Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Snickerdoodle Croissant Cookies

Here's another cookie from the BHG Christmas Cookie publication. Snickerdoodle Croissant Cookies are a fancy name for what is typically known as rugelach. The cookie consists of a cream cheese dough that is chilled, rolled and sprinkled with a sweet filling. Once this is done, the dough is cut into wedges and rolled up to resemble croissants.

This particular cookie dough was easy to work with. It rolled out well with a little help from some flour. The filling was fairly simple, consisting only of brown sugar, cinnamon and pecans. The recipe called for each circle of dough to be cut into 12 wedges. I decided to do this by cutting the dough like pizza slices but you can't get twelve even pieces if you keep dividing the sections so I ended up with some cookies that were larger than others.

Overall these cookies were tasty and worth the little extra effort you need to make them. The cream cheese dough really stands out with its tangy flavour. I would have liked a punchier filling as cinnamon sugar is really mild but it was meant to mimic a Snickerdoodle cookie which it did especially well. This is a cookie that can be filled a multitude of different ways and would look very nice on a cookie tray.

Recipe: Snickerdoodle Croissant Cookies

Friday, October 26, 2007

Old Dad's Oatmeal Cookies

I made these cookies quite a while ago but have been procrastinating about posting about them. It's not that I don't like them, its just that I haven't dedicated any proper blogging time into my schedule. Now, with a little time to myself and some Radiohead, I can finally get down to business.

The reasons I like these cookies:

1. They use almost 3 cups of oats. Now that's a real oatmeal cookie.

2. They're sturdy and versatile. Leave them plain or dress them up. Turn them into ice cream sandwiches. It's all good.

3. They're easy, fast and mixes up in one bowl.

The one thing about using Crisco is that sometimes when you have a plain cookie like this one, the flavour can become flat and tasteless so you really need to add the salt called for in the recipe. I also used cinnamon to jazz up the flavour which is totally optional - it just depends on what you like. The recipe makes a lot of cookies so invite some friends over and share. Or have a Hallowe'en party, add orange and dark brown M&M's and call them Super Crunchy And Really Yummy (SCARY) cookies.......or not.

Recipe: Old Dad's Oatmeal Cookies

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Cappuccino Love Bites

The holiday season is quickly descending on us. I know this because I see Christmas cookie magazines everywhere I go tempting me with pretty goodies on the cover. I finally broke down and bought the BHG Christmas Cookies publication promising 102 yummy treats. This was in no way an impulse buy ( OK, maybe a little) but I have faith in BHG as I've bought previous holiday issues. Also, I just really love looking at new baking recipes - always fun and inspiring!

Well, let's just say the magazine didn't disappoint. It's filled with tons of fabulous recipes and I decided to make these Cappuccino Love Bites because I know that Mr. CB adores coffee and I don't use nearly enough coffee flavouring in my baking. Turns out, these little cookies were a hit, with young and old alike.

Making the cookie batter is straightforward. Once it is prepared, it is rolled in a mixture of sugar and instant coffee granules. Once they've baked, a kiss is popped on top and, after it melts a bit, swirled for fancy effect. Mr. CB thought this would make the cookie too sweet but he pleasantly surprised that it didn't. The coffee granules offer a bit of bitterness which is nice with the sweet creamy chocolate. If you don't like coffee granules, you can adjust the sugar/granules ratio to your liking.

Overall, I give these cookies an enthusiastic thumbs up. They look interesting and taste great too. I'm looking forward to making them again and again and again....

On another note, I'd like send a shout out to my fabulous and amazing in-laws for gifting me with what every baker covets - a KitchenAid Artisan Stand Mixer. Thank you, thank you! Oh, the treats I can make (and send to BC)! xoxo

Recipe: Cappuccino Love Bites

Friday, October 05, 2007

Apricot Coconut Almond Squares

I can't remember why I bought the bag of apricots that has been languishing in my pantry cupboard. There were a lot of them at one point but the stash has diminished greatly due to voracious snacking. I like dried apricots - they're chewy, healthy and easy to bake with. I also found a lonely bag of coconut so I decided they'd be good friends and threw them together into one tasty bar.

To make this bar cookie, you need to soften up the apricots by simmering them in a liquid. I chose water but you could also add more flavour by using orange juice or Citrus Five Alive - whatever you fancy. Once they're a bit mushier (but not like a puree) you mix it up with a whole bunch of other good stuff and bake it over a shortbread crust. I was unsure how they would come out but I needn't have worried.

After 30 minutes they were done and a nice light shade of brown. I let them cool for a bit and them sliced them up into neat squares. So far so good but, as they say, they proof is in the pudding or eating or something. The bars were surprisingly delicious. I knew they'd taste good, but not this good. They buttery crust went together amazingly well with the sweet chewy apricot filling. I chopped my apricots a little larger so I had nice big chunks intermingled with coconut and crunchy almonds. A winner on all accounts. They're perfect for a dessert tray and if you throw in some dried cranberries, they'd look even prettier.

Recipe: Apricot Coconut Almond Squares

Monday, October 01, 2007

Daring Bakers September Challenge - Cinnamon Buns

With every new month comes a new and exciting Daring Baker challenge. Alas, I am a few days late in posting about September's treat-of-the-month so it is no surprise that Cinnamon Buns and/or Sticky Buns were the order of the day.

Let me start by saying that I love making cinnamon buns. Once the apprehension of using yeast evaporated, making these yummy swirls of cinnamony goodness were a breeze. I especially liked the recipe that Marce from Pip in the City had us use. It produced a fabulous dough that was both soft and airy. I have made buns in the past with a different recipe and noticed that sometimes the dough ended up cakey and hard, but not this time. I was really quite impressed with the final result.

One thing I though made these buns more special was the addition of lemon rind into the dough. It gives the buns an extra flavour dimension but not so much that the lemon is overpowering. I also liked the simple cinnamon sugar filling. It was light and didn't overpower the bun. I suppose if you like, brown sugar mixed with cinnamon would give you a more substantial filling - it all depends on what your tastebuds like.

Overall I can't say enough good things about these buns. The dough was a dream (though I had to add extra flour) and they came out perfect even though I was pressed for time and had to reduce the proofing times somewhat. One little thing I tweaked was to warm up the milk before adding it to the mix. I just thought this would help the yeast do its magic and I'm just so used to doing it anyways. This was my favourite DB challenge by far and and I am officially adopting Marce's recipe as my own. It's great. Period.

To see the other gorgeous buns made by my fellow Daring Bakers, check out our growing blogroll. To see the complete recipe, please visit Marce.