Saturday, October 26, 2013

Molasses Spice Cookies

October in Maine is the most beautiful time of year for me.  I love the cool crisp days, the fall colors and baking in a warm kitchen.  It seams to me that ginger, cinnamon and cloves are a fall kind of spice.  These warm spices combined with molasses make the most, soft and chewy, delicious cookies ever!  Molasses Spice Cookies are fall comfort food at its best.

 Just a couple of welcoming doors in Mid-Coast Maine, adorned in fall colors.
♥♥♥ ♥♥ ♥♥♥ ♥♥ ♥♥♥ ♥♥ ♥♥♥


2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 large egg
1/4 cup molasses
1 cup sugar, plus more for topping
1 1/2 sticks butter, melted and cooled
3 tablespoons minced candied ginger

Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper

1.  In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger and cloves, set aside.

2.  In a mixing bowl of a stand mixer, fitter with a paddle attachment, combine the egg and molasses on low speed.  Add the sugar and candied ginger and beat on medium speed until well combined.

3.  On low speed, add the flour mixture slowly and mix until thoroughly combined.

4.  With a small 1 1/2 inch scoop, or use a heaping tablespoon, scoop dough and form into a ball, roll in a bowl of sugar to coat the whole ball.  Place on a dinner plate. Scoop, roll and coat the rest of the dough placing each ball on the plate.  Refrigerate the plate of dough balls for at least an hour.

 5.  Preheat the oven to 350° Position 2 racks in the top and bottom thirds of the oven and place the dough balls 2 inches apart on the parchment lined pans.

6.  Bake in the preheated oven for 8 minutes, then rotate the pans from top to bottom and turning each pan.  Bake another 7 minutes or until dark golden, puffed and crackled on the top.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.


Saturday, October 12, 2013

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Sandwich Cookies

When it comes to "crunchy" I'm so all over it.  When it comes to peanut butter cookies, crunchy is a good thing, but if chewy is what your looking for, than these cookies will also please.  By baking a little more or less, it's up to your taste.  These flourless peanut butter sandwich cookies are filled with a bittersweet chocolate filling.  Gluten free decadence! 


For the peanut butter cookies...
2 1/2 cups peanut butter, I like chunky but smooth will word as well
1 1/2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

For the chocolate filling...
10 oz. bittersweet chocolate
4 oz. (1/2 cup) butter, cut into 4 pieces

Preheat oven to 350°  Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper
Makes 2 dozen sandwich cookies or 48 single cookies

1.  Using a mixer, beat the peanut butter, brown sugar and baking soda on medium speed, until blended.  Scrape the bowl and beat until well incorporated, about 1 minute.  Add the eggs and vanilla and mix on low speed until just blended, about 1/2 a minute.

2.  Shape the dough by level tablespoons into 1inch balls.  Place the dough balls on the parchment lined pans about 1 1/2 inches apart.  Press down lightly on the balls with your hands or the bottom of a glass. 

 Bake one sheet at a time until the cookies are puffed and cracked but still moist, about 11-12 minutes.  If a crispy cookie is desired, bake until lightly golden about 15 minutes.  You can reuse the parchment paper, just reload your trays when cooled as needed between baking.

3.  To make the chocolate filling, combine the chocolate and the butter pieces in a microwave proof bowl.  Microwave on high for 1 minute or until butter has melted and most of the chocolate has melted. 

Stir to combine.  As you stir, the unmelted chocolate will melt into the mixture.  When completely combined, set aside to cool, stirring occasionally until slightly thickened, about 30 minutes.

Working with one cookie at a time, flip one cookie over, flat side up and spread chocolate over top, you can be some what generous with the filling.  top with a second cookie, being sure to place second cookie flat side down onto chocolate.  allow to set up until firm, about 30 minutes.




Thursday, October 3, 2013

Apple Cinnamon Streusel Bars

I'm sitting outside on the porch with a cup of tea, drinking in the blooming colors of fall, thinking of apples and the possibilities that await me in the kitchen. The new fall apples are in abundance and I've been waiting to make these luscious Apple Cinnamon Streusel Bars.  These bars are loaded with crunchy goodness.  The bottom layer is like a crisp cinnamon butter cookie, topped with a layer of cinnamon spiced apples and sprinkled with a toasted chopped pecan streusel.  I think it's time to come in and do some baking!

                                  ♥♥♥  ♥♥♥  ♥♥♥  ♥♥♥  ♥♥♥  ♥♥♥


For the Crust... 
2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, room temperature (1 stick)
1 cup sugar
1 large egg yolk

For the apple layer...
2 medium baking apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
1 tablespoon all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

For the streusel topping...
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cold butter, cut into 3/4 inch pieces
1 cup coarsely chopped pecans 

Preheat oven to 350°  
Butter a 9X13 baking pan 

1.  To make the crust, sift the flour, cinnamon and salt into a bowl and set aside.  In the bowl of  a mixer, add butter and sugar and blend on medium  speed, for about 1 minute, until well blended.  Add the egg yolk and beat on low speed until yolk is completely incorporated, about 1/2 minute, scraping down the bowl to incorporate.  Add the flour mixture and slowly beat until flour and butter are incorporated.  Pour the crumbs into the prepared pan and press evenly over the bottom and up the sides of the pan, about 1 inch.

 2.  To make the apple filling, in a bowl combine the apple slices, flour and cinnamon.  Mix well.  Place apple slices on top of the pressed crumbs in the baking dish in a single layer.

3.  To make the topping, using the same mixing bowl you used to mix the bottom layer, combine the flour, sugar, and salt.  Beat on low speed to blend.  Add the cold butter bits to the flour and beat until 1/2 inch crumbs form.  Add the chopped pecans and mix to combine.  Sprinkle evenly over the top of the apple slices, right to the edge of the pan.  Bake until the top is lightly browned about 40 minutes.  Cool completely and cut into 12 generous sized pieces or 15 medium sized pieces.  Enjoy!