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Posts Tagged ‘Behind the Curtain’

I’m at it again! Changing up my grandmother’s recipe for snickerdoodles (original, Biscoff filled, and chocolate chip)!

This time, I added lime zest and coconut!

Lime and coconut are the 2 ingredients for this months Behind the Curtain challenge. Each month participants are assigned 2 ingredients that we must use in a dessert. I don’t recall making anything with lime and coconut together, so this was a new flavor combination for me! I thought the flavors would go well in a snickerdoodle, so I zested a few limes and added some desiccated coconut. The lime zest gives the cookies a nice bright flavor, while the coconut adds a chewy texture to a crunchy cookie.

Lime Coconut Snickerdoodles

One Year Ago: Butterscotch Brownies

Lime Coconut Snickerdoodles

1 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups + 2 tablespoons sugar
Zest of 3 limes
2 eggs
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup + 3 tablespoons desiccated coconut, divided
2 1/2 cups flour, sifted

Make lime sugar:
Combine sugar and lime zest in a food processor. Process until well combined (about a minute). Put 2 tablespoons of the sugar mixture into a small bowl and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, cream together the shortening and the remaining lime-sugar. Add in the eggs and stir until well combined. Stir in the cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt. Add in 1/2 cup desiccated coconut, then stir in the flour. Refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Using a medium ice cream scoop, scoop the dough then roll only the tops and sides in the lime-sugar mixture. Place on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet and flatten the tops slightly with the palm of your hand. Sprinkle a little desiccated coconut onto the tops of each cookie. Bake in a preheated oven for 10-12 minutes or until the edges are a light golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool for 8 minutes. After 8 minutes, move the cookies onto a cooling rack and let cool completely. Enjoy!

Lime Coconut Snickerdoodles

Made with love, not calories!

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Pretzels and caramel…what a great combination!

They are the ingredients for this months Behind the Curtain dessert challenge! As soon as I saw the ingredients, I knew what I wanted to make…homemade Take 5 candy bars! Layers of pretzels, peanut butter, caramel, and peanuts, all covered in chocolate. YUM!

I ended up making 2 batches of these, as I wasn’t completely happy with the first batch- the peanuts didn’t stick to the caramel. I knew what I did wrong right away (I let the caramel cool too much), so it was an easy fix. The funny thing is that the first batch was gone before I made the second batch (5 days later)! Yeah, they are that good (even without the peanuts!). I have a feeling the second batch won’t last much longer!

Homemade Take 5 Candy Bars

Homemade Take 5 Candy Bars

Mini pretzels (I needed 77 + a few broken pieces)

Peanut Butter Layer:
2 cups creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Caramel Layer:
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup light corn syrup
1 cup heavy cream (also called whipping cream)
5 oz (just shy of 2/3 cup) sweetened condensed milk
1 cup salted peanuts, finely chopped

Milk chocolate for dipping

Line an 10 x 15 inch cookie sheet with aluminum foil and spray lightly with cooking spray. Set aside.

To make the peanut butter layer:
In a microwave-safe bowl, mix together the peanut butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract. Stir until all the powdered sugar has been incorporated. Microwave for 20 seconds on high, then stir. Repeat this again. Spread the mixture evenly on the aluminum foil of your prepared pan. Place your pretzels onto the peanut butter mixture, leaving a very small space between each one (enough for a knife to go through). Note: Mine was 7 pretzels across and 11 pretzels down. This left me with a space along the bottom that wasn’t wide enough for another row of pretzels, so I filled it with broken pretzels. Place the tray in the freezer while you are making the caramel layer.

To make the caramel layer:
In a large saucepan, combine all the ingredients except for the peanuts. Place this over medium heat and bring to a boil, stirring continuously. Boil (continue stirring- the caramel will burn if you stop stirring) until the mixture reaches 236 degrees. Remove from the heat and stir until it stops bubbling. Add in the chopped peanuts. Set aside for a moment.
Remove the cookie sheet from the freezer. Carefully flip the peanut butter layer onto a cutting board (or another large cookie sheet). Peel off the aluminum foil and place it back onto the original cookie sheet. Your peanut butter layer should now be facing up. Transfer this onto the aluminum foil (if it breaks, that’s ok, just press it back together).* Pour the caramel layer over the peanut butter in an even layer. Note: I only used 3/4 of the caramel and poured the rest into a greased ramekin.** Set the cookie sheet aside to cool completely (about an hour).

After an hour, place the cookie sheet in the refrigerator for an hour.

To finish the candy bars:
Line a cookie sheet with wax paper. Set aside. Melt the milk chocolate according to your favorite melting method. Remove the candy from the refrigerator and flip it out onto a cutting board. Remove the aluminum foil. Cut the candy, following the spaces between the pretzels, making 11 rows. Then cut after every 2nd pretzel (see picture below). Flip the candy over (this is the last time, I promise!), and using a fork, dip each piece into the melted chocolate. Let the excess drip off for a second, then place it onto the wax paper lined cookie sheet. Repeat until all the candy has been dipped (or you run out of room on the cookie sheet). Refrigerate for 5-10 minutes, or until the chocolate has set. Peel the candy off the wax paper, and if needed, finish dipping the rest of the candy. Enjoy!

Notes:
*The process I just described- I am having you invert the candy. I did this as the peanut butter mixture is a little too thick to spread it on top of the pretzels (and to keep the pretzels in nice, neat rows).
**I only used 3/4 of the caramel in order to keep all the layers even in thickness. If you like more caramel, go ahead and use all of it for your candy bars.

Homemade Take 5 Candy Bars

Homemade Take 5 Candy Bars

This is showing the peanut butter/pretzel layer inverted. Now it’s ready for the caramel.

Homemade Take 5 Candy Bars

Made with love, not calories!

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I’m linked at: Frugal Girls, Craftionary, The Busy B Hive, Semi Homemade Mom, Hungry Little Girl, Cornerstone Confessions, Dysfunction Junction, My Turn For Us.

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My love of baking came about when I was a sophomore in high school. I had complications from a surgery that was done a few days before Christmas, and those complications kept me from going back to school for almost 3 months. During that time, my parents went back to work and my brother was in school, so I was home alone. Homework only kept me busy for so long, so I ventured into the kitchen. If I remember correctly, my mothers only complaint was that I didn’t clean up after myself (I’m still working on that!). I have been baking ever since!

I have to say though, that having this blog has made me step outside of my baking comfort zone. Past the chocolate chip cookies and plain brownies, I now enjoy making my own marshmallows and caramel. Angel food cakes and ice cream. Decorated sugar cookies and yeast doughs/breads.

I am a part of a few monthly baking challenges. This month, the surprise ingredients for one of the groups- “Behind the Curtain“, are almond paste and pastry. The almond paste has to be homemade and the pastry can be whatever kind we prefer. I had never worked with almond paste before, and now it is something I have made, used, and eaten twice within 3 months time!

I decided to make chocolate almond pastries. I used a “mock” puff pastry recipe from King Arthur Flour, which is very simple to make (though messy) and takes about 45 minutes (instead of a true puff pastry dough which takes a few hours). The center of each pastry has a nice amount of almond paste and a sprinkling of mini chocolate chips. As someone who enjoys sweets, I put no limitations on when desserts (or pastries) must be eaten. These were enjoyed warm the night I made them, and then at room temperature the next day for breakfast!

Chocolate Almond Pastries/Bake, Run, Live

One Year Ago: Brown Sugar Cookies

Chocolate Almond Pastries
Pastry dough lightly adapted from King Arthur Flour
Almond Paste recipe from Daring Bakers’
Makes 12 pastries

Pastry dough:
2 cups flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup (2 sticks) cold butter, cut into pieces
1/2 cup sour cream

Almond paste:
4 oz. raw almonds
4 oz. sugar
1 egg
1/4 teaspoon vanilla bean paste

6 tablespoons mini chocolate chips
1 egg

To make the dough:
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder. Using a fork or a pastry cutter, work in the butter until the mixture resembles large pebbles. Stir in the sour cream- the mixture will still be very crumbly. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead it until it starts to come together (this is messy, so don’t get discouraged). Pat the dough into a log and roll it into an 8 x 10 inch rectangle (again, the dough will still look like a mess, stay strong and just keep moving forward with the directions!). Lightly dust the dough with flour, then take one of the short ends and fold it towards the center of the dough. Take the other short end and fold it over the first fold (like you are folding a business letter). Give the dough a 90 degree turn and roll out into an 8 x 10 inch rectangle. Repeat the folding sequence. Lightly wrap the dough in plastic wrap, then place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes*.

To make the almond paste:
In a food processor, process the almonds until they are finely ground. Add in the sugar and let the machine run for 1 to 2 minutes. Again, we are looking for a very fine texture. Stop the machine and add in the egg and vanilla bean paste. Turn the machine on and let it run until the mixture is well combined. It will come together like a ball of dough. Move the almond paste into an air-tight container and refrigerate until needed**.

To make the pastries:
Remove the pastry dough from the refrigerator. Unwrap and place the dough onto a floured surface. Roll the dough out into a large rectangle. The dough should be about 1/8 inch thick. Using a sharp knife or a pizza cutter, even up the edges, then cut 12 equal pieces. Separate the almond paste into 12 equal pieces (the almond paste can get a little sticky- I found that flouring my hands helped to keep this to a minimum). Roll each piece of almond paste into a log and place onto the dough. Note: As you can see from the picture below, I laid my almond paste at an angle, as that was how I wanted to fold the dough. Gently flatten the almond paste. Sprinkle on 1/2 tablespoon of mini chocolate chips and gently press them into the almond paste. Fold up 2 edges of the dough (across from each other) , dab on a little bit of water onto the dough, and press to seal. Move the pastry onto a parchment paper lined cookie sheet, then repeat with the remaining pastries.

Once all the pastries are on a cookie sheet, place it in the freezer for 10 minutes. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a small bowl, whisk together 1 egg with 1 teaspoon water. After 10 minutes, remove the cookie sheet from the freezer and brush the dough with the egg wash. Bake in a preheated oven for 16-18 minutes or until the pastries are golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool completely. Enjoy!

*The pastry dough can be made ahead of time and frozen for up to 2 months. Thaw the dough in the refrigerator overnight before using.
**The almond paste can also be made ahead of time, however, it is best to use it within 4 to 5 days.

Chocolate Almond Pastries/Bake, Run, Live

Chocolate Almond Pastries/Bake, Run, Live

I’m linked at: Taste and Tell, The Busy B Hive, The Frugal Girls, Craftionary, Cheerios & Lattes, Pamela’s Heavenly Treats, Call Me PMc, Six Sisters’ Stuff, Susie QTpies Cafe, Create With Joy, Addicted to Recipes, The Chicken Chick.

Made with love, not calories!

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Come join #DairyBreakfastClub recipe party at TidyMom along with The California Milk Advisory Board and RealCaliforniaMilk.com

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