Sunday, October 19, 2014

Chocolate Turtle Cookies

Over the summer I spent some time out west visiting family... and at my family gatherings everything revolves around food. :) Almost every night after a full day of delicious meals we would whip up some kind of sweet treat to accompany our game or movie. Sounds pretty great, right?

This chocolate turtle cookie recipe (from Mel's Kitchen Cafe) was one of the many delicious recipes we tried together and there wasn't a single adult or child who didn't just LOVE these cookies! We were all dying over them.

Each cookie is a perfect, little, delectable, chocolatey, pecan and gooey caramel goodness! 


1 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar
1 egg yolk
2 T. milk
1 tsp. vanilla
2 egg whites
1 cup pecans, finely chopped
20 soft caramels
3 T. heavy cream

In small bowl combine flour, cocoa powder and salt. Set aside.

In medium sized bowl beat the soft butter and sugar until light (about 1 minute). Add the yolk, milk and vanilla and beat until combined, scraping sides occasionally. Add the flour/cocoa mixture and mix just until combined. Wrap dough tightly in plastic and refrigerate for at least an hour.

In small bowl whip egg whites until frothy and foamy. Place chopped pecans in a separate bowl. Roll chilled dough into 1 inch balls. Roll each ball in egg whites, then in pecans (gently press pecans to help them stick if needed) and place on parchment lined baking sheet. Use the back of a teaspoon to press a teaspoon sized hole into the cookies.

Bake at 350º F for 10-12 minutes.

As cookies are baking, place all caramels and cream into microwave safe bowl and microwave in 30 second increments (stirring between each increment) until completely melted and smooth.

As soon as cookies are out of oven use the back of the teaspoon to re-press the hole into the baked cookies. Spoon 1 teaspoon of caramel into each "well" of the cookies. Allow to cool on the pan for 5 minutes.

Remove from the pan to finish cooling cookies on cooling rack. When cookies are mostly cooled and caramel is set the cookies are ready to be devoured! If there are any leftovers, store them in an airtight container.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Double Chocolate Chip Muffins

Rich chocolate muffins filled with chocolate chips and sprinkled with a brown sugar cinnamon streusel just before baking... delicious. There is really nothing more to say about these muffins except that you will love them!



2 cups or 9 1/2 oz. all purpose flour
3/4 cup or 3 1/4 oz. cocoa powder
1 T. or 1/4 oz. baking powder
1/2 tsp. or 1/8 oz. baking soda
1/2 tsp. or 1/8 oz. salt

1 1/4 cup or 9 1/2 oz. sugar
8 T. (1 stick) or 4 oz. unsalted butter, melted
2 large eggs
1 cup or 8 oz. buttermilk
2 tsp. or 1/3 oz. vanilla

1 cup or 6 1/2 oz. chocolate chips

Streusel topping:

1 T. brown sugar
1 T. white sugar
1 T. cinnamon

Preheat oven to 400ºF. Grease your muffin tin or fill with liners.

Combine all dry ingredients (first 5 ingredients on list) in a bowl and set aside.

In large bowl combine sugar with all wet ingredients (the next 5 ingredients). Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients just until combined. Then stir in the chocolate chips.

Drop the batter into the prepared muffin tin. Each cup should be full. Then sprinkle the cinnamon sugar streusel on the tops of all the batter in the cups.

Bake for 18- 20 minutes, until a toothpick comes out of the center clean. Remove from oven and immediately place muffins on cooling rack to cool.

Yield: 12 standard muffins

*Adapted from Chocolate Muffins #7 recipe by Alton Brown.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

French Silk Pie

Every year on my brother, David's, birthday I would make and give him a pie. He LOVED pies. His face always lit up when I brought in a fresh apple or triple berry pie. What a typical guy, huh? ;)

Since his passing almost 4 years ago I have carried on this tradition. Every year on his birthday I make a pie to honor and remember him. This year for his 29th birthday I made a french silk pie.

This recipe is a Whitney family favorite. I grew up eating this pie and it still hits the spot for me today. It's light and airy (almost like a mousse) filling is rich and chocolatey and oh, so smooth! Served in a flaky, buttery pie shell with a heap of whipped cream on top is the only way to have it! Although, I could really just eat the french silk filling plain... spoonful after spoonful.


French Silk Filling:

1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
2 heaping T. cocoa powder
1 tsp. vanilla

Beat butter until smooth. Very gradually add the sugar (about 1 T. at a time) and beat each addition until sugar is mostly dissolved. Add 1 egg and beat 4-5 minutes. Add 2nd egg and beat another 4-5 minutes. Now the mixture should be completely smooth and not grainy. Add cocoa powder and beat until completely combined. Add vanilla and combine.

Spread the silk into a cooled pie shell. Chill for at least 2 hours in the refrigerator. Cover with whipped cream, chocolate shavings, chopped nuts, etc.

Pie crust:

1 1/4 cup all purpose flour, sifted
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. sugar
1/4 cup water, cold

Combine flour, salt and sugar in a bowl. Add shortening and cut into the dry ingredients using a pastry cutter until shortening is pea-sized. Add the ice water and stir. Mix and knead into a ball. Knead as little as possible.

Place on a lightly floured counter and press ball down gently. Sprinkle top with flour and roll out with rolling pin. Fold into quarters to transfer to pie pan. Unfold and gently press dough into pie pan. Trim edges and shape as you wish. Poke holes in shell with fork to allow steam to escape during baking.

Bake at 400ºF for 17-20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and cool completely before filling with french silk.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Lemon Swiss Meringue Buttercream Cake

In my culinary program at school I am finally taking the cake decorating class that I have been SO anxious and excited to take! I have never been very confident with decorating and this class has been the most amazing help. Granted, this is just my first project... so don't judge me too harshly! ;) I still have a lot to learn in this class and even more to look forward to in the advanced cake decorating class. 

For this first project we were required to use swiss meringue buttercream to frost our 2- 6" layers. Then we were asked to decorate it however we wanted as long as we demonstrated the techniques we have learned so far. 

So, here you see that I kept my swiss meringue buttercream white and I made yellow decorator's frosting (since it is a lemon cake) to do the string work, the pearl border on the top and the yellow rose. I also used decorator's frosting for the green leaves. 

SORRY! No recipe this time... I just wanted to show off some pictures!