Cherry Bars


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I bought an 11lb pail of pitted, unsweetened sour cherries this summer, at the peak of the season.  They were still fresh, so I quickly portioned them into 3 cup containers for future use.  It's my turn to make church snack this week, so I pulled a container out of the freezer and hit Google for a simple bar recipe.  I found the following on on several sites, so I don't know who to give credit to.  But I'm hoping that it turns out, because it's a very easy recipe (with a food processor).

1 1/2 c. flour
1/2 c. cold butter
1/4 tsp. salt
5 tbsp. powdered sugar

Mix together well, either in a food processor or by cutting in by hand.  Don't get the crust mixture too warm or it will be sticky and hard to handle. 
Pat into a 9 x 13-inch pan.  Bake for 15 minutes at 350 F.

3 eggs
1 c. sugar
1 c. brown sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 c. flour
3 c. tart cherries (thawed and drained if frozen)

If using a food processor pour into work bowl and process until well mixed.  Add the cherries and pulse to incorporate, but don't pulverize them into oblivion. You could chop them by hand and fold them into the mix too.

Pour over the partially baked crust and bake for another 45 minutes.

Butterscotch Coffee Drops


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Hi.  It's been a while, hasn't it?  With our current snack rotation at church it can be months between my last time on and the next.

It's a busy weekend around here.  We're having a pulled pork taco party, plus a party for our "how did she get old enough to be 4" daughter. There is a carnival and parade and fireworks to attend, and general, normal household things to take care of.

And church snack.  Amid the business I was just going to make basic chocolate chip cookies.  I intended to.  I got the recipe out and got started.  Then I looked in the freezer and saw butterscotch chips.  Hmm, okay.  But they're so sweet.  What would balance that?  Cocoa.  Yeah, but I don't really like chocolate butterscotch cookies.  Coffee?  Hmmmm.  Coffee is bitter and would definitely do the trick.  So I modified my recipe and came up with these (I really need something besides a blue plate for pictures)

Butterscotch Coffee Drops

3/4 C soft butter
1 C dark brown sugar
1 egg
1 T corn syrup
1 T instant coffee granules
1 T vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
2 C flour
1 C butterscotch chips

Preheat oven to 350F.

Beat together the butter, sugar and egg until fluffy.  Add the corn syrup, coffee, vanilla and salt and mix.  Scrape down the bowl, add the baking soda, flour and chips and beat briefly until combined.

Using a small disher or teaspoon, drop small balls of dough on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Bake for 12 minutes, until golden.

Makes 5 dozen small cookies.

Oreo Stuffed Cookies


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A month or two ago I came across a recipe for chocolate chip cookies stuffed with Oreos. Then I saw it again.  And again.  And as with so many viral cookie recipes, I thought it would make a fun church snack.  I was finally on this past Sunday, and sent my husband to buy 2 bags of Oreos.  After 50 hours without power (read about that here), my plans to bake the cookies off in advance evaporated, and I found myself working Saturday evening to crank out almost 40 of these monsters.

You can see them on my Pinterest page - http://pinterest.com/pin/9569585/ and at the original site where I found the recipe that I used.  http://veryculinary.com/2011/03/22/oreo-stuffed-chocolate-chip-cookies/

Note - I did not use the double stuffed Oreos.  And I found that it's easy to make them too big.  The edges tend to slump and you get these UFO looking things.

Glazed Lemon Drops


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I brought these sunny delights to church yesterday.  I could have made chocolate or mocha or maple cookies.  But after catching a glimpse of Spring, only to be buried in snow again, I was feeling rebellious.  I wanted sunshine, darn it!  So I baked these sunny lemon treats.

I've been making these for years.  I often play with the recipe, adding lemon oil instead of extract, orange or lime in place of the lemon, or even adding chopped lemon thyme in the summer.  Over the years I've changed the original recipe a little, making the glaze thicker and tangier than the original, replacing the shortening with butter, adding more of a lemon flavour to the cookie and omitting the vanilla. I also add a little citric acid to the icing because I like it to be tangy, but I don't include that in the recipe.  Not everyone has citric acid on hand, or likes a tart glaze.

1 1/2 cups white sugar   
1/2 cup butter   
3 eggs   
1/2 cup milk   
1 teaspoon lemon extract or 1/2 tsp lemon oil
zest of two lemons   
3 cups all-purpose flour   
3 teaspoons baking powder   
1 pinch salt   

3 cups confectioners' sugar   
3tablespoon lemon juice   
1 teaspoon lemon extract or 1/2 tsp lemon oil
yellow gel food colouring   

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).   
Blend the white sugar and shortening until light. Beat in the eggs, milk, lemon extract and the lemon zest. Mix until well blended.
Combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Add the flour mixture to the shortening mixture. Mix until combined (the dough will be sticky). Drop
teaspoonfuls of dough onto parchment paper lined baking sheets.     
Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 8 to 10 minutes. Let cookies cool then frost with icing.       
To Make Icing: Combine the confectioners' sugar, lemon juice and lemon extract to taste.  Add enough food colouring to get the tint you want.  Beat until smooth and make icing thick enough to spread on cooled cookies.  I like to scoop it onto a tablespoon and dip the tops of the cookies into them and let the excess drip off.  Add sprinkles if you like.

Makes 5 dozen

The brownies were so-so


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It's been a bit, but it was my turn to make snack again this past weekend.  The trouble was, it was also January 2nd, and it snuck up on me.  So much so, in fact, that I was left baking during the night of January 1st.  After a big meal, a martini and a glass of wine.  Yeah, inspiration and any get-up-and-go were scarce.  Cookies seemed like too much work.  A loaf was too small, since I need enough for about 3-4 dozen and I only have one good sized loaf pan.

However, I do have 2 glass 9x13 pans.  So I opted for brownies.  Generic brownies.  So generic, that I'm not even giving a recipe.  The ones I found used cocoa rather than chocolate, and melted butter or oil instead of any creaming.  Simple.  They were dry though.  And crumbly.  Which was disappointing.  Once baked, I topped one pan with butterscotch chips, let them melt and frosted the brownies.  The other pan was topped with mini marshmallows, which I popped under the broiler to "toast."  Note to self - check them after a minute, because after 2 minutes they'll be seconds away from ignition!  No harm done, and while the middle part was darker than the edges, some people like their marshmallows well toasted, right?

Another thing learned... even after sitting overnight, marshmallow on top of brownies is nearly impossible to cut through without making a huge mess.  I had to employ a knife heated in hot water, dried AND coated in oil after every single cut just to not totally destroy the bars.

After all of that, they tasted okay.  The butterscotch topped ones seemed more popular, though.

So, where does that leave this entry?  Without a recipe?  Perish the thought!  Instead of the so-so brownies, I'm offering a cookie recipe that I put together today after realizing I forgot to buy eggs.  I wanted to make chocolate chip cookies to have for dessert tonight after our baked potato soup and homemade bread.  A real home cooked meal all around.  But without eggs, my go-to recipe was out.  So I did a little looking online and in other books and put together this recipe.  The smell of the dough with the vanilla and yogurt and chocolate chips was wonderful!

Yogurt Chocolate Chip Cookies

1/2 cup packed brown sugar (I used dark brown)
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2cup butter
1/2 cup plain yogurt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon corn syrup
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

   1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).

   2. In a medium bowl, cream together the sugars and butter until light and fluffy. Stir in yogurt, vanilla and corn syrup.  Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt; stir into the creamed mixture until incorporated, then mix in chocolate chips. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls 2 inches apart onto parchment or Silpat lined cookie sheets.

   3. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until the edges begin to brown. Cool for a minute on the cookie sheets before removing to wire racks to cool completely.

A tale of two ginger cookies


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So this weekend was my weekend to make snack for church again.  I'd had some lovely gingersnaps late last week, and they whet my appetite for a nice spice cookie.  Then I remembered a cocoa infused ginger cookie recipe I'd gotten from a friend and had been meaning to try for some time now.  I looked it over and made a few changes to it, like increasing the ginger to cinnamon ratio, and adding cloves and cayenne.

It was 8:00 on Saturday night when the kids settled and I set about scooping the chilled dough, rolling it into sugar crusted balls and getting them into the oven.  Then I remembered - one of the members of our church is allergic to chilies!  Not good.  And I was out of butter that wasn't frozen solid.  And it was going on 9:00pm.

I hurriedly Googled cookies made with oil and came upon another ginger cookie.  This dough had equal parts ginger and cinnamon, and required no chilling.  Bingo.  Hubby washed up the mixing bowl and paddle while I assembled the ingredients.  Grapeseed oil stood in for light olive oil.  And again I added a touch of cloves.  But no chili this time!

So which one was the winner?  Well, I wasn't as fond of the chocolate and ginger together as I thought I'd be, so I  liked the flavour of the second ones better, but they had a bit of an oily texture.  Not unpleasantly so, but still not what I wanted.  The texture of the cocoa ones is more cakey.  So really, I'm still looking for a gingersnap recipe that I will make again.  That said, the second batch was completely devoured and no one seemed to have a complaint.

Cocoa Ginger Cookies

1 1/2 C butter
2 eggs
1 C brown sugar
1 C white sugar
1/2 C molasses
2 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp cayenne
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 C cocoa
3 1/2 C flour
sugar for rolling

Beat the butter until smooth.  Add the sugars, eggs and molasses and beat well.  Add the spices, baking powder, salt and cocoa until blended.  Then add the flour.

Chill the dough for 30 minutes to help with rolling.

Using a small disher or teaspoon, scoop out the dough.  Roll it into balls and dip them into sugar.  No need to flatten.

Bake on a parchment lined sheet at 350F for 10 minutes.

Makes about 4 dozen cookies that freeze nicely.

No-Butter Ginger Cookies

2/3 cup grapeseed or other neutral oil
1 cup sugar
1 egg
4 tablespoons molasses
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves
 sugar for rolling

Preheat oven to 350F degrees.

 Mix together the oil, sugar, egg and molasses.  In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients and stir them into the oil mixture.

Drop dough by rounded teaspoons into dish of sugar to coat with sugar.

Place cookies on parchment lined cookie sheets about 2 inches apart.

Press with the back of a fork to flatten slightly if desired.

Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown.

Remove from the oven and let cool for 1 to 2 minutes on the cookie sheets and then transfer cookies to wire racks to cool completely.

Makes 48

Chocolate Chili Shortbread


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I had a meeting last night, and I am the designated snack bringer.  I wanted something simple that wouldn't make a huge batch, and came across this post about Chocolate Sriracha Shortbread.  Chocolate, cinnamon and chili together in a crisp little buttery bite?  Yeah, that got my attention.

Oddly enough, I didn't make the Chocolate Sriracha version.  I don't have any Sriracha sauce right now.  But I do have the chipotle powder called for in the original Epicurious recipe listed on that blog.  The cookies didn't have any of the smokiness of the chipotle, but they did have a nice bite and a good hit of chocolately bitterness.  I may replace the white sugar with dark brown sugar, but I wouldn't cut it back at all.

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon chipotle chile powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup superfine granulated sugar

Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle.
Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, chile powder, cinnamon, and salt in a bowl.
Beat together butter and sugar with an electric mixer at medium speed until pale and fluffy. At low speed, mix in flour mixture until well blended. Divide dough in half and pat out into 2 (7-inch) rounds (1/4 inch thick). Arrange rounds 2 inches apart on an ungreased baking sheet. Cut each round into 8 wedges (do not separate wedges). Prick all over with a fork.

Bake until dry to the touch, 16 to 18 minutes. Recut shortbread while hot, then cool on sheet (shortbread will crisp as it cools).