Thursday, April 22, 2010

Compost Cookies & Happy Earth Day!

This is a really long post for me, but stay with me, because the end result is amazing!
A couple of months ago, when my daughter was out of school for one of our snow storms, she watched an episode of Regis and Kelly.  One of their guests was Christina Tosi, a famous pastry chef from some place in New York City called Momofuku's Milk Bar.  Well, I guess this cookie became so famous that even Regis and Kelly wanted in on the action, so they asked Christina to come on the show and make the cookies.  This cookie is filled with the most unexpected flavors (potato chips, fritos, rice krispies, chocolate, etc), but somehow it all works to create a fabulous cookie!  Anyway, my daughter was so impressed and intrigued with this cookie that she printed the recipe from the Regis and Kelly website and asked me to please make them sometime.  Since last night was the eve of Earth Day and I wanted to help keep our planet clean by cleaning off my kitchen counter of all the snack foods lying around, I decided to make Compost Cookies.
I used pretzels and cheddar gold fish crackers for the snack foods and chocolate chips, Reese Pieces, and M & M's for the baking ingredients.  I should have read the recipe before I began making them, because I didn't notice until I had them all mixed up that you need to refrigerate the scooped cookie dough at least an hour before you bake them.  This is a very important step and I didn't want to mess them up, so I did.
A few minutes later, I glanced at the calendar on my fridge and noticed that I was supposed to be at a Swim Team Board meeting about ten minutes ago, so I ran out the door and went to my meeting.
I got home about two hours later and then baked the cookies.  They turned out perfectly and oh my were they good!  I ate three and this was about 9:30 at night!  My daughter loved them too and took a bag of them to school today.  Hopefully those teenagers will eat them all and I won't have any left this evening, because I would not even want to know how many Weight Watcher points are in one of them!

Compost Cookies
Recipe from Regis and Kelly

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1 T corn syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 3/4 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp kosher salt
1 1/2 cups of your favorite baking ingredients (chocolate chips, cocoa krispies, etc)
1 1/2 cups of your favorite snack foods (chips, pretzels, etc)

In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream butter, sugars and corn syrup on medium high for 2-3 minutes until fluffy and pale yellow in color.  Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl with a spatula.
On a lower speed, add eggs and vanilla to incorporate, increasing mixing speed to medium-high and start a timer for 10 minutes.  During this time the sugar granules will fully dissolve, the mixture will become an almost pale white color and your creamed mixture will double in size.
When time is up, on a lower speed, add the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Mix 45-60 seconds just until your dough comes together and all remnants of dry ingredients have incorporated.  Do not walk away from your mixer during this time or you will risk over mixing the dough.  Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl with a spatula.
On the same low speed, add in the hodgepodge of your favorite baking ingredients and mix for 30-45 seconds until they evenly mix into the dough.  Add your favorite snack foods last, paddling again on low speed until they are just incorporated.
Using a 6 oz. ice cream scoop, portion cookie dough onto parchment lined pans.
Wrap scooped cookie dough lightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a minimum of 1 hour or up to 1 week.  DO NOT BAKE your cookies from room temperature or they will not hold their shape!
Heat a conventional oven to 400 degrees (350 degrees in a convection oven)
When the oven reads 400 degrees, arrange your chilled cookie dough balls on parchment or silpat-lined baking sheets a minimum of 4 inches apart in any direction.
Bake 9-11 minutes.  While in the oven, the cookies will puff, crackle and spread.
Enjoy the sweet and salty goodness!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Peanut Butter Brownie Bites

I love mini desserts!  They are so cute, easy to make and you can pop one or two in your mouth and not feel too guilty about it.  The chocolate and peanut butter combo is one of our favorites in this house.  My husband and daughter have been known to down a package of Reese Cups in about two seconds.  I prefer to break off chunks of my dark chocolate bar and dip them in to the peanut butter jar ~ delish!
The last time I made brownies I decided to give them a little twist by adding some peanut butter and chopped Reese Cups.  They turned out super cute and yummy too.

Peanut Butter Brownie Bites
Recipe idea from BakedbyJoanna

1 box of your favorite Brownie Mix
Oil, egg & water required for brownie mix
Smooth Peanut Butter (I used Natural Jif)
Chopped Reese Cups

Mix brownies according to box directions or make your favorite recipe.
Spoon brownie mix into mini muffin pan and fill about half full. (I used my Pampered Chef pan)
Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 8 - 10 minutes.
After they have cooled a couple of minutes, take the back side of a 1/4 teaspoon and make a small hole in the center of each brownie.  Microwave about a 1/2 cup of peanut butter for about 20 seconds or so, until it is pourable.  You need to watch this because the peanut butter can burn quickly. Drizzle melted peanut butter on to each brownie and top with chopped Reese Cups.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Rice Krispy Treat Bunny Pops

Rice Krispy Treat Bunny Pops

Bunny Pops have been an Easter Tradition in our house since my daughter was about two years old.  She is sixteen now, so needless to say, that's a lot of bunnies!
I use a Wilton Bunny Cookie Treat pan and your basic Rice Krispy Treat Recipe.  After you have shaped the Rice Krispy mixture into a bunny head, add your cookie stick.  Let them set for a few minutes and then move them onto a large piece of wax paper or parchment paper.
To decorate, I usually use light blue Jelly Beans cut in half for the eyes, but this year I made my own eyes from Royal Icing using this great tutorial I found over at Gourmet Mom On the Go
The eyes were so easy to make and they last forever, so now I'll have cute little eyes to decorate treats with in the months to come.  I use a pink jelly bean cut in half for the nose and brown or black frosting for the whiskers and mouth.  After the frosting has dried a little, cover each Bunny Pop with a clear treat bag and tie them with pretty ribbon.  Now you have cute Bunny Pops to give out to all your friends!

Happy Easter!!