Grasshopper Thumbprint Cookies


“What? Did YOU make these?”

“But, seriously, where did you buy these?”

“I wish I could make awesome things like you can.”

The previous quotes are examples of the kinds of reactions you might receive after showing your most recent homemade cookies.  


It might surprise you how going just one or two baby steps farther than the average person can make the average person oogle or squirm at the sight of something they are too afraid to attempt.  You know, such as melting chocolate or using a new kind of cookie pan. 

The truth is, we are all a little guilty of leaving desserts in the boring yet comfortable doldrums of commonness.  But you, you have decided to scale the hills and take a step that your friends and family are too afraid to take.  You have decided to throw caution to the wind and follow a different recipe than you usually do.  Step aside chocolate chip cookie, we introduce the grasshopper thumbprint cookie.  With  a taste that may surpass the girl scouts, ingredients that you already have, and a new piece of hardware that won’t be put in the dark corners of your cupboard, this cookie looks fantastic, yet still overproduces with flavor.

A lot chocolatey and a little minty, these cookies will definitely keep you coming back for more. And what's more, we have a special cookie pan to bake them in that already has that thumbprint indentation for you. It's a nonstick filled cookie pan and it looks like this:


Pretty nifty, huh?  All you have to do is press your cookie dough into each cavity, bake them, and fill them.  You'll have perfectly shaped and perfectly uniform cookies every time.  You can find these pans in our store.

Grasshopper Thumbprint Cookies

  • 4 oz high quality dark or semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 3 drops peppermint flavoring oil
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 T brown sugar, packed
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup dutch process cocoa powder
  • 3/4 tsp salt

For the filling:

  • 4 oz high quality white chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 4 T heavy cream
  • 4 drops peppermint flavoring oil
  • green food coloring

  1. Melt the chocolate in the microwave in 30 second bursts until almost melted (about 1 minute total). Stir until it is completely melted.  Add 3 drops peppermint flavoring oil and stir to combine.  Set aside.
    In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter with the sugars until light and fluffy. About 3 minutes.  Add egg yolks and vanilla and beat until combined.  Add the cooled chocolate and mix until combined.
  2. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the flour, cocoa powder, and salt.  Mix until just combined.
  3. In your filled cookie pan, press dough into each cavity, filling each cavity almost to the top.  Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes.
  4. Remove from oven and let cool for 5-10 minutes.  Flip the pan upside down to release the cookies.  Transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.
  5. For the filling, heat the cream until it just barely boils.  Remove from heat and pour over white chocolate.  Stir until all the white chocolate is melted.  Add peppermint flavoring oil and green food coloring.  Spoon into the well of each cookie and let sit until it firms up.  If desired drizzle some melted dark chocolate over the tops of each cookie.
*Recipe adapted from Baked Sunday Mornings

  • Digg
  • Del.icio.us
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • RSS

Crepe Brulee Cake

I had this idea one night while I was eating my favorite dessert: creme brulee. Turns out, it's not an original idea, but it sure is a good one regardless of who originally came up with the idea.


I've been eying these crepe cakes going around on Pinterest and I've been meaning to make one for quite a while now. I finally did it. And the results are very yummy.

Creme brulee and crepes are desserts that are thought of as being more elegant. Combine them and you have the ultimate in elegance.

This is a dessert that takes some time to prepare, but it's not hard and it's totally worth the effort.

Crepe Brulee Cake
 
For the crepes:

4 eggs
6 T melted butter
2 1/2 cups milk
2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp butter

In a large bowl, whisk all ingredients together until well combined.  Let sit for about 10 minutes to allow the whole wheat flour to absorb all the liquid it can.

Pour about 1/3 cup of batter into a crepe pan and cook one side until lightly browned.  Flip and cook the other side until lightly browned.  Remove from pan onto a plate. Repeat until all the batter has been used.  This should yield about 20 crepes.

For the filling:

1 package Bavarian Creme pastry filling

When crepes have cooled, place one on a plate.  Spread Bavarian Creme pastry filling very thinly over the crepe.  Top with another crepe and again spread pastry filling thinly over crepe.  Repeat until all the crepes have been used and end with a crepe on top.

In a small sauce pan, melt 1/4 cup white sugar.  Do not stir.  Gently shake the pan in a circular motion to evenly melt sugar.  Remove from heat when sugar is a light amber color.  

With a spoon, drizzle melted sugar over crepe cake.  Slice with a sharp knife and enjoy!

 


  • Digg
  • Del.icio.us
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • RSS

Homemade Animal Crackers

Continuing on with our Make it Homemade series, today we have pink and white animal crackers.  I've been having so much fun making things that you'd normally only buy in the store.  Not only is it gratifying to see something you made that you usually see made on an assembly line, but you can also customize them to be healthier, a different shape, a different color, a different flavor, you name it.


With Valentine's Day approaching, you could even make these heart-shaped and dip them in pink, white, and red confectioner's coating and sprinkle them with plain white nonpareils.  You could do chicks and bunnies and dip them in pastel colored coatings for Easter.  The customizations are endless.

I dipped these in our white vanilla drops for the white ones and for the pink ones, I just added some pink powdered food coloring to the white.  Be sure to use powdered food coloring because gels, pastes, or liquids will cause the coating to stiffen and you definitely can't work with that.

They're fun and easy.  Have fun making them!

Homemade Animal Crackers

1 1/4 cups flour*
1/2 tsp baking powder*
1/2 tsp salt*
1/4 tsp cinnamon*
dash nutmeg*
6 T butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar*
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract*
white vanilla drops*
pink powdered food coloring*
nonpareils 

*These items can be found in our store.

In a small bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla and beat for 1 minute, stopping the mixer once to scrape down the sides of the bowl.

Stop the mixer and add half of the flour mixture. Beat on low speed until most of the flour has been absorbed. Add the remaining flour and beat until all of the flour has been absorbed and the dough starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl, 2 to 3 minutes.

Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 2 days.

Let the dough stand at room temperature for 5 minutes. Roll out the dough to 1/8-inch thickness. (If the dough cracks while rolling, let it stand at room temperature for 5 to 10 minutes more.) Remove the plastic wrap and place the dough on a floured work surface. Lightly dust the top of the dough with flour.

Preheat an oven to 350°F.

Line several baking sheets with parchment paper. Cut animal shapes (or whatever shape you want) with small cookie cutters.  Place cut out shapes on a baking sheet. Gather up the scraps, re-roll and cut out more cookies.

Bake the cookies until very light golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer the cookies to wire racks and let the cookies cool to room temperature.

Prepare the dipping station while the cookies are cooling. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set out a tiny bowl of nonpareils. In a heatproof bowl melt the white vanilla drops in the microwave 30 seconds at a time, stirring after each interval until smooth.

Dip half of the cooled cookies, one at a time, in the melted white coating. Transfer to parchment paper and top with sprinkles. Add powdered pink food coloring to the remaining white vanilla drops and repeat the process with the remaining cookies.

Let the dipped cookies stand for a hour or two until the coating has firmed up.

*Adapted from Williams Sanoma

  • Digg
  • Del.icio.us
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • RSS

Whole Wheat Cheddar Crackers

You know those little fish-shaped cheese crackers that kids love?  Now you can make them at home!  Of course, these ones aren't fish-shaped, but they certainly could be or any other shape you want.


I have to say that these are better than they store-bought variety for a couple of reasons.  Number one: the flavor.  I actually used an extra sharp cheddar in these and the cheese flavor is strong, but in a good way.  If you wanted, you could also use monterrey jack, mozzarella, or even pepper jack. Number two: as with everything we choose to make instead of buy, you know what is going in them.  These crackers are made of flour, butter, cheese, and a little salt.  Nothing artificial and no preservatives.

Adults will love these as much as the kids do.  My 4-year-old and my husband couldn't get enough. (And, um, neither could I.)

Homemade Cheddar Crackers

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 4 T cold butter, cut into small pieces
  • 8 ounces grated cheddar cheese
  • 2-3 T water

In a food processor, pulse the flour and salt, then add butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add grated cheese a little at a time until the mixture again resembles coarse meal.

Pulse in 2 to 3 tablespoons of water, one tablespoon at a time, and only enough so that the dough forms a ball and rides the blade.

Remove, wrap in plastic, and chill for 20 minutes or up to 24 hours.

Roll the dough out to 1/8th-inch thickness directly onto a baking sheet.
Using a knife or pizza cutter, cut 1 inch squares, then bake at 350° F for 15-20 minutes or until crackers are golden brown. If the outer edges your pan are done but the crackers in the center still need a few more minutes- remove crackers on the edges and bake the center crackers for a few more minutes.

Remove from oven and re-cut any squares that may be stuck together. Store in an airtight container for up to one week or freeze.

Recipe slightly adapted from Savory Seasonings.

  • Digg
  • Del.icio.us
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • RSS

Homemade Fig Newtons

One of the best things about making homemade things that most people just purchase at the grocery store is the satisfaction of saying, "I made that" with a huge smile on your face.


And of course, another benefit of making typically store-bought things homemade is that you know what went in them and if you prefer to make them healthier, you can do that too.

These fig newtons were really easy to make and I was so satisfied knowing how awesome it was that I made fig newtons!  And I made them whole wheat.

These taste very similar to our figgy pudding, so if you liked that, you'll love these.  Or if you make these and love them, then you ought to make some figgy pudding because you'll love it too.

Homemade Fig Newtons

Dough:

  • 6 T butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup sugar*
  • 1 T corn syrup*
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla*
  • 2 drops wild orange essential oil*
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 T orange juice
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour*
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda*
  • 1/8 tsp salt*

Filling:

  • 3/4 cup dried mission figs*
  • 2 T applesauce
  • 1/2 T corn syrup*
  • 2 drops wild orange essential oil*
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon*

*These ingredients can be found in our store.

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  2. Add corn syrup, vanilla, essential oil, egg yolks, and orange juice.  Mix well.
  3. All at once, add flour, baking soda, and salt.  Mix thoroughly. (Dough will be very soft.)
  4. Turn dough out onto a piece of plastic wrap.  Wrap it up and refrigerate several hours.
  5. Meanwhile, prepare filling.
  6. Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender and blend until smooth.
  7. Transfer to a pastry bag or zip top bag and save until needed.
  8. After the dough is sufficiently chilled, preheat your oven to 325 and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  9. Liberally dust your work surface with flour.  (You can't have too much.  The dough is sticky and needs plenty of flour in order to not stick to your work surface.  You can dust off excess flour later.)
  10. Roll the dough out to just over 1/8 inch thick.  Using a ruler and sharp knife or pizza cutter, cut the dough into strips 3 inches wide by 6 inches long.  
  11. Cut a corner off of your piping bag or zip top bag. (About 1/2-inch long cut.)  Squeeze your bag to pipe out a strip of filling length-wise down the center of each dough rectangle.  You will want to flatten the filling a little with an off-set spatula or butter knife.
  12. Fold one side of the dough up and over the filling, then roll it over again from the same side.  Your seam will be on the bottom and your top will be smooth.  At this point you can brush off the excess flour.  Turn it over to brush the bottom off.
  13. Move the uncut logs to your parchment-lined cookie sheet and bake for 15 minutes or until lightly brown and slightly firm to the touch.
  14. As soon as you take them out of the oven, cut each log into 1-inch segments.  While still warm, transfer fig newtons to an air-tight container or a zip-top bag.  Put parchment paper between layers.  Doing this will cause the newtons to steam and create a more cake-y texture and they won't be dry and more cookie-like.

*Recipe adapted slightly from Brave Tart.

  • Digg
  • Del.icio.us
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • RSS

Baked Oatmeal Cookies

Do you have a sweet tooth, but don't want to spoil your newly established goal of eating healthier?  We have some baked oatmeal cookies here that have no added sugar, no oil or butter, no flour, no eggs, and no dairy.  Talk about a healthy sweet snack.


I made these today and was surprised at how good they actually are.  They're sweetened with bananas and apple sauce.  They're just sweet enough to satisfy that sweet tooth.  And you don't have to stick to raisins as an add-in.  By all means, you could add in dry chopped dates, chopped nuts (pecans would be good), dried cranberries or dried blueberries.  Anything you want, really.

I think these would not only make a good snack, but also a good on-the-go breakfast.  So go whip some up.  They're fast, they're easy, and you probably have everything you need in your kitchen right now.

Baked Oatmeal Cookies

  • 3 mashed ripe bananas
  • 2 cups rolled oats*
  • 1/3 cup apple sauce
  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla*
  • 1 tsp cinnamon*
  • 1/2 cup raisins*, dry chopped dates*, chopped nuts*, etc. (Whatever you prefer)

*These ingredients can be found in our store.

  1. Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl.  Drop by tablespoonfuls onto a parchment-lined baking sheet.
  2. Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes.
  3. Remove from baking sheet and cool on a wire rack.

  • Digg
  • Del.icio.us
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • RSS

Stuffed Dinner Rolls

We make our own lunches in the store while we work.  (One of the perks of working in a kitchen store.)  When I worked in the actual store (over 2 years ago), stuffed dinner rolls were a common lunch item.  And for a good reason: they're delicious, filling, and easy to make and eat.


Start with your favorite dinner roll recipe.  I used this one.  Pull off an egg-sized piece of dough and shape it into a disc about 3 inches in diameter.  Put about 2 tablespoons of tuna filling (recipe below) in the center and pull up the sides of the dough.


Shape the dough around the filling and pinch closed.  Make sure it's sealed well.  You don't want them to leak.  Then bake them and when they're done, you have a nice, warm stuffed roll.  You can also let them cool and then freeze them.  Pull them out of the freezer for a quick lunch or dinner.  You can also eat these on the go because the filling isn't going to leak out of the sides or back.


Stuffed Dinner Rolls


*These items can be found in our store.

  1. Drain tuna well and put in a medium bowl.  Add remaining ingredients and mix well
  2. Pull off an egg-sized piece of dough and shape it into a disc about 3 inches in diameter.  Put about 2 tablespoons of tuna filling in the center and pull up the sides of the dough.  Shape the dough around the filling and pinch closed.  Make sure it's sealed well.  You don't want them to leak.
  3. Place on a parchment-lined dinner roll pan.
  4. Let rise until doubled.  Bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until golden brown.  Take out of oven and brush tops with melted butter.

  • Digg
  • Del.icio.us
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • RSS