Archive for the Category ◊ Sweets ◊

07 Nov 2019 Paddington Cookies (Marmalade Bars)
Marmalade Bars, Paddington Bear’s favorite.

What rock have I been hiding under? Up until a few hours ago, I had no idea that Paddington Bear loves marmalade. A quote from Paddington Bear himself,  “A wise bear always keeps a marmalade sandwich in his hat in case of emergency.”

My enlightenment came when I offered one of these cookies (previously known as “Jam Slices” to my daughter). My daughter took one bite and said, “The kids (my grandkids) will love these.” Whaaa? I gave her my ‘You’re crazy’ look and deadpanned “They have marmalade on them”.  She then gave me her ‘You’re crazy’ look and said, “They love Paddington Bear and Paddington Bear loves marmalade. They’ll love these cookies.”

It was not on my radar that Marmalade might make a comeback by way of the children of Millennials! With high hopes, I quickly renamed these cookies “Paddington Cookies”! I hope that they are a hit with the younger set as well as the older set.

The original recipe is from The Food Network’s “Holiday Cookie Cookbook”. I made two changes to the recipe and refined the method, so the FN’s “Jam Bars” are now much improved and have a much cooler name.

Paddington Cookies (Marmalade Bars)

  • 2 cups (250 grams) all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon table salt
  • 1 ½ sticks (12 tablespoons/6 oz) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ½ cup + 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Finely grated zest of one orange
  • 4 to 6 tablespoons marmalade
  • A few tablespoons powdered sugar
  1. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl and set aside.
  3. Beat the butter and sugar in a large bowl with a mixer on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes.
  4. Beat in the egg, then the vanilla and orange zest.
  5. Reduce the mixer speed to low; add the flour mixture and beat until just combined (the dough will be very soft and a bit hard to work with in the next step).
  6. Divide the dough into 4 pieces and put 2 pieces on each prepared baking sheet. Shape each piece into a 12-by-1-inch log, about 3 inches apart.
  7. Using the handle of a wooden spoon, press a 1/2-inch-deep indentation down the middle of each log. Refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes.
  8. Scoop the marmalade into a piping bag or into the corner of a Ziplok bag. Cut the corner of the bag off. Slowly squeeze the marmalade out of the bag, carefully filling the indentations. If you need more marmalade, no problem. Just refill bag and pipe onto cookies as needed.
  9. Place pans in preheated oven and bake until golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes.
  10. Let bars cool completely on the baking sheets, then transfer the logs to a cutting board and slice crosswise into 1-inch-wide cookies.
  11. Dust with powdered sugar

Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
18 Sep 2019 Cafe Mocha Pinwheels

I love cookies! These are fun, a bit different, striking, and feature grown-up flavors of mocha and espresso. I found the original recipe in the Taste of Home publication, ‘Fall Baking 2019’. After my first try, following the recipe perfectly, I changed the recipe a bit. I added more flour to one portion of dough (after the dough is divided) to make both doughs even (why didn’t TOH do the same?). Also, as the mocha flavor was strong in the original recipe and the espresso was loosing out, which I found to be unacceptable, I upped the espresso! The resulting cookie is crisp, pretty, and full flavored.

Making the pinwheels is the tricky part, so let me help with that a bit. One, don’t stress. Two, on a large piece of parchment paper, roll the first dough out to a rectangle of only the approximate size. Don’t be a slave to the ruler, it doesn’t matter that much! Three, using another piece of parchment paper, roll the second dough into approx the same size as the first rectangle of dough. Four, put one dough on top of the other dough and remove the top piece of parchment paper. Five, now trim and patch and press to fit! If you have extra dark dough, put it where there’s some extra pale dough, and vice-a-versa. Keep working at it until all the dough is used and more-or-less on top of one another. Five, gently roll over the two doughs with a rolling pin to make the doughs stick together and to remove any lumps or air pockets. Six, roll up tightly and slice as per the directions below. You’ll have beautiful pinwheel cookies!

Café Mocha Pinwheels

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour (375 grams)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon instant espresso powder
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder (Hershey’s is fine) (50 grams)
  • Additional 50 grams flour (about 1/3 cup)
  • Additional 1 tablespoon instant espresso powder
  1. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  2. Beat in eggs and vanilla.
  3. In another bowl, whisk flour, baking powder and espresso powder to combine. Gradually beat flour mixture into creamed mixture.
  4. Divide dough in half. Beat cocoa into half of dough. Beat additional flour and additional espresso powder into other half of the dough.
  5. Divide each color into 2 portions.
  6. Refrigerate until firm enough to roll out, about 1 hour.
  7. Roll each portion into a 9×7-in. rectangle, approx. (Roll on parchment paper to make the whole job a lot easier.)
  8. Place a chocolate rectangle on top of the coffee rectangle. Fussy cut and finagle to shape dough into rectangles of matching size and shape.
  9. Roll up tightly jelly-roll style, starting with a long side, and using parchment paper to help with the rolling. Mold the dough into a smooth roll. Securely wrap dough in plastic wrap; repeat with remaining dough. Freeze 1 hour or until firm.
  10. Preheat oven to 350°. Unwrap and cut dough crosswise into 1/4-in. slices. Place 2″ apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake 10-12 minutes or until edges are light brown. Cool on pans 2 minutes. Remove to wire racks to cool. 
  11. Makes 4 dozen large cookies

Freeze option: Place wrapped logs in an airtight container; return to freezer. To use, unwrap frozen logs and cut into slices. If necessary, let dough stand 15 minutes at room temperature before cutting. Bake as directed.

From Taste of Home, ‘Fall Baking, 2019’ (but has been posted elsewhere on the internet since 2016).

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
09 Sep 2019 Sweet and Cinnamon-y Apple Bread
Sweet and Cinnamon-y Apple Bread

Bread baking is my Everest, meaning I haven’t conquered it yet.  I’m not even at base camp so the bread recipes that appeal to me are easy and pretty much foolproof.  Here’s one of them! The recipe is easy… I see you shaking your head. Is it because you’ve already noticed the 22 steps? Granted, that seems like a lot, but there are 22 because I broke each step down into tiny increments. You can do this! You can have a loaf of Sweet Apple Bread ready to eat in about two hours! For a fancy, fruit-filled, yeasted bread, that’s a pretty quick turnaround time! The two hours is not all hands-on work either, that time includes two periods of rest for the dough to rise AND the baking time! The resulting product is delicious and impressive. Around here the aroma of this bread baking reliably gets sleepyheads out of bed and ready to face the day with a smile on their faces!

The bread is not burned! Darned filter!
I bake better than the I take pictures.

I didn’t create this recipe; I am not nearly that smart. I found it in Better Homes and Garden, Fall Baking at the same time as my daughter, who found it online. Then I googled it, and the recipe is all over the Internet, so I don’t know who or where it first came from first, but it’s a good one, a keeper, and almost infallible.  I did have it fail once, though. I didn’t measure the apples.  I wanted more apples and more apples, so I probably ended up with double the apples and one soggy, flat, never-did-bake loaf, so don’t do that! Measure the apples! I have made this bread with both cinnamon and Apple Pie Spice and I prefer it with Apple Pie Spice. If you can’t find it at your local grocery store, order it from Penzey’s Spices.

My daughter’s first loaf of Sweet and Cinnamon-y Apple Bread

While looking for this recipe on line, my daughter came across an almost identical recipe made with pumpkin. Unbeknownst to each other, we both made it, on the same afternoon, and we both thought it needed some upgrading, so we’ll work on that. Look for an enhanced pumpkin bread soon but until then, make this one! It’s a winner!

Sweet and Cinnamon-y Apple Loaf

For the dough:

  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 package (2 ½ teaspoons) active dry yeast
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons sugar (divided use)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups (375 grams) all-purpose flour

For the filling:

  • 1/4 cup melted or very, very soft butter
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1-1/2 cups peeled and finely chopped Granny Smith apple (usually one very large apple)
  • 3/4 cup (75 grams) packed brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Apple Pie Spice or Cinnamon

For the icing:

  • 2 ounces cream cheese, softened (optional)
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons milk
  1. In the microwave, heat milk until just until lukewarm, approx. 105°F to 115°F, about 30-60 seconds, depending on the wattage of your microwave.
  2. Combine warm milk, yeast, and ½ tsp of sugar in small bowl. Stir until yeast is dissolved. Let stand 5 minutes.
  3. In bowl of electric mixer combine egg, 1/4 cup melted butter, the rest of the granulated sugar, and salt. Beat for 30 seconds.
  4. Add yeast mixture to egg/butter mixture. Beat with mixer on medium until combined.
  5. Add half the flour to mixture in bowl. Beat on low 30 seconds, scraping bowl as needed, then beat for 3 minutes on medium.
  6. Stir in remaining flour. Beat for another 2 minutes or so.
  7. Shape dough into ball (dough will not be smooth).
  8. Place dough in greased bowl; turn once to completely grease surface of dough.

Note: To make ahead: prepare as directed up to this step. Do not let dough rise. Cover bowl and refrigerate for up to 24 hours.

  • Cover the dough with greased plastic wrap and let rise in warm place until nearly double in size 45 to 60 minutes (longer if dough has been refrigerated).
  • Grease 9×5-inch loaf pan, or line with parchment paper.

Note: Here comes the tricky part but it just sounds as if it’s tricky. Don’t stress it at all. The measurements are just approximate. Even the number of slices in the stacks are approximate. Eyeball everything! Have fun with it! Do. Not. Stress! This is a free-form bread. You can’t make a mistake. Go for it!

  1. Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface. Roll dough into 20×12-inch rectangle (approximately, jagged edges are no problem).
  2. Brush dough with 1/4 cup melted or very soft butter then sprinkle with 1 tsp. white sugar.
  3. In a small bowl, combine chopped apples, brown sugar, and apple pie spice or cinnamon. Sprinkle this mixture equidistantly over the dough.
  4. Cut the dough rectangle in half lengthwise to make two 20×6-inch strips (approximately)
  5. Cut each strip vertically into five 6×4-inch strips.
  6. Carefully make 2 stacks of 5 strips each. Cut each stack lengthwise into three 4×2-inch pieces.
  7. Now lift the stacks, and loosely stagger stacks in pan, cut sides up. You’ll have to push and pull to make all stacks fit. This is not a problem.  Lightly push down on dough to fill corners and level the top of the loaf.
  8. Cover loaf with greased plastic wrap and let rise in warm place until nearly double in size (40 to 45 minutes).
  9. Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake loaf for about 45 minutes or until golden brown and an instant-read thermometer inserted near center registers 200°F.
  10. Cool in pan 10 minutes.
  11. In a medium mixer bowl combine ingredients for icing: room temperature cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla. Beat on medium speed until smooth. Beat in enough milk to make a glaze of drizzling consistency. (NOTE: I usually make the icing without the cream cheese)
  12. Remove loaf from pan and drizzle with icing. Cool at least 20 minutes more before eating (but bread will keep well for a few days).

Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today! Happy baking!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
08 Sep 2019 Pumpkin Spice Biscotti
Pumpkin Spice Biscotti

It’s that time of year. Let the fall baking commence! I’ve started with these: Pumpkin Spice Latte Biscotti, my entry for my cookbook club’s ‘Pumpkin Dessert Showstopper Challenge’ last year (sometimes we act like we are contestants on the mythical ‘Great American Baking Show’!).

These biscotti have a subtle pumpkin spice taste, are crunchy around the edges, and somewhat soft and cake-y on the inside. I really should put the word biscotti in quotes since these are not traditional: they are not teeth shattering-ly crunchy, they don’t contain nuts or almond extract, and with the two non-traditional drizzles with a shower of cinnamon-sugar, they are also showstoppingly pretty 🙂

You won’t find this recipe anywhere else on the web. I started with another recipe (regretfully, I don’t remember where I found the original recipe), upped and re-mixed the spices and added the three toppings.

NOTE: When I made these biscotti last year, Caramel Chips (not to be confused with Caramel Bits) were available everywhere. This year I couldn’t find them anywhere (have they been discontinued?) so I substituted Butterscotch Chips for the Caramel Chips.

If you like my version of ‘biscotti’, check out my recipe for Gingerbread Biscotti, also on this website 🙂

Pumpkin Spice Biscotti

  • 3 1/4 cups All-Purpose Flour (400 grams)
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Baking Powder
  • 1 Tablespoon Instant Espresso Powder
  • 1/2 tsp. Salt
  • 1 Tablespoon Cinnamon
  • 2 tsp. Ginger
  • 1 tsp. Nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup Unsalted Butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 2 large Eggs
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 3/4 cup Pumpkin Puree

To decorate

  • white chocolate and caramel chips, not combined, melted separately (it’s okay to sub Butterscotch Chips for the Caramel Chips, see the NOTE above)
  • Cinnamon-Sugar mixture
  1. Preheat oven to 300° F. and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and spices. Whisk well to combine. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
  4. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla and pumpkin and beat to combine.
  5. Add dry ingredients and mix until well combined. Batter will be slack, and a bit worrisome because it’s so hard to work with, but it will be fine (it might be easier to refrigerate dough for a few hours to make it easier to handle, but this is not necessary).
  6. On the prepared baking sheet, spoon dough into two logs about 2″ wide by 12+” long (they will spread). Using moistened hands, shape and smooth the dough.
  7. Bake in preheated oven for 40-60 minutes, or until firm and hollow sounding when tapped. Remove from oven and allow to rest on the pan for at least 10 minutes and up to a few hours
  8. Remove logs to a cutting board and using a serrated knife at an angle, cut into 1-inch slices. Return slices to rack over a baking sheet, with cut side down, and bake 15-30+ minutes, or until biscotti loses it’s cake-y feel.
  9. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.
  10. Melt chocolate. Coat one side of biscotti with either caramel chips or white chocolate. Let dry.
  11. Turn biscotti over and drizzle with the chocolate (caramel or white) not used in previous step
  12. Before the drizzled chocolate hardens, sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar mixture.
  13. After chocolate hardens shake off excess cinnamon sugar
  14. Store airtight. Freezes well.

Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today. Be sure to stop by again for the Gingerbread Biscotti recipe after devouring these!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email