Thursday, November 29, 2012

Swedish Cookies

It's been a week since Thanksgiving! Feels like much longer than that. A week ago I watched a monkey flying.
A frog floating.
A cat hovering.
I saw girls who can soar through the air too!
And it all finished with the man in a flying sled.
No wonder this past week has FLOWN by. ;)
Last week I was lucky enough to receive these Swedish Cookies from my mom (via my dad who brought them up with him when he visited.)
When I was younger these cookies were not my favorite because I was more focused on the chocolate and super sweet cookies. But now that I'm older and my taste buds have grown to love a lot more things, I really enjoyed eating these cookies. Thanks mom!
Swedish Cookies (from my Mom's Best Recipes Cookbook)
1 C butter
½ C powdered sugar
1¾ C flour
½ C chopped pecans (or a little more)
1 t vanilla
Cream butter well; add remaining ingredients. Roll into balls about 1" in diameter. Bake at 350°
for 15 min. While still a little warm, roll in powdered sugar.
(made by guest baker: my mom)
Bake well and prosper!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Soft Nutella Thumbprint Cookies

Thanksgiving is over here in America. So, is everyone ready for Christmas?
It seems like this time of year flies by with holidays, parties, my birthday, New Year's, and tons of baking. I am always ready for Christmas (whether I have my cards and gifts out on time or not.)
This weekend I started my first dose of holiday cookie baking. I took a recipe online and made some adjustments to make the Nutella flavor really prevalent. If I had green and red sprinkles, I would have made these a little more festive. But sprinkles or not, they sure tasted good and were even better with a glass of milk!
Soft Nutella Thumbprint Cookies (adapted from Kirbie's Cravings)
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup butter, room temperature
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 (3.4 ounce) packages instant vanilla pudding mix
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup+ Nutella
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Sift together the flour and baking soda and set aside.
2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar until creamy and fluffy.
3. Beat in the instant pudding mix until blended. Beat in the eggs and vanilla.
4. Mix in the flour mixture at low speed. Stir in the chocolate chips until fully incorporated into the dough.
5. Make balls of cookie dough about 1 1/2 inch in diameter and place on cookie sheets lined with parchment paper or silpat mats, spacing dough balls about 2 inches apart..
6. Bake for about 7 minutes and then carefully remove from oven. Mark each cookie in the middle with a spoon and then fill indents with Nutella.
7. Replace cookie sheets in the oven and bake from 3-5 minutes more. Let cookies cool on cookie sheets before removing.
Bake well and prosper!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Maple Yogurt Muffins with Pecans

Happy Thanksgiving!

My dad is in town for a couple of days for a nice, fun filled father/daughter vacation. I know he likes pecans and I wanted to make something we could bring to the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. When I saw these muffins I knew I had a winner!
This recipe is also a good one for using up any leftover pecans from Thanksgiving baking.

And now for your enjoyment: A special something from my past. A Thanksgiving poem I wrote in 4th grade.

Thankful for the food we eat
Happy 'cause it's turkey meat.
Apples, bananas, grapes
None are for the apes.
King on high we praise thy name
So you love us all the same.
Giving us our food to eat.
In every room it's very neat.
Vistors coming now.
In the living room we eat the cow.
Nothing better than cherry pie.
God, I hope I never die!
(copyright Erika Beth 1992)

I hope you laughed a little at that and I hope your holiday is filled with tons of mirth and joy!
Maple Yogurt Muffins with Pecans (from and now for something Completely Delicious)

1/3 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup real maple syrup
1 cup plain yogurt
2 large eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup pecans, chopped and around 16 pecan halves for topping
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a muffin pan with paper liners or grease with butter and dust with flour.
In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Continue to cook until browned, swirling the pan as necessary to promote even cooking. Remove from heat and let cool for a few minutes.
In a bowl, whisk together the browned butter, maple syrup, yogurt, and eggs. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, sugar. baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Add the wet ingredients all at once and stir until just combined. Add the chopped pecans.
Fill the muffin pan with the muffin batter, filling each cup about 2/3 full. Top each with a pecan half. Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 15-18 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.
Makes 12-16 muffins.

Bake well and prosper!

Monday, November 12, 2012

No Bake Peanut Butter Cup Granola Cookies

After hurricanes and snow storms, life is back to know, if you count singing in the chorus for a world premiere of an opera as normal.
I got to wear a creepy mask for a scene with a serpent/devil. (I'm the one on the left...the one without the beard.)
Weather is back to normal in NYC too. Well, somewhat normal. Normal if you consider 60 degrees in November normal. I consider it a blessing!
Anyway, I made these cookies for the cast and crew on the last day of performances for the opera I was just in. And boy oh boy were they messy. YES!
Such a mess...such a success of a cookie! While making the dough I had an idea of something different to do with the PB cups. I unwrapped most of my room mate's candy...while he was gone. (Thanks roomie!) Then I spooned the dough on top of the individual mini cups. I felt very develish doing it since it was such a deliciously diabolic deviant to the recipe. (Don't you just love alliterations?!)
All the opera singers just loved this cookie. And may I add that it is really hard to eat just one?!
No Bake Peanut Butter Cup Granola Cookies (adapted from Cookies & Cups)
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup peanut butter
1 1/2 cups granola (use one WITHOUT raisins)
1 1/2 cups Quick Cooking Oatmeal (I accidentally used old fashioned. Still turned out fine but quick oats are definitely the better option.)
1 (8 oz package) Mini Peanut Butter Cups
How to Make
Line counter/plates/cutting boards with parchment paper.
In a large saucepan combine sugars, cocoa powder, butter and cream. Heat over medium until mixture comes to a boil and then boil for one minute. Remove from heat.
Stir in peanut butter, oats and granola until combined. Let it sit for about 2 minutes. Unwrap the mini pb cups and arrange a couple of inches apart from each other on the parchment paper. Drop by heaping tablespoon or more onto pb cups and press down around the cups to form a cookie shape. Put in fridge and let harden before eating.
Bake well and prosper!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Peanut Butter Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies

Do you ever feel like you just can't get a break? I think that's the way NYC feels right now when dealing with mother nature. Last week was Hurricane Sandy. This week was Nor'Easter Athena which meant snow.
Looks pretty, but it's been too much crazy weather for me in just a week's time. And guess what! It's going to be 60+ degrees F this weekend!
I DID get a break when making these cookies though. I saw a lovely photo on a Czechoslovakian blog. I don't read that language but does! I added a little more flour than the original recipe so they became less flat, but besides that I think everything worked out just fine!
Peanut Butter Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies (translated from Sweet Pixel Blog)
1.5 cups flour
1/2 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 bananas, crushed
1/2 cup all natural peanut butter
8 tablespoons butter
2 egg yolks
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
¼ cup milk
3/4 cup of dark chocolate, coarsely grated
3/4 cup of peanuts

Preheat oven to 340° F. In a large bowl, combine peanut butter and butter until smooth. Add the sugar, brown sugar, egg yolks, vanilla extract, milk and banana pieces. Mix.
In a smaller bowl, mix the flour and baking powder and add to the mixture. Finally, stir chocolate chips and peanuts.
Spoon the batter onto a baking sheet and spread it out in the shape of a circle. Leave a good amount of room between dough.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Once out of the oven, let cool for about 5 minutes and then add sliced chocolate and peanuts on top if desired. 
Bake well and prosper!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Soft Cranberry Orange Biscotti

I made these the same day that I made the Hurricane Sandy Chocolate Cobbler. So I guess this was part of my preparations for the hurricane. I definitely had plenty to eat for breakfast...and to snack on the rest of the day.

It was nice to have time to bake.

I also had time to play jenga with these biscotti.
And arrange them in a martini glass as a toast to myself.
And make them nice and snugly in a couple of shawls.
Yes. Day 2 of no subways/not going in to work resulted in a lot of free time.
And yummy cranberry orange biscotti.
Cranberry Orange Biscotti (adapted from Bake For Happy Kids)
9 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, cooled
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 Tablespoon milk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
finely grated rind of 1/2 an orange
11/2 cup self rising flour, sifted
1/2 cup caster sugar (Erika's Extra: I put white granule sugar into a food processor to make it finer.)
1/2 cup dried cranberries
powdered sugar to dust

1. Preheat the oven to 340°F. Line 2 baking trays with baking paper.

2. Combine butter, eggs, milk, vanilla and orange rind. Combine flour, sugar and cranberries. Make a well in dry ingredients and stir in butter mixture until a soft dough forms. Cover with a tea towel and rest for 10 mins.

3. Divide and shape dough into 11-12 inch logs. Place on trays. Bake for 25 mins or until golden. Cool on tray for 15 mins. Dust with icing sugar. While still warm, cut into slices. Serve.
Bake well and prosper!