Snickerdoodle Sandwich Cookies

Some time ago I started thinking about a snickerdoodle sandwich cookie, based on the vanilla bean sandwich cookies that my dear friend Diana absolutely loves. I’m proud to say that I adapted that recipe with great success and created a wonderful treat with the perfect balance of cinnamon and vanilla, two of my favorite flavors.

The cookies themselves would be fine on their own, but sandwiching them with vanilla cream filling takes this recipe up a delicious notch. You’ll have plenty of filling left over (I’m making chocolate cupcakes and filling them with the remaining portion), so you can be generous with your portions. Someday I’ll need to figure out how to cut the filling recipe down!

Vanilla Snickerdoodle Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon, divided
  • 10 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar, divided
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line three baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a small bowl, stir together 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon with 1/2 cup sugar; set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, kosher salt, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon; set aside.

In a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and remaining 1 1/2 cup sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.

Add egg and vanilla extract and beat on medium speed until smooth.

With the mixer running on low, gradually add flour mixture.

Shape dough into 1/2 teaspoon-sized balls, about the size of a gumball, and roll in cinnamon sugar.

Place on baking sheets about 2 inches apart and bake for 10-11 minutes, until tops are very light golden and just set.

Cool on baking sheets for 2-3 minutes, then transfer on the parchment to wire racks to cool completely before filling.

Vanilla Cream Filling

Ingredients

  • 8 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Preparation

In a mixing bowl, beat together butter and shortening.

Add powdered sugar in small batches, beating until combined.  Once all sugar is incorporated, beat on medium speed for two minutes

Add vanilla and beat to combine.

Place about 1 teaspoon of filling onto half of the cookies, spreading to the edges. Top with another cookie; store at room temperature for up to 3 days. Makes 28 sandwiches.

Shannon’s Paleo(ish) Brownies

My friend Shannon finished her master’s degree last week, and such accomplishments must be marked with baked goods. Shannon is very fit and healthy, so she requested some paleo(ish) brownies, which were a huge hit at the office.

This recipe is adapted from Civilized Caveman Cooking’s blueberry espresso brownies; I didn’t use organic products or drizzle the melted coconut cream concentrate over the top like he did, but apparently they were delicious nonetheless. As they bake, they filled my kitchen with a delicious coffee/chocolate aroma, so I’m glad everyone liked them so much! Congratulations, Shannon!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup coconut cream concentrate, melted
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon ground coffee
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup blueberries

Preparation

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Lightly grease a 9 x 13 baking pan.

In a mixing bowl fitted with the paddle attachment, combine melted coconut cream concentrate, eggs, honey, cocoa powder, cinnamon, ground coffee, vanilla, baking soda, and salt. Beat on medium speed for 2-3 minutes, scraping the sides of the bowl well, until the mixture is very well-combined. Stir in blueberries.

Pour batter into the baking pan, spreading gently in an even layer.

Bake for 25-30 minutes, until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cool brownies in the pan; cut into 24 squares. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Super Fudgy Brownies

There are those who like fudgy brownies, and those who like cakey brownies. For me, brownies mean fudgy…the cakey ones may as well be chocolate cake. Not that I wouldn’t have eaten them back in my chocolate-eating days, but the fudgy ones were always my preference.

These brownies are super fudgy and adapted from a King Arthur Flour recipe; I left them completely plain so as to not take away from their amazing fudgy-ness. They got excellent reviews from both Mike’s coworkers and mine (I had a video shoot today and took them to my dear friends at our media studio).

Ingredients

  • 12 tablespoons butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup Dutch process cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs, very lightly beaten
  • 1 cup flour

Preparation

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Lightly grease a 9 x 13 baking pan.

In a medium saucepan, melt butter over low heat. Stir in sugar, then continue to cook for just a few minutes until the mixture is hot, but not bubbly.

Pour butter mixture into a large bowl and add cocoa powder, salt, baking powder, and vanilla, stirring well to fully combine. Add eggs, stirring to completely combine, then stir in flour until smooth.

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 29-32 minutes, until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cool completely in pan; cut into 24 squares. Using a small offset spatula, gently lift bars out of pan; remember, they are super fudgy, so you’ll want to be gentle so they don’t break. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Peanut Butter Cookie Bars

Peanut butter cookies are among my favorites. But what if you don’t want to go through the process of making the dough, rolling it into balls, dipping them in sugar, then making that crisscross pattern in the tops? You make peanut butter cookie bars.

The original recipe for these bars came from the Nestle Very Best Baking blog and included chocolate chunks, but I substituted peanut butter chips instead for an extra kick of peanut butter flavor. Next time, I might also add some melted peanut butter chips in a drizzle on the top. You could very easily substitute my peanut butter chips for chocolate chips or chunks if you like; I’m sure it would be delicious!

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 8 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 10-ounce package peanut butter chips

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a small bowl, combine flour and baking soda; set aside.

In a mixing bowl, combine light brown sugar, sugar, butter, and peanut butter; cream together on medium speed until smooth. Add egg and vanilla, beating again until smooth.

Add flour mixture and beat to combine, then stir in peanut butter chips.

Press dough into the bottom of an ungreased 9 x 13 baking pan and bake for 18-22 minutes, until edges are light brown and a cake tester comes out with just a few moist crumbs when inserted in the center.

Cool completely in pan; cut into 24 bars. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days.

Coconut Dulce de Leche Brownies

As I contemplated how to use up some leftover dulce de leche, brownies came to mind. My friends Scott and Diana helped me figure out several aspects of this treat last week, but what they’ll likely be surprised to discover at the office tomorrow is the layer of dulce de leche buttercream between the brownie and toasted coconut.

Yes, dulce de leche buttercream. Between a brownie and toasted coconut, topped with chocolate drizzle. They kind of remind me of the Girl Scout Samoa cookie, minus the shortbread…but that would be a great idea for next time. I wish I could try them, but Mike says they’re delicious. I’ll take his word for it!

Ingredients

For the brownie layer

  • 1 1/3 cups flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract

For the dulce de leche buttercream

  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup dulce de leche 
  • 2 cups powdered sugar

For the topping

  • 1 1/2 cups shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 tablespoon shortening

Preparation

Begin by toasting your coconut so it’s cool by the time you’re ready to use it. Preheat oven to 325 degrees and spread coconut on a rimmed baking sheet (you can line the sheet with parchment if you like, but mine toasted better without). Toast for about 8-10 minutes, checking and stirring every 2 minutes to prevent over-browning. Allow to cool completely before using.

Raise oven temperature to 350 degrees. Line a 9 x 13 baking pan with parchment paper, extending the paper over the sides; this will make it easier to lift the brownie out later.

In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, cocoa powder, and salt.

In another bowl, combine vegetable oil, eggs, and vanilla; beat lightly to combine, then pour into the dry mixture. Stir well to combine, but be careful not to over-mix. You want all of your dry ingredients to be absorbed, but your batter doesn’t need to be completely smooth; it will thicken and become shiny when it’s ready.

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 25-28 minutes, until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.

Allow to cool completely before frosting and topping.

To make frosting, in a mixing bowl fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter on medium speed for about 2 minutes. Scrape down the bowl and add dulce de leche, then beat on medium speed for 3-4 minutes, until very smooth and well-combined. Add powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating well between each.

Spread buttercream in an even layer over the brownies, then top with toasted coconut, pressing it gently into the surface of the frosting.

Lift brownies out of pan using parchment; peel parchment away from sides and cut into 24 squares. Place on a wire rack to drizzle with chocolate; it’ll be easier to manage the brownies if you follow this process, but you can certainly drizzle them in the pan then lift them out once the chocolate hardens.

Make drizzle: in a small saucepan, combine chocolate chips and shortening over low heat and stir until completely smooth and melted. Fill a zip-top bag with chocolate and snip off one corner, bearing in mind that the chocolate will be very liquid. Drizzle chocolate over brownies and allow to harden before serving.

Store in an airtight container at room temperature (if stacking, place waxed paper or parchment paper between layers) for up to 3 days.

Makes 24.

 

 

Candy Blondies

For most of my life, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups were my favorite candy. Now that I can’t eat chocolate because of migraines, I’m delighted to see that Reese’s offers a white peanut butter cup. And while I’d never really been a fan of white chocolate, it’s a wonderful alternative for migraineurs like me.

The recipe below combines two of my favorites: white peanut butter eggs and miniature Reese’s Pieces. You could mix whatever candy you like into these blondies; the recipe is one of the best I’ve found, and I’ve made it with both peanut and regular M&Ms before. Next time I make these, I might melt some peanut butter chips and drizzle it over the top, just for an extra bit of peanut butter goodness, or include peanut butter chips in the batter. The possibilities are endless!

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 12 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 6 Reese’s White Peanut Butter Eggs, chopped
  • 1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons miniature Reese’s Pieces

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9 x 13 pan completely with foil and lightly spray with baking spray.

Reserve 1 cup of chopped peanut butter eggs and 1/3 cup miniature Reese’s pieces for mixing into the batter; save the remaining portions for pressing onto the top.

In a large bowl, combine flour, salt, baking soda, and brown sugar; mix well to combine.

Add melted butter and stir to incorporate slightly; add eggs and vanilla extract and stir well to fully combine. The dough will be fairly dry, so you’ll want to use your hands to fully incorporate your ingredients.

Add 1 cup chopped peanut butter eggs and 1/3 cup miniature Reese’s Pieces and mix with your hands to combine well.

Press dough into the prepared pan, then sprinkle the top with the remaining candies and press them into the dough.

Bake for 23-25 minutes, until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cool in pan for about 10-15 minutes, then lift out by the foil and place on a wire rack; peel foil back slightly and allow to cool completely.

Once cool, remove foil entirely and cut into bars. Store in an airtight container.

Makes 24.

Butterscotch Pie II

Some time ago, I made butterscotch pie, and my filling didn’t set well. I suspect that I didn’t cook it long enough, but then again, I was pretty much a pie-baking amateur at the time. I’m pleased to report that this recipe from Trisha Yearwood at Food Network delivered a wonderful, fully set filling.

While Trisha’s recipe calls for a meringue, I decided to leave the meringue out; you can use your three leftover egg whites to make meringue cookies or almond clouds (adapting the recipe to account for the extra whites in each of those recipes), or make a meringue for your pie if you like. Personally, I’m more of a whipped cream/whipped topping-on-pie kind of gal, but whatever floats your boat. I also have to admit that I used a store-bought pie crust for this, but as I’ve mentioned in previous pie posts, sometimes you just want to focus on your filling, and such was the case with this pie.

Ingredients

  • 1 9-inch pie crust, store-bought or homemade
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 cups milk
  • 3 tablespoons corn starch
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preparation

Pre-bake pie crust and allow to cool completely before filling.

In a medium saucepan, combine brown sugar, heavy cream, and butter. Cook over medium heat until the sugar dissolves and the mixture boils; continue to boil for 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until the mixture thickens and turns darker in color. Remove from heat; reserve 1 tablespoon milk and slowly pour remaining milk into the sugar mixture.

In a small bowl, combine the reserved 1 tablespoon milk, cornstarch, egg yolks, and vanilla extract; whisk together until smooth. Return the sugar/milk mixture to medium heat and add the cornstarch mixture, stirring well to combine. Continue to cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens; Trisha’s recipe says this takes 3 minutes, but my filling took at least 10 minutes to get thick. Large bubbles will appear in the pan when your filling is ready.

Pour filling into baked pie shell and immediately place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the top of the filling. Refrigerate until the filling is set, about 4 hours or overnight.

Remove plastic wrap and top with whipped cream or whipped topping before serving.

Store in the refrigerator.