Pumpkin Spice Latte Cookies

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Fall has always been my favorite season. I love the mild weather, the sunny afternoons, and the comfortable clothes that come along with the change in temperatures. I grew up in Upstate NY, and let me tell you, if you’ve never been there during Fall, add it to your bucket list. The days of sweltering, humid summer days are gone, and are replaced by cool, crisp air an a breathtaking view of the leaves changing colors. It’s a lovely sight to see. It doesn’t matter how many years it’s been since I was in school, September always marks the beginning of fall in my mind and also gives me a feeling of new beginnings.

I know the calendar date for Fall isn’t quite here yet, but along with the cooler temperatures, this time of year has me yearning, like many, for a Pumpkin Spice Latte. They remind me of my days as a student, living in Boston, getting settled in a new dorm and starting a new semester.

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I know there are many PSL lovers out there, so I created this cookie recipe for us. It has real pumpkin in it, the spices that make it feel like fall, and a hint of coffee flavor. This cookie is fluffy, and cakey in texture and I am absolutely in love with it. So if you love pumpkin, and fall flavors, I suggest grabbing your self a can of pumpkin puree and getting these cookies started!

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Pumpkin Spice Latte Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 c all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp corn starch
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp coffee grounds
  • 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 c unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 c pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 c brown sugar
  • 1/2 c granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/3 c white chocolate chips

Directions:

In a medium-sized mixing bowl combine the flour, corn starch, baking soda, salt, coffee grounds, and pumpkin pie spice and set aside. Using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment mix the butter on a low speed to spread it around the bowl. With the mixer running slowly add the sugars and beat on a medium speed until it has lightened in color and increased in volume slightly. Add the egg and beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.

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Next add the pumpkin and vanilla extract. Mix on a low speed for 30 seconds. Stop the mixer and scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl. Mix on a low speed for an additional 30 seconds.

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Finally, add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Stop the mixer and scrape down sides and bottom of bowl. Mix on low for 30 seconds.

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Using a spoon, drop the dough into 1 1/2 inch spoonfuls on a lined baking sheet.

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Feel free to place them close together to get them all one one shape. They won’t look pretty, and the dough will be sticky.

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Chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours (do not skip this step! Alternatively, the dough could be made the day before and left to chill over night in the fridge, just be sure to cover the tray with plastic wrap). After the dough has chilled for 2 hours gently reshape the dough into even disks and spread them out on the pan.

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Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and bake the cookies for 6 minutes, rotate the pan and put the tray on a different shelve in the oven (if your tray is on the top shelf, move it to the middle or bottom rack, etc.). Bake for an additional 6 minutes.  Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for about 5-10 minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack.

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Last step! Carefully melt your white chocolate (microwave or double boiler method whichever you prefer, click here for more information on melting chocolate without burning it).  Working quickly, pour the white chocolate into a small zip lock bag or a piping bag. If using a zip lock bag snip a small hole in one of the bottom corners. Drizzle the chocolate over the cookies.

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Is white chocolate just not your jam? I’ll admit I wasn’t always the biggest fan, and I’ve only recently started to come around to it, so I understand if you don’t dig white chocolate, so here are some alternatives:

While we’re on the topic of alterations, if you feel this cookie would be even better with a 1/2 c of chocolate chips or a handful of pecans, go for it!

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Now, I know this recipe only calls for a few tablespoons of pumpkin puree, but I wouldn’t leave you high and dry with will those leftovers, now would I? Here are some of my favorite fall recipes that use pumpkin puree, let me know which ones you like best!

Never miss a post by becoming a Reckless Subscriber and receive posts directly in your inbox, and if you’re looking for sneak-peaks of future posts or what’s cooking in my kitchen check out my Instagram account, RecklessInTheKitchen.

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Pumpkin Spice Latte Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 c all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp corn starch
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp coffee grounds
  • 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 c unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 c pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 c brown sugar
  • 1/2 c granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/3 c white chocolate chips

Directions:

In a medium-sized mixing bowl combine the flour, corn starch, baking soda, salt, coffee grounds, and pumpkin pie spice and set aside. Using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment mix the butter on a low speed to spread it around the bowl. With the mixer running slowly add the sugars and beat on a medium speed until it has lightened in color and increased in volume slightly. Add the egg and beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.

Next add the pumpkin and vanilla extract. Mix on a low speed for 30 seconds. Stop the mixer and scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl. Mix on a low speed for an additional 30 seconds. Finally, add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Stop the mixer and scrape down sides and bottom of bowl. Mix on low for 30 seconds.

Using a spoon, drop the dough into 1 1/2 inch spoonfuls on a lined baking sheet. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours (do not skip this step! Alternatively, the dough could be made the day before and left to chill overnight in the fridge, just be sure to cover the tray with plastic wrap). After the dough has chilled for 2 hours gently reshape the dough into even disks and spread them out on the pan.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and bake the cookies for 6 minutes, rotate the pan and put the tray on a different shelve in the oven (if your tray is on the top shelf, move it to the middle or bottom rack, etc.). Bake for an additional 6 minutes.  Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for about 5-10 minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack.  Last step! Carefully melt your white chocolate (microwave or double boiler method whichever you prefer, click here for more information on melting chocolate without burning it).  Working quickly, pour the white chocolate into a small zip lock bag or a piping bag. If using a zip lock bag snip a small hole in one of the bottom corners. Drizzle the chocolate over the cookies.

 

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.

DIY Christmas Gift Ideas: Part I

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I know this is crazy seeing as it’s not even the end of November, but I’m already thinking about Christmas gifts. I am a last-minute person and I always have been. This applies to all areas of my life including studying for exams, writing articles, planning Halloween costumes, and most certainly extends to shopping for Christmas gifts. So let’s just say that this year, I’m trying to do things differently.

This year I want to try to make as many as my gifts as I can. (Spoiler alert to those of you on my Christmas list!) However, some of the ideas I have, I’ve never made before and therefore the recipes must be tested, so why not write about their success (or failure) and share the recipes with you!

Here is Part I of my series on DIY Christmas gifts.

Cheddar crackers

Recipe adapted from Real Simple Magazine

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Ingredients:

  • 2 c unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4 c grated cheddar cheese*
  • 4 tsp salt
  • 4 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 4 c all-purpose flour**
  • 1 c Rice Krispie cereal
  • 1/4 c chopped bacon, optional
  • 1/4 c chopped jalapeno, optional

Directions:

*Note: what really makes these crackers is the cheese (duh!), so choose your cheddar carefully. I’m a Cabbot girl myself, so I went with Cabbot’s Seriously Sharp Cheddar and grated it myself before starting the dough. Personally, I think it’s worth the extra effort to grate the cheese yourself than to buy a pre-grated package.

**Note: some easy flour substitutions can be made; using whole wheat flour, or a combination of whole wheat and AP flour. Almond flour could also be used for a gluten-free version.

To get started beat the butter, grated cheese, and spices using a hand or stand mixer. Once combined add the flour and cereal. If opting to add bacon and/or jalapeno to the crackers toss them in too. Mix for 1-2 minutes on a medium-low speed until the dough starts to come together.

Now for the easy part! Dump the dough out onto a large sheet of wax paper. Form the dough into a log and roll up in the wax paper. (Square or round? Whatever floats your boat!). Next, put the log of dough into the fridge to chill for 1-2 hours or until firm. (Quick Tip: don’t have the time? Chill the dough in the freezer for 30-40 minutes instead.)

After the dough has chilled, preheat the oven to 350. Unroll the dough from the wax paper and cut into slices that are at least 1/4 inch thick. Place the slices on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 18-20 minutes. The crackers should be a light golden brown color.

Store at room temperature in a sealed container for up to 1 week.

Warning: This recipe makes a lotta crackers. My test groups yielded about: 50 per a batch (although this will vary depending on the size of the log).

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The Verdict: Yum. Yum. Yum! Just call me Clara Ciminelli: the killer of diets. These were awesome. Make ’em, share ’em, love ’em!

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Cheddar crackers

Recipe adapted from Real Simple Magazine

Ingredients:

  • 2 c unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4 c grated cheddar cheese
  • 4 tsp salt
  • 4 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 4 c all-purpose flour
  • 1 c Rice Krispie cereal
  • 1/4 c chopped bacon, optional
  • 1/4 c chopped jalapeno, optional

Directions:

Start by beating the butter, grated cheese, and spices together using a hand or stand mixer. Once combined add the flour and cereal. If opting to add bacon and/or jalapeno to the crackers toss them in too. Mix for 1-2 minutes on a medium-low speed until the dough starts to come together.

Dump the dough out onto a large sheet of wax paper. Form the dough into a log and roll up in the wax paper. (Square or round? Whatever floats your boat!). Next, put the log of dough into the fridge to chill for 1-2 hours or until firm (or chill the dough in the freezer for 30-40 minutes instead).

After the dough has chilled, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Unroll the dough from the wax paper and cut into slices that are at least 1/4 inch thick. Place the slices on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 18-20 minutes. The crackers should be a light golden brown color.

Store at room temperature in a sealed container for up to 1 week.

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.

Holiday Recipe: Cake Balls

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

These trendy, bite-sized desserts are easy to make great for holiday parties.

It feels like cake balls and cake pops have been appearing everywhere lately. These small servings of cake that have been dipped in chocolate are even available at Starbucks now. As it turns out, these adorable treats are actually not so hard to make at home!

They can be made with any cake recipe (from scratch or box), an easy cream-cheese frosting to hold the cake together, and melted chocolate. Cake balls also can be decorated in any which way or left in just a coating of melted chocolate.

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Cake Balls

Ingredients

1box of cake mix

8 ounces cream cheese (not reduced fat)

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

1 cup confectioner’s sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 bag of chocolate chips

In a well greased 9×13 pan bake your favorite cake. Whether it’s your grandma’s fudge cake or fun-fetti, any cake will do. I selected a red velvet cake for this batch. After the cake is finished baking and a tooth pick inserted into the center comes out clean, cover the cake with a dish towel and put on a wire rack to cool completely.

While the cake cools whip up some cream cheese frosting. The frosting will be used to hold the cake together and give it its shape. Using a stand or hand mixer beat together the cream cheese and butter. Once the two are well combined turn your mixer on low and slowly add the confectioner’s sugar. Stop the mixer to scrape the sides of the bowl, and add 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract. Then turn the mixer on medium-high and beat for 2-3 minutes.

Once the cake is completely cooled and your frosting is ready it’s time to turn your sheet cake into balls of cake. Cut the cake into four equal sections and put one section into a large mixing bowl. Using a fork shred the section of cake until it is completely crumbled. Continue to do this one fourth at a time until the entire cake is crumbled finely.

Next, add the prepared frosting to the bowl of cake crumbs. Using a fork work the frosting into the crumbs until the cake and frosting are combined. Even if you are using a chocolate cake, the frosting will eventually blend into the cake. Using a small ice cream scoop to measure, roll the crumbs into balls that are 1 ½ inches in diameter and place on a baking sheet. Finally, put the sheet of cake balls into the freezer for 1 hour.

After the cake balls have been in the freezer for an hour it’s time to coat the cake in chocolate. To prepare the chocolate coating you’ll need to melt a bag of chocolate chips over a double boiler. Fill a medium sized sauce pan with 2 inches of water and place the half of the chocolate chips in a high-heat friendly bowl.

Put the bowl on top of the sauce pan, the bowl should be well above the water. Turn on the burner to medium heat and stir the chocolate as it melts. Using a double boiler (versus melting the chocolate in the microwave) is better for melting chocolate because it allows you to control the temperature.

Sometimes when chocolate is being melted it gets hot too quickly and turns into a thick and pasty texture, this is called breaking. If the chocolate starts to break remove your chocolate from heat and stir in either a splash (very small amount) of milk or vegetable oil and gently work it into the chocolate. This will smooth out the texture.

Next, coat the cake balls by putting one cake ball into the melted chocolate and gently covering using a spoon and fork to maneuver the cake ball in chocolate. Once evenly coated place the cake ball on the baking sheet. If you are topping the cake ball with any decorations, do so before the chocolate hardens. Topping suggestions: sprinkles, crushed candy canes, melted white chocolate, or chopped nuts.