Mocha Chip Meringues

One of my favorite cookies happens to be a meringue.  We loved the taste of these cookies over the Christmas holiday this year.  I used a Martha Stewart recipe and as every one of her recipes, it worked perfectly. These cookies were crispy, but soft inside the center of the cookie.  The chocolate taste was just perfect and not overpowering.  I opted to use mini chocolate chips in the recipe, instead of the full size chips.  I found the substitute to be perfect and a nice improvement to her recommendations.

How to make the mocha chip meringues–gather these ingredients: 3/4 cup sugar, 1 tablespoon cornstarch, 3 egg whites at room temperature, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon espresso powder, 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees with two racks divided within the oven.  Add parchment paper or silpat mats to the cookie sheets.  In a small bowl, mix sugar and cornstarch.

In an electric mixer, beat egg whites and salt until frothy on medium speed.  Then add sugar mixture slowly, 1 tablespoon at a time. Beat about 6-8 minutes until very stiff. I used my stand mixer with the whipping whisk.  Add espresso powder and cocoa next.  Fold in chocolate chips at the end with a spatula.

Drop onto cookie sheets, one tablespoon at a time.  Bake 40 minutes.  Cool for 20 minutes before removing from cookies sheets.  Great recipe and these cookies are light and delicious.

Cherry Pistachio Shortbread cookies

Every Christmas I like to try at least one new cookie recipe, and this year I found a recipe in Yankee Magazine which was especially delicious.  My cookie tray looked quite festive with the red and green colors that this cookie contains. I did chill the dough overnight and baked them the next day.

Here are the ingredients to make the cookies:  2 sticks unsalted butter at room temperature, 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 egg, separated, 2 1/4 cups flour, 1/2 cup chopped pistachio nuts, chopped red candied cherries, 1/3 cup white sanding sugar.

In an electric mixer, cream the butter, sugar and salt.  Beat in the egg yolk and mix.  Add flour and pistachios. Blend until combined. Remove dough from the mixer, and hand mix in the cherries.  Divide the dough into 2 1/2 logs about 12 inches long.  Wrap in plastic and refrigerate overnight on a sheet pan.

  

When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Using parchment paper or silpat mats, cover the baking sheets.  Brush the egg white over the logs after unwrapping and place on waxed paper.  Sprinkle the coarse sugar over the logs and slice the cookies. Place on the baking sheets and bake 12 to 15 minutes until lightly browned.

Cool and serve.  These cookies can be frozen and kept to serve at a later time.

Snow on the rooftops

Well, it is still winter here in Michigan.  So, here is a fun way to keep the children happy on a cold snowy day.  How about an updated Rice Krispies treat recipe to make and share?  I named this one– snow on the rooftops, since I use butterscotch chips and peanut butter for the color of a brown roof and then, add white sprinkles on top to look like snow. I made them this Christmas and featured them on the top of my cookie plate.

I use a familiar recipe of 3 cups Rice Krispies with 6 ounces of butterscotch morsels mixed with 1/2 cup peanut butter. The cereal is placed in the mixing bowl, while I melt the butterscotch chips and peanut butter in a double boiler on the stove top. Stir together with the cereal, and when fully melted– press into a square pan which has been buttered. Top with white sprinkles.

  

 

I chill these for at least one hour until firm before cutting into squares. Very cute and tasty. Store in the refrigerator to keep firm for several days if desired.

 

Cinnamon Biscotti

While relaxing in front of the fireplace this cold winter, why not try a great homemade cinnamon biscotti cookie?  These cookies are crisp and crunchy and are perfect to dunk in a warm mug of tea or coffee. I have made several other biscotti recipes, but this one is one of my favorites.  The cinnamon sugar taste is just perfect and provides just a hint of sweetness.

To make this recipe, gather the following ingredients:  2 cups flour, 2 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1 cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar, 1/2 stick unsalted butter, 2 eggs, 1 egg yolk, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  Line two baking sheets with silpat mats or parchment paper. In a bowl, mix flour, 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon, baking powder, and salt.  Set aside. In a mixer, beating 1 cup sugar with butter until fluffy.  Add 1 egg and beat, Add egg yolk and mix into the bowl.  Mix in vanilla and then the bowl of dry ingredients.

     

Move dough to waxed paper.  Divide dough into two sections and roll into 9 inch long logs. With the remaining egg, beat and brush the logs when placed onto their baking sheets.

Bake 45 minutes.  Remove from the oven and slice the logs into the biscotti cookies.  Place on their sides and sprinkle with the remaining cinnamon and sugar mixture.  Bake another 20 minutes until done.

Cool.  These cookies will store for at least 1-2 weeks at room temperature in an airtight container.

 

 

NFL referee cookies

Well, football games are on television almost every day of the week now, so I love to serve my husband some fun treats during the season.  I found this recipe on the Wilton candy website, and thought they were so cute and irresistible.  The technique requires both patience and practice, but the outcome is super delicious.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESGather these ingredients to make 18 cookies.  4 ounces of black chocolate candy melting wafers, 8 ounces of white chocolate candy melting wafers, 9 black candy wafers cut in half for the referee caps, and 18 white vanilla wafer cookies

Melt the candy in two separate double boilers.  When melted, remove from the stove top and dip the wafer cookies or paint the chocolate on the lower two-thirds of each cookie.  Allow the cookies to dry on waxed paper on a tray in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.

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Next dip the top of each cookie into the black chocolate mixtures. Attach the cap piece of chocolate on each cookie. Chill again in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.

Pipe the eyes, the mouth and the stripes on each cookie and chill again for 15 minutes.

Store separated with waxed paper in the refrigerator in a sealed container.  Perfect for football snacks.

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Chicago’s French Market

We ventured over to the West Loop of Chicago to visit Chicago’s French Market one morning a few weeks ago.  The market earned a Zagat spot for markets to visit; along with the Melrose Market in Seattle, the St. Roch Market in New Orleans, and the Krog Street Market in Atlanta–so, it deserved a look see.  As a true foodie, I wanted to investigate what this European market could offer the shopper.

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We found a diverse selection of fresh food to order from 30 booths, along with fresh flowers, classic chocolates, cheese, pastries, macaroons, and grocery items. I would say that late morning to lunch would be the best time to visit, as many of the offerings were best taken at lunch or late afternoon for dinner.

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There was an ample selection of items, including something for everyone. We sampled some breakfast beignets at the table space in the front of the market.  There is additional seating within the market which has a Parisian design, as well as seating within the lobby area of the building.  The striking yellow umbrellas and red awning over the main door can’t be missed. When in town, do visit if in the neighborhood.

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salted caramel chocolate chip cookies

Salted caramel “anything” seems to be super popular these past couple of years.  I have seen everything from candy and drinks to cake with this flavor profile.  I recently found a recipe online at the smitten kitchen for these cookies and just had to sample them.  I had a good occasion to try them this week, as a good friend was visiting from out-of-town.  She seemed to like them, and so did my husband.

I made them smaller than the recipe suggested, as I used my smallest cookie scoop.  They could easily be baked in a larger size for any occasion.  I even scooped more smaller sized cookies and froze them on a 1/8 size cookie sheet for over one hour. Then, I took them out of the freezer, placed them in a freezer bag, labeled them and will use them in a week or so, out of the freezer to bake.  This cookie works very nicely for this purpose.  I would recommend baking a couple of more minutes when taking them from frozen.  I like being able to bake only the amount that can be served in a few days.

Make these cookies by first gathering these ingredients:

1/2 cup softened butter, 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, 2 tablespoons turbinado sugar, 3/4 cup mixture of light and dark brown sugar, and 1 large egg.

Combine these ingredients in a stand mixer.  Add 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 3/4 teaspoon baking soda. Mix very well.

Then add 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour.  Incorporate gradually into the cookie batter.  Finally, add 8 ounces of dark chocolate chips.

I used a small cookie scoop and placed the cookie balls on prepared cookie sheets. I used silpat mats. Add a small sprinkle of flaked sea salt to the top of each cookie.  Place into a preheated 360 degree oven.  I baked my cookies on a convection oven setting, and they were perfect.  I did not have to rotate.  Completed cooking time was 12 minutes.  After baking and removing from the oven, I used a flat-bottomed drinking glass to flatten the cookie for a nice presentation. Allow to cool on cookie sheets before removing.

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Suggestion:  The cookie dough is crumbly, so I found that flattening the cookies prior to baking was not very practical.  However, they easily flattened after the short baking time.

Enjoy with lemonade for a summer treat!

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