These cookies are really good and really easy to make. The cookie recipe is one from epicurious.com that is part of a recipe for chocolate candy cane cookies. The filling recipe I modified to make cinnamon instead of peppermint. Try them this weekend.
CHOCOLATE-CINNAMON SANDWICH COOKIES
1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably Dutch-process)
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 large egg
1 cup powdered sugar
¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa power, and salt. Set aside. In another bowl, beat the butter and sugar together with a mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg. Add the flour mixture and beat until blended (I found that after a certain point, I had to mix it with my hands). Scoop the dough by tablespoonfuls and roll into balls. Place on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Using the bottom of a glass, flatten the cookies until they’re about 2-inch rounds (the edges will crack some). Bake at 350 degrees for 9-11 minutes, or until the cookies no longer look wet, and a small indentation appears on the top of them when lightly pressed with fingers. Cool completely on racks before filling.
In a medium bowl, beat the butter, powdered sugar, and cinnamon with a mixer until well blended. Spread filling on one cookie and top with another. Store them in an airtight container.
Picture it: there I was, planted in front of the computer screen, already with two dessert ideas for Cinnamon Week, when, LO! And behold! Leave it to a Kitchen Psycho to come up with her own idea! I thought of Chai, and all the wonderful spices that are incorporated into that lovely Eastern drink. Nutmeg, clove, cinnamon. YES.
So, as has become my custom when I think I have invented a new dish, I search the internet to see who beat me to it. I found only one recipe that fit my precise idea, then I made an icing for it, and believe you me, the icing really does make the cake! Or bread, in this case. This one smells absolutely GORGEOUS as it bakes!
CHAI BANANA BREAD WITH COFFEE SPICE ICING
(inspired by recipe on Food.com)
3 bananas, mashed
1/3 cup butter, melted
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon allspice
3/4 teaspoon cardamom
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 pinch salt
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup slivered almonds
Preheat oven to 350º. In a large mixing bowl, mix butter into mashed bananas. Add sugar, egg and almond extract. Sprinkle baking soda, baking powder, spices and salt over entire mixture and mix well. Add flour and nuts last and mix well. Pour batter into buttered loaf pan. Bake 60-75 minutes. Cool on a rack before removing from pan.
Note: As a substitute for allspice, you may mix equal amounts of cinnamon, ground cloves, and nutmeg.
Coffee Spice Icing
2 ½ cups powdered sugar
2 tablebspoon butter, melted
¼ cup brewed coffee
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
Blend with a mixer. Add coffee or powdered sugar until desired consistency is achieved.
I have to be honest…pasta for dessert was pretty tough. But, after much internet searching, I settled on homemade chocolate ravioli with a peppermint cream cheese filling. Since I have never, ever, ever made pasta on my own, I found a chocolate ravioli dough online and simply cut it down to make less. The filling was my own idea. I will say that these were pretty good, but I think that having a pasta maker would be a huge advantage so that the dough gets thin enough… rolling it by hand just doesn’t get the dough as thin as it should be. If I ever get a pasta maker, I will definitely revisit this recipe and try them again.
FRIED CHOCOLATE RAVIOLI WITH PEPPERMINT CREAM CHEESE FILLING
For the dough:
1 ¼ cups flour
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
Dash of salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon canola oil
3 tablespoons water
For the filling:
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
½ teaspoon peppermint extract
1 tablespoon crushed peppermint candy
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, and salt. Add the egg, oil, and water, and use a large spoon to stir until the dough starts to form. Use your hands to get the dough completely mixed. Set aside.
In another large bowl, beat the cream cheese, powdered sugar, and peppermint extract together with a mixer until well mixed. Stir in the crushed peppermint candy.
Roll the dough out on a floured surface as thin as possible. Using a large, round cookie cutter, cut circles of dough out. Put a small dollop of the cream cheese mixture in the center of each dough circle, then fold them over in a half-moon shape and crimp the ends together well. (You may want to use a little water to seal the ends together.)
Fry the ravioli in hot vegetable oil, for 3-5 minutes on each side. Drain on paper towels and sprinkle immediately with powdered sugar.
Sheesh. What a challenge! At first, I considered making a chocolate ravioli, a chocolate pasta from scratch, but I just wasnt happy with any of the filling ideas I had... So I found an orzo pudding recipe online, tweaked it a little, and here you go! Actually tastes a bit like tapioca. The only thing I would do next time is modify it for a pasta of even less... heft. Maybe a couscous! Enjoy!
CHERRY & ORZO PUDDING IN CHOCOLATE CUPS
Inspired by Bill Rodgers' Championship Orzo Pudding from Creamette.com
½ bag semi-sweet chocolate pieces, melted
4-3/4 cups milk
1/2 cup sugar
2/3 cup (4 oz.) Orzo, uncooked
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 cup sweetened dried cherries, diced
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
slivered almonds, toasted, for garnish
To melt chocolate, plate in saucepan over low heat, stirring occasionally until completely melted. Coat the insides of six cupcake liners with melted chocolate. Set each on a plate or small baking sheet and refrigerate.
In a heavy 4-quart saucepan, stir together milk and sugar; cook over medium-high heat until mixture just comes to a boil, stirring every 2 minutes to prevent scorching. Stir in pasta. Cook, uncovered, maintaining a slow boil for 25 minutes or until thickened (adjust heat between medium and medium-high to prevent overboiling). Stir frequently, about every 2 minutes or when skin forms on top. Remove from heat; stir in cinnamon. Add cherries and vanilla; pour into medium bowl. Cover; refrigerate 4 hours or until chilled, stirring occasionally (pudding will thicken as it stands). 8 servings (about 1/2 cup each).
WARM PUDDING VERSION: Prepare as directed above but reduce milk to 4-1/2 cups; do not refrigerate. Let stand at room temperature up to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Peel paper carefully away from molded chocolate. Spoon pudding into chocolate cups and sprinkle with toasted almonds.
I decided some time ago that I wanted to try these, and I’m so glad I did! You get salty and sweet all in the same bite. Bottom line: these are good, and they’re easy to make. Make them this weekend!
CHOCOLATE DIPPED POTATO CHIPS
1-2 medium potatoes
3-4 ounces chocolate, melted (I used dark chocolate)
Scrub, peel, and slice the potatoes as thinly as possible. (I used a mandolin slicer.) Let the potato slices soak for 10-15 minutes in ice water, then drain and dry them completely. Heat the oil in a very large, very deep pot until it reaches 300-325 degrees. Fry the potatoes in a single layer for 3-4 minutes, until golden, flipping if necessary. Put on a paper-towel lined plate to drain. Salt while hot. Once the chips are cool, dip them in the melted chocolate. Let the chocolate harden (I popped mine in the fridge for a bit), then serve.
I'm a little schizophrenic in the kitchen. I've been so excited for Potato Week, because I have such great ideas... At first, I was planning on a Sweet Potato Souffle, but as I searched the web for recipe ideas, it occurred to me that I could do something so much simpler, and possibly a more popular choice among our blog lovers! This one hearkens back to the week when I made Chocolate Hazelnut Ravioli (http://www.kitchenpsycho.com/1/post/2011/08/chocolate-hazelnut-ravioli-dipped-in-white-chocolate-pumpkin-seeds.html). Instead, I chose to use a sweet potato pie mixture. The family is in LOOOOVE with this one! I hope you can try it soon!
SWEET POTATO PIE RAVIOLI WITH CINNAMON CARAMEL SAUCE
1 ½ cups mashed sweet potato, room temperature
2 tablespoons softened butter
¾ cup sugar
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg, scrambled for egg wash
1 package wonton wrappers
peanut or vegetable oil
Mix sweet potato, sugar and spices well. Spoon a small amount onto the center of a wonton wrapper. Using another wrapper, wash the sides with egg and place over the top of the other wonton, making sure the sides are well fixed. Fry on medium high heat for 5-8 seconds per side, or until golden brown. Drizzle with Cinnamon Caramel Sauce.
Cinnamon Caramel Sauce (inspired by recipe from Southern Living, 2006) 1 ¼ cups sugar
1/3 cup water
¾ cups whipping cream
1/3 cup butter, cut into pieces
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ tsp cinnamon
Combine sugar and water in a large heavy saucepan; cook over medium-low heat, stirring often, until sugar dissolves. Increase heat to medium-high, and boil gently, without stirring, until syrup turns a deep amber color, occasionally brushing down sides of pan with a wet pastry brush and swirling pan (about 8 minutes). (Swirling the pan, instead of stirring, promotes more even cooking.) Gradually add cream (sauce will bubble vigorously). Add butter; stir gently until smooth. Remove from heat, and stir in vanilla and cinnamon.
I really love cannolis, but didn’t feel like buying or making the shells for them. So, I decided to do a dip instead with the filling. This is a great dessert dip. Serve it with graham crackers (regular or chocolate) or strawberries. Or, you can just do what I did, and eat it with a spoon! Enjoy!
1 (15 oz.) container ricotta
3 tablespoons marscapone cheese, softened (you could also use cream cheese)
1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 teaspoons bourbon (optional)
½ bag mini chocolate chips
Mix all ingredients well with a mixer. Keep chilled in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
Well, I'll tell you what: I was somewhat disappointed with this dessert. Only in the respect that it didn't turn out like I wanted, but it still turned out delicious! My intention was to fill the cookie sandwiches with a cannoli cream much like what I made a couple weeks ago (http://www.kitchenpsycho.com/1/post/2011/10/croissant-with-cannoli-creme-orange-balsamic-soaked-strawberries.html), but for some reason, it didn't turn out! Of course, I wasn't following a recipe, per se. So I opted to use the mixture as a glaze over the top. Worked just fine! I think, though, when we're done with the Cook-Off, I'll come back to this one and re-do it as I saw it in my head. But for now... here you go!
LEMON SHORTBREAD COOKIES
1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon lemon zest1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream butter and sugar in a large bowl. Add lemon zest, and stir in half a cup of flour at a time. Dough will be crumbly, so work it together by hand until smooth. Pat or roll dough out to about 1/2 inch thick. You can use a cookie cutter or roll into a log and cut with a knife. Arrange cookies on ungreased baking sheet and bake 20 minutes until the bottom edges are just starting to brown. Cool on a wire rack.
6 oz (1 cup) raspberries
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons honey
Simmer until well warmed, then mash with fork or potato masher. Simmer until mixture has the consistency of a syrup. Take off heat and cool. Sandwich between two shortbread cookies.
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Blend ingredients well. You may choose to use a hand mixer. Refrigerate until use. Drizzle over filled cookies.
When I first started thinking about a dessert for red wine week, I was going to do something with chocolate. But then I thought that I’d try a red wine glaze on a simple pound cake, and it turned out great. I used Zinfandel (a red, not the blush stuff) because it has a lot of berry and jam flavors. The pound cake recipe is one from Southern Living that I use (the only change is that I added more vanilla). The glaze recipe is my own. Enjoy!
POUND CAKE WITH ZINFANDEL GLAZE
1 1/3 cups butter (1 stick plus 5 1/3 tablespoons), softened
2 ½ cups sugar
6 large eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
½ cup buttermilk (see Note)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
¼ cup butter (4 tablespoons)
2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
2 tablespoons milk
Zest of 1 lemon or of half of an orange
2 tablespoons Zinfandel
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees; grease and flour a Bundt pan. Beat the butter at medium speed with a mixer until creamy, then add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the flour to the mixture alternately with the buttermilk, making sure you begin and end with the flour. Beat at low speed until just blended after each addition. Stir in the vanilla. Pour the batter (it will be thick) into the Bundt pan and bake at 325 degrees for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until a long wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for about 10 minutes, then remove from pan to cool completely.
Make the glaze by melting the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Pour the melted butter into the powdered sugar in a medium-size bowl, add the milk, zest, and wine and whisk until combined. Drizzle the glaze over the cake.
NOTE: If you don’t have buttermilk, you can make a substitute. Simply add a dash of white vinegar or lemon juice to regular milk and let sit for a few minutes before using.
I had a few ideas for this one. The first was a cheesecake with a fruity wine glaze... that would have been delicious! But then I thought of truffles and ran both ideas past my husband who said, "Just do whichever one is cheaper." So that clinched it: truffles it is! (Plus, he loves chocolate with orange!) I had most of the ingredients on hand, so I only spent money on the chocolate! Talk about cheap! In total, assuming you already have eggs and butter, I'd say this would cost you about $6, plus the cost of the wine. I used a wine called "Chocolate Shop - The Chocolate Lover's Wine", but if you choose not to use a chocolate wine, I would suggest a sweet fruity wine like Ernest & Julio Gallo's "Cafe Zinfandel" or a Beaujolais. Maybe even a Syrah...
Regardless, this one is definitely on my "repeat" list!
CHOCOLATE WINE & ORANGE TRUFFLES
18 oz semisweet chocolate chips (1 1/2 bags) OR baking chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup chocolate wine, or sweet fruity wine
1/4 c heavy cream
1 1/2 tbsp butter
2 egg yolks
1-2 tsp freshly-grated orange peel
Melt chocolate over very low heat. Stir in wine and cream.
Beat egg yolks, then stir a small amount of chocolate mixture into eggs, then slowly add the eggs to the chocolate mixture. Mixture will thicken. Add butter and orange peel. Refrigerate for about 2 hours. Spoon out onto wax paper and coat with ground nuts or powdered sugar. You could also do a mixture of coffee, cinnamon, and powdered sugar. Put them all in a coffee grinder and pulse a few times to blend well.
"Food is never just food. It's also a way of getting at something else: who we are, who we have been, & who we want to be." -- Molly Wizenberg