Now Selling Cookies!

   

This post is going to be a little bit different than previous posts as I’m trying something new lately. A couple of months ago I started selling my homemade cookies locally to friends and family members.  So far I have received nothing but positive feedback, so I figured it’s time to get my website updated to potentially expand my circle of clientele. 

The first month the cookie I listed for sale was my Witchcraft Cookie – so named because one of Jah’s coworkers said they were so delicious they must have been created by way of witchcraft. The jumbo sized cookies fit 6 to a box for $12 and were packed full of imported dark chocolate, toasted almonds, and marshmallow.

Witchcraft Cookies

This month were my coveted Snarkydoodles – made with browned butter and a touch of ginger. These smaller sized cookies fit 12 to a box for $10. I will be presenting a new treat for sale every month to any LOCAL people that are able to pick up their cookies from me, as I currently have no means to deliver. Unfortunately shipping is not available yet either, but hopefully I will get there eventually!

Snarkydoodles

Once I’ve completed my move into the new house (yay!) I will begin taking orders for June’s “Milford Cookies”, which contain semisweet chocolate chips, pretzel bits, and a gooey caramel interior.

All of my cookies are always baked without eggs, and unless otherwise noted will also have a vegan version available for the same price. If you find yourself in need of cookies and would like to place an order you can email me at [email protected].

 


Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge Bars

   

 H.B. Reese, the creator of the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup (originally named “Penny Cups” for their price of one cent), arrived at this ingenious combination of ingredients while trying to support his wife and 16 children. He was almost as good at making sweets as he was at making kids. Little did he know that his successful basement experiment would go on to become one of the most popular candies in the U.S.  And little did you know that you can make an indulgent chocolate peanut butter treat of your own in about 12 minutes prep time. You don’t even need a truck load of kids to help you.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge

 

 There are plenty of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup knock-off recipes out there, but that’s not what this is. Oh no no. I consider this to be a more grown up version of the famous novelty, made with higher quality ingredients. The best part though? No fussy molds to deal with. If you can operate a microwave (and a spoon) then you can make these delicious bars.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge Bars

 

 Given the simplicity of this recipe I feel like I should issue a warning to my readers. These are good. Damn good. You will eat more than one five of them. I cannot be held responsible for any self induced tummy aches that may occur as the result of gorging on these addictive confections. But… is that really a warning though? Maybe it’s more of a tease, gently beckoning you to enjoy these decadent bars with a glass of cold milk. I won’t notify anyone if you slice the pan in half and tell your friends you only ate “one”.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge Bars

 

Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge Bars
Serves 30
Smooth, rich peanut butter fudge with dark chocolate ganache. Easy to make, easier to devour!
Print
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
1 hr 15 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
1 hr 15 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  2. 8 ounces unsalted butter
  3. 1 pound powdered sugar
  4. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  5. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  6. 8 ounces dark chocolate, finely chopped
  7. 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
Instructions
  1. Line a 9x13 inch pan with parchment paper, leaving overhang at the edges so you can easily lift the fudge out when it sets.
  2. Microwave peanut butter with unsalted butter for 2 minutes.
  3. Stir well and microwave 2 more minutes. Mixture will be molten hot so be careful with it.
  4. Add vanilla and salt, stirring to combine.
  5. Combine peanut butter mixture with powdered sugar and stir well with a wooden spoon. Mixture will be incredibly thick.
  6. Spread mixture across the bottom of the prepared pan. I like to lay another sheet of parchment on top and use my hands to help level it out.
  7. Transfer to the refrigerator to chill while you prepare the ganache.
  8. Heat the cream to just below a simmer. If you have a thermometer and want to be more precise you're aiming for around 185F. You can do this in a saucepan on the stove, but a couple of minutes in the microwave should do the trick. Just watch it closely to make sure it doesn't boil.
  9. Pour the hot cream over the finely chopped chocolate and walk away for 10 minutes to give the chocolate time to melt. Gently fold the chocolate and cream together until smooth and glossy. If your chocolate wasn't chopped finely enough you may have a few stubborn pieces that refuse to melt. Pop the mixture in the microwave at 10 seconds intervals until the ganache is smooth.
  10. Spread over the peanut butter fudge. Sprinkle the top with sea salt if desired. Reese's Peanut Butter Cups are quite salty, so I find this adds a pleasant finish that people love. Return to the refrigerator to finish setting up completely. The bars are not too thick and tend to be ready to eat in an hour or so.
  11. Run a sharp nice around the edge of the pan to loosen the fudge if needed. Using the overhanging parchment, gently lift the bars out. Slice into squares and serve.
Calories
  1. 171
Notes
  1. Calories vary depending on the size of the bars. Cutting into 20 squares puts it at 256 calories each, cutting into 40 smaller sized pieces would put it at 128 calories each.
  2. As an optional step, sprinkle chocolate chips over the top of the peanut butter layer before you've added the ganache. Gently press them into the fudge to keep the bars flat and smooth on top. The texture of this ends up being akin to chocolate chip cookie dough and is so good!
Adapted from Alton Brown's Peanut Butter Fudge
Gouda Monster http://www.goudamonster.com/
Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge Bars


Chewy Coconut Cookies

   

Greetings, humans. This is your friendly neighborhood Gouda Monster. You may remember me from such cookie recipes as Eyeball Butter Cookies and Chocolate Cherry Oatmeal Cookies. I have been out of the public eye for a time, lurking in the shadows and sharpening my teeth, but now I have returned to you with a gift of sweetness and simplicity.  For all you coconut fans – chewy coconut cookies! Chomp chomp!

coconutcookie1

As is often the case in my kitchen, I find myself throwing things into a bowl with the hopes that the resulting concoction won’t be a total disaster. One afternoon I was craving cookies but I didn’t have many ingredients on hand to work with. In the back of my pantry I eyed a hermetic glass jar packed full of sweetened coconut and figured I’d roll with it. I’d never made coconut cookies before so it was going to be a fun experiment. Imagine my surprise when I had perfectly sweet, chewy cookies with a slightly crispy edge on my first attempt!

coconutcookie2

The following day I made them again, doubling the recipe so that I could hand them out to friends. The reviews I received were overwhelmingly positive, someone even going so far as to say they could see the endorphins being released from their brain as they ate them. That’s the kind of response I like to hear! Several people asked me for the recipe so I knew these would have to make their way onto my blog, pulling me out of my lengthy hiatus.  Given how quickly this recipe comes together I think it will be a hit for parties or functions where you want to impress a group with a small amount of effort. 

coconutcookie3

Chewy Coconut Cookies
Serves 36
A simple to make coconut cookie with a chewy center and slightly crispy edges.
Print
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
18 min
Total Time
33 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
18 min
Total Time
33 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 cup white sugar
  2. 1/4 cup brown sugar
  3. 2 sticks room temperature butter, unsalted
  4. 2 teaspoons Ener-G egg replacer mixed with 3 tablespoons water (or 1 large egg)
  5. 1/2 teaspoon coconut extract (optional, but nice for a little more coconut oomph)
  6. 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  7. 2 cups coconut (I used a mix of shredded and shaved coconut for the textural interest)
  8. 2 cups flour
  9. 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  10. 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  11. Fleur de sel for finishing (optional)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. Cream together butter and sugars until lighter in color.
  3. Add extracts and egg replacer (or egg) and beat for about 30 seconds. Stir in coconut.
  4. In a separate bowl whisk together flour, baking soda, and kosher salt. Add to the coconut mixtures in thirds, combining well after each addition.
  5. Using a melon baller or small cookie scoop, scoop out rounded balls of dough and place about 2 inches apart on parchment lined sheet.
  6. Bake for 17-19 minutes, or until the edges of the cookies just start to brown. Remove from oven and immediately sprinkle with fleur de sel if desired. Allow cookies to sit for 10 minutes before transferring to a rack to cool completely.
Calories
  1. 210
Variations
  1. For an extra decadent treat, drizzle or dip each cookie with tempered dark chocolate.
Gouda Monster http://www.goudamonster.com/

coconutcookie4


Homemade Limoncello

   

This blog post has been on the back burner for some time. I made it and photographed it at Christmas-time, but seeing as that was already past the point for giving away homemade goodies as holiday gifts I figured it was best to wait for the next best opportunity – summertime! 

Homemade Limoncello

Limoncello is a lemon infused liqueur from Italy, often sipped during the summer after meals as a digestif. It’s sweet, strong, and quite easy to make. The most difficult part of the process would probably be removing all the zest from the lemons, but after that it’s just a matter of playing the waiting game – which I must admit is also difficult if you’re as impatient as I am. It is a pretty unique process that yields a unique result that you’ll love to share with your friends.

Homemade Limoncello

Homemade Limoncello
A sweet, lemony liqueur popular in Italy.
Print
Ingredients
  1. 1 liter grain alcohol (if Everclear isn't available in your area, see notes about using vodka)
  2. 10 lemons
  3. 5 cups water
  4. 4 cups granulated sugar
Instructions
  1. First, wash and dry your lemons. Since you're going to be using the peel exclusively, you want to make sure they don't have any residue on them. Next, peel your lemons (a vegetable peeler works perfectly for this job) - you don't want to get too much of the white pith under the peel, so try to peel as thinly as possible. Put the peels into a large glass container. Add the alcohol, making sure that it completely covers the peels. Let the mixture steep for 10 days, or up to 3 weeks.
  2. Place a colander inside of a large bowl. Pour the alcohol mixture into the colander and drain, using a wooden spoon to press out any excess liquid from the peels. Discard the peels.
  3. In a large saucepan, combine the water and sugar over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is dissolved and the syrup is clear. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature, then add the simple syrup to the alcohol mixture and stir to combine.
  4. Place a wire mesh strainer over a large, clean bowl and place a coffee filter inside the mesh strainer. Slowly pour the limoncello through the coffee filter. Once the amount of liquid straining through slows down considerably or stops, replace the coffee filter with a new one and continue until all of the limoncello has been filtered, replacing coffee filters as needed.
  5. Next, filter again and fill the bottles as follows: Place a funnel into the mouth of the bottle you'll use for your finished limoncello. Place a coffee filter inside the funnel, and slowly pour the limoncello through the coffee filter to fill the bottle. Seal the bottle(s) and store in the freezer indefinitely.
Yields
  1. 2 Liters
Note
  1. If you can't obtain grain alcohol where you live, you can substitute 100-proof vodka. Most vodkas are sold in 750mL bottles (versus the 1 liter of grain alcohol called for in the recipe). If this is the size you purchase, adjust the rest of your ingredients as follows: 8 lemons, 4 cups water and 3 cups sugar.
Adapted from Brown Eyed Baker
Adapted from Brown Eyed Baker
Gouda Monster http://www.goudamonster.com/
Homemade Limoncello


Banana Cake with Biscoff Buttercream

   

I’m pretty new to the cookie butter craze, having only just eaten my first bite maybe a month or so ago.  Woe is me for not jumping on this bandwagon sooner. Cookie butter makes the most intensely rich, flavorful frosting and it pairs beautifully with this moist brown butter banana cake.

Banana Cake with Biscoff Buttercream

I picked up my first jar of cookie butter with the thought that I would make whoopie pies with it. I’d never made whoopie pies before so I went in search of a recipe to help get me started. While they were baking I whipped up a fluffy cookie butter filling… and it was DELICIOUS. I read once that food bloggers shouldn’t throw the word delicious around, but in this case I don’t even care. It was DELICIOUS IN ALL CAPS. Unfortunately the whoopie pie recipe I followed didn’t wow me, so I tossed the cakes out and we took to eating the frosting on its own straight from the bowl with a spoon. We call that shameless around here.

Banana Cake with Biscoff Buttercream

I’ve tried both Biscoff Spread as well as Speculoos Spread from Trader Joes. Both are excellent but I think I slightly favor the smooth, creamy consistency of Biscoff Spread. The Speculoos is very dense but it’s also a little more flavorful and spicy, which I love. I’ve made this frosting with both and they each yield great results. 

Banana Cake with Biscoff Buttercream

Banana Cake with Biscoff Buttercream
Serves 14
Moist brown butter banana cake topped with creamy cookie butter frosting.
Print
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 15 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 15 min
Ingredients
  1. For the cake:
  2. 1 1/2 cups mashed banana
  3. 2 tsp lemon juice
  4. 2 tsp vanilla
  5. 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
  6. 3 cups cake flour
  7. 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  8. 1/4 tsp salt
  9. 1 tsp cinnamon
  10. 1 stick butter, browned
  11. 1 stick butter, softened
  12. 1 cup white sugar
  13. 1 cup brown sugar
  14. 4 1/2 teaspoons Ener-G egg replacer combined with 6 tablespoons warm water (or three eggs)

  15. For the frosting:
  16. 3/4 cup creamy Biscoff spread
  17. 1 stick unsalted butter
  18. 3 tablespoons milk
  19. 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (I used double strength vanilla)
  20. 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 275F. Prep 2 8-inch cake pans by spritzing them with a little cooking spray and lining with a round of parchment paper trimmed to fit the bottom. Spritz the parchment paper with a little cooking spray as well.
  2. In a medium bowl mix together the mashed banana, lemon juice, 2 teaspoons of vanilla, and buttermilk.
  3. In a separate bowl whisk together cake flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.
  4. In stand mixer cream together white and brown sugars with the cooled browned butter and softened unsalted butter until light and fluffy. Whip in the egg replacer.
  5. Add banana mixture to the sugar and butter, mix until smooth and well combined.
  6. Add the dry mixture to the wet in thirds, mixing lightly until just combined. For the last third fold the dry ingredients in gently with a spatula to avoid over-mixing. This will help keep the cake nice and fluffy.
  7. Divide batter between the two prepared pans and bake for 1-1 1/2 hours or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Everyone's oven is a little different; my cake was done at 1 hour and 17 minutes.
  8. Remove cakes from oven and transfer immediately to the freezer to chill for 45 minutes.
  9. While the cakes are chilling, whip together the Biscoff spread, unsalted butter, milk, and vanilla. When well combined add in the powdered sugar and mix on high speed until light and fluffy.
  10. Remove cake from freezer and apply frosting.
Calories
  1. 571
Notes
  1. We felt like this cake would be amazing as a four layer cake. If you want to do this simply slice each 8-inch cake in half horizontally and double the Biscoff frosting portion of the recipe.
  2. Crushed up ginger snap cookies make an excellent garnish for the cake as well - a nice bit of extra texture and the spiciness goes well with the frosting.
Adapted from Food.com
Adapted from Food.com
Gouda Monster http://www.goudamonster.com/
Banana Cake with Biscoff Buttercream


Chocolate Cherry Oatmeal Cookies

   

 This is a recipe I actually made way back before Christmas. I felt like I wanted to make them again before I presented these little tasties to the world, so I did. These cookies are sweet and chewy, packed with vanilla soaked dried cherries and dark chocolate chips. If you and the classic CCC are ready to take your relationship to the next level, this is just the thing for you.

Chocolate Cherry Oatmeal Cookies

So one of the reasons I remade these cookies was because I forgot to write the recipe down. I knew it was adapted from Smitten Kitchen’s Oatmeal Raisin Cookies, so it wasn’t going to be difficult to recreate – but I did just a few things differently and wanted to make sure I had it all correct before making this post. You can imagine my horror when I took the cookies from the oven and they were flattened paper thin discs studded with pieces of chocolate and fruit. Where were those thick, chewy, decadent cookies I had made before Christmas? Where were the cookies that looked like this?

Chocolate Cherry Oatmeal Cookies

I forgot to put the oatmeal in them. Yup. I’m a doofus. Believe it or not, when making oatmeal cookies you really oughtta include the oats. Makes a HUGE difference. I remade the cookies again (WITH the oats) and voila – beautiful, chubby, nutty cookies with bites of tart sweetened cherries and gooey chocolate. Hooray!

Chocolate Cherry Oatmeal Cookies

 

Chocolate Cherry Oatmeal Cookies
Serves 36
Chewy, sweet oatmeal cookies packed with vanilla soaked cherries and gooey dark chocolate.
Print
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
12 min
Total Time
42 min
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
12 min
Total Time
42 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  2. 1 tablespoon hot water
  3. 1/2 cup dried cherries
  4. 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  5. 1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
  6. 1/3 white sugar
  7. 1 1/2 teaspoons Ener-G egg replacer dissolved in 2 tablespoons of warm water (or 1 egg)
  8. 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  9. 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  10. 1/4 teaspoon table salt
  11. 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
  12. 3/4 cup dark chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. In a small bowl combine the vanilla extract, hot water, and dried cherries. Leave to soak for at least 20 minutes. Strain the cherries and save the liquid.
  2. In a stand mixer combine softened butter, sugars, egg replacer mixture (or egg), and the strained vanilla liquid from the cherries. Cream until smooth.
  3. In a separate bowl whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt. Add to the mixture and mix until combined. Stir in the cherries, chocolate chips, and oats.
  4. Using a cookie scoop, melon baller, or heaping tablespoon scoop the cookies onto a parchment lined sheet, leaving two inches between each cookie. Bake at 350F for 10-12 minutes. They should be lightly browned at the edges and slightly underdone looking on top. Remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely. I got about 3 dozen cookies from the batch.
Calories
  1. 91
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Gouda Monster http://www.goudamonster.com/
Chocolate Cherry Oatmeal Cookies


Chocolate Hazelnut Truffles

   

What kind of food blogger would I be if I didn’t give you a delicious, simple chocolate recipe just in time for Valentine’s Day? These chocolate hazelnut truffles can be finished in a few different ways depending on your tastes and the amount of time you have, but the ganache base in the center of each one is silky and divine.

Chocolate Hazelnut Truffles

One of the most important things to know when it comes to making delicious truffles is that you need to start with high quality ingredients. Chocolate is center stage in this recipe so you want to get the best quality possible. If you want to save a little money you could always blend a more affordable chocolate with something on the luxurious side, but quality will definitely shine here.

Chocolate Hazelnut Truffles

The easiest way to finish these truffles is definitely with a quick toss in some good cocoa powder. Quality matters here as well! The cocoa powder will be the first thing that touches your tongue after all. I used Penzeys high fat dutch process cocoa powder.

Chocolate Hazelnut Truffles

If straight up cocoa powder is too bitter for you, there are plenty of other options at your disposal. You can blend the cocoa with a little powdered sugar to sweeten it, use straight powdered sugar, sprinkles, chopped nuts, crushed peppermint, cookie or graham cracker crumbs, candy melts, or tempered chocolate. Let your creativity flow and use whatever is available to you.

Chocolate Hazelnut Truffles

Chocolate Hazelnut Truffles
Serves 20
Chocolate hazelnut truffles are simple, elegant, and delicious.
Print
Prep Time
1 hr 30 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
1 hr 40 min
Prep Time
1 hr 30 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
1 hr 40 min
Ingredients
  1. 8oz high quality chocolate (I used a combination of milk and dark Valrhona chocolate)
  2. 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  3. 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, very soft
  4. 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  5. 2 tablespoons hazelnut liqueur (I used Frangelico)
  6. Toppings of your choice for coating truffles (cocoa, nuts, sprinkles, melted tempered chocolate, etc)
Instructions
  1. Blend your chocolate in the food processor to break it down into fine pieces. I do this to help it melt more quickly. Place chocolate in a large glass bowl with the unsalted butter and set aside.
  2. In a small sauce pan heat your heavy cream until it just barely comes to a simmer, then pour over your chocolate. Let sit for about a minute.
  3. Whisk chocolate and cream together until smooth and shiny. Add your vanilla and hazelnut flavorings and then stir to combine.
  4. Leave your bowl somewhere to cool until it can be formed into balls. This took about 45 minutes for me.
  5. For the easiest method of forming the truffles, simply scoop out a small ball of the ganache and then roll in cocoa powder (or whatever you choose).
  6. For a slightly more advanced method dust the inside of a silicone mold with a small amount of cocoa powder, fill with ganache, and let cool completely before releasing. Once you've removed the chocolate from the mold just coat as usual.
  7. If you would like to coat your truffles with a nice shell, you can either use candy melts (pretty foolproof and they comes in lots of fun colors) or properly tempered chocolate. I brushed the inside of my mold with chocolate, let it set until firm, added a small dollop of the ganache filling, and then topped with more chocolate. Once set and totally firm I released it from the mold and brushed it with a little pearl dust.
Calories
  1. 99
Notes
  1. You will have the best results if you don't refrigerate your chocolate, as it can affect the chocolate's texture and flavor. If you're in a pinch it can do the trick though!
  2. Calories are calculated based on using 1/4 cup of high fat dutch processed cocoa for rolling. Count will vary if using tempered chocolate, nuts, or sugar.
Gouda Monster http://www.goudamonster.com/
Chocolate Hazelnut Truffles


Chocolate Chip Cookies

   

I have had my blog running long enough now that it’s finally time to do this. Yessiree – it is time for the good ol’ classic chocolate chip cookie recipe. The characteristics of the ideal CCC vary from person to person, so there is no real way to determine the best recipe in the cookiverse. What I can tell you is that this is MY favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe. I’ve done the New York Times’ version and although they were fantastic, the 24 hour wait time is too much for my impatient taste buds. Once I smell butter and sugar creaming together in the bowl I gotta have the cookies in my belly yesterday. This enhanced version of the original CCC recipe from Ruth Wakefield’s Toll House cookbook was dreamed up by Laura aka The Cooking Photographer. Almost 4 years ago I left a comment on her blog revering her as the ultimate CCC goddess, and I stand by that statement. I. LOVE. THESE. COOKIES.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

A couple of things set this recipe apart. A few extra steps that take just a little more effort but have a huge payoff in the end. First off there is the browned butter, which as any sane person will tell you makes just about anything 10x better. Laura also uses ground up oatmeal in place of some of the flour, which makes these cookies extra chewy and flavorful. The tiniest amount of vinegar helps keep them tender, and you’ll never know it was in there if someone didn’t tell you. She uses walnuts in her recipe but I’m partial to pecans, so that’s what I’ve used in mine. All of these things work together to create an absolutely heavenly chocolate chip cookie, and I’m excited to finally share it here.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate Chip Cookies
Serves 36
My favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe, made with brown butter and toasted pecans.
Print
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. 1/2 cup old fashioned oatmeal
  2. 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  3. 3/4 cup fresh light brown sugar, packed
  4. 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  5. 1 teaspoon salt
  6. 1 tablespoon real vanilla extract
  7. 1/2 teaspoon white vinegar
  8. 1 tablespoon Ener-g egg replacer mixed in 1/4 cup of water or 2 large eggs
  9. 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  10. 2 cups all purpose flour
  11. 1 cup pecans
  12. 3/4 of a 12 ounce package semi-sweet chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a nonstick skillet, melt 1 stick of the butter over medium heat until foamy and lightly golden brown. Pour into a bowl and wipe out the skillet. Place butter in the refrigerator and cool to about room temperature.
  3. In the skillet over medium heat, toast the oatmeal stirring often until fragrant and some of the oatmeal is light golden in color. About 3 minutes. Transfer the oatmeal to a food processer and grind until fine and powdery. Set aside.
  4. Toast the pecans in the same skillet that you toasted the oatmeal in. Let cool slightly and chop to desired size.
  5. Mix in a stand mixer the softened butter, browned butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, salt, vanilla extract, and vinegar and beat on slow to combine, and then on high speed until fluffy and lighter in color.
  6. Add the egg replacer (or eggs) and mix until combined. Add the oatmeal and baking soda and beat for another minute. Next, add the flour half at a time and mix on low speed just until incorporated.
  7. Gently fold in the chocolate chips and toasted pecans.
  8. With a size 50 cookie scoop or a generous tablespoon, drop the dough onto parchment paper 3 inches apart.
  9. Bake for 11 minutes or until golden around the edges. Remove from oven and let set on the cookie sheet for 3 minutes before moving to a cooling rack.
Notes
  1. If omitting nuts, add 1/3 cup more flour to the batter and the whole bag of chocolate chips. These cookies freeze extremely well after they’re baked. You can take a few out at a time and microwave them. Or just let them thaw on the counter.
Adapted from The Cooking Photographer
Gouda Monster http://www.goudamonster.com/

Chocolate Chip Cookies

 


Pumpkin Pecan Ice Cream

   

Inspiration struck me as I was pondering the sort of dessert I’d wanted to bring to my parents’ place for Thanksgiving. Given the simplicity of the recipe I was thinking I would make my semifreddo. Then I thought it might be fun to do a twist on a pumpkin pie and change the vanilla ice cream to pumpkin, then pour it into a pastry crust instead of the chocolate. The idea rolled around in my head for a few days when I finally decided I wanted to simplify it further. An easy no-churn pumpkin spice ice cream dotted with sugary praline frosted pecans. Heck yeah.

Pumpkin Pecan Ice Cream

Now that I’ve been introduced to the world of no churn ice cream, I find myself eager to experiment. The whole thing comes together in about ten minutes and is just a matter of whisking together a few wet ingredients and spices, then folding them into whipped cream. It doesn’t get much easier than this to make ice cream.

Pumpkin Pecan Ice Cream

I added a tablespoon of rum to the mix, because it imparts a small amount of flavor – but also because the alcohol helps keep the ice cream a little bit soft. You’re welcome to omit it, or to substitute another liquor of your choosing. I also managed to get my hands on some really tasty praline frosted pecans that were folded into the final mixture. You can use whatever candied nuts available to you, regular toasted nuts, or of course no nuts at all.

Pumpkin Pecan Ice Cream

If you can’t tell by now, this recipe is so simple that I don’t even have much I can say about it! What I can tell you is that if you want a twist on the comforting, autumnal flavors of pumpkin pie with very little hassle – this recipe is a lot of fun. I served scoops of ice cream with crumbled up shortbread cookies to mimic pie crust and to further play up the pumpkin pie feel. I think it would also pair nicely with a slice of warm pecan pie. Or try a scoop of it in a shot of espresso for a pumpkin spice affogato. Many pumpkin possibilities to be had – so enjoy!

Pumpkin Pecan Ice Cream

No Churn Pumpkin Pecan Ice Cream
Serves 12
This no churn pumpkin pecan ice cream is a fun dessert that’s quick to assemble.
Print
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
12 min
Total Time
22 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
12 min
Total Time
22 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 14oz can sweetened condensed milk
  2. 3/4 cup pumpkin puree (wondering what to do with the rest of the can? how about pumpkin scones!)
  3. 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  4. 1 tablespoon spiced rum
  5. 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  6. 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  7. 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  8. 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  9. 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  10. 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  11. 1 cup praline frosted pecans (regular pecans are fine if you don’t have them)
Instructions
  1. In a medium sized bowl whisk together all ingredients except for the whipping cream and pecans.
  2. In a food processor or stand mixer, whip the whipping cream until soft peaks form.
  3. Fold the pumpkin mixture into the whipped cream and then fold in the pecans.
  4. Transfer to a loaf pan and put in the freezer. Carefully cover the top of the pan with a sheet of plastic wrap, making sure to push it right up against the mixture to get out excess air. This helps prevent the formation of ice crystals. I find this step can look neater if you do it after the pan has been in the freezer for 15-20 minutes and the top has solidified slightly.
  5. Freeze at least 6-8 hours, but preferably overnight.
Calories
  1. 337
Variations
  1. Bake a traditional graham cracker crust into the bottom of a spring form pan and allow to cool before pouring the ice cream mixture over the top. Freeze as usual, release the ice cream from the spring form pan, and slice into wedges. Serve with a dollop of lightly sweetened whipped cream.
Gouda Monster http://www.goudamonster.com/

 

Pumpkin Pecan Ice Cream


Lemon Cream Cheese Cookies

   

It’s been a little over a week since I made a new post, because I had some fun things going on. We went to Blizzcon again this year, making it our 5th trip to Anaheim for the big event. What set this year apart from the others was the fact that a total of 10 people from my WoW raiding group were able to go. The day before we left for the airport I started preparations for goodie bags to give to everyone. In each bag I included jalapeno cheddar crackers, garlic rosemary crackers, chocolate chip cookies, and the recipe I am sharing here today – lemon cream cheese cookies. Everyone that tried them and reported back to me really enjoyed them. I enjoyed how easy they were to make!

Lemon Cream Cheese Cookies

I love it whenever I experiment with baking and get awesome results like these. I had originally intended to create a pecan pie fudge to pack in the treat bags, but I realized I didn’t want to fiddle around with candy making so close to a trip. There were a couple of small lemons on my counter and I decided to do something with them instead. On a whim I asked Jah to stop on the way home to buy me a tub of cream cheese, even though I had no idea how adding cream cheese to a cookie dough would affect it. The resulting texture is a tender and cake-like with a delicate lemony sweetness. The lemon flavor is enhanced with an easy-to-prepare lemon zest glaze that each cookie gets dipped into.

Lemon Cream Cheese Cookies

These cookies went halfway across the US by plane and arrived in good shape. The glaze on top also kept them soft and fresh tasting for several days. If packaged carefully I think they will be perfect for mailing out at Christmas time. I know this is the time of year for pie, warm spices, and pumpkin everything – but these cookies are a refreshing change from the winter norms. I think we can all appreciate tasting a little bit of sunshine in the middle of November :)

Lemon Cream Cheese Cookies

Lemon Cream Cheese Cookies
Serves 36
Soft, cake-like lemon cookies with a lemon zest glaze.
Print
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
16 min
Total Time
26 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
16 min
Total Time
26 min
Ingredients
  1. 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  2. 1 cup white sugar
  3. 1 teaspoon lemon zest (this is about the amount I got from a small lemon)
  4. 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  5. 1 1/2 teaspoons egg replacer powder mixed with 2 tablespoons of water (or 1 egg)
  6. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  7. 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  8. 8oz plain cream cheese
  9. 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

  10. For the glaze:

  11. 1 cup powdered sugar
  12. 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  13. 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  14. 1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract
  15. 1 tablespoon whipping cream or milk
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375F.
  2. Beat softened butter and white sugar until light and fluffy. I did everything in my food processor, which made it quick and easy.
  3. Add lemon zest, lemon juice, egg replacement, vanilla, and baking powder. Pulse until combined.
  4. Add cream cheese and mix until smooth.
  5. Gradually add in flour, 1/2 cup at a time, combining well after each addition.
  6. Using a melon baller, cookie scoop, or heaping tablespoon, place balls of dough on a parchment lined cookie sheet about 1 1/2 inches apart. I fit about a dozen per sheet.
  7. Bake for about 16 minutes or until the edges are just barely golden.
  8. Allow cookies to rest on the sheet for about 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely before icing.
  9. In a small bowl whisk together powdered sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, vanilla, and whipping cream until smooth. If you prefer the glaze a little thinner you can add more whipping cream, or more lemon juice if you prefer a tarter glaze.
  10. Dip the top of each cookie into the glaze, shake off the excess, and place back onto the cooling rack. I recommend laying a sheet of wax paper under the rack to catch any glaze that drips through. It makes cleanup much easier.
  11. Allow the glaze to harden (about 30 minutes) before packing the cookies away.
Calories
  1. 96
Gouda Monster http://www.goudamonster.com/

Lemon Cream Cheese Cookies


Hot Chai Apple Cider

   

Have you ever been struck by inspiration? A moment of genius that left you wanting to gloat to everyone in your path? It could be the simplest of ideas, but you still can’t help but think to yourself, “MY GOD I AM BRILLIANT!” That’s pretty much how I felt whenever I made this drink. The funny thing is that it wouldn’t surprise me if people had been doing this forever and I just never knew. It’s so much more rewarding to arrive at a solution on your own though, isn’t it? But seriously, I was so excited about this that you would think I had discovered antibiotics or something. Want a hot apple cider? Want a cozy, spicy chai? WHY NOT BOTH?

 Hot Chai Apple Cider

 

Oh and by the way, I decided I’m going to start drawing monsters into my pictures. In case you were wondering what the heck that was all about. Whenever I first started this blog and set the zombie eared bunny as my logo, a few people suggested I incorporate more of my monster doodles into the posts. At the time I felt like I didn’t want to add another layer of work to the already intimidating task of managing a food blog for the first time. The concept faded with time and eventually I forgot about it altogether, until my friend Chris suggested that I put a small comic strip into each of my blog posts. While I don’t have a talent for writing clever stories in the span of three frames, I thought that going back to the idea of putting a monster into each post might be fun after all. It seemed even more fun to have them interacting with the food in some way. I did a couple of test images (I have another post coming in a couple of days) and it ended up being really enjoyable to do. Being able to fuse two of my hobbies in a playful manner is pretty exciting for me, so I hope people are into it!

As for this drink – it’s just a simple way to heat up a single mug of warm, spiced apple cider when you feel like cozying up on a chilly night. Stir in a spoonful of caramel and top with whipped cream for level 2 comfort. Forgo the whipped cream and add a touch of rum for level 4 comfort, because rum skips right on past level 3.

Hot Chai Apple Cider

Hot Chai Apple Cider
Serves 1
An easy way to prepare a single serving of spiced apple cider on a chilly night.
Print
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
3 min
Total Time
8 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
3 min
Total Time
8 min
Ingredients
  1. 8oz apple cider
  2. 1 chai tea bag (you may want to use decaf if you’re making this later in the evening)
  3. Small slice of orange or lemon peel, optional
  4. Caramel, optional
  5. Whipped cream, optional
Instructions
  1. Put cider into microwave safe mug (my mug actually holds 2 cups of fluid so I doubled the recipe) and heat on high for about 3 minutes or until piping hot.
  2. Add teabag to mug, add citrus peel if you’re using it, cover, and allow to steep for as long as you prefer. I left mine for 5 minutes because I wanted to incorporate as much spice flavor as possible.
  3. If desired stir in caramel or rum, and topped with whipped cream.
Calories
  1. 120
Notes
  1. Calorie count is for 1 cup of cider with tea. Does not include caramel or whipped cream.
Gouda Monster http://www.goudamonster.com/

Hot Chai Apple Cider


Eyeball Butter Cookies

   

Halloween is always a great time to be creative in the kitchen. What other time of year can you make foods to look like witch fingers and brains without anyone batting an eye? I gotta say that the idea of eating a litter box cake still makes me cringe though. Hey, we all have our limits.

When I set out to make a Halloween themed post I had lots of ideas rolling around in my head. After settling on doing a cookie, I knew that I wanted to make one that had a fun, holiday-appropriate look, while still being easy to accomplish. The subject of choice – eyeballs. A lot of the eyeball cookies I’ve seen involve breaking out the icing bags and tips for piping work. Another option involved using Lifesaver candies for the iris. These are both great in their own way, but I wanted to make a cookie that looked the part and was easy to do without sacrificing taste (I like Lifesavers just fine but I don’t really want to bite into one while eating a cookie). And by golly I feel like I’ve done it!

Eyeball Butter Cookies 

The base is a very simple vanilla butter cookie that comes together ridiculously fast. I think I would compare the flavor and texture to a cross between a shortbread and a sugar cookie. You can prepare them one of two ways – clear or bloodshot. The clear eyes are rolled in white sugar before baking, while the bloodshot dough gets tinted pink first and is rolled in powdered sugar. Once removed from the oven they are finished off with a small dollop of dulce de leche and a black M&M for the pupil. In the end the powdered sugar cookies were slightly favored between the two, because in the oven it takes on a creamy, almost melty texture on the outside. If you’re familiar with the Argentinian sandwich cookies alfajors – they remind me a little bit of that, but with a kiss of chocolate in the middle. Aww yiss.

Eyeball Butter Cookies

For the pupils I used a black M&M candy… except it was actually a knock-off M&M from Party City. At first I tried using a dark chocolate chip with the flat side up, but given how dark my dulce de leche was it didn’t provide the contrast I was looking for. If you have a lighter caramel sauce that you’re using you might be able to get by with chocolate chips, brown M&Ms, brown Reeses Pieces, or whatever easily available candy you have access to. While at Party City I also noticed they sold mini packets of black Sixlets for 7 cents each. Pick up a few of those and you’re good to go, and it will be cheaper than buying a bag of the black M&M style candies. I prefer the taste of M&Ms over Sixlets though, so I was willing to shell out a couple of dollars for them. Another optional step I took was mixing my dulce de leche with a little bit of edible pearl dust. Because my dulce de leche was so dark, I wanted to try and lighten it a tad. The pearl dust also gave it a really pretty extra level of dimension and a consistency that was a nicer to work with. I took a picture to show the two side-by-side.

Eyeball Butter Cookies

I think almost all of the steps in this recipe are suitable for little helping hands. One part that should remain an adult responsibility is creating the indentations for holding your caramel. Unlike most thumbprint style cookies, you’re not going to create the cavity before baking. While the cookies are still warm from the oven, gently press the back of a teaspoon (or whatever else you have around for the job) into each one. It will flatten out slightly and get a few cracks around the edges. Don’t fret over the cracks- that’s what produces the nifty vein effect in the eyes, particularly with the blood shot variation.

Eyeball Butter Cookies

If you’ve got an upcoming Halloween party and you want to bring an easy themed dessert, these cookies might be just what you’re looking for. Depending on the size of your balls (HA!) you will get about 3 dozen cookies from the batch. I would say it’s feasible to get all 3 dozen finished in about an hour, so they would work well as a last minute treat too. And you know, what’s with all of the eyeball cookies being blue and green? It’s time to get some brown-eyed love up in hurr!

Eyeball Butter Cookies

Eyeball Halloween Cookies
Serves 36
A simple, soft vanilla cookie with dulce de leche makes an easy Halloween themed dessert.
Print
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  2. 1/3 cup white sugar
  3. 1/3 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
  4. 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  5. 1/8 teaspoon salt
  6. 2 cups all purpose flour
  7. 1/4 cup powdered sugar or granulated sugar for coating, plus more as needed
  8. 1/2 cup dulce de leche or other caramel of choice
  9. Black M&Ms
  10. Red or pink food coloring, optional
  11. Pearl dust to mix with your caramel, very optional
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Cream butter, sugars, salt, and vanilla until light and fluffy.
  3. Mix in flour 1/2 cup at a time until well combined.
  4. If doing the bloodshot styled eyes, mix in your food coloring, otherwise skip this step. I would also recommend adding a small amount of red color to the caramel for the bloodshot eyes as well.
  5. Measure out small amounts of dough (I used a melon baller to ensure they were consistent in size) and roll into roughly 1″ balls.
  6. Put granulated or powdered sugar (powdered sugar is necessary for the bloodshot eye effect) in a small ziplock baggy. Coat each dough ball with sugar and transfer to baking sheet, leaving a couple of inches between each one – I was able to fit one dozen on a sheet. If using powdered sugar make sure to be very generous with the coating. When you think you have enough do a little bit more. Skimping on the sugar will result in a cookie that is more an all over pink rather than contrasting white and pink.
  7. Place cookie sheet in oven and bake for 11-15 minutes. 11-12 minutes will give you a soft cookie whereas 14-15 minutes will give you a crunchy cookie.
  8. Remove cookies from oven and while still hot, immediately press the back of a teaspoon into each one to create a small cavity for your caramel.
  9. Put a small amount (about 1/4 teaspoon) of caramel in the center of each cookie. I find that doing this while the cookie is warm makes it easier. The warmth softens the caramel and let’s it fill out the edges and get smooth on top with almost no effort.
  10. Place one black candy in the center of each cookie.
  11. Transfer cookies to cooling rack to cool completely.
Calories
  1. 110
Gouda Monster http://www.goudamonster.com/

Eyeball Butter Cookies