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Archive for the ‘Mint’ Category

Zebra Cake

Because this blog hasn’t been flooded with enough chocolate lately, here’s some more.

Have you heard of Pinterest before? It’s my new obsession. Basically it’s a website where people post pictures of things they love. Food, clothing, crafts, quotes, you name it, it’s probably there somewhere. I just like looking at all of the pictures and dreaming of being crafty and creative…which I’m not. C+ in grade 4 art. I still haven’t gotten over it.

I saw a picture of this particular cake one day while flitting my time away. Instant reaction: make this. And so I did. Something that looks that good and is a cake has to be made immediately.

While in Africa I had the opportunity to see a  number of different animals on a safari. Lions, elephants, giraffes, rhino’s, hippos, the list goes on. This was all well and good except that I never got to see the animal that I so desperately wanted to…the zebra! Guess that means I’ll have to go back to Africa. In the meantime, zebra cake will have to do.

A few things to make note of if you are going to make this cake. #1: patience is required. Don’t do this if you’re in a rush or a bad mood, bad words might fly out of your mouth. #2: This cake looks good. #3: That being said, don’t make this cake if you are craving a delicious cake. A little on the bland side, I tried to spice things up with mint extract, icing and ice cream. It worked, but just barely. Don’t believe the other people that tell you that this cake is perfect with just a light dusting of icing sugar. It won’t be perfect.

I’m glad I made this cake. But would I make it again? Good question.

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There are some things that I don’t like to do when baking.

I don’t enjoy prepping baking pans with butter/shortening and flour. I refuse to sift my dry ingredients together, talk about a major waste of time. Pie crusts freak the heck out of me but I’m willing to do it because the taste of a homemade pie crust trumps any pre-made crust hands down. I detest cutting shortening into dry ingredients but I also don’t like using a pastry blender. Normally I am not a fan of forming cookies, and last but certainly not least, I have no desire to cut the finished product or to dish food out.

But I love baking. I swear.

Let me start by saying that these cookies are delicious. My pictures don’t do them justice. Chocolate sandwich cookies and then white chocolate peppermint filling. Yes you read that right, white chocolate peppermint filling. Joy the Baker, you my friend, are a genius. I only wish that my filling would have been as pretty as yours instead of being runny.

The bad news…these cookies made me incredibly angry. They were frustrating to make and a number of times I just about threw the rolling pin. Not good. The dough didn’t seem to stick together for me so when the instructions told me to shape the dough I had quite a difficult time. Maybe my problems were due to the fact that I don’t have an electric mixer, or maybe my patience was just running low that day. Who knows.

In the end these cookies were worth the hard work. I guess that means that I’m still on good terms with Joy.

Chocolate Mint Sandwich Cookies

Adapted from Joy the Baker

Cookies

3/4 cup granulated sugar              1 1/2 cups + 3 tbsp flour

3/4 cup + 1 tbsp cocoa powder     1/2 tsp baking soda

1 1/2 tsp salt                                 1/2 cup + 7 tbsp butter at room temperature

 Preheat oven to 350F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

Combine the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Add the butter a few pieces at a time and mix with an electric mixer.  Continue mixing until peddle-size pieces form.  

Transfer the ball of dough to a board and use the heel of your hand to shape the dough into a 5 by 7 inches rectangle. Cut the block into two pieces.

One at a time, roll each block of dough between two pieces of lightly floured parchment paper until about 1/8-inch thick.  Using a cookie cutter, cut into 2 inch rounds (I used the mouth of a glass).  

Bake for 12-15 minutes.  Remove from the oven and cool on the sheets for 5 minutes. Transfer the cookies to a cooling rack and let cool completely.

White Chocolate Peppermint Filling

1/2 cup whipping cream           1 cup white chocolate chips

1/4 tsp peppermint extract (more can be used if desired)

In a small saucepan, bring the cream to boil over medium heat.  

Remove from the heat and add the white chocolate chips and peppermint extract.  Make sure all the chocolate is covered by the cream.  Let stand for 1 minute (this is important), then whisk the white chocolate until completely melted.

Transfer the filling to a small bowl and let stand until room temperature.  

Place filling in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or an hour, until a thick consistency is reached.  (Mine was left overnight and was still a bit runny so I decided to add icing sugar to the mix).

Assembly

Place half of the cookies upside down on a work surface.  

Spoon filling onto the tops of half of the cookies and top with another cookie. Press the cookies together until the filling comes just to the edges.

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Time out. How the heck did this happen? When did Christmas Eve come and go? I don’t get it.

Sometimes I wish that I could push the pause button. Someone has invented that right? No? Well maybe that should be the next thing on my 2011 to do list…along with educating the next generation, finding a cure for cancer, promoting world peace and continuing to bake and blog on a frequent basis. No biggie.

Speaking of which…I made these a while ago after falling in love with how they looked. In this case looks aren’t deceiving. These look delicious and taste delicious too. What I really like about them is that the candy cane bits are small enough that they aren’t overwhelming. Normally I’m not a huge candy cane person but these did just the trick.

Should you have left over candy canes this would be a great way to use them up. If not, fear not, just make them without the candy cane pieces. Or just practise patience (which I am the absolute worst at) and wait until next Christmas?

 

 

Chocolate Candy Cane Cookies

Adapted from Bon Appetit

Cookies

1 3/4 cups flour         1/2 cup cocoa powder

1/4 tsp salt                1 cup sugar

3/4 cup butter           1 egg

Preheat oven to 350F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.

Combine flour, cocoa, and salt.

Beat sugar and butter in a large bowl until mixed. Beat in the egg and dry ingredients. Refrigerate dough 1 hour.

Scoop dough by tablespoonfuls and roll into smooth. Place balls on prepared baking sheets, spacing about 2 inches apart. Using bottom of glass or hands, flatten each ball to 2-inch round (edges will crack).

Bake about 11 minutes. Cool on sheet 5 minutes. Transfer cookies to racks and cool completely.

Filling

1 cup plus 2 tbsp powdered sugar      3/4 cup butter

3/4 tsp peppermint extract                  3 drops red food coloring

1/2 cup crushed red-and-white-striped candy canes or hard peppermint candies 

Beat powdered sugar and butter in medium bowl until well blended. Add peppermint extract and 2 drops food coloring. Beat.

Spread filling evenly over flat side of 1 cookie to the edges, top with another cookie flat side down, press gently to adhere. Repeat.

Place crushed candy canes on plate. Roll edges of cookie sandwiches in crushed candies (candies will adhere to filling).

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