Ricotta Cheese Cookies

Most of us can’t deny that the world is divided these days. And the great divide is over cookies! People are either a soft cookie person, or a crunchy cookie person. If you are soft cookie person, these cookies are for you!

I was going through my collected recipe book and came across this recipe from an old co-worker. I was inspired to make them because they are a soft cookie that reminds me spring and warmer weather. These babies are light and airy, and will stay soft for days after coming out of the oven. The ricotta cheese in these cookies adds moisture and a light texture. If you are looking to include another dimension of flavor, they can be flavored with lemon. These are versatile cookies because the icing and sprinkles can be customized for any event. Now I know what you are thinking-no, they don’t taste like cheese! Give them a try- enjoy!

Ricotta Cheese Cookies

Yields: 4.5 dozen cookies

Ingredients for Cookies:wp-1487012046513.jpg

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 15 oz ricotta cheese
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 cups flour
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Ingredients for Icing:wp-1487011918160.jpg

  • 1  1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • sprinkles to top

Directions:

1.) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl wp-1487011916109.jpgwith electric mixer, beat sugar and butter until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.

2.) Next mix in ricotta cheese, vanilla and eggs until well combined.

3.) On low speed, mix in flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix together just until dough forms.

4.) Drop dough by even spoonfuls (use a cookie scoop!) about 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake about 15 minutes or until cookies are very lightly browned on the top (cookies will still be soft).

5.) Cook on wire racks then frost with icing and sprinkles. To make the icing, combine the milk and powdered sugar in a bowl with a whisk until desired consistency. You can dip each cookie in the icing or drizzle over the top. Add sprinkles of your choice to the tops of each cookie. Allow icing to try completely before storing cookies in an airtight container.

Notes and Tips:wp-1487011916075.jpg

  • You can add citrus juice or rind to the batter for a more traditional ricotta cheese cookie.
  • I found it best to use a cookie scoop to form the cookies. The dough is a bit sticky and the scoop helps to make the cookies all the same size/shape = double whammy! I used a 1 1/2 tablespoon scoop.
  • For the ricotta cheese, you can use a full fat or a reduced fat version to save some calories. But try and stay away from the fat free version- a little fat helps to give great texture to these cookies.
  • You can opt for a thinner icing or thicker frosting to top these cookies. I opted for a thinner icing and dipped the tops of each one into a bowl of glaze, but you can add less milk to the icing for a thicker, frosting-like consistency.
  • Be sure to add your sprinkles to the cookies before the icing dries!
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Thanksgiving 2016

“We tend to forget that happiness doesn’t come as a result of getting something we don’t have, but rather recognizing and appreciating what we do have.”Frederick Keoning

It’s turkey day once again and hopefully you have the opportunity to enjoy the company of your family and friends and get stuffed with yummy food. This Thanksgiving I encourage you to think of a few things in your life that you already have that you are thankful for. It’s easy to get caught up in Black Friday sales and the latest and greatest trends, but take time to reflect and appreciate all you do have. Be sure to share your blessings with family and friends and don’t forget to enjoy a slice of pie, or two. Happy Thanksgiving to all! What are you thankful for today?

Apple Hand Pies

The holidays are quickly approaching which means lots of friends, family and good food. For every holiday gathering, there are the traditional standby dishes that you have each year. This year I would suggest adding in a new fav- these mini, hand-held pies. They are the perfect portion for one person, are less messy than a slice of pie, and they travel and store well.

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Now making crusts has never been my strong suit so I “cheated” and used store bought crust. It speeds up the recipe but if you are a crust master, go for it! Also if apples aren’t your thing, you could use your favorite filling. Enjoy!

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Apple Hand Pies

Makes: 12-14 hand pies

Ingredients for Pies:wp-1479140050830.jpg

  • 1 box of refrigerated pie crust or your favorite recipe for 2 pie crusts
  • 2 cups peeled, cored and diced apples (about 2 large apples)
  • 1/4 teaspoons nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 egg, beaten

Ingredients for Icing:wp-1479079564887.jpg

  • 1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons milk

Directions:

1.) Peel, core and dice apples into small pieces. Combine apples, sugar, flour, cinnamon wp-1479517617613.jpgand nutmeg in a bowl. Set aside apples and preheat oven to 425 degrees.

2.) Roll out pie crust on floured surface. Using a 4 inch, round cookie cutter, cut out circles of pie crust. You will need to combine the dough scraps together and roll them out to get a few more circles.

3.) Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Place one circle of dough on the pan. Place a wp-1479080462485.jpgspoonful of apples in the center of the dough and fold in half. Seal edges together with a fork or fingers. Poke tops of pies with a fork to avoid explosions. Lastly, brush tops of pies with beaten egg.

4.) Bake pies at 425 degrees for 15-20 minutes until lightly browned.

5.) While pies are baking, whisk together milk and powdered sugar in a bowl until glaze is runny.wp-1479079566014.jpg

6.) When pies are done baking, remove from oven and dip each hand pie into the glaze. You can use a spoon to help fully coat each pie in sweet glaze. Place pies on cooling rack or parchment paper to cool for 10 minutes. Pies can be stored loosely covered in wax paper.

Notes and Tips:

  • If you are not a fan of apples, you could fill the pies with cherries, rhubarb, or blueberries. Let you taste buds make the decision!
  • Do not overfill the pies with filling. I was tempted to fill each pie to the brim but it made it hard to seal the edges of the dough.
  • Be sure to seal the edges of the pies well so the insides don’t spill out while they are bakin’.
  • You can cut fun designs out of the pie dough scraps to adorn the tops of the pies. I used small cookie cutters to cut out shapes but you could free hand leaves or other shapes as well.

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Recipe Flops

When I originally had the inspiration to create this blog, I wanted to share delicious recipes with clear instructions and almost foolproof results. There are many recipes out there with poorly written instructions, and videos that make things look like a breeze. I know you all have cooked or baked something for hours only to have it not turn out quite like you had hoped. Of course this can happen from time to time because that is how we hone our craft! A few family and friends have asked me recently why I have not posted on the blog. I definitely have been busy baking in the kitchen but things haven’t turned out as planned. But, hey, there’s always more to bake!

See below for a few of the recent recipe flops. With a little work and some time, you may see these recipes ready for you to try!

Continue reading

Sweets of Norway

I recently returned from a vacation abroad in Norway! The scenery was picturesque in every city and all the seafood was so fresh. Traditionally Norway is not known for gourmet food, however the basic flavors were a refreshing change from the norm.

One of my favorite sweet treats from the trip was “soft ice” that was sold in most ice cream shops and a few tourist areas. The soft serve ice cream could be eaten plain or dipped in one of three flavors: sweetened coco powder, rainbow sprinkles, or strawberry flavoring. I had my first cone rolled in coco powder and I was hooked. I had more of these cones throughout the 8 days in Norway than I care to admit!wp-1470361038226.jpg

Another favorite treat was a simple cake we discovered in a diner- it was a lemon cake with frosting that had the density of pound cake and the light flavor of angel food cake. But was so tasty I had to get a second piece for later. See below for all of the tasty treats of Norway! Enjoy!

 

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 “Formkake Med Sitron” -Lemon Pound Cake with Vanilla Icing  (Oslo, Norway)

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Chai Latte with cinnamon sprinkle (Voss, Norway)

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Norwegian Cronut from the grocery store (cross between doughnut and croissant)

 
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Apple Cake with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream  (Bergen, Norway)

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Strawberry Mousse with White Chocolate Ice Cream, garnished with dried raspberries (Grand Hotel- Oslo, Norway)

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Cream Puff Cake filled with pastry cream and topped with icing (Bergen, Norway)

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Soft Ice with Sweetened Coco Powder (Bergen, Norway)

Banana Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Muffins

Things have been “bananas” lately so I thought it would be fitting to make a treat out of bananas. These banana oatmeal chocolate chip muffins are a perfect addition to any busy morning or for a great snack. The oatmeal adds texture and the chocolate chips add a bit of sweetness. The base of this recipe is my standby banana bread recipe. I enjoy making the banana muffins slightly more than the bread because it’s the same great taste and it takes half the time. Give them a shot- enjoy!

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Banana Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Muffins

Recipe adapted from: Pillsbury

Yields: 18 muffins

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup sugar20160117_155945.jpg
  • 1 cup (2 medium) mashed bananas
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup old fashioned rolled oats (not quick oats)
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions:20160117_160745.jpg

1.) Heat oven to 350 degrees. Place paper muffin liners in the muffin cups.

2.) In a large bowl, cream the sugar and butter until well incorporated. Next mix in the mashed bananas.20160117_161117.jpg

3.) Add the vanilla extract and the 2 eggs and mix well.

4.) Next stir in the flour, baking soda, salt and oats. Lastly fold in the chocolate chips.

5.) Using a cookie scoop or ice cream scoop, fill muffin cups until 2/3 full with batter.20160117_161938.jpg

6.) Bake muffins in 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes (or until toothpick inserted into center of muffins comes out clean). The tops should be lightly browned. Take muffins out of pan and cool on cooling racks. Store in air tight container.

Notes and Tips:

  • Make sure your butter is at room temperature before you start mixing the batter. Softened butter will make for a smooth, creamy batter.
  • Using well-browned (or even black!) bananas will create a strong punch of banana flavor for the muffins.
  • Feel free to omit the chocolate chips and/or add 1/2 cup of your favorite nut.
  • If you are looking to cut a few calories- I’ve made these muffins in the past with 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 cup of Splenda and they turned out just as tasty.
  • These muffins freeze very well and can be defrosted quickly in the AM for breakfast or for drop-in guests. Freeze in zip top bags and defrost muffins for 30 seconds in the microwave.

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Chocolate Mint Kiss Cookies

The holidays are fast approaching and if you are looking for a fun twist on a holiday cookie, you’ve found it! I love anything mint flavored so this is one of my favorites. This cookie packs a punch of both chocolate and mint flavors into one small bite. The recipe makes four dozen cookies which leaves some room for sharing, if you are feeling generous.

These cookies are soft, chocolatey with a fresh hit of mint flavor. If you are not a fan of mint, feel free to leave out the mint extract and they will still be delicious. Give them a try! Enjoy!

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Chocolate Mint Kiss Cookie

Recipe Adapted From: https://www.hersheys.com/recipes/en_US/recipes/4715/kisses-triple-chocolate-blossoms.html

Yields: 4 dozen cookies

Ingredients: 

  • 48 milk chocolate kisses, unwrapped20151220_131802.jpg
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon mint extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup coco powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions: 20151220_150942.jpg

1.) Remove the foil wrappers from chocolate kisses and set aside in a bowl. Heat oven to 350 degrees.

2.) In a large mixing bowl, beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, 20151220_132621.jpgvanilla and mint extract in large bowl until light and fluffy.

3.) Add eggs and milk and beat well.

4.) Stir together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Gradually add to butter mixture, beating until well blended.20151220_150725.jpg

5.) Using a cookie scoop or spoon, shape dough into 1-inch balls. Place on ungreased cookie sheet 2 inches apart.

6.) Bake 10 to 11 minutes at 350 degrees. Once you take the cookies out of the oven, gently press chocolate kiss in center of each cookie. Immediately remove from cookies from sheet and transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Notes and Tips:

  • Feel free to omit the mint extract if you so not like mint.
  • The dough may be a little sticky when you go to put in on the baking sheet so I would suggest using a cookie scoop. I used a 2 teaspoon scoop and it was the perfect size!
  • You can use different flavors of chocolate kisses if you want to mix it up. I’m a fan of the plain milk chocolate but you could also use dark chocolate, chocolate and almond, mint truffle…
  • Before storing the cookies, make sure the chocolate kiss has hardened again or you will end up with chocolate mint smoosh cookies instead of chocolate mint kiss cookies.

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