Christmas time!

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I know, I know I am delayed on my Christmas post but let’s me honest when am I not behind?! To make up for it, in this blog post I shall give you 2 recipes! For Christmas Eve this year I made my family some classic red velvet cake! I covered the cake in shaved sweetened coconut to make it look like snow and on the top of the cake I outlined a tree pattern with pearl sprinkles. And for Christmas Day we had a cookie buffet, which included hot chocolate cookies, chocolate chip cookies, and snowball cookies.

Red Velvet Cake:

Ingredients-

2 1/2 C. all purpose flour
2 C. sugar
1 T. cocoa
1 t. salt
1 t. baking soda
2 eggs
1 1/2 C. oil
1 C. buttermilk
1 T. vinegar
1 t. vanilla
red food coloring

Directions-

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, grease and flour two 8 inch cake pans.

1. Stir together eggs and remaining liquid ingredients with a whisk until blended. Set aside.

2. Place all the dry ingredients in a bowl and stir with a another whisk.

3. Add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix on medium-high for about a minute or until completely combined.

4. Pour into cake pans and bake for about 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

5. After about ten minutes, remove from pans and cool completely on a wire rack. I also cover in plastic wrap while the cakes cool.

Cream Cheese Frosting:

Ingredients-

8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
6 cups confectioners’ sugar

Directions-

1. Sift sugar and set aside.

2. Beat cream cheese and butter on high until creamy. Add vanilla.

3. Add the sugar in batches. Scrape down the sides in between each addition.

4. FROST THAT CAKE! (and add shaved coconut if you so desire!)

red velvet cake

Hot Chocolate Cookies:

*yields about 15 cookies

In a medium saucepan, melt together:

1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter

12 oz. chopped semisweet chocolate (bars)

Stir frequently over medium heat until smooth. Let cool for 15 minutes.

In a medium bowl, whisk together:

1 1/2 C. flour

1/4 C. unsweetened cocoa powder

1 1/2 t.baking powder

1/4 t. salt

Using an electric mixer, beat together:

1 1/4 C. light brown sugar

3 eggs, at room temperature

1 1/2 t. pure vanilla extract

Beat on low speed until smooth, 2 minutes. Mix in the cooled chocolate mixture just until blended. Add the flour mixture in 2 batches, mixing on low speed until just combined. Refrigerate the dough for at least 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F and line baking sheets with parchment. Form 1 inch balls, flatten slightly, and lay  out 2 inches apart. Bake until the tops of the cookies crack, about 12 minutes.

Snowball Cookies:

*yields about 30 cookies

Ingredients-

1 C. unsalted butter
1/2 C. confectioners’ sugar
1 t. pure vanilla extract
2 1/4 C. all-purpose flour
1/4  C. EACH of chopped pecans, walnuts, and chocolate chips
1/4 t. kosher salt
1/3 C. confectioners’ sugar, sifted – for dusting the cookies.

Directions-

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment.

2. Cream the butter and 1/2 cup of the confectioners’ sugar until smooth and creamy. Add in vanilla extract and mix until combined.

3. Mix in the flour, nuts, chocolate chips and salt until just combined.

4. Roll about 1 tablespoon of dough into balls and place on prepared baking sheet.*won’t spread too much so don’t worry about cookies being too close

5. Bake for about 15 minutes

6. Dust cookies with pre-sifted confectioners’ sugar.

christmas cookies

“Empty?! You took all the cookies!”
“They were crying to get out of the jar… Cookies get claustrophobia too, you know!” – Charles Schulz

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Baking Adventures in Anacortes (Part II)

Here is how this dessert went down, Alexis wanted chocolate (or more specifically brownies) and i wanted peanut butter. That’s a lie, I didn’t just want peanut butter, I was craving it- and I was not about to back down. Anyways through endless google searches we finally found a Peanut butter fudge pretzel brownie. HOLY MOLY! I was ecstatic! We rushed to Safeway to pick up all the ingredients and was even able to find my favorite brand of cocoa powder-Scharffen Berger. Food is cheap so get the good stuff 😉

I found this recipe on how sweet eats. I very much enjoyed reading her blog as her posts are quite witty! I will be sure to try out some of her other recipes in the future!

Peanut Butter Fudge Pretzels

*makes 12 bars

Ingredients:

1/2 C butter

1 1/2 C sugar

2 t. vanilla extract

1 1/4 C all purpose flour

1/4 t. salt

3 T. cocoa powder

2/3 C chocolate chips

1 1/2 C creamy peanut butter (I definitely recommend JIFF)

1/3 C powdered sugar

1 3/4 C crushed pretzels (you can crush pretzels using a food processor)

6 T. butter, melted

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour an 8×8 baking dish and set aside.

2. Combine melted butter and pretzel crumbs in a bowl until moistened. With the back of a spoon, press pretzels into the prepared pan to form a crust.

3. Using a mixer, beat butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, then add vanilla. With the mixer on medium speed, add in cocoa, flour and salt, mixing until combined – about 2 to 3 minutes. Fold in chocolate chips. Using a spatula sprayed with non-stick spray, evenly spread brownies on top of pretzel crust. Set pan on a baking sheet and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until brownies are baked through.

4. When brownies are close to done, melt peanut butter in microwave stirring between each increment. Once melted, stir in 1/3 cup powdered sugar and mix until no lumps remain. Pour over warm brownies and spread evenly. Refrigerate brownies for 1-2 hours, then cut into bars and serve.

*The last step is VERY important… If it happens to be late at night and you’re sitting there with your friend watching Downton Abbey you may want to go ahead and cut yourself a slice of these brownies but don’t! If you do it will just be one big hot chocolately mess!!

“Everyone is kneaded out of the same dough but not baked in the same oven.”