Malted Chocolate Chip Cookies

August 30, 2012

Malted Chocolate Chip Cookies! My husband’s new favourite cookie, though he had a hard time choosing between these and the Cornmeal Shortbread Cookies I made a few weeks ago. And my husband isn’t really a cookie person. Or a big chocolate fan (go figure…). He is all about the fruit desserts. You know, cobblers, crisps, crumbles and pies. But when I made a batch of these cookies, he didn’t just eat the one to be polite. Well…maybe it started that way. But then I saw him reach for a second! Believe me, that doesn’t happen too often with him and cookies. So you know these cookies are particularly irresistible!

I had been looking forward to making these ever since I saw them on one of my favourite blogs, Buns in My Oven. They are right up my alley, two kinds of chocolate chips, chocolate syrup and malted milk powder! They simply have it all! Karly had baked these as a bar dessert, rather than cookies. It seems she tried to do them as cookies but was having trouble with them spreading too thin and burning on the outside before the inside was done. So she baked them in a pan and they came out wonderfully. I was all ready to try to make them as a bar dessert as well, but noticed that the recipe called for a 7 x 11 inch pan, which I didn’t have. I had my 9 x9 inch pan ready to sub in, when some wild hair took over and I reached for a baking sheet instead and decided I’d try the cookie version. Since it looked like these cookies had a tendency to spread too thin, once I had the dough all mixed up, I popped it into the fridge for about 30 minutes. Then I scooped out the chilled cookie dough and baked it for 12 -14 minutes. The cookies came out great! Mind you, these cookies are a bit thin, but not too thin. And they have a wonderfully chewy texture. Not to mention they are really delicious! And currently my husband’s reigning favourite cookie. Something tells me I’ll be baking many more batches. In fact, my husband has already asked for more. Amazing! Bake some for yourself today.

Malted Chocolate Chip Cookies

recipe slightly adapted from: Buns in My Oven

yield: 34 cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 1/4 cups packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup malted milk powder
  • 2 tablespoons chocolate syrup
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1-1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chunks
  • 1 cup milk chocolate chips

Directions:

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the butter, brown sugar, malted milk powder, chocolate syrup, and vanilla for 2 minutes. Beat in the egg until well combined.

In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt and stir to combine.

Gradually add the flour mixture to the wet mixture and mix well.

Stir in the chocolate chunks and chips.

Refrigerate cookie dough for at least 30 minutes. Don’t skip this step, otherwise you will find that the cookie dough will spread too quickly.

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Using a cookie scoop, scoop out dough and place about 1″ apart on prepared baking sheet.

Bake at 375 degrees for 12 -14 minutes.

Cool on the pan for a few minutes then place them on a cooling rack to cool completely.

Enjoy!


Dark Chocolate Salted Caramel Layer Cake

August 24, 2012

Dark Chocolate and Salted Caramel…What a wonderful combination! Without a doubt a couple of my favourites. I am definitely way into the whole salty/sweet thing. So I was very happy to make this Dark Chocolate Salted Caramel layer cake for my friend Erin’s Birthday get-together.

I’m happy to say that this cake turned out great! Let me just describe it for you. There are three layers of moist, tender dark chocolate cake. Nestled between each cake layer you will find a rich, silky layer of salted caramel Swiss Buttercream frosting. ( Have I mentioned that I LOVE Swiss Buttercream Frosting!) The cake is then encased within a decadent dark chocolate frosting. A bit of fleur de sel is sprinkled over the top. I then decorated it with a ring of mini chocolate chips and a malted milk ball. Be still my heart! This cake looked great and was delicious to boot!

The cake and frostings were easy to make, though a bit time-consuming. If you have never made caramel or Swiss Buttercream Frosting previously (OMG! you MUST make some soon…it is fabulous!) it may be a bit more of a challenge, but certainly do able. The directions listed below are very clear and easy to follow. That being said, I consider it time well spent. It was decidedly worth it to have a tasty homemade cake for Erin’s birthday celebration. Next time one of your chocolate, salted caramel loving friends have a birthday, look no further. This is the birthday cake they need!

Dark Chocolate Salted Caramel Layer Cake

recipe from: Annie’s Eats

Ingredients:

For the cake:

  • 2¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2¼ cups sugar
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons dark unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2¼ tsp. baking soda
  • 1½ tsp. baking powder
  • 1½ tsp. salt
  • 6 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 cup plus 2 tbsp. buttermilk
  • 1 cup plus 2 tbsp. brewed coffee
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla extract

For the filling:

  • 1 cup sugar, divided
  • ¼ cup water
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • Generous pinch of sea salt, such as fleur de sel
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1½ cup (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature

For the frosting:

  • 12 oz. good quality semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • ¼ cup very hot water
  • 1 cup plus 2 tbsp. (18 tbsp.) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 tbsp. confectioners’ sugar
  • Pinch of salt

Fleur de sel, for finishing

Directions:

To make the cake, preheat the oven to 350˚ F.  Grease and flour the edges of 3 8-inch baking pans, shaking out the excess.  Line the bottoms with rounds of parchment paper.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.  Mix on low speed to blend.  Add the vegetable oil, buttermilk, coffee, eggs, and vanilla to the bowl and mix on low speed until well blended and completely incorporated.  Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans.  Bake 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Let the cakes cool in the pans about 15 minutes, then invert onto a wire rack and allow to cool completely.  Remove the parchment paper.

To make the caramel buttercream filling, place ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons of the sugar in a medium saucepan.  Mix in the water.  Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat.  Stop stirring and let the caramel cook, gently swirling from time to time, until it is a deep amber color (test a drop on a white plate or bowl if necessary), watching it carefully to avoid burning.  Remove the mixture from the heat and slowly whisk in the cream and then the salt.  Set aside and let cool.

Combine the egg whites and the remaining ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar in a heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water.  Heat, whisking frequently, until the mixture reaches 160° F and the sugar has dissolved.  Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.  Beat on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form and the mixture has cooled to room temperature, about 8 minutes.  (The bowl should be cool to the touch.)

Reduce the speed to medium and add the butter, 2 tablespoons at a time, adding more once each addition has been incorporated.  If the frosting looks soupy or curdled, continue to beat on medium-high speed until thick and smooth again, about 3-5 minutes more (or longer - don’t worry, it will come together!)  Blend in the cooled caramel until smooth and completely incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.

To make the frosting, place the chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water.  Heat, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate is completely melted and smooth.  Set aside and let cool to room temperature.  In a small bowl, combine the cocoa powder and water and stir until smooth.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the butter, confectioners’ sugar and salt.  Beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.  With the mixer on low speed, gradually blend in the melted and cooled chocolate until well incorporated.  Blend in the cocoa powder-water mixture until smooth.

To assemble the cake, level the cake layers if necessary.  Place one of the cake layers on a cake board or serving platter.  Top with half of the caramel buttercream and smooth in a thick, even layer.  Place a second cake layer on top and smooth the remaining caramel buttercream over that.  Place the final cake layer on top.  Cover the top and sides of the cake with the chocolate frosting and smooth with an offset spatula.  If desired, use additional frosting to pipe decorative accents on the cake.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.  Before serving, sprinkle with fleur de sel.

Enjoy!


Double Decker Taco Cupcakes

August 20, 2012

I had to get your attention with that title huh? Double decker…Taco…cupcakes?!! How much more goodness could you pack into four little words? I’m happy to report that these little fellas didn’t only sound good, they really delivered on taste as well. Back in February, I had tried out a recipe for Lasagna Cupcakes  which I had seen on the Girl Who Ate Everything blog. They were a huge hit. A couple of months later, I noticed that she had posted a recipe for Double Decker Taco Cupcakes. I have just been itching to try these out since then and finally had an occasion to make up a batch. I’m glad I did ’cause let me tell ya…folks went wild for them!

These Taco Cupcakes are quite similar to the Lasagna version, baked in cupcake tins with wonton wrappers, but this time filled with all kinds of taco-y ingredients like seasoned ground beef, refried beans, crushed tortilla chips and cheese. Once they’re out of the oven, you can sprinkle your favourite taco fixin’s on top such as sour cream, onions, jalapeno peppers, cilantro and avocado over the tops. They come together very quickly and easily. I assembled them earlier in the day and then baked them right before my guests turned up. They were great for dinner and would serve wonderfully as “finger food” at a larger party (perhaps a Cinco de Mayo gathering…). But don’t wait until May! Find a reason to make these soon!

Double Decker Taco Cupcakes

recipe from: The Girl Who Ate Everything

yield: 18 Taco Cupcakes

Ingredients:

  • 1 1b. ground beef
  • 1 package Old El Paso Taco seasoning mix
  • 36 Wonton Wrappers
  • 1 can (16 ounces) refried beans
  • 36 tortilla chips
  • 2 cups shredded Mexican Blend or Cheddar cheese
  • Optional Toppings: sour cream, diced tomatoes, diced onion, diced jalapeno peppers, cilantro, salsa, avocado

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350° F. And spray 18 wells of muffin tins with cooking spray.

Brown beef in a skillet and drain the fat. Add the taco seasoning mix and water called for on the package and simmer for 4-5 minutes. Set aside.

Place one wonton wrapper in the bottom of each muffin cup. Layer about 1/2 Tbsp of refried beans on top of each wonton. Crush one tortilla chip on top of the beans. Top with 1 Tbsp of taco meat and 1 Tbsp of shredded cheese. Repeat the layers again with a wonton wrapper, refried beans, tortilla chips, taco meat, and cheese.

Bake for 15-18 minutes until golden brown.

Gently remove from muffin tin and top with your favourite taco toppings.

Enjoy!


Chocolate Malt Banana Ice Cream

August 13, 2012

It’s still hot and I’ve finished off all of our Key Lime Pie Ice Cream! What’s a girl to do? I’ve certainly given up on the fantasy of getting cooler weather around here any time soon, sooo……I guess I just have to make more ice cream! This time I made a deliciously fun Chocolate Malt Banana Ice Cream. Yum, yum!

Everyone knows that the banana and chocolate combination is a tried and true winner. I’m sure I don’t even need to say anything more about that. The addition of malted milk gives it that wonderful old-timey, soda fountain-y vibe. The crunchy Whopper/Malteser topping perfects this dessert for me. Not to mention, it’s good and frozen, which earns it a whole bunch of points in this record-breaking hot and humid summer. I tell you, if the mercury doesn’t take a dive soon, I might have some trouble fitting into my Fall britches! But I’ll worry about that later. In the meantime, fix me up another scoop of that Ice Cream!

Chocolate Malt Banana Ice Cream

recipe from: A Farmgirl’s Dabbles

yield: 1 quart

Ingredients:

  • 1 c. whole milk
  • 3/4 c. sugar
  • 2 c. heavy cream, divided
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 c. chocolate malt powder
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1 c. mashed very ripe banana
  • 1 tsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • malted milk balls, roughly crushed, for sprinkling over top

Directions:

Prepare an ice bath by adding a good amount of ice cubes to a large bowl and then adding some cold water. Set aside.

Warm the milk, sugar, 1 cup of the cream, and salt in a medium saucepan. Stir until sugar dissolves. Remove pan from heat.

In a large bowl, combine remaining 1 cup of cream and chocolate malt powder. Set a mesh strainer over the top of the bowl and set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. Slowly pour the warmed mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly. Then scrape the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan and place over medium heat. Stir the mixture constantly with a heatproof spatula, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula. It’s now a custard. Pour the custard through the strainer and stir it into the cream and malt powder. Add the vanilla and then set the bowl in the prepared ice bath. Stir the custard until it is no longer warm. Then place the custard in the refrigerator to chill thoroughly, about an hour.

Just before you are ready to churn the custard, combine the mashed banana with lemon juice. Place mixture in refrigerator.

When ready to churn the custard, pour it into your ice cream maker and process according to the manufacturer’s instructions. When the ice cream is thickened and mostly finished, stir in the cold banana mixture and churn for a few more minutes to completely combine.

Put ice cream into the freezer for 1-2 hours to firm up a bit prior to serving. Serve garnished with crushed malted milk balls.

Enjoy!


Cornmeal Shortbread Cookies

August 3, 2012

I’m back into the cornmeal again. I can’t help it. I just love the stuff! So when I saw that Dorie Greenspan had a recipe for Cornmeal Shortbread Cookies in Baking From My Home to Yours, I just couldn’t resist trying it out. I mean, I’m definitely a fan of rich, buttery, melt-in-your mouth shortbread. And we’ve already discussed my obsession with cornmeal, so it is no surprize that I was really intrigued by these cookies.

Shortbread is pretty easy to make. You just have to remember a couple of key points. The first is, don’t over beat the butter. While you want the sugar and butter blended, you don’t want to beat it until it becomes light a fluffy. The second thing to remember is that once you add the flour to the butter, mix them together quickly and gently, stopping as soon as the flour is incorporated. Once you’ve gotten the batter all mixed up, Dorie Greenspan suggests that you place the shortbread dough in a gallon ziplock bag and then roll it out in the bag. I must say, this suggestion is just brilliant! It was so much easier and much less messy than any of the methods I have tried before. I made the shortbread dough up on one day, refrigerated it overnight and then baked it on the following day. Pretty straight forward.

How did the Cornmeal Shortbread turn out? Fantastic! I can honestly say this is the BEST shortbread I have ever eaten! It has all of the rich buttery goodness of usual shortbread, along with the sandy texture. But the bit of cornmeal added to the mix gives this particular shortbread some extra crunch. Plus the lemon zest adds a really fresh zing. My husband, who isn’t really a shortbread fan… Wait! What?! Really, it’s true. In fact, when I mentioned I was making shortbread cookies he grabbed his throat and acted as if he was desperate need of water. You know like he had been traipsing around the desert for a week. Shortbread is soo dry, he gasped. Hmmm….But after he tasted these cookies, he agreed that they are the best he has ever tasted. So good, he is now even rethinking his previously held stance on shortbread cookies I know you might still be a bit skeptical about cornmeal in a shortbread cookie. I don’t blame you, I was too. And you probably shouldn’t trust me. You’ll just have to try them for yourself. You’ll see I was right. Well what are you waitin for? Get to baking!

Cornmeal Shortbread Cookies

recipe from: Dorie Greenspan’s Baking From My Home to Yours

Yield: 32 cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract or 1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract

Directions:

Sift the flour, cornstarch and salt together into a bowl, then whisk in the cornmeal.

Working in the bowl of a stand mixer, rub the sugar and zest together with your fingers until the sugar is moist and aromatic. Fit the mixer with the paddle attachment or the whisk, or use a hand mixer. Add the butter and extract to the bowl and beat on medium speed for about 3 minutes, or until the mixture is very smooth. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients, mixing only until they just disappear into the dough. Don’t work the dough much once the flour is incorporated.

Using a rubber spatula, transfer the soft, sticky dough to a gallon-size zipper-lock plastic bag. Put the bag on a flat surface, leaving the top open, and roll the dough into a 9 x 10″ rectangle that’s 1/4″ thick. As you roll, turn the bag occasionally and lift the plastic from the dough so it doesn’t cause creases. When you get the right size and thickness, seal the bag, pressing out as much air as possible, and refrigerate the dough for at least 2 hours, or for up to 2 days.

Baking:

Position the racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment.

Put the plastic bag on a cutting board and slit it open. Turn the firm dough out onto the board and using a ruler as a guide and a sharp knife, cut the dough into 1 1/2″ squares, or the size you desire. Transfer the squares to the baking sheets and carefully prick each one twice with a fork, gently pushing the tines through the cookies until they hit the sheet.

Place the baking sheet in the oven and immediately lower the oven temperature to 300°F. Bake the shortbreads for 25 to 30 minutes, rotating the sheets from top to bottom and front to back at the midway point. The shortbreads should be set and only just tinged golden. Transfer the cookies to racks to cool to room temperature.

Enjoy!


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