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Posts Tagged ‘Pecan’

It’s not clear to me how it happened, but somewhere between the pumpkin pie, washing the dishes, opening presents, and setting out all the goodies, all but three of my chewy cocoa peanut butter chip cookies disappeared.

And I faintly recall what sounded like a Food Network cookie review behind me as we washed dishes. There was talk of “they’re so soft,” “I like the crunchy edges,” and “there’s a perfect ratio of chocolate and peanut butter.”

Chewy Cocoa Peanut Butter Chip Cookies | Random Sweetness Baking

Speaking of Christmas cookies, we can’t be the only family that’s overly ambitious with our Christmas baking. Between the bakers in my family, there are six ovens, six mixers, and countless pounds of sugar involved in the making of our annual goodies feast. Of course, we eat a traditional meal of turkey, mashed potatoes, and green bean casserole, too.

And this table is not an accurate account of how many sweets we really had because there are more in the refrigerator and a big stack sitting on my entryway bench that hadn’t made it to the table yet. Luckily, we all pack up containers of our favorites and enjoy them for a few weeks after Christmas.

Christmas goodies table

Chewy Cocoa Peanut Butter Chip Cookies

2 cups sugar

1-1/4 cups butter, softened

2 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla

2 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup cocoa

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

10-ounce package (1-2/3 cups) peanut butter chips

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, beat sugar and softened butter until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs and vanilla.

In a separate bowl, combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. Stir together and then gradually add to the butter mixture; beating until well combined. Stir in the peanut butter chips until they are distributed evenly into the cookie dough.

Drop by teaspoonfuls onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 9 to 10 minutes. Do not overbake. The cookies will not look like they are done but they will puff up a little when baking and then they’ll drop when they are cooling. They are soft with a little crunch around the edges. Cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes and then move them to a cooling rack.

Forget about cooling completely. Start eating them after they’ve cooled 15 minutes or so. Store in an airtight container. Makes approximately 3 dozen cookies.

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You may recognize these treats from childhood potlucks in your church basement or from family reunions with people you didn’t really know. And unless your mom shared the recipe with you, the secret layers in these marshmallow chocolate cream cheese bars have long been revealed only to those who bake them.

Each bite holds four layers of cake-like brownies, sweet cream cheese, chewy chocolate, salty pecans, sticky marshmallows, and soft, almost flaky, chocolate vanilla frosting. You will wear a path in the floor to the refrigerator.

Marshmallow chocolate cream cheese bars | Random Sweetness Baking

Prepare yourself — you’ll use three mixing bowls, a small bowl, and a saucepan to make these bars. But trust me. I would never steer you down a dishwashing path if it weren’t absolutely, without a chocolate doubt, worth every squirt of dish soap.

Marshmallow chocolate cream cheese bars

Brownie base:

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened (do not substitute margarine)

1 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 (1-ounce) square unsweetened chocolate, melted and set aside to cool slightly

1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla

1 cup flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 cup pecan pieces or chopped pecans

Cream cheese layer:

6 ounces cream cheese, softened to room temperature

1/4 cup butter, softened (do not substitute margarine)

1/2 cup sugar

1 egg

2 tablespoons flour

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 cup pecan pieces or chopped pecans

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

3 cups miniature marshmallows

Frosting:

1/4 cup butter

2 ounces cream cheese, softened to room temperature

1 (1-ounce) square unsweetened chocolate

2 tablespoons milk

3 cups powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350°.

In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add eggs, melted chocolate, and vanilla; mix well on medium speed. In a separate bowl, combine flour and baking powder. Gently stir into chocolate mixture. Fold in the pecans. Pour into a greased 13 x 9 pan and spread evenly.

In a small mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add the butter and beat until well combined. Beat in the sugar, egg, flour, and vanilla until creamy. Fold in the pecans. Spread evenly over the chocolate layer. Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the cream cheese layer and bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes. Edges will begin to pull away from the sides of the pan. Do not overbake or the brownie layer will be dry.

Remove the baking pan from the oven. Sprinkle the marshmallows over the chocolate chips. Bake another 2 minutes or until the marshmallows become puffed. Remove from oven. Gently spread the marshmallows over the layer of chocolate chips. Cool on a wire rack.

Frosting:

In a small saucepan over low heat, cook and stir the butter, cream cheese, unsweetened chocolate and milk. Slowly melt and stir until smooth. Pour into a large mixing bowl. Add one cup of powdered sugar at a time, beating after each cup. Beat in vanilla. Spread over the cooled bars. Store in the refrigerator.

Makes 2 to 3 dozen, depending on how large you cut them.

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At Christmas time last year, my mom texted my two sisters and me asking what we’d like her to bake for our Christmas together. She used to bake so much during the winter holiday that she would stack containers full of sweet, gooey treats halfway up her attic steps. But now that we are older and have families, my sisters and I do a lot of our own baking, so mom doesn’t need to bake as much. We all answered back with our own, “please bake _____, ____ and ____, or Christmas won’t be the same” list, but the one goodie we all requested was her Forgotten Kisses.

I came across her recipe for Forgotten Kisses the other night and realized that after all these years of baking, I’ve never made them. They only take 15 to 20 minutes to whip up, and the bake time is “forgotten” in the oven so they are perfect to make before you go to bed or before you head out for the day. (They bake with the oven OFF.)

After I made a batch mom’s traditional way, I decided to try them with Andes Mint baking pieces. (You can read about my obsession with Andes Mints in my posts for Andes Mint Cheesecake, Chocolate Island Mint Bars and Brownie Crunch Mint Crispy Bars.) Although I really like the Forgotten Kisses using Andes Mints and my friends at work do too, my taste buds favor the traditional recipe using mini chocolate chips. Must be the sweet holiday memories.

{Forgotten Kisses}

2 egg whites

2/3 cup white sugar

1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

pinch of salt

1 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips OR 1 cup Andes Mint baking pieces

3/4 cup finely chopped nuts (pecans, walnuts, cashews, etc.)

Preheat oven to 375˚. Beat egg whites until frothy. Add salt and cream of tartar. Beat until stiff peaks form. Add sugar gradually. Beat 10 minutes. Gently fold in chocolate chips OR Andes Mint pieces and chopped nuts. Using two spoons, drop by tablespoons onto greased cookie sheets or cookie sheets lined with parchment paper. Turn oven OFF. Place cookie sheets in oven and close door. Leave in oven overnight.

Forgotten Kisses don’t really spread out or take much of a different shape than how you place them on the cookie sheet. They are best as a smaller treat, about the size of an Oreo or slightly bigger.

What’s one of your favorite family recipes that you haven’t made yet?

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{Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie}

It’s always fun when baking leads to the liquor store. In honor of National Dessert Day, I posted on my Facebook site that I would bake and blog a recipe if someone shared something with me that they like to make. The first request came from one of my friends and  high school classmates, Derek Clever. (Thinking back to the Guns ‘n Roses and Purple Passion days of the 80s, I wasn’t surprised Derek’s recipe included liquor.) He begins his year with this pie and ends with it as he said, “I make it twice a year; Christmas and New Year’s.” My second request was from my sister for our favorite Caramel Apple Nut Bars.

With this recipe, I was a little out of my element. I love pecan pie but I’ve never made it before. And I didn’t even know exactly what bourbon was. I know Jack Daniels and Jim Beam but I thought they were whiskey, not bourbon. Turns out, bourbon IS whiskey, whiskey IS bourbon. (Thank you Brookings Municipal Liquor Store clerk #21TO for your explanation.) And Derek, please don’t be disappointed in me that I may have lost some of my “knowledge” of alcoholic beverages since our high school days…

One thing I’ve never liked about pie is the crust. I just don’t eat it. But I also don’t like that it burns so easily so it doesn’t make a very nice presentation. I know the trick of wrapping foil around the crust but if you’ve ever done it, you know it’s really a pain in the a##. So for the few times we make pie around here (my daughter makes pumpkin pie a few times a year), I bought this pie shield from Pampered Chef and LOVE it.

If you like bourbon, chocolate, and pecan pie, you will want to try this one.

{Derek’s Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie}

3/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup cornstarch

3 eggs

1/2 cup light corn syrup

1/2 cup melted butter

1 cup chopped pecans

6 ounces semi sweet chocolate chunks

1/4 cup bourbon

1 unbaked pie shell

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Mix sugar, cornstarch, butter and corn syrup in a bowl and beat on low speed. Beat in eggs until well blended. Stir in pecans, chocolate chunks and bourbon. Pour into pie shell and bake at 350 for 50 to 60 minutes.

Thank you for sharing your recipe with us, Derek!

Do you have a recipe that you make only for certain holidays?

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