RSS Feed

Monthly Archives: December 2014

Two Sisters, Serial #24 and Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Truffles

Posted on

What does one bake on Christmas night or in the days following as we slowly unwind from all the hype and hoopla, the rich and fancy food we’ve been indulging in these last several weeks? What’s an appropriate way to bring us back down to earth while still acknowledging the festive season?

There are surely many answers to that two-part question. For some of us, the answer might be–Bake nothing! I’m snowed under with enough leftovers and food gifts to get me through till Valentine’s Day! Still others might opt for the soothing and basic comfort of home-made soup or fresh-baked bread.

But as this is a recipe blog that focuses on small-batch desserts that can offer simple pleasure when combined with reading a story or chapter from a novel, we’re going to answer these seasonal questions with Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Truffles. The chocolate chip cookie dough is our sweet-tooth way of coming back down to earth. Is there a more basic dessert pleasure than that uncooked dough? I don’t think so!

But then encasing it in candy chocolate and calling it a truffle is our nod to the ongoing festive time of year–can’t just take a bowl of cookie dough and snarf it down with the lights of the holidays still blinking around us. Got to put on airs and eat truffles as we curl up with a story and finally get a chance to relax and catch our breath!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all our visitors!!!!

choc chip cookie dough truffles

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Truffles

2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature

2 Tablespoons brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

pinch of salt

1/4 cup mini chocolate chips

3 ounces chocolate candy coating

cookie dough truffles

In a bowl, beat together the butter and brown sugar. Stir in the vanilla extract. Slowly mix in the flour and salt until incorporated. Fold in the mini chocolate chips.

Shape the dough into 1 inch balls. You will get about 6 or 7 truffles, depending on how big you make them. Place the truffles onto a plate and cover with plastic wrap. Freeze the truffles for 30 minutes, or until they are firm.

Once the truffles are firm, melt the chocolate candy coating according to the package directions. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat mat. Using a fork, dip one truffle at a time into the candy coating. Make sure the truffle is completely covered, shaking off any excess chocolate. Place the truffle on the parchment paper and allow the coating to harden. Repeat for all of the truffles. If there is any extra candy coating left, drizzle over top of hardened truffles.

Store truffles in the refrigerator until ready to eat.

Makes 6-7 truffles.

chocolate chip cookie dough truffle

{Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens}

Click below to listen to or read Serial #24 of “Two Sisters”.

Two Sisters, Serial #24, audio © Jeffrey Anderson

Two Sisters, Serial #24, text © Jeffrey Anderson

Enjoy!

Two Sisters, Serial #23 and Holiday Sugar Cookies

Posted on

In case you haven’t noticed, Christmas is one week from today. I know–hah-hah, like anyone in this universe hasn’t had that reality drilled into their heads, starting sometime back in August or September. (Is it just me, or are we headed toward year-round Christmas shopping–St. Patty’s carols and Santa Easter eggs, anyone?)

Well, at R&R our motto is if you can’t fight ’em, join ’em. Or, to give it a bit more of a positive holistic spin, let’s “go with the flow”–till it takes you over the waterfall (just kidding).

And our “go with the flow” recipe for one week before Christmas is the tried and true sugar cookie.

This recipe is good anytime during the year, but it is especially good just before Christmas for at least two reasons. First, it’s easy, which is something you need right about now. And second, these cookies are fun to decorate, which can be a good holiday activity for you (in all that spare time) or, better yet, for the kids or those out-of-town guests that are wandering around the house getting in the way. Give them some frosting mix, a little food coloring, a shaker of sprinkles or sparkles, and let them get creative. They’ll have a good time and the results will be pretty (maybe) and a great addition to your holiday table.

Happy Holidays! (Just seven days to go and counting . . .)

holiday sugar cookies

Holiday Sugar Cookies

1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 egg yolk

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

10 Tablespoons all-purpose flour (1/2 cup plus 2 Tablespoons)

pinch of salt

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

cut out sugar cookies

In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the egg yolk and beat into the batter, making sure it is fully incorporated. Next, stir in the vanilla. Slowly mix in the flour, salt, and baking soda until just mixed in, careful not to over mix the dough. If the dough seems too soft/sticky to roll, stir in one or two more tablespoons of flour.

Place the dough on parchment paper or a Silpat mat that is lightly floured. Roll the dough until it is 1/4 inch thick. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour or overnight.

When you are ready to make the cookies, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat mat.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator. Using a cookie cuter, cut cookies out of the dough. Place the cookies on the prepared cookie sheet. Re-roll the remaining dough and continue cutting shapes until all of the dough is used.

Bake the cookies for 8-10 minutes, or until the edges just begin to turn golden brown. Remove the cookies from the oven, and allow to cool on the cookie sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely. Once the cookies are completely cooled, decorate with frosting and sprinkles.

Makes 8-10 small/medium cookies.

cut out holiday sugar cookies

{Adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction}

Click below to listen to or read Serial #23 of “Two Sisters”.

Two Sisters, Serial #23, audio © Jeffrey Anderson

Two Sisters, Serial #23, text © Jeffrey Anderson

Enjoy!

Two Sisters, Serial #22 and Black and White Gooey Butter Cake

Posted on

So we’re headed into the season of Christmas parties. And some of these parties are formal affairs–women in black evening gowns, men in black tuxedos with white shirts, everyone dressed up and looking sharp.

But guess what? We’re not going to those stuffy affairs. Instead we’re going to stay at home, slip into our favorite casual clothes or pajamas, mix up a yummy and decadent dessert, and download a copy of Two Sisters, Serial #22 (which is actually about a fun, though not especially formal, dinner party).

But in a nod to the formal parties happening out there somewhere, this week’s special dessert is in a black-tie theme, as in Black and White Gooey Butter Cake. It’s really a yellow cake with a chocolate cheesecake frosting. Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it?

So let all those poor suckers in their evening gowns and starched shirts stand around trading small talk and eating tiny and awkward appetizers with names you can’t pronounce and ingredients you never heard of.

We’ll brew a cup of tea or pour a glass of wine, slide a slice (or two or three) of this cake onto a plate, and curl up with a nice read.

And send our condolences to those at the formal affair down the street.

Chocolate Ooey Gooey Butter Bars

Black and White Gooey Butter Cake

Crust:*

1/2 cup granulated sugar

10 Tablespoons all-purpose flour (1/2 cup plus 2 Tablespoons)

pinch of salt (about 1/8 teaspoon)

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 egg yolk

1 Tablespoon milk

3 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Filling:

4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature

1 egg white

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup powdered sugar

2 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Chocolate Gooey Butter Bars

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9×5 inch bread pan and set aside.

To make the crust, combine the sugar, flour, salt, and baking powder in a mixing bowl. Beat in the egg yolk and melted butter until you get a uniform batter. Press the crust into the bottom of the prepared pan.

To make the filling, beat the cream cheese with a handheld mixer until it is light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla and beat into the cream cheese. Slowly stir in the powdered sugar and cocoa powder. Lastly, stir in the melted butter. Make sure all of the ingredients are well incorporated.

Pour the filling over top of the crust. Bake in preheated oven for 30-35 minutes. The cake should start to set on the sides, but be slightly jiggly in the middle. Remove the cake from the oven and let cool completely in the pan before cutting into bars.

Makes 6-8 servings.

*You can also make the crust using a boxed cake mix. To do this, mix together 1/2 of a box of yellow cake mix, 1 egg yolk, and 3 tablespoons of melted butter. Press into the bottom of a 9×5 inch bread pan and proceed with directions.

Black and White Gooey Butter Bars

{Adapted from Dessert for Two}

Click below to listen to or read Serial #22 of “Two Sisters”.

Two Sisters, Serial #22, audio © Jeffrey Anderson

Two Sisters, Serial #22, text © Jeffrey Anderson

Enjoy!

Two Sisters, Serial #21 and Glazed Apple Craisin Scones

Posted on

We know you’re working hard. With the holidays bearing down, everything gets a wee bit jammed together. More shopping (of course), more errands, more decorating, more cleaning, more, more, more. It can all get a little tiring.

So this week Reading and Recipes is going to give you a working man’s or woman’s snack that will readily double as a tasty treat for when a long-lost friend or relative stops by one afternoon unexpectedly (just happened to be in town!). These Glazed Apple Craisin Scones are a modification of the traditional English scone that’s both easy and flavorful.

On top of that they keep well and transport easily–thus the worker’s snack angle. When you drop one of these scones in your purse or tote before you head out the door, think of yourself as in the long line of working stiffs down through the centuries, carrying their lunch pails to the mill or the jobsite. So maybe you’re going to the mall instead of the mill or dropping gifts by the school instead of lumber by the jobsite. You still need that mid-morning snack to keep you going.

These Glazed Apple Craisin Scones will get you through the holiday-preparations crunch in fine shape!

glazed apple craisin scones

Glazed Apple Craisin Scones

Scones:

1 cup all-purpose flour

3 Tablespoons granulated sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

3 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cold

1/4 cup applesauce

3-4 Tablespoons milk or cream

2 Tablespoons craisins

Glaze:

1/2 cup powdered sugar

1-2 Tablepoons milk or cream

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

scone dough

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Lightly grease a cookie sheet and set aside.

In a food processor, pulse together the flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg until all of the ingredients are combined. Add the cold butter and pulse into dry ingredients until crumbly and no large pieces remain. (The butter pieces should be no bigger than a small pea.)

In a separate bowl, whisk together the applesauce and 3 tablespoons of milk. Fold the dry and wet ingredients together just until everything is well mixed and you have a uniform dough, careful not to over mix. If the dough is a too dry, add a little more milk (no more than 1 tablespoon). Mix until the dough comes together. Lastly, fold in the craisins.

Form the dough into a ball and place on a lightly floured surface. Gently pat the dough into a 8×4 rectangle that is about an 1/2 an inch thick. Cut the rectangle in half and then cut each square diagonally into two triangular pieces.

Place the scones onto the prepared cookie sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the scones just begin to turn golden brown. Remove the scones from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool completely.

While the scones are cooling, make the glaze by combining the powdered sugar, 1 tablespoon of milk, and ground cinnamon. This glaze will be thick and is perfect for coating the entire scone. If you prefer to drizzle the glaze, stir in one more tablespoon of milk. Pipe or drizzle the glaze over the cooled scones. Allow the glaze to set for about an hour before serving or storing in an airtight container.

Makes 4 scones.

glazed apple craisin scone

{Adapted from Gonna Want Seconds}

Click below to listen to or read Serial #21 of “Two Sisters”.

Two Sisters, Serial #21, audio © Jeffrey Anderson

Two Sisters, Serial #21, text © Jeffrey Anderson

Enjoy!