German chocolate and tiriamisu cupcakes

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We made several cupcakes at central market cooking class: german chocolate, tiramisu and almond joy (not shown).  I was simply on a sugar high that afternoon.  But, I must admit that I have a new found love for german chocolate.  The frosting was so delicious on its own that I literally could eat it by the spoonful.  I may make extra frosting to use it as topping for my pancakes or waffles.  What not to lover about walnuts, coconut, butter and condensed milk.

The mascapone filling for the tiriamisu cupcake was melt in your melt delicious.  But, the white cupcake batter could have been better.  I think it needed some sort of kahula or alcohol syrup brush on it be a true tiriamisu.  The coffee buttercream was way too sweet for my taste.

I added my own touch, by topping the tiramisu cupcakes with a chocolate covered coffee bean.  Now that is like a red cherry on top of a great dessert!

 


old fashion linzer cookies

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There is something about a jam filled cookie.  Perhaps it’s as if you are a child again eating a peanut butter jelly sandwich.  The thought conjures images of a being young and having your face smeared with jelly. These beautiful cookies are like a window pane of baked goodness.  Not only are they delicate but elegant as well.  I packaged these into individual clear cellophane bags and gave to my valentines.

The filling looks the best with seedless rasberry jam, but I only had strawberry on hand.  For spring or summer you can use apricot or peach jam.  Be sure to dust the tops with confectioners sugar just like a red cherry on top of a lovely dessert.

Old fashion linzer cookies

Ingredients (3 dozen cookies)

  • 2/3 cup of chopped hazelnuts
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 12-oz jar seedless raspberry jam
  • A linzer tart cookie cutter, or a large scalloped cutter and small circle cutter

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Toast chopped hazelnuts in a thin layer until fragrant, watching closely to ensure they do not burn. This should take 3 to 5 minutes. Remove any loose skins and cool.
  3. Add nuts and 1/4 cup brown sugar to a food processor and pulse until finely ground. There should be no large pieces of hazelnuts – it should be a cornmeal consistency.
  4. Whisk or sift together flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon in a small bowl.
  5. Cream together the butter and remaining 1/4 cup brown sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy. Add nut mixture and beat until combined well, about 1 minute. Beat in egg and vanilla. Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture, mixing until just combined.
  6. With floured hands, form dough into 2 balls and flatten each into a 5-inch disk. Chill disks, wrapped in plastic wrap, until firm, at least 2 hours.
  7. While dough chills, add jelly to a small sauce pan over low heat. Stir jelly and allow to reduce until thickened – about 10 minutes.
  8. Roll out 1 disk of dough into an 11-inch round (about 1/8 inch thick) using as little flour as possible to dust the work surface and rolling pin. Keep the dough as cold as possible. Cut out as many solid cookies bottoms as possible from the first disk of dough and transfer to 2 large baking sheets, arranging about 1 inch apart.
  9. Using the second disk of dough, cut out the cookie tops either with a linzer top cutter, or by using the cutter for the bottom cookies and a smaller cutter for the center. Bake cookies, switching position of sheets halfway through baking, until edges are golden, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to racks to cool completely.
  10. Keeping the tops of the cookies separate, dust tops of cookies with powdered sugar until completely covered. Spread about 1 teaspoon jam on top of each solid cookie bottom and sandwich jam with flat side of the top cookies. Enjoy immediately or freeze to enjoy later on.

 


White chocolate macadamia nuts blondies bars

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You can turn any cookie into a bar.  In fact, it is great time saver since it does not require so many cookie sheets like regular cookie dough.  You just bake your dough in a large rectangular pan and cut into bars!  I may try to cut it to fancy diamond or triangle shape.  But who is gonna eat the leftover edges?  Your truly of course!

I did not realize how much dishes can pile up when I bake.  The chef on cooking shows makes it looks so quick and easy since they have someone else to prep and clean up for them! From measuring cups, spoons, spatulas, mixing bowls, hand mixer,sheets, and pans, etc. So you will see me making lots of bars, brownies, and bundts desserts these days.

These bars are tasty with the buttery flavor from the macadamias and the sweetness from the white chocolate and browns sugar.

    

White Chocolate macadamia nuts blondies (source: Erin food files)

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 pound, plus 1 teaspoon butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 3 cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 cups white chocolate chips
  • 1 cup macadamia nuts, toasted and rough chopped

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Place 1/2 pound of the butter and the brown sugar in a bowl and cream together on medium speed until a smooth batter is formed. While the machine is running, add the eggs and vanilla extract, until incorporated into the batter.
  3. Sift together 3 cups flour and baking powder. Slowly add the flour mixture to the batter and mix on low speed until a dough is formed. Very gently, by turning the mixer on and then off, fold the chips and nuts into the dough.
  4. Once the dough is all blended, grease a 9 x 13 pan with the remaining butter and dust with the 1 tablespoon of flour. Pour the batter into the pan and place in the preheated oven. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until set yet still moist.