Tag Archives: chocolate

Thin and Crispy Chocolate Chip Cookies

I am one of those people who prefer to ease gradually into the holiday season when the time is right, and I can’t bring myself to listen to a single tune of Christmas music until after Thanksgiving. On the other hand, I’ve been planning and preparing for our annual Christmas Eve party since September. There are paper lists floating around the house of ideas for our menu, ingredients and items I look for in the circulars, and I’ve even starting a rough draft of a timeline for the week leading up to the big event.

One long list is dedicated solely to the cookies I plan on making to give to family and friends as the holiday approaches. There are some standards, like buttery, spritz cookies and my favorite Snickerdoodle recipe. I do like to throw some curve balls, though, so I’m doing my best to find unique options that have have “wow factor” while still being traditional enough to spread the holiday cheer.

One can’t go wrong gifting chocolate chip cookies, and I am pretty loyal to the classic Nestle Tollhouse recipe. Still, curiosity got the best of me when I came across a recipe that focused just as much on the texture of the cookie as the flavor. Read More…

Bûche de Noël – French Yule Log

We are now days away from Christmas and I am as ready as I’ll ever be. Sure, I’ve got a menu of items to make for our big “Eve” party this weekend, but I’ve at least finalized what I’ll be serving and need to only make one more trip to the grocery store for our fresh ingredients. Anything else in my pantry, though, has dwindled down to next to nothing, including my compartment of baking ingredients. Only last week it was overflowing with chocolate morsels, flour, granulated and brown sugar and various other things needed to open my home bakery for the holidays.

I was oh-so-proud of my baking cabinet and the sweets it helped me produce: the chocolate chips I had stocked up on to coat my Oreo truffles, the loads of granulated sugar it felt like I used with my candied orange peel, and the various other Christmas treats that remind me why I love to bake. My favorite holiday dessert, which has become a tradition since I first made it years ago, is considered my “pièce de résistance,” and I like to think my family is anticipating its big reveal this Saturday. The classic French Yule log is no joke – if, like me, you soak up every single complement thrown your way regarding any of your dishes, make a Bûche de Noël. You will be the talk of your family holiday party well into 2012. Read More…

Oreo Truffles

The Christmas countdown has commenced and, for most folks, that means rushing out to malls and department stores, crossing items off their loved ones’ wish lists. For me, holiday anxiety comes from countless hours scouring my cookbooks, handwritten recipe collections, magazines and the internet, in search of the perfect cookie and candy recipes to wow family, friends and neighbors.

I have my staples: traditional chocolate chip, the always-a-hit Snickerdoodles, and my mom’s Chocolate Crinkles (which, just like her meatloaf recipe, I will never divulge).The old standbys never disappoint, but I do enjoy throwing in one or two new surprises to keep my recipients on their toes and always looking forward to the holidays.

This year, the internet has provided me with my latest addition to my rotation of seasonal sweets. It’s an unexpected twist using a classic cookie as the main ingredient and is both easy and inexpensive to make. The result is an overwhelmingly delicious hybrid of a cookie and candy – Oreo truffles. Read More…

Chocolate-Pretzel Crispy Rice Squares

Salty and sweet gets me every time. When I discuss this flavor combination with people, some seem disgusted. True, chocolate covered potato chips are adventurous; however, the clever combination of two popular snack foods is more delicious than you may think. What people don’t realize is the salty/sweet pairing pops up in everyday foods that almost everyone can agree on. The reputation of summer treats like caramel corn and even savory barbecue food relies on these two flavors. Non-seasonal favorites like peanut butter cups and chocolate covered pretzels are poster products for the genre.

Years ago, a co-worker shared with me a classic dessert with a delightfully surprising sweet and savory twist; it was truly a case of love at first taste. His crispy rice squares had been created with the perfect proportion of pretzel and chocolate pieces to produce a decadent version of a childhood favorite. Without asking for the recipe, I bought the ingredients at the grocery store that weekend and spent a day testing several versions of the marshmallow-ey mixture until the end result was just right. Read More…

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