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Double Chocolate Cookies with Dried Cherries

This is an easy light version of chocolate chip cookies that everyone will love.

1 1/4 cup of flour
1/2 tsp of baking powder
1/4 tsp of salt
5 tbsp of softened butter
1/2 cup of sugar
1/2 cup of packed brown sugar
1 tsp of vanilla
1 large egg white
1/4 cup of dark chocolate chips
1/4 cup of white chocolate chips
1/4 cup of dried cherries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl and set aside. In a large bowl, combine butter, sugar and brown sugar and beat until well combined. Add the egg white and vanilla and quickly beat until blended. With a hand mixer or in a mixer, slowly combine flour mixture into the butter mixture. When combined, add chocolate and cherries and mix well. Spray your cookie sheet with cooking spray and add formed cookies. The trick here is to put the cookie sheet with cookies in the freezer for 5 minutes. This will help the cookies keep their shape when they cook. Because the cookies use only the egg whites, they will bleed if cooked without freezing. Bake the cookies on 350 for 12-15 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool for at least 10 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

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Maple Cheesecake with Roasted Pears – Contest Winner!

Looking for a new twist on cheesecake we went with this recipe from Martha Stewart. After making a practice version a few weeks ago we gave it another shot so we could enter Maple Cheesecake with Roasted Pairs into a company Christmas party baking contest. The competition was stiff with over 12 amazing desserts; fortunately, we came out on top! We made a few adjustments from the first effort - such as light cream cheese to help lighten just a little bit. A great dessert for the holidays, it really has fantastic flavor with the nilla wafers and maple syrup.

For Crust:

6 Oz vanilla wafers (about 2/3 of a box)
3 Tbsp sugar
1/4 Tsp coarse salt
5 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a food processor, pulse cookies until finely ground (you should have about 1 1/2 cups). If you don't have access to a food processor you can use a blender or use a meat tenderizer and smash the cookies in a ziploc bag. Add sugar, salt, and butter and pulse until combined.

Firmly press crumb mixture into bottom and up sides of a 9-inch pie plate. (If using a springform pan, press crumbs halfway up sides.) Bake until crust is dry and set, say 15 minutes. Let the crust cool completely before filling.

For Filling:

2 bars (8 ounces each) light cream cheese, room temperature
3/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 cup cold heavy cream
2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
2 medium pears, sliced lengthwise 1/8 inch thick
In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat cream cheese on high until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add 1/2 cup maple syrup; beat until smooth. In a medium bowl, beat cream and sugar on high until soft peaks form (see picture). With a rubber spatula, stir about one-third the whipped cream into cream cheese mixture, then fold in remainder. Transfer to crust and refrigerate until firm, 3 hours (or up to 1 day).

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Coat a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray. Arrange pear slices in a single layer on sheet and brush with 2 tablespoons maple syrup. Roast until pears are soft, 20 minutes. Remove from oven and heat broiler. Brush pears with 2 tablespoons maple syrup and broil until browned in spots, about 4 minutes, rotating sheet frequently. Keep a sharp eye on the pears under the broiler as they can go from brown to burned quickly. To serve, arrange pear slices, overlapping slightly, on cheesecake.


Waffle Cone Cannolis

1/2 Cup semisweet chocolate chips
8 "waffle" ice cream cones
2 Tbsp pistachios, smashed
8 Oz cream cheese, softened
1 Cup ricotta cheese (skim milk)
1 1/2 Cups confectioner's sugar
1/4 Tsp almond extract
2 Tbsp semisweet chocolate chips

Line a cookie sheet with waxed/parchment paper. If working with whole pistachios, place them in a small ziploc and smash them using a meat tenderizer.

In a small microwave safe bowl, microwave the 1/2 cup chocolate chips on, in 10 second intervals, stirring, until melted. Dip - or paint with rubber spatula - the top 1 1/2" of the waffle cone into the chocolate and immediately sprinkle with the smashed pistachios. Place on the wax paper lined pan to harden.

Beat the cream cheese, ricotta cheese, icing sugar and almond extract until smooth.

Transfer to a pastry bag or use a ziploc bag and snip the corner.

Pipe the filling into the cones.

Sprinkle with the remaining chocolate chips and chill for at least 30 minutes before serving.


Mixed Berry Crumble

2/3 Cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar
2 1/2 Tbsp cornstarch
1 Tsp finely grated lemon zest
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
5 Cups fresh combination of mixed berries, we used blueberries, raspberries and strawberries
3/4 Cup unbleached all-purpose flour
3 Tbsp (packed) light brown sugar
1/2 Tsp cinnamon
1/4 Tsp salt
5 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted, cooled slightly

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

For the crust we were bought a pre-made crust in a pan. To prepare we filled the pre-made crust with black-eyed peas on a layer of parchment backed aluminum foil to keep the shape of the crust while backing the dough.

Filling and Topping:

Whisk 2/3 cup sugar, cornstarch, and lemon zest in a large bowl. Add berry combination and lemon juice; toss to coat and evenly distribute. Let filling stand at room temperature, tossing occasionally, until berries release their juices, 20-30 minutes.

Whisk remaining 3 tablespoons sugar, flour, light brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a medium bowl. Add melted butter; mix ingredients with fingertips to blend.

Pour/spoon berry filling into crust, then sprinkle topping over. Bake pie until filling is bubbling and topping is browning/golden, about 75 minutes. After about 30 minutes we checked in 15 minute increments to ensure the crust wasn't burning or the mixture bubbling over. Consider lining your oven bottom or using a cookie sheet to protect against drippings/burning.


Lemon Cornmeal Pound Cake with Berries and Cream

For Cake:

1 3/4 Cups of all-purpose flour
1/2 Cup of cornmeal
1 Tsp baking soda
1/4 Tsp of salt
1 1/2 Cups of granulated sugar
10 Tbsp of butter
3 Large eggs
2 Tsp lemon zest
1 Tsp vanilla extract
2/3 Cup of nonfat buttermilk
3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
3 Large egg whites
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour

For Topping:

1 1/2 Cups of fresh blueberries
1 1/2 Cups of sliced fresh strawberries
1 Cup of fresh blackberries
1/4 Cup of granulated sugar (optional)
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 Cup heavy whipping cream
2 Tbsp powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350. Prepare cake, lightly spoon about 1 3/4 cups flour into dry measuring cups, and level with a knife. Combine flour and next 3 ingredients. Combine 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar and butter into a large bowl; beat with a mixer on high until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time beating until blended. Stir in the lemon zest and and vanilla. Combine buttermilk and 3 tbsp of juice. Add flour mixture to butter mixture and then alternate by adding buttermilk mixture.

Place egg whites in a large bowl and beat at high speed using beater (clean and dry). Beat until stiff peaks form. Fold half of egg whites into batter and then fold in the remaining egg whites. Spoon batter into a 10-inch loaf pan coated with cooking spray and sprinkled with all-purpose flour. Bake at 350 for one-hour. Cool the loaf in-pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and cool completely.

To prepare topping, combine berries, 1/4 cup granulated sugar and 1 Tbsp of juice. Chill in refrigerator for 30 minutes. Beat cream with a mixer on high until soft peaks form. Gradually add powdered sugar, beating until soft peaks form. Serve cake slices topped with berries and cream.


Tangerine Chiffon Cake

This recipe is adapted from Good Housekeeping


4 Tangerines or 3 large oranges
2 1/4 Cups of cake flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
3/4 Tsp salt
1 1/2 Cup granulated sugar
5 Large eggs (separated)
2 Large egg whites
1/2 Tsp cream of tartar

Tangerine glaze:

2 Tangerines or 1 large orange
1 1/2 Cups of confectioners sugar
1/4 Tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 325 F. Grate 1 Tbsp of zest from tangerines and squeeze 3/4 cup of juice. In a large bowl stir baking powder, flour, salt and 1 cup of sugar. Make a well in the center and add oil, egg yolks, tangerine zest and juice. Whisk into dry ingredients.

In another large bowl, with a mixer on high, beat 7 egg whites with cream of tartar until soft peaks form. Gradually sprinkle in remaining 1/2 cup of granulated sugar a little at a time and beat until whites stand in stiff peaks when the beaters are removed. Use a rubber spatula to gently fold 1/3 of the whites into the egg-yolk mixture to loosen the batter, then fold in the remaining whites.

Pour batter into ungreased 10-inch angel food cake pan. Bake 60 - 65 minutes or until the top springs back when touched gently. Invert cake pan on a metal funnel or bottle; cool thoroughly for an hour or two. With a knife, carefully loosen cake from the pan on both the side and the center. Remove cake from the pan and place on a plate.

Prepare glaze by grating 1 Tsp of zest and 2 and 1/2 Tbsp of juice. In a small bowl stir together confectioners sugar, vanilla, tangerine zest and 2 Tbsp of tangerine juice until smooth. Add remaining juice if necessary to get a nice smooth texture for spreading. Spoon glaze over cooled cake, spreading with a spatula and allow glaze to run down the sides. Let stand until the glaze is set which is about 30 min.


ABT’s Cinnamon and Espresso Chocolate Chip Cookies

This recipe is from ABT and was adapted from Absolutely Chocolate from Fine Cooking

2 Cups unbleached all- purpose flour
1/2 Tsp Baking powder
3/4 Tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 Tsp salt
10 Oz unsalted butter (at room temperature)
3 Tbsp espresso grounds (fine - use grinder or food processor if necessary)
1 Cup confectioners sugar
1/2 Cup confectioner's sugar
1 1/2 Cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/4 Cup of sugar for decoration

Preheat oven to 350 F. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. In a larger bowl, beat the butter and espresso grounds until combined. Add the brown sugar and the confectioner's sugar and beat until combined. Stir in the flour mixture about 1/2 a cup at a time and mix well as you add. Next, add the chocolate chips and mix well.

Put the granulated sugar in a small bowl. Scoop out 1 round Tbsp of dough and and flatten slightly. Dip one side of the dough into the granulated sugar and set sugar side up on an un-greased baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough, spacing the discs about 2 inches apart. Bake until the edges start to darken, 12 - 14 minutes.

Place paper-towels 2 cooling racks. Remove the cookies from the oven and let them cool on the baking sheets for a few minutes before transferring to the cooling racks.

Cinnamon and Espresso Chocolate Chip Cookies

Cinnamon and Espresso Chocolate Chip Cookies

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