June 15, 2011

Snickers Cookies

One day I was looking at the Brown Eyed Baker's website and I came across these peanut butter snickers cookies.  I was in love!  Snickers are my favorite candy bar.  Everyday in my lunch box I pack two fun size snickers.  I look forward to eating them during the day, it's the little things.  :)

When I read the ingredient list, I didn't have milk chocolate chips, so I had to wait.  :(  After I picked them up, I was looking for an excuse to make these yummy cookies.  The excuse presented itself in the form of a friend's birthday dinner.  I got to bring dessert.  Yay me!  :)  I love a good excuse to bake for others.  The cookies were a huge hit!  Some of the cookies went home with friends as party favors.  

The cookies have an excellent flavor!  The texture is very smooth and creamy from the peanut butter.  I highly recommend these cookies, I can't wait to make them again. 

Peanut Butter Snickers Cookies

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda (I reduced it by about 20% due to baking at altitude)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder (I reduced it by about 20% due to baking at altitude)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened (I reduced the butter by 1 tablespoon due to baking at altitude)
1 cup creamy peanut butter
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 egg
1 tablespoon milk (I used plain, low fat yogurt)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups chopped Snickers candy bars, about 4 regular size bars
3/4 cup milk chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.  Set aside.  

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.  Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter and peanut butter together until fluffy.  Add the sugars and beat until smooth.  Add the egg and mix until combined.  Add the milk and vanilla extract and mix again.

Add the flour mixture and beat until the flour disappears.  Stir in chopped Snickers and milk chocolate chips.  

Drop by heaping tablespoons onto the prepared baking sheets.  Gently flatten each cookie ball with the palm of your hand.  Bake 10-11 minutes, or until cookies are slightly brown on the edges.  

Cool the cookies on the baking sheet for 5 to 10 minutes, then remove to a rack to cool completely.  Store in an airtight container at room temperature.  

Yield - About 24 cookies

June 12, 2011

Strawberry-Buttermilk Sherbert

This is my third use for four pounds of strawberries!  I hope you have enjoyed the strawberry recipes. 

Strawberry-buttermilk sherbert . . . AMAZING!  Honestly when I first starting making the sherbert, I wasn't sure how it would be with buttermilk in it.  Before I put the sherbert mixture in the fridge to chill for an hour, I sampled a little of the liquid.  It was so tasty, it tasted like liquid strawberry frosting!  Crazy, huh?  Once chilled, it went into my ice cream maker, just a bit later, we had semi-frozen sherbert.  I, of course, ate some while it was semi-frozen and then put the rest into the freezer to freeze further.  The sherbert is so fresh, light, and delicious!  You should run to your kitchen to make this . . . go now, don't wait.  :)

Strawberry-Buttermilk Sherbert

2 cups fresh strawberries*
2 cups buttermilk
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Garnish: fresh mint sprigs

Process strawberries in food processor or blender 30 seconds or until smooth, stopping to scrape down sides.  Pour strawberry puree through fine wire-mesh strainer into a large bowl, pressing with the back of a spoon.  Discard solids.  Add buttermilk, sugar, and vanilla to puree; stir until well blended.  Cover and chill 1 hour.

Pour strawberry mixture into freezer container of a 1 1/2 quart electric ice-cream maker, and freeze according to manufacturer's instructions.  (Instructions and times may vary.)  Garnish, if desired. 

*1 (16 ounce) package frozen strawberries, thawed, may be substituted. 

Yield - about 4 1/2 cups

Hat Tip - myrecipes.com

June 5, 2011

Strawberry Shortcake

Strawberry shortcake . . . such yummy goodness!!  These are so delicious, it is hard to explain just how good they are.  :-)  Crunchy slightly sweet biscuit, sweet beautiful strawberries, and of course lovely vanilla whipped cream, in every bite.

Yes, this was another use for our 4 pounds of strawberries.  It didn't use a bunch of strawberries, since this recipe only made 2 servings, but I think it was definitely a good use of the strawberries. 

The shortcake pictured above is actually my second try.  The first batch I made didn't turn out right.  The butter melted,  ran all over the baking sheet and it ended up "frying" the bottom of the shortcakes.  So, I had to make a few changes to this recipe, I believe because of the altitude here in Colorado.  I decreased the butter from 4 tablespoons to 3 tablespoons, 4 was just too much liquid.  I also replaced 1 tablespoon of the all-purpose floor with cake flour.  Cake flour has cornstarch in it, so it helps absorb some of the excess liquid.  Finally I reduced the baking powder to 3/4 teaspoon, we don't need as much leavening agent since there is less air pressure here.  If you make this recipe it sea level, you shouldn't need to make any changes to it. 

Strawberry Shortcake

Shortcakes -
2/3 cup (3 1/4 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour, plus extra for the counter
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon table salt
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces and chilled
2 tablespoons half-and-half (I didn't have half-and-half, so I used buttermilk)
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 large egg white, lightly beaten

2 cups (10 ounces) fresh strawberries, hulled*
5 teaspoons sugar
1 recipe Whipped Cream (recipe below)

Shortcakes - Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 425 degrees.  Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

Pulse the flour, 5 teaspoons of the sugar, baking powder, and salt together in a food processor until combined, about 3 pulses.  Sprinkle the butter pieces over the top and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal, about 15 pulses.  Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl.  Whisk the half-and-half and whole egg together, then stir into the flour mixture with a rubber spatula until large clumps form.

Turn the mixture out onto a well-floured counter.  Divide the dough into two even pieces, then, with well-floured hands, shape each into a 2 1/2 inch circle, about 1 inch thick.

Arrange the shortcakes on the prepared baking sheet.  Brush the tops with the egg white and sprinkle with the remaining 1 teaspoon sugar.  Bake the shortcakes until golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes, rotating the baking sheet halfway through baking.  Transfer the shortcakes to a wire rack and let cool for 15 minutes.  (The shortcakes can be cooled completely and stored in a zipper-lock bag at room temperature for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 1 month.  Before serving, refresh in a 350 degree oven for 3 to 5 minutes, or 7 to 10 minutes if frozen.)

Fruit - Meanwhile, crush 3/4 cup of the strawberries with a potato masher in a medium bowl.  Slice the remaining 1 1/4 cups berries and fold them into the crushed berries along with the sugar.  Let the berry mixture sit at room temperature until the sugar has dissolved and the berries are juicy, about 10 minutes.

Split each shortcake and spoon the fruit over each bottom.  Dollop with the whipped cream and cap with the shortcake tops.  Serve.

Yield - 2 servings

*Fresh blueberries, raspberries, or halved blackberries can be substituted for some or all of the strawberries.  Do not substitute frozen fruit. 

Whipped Cream

1/3 cup heave cream, chilled
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Whip the cream, sugar, and vanilla together in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium-low speed until frothy, about 1 minute.  Increase the speed to high and continue to whip the cream to soft peaks, 1 to 3 minutes.

Yield - about 3/4 cup

Hat Tip - America's Test Kitchen 2009 Cooking for Two Special Issue