THE Peppermint Mocha Cookies

What is the best thing about this time of year? Decorations? Friends? Snow? Family? Traditions? Holiday episodes of your favorite shows (Chrismukkah, anyone…)? I love them all but my favorite is that I can bake my little heart out. Cookies for gifts, cakes for parties, all are greeted with festive open arms. For the past few years I’ve been trying to perfect a peppermint mocha cookie (see attempts one and two). I think I finally nailed it. This cookie is cake like and packed with the delicious flavors of a peppermint mocha. So here’s my gift to you, a recipe that’s sure to spread holiday cheer. (For when singing loud for all to hear just isn’t working.)

The Peppermint Mocha Cookie

Peppermint Mocha Cookies

Ingredients

1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 cup dark brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup dark cocoa powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon instant espresso
1 cup dark chocolate chips
1/4 cup teaspoon peppermint peppermint crunch baking chips (I use Andes)

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line two baking trays with parchment paper.

2. Cream together the butter and brown sugar. (I use a stand mixer with a paddle attachment.) Add eggs one at a time and then mix in vanilla and peppermint extract.

3. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together baking powder, salt, cocoa powder, instant espresso and flour.

4. Gradually add dry ingredients to wet until just mixed. Fold in chocolate chips.

5. Scoop tablespoons of batter on to baking sheets and top each with peppermint chips.

6. Bake at 350F for 8-10 minutes. Allow them to cool for 5-10 minutes before moving to cooling racks or lay out sheets of parchment paper for them to cool on.

7. Enjoy!

This recipe makes 15-20 cookies.
Advertisements

Blueberry Wheat Ale Cupcakes

Blueberry Wheat Ale Cupcakes | Baking Break

Cheers to this new recipe! After trying a Blueberry Ale during my trip to Boston last year, I’ve been eager to sample more. KBC Blueberry Wheat Ale can be found at Trader Joe’s and has been stocked in my fridge over the past few months. Inspired by last year’s Lemon Berry Shandy Cupcakes, I decided to try out a blueberry version. Best of all, I successfully made blueberry frosting! After last year’s debacle with raspberry buttercream I had my doubts. I tried Tattooed Martha’s recipe and it was a success! Also, after discovering her blog I want to make all the things.

Blueberries and Beer

Grab some blueberries from your favorite farmer’s market and whip up these delicious little treats.

Pre-frosting

Blueberry Wheat Ale Cupcakes
Makes 2 dozen

Ingredients

3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 3/4 cup sugar
2 1/2 cups flour
2 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup milk
1 cup blueberry beer of you choice
1 cup fresh blueberries (I might add another 1/2 cup next time I make these)

1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees and line cupcake pan with liners.
2. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt.
3. In your mixer, beat the butter on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the sugar gradually and continue to beat until the sugar is completely mixed in.
4. Add the eggs, beating after each and then add the vanilla.
5. Mix the beer and milk in a cup. Add the mixture and the flour alternately.
6. Gently fold in the blueberries.
7. Fill the cupcake liners 2/3 full. Bake for 18 minutes. Cupcakes should be golden, do the toothpick test to make sure.
8. Once the cupcakes have completely cooled, frost away with Tattooed Martha’s Blueberry Buttercream Frosting and add your extra blueberries to garnish.

Blueberry Wheat Ale Cupcakes: A perfect summer treat!

Recent Favorites

Whew, what a wonderful whirlwind this summer has been. Vacation, celebratory showers, birthdays–so many reasons to bake! Here are a few of my recent favorites.

Recent Favorites

The Spicy Dark Chocolate Cinnamon Cookies win my top vote, I think they may be the greatest cookie ever.

The Strawberry Swirl Cheesecake Bars were for Father’s Day, and while not my personal favorite, they received great reviews and were really easy. When in doubt, Betty Crocker always comes through.

Need a fancy treat? I made these Black Raspberry Brie Bites for a baby shower  – cute and so delicious!

Breakfast is always hard for me, I get burnt out easily. I’ve made these Spinach Muffins a few times, although recently I’ve turned in to one of those green smoothie drinkers. (Something I never thought would happen.)

Those are all my baking highlights and this past weekend I was able to do a little recipe testing of my own and will have an exciting treat to share soon. Hint: It involves blueberries!

Hello, Summer

Aren’t we all in disbelief that it is now June? Seriously, how did that happen? Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad it’s summer and ready for all that it brings: cookouts, cute dresses, weddings, vacation, flowers and vegetables from my garden.

This month my kitchen chalkboard has some wisdom from Queen Tina Fey. There are so many great things to do this time of year, I’m just going to say yes as often as possible.

Wisdom from Tina Fey

With the warmer temps, baking gets harder as I’m less inclined to turn on the oven. Sunday I was all set to make cookies but the AC went bust. I went ahead and made the dough and refrigerated it. Thankfully I was able to borrow a friend’s kitchen Monday night to try out a new recipe, Chocolate Raspberry cookies!

Chocolate Raspberry Cookies

We tried out a few different baking times and 12 minutes seemed to be the perfect amount of time, but I still want to do some tweaking. They are a little chewier than I prefer my cookies, but I decided they are perfect for ice cream sandwiches…and I just so happened to have some Jeni’s Brambleberry Crisp in my freezer!

Chocolate Raspberry Ice Cream Sandwich

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When life gives you chewy cookies and broken AC…make ice cream sandwiches!

What are you looking forward to this summer?

Oatmeal Cranberry Muffins

I don’t know about you, but I get burned out on weekday breakfast food pretty easily. English muffins, oatmeal, multigrain waffles…blerg. I’m always on the lookout for something new to try. Using what I could find in my pantry, these Oatmeal Cranberry Muffins are a welcomed addition to the morning routine. Although, they aren’t as good as my favorite–Maple Chocolate Chip Muffins, but they are certainly healthier.

photo (3)

Ingredients

1 cup flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 cups old-fashioned oats
3/4 cup dried cranberries
2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
6 tablespoons sunflower oil
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 400 and line pan with paper liners.
2. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, sugar oats and cranberries.
3. Beat eggs and add buttermilk, oil and vanilla. Add to dry ingredients and stir until just combined.
4. Spoon batter into muffin pan and bake for 20 minutes.

My Winter Survival Guide

I think it’s safe to say that most of us are asking, “Is winter over yet?” Oy vey. At one time I liked winter, but this year has been an entire new level—frozen pipes, frosty indoor windows, busted tailbones—enough already! It’s easy to fall into a bout of Cabin Fever. Here’s what is currently keeping me sane.

Trying new recipes. To accompany my tried and true Croque Monsieur, a Kale Salad from What’s Gaby Cooking (one of my favorite sites). This weekend I made this delicious Mexican Quinoa Casserole. I think both will become staples in my kitchen.

Wool pants from Banana Republic. A winter wardrobe must if you ask me. These were especially nice when the heat wasn’t working in my office last week!

Hot tea. My personal favorite is the Safari tea from Zen-Cha Tea Salon. It’s addictive!

The West Wing. My current binge show, now when I watch the news I can’t help but wonder WWPBD? (What Would President Bartlet Do?)

Planning fun times for spring. I start to get anxious when I don’t have travel plans, so I’m looking at a spring break trip to L.A. and a birthday trip for the summer.

Treats. When in doubt, a good treat will always help. Last week I had this amazing cherry and chocolate macaron from The Angry Baker, one of my favorite spots in Columbus.

 Macaron from The Angry Baker

How are you surviving the winter?

Happy 2014!

Happy 2014! I hope you had a wonderful holiday season. I think this December was one of my best. I’m so glad I was able to spend time with the important people in my life, especially those that live far away. A few highlights:

  • Took a cooking class at Faire La Cuisine and ate so much I could barely move.
  • Made Christmas cookies with my mom. These included my grandma’s peanut butter cookie recipe and trying out a new marzipan bar recipe. Oh, and sugar cookies, of course!

xmascookies

  • Spent several days in a row laughing with friends over snacks and wine. Oh, and discovered Heads Up!
  • Created a recipe for Peppermint Mocha No Bake Cookies! If you’re like me, you’re surrounded by snow and cold weather, so enjoy these as a treat this week.

Peppermint Mocha No-Bake Cookies

DSCN2705

Ingredients

2 cups sugar
1/2 cup milk
5 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup peanut butter
2 1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon instant espresso
1 teaspoon peppermint extract

1. Combine sugar, milk, cocoa and butter in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil for 90 seconds, constantly stirring.

2. Remove from heat and quickly add the remaining ingredients.

3. Drop by spoonfuls on wax or parchment paper.

Do you have any New Year resolutions?
I don’t typically make resolutions, but I have few goals for the month. Since Thanksgiving I haven’t been sticking to my five day vegetarian plan so I’m planning to jump back on the wagon. Last year I took part in Apartment Therapy’s January Cure and really enjoyed it so I’ll be taking part again. Apparently, I tend to get sloppy in the last months of the year. I’m excited to have some free weekends this month so I’m planning to tackle some Pinterest crafts. Here’s a start:

photo 2

Cranberry and Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies

Or as I named them, KYP Crunchies! These cookies kicked off my holiday baking for a cookie exchange with Columbus Komen Young Professionals. Breast cancer has been a cause close to me since high school and I’ve been volunteering with this group for a few years. To jazz up our usual meeting we decided to include a cookie exchange, but with a twist. The cookies had to include an ingredient recommend for a healthy diet to prevent cancer.

Here were some of the possible ingredients:

Green Tea (epigallocatechin gallate, polyphenols and catechins)
Berries (ellagic acid, vitamin C, fiber and polyphenol antioxidants)
Spinach (powerful antioxidants)
Beets (powerful antioxidants)
Ginger and Turmeric (anti-inflammatory properties)
Dark Chocolate (antioxidants and catechins)
Grapes (resveratrol)
Walnuts (polyphenols)
Winter Squash (carotenoids, vitamin A, fiber, vitamin C)
Flaxseed (magnesium and fiber)
Cherries (vitamin C, fiber, potassium)

…but we all made oatmeal cookies with cranberries or cherries. Great minds! These cookies are crunchy and are a great companion with a cup of tea.

Cranberry Cookies

Ingredients

1/2 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar
1 large egg, slightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/3 cups old-fashioned oats
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 and mist baking sheet with nonstick spray.

2. In a large bowl, beat butter, sugar and egg until smooth and creamy.

3. In a separate bowl, mix together all the dry ingredients–cinnamon, flour, oats and baking soda until well-combined.

4. Gradually add ingredients in with the butter mixture (may look dry).  Stir in cranberries and chocolate.

5. Drop on cookie sheet by teaspoonfuls and bake 10-12 minutes.

If you’re in Columbus and interested in becoming involved with Komen Columbus, please let me know!

Holiday Baking Playlist

When December 1 hits you can be sure that I start listening to holiday music. Nothing feels more festive than baking in my kitchen with great tunes, the tree lit and snow falling outside. To help you feel festive while you do your holiday tasks, enjoy a few of my favorite seasonal tunes!


Do you have a favorite holiday song or one that you dread? I’m partial to a little Ella Fitzgerald with “Baby, it’s Cold Outside.” I’ve been known to leave a store trying to escape Paul McCartney’s “Simply Having a Wonderful Christmas Time.” Sorry, Sir Paul, it makes me cringe!