cheddar crisps

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As someone who enjoys baking, sometimes I tend to forget about the other half of the world. You know, that “savory” half. Baking isn’t all about cupcakes and muffins.

And honestly, sometimes there are only so many sweets you can take… I mean it’s rare but every once in a while I hit a wall where I feel like I am literally going to hurl if I see one. more. freaking. cookie. Like for real.

Enter: these crackers. Your saviors. They are here to give you a delightfully salty treat when one more cookie is the last thing you need. They are light and crisp and packed with cheesy flavor, thanks to the extra sharp cheddar.

You don’t have to use cheddar, but you will want to use a nice strong cheese to make sure your flavors stand out. Some browning on the bottom of your cracker will also help you in this department, as will a sprinkle of smoked paprika on top… if you feel so inclined.

cheddar crisps

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

Ingredients

  • 8 Tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 cup grated extra sharp cheddar cheese*
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/8 teaspoon white pepper
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 1 cup + 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour

Instructions

  1. In the bowl of a food processor, pulse butter until it is broken up. Add the cheese, salt, and spices and pulse until the mixture forms small curd-like pieces.
  2. Add flour and pulse until the dough forms into a loose dough with pea-sized clumps, about 1 minute.
  3. Turn dough out onto a clean work surface and knead it gently until a cohesive dough forms. Divide the dough in half and pat each half into a disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 1 hour, or until firm.
  4. Working 1 disk at a time, roll the dough out between sheets of parchment to 1/4-inch thick. Using a cookie or biscuit cutter, cut into round disks (I used a 1-inch cutter), placing the rounds onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Gather the scraps and re-roll and cut the remaining dough (I did this twice). Repeat with second disk of dough.
  5. Place baking sheet, lightly wrapped with plastic, in the refrigerator until you are ready to bake.
  6. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350F degrees. If desired, sprinkle disks with sea salt and bake for 15 to 17 minutes until the bottoms start to brown.
  7. Once you remove them from the oven, sprinkle them with sweet or smoked paprika and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Notes

* Dorie uses Gruyere in her book, she also recommends Comte or Emmenthal as well. Any semi-firm cheese should work here.

* This dough can either be rolled and cut, as in the directions, or chilled into a log and sliced into 1/4-inch disks. Whichever you prefer.

http://wee-eats.com/2015/01/27/cheddar-crisps/

[ Recipe from Around My French Table by Dorie Greenspan]

chocolate chip toffee shortbread cookies

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One of my favorite cookie recipes of all time is this soft and chewy toffee chip cookie recipe from Serious Eats. I almost always have a batch tucked away in the freezer ready for last-minute guests to enjoy. So, naturally, while I was picking out recipes for my 2014 treat boxes, this one from The Kitchn caught my eye.

This recipe kept the same flavor profile (chocolate + toffee) that my usual treat recipients love, but with a new delivery method: shortbread!

The crumbly shortbread is a great complement to the melty, sweet chocolate and crunchy toffee bits. These cookies, much like their soft and chewy siblings, were an absolute hit. Everyone who received them raved about them, and I’ve already gone through most of the “bumper crop” that was stashed in the freezer, which means you should probably make some of these ASAP. You could even get creative and roll them into a football shape for that big football game that is coming upl in a couple of weeks!

chocolate chip toffee shortbread cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips, divided
  • 1 cup Heath toffee chips

Instructions

    Mixing:
  1. In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the butter until soft. Add powdered sugar, and salt and continue beating at medium speed until pale and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the vanilla extract, beating until combined.
  2. On low speed, mix in the flour until the dough comes together. Add the chocolate and toffee chips and mix just until combined.
  3. Divide the dough in half and shape each half into a log about 1 foot long and 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Wrap both logs in parchment or plastic wrap and secure the ends. Refrigerate the rolls until firm. If baking more than 3 days later, place dough in freezer to stay fresh and thaw in the refrigerator overnight prior to baking.
  4. Baking:
  5. Preheat the oven to 350°F with a rack in the top third and bottom third of the oven.
  6. Line two baking sheets with parchment.
  7. Using a sharp knife, slice the logs into 1/2-inch thickness and arrange about 1 inch apart on your prepared baking sheet. (They won't spread much).
  8. Bake the cookies for 12 to 15 minutes, rotating the pans once, until the edges are firm to the touch and just barely brown. Let the cookies cool completely on the baking sheets to prevent breaking.
  9. Store at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
http://wee-eats.com/2015/01/20/chocolate-chip-toffee-shortbread-cookies/

[ Recipe from: TheKitchn ]

toffee shortbread cookies - wee eats

 

peppermint bark

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Since I couldn’t share my holiday basket recipes with you in December (that would have spoiled the surprise for the recipients!), I’ve decided to share them with you in January! Here’s a quick peek at what we’ll be covering…

IMG_9051-baskets

  • Gingerbread blondies
  • Peppermint bark
  • Parmesan-thyme crackers
  • Cheddar crisps
  • Cinnamon-apple bourbon
  • Toffee chip shortbread cookies

Today’s topic: Peppermint bark.

The first time I had peppermint bark was years ago at Williams Sonoma and at almost $30 a pop I limited myself to their free samples and other, cheaper, knock-off varieties of the holiday treat. While I was thinking about what to put in my 2014 baskets, I realized that I still had a good amount of Chocoley laying around and thought it would be perfect some holiday bark!

You can use any chocolate you like, of course, but I’ve already told you about how I love the snap of Chocoley’s Candy Molding formula, which makes a nice sturdy base for this bark without having to temper the chocolate at all. Just melt and pour, then top it with some white chocolate and a generous sprinkling of crushed candy canes on top and voila! You have a whole sheet-pan of peppermint bark for a fraction of what you would pay for the tiny bit you get from Williams Sonoma one!

peppermint bark

Ingredients

  • 14 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons peppermint extract
  • 14 ounces white chocolate, chopped
  • 3 candy canes, chopped or crushed

Instructions

  1. Line a sheet pan or 9-by-13 pan (for neater corners) with aluminum foil and/or parchment, smoothing out any wrinkles.
  2. Melt dark chocolate over just steaming water in a double boiler. (Alternatively, you can melt the chocolate in the microwave in 30 second intervals at 50% power, stirring in between each session).
  3. Stir in the peppermint extract and pour into prepared pan, spreading to form an even layer. Set in the fridge to firm up while you melt the white chocolate.
  4. In a separate bowl, melt the white chocolate in the same manner as the dark chocolate (it may take less time).
  5. Remove dark chocolate layer from fridge and pour white chocolate over the dark chocolate layer, spreading the white chocolate to form an even layer. Sprinkle with candy canes and return to fridge for about 10 minutes to set up.
  6. Set on the counter to continue firming up, about one hour, then cut into desired size chunks.
  7. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.
http://wee-eats.com/2015/01/11/peppermint-bark/

 

gingerbread blondies

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HAPPY NEW YEAR! I’m sure I should be focusing on green things and healthy recipes, but I made these gingerbread blondies over the holiday for my Christmas treat boxes and it would just not be fair for me to keep them from you.

I know exactly what some of you are thinking right now: “Gingerbread? Ew!” But, hear me out… I know that you think you don’t like gingerbread. You probably had a bite of a gingerbread house as it was under construction and spit it out in disgust, or ate the legs off of a tiny gingerbread man only to be disappointed by the flavor… or maybe you had a bite of some dry gingerbread cake that fell to pieces in your mouth.

I’m here to tell you that those, my friends, are not what gingerbread is really all about. These blondies, on the other hand, will redeem every negative gingerbread experience you’ve ever had in your life. They are soft and delightfully chewy and filled to the top with molasses and spices that will make your mouth do the happy dance.

I adapted the recipe from Mr. Eats’s favorite blondies.  I kept the basic ratios the same, but punched up the spices and added a healthy dose of molasses to make these babies really shine.

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gingerbread blondies

Ingredients

  • 2 2/3 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • pinch ground cloves
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup unsulfured molasses
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F and line a 9 by 13-inch baking pan with aluminum foil and parchment. Lightly grease the parchment with cooking spray or butter.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix the flour with the baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves. Stir to combine.
  3. In a large bowl, beat butter and sugars with an electric mixer until fluffy. (If you are using a stand mixer, you will want to use the paddle attachment)
  4. Add eggs, one at a time, beating to incorporate the egg after each addition.
  5. Scrape down the bowl and add the molasses, beating until incorporated.
  6. Add the vanilla and continue beating another 10 or 15 seconds until it is mixed in.
  7. Add half of the flour mixture and beat on low just until moistened. Add the other half of the mixture and beat on low until just combined, being careful not to overmix. There should be no traces of white flour in the dough.
  8. Spread batter into the prepared pan - it helps if you moisten your hands and use them to help spread and pat the batter into place (it will be quite thick and sticky). Bake until edges are dry and the center is completely set, about 30 minutes. A toothpick inserted into the middle should come out clean.
  9. Cool completely on a wire rack and cut into squares.
http://wee-eats.com/2015/01/06/gingerbread-blondies/

gingerbread blondies pin

chocolate chip almond muffins

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Apparently December is brunch month for me – with pain au chocolateapple pie biscuits and cinnamon-almond scones and now… muffins! Sure everyone else is helping you make Christmas cookies but here at Wee Eats we are committed to ensuring you are covered for your most important meal of the day.

These muffins are adapted from Monica over at Playing with Flour. She’s got tons of gorgeous goodies over on her blog, I highly recommend you stop by and check her out!

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These are not those big, dense muffins from your nightmares. The almond flour in these muffins give them a remarkably light crumb, they have a touch of sweetness, and then sliced almonds on to give them a nice little “crunch” as if to say “Good morning, Sunshine!”

Although her recipe calls for orange zest, I left it out because I’ve never really been into that whole chocolate-orange thing. Instead, I added a dash of almond extract to complement the almond flour and sliced almonds, and took these guys another route.

almond muffin pin 2

chocolate chip almond muffins

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 12 to 15 muffins

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup almond meal
  • 1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
  • 1 cup buttermilk, shaken
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a muffin tin with liners. Grease liners, if desired, to aid in easy removal of muffins.
  2. Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl. Add the mini chocolate chips and toss to coat with the flour mixture.
  3. Place sugar and almond meal into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add butter and beat on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 1 minute.
  4. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until incorporated scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
  5. Add vanilla and almond extracts, then add the buttermilk and beat on low speed until combined.
  6. Remove bowl from stand mixer and add the flour mixture. Fold flour mixture into wet mixture, stirring just until combined.
  7. Scoop batter into the prepared muffin cups (the batter will be very stiff), filling them nearly to the top and sprinkle with the sliced almonds.
  8. Bake until muffins are lightly browned and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 12-14 minutes. Let muffins cool in the pans on a wire rack for about 5 minutes, then remove them from the pans and set onto the rack to finish cooling.
http://wee-eats.com/2014/12/16/chocolate-chip-almond-muffins/

[ Recipe adapted from: Playing with Flour ]