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S’mookies

Last night, I came across a video by So Yummy that highlighted different desserts you can make with take and bake cookie dough. Of course, right after seeing the s’mookie and pinwheel brookies, I knew I had to give these a go. Today’s bake was the s’mookies because we love s’mores at our house!

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S’mookies

Cookie dough (I made fresh dough using the classic Nestlé Toll House recipe)
1 package of graham crackers
1 package of regular sized marshmallows
1 package of Hershey’s chocolate bars

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Break a graham cracker in half and place each half on the sheet. Break a Hershey bar in half and place each half on the graham cracker half. Take one marshmallow, tear it in half, and place each half on top of the chocolate so that the marshmallow halves are side-by-side. Be sure to leave plenty of space on your sheet as the cookies will spread and be a decent size. I made six cookies per cookie sheet.

Preheat your oven to 375F (or temp for the specific cookie dough you’re using).

Prepare your cookie dough. Take 1 Tbsp of dough and form it into a thick but flat disk. Place the disk on top of the marshmallow and push down slightly to ensure the stack is balanced.

Place sheet in the oven for 15 mins or until browned to desired doneness (time may vary depending on amount and type of dough). Let cool on the tray or parchment paper for several minutes before moving cookies to cooling rack.

Notes from my first go:

For my first tray, I only used a quarter of a Hershey bar and noticed that it causes more of the cookies to collapse and cook lopsided resulting in more melted marshmallows and over-cooked graham crackers. Using half a bar gave the cookie a nice base.

Also in my first tray, I used 1.5-2 Tbsp of dough. This resulted in huge cookies and way too much spreading. The flavor wasn’t quite right because the proportions of chocolate to dough to marshmallow and graham cracker were off. You need enough dough for the cookie to form around the s’more but not so much that it overtakes it.

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Chai Spiced Candied Nuts

Nuts typically make for a good road snack. They’re more healthy than a candy bar or cookies and can be quite tasty. Candied nuts are great but chai spiced candied nuts are even better! This recipe comes from My Baking Addiction and utilizes her homemade chai spice mix which we used trying her chai spiced sugar cookies previously.
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Chai Spiced Candied Pecans

1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 Tbsp chai spice blend (I accidentally only used 1 tsp. Whoops)
Pinch of salt
1 egg white
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 lb pecan halves

Preheat oven to 250°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a small bowl, stir together sugar, chai spice, and salt.

In a large bowl, whisk together the egg white and vanilla until frothy. Add in the pecans and stir to coat.

Stir in the sugar mixture and stir until the pecans are coated. Spread onto the baking sheet.

Bake for 60 mins, stirring every 15-20 mins. Cool completely before serving.

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Maple Pecan Fudge

I’ve been on a maple kick lately and fudge has been on my add-to-skills list for a long time. When I came across McCormick Spice’s recipe for maple pecan fudge, I knew this would be the first fudge I tried to make. While the recipe seems relatively simple, I ran into an issue or two that resulted in less of a fudge consistency and more of a maple sugar candy. The good news is that it is insanely delicious and no one has complained about it not being more fudge-like. I have a few notes on things to be mindful of on my next attempt but I plan to duplicate this happy accident in the future, too.
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Maple pecan fudge

1 can (12 oz) evaporated milk
3 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
1 1/4 cups (2 1/2 sticks) butter, cut into chunks
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
1 Tbsp maple extract
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups pecan halves, divided (1 cup and 1/2 cup)

Line an 8” pan with non-stick foil (or regular foil and non-stick spray), allowing the foil to extend over the sides of the pan.

Mix the evaporated milk, Brown sugar, and butter in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil on medium-high heat, stirring consistently. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer, stirring frequently until mixture reaches 236°F on a candy thermometer (soft ball stage). This will take around 30 mins. (My mixture sat under 220°F for a majority of this time and took longer than 30 mins on med-low heat to reach soft ball stage). Mixture will darken in color as it cooks. Remove from heat.

Gradually beat in confectioner’s sugar with electric mixer on low speed. Increase to medium speed and beat until thickened and smooth. (Be careful not to over-beat. I’m pretty sure I did.) Stir in extracts and 1 cup of pecans. Spread evenly into prepared pan. Top with remaining 1/2 cup of pecans.

Refrigerate at least 1 hour or until firm. Use foil to lift out of pan and onto cutting board. Cut into small squares. Store in refrigerator.

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Maple Pecan Cake with Cinnamon Glaze

A neighbor recently had a birthday and had one request for me: one of my baked goods and maple flavor. Maple is a favorite of mine so I happily looked up several different maple desserts before finding a drool-inducing cake recipe from Betty Crocker: https://www.bettycrocker.com/…/7b978598-581f-4e07-9485-2e9f…. I knew I had to match the perfect glaze to this cake and found a cinnamon version of a glaze I had done before on Gonna Want Seconds: https://www.gonnawantseconds.com/…/pumpkin-cake-with-cinna…/. The feedback on this cake was amazing! It’s quick and easy to make with flavor that will put a smile on any maple-lover’s face.
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Maple Pecan Cake with Cinnamon Glaze

Cake:
1 box of yellow cake mix (regular or super moist)
2/3 cup water
1/3 cup butter, softened
3 eggs
1/2 cup maple syrup (or maple-flavored syrup)
1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted

To toast pecans – Place pecans on a greased or parchment-lined cookie sheet. Bake at 350F for about 5 mins. Take them out when they become fragrant. Be careful not to over-bake as they burn easily.

Preheat or keep oven at 350F.

Generously grease and lightly flour a bundt pan. In a large bowl, beat cake ingredients on low speed for 30 seconds then on medium speed for 2 minutes, scraping the bowl occasionally. Pour batter into pan and bake for 47-53 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean (mine was good after 47 mins). Cool for 10 mins before removing from the pan. Remove from the pan and let cool on a rack for about 2 hours.

Glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 Tbsp whole milk (1.5-2 Tbsp depending on desired consistency)

Combine all ingredients and mix until smooth. Drizzle over cake.

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French Silk Pie

Pies are a pastry that I am very new to and need more practice on. This experiment is a great example of why practice is good with baking. The crust is a common combination of crushed Oreos and butter. The amount made a very nice thick crust*. The filling is not my recipe but I do not have source information for it, so this is posted without proper sourcing. I will update this post should I find the information.

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French Silk Pie

Oreo Crust
25 Oreo cookies, crushed
5 Tbsp unsalted, melted butter

Preheat oven to 350F.

Mix cookies and butter together. Press into 9” pie plate. Be sure to press crust up along the sides of the plate. (*I forgot this step so all of my Oreo mixture was on the bottom of the plate.)

Bake for 8 minutes. Let cool completely. I left mine on the cooling rack for a while and then placed it in the fridge while I made the filling.

Pie Filling
1 cup heavy cream, chilled
3 large eggs
3/4 cups granulated sugar
2 Tbsp water
8 ounces of bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
8 Tbsp unsalted butter, cut into 1/2” cubes and softened

With electric mixer on medium-high speed, whip cream to stiff peaks – around 2-3 mins. Cover the bowl and place the whipped cream in the fridge.

Combine eggs, sugar, and water in a large, heat-proof bowl set over a medium saucepan filled with 1/2” of water that is barely simmering. Don’t let the bowl touch the water. With electric mixer on medium speed, beat until egg mixture is thickened and registers 160F – around 7-10 mins (mine took 11 mins to reach the proper temperature). Remove the bowl from the heat and continue to beat egg mixture until fluffy and cooled to room temperature – about 8 mins.

Add the chocolate and vanilla extract to the cool egg mixture and beat until incorporated. Beat in butter a few pieces at a time until well combined.

Using a spatula, fold in the whipped cream until no streaks of white remain. Scrape the filling into the pie shell and refrigerate until set – at least 3 hours and up to 24 hours. Serve with lightly sweetened whipped cream and chocolate shavings or sprinkles.

Whipped cream
1 cup heavy cream
2 Tbsp granulated sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Combine and whip until it reaches desired consistency.

OreoCrust_NoSides
Oreo pie crust. I forgot to build the sides!
French Silk Pie
French Silk Pie
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Cinnamon Toast Crunch Cake

If you’re looking for a non-chocolate treat, check out this Cinnamon Toast Crunch cake recipe. This recipe from Sugar Geek Show can easily be modified and played with to make whatever type of cake you need.

For this bake, I kept my 8” rounds separate for smaller servings and frosted each with a basic icing sprinkled with cinnamon sugar. The site also had a suggestion of crumbling up Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal and sprinkling on top.
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Cinnamon Toast Crunch Cake

12 oz all purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
8 oz unsalted butter at room temperature
12 oz sugar
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
4 large eggs at room temperature
8 oz milk at room temperature

To get ingredients to room temperature, let them sit out on the counter for about an hour before use.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease two 8” rounds.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, cream the butter for 20 seconds until smooth. Sprinkle in the sugar and whip on medium-high speed until light in color and fluffy. About 8-10 minutes. Scrape the bowl halfway through mixing.

Bring mixer down to low speed and add eggs in one at a time. Let egg mix in fully for one minute before adding the next egg. The mixture should look smooth, not broken or lumpy. If it is, your eggs may have been too cold.

Add the vanilla extract to the milk.

Add the flour mixture in four parts, alternating with the milk. Start with flour, mix until just incorporated, then add 1/3 of the milk. Repeat. After you add the last bit of flour, STOP.

Take out about 1/3 of your batter and mix in your cinnamon. Finish the other batter by hand by mixing with a rubber spatula until everything is combined – about 3-4 strokes.

Spoon your batter into two pans, alternating between vanilla and cinnamon to get a nice swirl.

Bake for 25-30 mins or until a toothpick in the center comes out clean. Do not over bake or your cake will shrink and your sides will not be straight

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DoubleTree Chocolate Chip Cookies

If you’ve ever stayed at a Doubletree hotel, chances are that you’ve enjoyed one of their tasty chocolate chip cookies. I asked around for a decent copycat recipe to try and was sent to The Little Kitchen’s recipe.

It’s been a while since I’ve had a Doubletree cookie, so I couldn’t do a side-by-side comparison for flavor, but these are some pretty tasty cookies!
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Doubletree Chocolate Chip Cookies

1/2 cup rolled oats
2 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 large eggs
2 cups semi-sweet mini chocolate chips (I used 1 bag of regular sized chips and 1/2 bag of mini chips)
1 cup chopped walnuts

Pulse oats in a food processor until semi-fine or fine. Since I don’t have a processor, I used a hand chopper.

In a small mixing bowl, add the oats, flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Mix thoroughly together with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon.

To a medium bowl, cream together the butter and both sugars. Add vanilla extract, lemon juice, and eggs. Mix until you have a smooth mixture. Be sure to scrape the bottom of the bowl with a spatula at least once.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix with a spatula, being careful not to over-mix. Drop in the chips and nuts and mix until both are evenly distributed. Be careful not to over-mix or the cookies will have a cake-like texture.

Use a large cookie scoop (I used a regular tablespoon) to scoop dough into a lined baking sheet. Place dough balls close to each other for easier storage. Freeze or refrigerate for at least 2-4 hours (I left mine in the freezer overnight).

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Remove dough balls from storage and place on a new baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Place dough 1 1/2” – 2” apart. Bake for 13-14 minutes or until desired doneness. Let cool on a the baking sheet for a few minutes to harden a bit before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

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Soft Batch Chocolate Chip Cookies

Sometimes a recipe trial comes out of necessity rather than curiosity. My husband had oral surgery about three weeks ago and has had to be on a soft food diet ever since. This meant he had to cut out almost all of his favorite treats. One of his favorite cookies used to be Keebler Soft Batch. Like most things, the recipe has changed over the years and they just don’t taste like they used to. So I used this opportunity to seek out and test a recipe for soft batch chocolate chip cookies. To our delight, they came out quite tasty. The taste leaves a lot of room to play with different flavors (extracts or pudding mix) but isn’t bland in its first iteration. This pleasant recipe comes from Brown Eyed Baker.
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Soft Batch Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (1 small box) instant vanilla pudding mix (Brown Eyed Baker has a link to a homemade version in her recipe)
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, pudding mix, and baking soda and set aside.

With an electric mixer on medium speed, cream together the butter and both sugars until light and fluffy, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary, for about 3 minutes. Add the egg, yolk, and vanilla extract and mix until combined. Reduce the mixer speed to low and gradually add the dry ingredients, mixing only until a little flour is left in the dough. Using a rubber spatula, fold the chocolate chips into the dough.

With a medium cookie scoop or a tablespoon, scoop out dough and form it into balls and place on the prepared baking sheets about 2 inches apart. Bake until the outside edges are just set and light golden brown and the middles are still puffy (about 10-12 mins – mine were in for 12). Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the baking sheet for five minutes then remove to a wire rack to cool completely. Store at room temperature in an airtight container for up to five days.

 

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Chai Spice Sugar Cookies

Four magic words: Chai Spice Sugar Cookies

This experiment comes from My Baking Addiction.

2 3/4 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 3/4 cup white sugar
2 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp finely ground black pepper
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350F

In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, and baking powder and set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine sugar, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, allspice, and black pepper. Remove 1/2 cup (I came up short using 1/4 cup) of the sugar-spice mix and set this portion aside for rolling cookies.

In a bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment (or hand mixer), beat the butter and sugar-spice mixture until light and fluffy – about 3 minutes.

Beat in the egg and vanilla extract. Combine until fully incorporated. Slowly blend in the rest of the dry ingredients mixing until just combined. Roll dough into small balls (roughly 2 tsp) and then into the 1/2 cup sugar-spice mix. Place dough balls on baking sheets about 1 1/2″ apart. Bake for 8-10 mins (I ended up doing 10-12) until cookies start to flatten out. Let the cookies stand on the baking sheets for 2 mins before moving them to a cooling rack.

chai spice mix 04282017
Chai spice mix: White sugar, cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, allspice, and pepper
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Experiments with Chewy Oatmeal Cookies

Today’s experiments provided a mixed bag of results. The cinnamon apple additions worked great but I need to find a maple glaze recipe that provides a less sugary and a stronger maple flavor.

Chewy oatmeal cookies (this recipe is essentially for a whoopie pie but makes a tasty cookie) –

1 cup unsalted butter softened
3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
3 cups quick cook or old fashioned oats

Cream together the butter and the sugars for about 3 minutes until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix until combined. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and cinnamon. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until combined. Add oats and mix until incorporated. Then add other mix ins. For this batch I did a half bag of mini semi-sweet morsels and 1 cup of chopped walnuts. Then I split the batch in half. For one half, I diced 1/2 a gala apple and let the pieces sit in a coating of cinnamon while I prepped the dough. I added this to one of the portions of dough and mixed until evenly distributed. For both portions of dough, spoon into a greased whoopie pie sheet and bake at 350F for 13-15 mins until they start to brown. Let cool in the sheet for 5 mins before moving cookies to a cooling rack.
(Cookie recipe from My Baking Addiction)

Maple glaze –
1/4 cup milk or cream (I used milk)
4 Tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 1/2 cup powdered sugar (This amount makes it very sweet)
1 tsp vanilla extract

Place butter, milk, and syrup into a sauce pan and bring to a boil on low heat, stirring constantly. Cook for 2 minutes. Set aside to cool completely. Finish by whisking in powdered sugar and vanilla until creamy. Drizzle or pour over cookies and let cool.
(Glaze recipe from 2teaspoons