dark chocolate butterscotch cookies

Dark Chocolate Butterscotch Cookies

Oh, dear. It seems like I’ve gone off on a bit of a chocolate tangent on these past few posts, eh? And I thought I was going cranberry crazy by having two cranberry recipes on a row. I’m about to get chocolate wasted with my third chocolate-based recipe in a row! Eh. ‘Tis the season, am I right? (All in moderation, of course. I’m typing this up as I’m eating a kale salad with vegetables, EVOO, garlic powder, and vinegar. Total guilt avoided. Ha!)

One of my coworkers, Jean-Marie, is my department’s Queen of Baking! No birthday is complete without some of her chocolate cupcakes with cream cheese frosting, and her scones with currants are so incredibly authentic! With a little jam and clotted cream, I feel like I’m in a London tea house rather than a windowless 5th floor office on the Upper East Side. Don’t get me started on her Banoffee Pie! Her food has even inspired a hashtag between a few other coworkers and myself: #dammitjeanmarie ! Why? Because on those days when we say, “I’m having oatmeal for breakfast and going to Sweetgreen for lunch!”, J-M will casually drop a plate of scones by the microwave. DAMMIT, JEAN-MARIE!

ue The other day, she made these dreamy Dark Chocolate Butterscotch Cookies. Their color alone indicated to me that they would be rich, but it was quite the opposite! The cookie had a cakier and more crumbly texture than I was expecting, and the cookie’s flavor was not dissimilar to that of an Oreo, likely due to the addition of black cocoa. It wasn’t too sweet, which worked well because the butterscotch can be such a dominant sweet flavor. The black cocoa counters this beautifully. I had to ask for the recipe, and I had to make it right away. She even gave me black cocoa to use! Honestly, without it, I doubt they’d be as delicious.

dark chocolate butterscotch cookies

Dammit, Jean-Marie! These are great!

dark chocolate butterscotch cookies

Dark Chocolate Butterscotch Cookies
(Makes 12 – 15 cookies)

Ingredients:

– 1 cup all-purpose flour
– 2 tablespoons dutch-processed cocoa powder, sifted
– 2 tablespoons black cocoa, sifted
– 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
– 1/4 teaspoon salt
– 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
– 1/4 cup granulated sugar
– 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
– 1 large egg, room temperature
– 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
– 1 cup butterscotch chips

Before We Get Started…

– The original recipe calls for light brown sugar, but I used dark. I could tell no discernible difference, so use whichever brown sugar you have available.

Directions:

1.) In a medium bowl, whisk flour, both cocoas, baking soda, and salt until combined.

2.) In a large bowl, cream together the butter and both sugars on medium-high speed until the mixture becomes light. Reduce speed of beaters and slowly add egg and vanilla. Continue to beat until combined.

3.) Add the dry mixture to the wet mixture and mix together. Add butterscotch chips and mix until chips have uniformly spread throughout the dough. Place dough in refrigerator for at least one hour, but up to overnight.

4.) Prior to baking, preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet(s) with parchment paper and set aside.

5.) Portion dough into 12 – 15 cookies, roughly the size of a large golf ball, and place onto baking sheet(s). Flatten very slightly, but make sure they maintain an overall round-ish shape. Bake for 10 – 12 minutes; cookies may look a bit undercooked, but they will firm up once they cool!

6.) Remove from oven and cool cookies on baking sheet(s) for 5 minutes before removing and placed on a wire rack to finish cooling.

– – – –

NOTE: Because I want some credit, please know that because my Kitchen Aid Mixer is currently packed away in the back of my closet and my hand mixer is non-functional, I creamed my butter and sugar with a fork AND combined the dough by hand. YES. My hand looks vile. Ha! Digging black dough out from under my fingernails was worth the creation of these amazing morsels.

dark chocolate butterscotch cookies

Chocolate Donuts with Ginger Chocolate Glaze

Chocolate Donuts with Ginger Chocolate Glaze

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I am in a mad and passionate love affair with my donut pan. The past two months of my life have been nothing but bliss because of it.

Also, I went up a pants size.

The two may or may not be correlated. I need to draw up more statistical data regarding that.

Chocolate Donuts with Ginger Chocolate Glaze

All praise to my roommate Sally for inspiring this idea. I’ve been toying around with a chocolate donut recipe for quite some time; I found a recipe for chocolate baked donuts from Crazy for Crust a few weeks ago, and it’s PERFECT. I have not used another recipe since I found this one. It’s my go to. I can’t praise it enough! In fact, I’m trying to pare down this paragraph before I go off on a celebratory tangent regarding this recipe. (tl; dr: use this recipe!) I was shooting ideas off of Sally one evening while trying to conjure up a holiday-esque chocolate recipe, and I obviously needed an additional taste tester. She’s not a fan of any sort of mint, so scratch a chocolate / mint combo. (My fave! What a travesty, Sally!) We started discussing chocolate with spices, which is usually a winner. (You saw my previous recipe, right?) She came across an awesome recipe on Google for ginger and chocolate donuts; I was thinking that she was referring to something more along the lines of gingerbread…until she showed me a photo of candied ginger dotting the tops of thickly glazed donuts.

My heart started to race in anticipation!

Chocolate Donuts with Ginger Chocolate Glaze

This recipe will take a little bit of time between the baking, the cooling, the glazing, and the careful application of candied ginger (plus, those little suckers LOVE to stick to your knife as you’re cutting them!), but the end result is worth it.

Chocolate Donuts with Ginger Chocolate Glaze

Side note: After I made the first batch, I left some for Sally to have. When I saw one was missing from the six I had made, I assumed she took one. I took the rest down out of the apartment, only to have Sally ask me where the donuts were. Turns out that I totally forgot that the beau and I split one the night before. OOPS. Well, roommates have done worse things… 😉

img_8704

Chocolate Donuts with Ginger Chocolate Glaze
(Donut recipe adapted from Crazy for Crust’s Baked Chocolate Donuts)
(Glaze recipe adapted from Heart of a Baker’s Chocolate Glaze)
(Serves 6)

Ingredients:

Donuts:

– 1 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
– 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa, sifted
– 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
– 1/8 teaspoon salt
– 1/2 cup sugar
– 1/2 cup milk (dairy or non-dairy)
– 1 large egg or flaxseed “egg” (Please see Before We Get Started…)
– 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
– 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Glaze:

– 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
– 1/4 cup milk (dairy or non-dairy)
– 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
– 1 teaspoon cinnamon
– 1 teaspoon ground ginger
– 1/2 cup candied ginger, diced (equates to roughly 2 large pieces of candied ginger)

Before We Get Started…

– A few times, I have attempted the flaxseed “egg” for a vegan dessert and bread recipes. (Flaxseed “egg”, in my experiences, is equivocal to 1 tablespoon of flexseed meal combined with 3 tablespoons water.) I have not tried it with this specific recipe, but if you are feeling adventurous and want to keep this recipe vegan-friendly, give it a spin. Please leave me a comment if you have success!

Directions:

1.) Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease the inside of the donut pan’s cavities. Set aside.

2.) In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, baking soda, sugar, and salt. In a separate small bowl, whisk together egg, oil, milk, and vanilla extract. Pour wet mixture into dry mixture and stir / fold to combine.

3.) Transfer mixture to a pastry bag or a gallon-sized seal-top plastic bag; if using plastic bag, cut off small corner to pipe out mixture. Evenly pipe mixture into cavities of donut pan.

4.) Place in oven and bake for 8 minutes. Remove from oven and place pan on cooling rack for 20 minutes; carefully remove donuts from pan and allow to continue cooling on cooling rack.

5.) As donuts cool, dice candied ginger and set aside. In a large microwave-safe bowl, add chocolate and milk. Melt chocolate for 30 seconds, remove, stir, and melt for another 30 seconds until almost fully melted. Stir chocolate and milk to combine until smooth. Add cinnamon, ground ginger, and confectioners’ sugar. Set a wire rack over a baking sheet or other easily washable surface; though this glaze isn’t as runny as others, there still may be some drip-off. Gently dip the tops of the donuts into the glaze, carefully turn over, and placed the unglazed side on the wire rack. Repeat until all donuts are glazed. Carefully top wet glaze with ginger pieces. Set donuts aside until glaze has set.

cranberry cobbler dessert martha stewart

Cranberry Cobbler

Yes, I know, I know, I’m posting two cranberry recipes back to back. *shrug* This is just too good not to share right now!

How was your Thanksgiving, dear reader? I had a lovely holiday up in my hometown in Northwestern Connecticut. Despite cracking my rib and pulling a muscle in my mid-left back, I traveled up on MetroNorth, loaded with hospital-grade disposable heating pads and a lot of Extra Strength Tylenol.

cranberry cobbler dessert martha stewart

The quirky wonderful kitchen of my childhood home.

I had a lovely time with my family, from my rambunctious teenage cousins to my wacky (I say with much affection!) aunts to my uncles that just go with the flow. It was a wonderful afternoon filled with delicious food and some great memories. One of my aunts put me on dessert duty; I had lots of ideas, but was unsure what to execute. I knew she was making an apple pie and another aunt was bringing pumpkin pies. Well, there went my top two ideas!

Thank you, Google. Typing in “Easy Thanksgiving Desserts” saved my hide.

cranberry cobbler dessert martha stewart

This recipe is unique as it’s not quite what you or I would consider a traditional cobbler. I correlate “cobbler” with something a little juicier with a biscuity topping. This recipe yields a cakey batter that is wonderfully springy with a fantastic buttery flavor; there is almost an entire stick of butter in this baby. (Beat still my beating heart! Like…literally. That butter might clog it up. Ha!) The cranberries are tart, yet they slightly mellow out when baked.

cranberry cobbler dessert martha stewart

My two teenaged cousins, Erik and Colby, love to eat ALL OF THE FOOD, but can be picky as well. When they saw this cobbler and ate half of it themselves, telling me how much they loved it, I took that as the ultimate compliment.

cranberry cobbler dessert martha stewart

Thank you, Martha. Girl, you saved me this Thanksgiving.

cranberry cobbler dessert martha stewart

Cranberry Cobbler
(Adapted from Martha Stewart’s recipe for Cranberry Cobbler)
(Serves 8)

Ingredients:

– 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
– 1 & 1/4 cup fresh cranberries
– 3/4 cup sugar and 2 tablespoons sugar, divided
– 1 cup all-purpose flour
– 1 & 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
– 1/2 teaspoon salt
– 1/2 cup whole milk
– 1 large egg
– 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
– 1 tablespoon water

Directions:

1.) Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter or grease a round 10″ pan and set aside.

2.) Combine flour, 3/4 cup sugar, baking powder, and salt and set aside. Whisk together milk and egg in a separate bowl, then slowly stream in and whisk melted butter until combined. Pour wet mixture into dry mixture and combined thoroughly. Pour into prepared pan.

3.) In a small bowl, combine cranberries, water, 2 tablespoons sugar, and cinnamon. Gently drop cranberries on top of batter in pan.

4.) Place in oven and bake for 30 minutes or until cake is springy to the touch. Remove, place on cooling rack, and cool for at least minutes until serving.

poached pears

Cinnamon Poached Pears

I had a wonderful idea of a new holiday treat to bake. Whole pears in bread? It’s a concept I never would have thought up on my own. I have my usual favorite holiday treats to cook, but I’ve been looking for something unique to add to my regular repertoire of sugar cookies, spice cookies, and cranberry scones. My incessent Instagram fangirling led me to many photos of this amazing type of dessert. It’s been a popular trend this holiday season! Cross-section photos of this bread with pears sticking out, their stems gingerly poking out of the top of the loaf, got me very excited and inspired.

poached pears

I wanted to be cool and make some for myself!

poached pears

Well, I found a great recipe for Drunken Pear Ginger Bread from Broma Bakery that I was going to adapt and give a go. I made the poached pears from my own recipe that I’ve used before, but I followed their gingerbread recipe to a T.

It failed. MISERABLY.

I’m currently sans a good bread pan, so I went to the grocery store and got one of those flimsy aluminum foil ones. When I made the batter, it had an odd consistency once I added the eggs to the already-beaten molasses / brown sugar / butter mixture. It erupted all over the baking sheet I placed the aluminum bread pan on top of. One side of the bread cooked through completely, but the other side was absolute uncooked goo in the middle. I couldn’t even take a photo of this mess! However, a Snapchat video which I sent to my friends captured my disappointment concisely…

SO. Enjoy this recipe for poached pears! May you have one less cooking disaster this holiday season than I have had.

poached pears

Cinnamon Poached Pears
(Makes 3 – 6 pears)

Ingredients:

– 3 – 6 Bosc pears, peeled, left whole with stems attached
– 6 cups water
– 1 cup sugar
– 1/4 cup honey
– 4 whole cinnamon sticks
– 1 large peel of lemon rind

Before We Get Started…

– Do not substitute Bosc pears for other varieties such as Anjou. Bosc pears maintain their firmness through the poaching process; Anjou and other pears with softer flesh tend to become too mushy during the poaching process.

– I do occasionally poach in a mixture of white wine, but, usually, I can’t say goodbye to an entire bottle worth of wine white just to poach some pears! If you choose to go that route, use one 750 ml bottle of white wine and 1 cup of water instead of 6 cups of water.

Directions:

1.) Combine water, sugar, honey, cinnamon sticks, and lemon peel in a large saucepan. Bring mixture to a boil. Add pears and reduce to a simmer. Cook for 45 minutes. Remove pears with a slotted spoon and place on plate to cool slightly.

2.) If using immediately, spoon some of the poaching liquid on top of the pears and serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. If storing, place in bowl, cover in plastic wrap, and refrigerate. Will last for up to four days in the fridge.

Pfeffernüsse

Pfeffernüsse

Pfeffernüsse is a type of cookie I discovered in a mad dash to beat the crowds out of Grand Central Terminal and make it safely onto the 6:02 to Wassaic one pre-Christmas evening, many Decembers ago. I was cruising past one of the many Zaro’s outlets peppered throughout the station, looking for some kind of pastry or cookie package to bring back to Connecticut with me. (As if lugging two bags of Christmas gifts and my luggage wasn’t enough…) A bag of Pfeffernüsse on the cookie shelf looked interesting, better than bringing back some black & white cookies or another loaf of sourdough bread. My gut feeling was correct. My parents loved them, as did I!

Pfeffernüsse

Pfeffernüsse, also known as Pepper Nuts, are a wonderful type of spice cookie. If you are a fan of gingerbread, you’ll love these. Upon first glance, they are rather unassuming. However, the addition of freshly-cracked black pepper, allspice, cloves, and nutmeg will put you into the holiday spirit with just one bite. Some people coat them in powdered sugar after they are baked. Some people don’t. I never plan to be that latter person.

Pfeffernüsse

Also, it’s a wonderful word to say.

Pfeffernüsse

Fey-Fer-NEEEWWWWWWWSE. 

(Sorry, I’m on a bit of a holiday cookie sugar high right now…everything is way too silly…)

Pfeffernüsse

Pfeffernüsse
(Makes 15 – 18 cookies)

Ingredients:

– 2 & 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
– 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
– 1/4 teaspoon freshly-cracked black pepper
– 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
– 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
– 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
– 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
– 1 stick butter, room temperature
– 1 egg
– 3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
– 1/4 cup molasses
– 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
– 1 cup confectioners’ sugar (for dusting cookies)

Before We Get Started…

– Be sure to have a small paper bag or Ziploc bag to place confectioners’ sugar in. It’ll make dusting the cookies infinitely easier.

Directions:

1.) Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease two baking sheets and set aside.

2.) In a large bowl, combine flour, pepper, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, cloves, and baking soda. Set aside.

3.) Place butter, brown sugar, and molasses in a large bowl. Beat with an electric beater on medium speed until mixture is fluffy, about two to three minutes. Once combined, add egg and vanilla and beat until combined.

4.) Slowly add in flour 1/2 cup at a time, beating with electric mixer at low speed. Repeat until all flour is combined and the dough is formed. If mixture is too thick to continue to beat, knead dough together with hands.

5.) Use a tablespoon to scoop out dough and roll into approximately 1″ balls. Place dough balls approximately one inch apart on the prepared baking sheets. Depending on the amount of cookies made and size of the baking sheets, no more than one dozen cookies should be on each sheet.

6.) Bake cookies for 15 minutes, rotating sheets seven minutes in. Cookies may crack slightly and should be golden. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool for 15 minutes.

7.) Coating three to four cookies at a time, place cookies in bag with confectioners’ sugar. Shake until cookies are well coated. Knock off any excess sugar.

8.) Return cookies to wire rack and allow to cool completely. Store cookies in an airtight container.