Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Candy Corn Softbatch Cookies

This week will end with Halloween. Many parties already happened last weekend. I came across a recipe that by the looks of it instantly inspired me to make it --- soft cookies with candy corn! When I stood in front of the many varieties of candy corn at Target, original, pumpkin, marshmallow and fruit loop, I picked up the fruit loop ones. The pink tones looked extra cheerful.

The basic recipe is just like other soft, chewy cookies, with an addition of cornstarch or instant vanilla pudding mix (which is also basically flavored cornstarch). I stay pretty close to the recipe, and baked the first batch.
However, after 12 minutes of baking the cookies looked like this.
Flattened and the candy corn had melted out of the cookies. Ouch! I let them cool for 9 minutes, and the melted candy corn could be scraped off the silplat liner, and the creation of cookies/candy was ready. But that was not really the plan….. it was more of a Franken-cookie.
I read the instructions again, and it had a 1/2 cup more flour than I used, and it asked for ‘chill the cookies for 3 hours before baking’. So, I did.
The next batch looked better.
Still, the cookies are pretty tricky. As long as there is candy corn on the bottom or the side of a cookie it is likely to melt. It might be better to make the dough and press a few candy corn on top of the cookie ball before baking them.
Taste? Fabulous!!
Candy Corn Softbatch Cookies
1/2 cup/1 stick unsalted butter, soften
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons crème fraiche
2 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons instant vanilla pudding mix
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
pinch salt, optional and to taste
1 1/2 cups candy corn (1o to 11 ounces)
1 cup white chocolate chips
  1. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or large bowl and electric hand mixer), cream together the butter, sugars, egg, vanilla extract and crème fraiche on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix the flour, salt, baking soda and pudding mix.
  3. Put speed on low, and slowly added the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix on low speed until just combined, about 1 minute; don't overmix.
  4. Add the white chocolate chips, and mix until just incorporated. (No candy corn yet!)
  5. Using a small icecream scoop, (or any size of icecream scoop you like based on the size of the cookies you would like to make) form heaping 1 – 1 1/2 –tablespoon sized mounds.
  6. Press about 3 candy corn inside of the cookie dough ball.
  7. Place mounds on a large plate, and slightly flatten mounds. Cover the mounds with plasticwrap, and refrigerate for at least 3 hours before baking. 
  8. Preheat oven to 350F, line a baking sheet with a silicon mat or parchment paper. Place mounds on baking sheet, ca. 8 cookies per cookie sheet, and bake for about 9 minutes. Do not overbake since the cookies will firm up as they cool. Baking longer than 10 minutes will make cookies spread too thin, the candy corn getting contact with the cookie sheet and starting to melt.
  9. Cool cookies on the baking sheet for about at least 5-10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to finish cooking. They will be sticky because of the slightly melted candy corn.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Ricotta Lemon Bundt Cake, my own take

There was a BBQ on a Saturday afternoon for a friends’ get-together, and it required a cake. A ricotta cake seemed like the perfect choice--- dessert-like, moist and rich like a cheesecake, but lighter and easier to handle with simply napkins. This cake came out great, received many compliments and I am sure to make it more often. A new go-to recipe. Unfortunately, the cake was gone before I could take a decent photo of a it at the BBQ.


Lemon Ricotta Bundt Cake
Regular sized Bundt cake pan
  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter (6 Ounces)
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 15 oz whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 ts lemon extract
  • 1/2 ts vanilla extract
  • zest of 1  organic lemon (save juice for glaze)
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2  ts baking powder
  • 1/2 ts baking soda
  • 1/2 ts salt

For The Lemon Glaze:
  • 1.5 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 TB fresh squeezed lemon juice
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a regular sized bundt or ring pan.
  2. In a large mixer bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the ricotta cheese and blend well. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well between each. Add the extracts and lemon zest and mix until fully combined.
  3. Sift together the flour, baking powder, soda, and salt.
  4. Add the dry ingredients in several smaller parts, mixing just until incorporated.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top with a spoon as needed.
  6. Bake 40-45 minutes, or until the cake tester comes out clean.
  7. Let cool in the pan for at least 15 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack.
    Cool completely.
  8. Whisk together the powdered sugar and lemon juice until smooth and thick.
  9. Drizzle the lemon glaze over the top of the cake.
  10. Let the glaze set for 30 minutes and then cut into wedges and serve.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Ricotta Cake

A citrus-y ricotta cake --- light, fluffy and a small size. Can I say more?

Recipe here

Apple Almond Cake

What a classic cake! Apple cake -- made extra beautiful with the sliced apples and a dough that flows around it. Original Swiss Betty Bossi recipe!

Recipe here (in German). 

Raspberry or Strawberry Sour Cream Cake (GF)

Another eye catching summer cake: a thin tart with a layer of sour cream, another layer of raspberries and then some crumbs. Perfect for those summer afternoon get-togethers.

Find the recipe here

Strawberry Mascarpone Layered Cake with Amaretti

This cake immediately caught my eye: a light, angel food like bottom layer with amaretti for extra flavor, and a thick layer of cream (a pound of mascarpone and a half pound of whipped cream!) and finished off with fresh in season strawberries berries, wild strawberries and amaretti crumbs. Holy summery festivity!

Original recipe (in German)

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Brownies on a Sunday

It is one of these Sundays. The work pile is sky high. The weather is dreary, cold and rainy, and all the new outdoor cushions only look good, and looking at them has to suffice. Plus, the new work week is near. One day ahead.


To infuse my day with a little bit of comfort, I baked brownies again. Typically I share my baked goods at work. but these I cut up into bite size pieces, and freeze them. They are really good, right out of the freezer with hot coffee. Or a desert snack.




Chocolate Brownies, almost vegan.

Makes large 17 by 11 inch cookie sheet of brownie, or 2 regular sized brownie pans.

  • 4 tablespoons +  4 teaspoons ground flax meal
  • 1/2 cup + 4 tablespoons warm water
  • 2 cups pure cane sugar
  • 2 1/2 cup + 4 tablespoons gluten-free flour  (oat, or a glutenfree all purpose flour like Trader Joes)
  • 1 1/2 cup almond meal
  • 1/2 cup + 4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup unrefined coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • 9 ounces dark chocolate chips, about 1 1/2 cup standard sized chocolate chips
  • 4 tablespoon instant espresso powder
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  1. Preheat your oven to 325* F and lightly grease the bottom and sides of a 17 x 11 pan.  In a small bowl mix the ground flax and water and set aside so that it can thicken and gel.
  2. In a medium bowl sift and stir together the flour, almond meal, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt together until fully combined.  Set aside.
  3. Melt the coconut oil and chocolate together in  a microwave-safe bowl in 30 second increments —stirring each time, until fully melted.  Stir to combine.
  4. In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, combine the sugar and the flax mix. Add the instant espresso powder, vanilla, and almond extract until fully combined.  Now, add in the melted chocolate/coconut oil mix, mix until fully combined.
  5. Slowly add in the dry ingredients. Use a spoon, and add spoon by spoon so that it does too much. Keep the stand mixer on low speed. A thick but soft dough will form. 
  6. Spoon the dough batter into the pan and evenly distribute to the edges with a spatula or your fingers.  The dough should be very soft and easy to press/spread.
  7. Place in the center of your oven and bake for ca. 35 minutes. The sides will rise slightly higher than the center.  Allow to cool for 30-45 minutes.
  8. Once cooled it can be cut into bite-sized pieces and frozen.