Lately, I’ve been working through recipes that are easy to take to work and share. Everyone at my office has been working long hours, and having a nice treat on a Monday seems like a good idea to me. As much as I am looking forward to making the scheduled Blood Orange Tiramisu someday, it’s not the most portable dessert.
These little Derby Cookies were awesome. The cookies were soft, but the sugar on the outside gave a great crunch and a punch of whisky flavor. Rolling in raw sugar is something I want to try with other cookie recipes. I’d love to make these again, but I think I’d try it with pecans instead of walnuts, but that’s just my preference.
My friend Sarah recommended this delicious cake recipe after she tried it last week. I missed it on the schedule the first time around, which is a shame, because I think I would have made it a dozen times by now. It came out with a perfectly moist texture, scented with fragrant oranges. Easy to make too, I wouldn’t change a thing about it. The only problem I’m having is whether I’ll be able to save any to take to work tomorrow.
I love a good gingersnap, and these Gingersnaps with Lemon Sugar didn’t disappoint. They are easy to throw together and fairly forgiving. I love the sugar coating creating a nice crunchy exterior, but the lemon flavor didn’t really come through for me. I think I’d either skip or double the zest next time, but the overall cookie recipe is excellent.
Hair of the Dog Cake, or Rum Soaked Caramelized Deliciousness. I love easy cakes. Simple, one pan, no fuss creations, that’s me. And this cake was easy every step of the way. However, if you don’t like rum, I’d recommend modifying this recipe. It is one of the booziest cake I have ever had. The flavor does lessen over time, but whoa, right out of the oven the flavor was hugely alcoholic.
Probably because you literally pour rum all over it.
Now for the fun part of this recipe. The easiest way to carbonize all of my hard work is probably to put the whole buttery pan two inches from a 500 degree broiler, but I tried it anyway. I watched, some what apprehensive, as the sugar bubbled and caramelized. But wow, the results are really awesome. Why aren’t there more cakes that do this? It’s a genius idea.
Oddly, this cake reminded me most of syrup drenched pancakes, except instead of maple you have rum.
If you loved this cake as much as I did, I have a recommendation for you. Over the holidays my mom and I tried Pioneer Woman’s Sticky Cherry Cake, which is similar to this one in that it’s a single layer cake soaked in a delicious syrup. The Cherry Cake is sadly not flambeed, but it is still quite good.
Date Squares are delicious! I wasn’t sure what to expect from these, I thought they would be a bit like fig newtons. Then my husband wandered into the kitchen and said “Do you remember when we were in college and my grandma sent us a box of date bars, and we couldn’t stop eating them?”
“Wait, those were date bars? Those were awesome!”
These are really easy to make, and other than the dates, only require basic kitchen staples. Chopping up a pound of dates is a bit of a tiresome, sticky, mess, but I found it’s not so bad if combined with a singalong to Mariah Carey’s Christmas album. Tis the season and all that. I used my kitchen shears to pit and mangle the dates into tiny pieces, which seemed like it would be a lot easier than using a knife.
I think these might become a holiday staple in our house, I would make them again. Definitley if I can find already chopped dates!
Campfire cookies are a bit like combing chocolate chip cookies and s’mores. The result is not quite as good as either of those things, but still rather tasty. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the addition of marshmallows, that was the part I was sure I wasn’t going to be crazy about. The texture was a bit dry and sandy, but didn’t hurt the overall flavor of this cookie.
The dough was a bit dry too, but scooped out alright after some time in the fridge. I ended up using cinnamon sugar graham crackers, as that is what I had in my pantry, and I think it made them really sweet. I wouldn’t recommended using them.
I brought these to a friend’s Halloween party a few weeks ago. I love the name Campfire Cookies, but people tended to look at me blankly when I called them that, so I just went with “It’s a S’more cookie.”
Overall it’s a nice spin on a chocolate chip cookie, but chocolate chip cookies are perfection so I don’t know if I’d make these again. I might start adding marshmallows to other cookie recipes though.
I thought I would whip up these cheesecake bars before pumpkin season dwindles away and leaves us in the land of peppermint and eggnog. I love that they use a sweet pastry dough for the crust instead of graham crackers or pie dough, it makes a really delicious sort of cookie bottom. The bars are fairly easy to make, though it does take a lot of time since bits and pieces need to chill along the way. They slice really easily so they’d be a great party dessert. Since I don’t like cheesecake, I usually look to my husband to let me know if they turned out well, and he went nuts over these bars. I’m not sure if he’ll let me take them to work tomorrow.
My wonderful friend Sarah is visiting this weekend from Vancouver. So far we have done a dessert tour through Georgetown, met Dave Grohl, rescued a lost dog in my neighborhood, saw The US Constitution, Julia Child’s kitchen and the Hope Diamond, and have basically eaten our way through many delicious spots around DC. Sarah is one of my oldest friends, and she’s also makes some of the best cakes I have ever had. She was very excited about checking out my copy of Baked Occasions, and immediately zeroed in on the Sweet Potato Tart with Gingersnap Crust and Heavenly Meringue.
I am so glad she picked that recipe, because it is incredibly delicious. We still have half of it in the fridge and I am already thinking of making it again. I’m also brainstorming other recipes I can put the Heavenly Meringue topping on, because we were just eating it by the spoonful. Toasting it was a bit of a challenge. I used my husband’s new butane cigar lighter until it ran out of fuel, and a regular lighter really doesn’t cut it. I think I might actually have to buy a real blow torch.
I had to bake my tart for quite a bit longer than the recipe called for, but other than that it was easy to make. And it is very easy to microwave sweet potatoes, and will save you a lot of time over roasting them.
This tart would make a really excellent Thanksgiving dessert, because it is a great twist on sweet potatoes with mini marshmallows that is such a weird staple at many Thanksgiving meals.
So this week, Candy Bar Cookies. The basic idea is to wrap chocolate cookie dough around a smooshed bit of candy bar, and then add an artful topping of more chocolate and sprinkles. (I went for the Jackson Pollock technique in my white chocolate application.)
The good news is that these were really tasty, and my co-workers really liked them! The bad news, these were a disaster to make. I heard warning bells right off the bat when I read the instructions and saw “the dough will look sandy.” That usually ends well.
I was hopeful that the hour spent chilling would help the dough stick together a bit more, but alas, it was not to be. My attempts at rolling and cutting the dough into well ordered circles was quickly abandoned for the much better technique of grab, smoosh and roll. I committed wholeheartedly to making a mess out of myself and my kitchen, and thankfully, unlike many baking experiments where you abandon a good portion of the recipe, it worked out just fine.
The recipe suggested using miniature Peanut Butter Cups, Mounds Bars, Rolos and Three Musketeers. I went with a mix of Snickers, Caramel Milky Ways, Mounds and Three Musketeers. By far the most delicious result was the Mounds. Something about the coconut texture and the dark chocolate just worked amazingly well. The other three were just overly sweet, and ones including caramel resulted in more caramel melted outside of the cookie than inside.
I don’t know if I would make these again. I do like having smaller cookies to take to the office, and they are a fun treat. However, it was tedious assembling everything together.