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Monthly Archives: February 2016

Two Sisters Times Two, Serial #50 and Jammy Cookies

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There’s something wholesome about a cookie with fruit in it.

Maybe that’s because we don’t expect a cookie to have anything healthy in it. It’s a cookie, right? It’s supposed to be an indulgence, a free pass on the diet board of life, like a candy bar or piece of cake.

So what place does fruit have in a cookie?

Well, let’s take a more holistic view of the situation. Pie has fruit in it, right? So do cobblers, trifles, even some cakes. Fruit is good in desserts of all sorts, adding not only flavor but nutrients and texture as well.

So why not in a cookie?

Why not, indeed! These Jammy Cookies give you a chance to experiment with adding fruit flavors and textures to your cookies. You start by rolling out a shortbread-like dough then add fruit jam to the middle, fold, flip and bake. Try different kinds of jam until you get the one that suits your taste the best.

It’s an experiment–fruit in a cookie: what a novel idea!

homemade berry newton

Jammy Cookies

2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature

2 Tablespoons granulated sugar

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 teaspoons honey

1 egg white

2/3 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

pinch of salt

1/8 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 cup jam of your choice

homemade fig newtons

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat mat, and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the butter and granulated sugar. Add the vanilla, honey, and egg white, and beat ingredients until well incorporated. Slowly mix in the flour, cinnamon, salt, and baking soda until ingredients come together and form a dough. The dough will be wet.

Lightly dust the surface of your counter. Knead the dough a few times until it comes into a ball. Roll the dough into a rectangle, about 3 inches wide and 10 inches long. Spread your jam in the middle of the dough, making sure to leave about an inch border on each side. Fold each side of dough over the jam. Press dough together at the fold.

Gently lift the cookie (I had to use a spatula) and place fold side down on parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Bake in preheated oven for 15-20 minutes, or until dough just begins to turn golden brown. Remove the cookie from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes. Using a sharp knife, cut into 10 equal pieces. Place the cookies on a plate and refrigerate until set. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Makes 10 cookies.

homemade fig newton

{Adapted from Skinny Girl Standard}

Two Sisters Times Two, Serial #50, audio © Jeffrey Anderson

Two Sisters Times Two, Serial #50, text © Jeffrey Anderson


Two Sisters Times Two, Serial #49 and Monkey Muffins

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Ahh–I’ve been to the mountaintop. Valentine’s Day. President’s Day long weekend. 150th post. Hazelnut and chocolate. Makes me kind of dewy-eyed just thinking about last week.

But you can’t stay on the mountaintop forever. Sometimes you have to come down into the valley where the rest of the weekends live. So I’m coming back down to earth to . . .

Monkey Muffins!!!!! 

Now that’s what I’m talking about!

Remember when you were a kid and your mom gave you a tube of store-bought biscuit dough and some brown sugar and butter and let you chop it all up and throw it into a bread pan and make monkey bread? (Yeah. Happened last week during the snow, didn’t it?)

Well,this is a grown-up version of that tried and true childhood recipe. First of all, you don’t use store-bought dough but make these biscuits from scratch (just like the little old lady on the fast-food joint’s TV ad). And then you make a brown sugar syrup to work its way into all the nooks and crannies of the biscuit dough. Then you top it all off with a sugar glaze–to give these Monkey Muffins a grown-up sweetness.

And there you have it. Life down in the valley ain’t so bad after all. Might have to stay here awhile.

monkey muffins

Monkey Muffins

For biscuits:

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 1/2 Tablespoons plus 1/4 cup granulated sugar, divided

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup milk

3 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

For brown sugar syrup:

1/3 cup brown sugar, packed

3 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

For glaze:

1/4 cup powdered sugar

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

1-2 teaspoons milk

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Grease 6 standard size muffin cups, and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, 1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar, baking powder, and salt. Stir in the milk and 3 tablespoons melted butter until ingredients are just combined. Do not over mix! The dough will be very wet.

Put 1/4 cup granulated sugar in a bowl. Using a spoon, scoop 1 teaspoon ball of biscuit dough at a time, and roll each in the granulated sugar. Place 4-5 balls in each greased muffin cup.

In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, 3 tablespoons melted butter, and cinnamon together. Divide mixture between 6 muffin cups, pouring on top of dough balls.

Bake the muffins in your preheated oven for 18-22 minutes, or until golden brown. Allow the muffins to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Remove to a wire rack to continue cooling.

Meanwhile, make the glaze by combining the powdered sugar, vanilla, and 1 teaspoon of milk. If you want the glaze to be thinner, mix in one more teaspoon of milk. Serve muffins warm with the glaze drizzled over top. Store any leftover muffins in an airtight container.

Makes 6 muffins.

monkey bread muffins

{Adapted from Cooking Classy}

Two Sisters Times Two, Serial #49, audio © Jeffrey Anderson

Two Sisters Times Two, Serial #49, text © Jeffrey Anderson


Two Sisters Times Two, Serial #48 and Flourless Chocolate Hazelnut Cake

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It’s a week for pairings.

I doubt I have to remind you of the special day coming up on Sunday, and its emphasis on pairings.

And on Monday we’ll celebrate President’s Day, a holiday situated to fall between the birth dates of Presidents Washington and Lincoln, another pairing (and a long weekend off for most of us).

And this week at R&R we’re going to give you two special pairings of our own.

First of all, there may be no better pairing of flavors than chocolate and hazelnuts (that candy that pairs chocolate and peanut butter can take a backseat). And we’ve taken this perfect match into orbit with this week’s Flourless Chocolate Hazelnut Cake. And I don’t think we have to add that it would be a perfect highlight to that special day coming up on Sunday, maybe starting out with dinner at a nice restaurant and ending up with this cake for dessert back home.

And to go along with that coming holiday and this delicious and decadent dessert, we’re going to add a celebration of our own:

This is our 150th post!!!!! 

Valentine’s Day. A long weekend coming up. This yummy cake. And our 15oth post.

Doesn’t get much better than that.

flourless choc cake

Flourless Chocolate Hazelnut Cake

For the cake:

3 ounces semisweet chocolate chips (about 1/2 cup)

1/4 cup unsalted butter, cubed

1/4 cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs, room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

3 Tablespoons hazelnut liqueur*

 For the glaze:

2 ounces semisweet chocolate (about 1/3 cup)

1 Tablespoon unsalted butter, cubed

2 teaspoons hazelnut liqueur*

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Generously grease a 5×7 inch pan, and set aside.

To make the cake, add the chocolate and butter to a small saucepan. Heat over low heat, stirring frequently, until completely melted. Remove the mixture from the heat and mix in the granulated sugar until incorporated. Whisk in eggs, one at a time, until mixed into the batter. Lastly, whisk in the vanilla, cocoa powder, salt, and hazelnut liqueur. Scrape sides of saucepan, and ensure all ingredients are well blended and no lumps of cocoa powder remain.

Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake in preheated oven for 18-22 minutes, or until set and toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few crumbs. Be careful not to over bake the cake. Allow the cake to cool for 15 minutes. Invert cake onto a serving plate, and allow to cool completely.

Meanwhile, make the glaze by adding the chocolate and butter to a small saucepan. Heat over low heat, stirring frequently, until completely melted. Remove the mixture from the heat and mix in the hazelnut liqueur. Spread the glaze over cooled cake.

Makes 1 small cake.

*Feel free to substitute your favorite liqueur! Amaretto, Grand Marnier, or Godiva would all work well.

flourless chocolate hazelnut cake

{Adapted from Pastry Affair}

Two Sisters Times Two, Serial #48, audio © Jeffrey Anderson

Two Sisters Times Two, Serial #48, text © Jeffrey Anderson


Two Sisters Times Two, Serial #47 and Snickerdoodle Truffles

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Ever wish you could capture all the delicious flavors of one of your favorite desserts in a single intense bite? How about all the nuances of banana pudding in one pop-in-your-mouth bite? That would be nice but near impossible with all the textures and subtle flavors of banana pudding. The same could be said for such traditional favorites as key lime pie or tiramisu or red velvet cake or lots of other possibilities you might think of.

But what about capturing the flavors of a snickerdoodle cookie in one bite? Seems possible, doesn’t it?

Well, we’re here to tell you that not only is it possible, we’ve done it with these Snickerdoodle Truffles. No baking required. Just mix, chill, roll into bite-size truffles, and eat. It doesn’t get much easier than that.

And you’ll have all the flavor of a snickerdoodle cookie in one yummy bite. Not quite the same as Caribbean vacation in a glass or a spa day in a jar; but we’re just a sweets and stories site, not miracle workers. Just pop one of these Snickerdoodle Truffles in your mouth and close your eyes and dream about that Caribbean vacation. That’ll have to do for now.

snickerdoodle truffles

Snickerdoodle Truffles

2 cups vanilla wafers (roughly 40 cookies)

1/2 cup white chocolate chips

pinch of salt

2-4 Tablespoons milk or cream

2 Tablespoons granulated sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 

Add the vanilla wafer cookies to a food processor. Pulse the cookies until they become fine crumbs. Add the white chocolate chips, salt, and 2 tablespoons of milk to the food processor. Blend the ingredients until the mixture comes together. If the mixture still seems too dry, add another tablespoon or two of milk. Scrape sides of food processor and blend ingredients together until completely smooth. This will take about 4-5 minutes. It will be the consistency of natural peanut butter when it is done. Pour the mixture into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Place in your freezer for 20 minutes, or until firm.

Once the mixture is firm, roll the dough into 1-inch balls. The dough will be sticky. You should get about 12 truffles. Combine the granulated sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Roll each truffle in the cinnamon sugar. Place truffles in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator. Serve the truffles chilled.

Makes 12 truffles.

snickerdoodle truffle candies

{Adapted from The Smart Cookie Cook}

Two Sisters Times Two, Serial #47, audio © Jeffrey Anderson

Two Sisters Times Two, Serial #47, text © Jeffrey Anderson