Chocolate Bark

I love working with chocolate. The possibilities are endless, and let’s admit it, a chocolate drizzle makes everything better. Because I just love playing with chocolate so very much, I have 2 chocolate bark variations in this post. They are easy and fun to make, and if you need a last-minute “cookie” for a cookie swap or holiday party, these are always a big hit. Also, as far as DIY gifts go, these are pretty awesome. So make one, make them all, and for the love of my girlish figure, someone please come over and eat all of these!

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Before I get started on these beauties, let’s have a quick chat about melting chocolate. For these recipes and for melting chocolate in general, I recommend using baker’s chocolate or melting chips, rather than say a solid chocolate bar, or white chocolate chips. The reason for this is that I’ve been burned before, or more accurately I’ve burned chocolate before. A lot actually. It’s so easy to do. Especially white chocolate, so that’s why I recommend using a chocolate that is intended to be melted. Also, white chocolate can totally be a pain in the butt, and some white chocolates actually need some oil added to them, so really save your sanity and buy melting chips or baking chocolate, it melts nicely and nothing needs to be added to it.

Also, I do not like melting chocolate in the microwave. If this is your preferred method, you have my blessing, but if you, like myself, belive your microwave is an inconsistent appliance out to get you, set up a double boiler.  You don’t need any special equipment for this; all you need is a pot with about and inch or two of water in the bottom and a heat proof bowl that can put on top of the pot so that it receives the heat from the steam but is not directly in the pot.

Put the pot on your stove top and put on medium heat. Break up the chocolate you are melting into medium-small pieces. Set aside 1/4 of the amount and save for later. Put 3/4 of the chocolate in to the bowl resting on top of your pot.

Depending on the amount of chocolate you are melting and how large the pieces are, this could happen pretty quickly so keep a close eye on your chocolate. Stir the chocolate gently as it begins to melt. Once it is about 75% melted remove the bowl from the heat. Add the reserved un-melted chocolate and stir to combine for 30-60 seconds.

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Put the bowl back over the pot, and let the mixture continue to melt. Once the mixture is almost melted, but still has some small lumps, remove from the heat. Stir the chocolate until smooth.

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Melt your chocolate like that and you will not burn it, and it will be just lovely to work with.

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Christmas Bark with Cranberries and Pistachios

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz chocolate (any kind you like, white, milk, dark, etc)
  • 1/4 c pistachios, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 c dried cranberries, roughly chopped*

*Don’t like cranberries? Try dried cherries, or freeze-dried strawberries

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Directions:

Melt the chocolate per the instructions above. Pour the melted chocolate onto a flat pan lined with parchment paper.

Spread the melted chocolate out to the desired thickness.

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Or using a large spoon dollop chocolate onto the parchment paper to form bite-size circles.

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While the chocolate is still warm top with the nuts and dried fruit.

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Allow the bark to cool and harden at room temperature.

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This will take some time, but if you put it in the fridge the chocolate will most likely bloom (bloom= unsightly white circles and dots will form on your chocolate). Once the chocolate has cooled completely cut up into smaller pieces (if desired).

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Aren’t these just lovely? So festive, I love it!

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Peppermint Bark

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz white chocolate
  • 8 oz dark chocolate
  • 1/4 cup crushed candy canes

Directions:

First, melt the white chocolate and pour on to a flat pan lined with parchment paper. Spread the melted chocolate out to the desired thickness. Allow the white chocolate to cool and harden. Once the white chocolate is mostly dried, melt the dark chocolate, and pour on top of the white chocolate. While the dark chocolate is still warm sprinkle the candy canes on top.

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Allow the chocolate to cool and harden completely before cutting.


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Christmas Bark with Cranberries and Pistachios

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz chocolate (any kind you like, white, milk, dark, etc)
  • 1/4 c pistachios, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 c dried cranberries, roughly chopped*

*Don’t like cranberries? Try dried cherries, or freeze-dried strawberries

Directions:

Melt the chocolate per the instructions above. Pour the melted chocolate onto a flat pan lined with parchment paper.

Spread the melted chocolate out to the desired thickness, or using a large spoon dollop chocolate onto the parchment paper to form bite-size circles.

While the chocolate is still warm top with the nuts and dried fruit. Allow the bark to cool and harden at room temperature. This will take some time, but if you put it in the fridge the chocolate will most likely bloom (bloom= unsightly white circles and dots will form on your chocolate). Once the chocolate has cooled completely cut up into smaller pieces (if desired).

 

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Peppermint Bark

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz white chocolate
  • 8 oz dark chocolate
  • 1/4 cup crushed candy canes

Directions:

First, melt the white chocolate and pour on to a flat pan lined with parchment paper. Spread the melted chocolate out to the desired thickness. Allow the white chocolate to cool and harden.

Once the white chocolate is mostly dried, melt the dark chocolate, and pour on top of the white chocolate. While the dark chocolate is still warm sprinkle the candy canes on top.

Allow the chocolate to cool and harden completely before cutting.

Red Velvet Snowflake Cookies

 

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It’s the holiday season and I’m ready to get started on some holiday baking! Rather than make the same cookies every year, I wanted to make some new-to-me cookies this year. There are so many delicious cookies/dessert recipes that I’ve collected over the last year (thanks a lot Pinterest!) that it’s hard to choose which ones to make.

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Despite my growing list of cookies I want to make, these tasty little buggers were actually inspired by a recent trip to Panera. I saw a poster advertising these red velvet cookies, and I thought to myself, “I can make those!” I’ve made chocolate crinkle cookies in the past, but I was excited for the challenge of adapting the recipe to be a red velvet cookie. Unlike the chocolate crinkle cookies I’ve written about in the past (check out the original article here), these are a bit richer and much more chocolately. So, I hope you enjoy this recipe, honestly, they are so tasty you might want to eat them all yourself!

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Red Velvet Snowflake Cookies

Recipe adapted from Country Living

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 c all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 c cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 c unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 c brown sugar
  • 1/4 c granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 oz red food coloring
  • 1 1/4 c chocolate chips
  • 1 c confectioner’s sugar

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Whisk together all the dry ingredients (flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt) in a small bowl and set aside. Next, using a mixer beat the butter on medium speed until smooth. Then, add the brown and granulated sugar and beat until combined.

Add the eggs, vanilla extract, and red food coloring to the mixture and beat on a low speed until combined. Stop the mixer and scrape the bowl. Continue mixing until all ingredients are incorporated. Mixing on a low speed add the dry ingredients to the red mixture. Continue mixing until a soft dough forms. Lastly mix in the chocolate chips.

*For this next step I highly recommend wearing gloves to prevent getting dye on your hands.*

Put confectioner’s sugar in a medium sized bowl. Using a spoon or small cookie scoop, drop a small amount of dough into the bowl of confectioner’s sugar. With your hand, roll the dough around the bowl to form into a sphere (doesn’t have to be perfect) and generously coat in sugar.

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*Typically, I try to make 1 inch-1 1/2 inch balls, these cookies are pretty rich, so I generally don’t make them too big.*

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Place the sugar coated dough on a baking sheet that has been lined with parchment paper or a baking mat, spacing the balls 1 inch apart. Bake for 10-12 minutes until the cookies have puffed up slightly and have started to crack. After removing the cookies from the oven allow the cookies to cool on the pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

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This recipe makes just over 2 dozen cookies depending on size.

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Stay tuned, there are more holiday treats on the way!

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Red Velvet Snowflake Cookies

Recipe adapted from Country Living

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 c all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 c cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 c unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 c brown sugar
  • 1/4 c granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 oz red food coloring
  • 1 1/4 c chocolate chips
  • 1 c confectioner’s sugar

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Whisk together all the dry ingredients (flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt) in a small bowl and set aside. Next, using a mixer beat the butter on medium speed until smooth. Then, add the brown and granulated sugar and beat until combined.

Add the eggs, vanilla extract, and red food coloring to the mixture and beat on a low speed until combined. Stop the mixer and scrape the bowl. Continue mixing until all ingredients are incorporated.

Mixing on a low speed add the dry ingredients to the red mixture. Continue mixing until a soft dough forms. Lastly mix in the chocolate chips.

*For this next step I highly recommend wearing gloves to prevent getting dye on your hands.*

Put confectioner’s sugar in a medium sized bowl. Using a spoon or small cookie scoop, drop a small amount of dough into the bowl of confectioner’s sugar. With your hand, roll the dough around the bowl to form into a sphere (doesn’t have to be perfect) and generously coat in sugar.

*Typically, I try to make 1 inch-1 1/2 inch balls, these cookies are pretty rich, so I generally don’t make them too big.*

Place the sugar coated dough on a baking sheet that has been lined with parchment paper or a baking mat, spacing the balls 1 inch apart. Bake for 10-12 minutes until the cookies have puffed up slightly and have started to crack. After removing the cookies from the oven allow the cookies to cool on the pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

This recipe makes just over 2 dozen cookies.

Eat Dessert First

Sugar cookies.

Homemade, thick sugar cookies with yummy frosting on top.

Who’s got the time to make them, though? Well, it just so happens, I do. So here’s the deal; if you want ’em, I’ll make ’em fresh, package them up, and ship them to you!

Need holiday cookies?

Or cookies with personalized messages?

Colors, decorations, and messages are all customizable.

For anyone who would like to order sugar cookies you can email me (ClarasCakeShop@gmail.com) or post on my Facebook page (Clara’s Cake Shop or Cakes by Clara) and I will make them fresh and send them your way.

The details;

Shapes: circles or squares (2.5 in)

Flavors: vanilla or almond

Minimum order of 2 dozen cookies

Prices will vary based on the amount of detailed required for the cookie.

All payments to be made through PayPal

Leave a comment or email me if you have any questions or if you are interested in ordering some cookies.

A Tasty Trio of Christmas Cookies

*This article was originally posted on www.Somerville.Patch.com*

Three cookie recipes that are sure to impress any crowd at any party or serve as the perfect last minute gift.

‘Tis the season of frantic gift shopping, decking the halls, and of course, holiday baking! As we get down to the wire on holiday baking, here are three cookie recipes that are sure to impress any crowd at any party or serve as the perfect last minute gift.

Before getting started here’s a quick kitchen tune-up to make sure you’re ready to go:

  • After selecting the recipe, read through it carefully to make sure you have any equipment needed.
  • Take stock of the ingredients and make a thorough list of what you need to buy and what you already have—there’s nothing worse that taking extra trips to the store this time of year!
  • Are the ingredients you have relatively fresh? Some ingredients (such as spices or sprinkles) are ok to sit on your shelf for a while, but others, such as baking soda or brown sugar, can actually become stale.
  • If your baking soda or baking powder has been on your shelf for more than a year, replace it.
  • When you’re ready to start baking, begin by wiping down all the surfaces you will be working on in the kitchen and getting out all the ingredients and equipment that is needed.
  • Read the recipe all the way through one more time before starting.

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Peanut Butter Blossom Cookies

Ingredients
1/2 c unsalted butter
1/2 c creamy peanut butter
1/2 c granulated sugar
1/2 c brown sugar
1 egg
1 1/4 c all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
Hershey Kisses to top cookies

Using a stand or hand mixer beat together the butter, peanut butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar until well combined. Next add the egg to the mixture. Stop the mixer to scrape the sides of the bowl as needed.

Slowly add in the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon). Once all the ingredients have been combined chill the dough in the refrigerator for 1 hour.

After the dough has been chilled preheat the oven to 375. Roll the dough into 1 inch balls and place 2 inches apart on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 8-10 minutes. After taking the cookies out of the oven place a Hershey Kiss in the center of the cookie while still warm.

Yields about 3 dozen cookies.

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Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

Ingredients
3 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 c granulated sugar
1/2 c vegetable oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
4 oz. unsweetened baker’s chocolate, melted
2 c all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 c confectioner’s sugar

Using a stand or hand mixer beat together the eggs, sugar, oil, and vanilla until well combined. Next add the melted chocolate to the mixture. Stop the mixer to scrape the sides of the bowl as needed.

Slowly add in the flour and baking powder. Once all the ingredients have been combined chill the dough in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.

After the dough has chilled preheat the oven to 375. Pour the confectioner’s sugar into a medium-sized bowl. Roll the dough into 1 inch balls and generously coat in confectioner’s sugar by rolling the dough balls in the bowl of sugar. Place the dough 1 inch apart on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 10 minutes.

Yields about 3 dozen cookies.

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Peppermint Swirl Cookies

Ingredients
3 c all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 c granulated sugar
1/2 c butter
1 egg, beaten
Red food coloring
Green food coloring
2 tsp mint extract
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

To create a tri-colored, swirled effect the dough needs to be made in three batches. In a bowl beat 1 egg until it is frothy and the yolk and white are combined. Using a measuring cup, separate the egg into 3 equal parts (to be used for each batch).

To make the first batch start by sifting together 1 cup of the flour and 2/3 teaspoon of baking powder, in a medium sized mixing bowl. Next, using a stand or hand mixer, in a separate bowl beat together 1/3 cup of sugar and 5 1/3 tablespoons of butter.

Once the butter and sugar are combined add one of the parts of beaten egg that was set aside and 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the dough and mix just until the ingredients are combined. Scrape the dough out onto a sheet of wax paper and set aside.

For the second and third batches of dough follow the instructions in the paragraphs above with the following exceptions;

For the red dough; after mixing in the egg add drops of red food coloring until the desired shade of red is achieved. Instead of vanilla extract use 1 teaspoon of mint extract.

For the green dough; after mixing in the egg add drops of red food coloring until the desired shade of green is achieved. Instead of vanilla extract use 1 teaspoon of mint extract.

Once all three batches of dough have been made it is time to roll them out. Starting with the vanilla dough, roll out the dough so that it stays on the sheet of wax paper. The dough should be rolled out so that it is longer and in an oval or rectangular shape about 1/8 of an inch thick. Set the vanilla dough aside.

Next roll out the red or green dough in between two sheets of wax paper into a similar shape as the vanilla dough. After rolling out the colored dough remove one of the sheets of wax paper and place the dough on top of the vanilla dough. Remove the remaining layer of wax paper.

Repeat this step for the other batch of colored dough so that you have all three rolled out and on top of each other. Keeping the dough in one sheet of wax paper, roll the dough into a narrow log to create the spiral effect of the three colors. Chill in the freezer for 1 hour.

After the dough has been chilled preheat the oven to 350. Take the sheet of wax paper off of the log of dough and place on a cutting board. Using a sharp knife slice the log of dough into cookies that are 1/4 inch thick and place 1 inch apart on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 12-15 minutes.

Yields about 3 dozen cookies.