Easter is just about two weeks away and, as you may remember from last year, that means that I have to put on my candy-making hat and hop on into the kitchen. Last year, feeling exceptionally motivated, I made peanut butter eggs. This year, however, I decided to cater to the less-motivated crowd with chocolate bark!
Baked Bakery’s “Good Morning Sunshine” bars have been on my ‘to do’ list for practically forever, and who knows why because they’re so fricking easy to make that I basically feel like the laziest person ever for not making them. I finally got around to make them, but as i was reading through the recipe I just wanted there to be more.
The standard recipe is pretty solid on its own, it’s got cereal, peanut butter, sugar (duh), and a drizzle of chocolate on top, but it also had chopped peanuts which for some reason I am generally not a fan of in my snacks. I like peanuts, I eat them quite frequently, but crunchy peanut butter? No thank you. Nuts in my cookies? Get out of here. Nuts in a quick bread? Pass. I know, I’m a crazy person.
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!
- 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
- 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.
- On low speed, mix in the flour until the dough comes together. Add the chocolate and toffee chips and mix just until combined.
- 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.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F with a rack in the top third and bottom third of the oven.
- Line two baking sheets with parchment.
- 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).
- 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.
- Store at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
[ Recipe from: TheKitchn ]
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…
- 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!
- 14 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
- 1 1/2 teaspoons peppermint extract
- 14 ounces white chocolate, chopped
- 3 candy canes, chopped or crushed
- Line a sheet pan or 9-by-13 pan (for neater corners) with aluminum foil and/or parchment, smoothing out any wrinkles.
- 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).
- 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.
- In a separate bowl, melt the white chocolate in the same manner as the dark chocolate (it may take less time).
- 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.
- Set on the counter to continue firming up, about one hour, then cut into desired size chunks.
- Store in an airtight container at room temperature.
Apparently December is brunch month for me – with pain au chocolate, apple 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!
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.
- 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
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a muffin tin with liners. Grease liners, if desired, to aid in easy removal of muffins.
- 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.
- 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.
- Add eggs, one at a time, beating until incorporated scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
- Add vanilla and almond extracts, then add the buttermilk and beat on low speed until combined.
- Remove bowl from stand mixer and add the flour mixture. Fold flour mixture into wet mixture, stirring just until combined.
- 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.
- 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.
[ Recipe adapted from: Playing with Flour ]