September 12, 2013
So here’s how it happened.
I was in bed last night blog binging on my iPad when I stumbled on a post over at Food Republic on DIY cookie butter. Apparently over the past few months while I had my head buried in cookie dough flavors the world was going crazy over jars of Trader Joe’s Speculoos Cookie Butter. How I missed this particular wave of crazy I don’t know but last night at 10:28 p.m., laying in bed reading through the recipe in my jammies with my spouse and puppy at my side, the crazy slapped me upside the head and I thought, “Oh, my Cinnamon Roll cookies would be incredible cookie butter.”
At 10:30 p.m. I was in my kitchen pantry loading up my arms with ingredients. In my pajamas. Covered by an apron.
And by 11:15 p.m. I had a double batch of freshly baked Cinnamon Roll cookies.
The recipe called for 8 ounces of cookies. That’s 8 ounces of cookies on the kitchen scales.
I might have made too many cookies.
I just cracked myself up.
As if there could ever be too many cookies.
The Food Republic DIY cookie butter recipe couldn’t be more simple. Using a food processor pulverize 8 ounces of cookies into fine cookie dust. With the food processor still swirling, slowly add in 1/2 cup vegetable oil followed by 1/4 cup water followed by 1/2 cup powdered sugar (more or less depending on the desired cookie butter consistency.)
Cinnamon Roll Cookie Butter is insane.
Standing there in my jammies past my bedtime admiring my wildly successful first go with cookie butter I decided to send it along with a bag of pretzels to my spouse’s office the next day.
So I cleaned up the kitchen, packed up the Cinnamon Roll Cookie Butter, changed into a flourless pair of pajamas and climbed back into bed. But laying there in the dark, I started to think.
I thought about all the batches of cookies I’ve over-baked in the past with edges too dark and insides too dry to decorate.
I thought about all the broken cookies, the misshaped cookies, and the cookies ordered only to be canceled before decorated.
I thought about the scraps of cookie dough. Piles of scraps. Vanilla scraps. Chocolate scraps. Big and little scraps.
And as I thought about all these cookies past, I had an idea. Some might call it a stroke of genius. Others might call it a divine revelation.
There might even be that random person like, oh, I don’t know, the person who lives with me let’s just say, who might call it a delirious manifestation of a cookie obsessive personality but whatever it’s called, I think you’re going to like it.
Here’s what I’m going to suggest you do. From this day forward never ever throw out another cookie again. Save every overbaked, broken and misshaped cookie. Instead of tossing out your over-worked over-floured over-rolled cookie dough, put it on a cookie sheet and bake it. Take all those cookie bits and pieces and start saving them in the freezer, one bag for vanilla and one bag for chocolate.
.No! Wait! Better yet, use your food processor to turn them into cookie dust and then store them in the freezer. Why grind it up now instead of later? Oh, only because ground up cookies are magic.
- Add 1 stick of melted butter to 2 cups of cookie dust and 1/3 cup of brown or white sugar and you have a no-bake crust for a pie or tiny tarts.
- Dip strawberries in melted white chocolate and then roll in chocolate cookie dust.
- Dip bananas in melted dark chocolate and roll in vanilla cookie dust.
- Make balls of cookie truffles by mixing 4 cups of cookie dust with 8 ounces of softened cream cheese. Dip them in melted chocolate and then sprinkle with candy bling before placing on parchment paper and allowing to harden.
- Toss a handful or five into a bowl of ice cream or a bowl of pudding or into your mouth..
And any time you want to whip up a batch of cookie butter just pull 8 ounces of cookie dust (approximately 2 loose cups) out of the freezer and then along with the vegetable oil, the water, and powdered sugar . . . consider all the possibilities!
See what I mean? Cookie dust magic.
The delirious manifestation of a cookie obsessive personality.
It seems the spouse called it right again.
Here’s my point and the beauty of this whole thing. You don’t have to make my Cinnamon Roll cookies to have Cinnamon Roll Cookie Butter because every cookie flavor I make begins with either vanilla cookie dough or chocolate cookie dough and then, what do I do? That’s right. I add-in a few ingredients and end up with a whole new cookie flavor. Same with cookie butter.
- Pumpkin Spice Butter: Add pumpkin flavoring and powdered pumpkin pie spice to taste to a batch of vanilla cookie butter.
- Vanilla Coconut Butter: Replace the vegetable oil in the cookie butter recipe with coconut oil in a batch of vanilla cookie butter and then pulse in a handful of toasted coconut.
- ButterFingers Crunch Butter: Make up a batch of vanilla cookie butter and pulse in one crushed Butterfingers candy bar or a Snickers bar or any bar.
- Chocolate Mint: Make up a batch of chocolate cookie butter and use a spatula or spoon to stir in 1/2 cup of chopped Andres’ Candy Mints.
- Chocolate Caramel Swirl Butter: Melt a dozen caramels allowing it to slightly cool before stirring it by hand into a batch of chocolate cookie butter.
- Cocoa Mallow Swirl Butter: Use a spatula or spoon to slowly swirl a half cup of marshmallow creme into a batch of chocolate cookie butter.
- Chocolate Peppermint Butter: Replace the 1/4 cup of water in the chocolate cookie butter recipe with CoffeeMate Peppermint Candy.
Rating each flavor on a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being “flipping fantastic,” all the cookie butters scored between 10 and 12.5.
Okay, I take that back. The Pumpkin Spice Cookie Butter was just okay because I think I added too much of the pumpkin flavoring in my test batch. For a GREAT Pumpkin Spice Cookie Butter, bake up a batch of my BFF Pumpkin Pumpkin Pie Spice Chocolate Cookies BUT instead of adding the chocolate shavings (or mini-chocolate chips) to the cookie dough, stir them into the finished cookie butter. Heaven!
The cookie butters look as awesome as they taste.
Store cookie butter in an airtight jar at room temperature for up to a week, as though there’s a chance any of it would last that long. Chocolate Peppermint needs to be refrigerated due to the addition of the CoffeeMate Coffee Creamer.
Now that you have a vat of cookie butter, what can you do with it?
Are you seriously asking me that?!?!?!
Eat it off a spoon.
Spread it on toast.
Sandwich it between two Nilla Wafer Cookies.
Eat it off a spatula.
Dip pretzels in it.
Dip celery in it.
Dip your entire hand in it.
OR . . .
Mix softened cream cheese and cookie dough together for a great party dip for fruit.
Whip one cup softened butter with three cups of powdered sugar. Add in some cookie butter. Frost a cupcake.
OR . . .
Stir cookie butter into a container of Cool Whip and go with your heart. It will lead you.
It’s now 24 hours since this crazy all started and so it’s time to head up stairs, put on my jammies and go. to. sleep.
So that’s what happened.
September 7, 2013
Before there was Julia & Julie there was Anita & Rose.
Years ago in my youth and by youth I mean my thirties since now being in my mid-fifties I can’t remember my twenties, I thought it would be fun to bake every cake in Rose Levy Beranbaum’s The Cake Bible, but given I have the attention span of a gnat I only got as far as page 65 before moving onto Decoupage For Dummies. Being fair to myself though I don’t think it helped any that Rose went and plunked a recipe for fruitcake on page 67 which makes her partly to blame for the fact that neither of our names appear in the title of a movie.
While my follow-through might have been less than exemplary I need, yea, I demand credit for making the chocolate-wrapped cake on the cover, even though it was all the way on page 199. La Porcelaine is the name of the cake which translates into English as “a pain in the tuchus to bake.” Okay, technically La Porcelaine translates as porcelain but just try making the cake and then tell me which translation you find more fitting. It took me three days, two crying jags and one attempt at “going to my happy place” to finish.
I haven’t baked a three layer cake in years, no doubt due to residue trauma from La Porcelaine but incorporating cake mix into cookie dough seemed liked the perfect time to bake some cookie mini-cakes.
I divided up the cookie dough and then colored some with gel and added sprinkles to the rest. I prefer folding my cookie bling into the finished dough since sprinkles, sanding sugar, and jimmies can bleed their color if it’s beaten into the dough. Just roll out the dough, top with some sprinkles, fold the dough, top with some sprinkles, fold the dough, and top with some sprinkles. This method not only prevents the coloring from bleeding but distributes the sprinkles evenly throughout the dough. By the way, these tips cost you nothing. I know. I give and give and give.
Since I wanted some of the cakes to hold candles, name flags, and loose change, I traced the round cookie cutter onto parchment paper, folded the paper in quarters and then hole-punched the center. Now instead of eyeballing the center of each cookie, I just placed the template on top of each cookie and made the hole using my all-purpose Starbucks re-useable drinking straws. I love my Starbucks straws. They’re more sturdy than paper or plastic drinking straws and made a clean cut in the cookie pre or post baked.
Once the cookies came out of the oven I stacked up three and then pushed the straw through a second time to make sure the holes were open and aligned for each cake.
Seriously, I want to be all meek, mild, and humble here but dang, are these cute or what?
Ever dreamed of eating a whole cake by yourself? Now you can and you won’t even need to call a friend to talk you down from the ledge like the time when you ate a pint of Ben & Jerry’s by yourself and then regretted it before the spoon hit the sink.
Oh, I almost forgot to tell you something!
While you’re cutting out those little dough circles, be sure to cut out some little dough triangles.
One cake serves six people (with teeny-weeny appetites) and makes for a fun centerpiece.
Just to give you a size perspective, the cake stand is 6 inches across and each cake slice is about 3 or 4 bites worth of cookie.
Or one bite. Let’s just be honest.
I should probably confess that while I was in the baking aisle grabbing a box of cake mix I went ahead and threw a couple plastic tubs of frosting into my cart. By all means go ahead and make up some 7-minute buttercream frosting if that’s your thing but keep in mind that if you do it my way you’ll end up with an extra 6 minutes and 47 seconds at the end of your day.
In unrelated news, the only editing I did to the photo above was erasing chocolate icing from my thumb knuckle and white icing from the palm side of my finger. In two years of cookie decorating my hands have only been icing-free and coloring gel-free for . . .well, less than 6 minutes and 47 seconds for sure.
If real candles don’t seem like the best idea for a table full of five year olds, make pretend candles using paper straws and candy-coated sunflower seeds.
Finally something to do with all those adorable drinking straws I can’t resist buying.
I think you can tell I had a massive amount of fun decorating these cookies. Sprinkles, white chocolate curls, jimmies and non-pareils. My puppy goes nuts when she sees me pull out the jars of candy bling in anticipation of the inevitable sweet spillage. My spouse goes nuts too but for very different reasons that usually involve a vacuum and furniture moving. If you want to remove a slice of cake before cutting it out with a knife pop the cookie cake in the freezer long enough for the cookie and icing to firm up a bit.
I was wondering . . . did you happen to notice my DIY cake stands?
.All you need is a mini cake cone, a round cookie, a little colored sanding sugar, and a bowl of melted white chocolate.
If you aren’t able to find mini cake cones at your grocery store, buy the regular size and use a knife to divide it as shown. When the cone is covered with the white chocolate and sanding sugar the jagged cut edge will be covered up.
Go ahead and dip the cone (mini or regular) and the cookie separately into the melted white chocolate and then place them on a cooling rack with a sheet of parchment paper underneath to allow the extra chocolate to run off. If you want to add a sanding sugar edge wait until the cone is dry and then dip the edge into the white chocolate again before adding the sanding sugar. When the chocolate coating has dried on both, add an extra dollop of melted chocolate the end of the cone you want on top and attach the cookie.
You can brush luster dust across the top of each stand to add a little color and since you saved 6 minutes and 47 seconds you’ve got the time to do it.
Since cake mix contains sugar, flour, and at least one leavening agent I reduced the amount of sugar, flour, and baking powder in the base recipe. The cookies showed insignificant spread, were a little more dense and I’m happy to report had the desired flavor of white cake. Imagine the possibilities for a wide variety of flavors! Pillsbury offers cake mixes including lemon, strawberry, pineapple, butter, and seasonal flavors like caramel apple and pumpkin, while Duncan Hines flavors include classic carrot, red velvet, banana, swiss chocolate and tres leches.
Oh. Oh. I just noticed that Duncan Hines has Caramel Cake Mix. Caramel. Oh. Oh. Oh.
I’m out of here! I’ve got an errand to run!
Cake Batter Confetti Cookies
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups white cake mix
…..Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
1. Combine flour, baking powder, salt, and cake mix. Set aside.
2. Cream the butter and sugar.
3. Add in the eggs and beat for 30-45 seconds.
4. Add in the vanilla extract beating until well-blended.
5. Add in the dry ingredients one cup at a time until the dough is fully incorporated.
6. Roll out the dough on a lightly-floured surface to the desired thickness. Place the cut cookies onto a parchment-lined cookie sheet and bake on the center rack of the oven for 8-12 minutes. Baking time will be determined by the thickness and overall dimension of cookies.
7. Remove cookies from oven and allow to cool on baking sheet before moving to cooling rack.
September 5, 2013
In past giveaways, I’ve chosen winners randomly by writing out each entry on separate slips of paper, dumping them into my standing mixing bowl, beating until well-blended and then drawing a name. Another time I handed the responsibility of choosing the winner over to my dog Cookie and I would add she did an excellent job. And so when it came to this time around I was torn between 1) attaching each name to a helium balloon, releasing them all into the sky and then picking one balloon randomly I’d follow it while riding on a unicycle until it landed so that the name might be revealed, or 2) dragging all the names into a document file and then closing my eyes and touching my monitor screen with the winning entry being the one under my finger.
I went with the second option seeing I don’t own a unicycle.
And the winner of a box of mini-candies suitable for hiding in cookie balls or popping in your mouth while hiding in your closet is . . .
And Katelyn, you’ll be happy to know I went ahead and did you a solid.
I blacked out the calories on each and every package of mini-candies. That’s right. I’m not sending you just any box of candy. I’m sending you a box of candy that has had every calorie wiped out. With the stroke of my magic black Sharpee I’ve obliterated every calorie. Hopefully you have your own magic black pen to deal with the fats.
And so on behalf of Sweet Hope Cookies and its many subsidiaries, employees, and shareholders, enjoy!!!
September 2, 2013
Have you seen these?
Yes, they look like Rolos but they’re Rolo Minis, part of a revolutionary life-altering movement toward tiny versions of familiar and awesome candies like Milky Ways and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups which makes them perfect for popping in your mouth or putting in the middle of a cookie.
I’m thinking an ice cream cone cookie might be the way to go.
Mix up a batch of LilaLoa’s Vanilla Variation cookie dough and dividing it in fourths, use coloring gel and chocolate jimmies to make ice cream in strawberry, chocolate chip, and chocolate chip mint.
Fill a large cookie scoop with dough and after making a deep dent in the dough with your finger push in a mini chocolate candy and then seal with a top layer of dough. Now pop another mini-candy in your mouth.
Space the candy-filled ice cream cookie scoops on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake just until the scoop begins to turn brown on the edges and once removed from the oven leave them to completely cool on the baking sheet so the cookie will continue to absorb the heat and finish baking in the center. In my oven the average baking time was 7-8 minutes. While they’re baking, go ahead and pop another 3 or 100 mini-candies in your mouth.
Attach the scoop to the cone with some icing or melted chocolate and there you have it. A cake cone on the bottom, a dollop of melted white chocolate whipped cream and a red candy cherry on the top.
Oh. I should mention something else.
The cake cones are mini-cones and while I wasn’t able to find the small size at my local grocery store I was able to order them online at NetGrocer. Place your order with one hand and with the other, that’s right. Pop a couple mini-candies into your mouth.
Now you have ice cream cone cookies with a surprise candy inside every scoop.
And if you want to go candy crazy another surprise or two inside every cone!
They’re like little ice cream cookie cone maracas. Shake-shake-shake. Eat-eat-eat. Pop-pop-pop.
You can add dollops of icing or melted chocolate to the top of the ice cream scoop or you can go all Dairy Queen on them and make a dipped ice cream.
Makes you wonder how that mini Reese’s cup escaped getting popped into your mouth.
Are you enjoying looking at all these photos of ice cream cone cookies? I know I am. And you know what you could be doing while scrolling through this post, don’t you? Yep. Pop.
Three cookie scoops is a whole lot of cookie so instead of using melted chocolate to glue the scoops together I ran a skewer up through the bottom of the cone and through each scoop. Now you have an ice cream cookie kabob to share with your friends. And I’m thinking a cookie cone topped with a candle would look might cute on the top of a birthday cake!
Did I mention they also make mini waffle cones? They can be purchased at Matt’s Cones but be warned, the minimum order is a case of 240 which means between boxes of mini cake cones and mini sugar cones our garage looks like the storage closet at Baskin-Robbins. If you don’t have a need for 240 mini sugar cones you might try to DIY your own with a knife, a microplane, and a box of regular sized cones.
.Or don’t bother with a cone at all and go with an ice cream sundae instead.
.Mini-plates, bowls and utensils are all the rage these days for serving appetizers so keep your eyes open for them.
.If icing and plenty of it on your cookie is an essential component then the sundaes are great for covering in syrup and whipped cream glaze.
.Ice cream ice cream or ice cream cookies. It’s all good.
Now that you’ve seen my ideas that were inspired by this idea, what idea jumped into your head? Come on. I shared so now you share. How would you make an ice cream cookie better or different? What fun ways can you think of to use mini ice cream cookie cones or sundaes?
Do you need some incentive for contributing an idea to the comment section? Fine. Here it is. Everyone who leaves an idea will be automatically entered into a random drawing with the winning prize being a box filled with . . .
mini chocolate cookies . . .
just for you.
Pop. Pop. Pop.
August 31, 2013
We here at the Sweet Hope Cookies Test Kitchen will not falter in our divine call to imbue the flavor of caramel into a classic rolled cookie. We will not falter and we will not fail.
Until then, we give you these to ease your longsuffering.
Gooey Rings of Caramel!
And when you read Gooey Rings of Caramel, it should have been read slowly in a deep raspy voice with plenty of reverberation and the distant sound of an echo as the words drove through the universe. Like Darth Vader in an echo chamber. That’s the kind of stop and listen because this is really something pronouncement deserving of
Gooey Rings of Caramel!
While it’s inconceivable to the mere mortal mind (obviously I’m not referring to you or me) that such a thing of beauty could be created without a staff of kitchen pixies to assist, it’s actually possible to whip these round wonders out in a breeze.
Here’s all you need:
One baked batch of LilaLoa’s End-All All-Powerful Chocolate Cookies
1 bag of milk chocolate chips, melted
1 bag of Kraft Caramels, melted
1 cup of flaked coconut
1 cup of chopped nuts, optional
Being aware of the highly acute intelligence of my readership I know at this point you have all the information you need to make these cookies on your own but because someone might have wandered over here from Pinterest and is in need of additional assistance I’m just going to go ahead and spell out the process step-by-step.
- Bake cookies.
- Melt chocolate. Pour in bowl.
- Dip bottom of cookies in chocolate and place wet bottom down (that sounds so wrong) on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Allow chocolate to completely harden before removing.
- Melt caramels. Add in coconut. Add in nuts.
- Spoon coconut-infested caramel on to the top of the cookie.
- Re-melt leftover chocolate and drizzle over the top of the cookie.
- Take the cookies to the closet. Lock the closet door. Eat. Shhhhh……