Tag Archives: desserts

Baking, Bonding and Getting Ready For The Holidays + GIVEAWAY

1 Nov

This is my favorite time of year.  With the Holidays quickly approaching and the weather getting colder, baking is one of our favorite after-school activities.  We bake for friends, family, parties, and Holiday gatherings.  I always include my girls in our baking activities because it’s a great way to bond, talk about the day, and it’s a wonderful learning experience.  They learn which ingredients go into mixtures.  My oldest is learning to read, so she works on reading the recipe and helps find ingredients while we are shopping. 20141101-084017-31217875.jpg 20141101-084020-31220728.jpg We recently spent a few afternoons making the most delicious Jam-Filled Sandwich Cookies from Dorie Greenspan’s new cookbook, Baking Chez Moi (recipe and giveaway at end of post). When baking with kids, it always takes a little longer (or double the estimated time).  To start our baking adventure, we were lucky to work Driscoll’s and made home-made Rasperry Jam which was absolutely delicious. We used Driscoll’s rasperries and this recipe.  It was such a fun activity, especially since it was a rainy day, and it makes enough to give as a gift or use for breakfast or lunch.  It takes a while so I recommend making it a day or two before you plan to make the cookies. Jam 20141101-084016-31216029.jpg Next, up was making the cookie dough.  Before you start keep in mind the dough needs to be refrigerated so if you don’t have enough time to do it all in one day, you can place it in an air tight container and finish the next day.  We ran into that problem but it worked.  We started putting all the ingredients together to make the dough.  My daughter couldn’t believe that we didn’t need eggs.  After the dough was ready, I had my girls pick a few cookie cutters. Dorie uses a 2-inch round cutter but since it was the Holidays my girls wanted to add a twist and make a few other types of cookies.  We tried to find cutters that would be easy to fill and pinch together to keep the jam from spilling out the sandwich. The dough can crack easily.  Use a little water and push it back together. After the cookies were finished, we added decorations (because my girls love to decorate after baking) and colored sugar sprinkles instead of regular sugar. DSC_0041 jamcookie Here’s what we made: DSC_0221 Halloween Ghosts & Pumpkins DSC_0233 20141101-084014-31214180.jpg DSC_0229 Hearts DSC_0235 DSC_0236 DSC_0239 Frozen Lovers or Winter Wonderland DSC_0252 We shared our cookies with friends and left some for dad when he came home.  Everyone thought the cookies were “amazingly delicious”.  We can’t wait to bring some to Thanksgiving.  We are also excited to bake more of Dorie’s desserts this Holiday season. GIVEAWAY:  One lucky reader will have the opportunity to win a copy of Dorie Greenspan’s new cookbook, Baking Chez Moi and $15 in Driscoll’s Coupons.  Enter HERE for your chance to win!  Good luck and happy baking!

Thank you to everyone for following and entering, I hope you have a happy Holiday season!

Picture 2

Dorrie Greenspan’s Jam-Filled Sandwhiches (Makes about 12 sandwich cookies. Ingredients:

  • 1/2 Cup (60 grams) Confectioners’ Sugar
  • 1 stick (8 tablespoons; 4 oz; 113 grams) unsalted butter, cut into chunks at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 cup (136 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup (43 grams) cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • About 3/4 cup (240 grams) jam, for filling
  • Sugar, for sprinkling
  • Confectioners’ sugar for dusting (optional)

Directions: Position a large strainer over the bowl of your stand mixer, or over a large bowl if you are going to use a hand mixer, and shake the confectioners’ sugar through it.  Drop the pieces of butter into the bowl, add the sugar and beat at low speed with the paddle attachment or hand mixer, until smooth. Put the strainer over the bowl again, add the flour, cornstarch, baking powder and salt, stir them around to combine and shake them onto the butter mixture.  Pulse the mixer a few times, so you don’t have flying flour, then beat on low speed until the dough comes together.  You’ll hit a stage where the dough is crumbly, mix on.  In another minute or so, the dough will come together and just about clean the sides of the bowl, your signal to stop mixing. Turn the dough onto the counter and divide it in half.  Shape each half into a disk, kneading the dough gently if necessary to pull it together and shape it. Put one piece of dough between two sheets of parchment or wax paper and roll it to a thickness of about an 1/8 inch.  Don’t worry about the shape of the dough. Slide the papaer-sandwiched dough onto a cutting board or baking sheet.  Repeat with the second piece of dough (you can stack the pieces).  Refigerate the dough for at lease two hours.  (Wrapped well, the dough can be refrigerated for up to two days or frozen for up to two months.  Defrost frozen dough for 5-10 minutes before cutting.) WHEN YOU’RE READY TO BAKE: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Line two baking sheers with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Pull one piece of dough from the refrigerator and cut out the cookies.  (Leave the bottom piece of paper in place so that if the dough gets soft and needs a quick chill, you can easily trasport it.) Use a 2-inch round cutter, but you can cut these a little larger, if you’d like (of course the yield will be less).  Dorrie doesn’t advise using smaller than 2-inches because they’ll be too difficult to fill.  Place the cookies on the baking sheet, an inch or so apart, and refrigerate while you cut the second piece of dough (reserve scraps).  Put the second set of cookies on the other baking sheet; refrigerate. Gather the scraps from both pieces of doug, press them together and roll the dough until it’s an 1/8 inch thick, then chill until firm enough to cut and make more cookies. Spoon a little jam onto the center half of the chilled rounds- 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon is sufficient for a 2-inch cookie.  Dip your finger into a bowl of water and, one at a time, lightly moisten the edges of each round, top with an uncovered round and press gently to seal.  Sprinkle tops with sugar. Bake for 15-17 minutes, rotating the pan at the midway point, or until the cookies are golden brown on the bottom and colored only around the edges.  The tops may crack, and thats fine.  Carefully transfer them to a cooling rack and let them cool to room temperature. Bake the second sheet of cookies, then cut and bake the remaining dough, making sure the baking sheet is cool. Dust with confectioners’ sugar, if you’d like, right before serving. Disclaimer: I received a copy of Baking Chez Moi and coupons and a gift card to Whole Foods for ingredients.  All opinions expressed are my own.  The recipe is from Dorie Greenspan’s book Baking Chez Moi.  Thank you to Driscoll’s Berries for introducing us to this amazing recipe.  We can’t wait to try more!

Advertisements

Harvard Sweet Boutique: Tasty Treats for the Holiday Season!

18 Dec
Picture 52

Image from Harvard Sweet Boutique

The Holidays are a busy time of year.  There are so many gatherings, I never know what to bring. I recently discovered Harvard Sweet Boutique, an online gourmet baking company based out of Harvard, MA.  Baked goods are made-to-order, baked in small batches, and baked from scratch using all natural ingredients.  They are then beautifully packaged in a unique gift box!

DSC_0724

Build Your Own Gift at Harvard Sweet Boutique for a friend, a grandparent, a teacher, a co-worker, an employee, or the host/hostess at your next Holiday or New Years Eve gathering!  Choose between cookies, brownies, toffee, truffles and other Harvard Sweets flavors and treats! Try one flavor or combine a little of everything! Gluten-Free and Low-Carb options are available to meet your dietary needs, however, all products are made in a facility with NUTS so are not recommend for anyone with NUT allergies.

I received a sample of gluten-free treats I shared with friends!  They were DELICIOUS.  The box featured a sample of a chocolate toffee cookie, a chocolate dipped peanut butter chocolate chip cookie, a double chocolate chip cookie, a mint brownie, a vanilla sea salt caramel brownie and milk chocolate almond toffee.  Each treat was individually packaged inside the gift box.  Have one to satisfy your sweet tooth or display them all at once for guests to enjoy.  I cut up the samples so everyone could try a little of everything.  The only one missing was the double chocolate chip because my husband had snuck into the box before I got to it!  All of the desserts were very tasty and rich in flavor. The favorite among the group was the Mint Brownie.

20131218-091252.jpg

DSC_0727

In addition to being a great Holiday gift, Harvard Sweet Boutique is perfect for any occasion!  Use their boxes and treats as centerpieces for a baby shower, a bridal shower, a wedding, or a birthday party!  Favor boxes are also avaiable!

harvardsweets

Images from Harvard Sweet Boutique

For more information visit www.HarvardSweetBoutique.com, facebook, or follow on twitter!

Disclaimer:  I did not receive compensation for this post.  All opinions expressed are my own.  Information in italics is from Harvard Sweet Boutique!  I received a sample for review.