Sunday, September 25, 2011

peanut butter chocolate cookie sandwiches

Cookies are one of those things that are crowd pleasing and simple to put together. I get a craving for chocolate chip cookies every so often and soon after that, they are available for consumption. There are so many varieties and variations of chocolate chip recipes. Since peanut butter and chocolate go perfectly together, I decided to make a peanut butter chocolate sandwich cookie. A buttery peanut butter cookie with chopped milk chocolate. They melt in your mouth. I piped a milk chocolate peanut butter ganache into the middle and voila! Perfect little snack to curb the cookie craving.

You will be able to get these sweet little cookies at SAVOUR in Ballard. I'm honored to be supplying them with another treat this week. So stop by if you are in the neighborhood or make a special trip if you're not. They are located at 2242 Market St. in Ballard.


Cookies, adapted from Epicurious (makes about 2 dozen, depending on the size of your scoop)

* 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
* 1 teaspoon baking powder
* 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
* 1/2 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
* 1/2 cup plus 1/3 cup powdered sugar
* 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon (packed) dark brown sugar
* 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
* 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter (use regular peanut butter, not natural or fresh)
* 1/2 cup vegetable oil
* 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
* 1 large egg
* 8 ounces milk chocolate chopped

Filling
* 3 ounces milk chocolate, chopped. Chocolate ranges in price so pick the one
you like.
* 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
* 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
* 1/4 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
* 6 tablespoons whipping cream

Make the cookies:

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, banking soda, kosher salt in a small bowl and set aside.

Using electric mixer, beat powdered sugar, dark brown sugar, and butter in large bowl to blend.

Add peanut butter; beat until creamy. Beat in vegetable oil and vanilla extract, then egg. Add the dry ingredients; mix just until blended. Stir in chopped chocolate.

Drop cookie dough by level tablespoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheets, spacing about 1 1/2 inches apart. Bake cookies until puffed and golden brown, about 12 minutes. Cool slightly BEFORE transferring to a cooling rack. If you transfer too soon the cookies will fall apart. They need to set for a minute or two.

Make the filling:
Place chocolate, peanut butter, powdered sugar, and kosher salt in medium bowl. Bring whipping cream to boil in heavy small saucepan. Pour hot cream over chocolate mixture; stir until mixture is melted and smooth. If the mixture isn't getting smooth (due to bigger chunks of chocolate) put the mix over a pan of simmering water to get it melted. Chill until filling is thick and spreadable, about 1 hour.

You can spread the chocolate between the cookies with a spoon. I used a piping bag with a small start tip to pipe it onto one cookie and topped it with another cookie. The filling melds with the cookie and it's a wonderful combination of cookie and ganache.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

chocolate pecan tarts




Fall is here. It swooped in and put a chill in the air that makes me want to head for the oven and bake a pie. I love pecan pie and chocolate. Together they bring comfort. There are multiple palate pleasing textures; buttery crust, a caramelized top that forms from bubbling in the oven and a creamy middle. These rustic little tarts are perfect for a cool fall day.

For those of you in the Seattle area, you can taste one of these sweet treats at SAVOUR in Ballard this week. These tarts are the perfect finish to a long day or a nice break in the middle of a busy one. Grab a cup of tea and a tart and enjoy. Stop in and check out everything SAVOUR has to offer.



For the tarts (adapted from cbsop.com)

Makes 8 4 - 5 inch tarts. I used these tart pans.

Ingredients:

* 1 recipe Pate Brisee.
* 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
* 2 oz. unsweetened chocolate
* 3 large eggs
* 1 cup sugar
* 3/4 cup dark corn syrup
* 3 T bourbon vanilla
* 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
* 1 1/2 cups pecan halves


Preheat oven to 350°F.

You can use whatever pie crust recipe you like. I like the Pate Brisse. Make the pie dough first and refrigerate for a half an hour. After the dough is chilled, pinch off dough rounds a little bigger than a golf ball. Roll out the individual pie crusts and gently fit them into the tart pans. I used the edge of the tart pan to cut the overhang of crust off. You can also use pre-made tart shells.

I then par-baked the crusts for about 20 - 25 minutes to get a little bit of a crisper crust. I've made these without par-baking and the crust was a little more doughy. It's all to your preference. To par-bake the crusts you'll need to put foil or parchment into the shells and fill with pie beads, dried beans or rice. Whatever you have on hand. This will keep the crust from puffing up and sliding down the sides of your tart pans.

Once the dough is pressed into the tart pans or while you are par-baking them, make the filling.

Melt butter and chocolate in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Remove from heat and let cool.

Beat the eggs in a large measuring cup or mixing until frothy and blend in sugar. Stir in syrup, bourbon vanilla, salt and melted butter. Mix until well blended.

Pour the filling into your prepared pie shells. Leave a quarter of an inch of dough showing. The filling puffs up and you don't want it to overflow. (though it's okay if it does)

Gently lay the pecan halves around the outer edge of the tart working your way in. This is how my grandma made her pecan pies and I do the same. You can also put the halves in the bottom of the pie shell and pour the filling on top. I love the pretty look of the pie once it's cooked with the pecans laid on top.

Bake the tarts for 30 - 35 minutes. Test doneness by inserting a thin knife or toothpick in the center of each pie. If blade comes out clean, the pie is done.

Transfer to cooling racks and allow to cool. Once you can safely touch them, pop them out of the tart pans and cool completely before serving.


Sunday, September 11, 2011

Personal chocolate pies


My son Grant loves chocolate pie with a graham cracker crust. I made these tonight at his request. The filling is chocolatey and the graham cracker crust speaks for itself. They were gobbled up and someone said it was the best dessert he'd ever had. I'll take that compliment. Stay tuned for some exciting things coming up this week!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

School is in!




I spent the last couple of days baking 150 cupcakes for an Ocean Shores fundraiser to support scholarships for high school students. I also baked a cake that was raffled off. Everything went over really well according to my mom as I couldn't stay for the fundraiser dinner.

I made the infamous Margarita cupcake that I absolutely love and also a Smore's cupcake that is equally delicious.

Special thanks to the Ocean Shores Elk's Club for allowing me to use their kitchen and to my mom for getting all of the ingredients!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Mini Peanut Butter Pie Cupakes



These aren't really cupcakes. Just mini peanut butter pies that I plopped into a cupcake paper and tin to help them keep their shape. These are little sugar delights with cream cheese, whipped cream, peanut butter, chocolate on the bottom and top.. I made these for my awesome teams at work. They have been working their behinds off as usual. They were made special for them!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Pie and pie



I've made a few pies this weekend and today was the second of two apple pies. It's so simple and delicious and there are always apples around. This pie is made with Gala and Granny Smith's. More Granny's to cut the sweetness of the brown sugars. The crust is brushed with cream and sprinkled with Turbinado sugar. I like it when it gets a little too brown. The toasted sugar is delicious. I can't wait to dig in with friends this afternoon for a BBQ. I hope everyone is enjoying their holiday weekend.