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Wednesday
Jan162013

Peanut Butter Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

Well, that did not last long. Not that we (or anyone) are surprised.

We made it exactly 15.35 days into our New Year's Resolution #1b; 'Stop Eating Sweets in Order to Lose 1/2 of Body Weight.' #1a is obviously 'Meet Bradley Cooper and Get Married.'

(We should clarify that it took us a few days to finalize our elaborate resolution list and then one of us was in Mexico and the other had to wait to confer on the list, then there was that day we had some biscotti for breakfast which totally doesn't count because it was a breakfast item, then we did a friend a favor and took some chocolate bars off her hands, so if we are really honest, we lasted more like 13 hours, but who's counting?)

Seriously though, muffins, it was TOTALLY not our fault! It was the cookies!

These blasted Peanut Butter Peanut Butter Cup Cookies. Curse you for making us quit part two of our New Year's Resolution! (#1a is clearly still on track.)

We were all, 'let's make something easy and tasty to give to our coworkers and/or serve to guests in our home when/if anyone comes over.' We were just trying to be good people! And then, a cookie broke, which we weren't about to serve to people (perfectionist type-A's, remember?), so we had to get rid of it by eating it. Duh. 

WOWZA. It was like the cartoon wolf seeing the pretty lady and whistling and his eyeballs popping out of his head. Yikes. These cookies are good. Milk has up and left chocolate cookies for this one. We might have stolen the VP's sippy and enjoyed some cookies and whole milk while he was napping. 

Really. MAKE THESE NOW. Resolutions don't stand a chance.

Peanut Butter Peanut Butter Cup Cookies
Makes 18-20 cookies
From Elinor Klivans 

Print Recipe

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 (4 tablespoons) vegetable shortening, at room temperature
3/4 cup smooth peanut butter (not old-fashioned, we used Jif), at room temperature
1/2 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups (7-9 ounces) peanut butter cups, lightly chopped (we used the mini-Reese's cups)

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or a silpat.

Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl and set aside. In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together on medium speed the butter, shortening, peanut butter and sugars until smooth and lighter in color, about 1 minute.  Scrap the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Add in the egg and vanilla extract and scrap again. Blend well. On low speed, gradually add the flour mixture until just combined. Using the spatula scrap the sides of the bowl again and fold in the peanut butter cups. 

Drop heaping tablespoons of cookie dough onto the baking sheets, forming into balls, about 2" apart. Bake the two sheets in the oven for 15-20 minutes, rotating halfway through, or until the tops of the cookies are a very light golden brown. Cool the cookies on the baking sheets and then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

Keep tightly covered at room temperature for up to 5 days.

Tuesday
Jan082013

Rustic Chocolate Tart

Well helloooooo 2013!  Sorry about the prolonged absence cookies, the new year always take a little bit of adjusting for these girls. 

We’re creatures of habit you see, and all this buzzing about a new year and a new you and a new diet (er…) and a new workout, well, that’s a lot of newness cupcakes.  And everyone is going to the gym and then we’re all “wait, should we go to the gym?”  So then we go to the gym and it’s like EXTREMELY crowded.  And also kind of loud and smells not so nice.  So then we’re all “the gym is waaaaaaay too crowded, let’s go later.”

And then it’s October.

So you know what?  We’re embracing it.  Embracing our creature-of-habitry (right that’s a word) and doing what we need to do to get through this extremely challenging time of year when changes run amok.  Run amok we tell you!

We’re staying in the kitchen and away from the treadmills and baking something comforting, relatively fuss free (we decorated a LOT of cookies team, we kinda don’t want to see a piping bag for like a decade) and heavy on the chocolate.  Nothing like a little free form rustic tart to calm the frayed holiday nerves and combat any and all potential desire to go anywhere where Ke$ha is blaring from a speaker and there’s a wait list for an elliptical machine.

A few bites (slices) later, we’re starting to come around to this new year thing.  Talk to us in March, we should just about have accepted it.

Rustic Chocolate Tart

Print Recipe

3/4 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons cold water
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
2 egg whites, at room temperature
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

To make the crust – combine the flour, ¼ teaspoon of salt and butter in a food processor and pulse until mixture resembles coarse bread crumbs. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of cold water into processor until mixture is just moist enough to hold together when pressed (only add remaining water if needed). Turn out dough, shape into a disk and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate 30 minutes. Can also be made 3 days ahead and left in the fridge.

Position rack in lower third of oven and preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Remove the dough from the fridge and let stand for 30 minutes, until soft enough to roll without cracking. On a floured surface, roll dough to 14 x 9-inch oval (or a seasonal shape of your choosing), about ⅛ inch thick. Transfer to a piece of parchment slightly larger than dough and loosely fold edge, without pressing, to form a rimmed crust. Place the parchment and pastry on baking sheet and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until light golden brown. Remove and reduce oven to 350 F.

Meanwhile – make the filling. Melt the chocolate in microwave on 50 percent power for a few about 2 minutes, checking often. Remove before it completely melts, stir to melt the rest of the way and then set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat egg whites, cream of tartar and vanilla until soft peaks form. Gradually add sugar and ⅛ teaspoon of salt and beat until whites are stiff and glossy. Pour walnuts and chocolate over eggs whites and fold in until combined.

Spread filling onto crust, leaving a space along the edge of the pastry. Bake 10-12 minutes, or until surface looks dry and slightly cracked (it will be fudgy on the inside). Cool on baking sheet on a rack – serve warm or at room temperature. Can be store covered at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Wednesday
Dec192012

The Most Delicious Holiday Gifts

Alright sugarplums, it's here.  Santa's suiting up and the Rudolph is carb loading for his round the world marathon.  And if you're still thinking you've got that whole wide weekend to finish up your shopping...we're just gonna stop you there. 

Do you really think the mall is going to be a good idea this weekend?  Do you want to just take any glimmer of holiday spirit and crush it?  Like grab it, shake it up, then spike it on the floor so it shatters in a million tiny pieces?

Yeah no.  Us neither.

Soooo, WHY. DON'T. YOU. BAKE?!!!??  What could be more delightfully merry then spending some time in a cozy kitchen whipping up some decadently delicious holiday giftables?! Nothing candy canes, nothing.

And trust us, the recipients will be thrilled.  Because really, how many iTunes gift cards can a girl get?

1. Best Assembly Only Treat - Christmas Crunch Cookies in a Jar
 
 

2. Best Bar Treat - Pecan Pie Bars


3. Best Original Candy Treat - Fleur de Sel Caramels


4. Best Homemade Version of Your Favorite Store Bought Treat - Ferrero Rocher Truffles


5. Best Fruit Cake Replacement Treat - Fruit n' Nut Bars

6. Best Friend of Hot Chocolate Treat - Homemade Marshmallows

7. Best Bark Treat - Almond Orange Cranberry Bark


8. Best Gingerbread That's Not Shaped Like a House or a Man Treat - Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies


9. Best Treat on a Stick - Cookie Dough Truffles


10. Best Breakfast Treat - Blue Eyed Bakers Granola


HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

Sunday
Dec092012

Gingerbread Biscotti II

You know what we bakers like? Yes, chocolate and bling (not necessarily together, though we can't be certain we would turn down chocolate-covered gems). But also, we bakers like options. We like options A LOT.

This love of choice is, unfortunately, the reason we could never "travel light." Traveling light, you ask? What is that? Exactly.

Who wants to get caught on Nantucket without 9 pairs of flip-flops? What happens if we feel the need for a smoky eye at the Vail-destination wedding and we didn't bring our appropriate Chanel quad? What do we do at the W San Francisco if we want to work out everyday and didn't bring 6 workout outfits (even though we all know it would be a miracle if we worked out even once)? What's a girl to do if she comes down with a case of the Mondays and didn't bring some sweats and a floppy t-shirt (aka normal, everyday t-shirt) to Punta Mita?

You see, cupcakes? We need options. Obviously, this need is born of our need to always be prepared which is born of our type-A+ personalities which is born of growing up without being able to see the counter tops in the kitchen. Scientifically, psychologically, professionally speaking, of course.

So, who would we be not to give our readers the same gift of choice? Yes, we have made Gingerbread Biscotti before. Here. But, this recipe feels different and looks different and even tastes different.

Because, sometimes you feel like a nut and sometimes you don't. Who are we to deny you the choice?

(Side Note. Both these recipes actually contain nuts but you get it. You understand us.)

Gingerbread Biscotti II
Makes 24 biscotti
Adapted from Taste of Home

Print Recipe

1/3 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup molasses
3 eggs
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 heaping cup pecans, toasted and chopped
1/4 cup finely chopped crystallized ginger
9-10 ounces white baking chocolate, melted
9-10 ounces semi-sweet or dark chocolate, melted

In a stand ixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in molasses then add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. In a separate, medium bowl, sift together the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder, salt, allspice and cloves; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well. Stir in the pecans and ginger.

Divide the dough in half and turn the two halves onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Refrigerate, covered, for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Form the dough into two 10" by 3" by 1" logs-ish. It only matters that they are roughly the same size and shape, like flat oblong patties. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until lightly browned and firm to the touch.

Transfer the patties to a cutting board; cut diagonally with a sharp knife into 1" slices. Place cut side down on back on the baking sheets. Bake for 7-9 minutes on each side or until lightly browned. Remove to wire racks to cool.

Melt the first chocolate. Line another baking sheet with wax paper. Dip each biscotti halfway into the melted white chocolate chips; shake off excess. Place on waxed paper in the fridge until set. Melt second chocolate. Dip white-chocolate-coated ends partially into melted dark chocolate chips; shake off excess. Place on waxed paper until set. Store in an airtight container.

Sunday
Nov252012

Apple Cobbler

Ok.  OK.  Let's just pause. 

Breathe. 

Regroup.

Before we enter the full on insanity that is December we're just going to hold on for a hot sec and savor the last few days of fall.

WAIT.  Isn't it technically still fall??  And won't it technically still be fall until mere days before Santa starts his rounds despite what every major retailer would have us believe??

Truth.  Still fall.  We checked.  With google.

So the Blue-Eyed Bakers are staging a coup.  A hold-onto-the-last-days-of-fall-baked-goods-because-it's-technically-still-fall coup.

We're delaying the inevitable overuse of peppermint and chocolate and red and green sprinkles and spiked milk drinks (oh don't worry team, you will see PLENTY of that on here in the coming weeks) for just a couple more days.

Juuuuust long enough for you to run out and grab a few of those ridiculously delicious fall apples still lingering around the farmers market and grocery store and throw them into this cobbler.

Yes, like literally, take them, peel them and throw them into the dish.

Then top them with this rather spectacular biscuit-y topping and bake until all golden brown, bubbly and apple-y fall fantastic looking.

Top with ice cream and eat.  Back into the kitchen, second helping, more ice cream, eat.

THEN, and only then you are free to get cracking on that gingerbread house.

Apple Cobbler
Serves 8-10

Print Recipe

For the filling:
2 medium Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored & sliced into 1/2 inch pieces
3 medium Fuji apples
, peeled, cored & sliced into 1/2 inch pieces
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Zest of 1 lemon
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons corn starch
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of salt

  • 4 medium Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices (about 5 1/2 cups)
  • 3 large Fuji apples, peeled, cored, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices (about 4 cups)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon peel
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon


  • Read More http://www.bonappetit.com/recipes/2011/01/warm_apple_cobbler#ixzz2CihY77yg

    For the cobbler topping:
    2 cups flour
    2 teaspoons baking powder
    1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1 tablespoon sugar
    1/2 cup (1 stick) cold butter plus 1/4 cup melted butter
    1 cup buttermilk
    1 teaspoon almond extract
    2 tablespoons Demerara sugar or brown sugar

    Ice cream for serving (optional)

    Preheat oven to 425 F.

    Make the filling: In a large bowl combine apples, lemon juice, lemon zest, sugar, corn starch, cinnamon & salt.  Mix until sugar has dissolved.  Pour mixture into a large pie plate or a glass baking dish.  Set aside.

    Make the topping:  Mix together the 2 cups of flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar in a medium bowl. Cut the butter into the flour mixture using a pastry cutter or your hands, until the mixture resembles a coarse cornmeal.

    In a small bowl, mix almond extract and buttermilk together, then add to the flour mixture.  Stir together until just incorporated.

    Evenly spread or crumble dough over fruit.  Sprinkle with Demerara sugar and pour melted butter over the topping.

    Bake at 425 F for 10 minutes or until the top is just beginning to brown.  Reduce heat to 350 F and continue to bake another 40 minutes more, or until fruit is bubbling and the topping is golden brown.

    Serve warm (with ice cream with ice cream!) or at room temperature.