmas Sprinkle Cookies

Yield: 3-4 dozen cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 c. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened slightly
  • 2 oz. cream cheese, softened slightly
  • 1 1/4 c. granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp. almond extract
  • 3 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1+ c. sprinkles

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. Place cream cheese, butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Lower speed to medium and beat in eggs, vanilla extract, and almond extract. Scrape down sides of the bowl and beat again, if necessary. Add flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt and beat on low until combined, again scraping down sides and bottom of bowl to ensure that everything is mixed thoroughly.
  3. Portion dough into equal sized balls, using a 1 1/2 tablespoon ice cream scoop. Roll between the palms of your hands to warm dough slightly (as well as to perfect the shape) before rolling in a shallow bowl filled with sprinkles. Sprinkles should completely coat the ball of dough all around.
  4. Place sprinkle-covered dough onto prepared baking sheet, each about 2 inches apart. Press down slightly with the flat bottom of a drinking glass or palm of your hand to flatten. Repeat with remaining dough. Bake for 9-10 minutes, until edges are set and starting to brown ever so slightly (center may look a bit underbaked). Remove from oven and allow to cook on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
  5. Store in an airtight container for 4-5 days.
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Rewritten but not really adapted from Smitten Kitchen, Originally from King Arthur Flour

 

Recipe Note: Smitten Kitchen advises that if the dough is too soft to roll, chill in the fridge for 15-20 minutes before using. I’ve never had this problem, but my butter and cream cheese are usually still fairly cold when making the dough.

Christmas Sprinkle Cookies on Books n' Cooks

Big thanks to Family Around the Table for hosting #ChristmasCookies Week! And don’t forget to check out more great recipe below, as well as enter to win a fabulous prize from the #ChristmasCookies Week sponsor, Nielsen-Massey Fine Vanillas & Flavors. Rafflecopter below.

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Graham Cracker Chocolate Chip Cookies are a fun twist on an American classic. Add an element of the unexpected to your holiday cookie swap or cookie platter by serving these soft, sweet cookies.

Welcome to #ChristmasCookies Week, hosted by Ellen at Family Around the Table! I’m excited to participate this year and have three great recipe I’ll be sharing with you this week.

But first, I have to tell you about our sponsor, Nielsen-Massey Fine Vanillas & Flavors and the great prize pack they’ve donated for this event. Nielsen-Massey Vanillas has been crafting the world’s finest vanillas and flavors since 1907. Each of Nielsen-Massey’s all-nature pure flavors are crafted with premium ingredients, sourced from around the world and chosen to meet the utmost quality standards. From lemon to peppermint to coffee or chocolate, Nielsen-Massey’s pure flavors offer convenience, quality and consistency to ensure your favorite recipes taste delicious every single time. All products are gluten-free, allergen-free, GMO-free, all-natural and Kosher.

Nielsen-Massey Fine Vanillas & Flavors is giving one winner a set of their pure flavors: 2-oz. each of Orange, Lemon, Peppermint, Almond, Chocolate, Coffee, Rose Water, and Orange Blossom Water, like those above. To enter, simply visit the participants on Facebook or like them on Twitter, and say you did so in the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post. Easy peasy.

Graham Cracker Chocolate Chip Cookies

Disclaimer: Thank you to #ChristmasCookies Week Sponsor Nielsen-Massey Fine Vanillas & Flavors, for providing the prize for #ChristmasCookies Week free of charge. Nielsen-Massey also provided me with product to use for #ChristmasCookies Week. All opinions are my own.

There’s something about winter that makes me think of s’mores. I know it probably doesn’t make much sense. After all, most people are probably huddled around a warm fire in summer and fall months, roasting marshmallows to the perfect degree of doneness (for me, just slightly browned with crispy edges and completely soft in the center). But for me, winter signals the demand for all things s’mores and hot chocolate.

I was drawn to these cookies because Nicole over at Prevention RD called them S’mores Cookies. While I didn’t think they tasted much like s’mores, we did love them – so much that we made them twice in one weekend. They’re super soft and while they look like fairly regular chocolate chip cookies, one bite in and you’ve got a great surprise. A deeper flavor, more vanilla than your typical chocolate chip cookie with that wonderful spiced graham cracker flavor.

Oh, and the cookie dough was friggin’ amazing. I’m glad I ignore the raw egg warnings because this dough was seriously out of this world. Sweet, with a really nice slightly crunchy texture from the graham cracker crumbs that you’ll notice if you eat a spoonful or three. I’d apologize for telling you that little secret, but I can’t. Because I’m not. You’re welcome, if you try it.

These cookies are on my short list of holiday baking, and I hope you’ll be adding them to yours. They’re quick to make and will receive rave reviews from your guests or the lucky recipients, if you manage to get them out of the house. Enjoy!

Graham Cracker Chocolate Chip Cookies

Yield: 18 Cookies

Ingredients

  • ½ c. unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 c. light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 2 tsp. Nielsen-Massey vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1½ c. graham cracker crumbs
  • ¾ c. all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 1 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips (I used mini chocolate chips)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream butter and sugar. With the mixer still running on medium, add vanilla and egg. Reduce speed to low and add graham cracker crumbs, flour, baking soda and salt. When thoroughly combined, add chocolate chips until just mixed in. Turn off mixer and scrape sides of bowl, if needed.
  3. Use a ice cream scoop to portion dough onto prepared baking sheets. Bake for 9-11 minutes, until cookies are golden brown and set at the edges. Remove from oven and allow to cool on a baking sheet for a few minutes before moving to a wire rack to cool completely.
  4. Store in an airtight container.
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This recipe was adapted from Get In My Belly via Prevention RD

Before you enter the giveaway, be sure to check out the other cookie recipes we’ve got for you today. Or, search #ChristmasCookies on social media for a visual cookie tour.

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A rich chocolate bread topped with a generous sprinkle of sea salt, children and adults alike will enjoy this Chocolate Zucchini Bread, or “Chocolate Cake,” for those fearful of veggies!

Chocolate Zucchini Bread

Disclaimer: Thank you to #Choctoberfest Sponsors  Barleans, The PinterTest Kitchen and our gold sponsor Imperial Sugar for providing prizes for #Choctoberfest free of charge. These companies, as well as sponsors Rodelle and Davis Chocolate also provided the bloggers with samples and product to use for #Choctoberfest.  All opinions are my own.

Sweet things happen when families are together in the kitchen. When I pull out my sugar jar – which is currently filled to the brim with Imperial Sugar, my kiddos come running. They know that Mommy is going to be making something, and even if they won’t eat it, they’re sure going to help make it. I have memories from baking with my own mother and grandparents and I love the time I spend making those same lifelong memories with my own children. Holidays and every day.

And so, a couple of weeks ago, the sugar jar came out and little feet came running. Out came the flour, Rodelle cocoa powder, vanilla, and salt. What are we making, Mommy? Wait for us, we want to help! We set up the ingredients, got each kid propped up on a stool and started measuring and stirring.

Chocolate Zucchini Bread

One ingredient remained hidden from my kiddos though. Remember all of that zucchini that I had this summer? Well, some of it ended up shredded and in my freezer for baking at a later date. And one of those bags of zucchini was destined for the recipe the kiddos and I were making. They just didn’t know it.

You see, I love my usual zucchini bread recipe, but the kids won’t touch it because they can see flecks of green. With this bread, the kids can’t see the zucchini. I can call the bread “chocolate cake” and they’ll eat it with no problem. While not the healthiest out there, the little bit of zucchini in each slice is more vegetable they usually get in a day. (Side Note: Can someone please tell me when picky eaters get easier? Anyone? Lies being accepted!) For myself, I added a generous sprinkle of sea salt to the top of the bread, the perfect balance to the sweet, rich chocolate bread.

Chocolate Zucchini Bread

HUGE thanks to Imperial Sugar and Rodelle for sponsoring #Choctoberfest! Be sure to scroll down to enter the GIVEAWAY, which includes a ton of sugar and a $100 gift card to Williams Sonoma both from Imperial Sugar, as well as some other goodies. Full giveaway details here.

Chocolate Zucchini Bread

Yield: 1 Loaf

Ingredients

  • cooking spray
  • 1 1/2 c. packed shredded zucchini (unpeeled)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 c. Dutch process cocoa powder (I used Rodelle)
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt, plus more for top
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/4 c. unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
  • 1/4 c. canola oil
  • 3/4 c. packed light brown sugar (I used Imperial Sugar)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract (I used Rodelle)
  • 1 c. semisweet chocolate chips, divided

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Spray a loaf pan with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. Place shredded zucchini in a clean towel or wrap in cheese cloth. Squeeze to get out most of the water. Set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, stir or whisk together eggs, melted butter, canola oil, brown sugar, and vanilla. Add shredded zucchini, breaking up any large pieces. Stir in dry ingredients. When almost all of the dry ingredients are mixed in but some of the flour mixture remains on the sides and bottom, add 3/4 c. chocolate chips. Continue mixing until chocolate chips are evenly distributed and no more flour is on sides of pan.
  5. Pour into prepared loaf pan, spreading as needed with a spoon or spatula and tapping the counter with the pan a few times for dough to settle. Top with remaining 1/4 c. chocolate chips and a generous sprinkling of sea salt.
  6. Bake for 45-50 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center comes out mostly clean. The bread is moist, so it likely won't be complete clean. Don't overbake.
  7. Allow bread to cool for 15 minutes before removing from pan and placing on a serving dish.
  8. Store airtight at room temperature.
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This recipe was rewritten but barely adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod

Chocolate Zucchini Bread on Books n' Cooks

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With crisp edges and a moist, flavorful center, we enjoy this sweet apple cake for breakfast, snack, afternoon tea, or dessert.

Disclaimer: Thank you to #AppleWeek Sponsors: Rodelle, Dreamfarm, Casabella, Flahavan’s Irish Oatmeal, Pryex, Chicago Cutlery, Rainier Fruit, and Veggie Wash for providing prizes for #AppleWeek free of charge. These companies also provided the bloggers with samples and product to use for #AppleWeek. All opinions are my own.

Mom's Apple Cake

To finish up #AppleWeek, I’ve brought you a family recipe. I’m not sure where it from, but I don’t think it’s an uncommon recipe. It was pretty similar to another recipe in the cookbook my mom made me, called the Merryfield Apple Cake, but different enough that I have a strong preference towards this particular recipe. Neither my mom or I make it often, so I actually had to call her to ask which recipe I liked. Needless to say, she remembered incorrectly and the first version of this cake – that Merryfield Apple Cake – got nibbled on and then thrown out.

When Mom made this cake, I ate it cake for breakfast, snack and dessert. I remember my mom making it with chocolate chips, but I always loved it plain, so that the sweetness of the apples shone. And they will, especially if you use Rainier Fruit Honeycrisp Apples, which are one of my favorites. To entice my kiddos into eating the cake, I added a generous half a cup of toffee pieces for a bit more sweetness (but don’t worry, in no way did the toffee overpower the apples!). This cake has crisp edges but a soft, moist center.

If you haven’t already seen the giveaway from our fabulous sponsors, head over here to read about the prize packs. Then scroll to the bottom of this post – leave a comment on this post (and any other #AppleWeek post published today) to get an extra entry. Share the giveaway via Twitter for another extra entry.

Mom's Apple Cake

Recipe Notes:

  • While I made this by hand, you can certainly use a handheld or stand mixer. However, I’d recommend folding in fruit and toffee with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula so that the fruit doesn’t get bruised or squashed.
  • Be sure to wash your apples well before using. I used Veggie Wash – an all-natural spray that removes waxes, soil, and fertilizers – to ensure that the apples were well-cleaned
  • Ingredients:
    • Feel free to leave out toffee pieces all together, or swap them for chocolate chips, nuts, or even raisins.
    • I used Rodelle vanilla extract for this recipe. Rodelle vanilla extract has one of the highest percentages of vanillin (a natural flavor element found in vanilla beans) on the market. You can find Rodelle products in several large grocery stores, including Giant, Super Target, Wegmans, Costco, and Sam’s Club. And if you can’t find it there, there’s always Amazon.
    • I used Rainier Fruit organic Honeycrisp apples in this recipe. This is the second time I’ve worked with Rainier Fruit apples – last time, Rainier’s exclusive variety, Lady Alice – and I cannot understate how much we love these apples. Like last time, I had to slap away little hands from eating the apples, before and while we were baking the cake. These sweet apples are a great source of soluble fiber that strengthens the immune system, so I’m more than ok with my kids loving these apples as much as I do. Plus, they’re packed with antioxidants that play a role in reducing the risk of cancer and Alzheimer’s.

Mom’s Apple Cake

Yield: 9 Servings

Ingredients

  • 1 c. granulated sugar
  • 3/4 c. canola oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. Rodelle vanilla extract
  • 2 apples, peeled and diced (preferably Honeycrisp apples)
  • 1/2 c. toffee pieces

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Spray a 9x9 glass dish with cooking spray. Lightly flour, tapping out excess. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together sugar, oil and egg until thoroughly combined. Add flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and vanilla. Stir until combined. Fold in diced apples and toffee pieces.
  3. Pour into prepared pan, using a rubber spatula to spread evenly. Bake for 45-55 minutes, until top is starting to brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  4. Allow to cool (at least a little bit) before serving.
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Store covered with plastic wrap at room temperature for up to 5 days.

A crispy edge and a moist center, sweet Honeycrisp apples are the star of Mom's Apple Cake. #appleweek @rainierfruit

Enter to win one of our awesome #AppleWeek prizes:

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To finish off #AppleWeek, we’ve got apple recipes for every occasion. Check out this collection of breakfasts, beverages, appetizers, savory-sweet meals, and desserts.

Apfelstrudel Recipe (Apple Strudel from Scratch) from House of Nash Eats
Apple and Onion Cornbread from A Day in the Life on the Farm
Apple Butter Cheesecake from The Redhead Baker
Apple Chicken Stew from Jolene’s Recipe Journal
Apple Cider Dark & Stormy from The Crumby Kitchen
Apple Mincemeat Pie from Palatable Pastime
Apple Pie Bread from Sew You Think You Can Cook
Apple Pie Pancakes from 4 Sons ‘R’ Us
Apple Praline Bread from Family Around the Table
Apple Stuffing Crusted Pork Chops from Caroline’s Cooking
Battered Chocolate Caramel Apple Slices from The Freshman Cook
Caramel Apple Pull Apart Bread from Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks
Apple Crack Slaw Eggrolls from Dad What’s 4 Dinner
Cinnamon Apple Donuts from Daily Dish Recipes
Diminutive Caramel Apples from Culinary Adventures with Camilla
Easy Caramel Apple Butter from Grumpy’s Honeybunch
Fast and Easy Peanut Butter Yogurt Fruit Dip from Cooking With Carlee
Mom’s Apple Cake from Books n’ Cooks
Oatmeal Applesauce Muffins from Amy’s Cooking Adventures
Roasted Butternut Squash and Apples from Simple and Savory
Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Apples from Feeding Big
Savory Apple Turkey Brie Galette from Bear & Bug Eats
Swiss Vegetarian Autumn Lasagna With Apples & Squash from All That’s Jas

Disclaimer: Thank you to #AppleWeek Sponsors: Rodelle, Dreamfarm, Casabella, Flahavan’s Irish Oatmeal, Pryex, Chicago Cutlery, Rainier Fruit, and Veggie Wash for providing prizes for #AppleWeek free of charge. These companies also provided the bloggers with samples and product to use for #AppleWeek. All opinions are my own.

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A soft chocolate cookie stuffed with peanut butter, these cookies are hard to stop at just one (especially if you try them while they’re still warm!).

Peanut Butter-Stuffed Chocolate Cookies

Oh goodness… football season is coming. Are you excited about it?

If you’ve been following along with me, you know that I am not a football fan. Not even Superbowl. I enjoy hanging out with friends and munching on snacks and appetizers. Buffalo chicken dip? Hellz yeah! Soft pretzels? You bet! Old-school Mexican seven layer dip? Don’t mind if I do.

Football weekends are perfect for serving your favorite finger food, to make mixing and mingling, watching (or not watching) the game easy. There’s not a particular sweet that stands out as a classic for a football party, but you can’t go wrong with cookies. I had bookmarked these cookies years ago, but for some reason, never got around to making them. That was a mistake. They’re awesome. These cookies stay soft and are rich flavor. They’re addictive at room temperature but they’re definitely trouble if you eat them just slightly warm. Soooo good!

I may have made these cookies twice in one week, which is pretty much unheard of for me..

Peanut Butter-Stuffed Chocolate Cookies

Looking for more inspiration for fall and winter football games? Check out the collection of recipes from the #SundaySupper tastemakers below my cookie recipe.

Peanut Butter-Stuffed Chocolate Cookies #SundaySupper

Prep Time: 10 hours

Cook Time: 9 hours

Yield: Approximately 2 Dozen Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1/2 c. (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 c. creamy peanut butter (not natural peanut butter), divided
  • 1/2 c. light brown sugar
  • 1/2 c. granulated sugar, with extra for rolling
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 c. confectioners sugar

Instructions

  1. Prep: Preheat oven to 375F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside. Place 1/4-1/2 c. Granulated sugar in a small bowl and set that aside as well.
  2. Make the Cookie Dough: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter, sugars, and 1/4 c. peanut butter on medium speed. Scrape down sides of the bowl. Beat in vanilla and egg. Sift flour, cocoa powder, salt, and baking soda into bowl. Beat on medium-low until dough begins to come together, 1-2 minutes.
  3. Make the Peanut Butter Filling: In a separate bowl, cream together (use either the stand mixer or a hand held mixer) remaining 1/2 c. peanut butter and confectioners sugar.
  4. Assemble the Cookie: Using a 1 1/2 Tbs. ice cream scoop, portion out dough into equal sizes. With clean hands, roll each into a ball. Flatted between your palms. Pinch off pieces of the peanut butter filling - about the size of a dime (adjust more or less depending on whether you can seal the peanut butter inside the dough). Place in center of the chocolate dough. Fold dough over and pinch together at seams to seal. Roll into a ball. Roll ball in a small bowl of granulated sugar. Set onto prepared baking sheet. Continue with remaining dough, placing cookies about 2 inches apart. When baking sheets are filled, flatten each cookie slightly, with the palm of your hand or the flat bottom of a juice glass.
  5. Bake for 7-9 minutes (mine were 8 minutes exactly), until cooked throughout but not yet browned. Allow to cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet before moving to a wire rack to cool completely.
  6. Store cookies in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
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Adapted from Seeded at the Table

Peanut Butter-Stuffed Chocolate Cookies on Books n' Cooks

Football Party Finger Food #SundaySupper

Finger-licking Football Party Finger Food

Flavorful Football Party Finger Food

Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board. Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

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This post is sponsored in conjunction with #BrunchWeek. I received product samples from sponsor companies to aid in the creation of the #Brunchweek recipes. All opinions are mine alone.

And don’t forget to enter the giveaway. Details on our wonderful sponsors, the prizes they put together for you, and the place to enter to win, here.

In my opinion, a good brunch ends with a tasty dessert. You can never go wrong with homemade cinnamon buns of some sort, like the apple-cinnamon buns from earlier this week. But something I want something a little lighter in flavor. Something just a little bit sweet. Something that cause me to lose complete self-control, because if I’m going to be honest, homemade cinnamon buns do that to me.

Enter: a lemon poppy seed loaf cake. This particular cake is made with Nielsen-Massey’s lemon extract instead of fresh lemon juice and confectioners sugar instead of granulated sugar, giving it a pound cake-like texture and a light, lemon flavor.

This recipe was heavily adapted from Epicurious. The original recipe is a plain cake, made to serve 12-16 people. I’ve adjusted the ratios and added the lemon and poppy seed to create what I consider to be a light ending to your brunches.

Lemon Poppy Seed Loaf Cake

Heavily Adapted from Epicurious

Makes 10-12 Slices

Ingredients:

  • cooking spray
  • 12 Tbs. (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 lb. Dixie Crystals confectioners sugar
  • 3/4 tsp. Nielsen-Massey lemon extract
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 c. + 3 Tbs. all-purpose flour, plus more for pan
  • 1 Tbs. poppy seeds

Preheat oven to 325F. Spray a loaf pan with cooking spray. Sprinkle bottom and sides with flour, tapping out extra. Set aside.

Place butter in a large bowl, and beat on medium speed with a handheld mixer (you can use a stand mixer if you prefer) until light and fluffy. Add sugar, beating until incorporated. Add lemon extract and eggs, beating until combined. Repeat with flour. Scrape down sides of the bowl. Add poppy seeds and mix one last time.

Pour into prepared baking pan and bake for 45-55 minutes, until top is beginning to brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow to cool on a baking rack for 10 minutes before removing from pan, and returning to baking rack to cool completely.

Take a look at what the #BrunchWeek Bloggers are creating today!

BrunchWeek Beverages:
Blackberry Mint Bellinis from Sweet Beginnings
Cardamom Rose Cocktail from Culinary Adventures with Camilla
Lemon & Blueberry Mocktail from Girl Abroad
Mango Pina Colada from The Spiffy Cookie
Sparkling Mojito Lime Rickies from A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures

BrunchWeek Egg Dishes:
Cheesy Asparagus Bacon Quiche from The Nifty Foodie
Creamed Asparagus Omelet from Wholistic Woman
Eggs in Hell from kimchi MOM
Asparagus and Cheddar Frittata from My Catholic Kitchen
Spring Veggie Quiche from A Day in the Life on the Farm

BrunchWeek Breads, Grains and Pastries:
Apple Cheddar Cream Cheese Danish from Amy’s Cooking Adventures
Apple Cinnamon Bread from It Bakes Me Happy
Gluten Free Apple Waffles from Gluten Free Crumbley
Banana Bread Buttermilk Pancakes from Love and Confections
Blackberry Cream Cheese Sweet Rolls from Pink Cake Plate
Brown Sugar Poptarts from Big Bear’s Wife
Creme Brulee French Toast from The Barbee Housewife
Cherry Almond Coffee Cake from The Chef Next Door
Cheddar Dinner Rolls from Family Around the Table
Cinnamon Apple Danish from Nik Snacks
Garlic and Herb Pull Apart Bread from Jane’s Adventures in Dinner
Lemon Poppy Seed Loaf Cake from Books n’ Cooks

Mocha Eclairs from The Redhead Baker

BrunchWeek Main Dishes:
Country Ham Biscuits with Peach Mustard from Palatable Pastime
Ham, Apple and Cheddar Melts from Cookaholic Wife
Ham, Egg, and Asparagus Breakfast Pizza Rants From My Crazy Kitchen
Shaved Asparagus, Herb Cream Cheese, and Smoked Salmon Pizza from Sarcastic Cooking
Yumbo Sliders from Cindy’s Recipes and Writings

BrunchWeek Fruits, Vegetables and Sides:
Rhubarb Crunch from Cooking with Carlee

Biscuit Bar with Flavored Sugars from Sew You Think You Can Cook
Low-Fat Apple Coffee Cake from Hardly A Goddess

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My husband absolutely loves cheesecake, but I rarely make it – or really any other cakes lately. Mostly, I don’t have time for desserts that are completed in multiple steps, whether it’s baking the crust and then the cake, or baking the cake and then frosting it. I’ve been too busy lately and frankly, I tend to run out of steam by the time I hit that second step, sometime hours later. I drag myself through it, but the baking process is no longer enjoyable at that point.

Enter these Sopapilla Cheesecake Bars. All of the great flavor of cheesecake, plus the wonderful cinnamon-sugar of the Mexican pastry, much less fuss. While I love the graham cracker crust on regular cheesecakes, the crispy cinnamon sugar on top of these bars more than makes up for it being missing. They were delicious.

This recipe starts almost a week of Mexican recipes. I hope that you find some inspiration for any upcoming Cinco de Mayo celebrations in today’s post, the #SundaySupper collection at the bottom of this post, as well as the recipes that posted this week.

Sopapilla-Inspired Cheesecake Bars

Adapted from Pillsbury

Makes at least 16 servings

Ingredients:

  • 2-8 oz. cans Pillsbury crescent rolls
  • 2-8oz. packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1 1/2 c. granulated sugar, divided
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 Tbs. ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350°F.

In an ungreased 9×13 inch glass baking dish, unroll 1 can of crescent rolls, carefully stretching to cover the bottom of baking dish. Pinch together perforations to seal.

In a large bowl – or the bowl of a stand mixer – beat cream cheese and 1 cup of sugar until thoroughly combined. Add vanilla. Spread evenly over crescent rolls in the baking dish.

Unroll other can of crescent rolls, stretching to cover cream cheese layer while simultaneously pinching together perforations to seal.

Pour melted butter evenly over top of crescent rolls.

In a small dish, mix remaining 1/2 cup of sugar and the cinnamon. Sprinkle evenly over top. It will be a nice, thick layer of cinnamon sugar.

Bake for 30 minutes, until center is set. Allow to cool on stove or a wire rack for 30-60 minutes. Transfer to the fridge to chill before cutting.

Store covered in the refrigerator.

More easy Cinco de Mayo recipes, compliments of the #SundaySupper tastemakers:

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You guys, I have a confession to make. In all of my years of baking, I’ve never made a blondie. It’s not that I don’t like them – I do! I do my happy dance every time The Cookie Man (as we affectionately call a friend) brings them to monthly game night. I pin and bookmark loads of blondie recipes, but somehow, they always get overlooked when I plan my baking.

So a week or two ago, as my daughter was started to get stir-crazy one weekend, I finally made a batch. Or maybe it’s more accurate to say I supervised the making of a batch. Miss. Hazelnut – 4 in just a few weeks – did almost everything herself. I was super impressed with how well she did cracking eggs, measuring and pouring, and stirring everything together. Really, the only help I provided was leveling some measuring cups and helping her scrape the bottom of the bowl. I love that she’s getting older now and actually able to help in the kitchen. And she loves that special time with me (or with my mom, who visits often), when we can keep her little brother distracted with something else.

These blondies were a hit with everyone, especially the kiddos, who were quite generous with the M&Ms. But I’m not surprised. It’s a Smitten Kitchen recipe, so of course we loved it!

Recipe Note: I used a spatula and hand-mixed the batter for the blondies, but feel free to use a hand or stand mixer.

Valentine’s Day Blondies

Adapted from How to Cook Everything via Smitten Kitchen

Makes a 9×13 Pan

Ingredients:

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, melted; plus more for pan
  • 2 c. brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 c. Valentine’s M&Ms (a little less than a 10 oz. bag)

Butter a 9×13 pan and set aside.

In a large bowl, mix melted butter and brown sugar until smooth. Add egg and vanilla and stir until combined. Stir in salt and flour. Finally, fold in about half of the M&Ms, adding more if desired.

Pour into prepared pan and sprinkle with remaining M&M, more or less, as you’d like. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until middle is set and edges are beginning to brown.

Allow to cool before cutting.

Store in an air-tight container at room temperature.

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cannoli-dip

There’s an Italian pastry shop near by that does all you can eat pastries one night a week. My husband and a few of his friends get unreasonably excited by this. I mean, the pastries are good, but I honestly can’t eat more than one of the HUGE Italian pastries without feeling like I overdid it. By contrast, my hubby and his friends like to tell stories of who is the reigning champ of pastry eating.

We very rarely go to those all-you-can-eat Monday nights, but every time I think of a cannoli, I think of that shop and my hubby’s stories. I’ve never really had any desire to try making cannolis – I imagined it wouldn’t be worth the trouble of carefully stuffing the delicate shell, which must be done just before serving to maintain that crunchy, flaky consistency. However, this cannoli dip was an easy, fun take on the Italian pastry. It can be whipped up and stored in the fridge until serving.

Serve with graham crackers (we used both honey graham crackers and chocolate graham crackers) or sugared pita chips. If you want to get fancy, portion into phyllo cups just before serving, instead of using as a dip.

cannoli-dip

Cannoli Dip

Adapted from Emily Bites

Makes 2 cups

Ingredients:

  • 15 oz. fat-free ricotta
  • 3 oz. Marscapone cheese
  • 1/2 c. confectioners sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla paste (or 2 tsp. vanilla extract)
  • 1/2 c. + 1 Tbs. mini chocolate chips

Stir together ricotta, Marscapone, confectioners sugar, and vanilla paste. Stir in 1/2 c. chocolate chips.

Transfer to a serving bowl and sprinkle remaining 1 Tbs. chocolate chips.

Serve immediately or refrigerate until serving.

cannoli-dip-by-books-n-cooks

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Books n’ Cooks is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program. Some links on Books n’ Cooks may be affiliate links – links books and kitchen supplies that I love and would recommend. If you click on the link and purchase, I make a very small percentage (at no additional cost to you!) which goes towards maintenance of this blog. Thanks for your support!

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