Tag Archives: white chocolate

Peppermint Bark Cookies

Peppermint Bark CookiesHow have I never put peppermint bark on here? It’s chocolate, it’s peppermint, it’s festive, it’s iconic, and yet it’s never graced this blog. That is, unless you count assembling it on top of a giant sheet of chocolate cookie and then breaking it into a zillion jagged pieces, which I very much do.Peppermint Bark CookiesOoooh y’all, these have been a long time coming. Over the years, I have tested putting peppermint bark on a cookie cake, shortbread bars, potato chips and brownies, none of which have made to on the blog, but these Peppermint Bark Cookies? These are where it’s at. If you make one new cookie recipe this holiday season, let this be it. It’s the best of two worlds (peppermint bark and cookies, duh), surprisingly simple, and so, so good.Peppermint Bark CookiesThe dough comes together in a flash. It’s just my chocolate cut-out cookie recipe, but instead of stamping out cookies with graduated cutters, it’s divided in two and rolled into big rectangles. Each one gets a 15 minute freeze, a 17 minute bake and then has to cool completely before the peppermint barking. <—Sounds weird, keeping it anyway.

The way the recipe is written, these big cookies retain a good amount of softness, but aren’t gooey or underdone at all. Once baked and cooled, you can wrap them in plastic and wait a day or two before assembly, or you can get right to it.Peppermint Bark CookiesPeppermint Bark CookiesThis part—the peppermint bark part—is easy, but I still have a few tips for you.

Use good quality pure white chocolate, like Ghirardelli or even Baker’s. Please don’t use white chocolate chips. Just don’t. Melting white chocolate is always a little finicky, but white chocolate chips? Forget it—too many stabilizers. I’ve outlined a microwave method for melting white chocolate in the recipe; it’s easy, but involves a few stops and starts and adding more chopped white chocolate at a certain interval. You may be wondering if any of that matters and if you can’t just chuck it all together and call it a day. And yeah, you can, but your white chocolate will never be as smooth and spreadable as what you see here. Heat and time, y’all. They’re important.

After your white chocolate is melted, add 1/2 teaspoon of peppermint extract. This will make your white chocolate seize slightly for a few seconds, but just keep whisking and it will smooth out. Could you skip the extract? Sure. But that extra hint of peppermint is wonderful.Peppermint Bark CookiesAnd speaking of peppermint, I like to use starlight peppermints in my Christmas baking. Some bakers prefer candy canes, but peppermints are cheaper ($1!) and look the exact same as candy canes when all bashed up. Oh, and unpopular opinion? They taste better than your average candy cane. Fight me.Peppermint Bark CookiesPeppermint Bark CookiesTo make the peppermint bark, spread the melted white chocolate all over the big chocolate cookies and scatter on the bashed peppermints. Then give your cookies a 20 minute freeze to set the bark. You can also let it set at room temperature, but it will take a couple of hours and that seems like a lot when cookies can be had so much sooner.Peppermint Bark CookiesThe last step in this process is the most fun: breaking the big cookies into shards! Just like with traditional peppermint bark, make the pieces as big or small as you like. Try to let go of the outcome—the charm here is that each piece is different. If you need uniformity with your Peppermint Bark Cookies, you can obviously slice the big rectangles into squares.Peppermint Bark CookiesAfter that, it’s time to treat yourself! These cookies have it all: a soft chocolate base, a layer of smooth, snappy, peppermint-spiked white chocolate, a smattering of candy, and a whole lot of holiday cheer. They’re so delicious that you could easily hoard the whole batch to yourself, but I think they’d be amazing packed up in tins and gifted. And speaking of food gifting, that’s what we’re talking about on Friday. See you then!Peppermint Bark Cookies

Peppermint Bark Cookies
makes lots

Chocolate Cookie Base:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (natural or Dutch process)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 large egg, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

For peppermint bark:
40 starlight peppermints
16 ounces pure white chocolate (not white chocolate chips)
1/2 teaspoon pure peppermint extract (not mint extract)

Special Equipment:
rolling pin
2 12×16-inch sheets parchment
2 quarter sheet pans or jelly roll pans
small hammer/meat tenderizer/heavy object

Place oven racks in central positions. Preheat oven to 350F.

Make chocolate cookie base. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In a separate large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to beat butter until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Mix in granulated and light brown sugars, followed by the egg and vanilla extract. Add dry ingredients in 3 installments, combining completely after each. Use your hands to knead dough into a mass, then divide it in two.

Lightly flour your rolling pin. Place one half of the dough on a sheet of parchment. Gently pat it into a rectangle shape before rolling it out to an 8×12-inch rectangle. You may need to slice off edges and patchwork your corners together—this is fine. Transfer dough (on parchment) to one rimmed sheet pan. Freeze 15 minutes. Repeat with remaining half of dough.

Bake frozen dough rectangles 17-18 minutes, until puffed and no longer raw looking. Watch the edges to make sure they don’t burn. Let cool completely on their pans on racks.

Prepare the peppermint bark. Place starlight mints in a ziptop bag and seal. Place bag on a cutting board, or other surface that can take some light bashing. Use a small hammer or other heavy object to smash peppermints into small pieces (follow your preference). Set aside.

Chop 12 ounces of the white chocolate and place in a medium microwave-safe bowl. Microwave in 30 second increments, stirring between, until melted (this takes 60 seconds in my microwave). Chop remaining 4 ounces of white chocolate and add to melted white chocolate. Microwave in 15 second increments, stirring between, until melted (this takes about 30 seconds in my microwave).

Add peppermint extract to white chocolate and stir until smooth. White chocolate may appear to seize at first, but just keep stirring and it will smooth out.

Divide white chocolate mixture onto the two rectangles and use the back of a spoon or offset knife to spread it to the edges, leaving a narrow border if desired. Sprinkle crushed peppermints over the top. Freeze cookies for 20 minutes to set white chocolate.

Remove cookies from freezer and let thaw a few minutes before breaking into pieces. Serve.

Leftovers will keep in an airtight container for a few days. Peppermints may degrade over time.Peppermint Bark CookiesPeppermint Bark Cookies

Brown Butter White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies

Brown Butter White Chocolate Macadamia Nut CookiesA few years ago, I put out a call for holiday cookie ideas and got a list ten miles long out of the deal. I have slowly worked my way through it for the last several Christmases and am getting close to the end now…and what’s down there? Oh! It’s white chocolate macadamia nut cookies.Brown Butter White Chocolate Macadamia Nut CookiesYou might be thinking “are white chocolate macadamia nut cookies a holiday cookie?” To that I say…sure, why not?! If someone puts them out at the holidays, I think they’re a holiday cookie. Just because a recipe doesn’t match our own personal experience and nostalgia doesn’t mean it doesn’t align with someone else’s.

To that end, most of my personal experience with white chocolate macadamia nut cookies has not been holiday-related, but instead in shopping mall food courts and some Otis Spunkmeyer set-ups that my school’s PTO had. That said, I firmly believe than any cookie can be a holiday cookie with a little belief (Christmas spirit?), some brown butter, and maybe a decorative plate, if you’re a little more organized than I am.Brown Butter White Chocolate Macadamia Nut CookiesSo, here we are with my second holiday cookie of the season: Brown Butter White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies. Yes, that name is seven words long but it is #worthit—brown butter takes this chewy, nutty classic cookie recipe from good to WOW! Like, why have we not been doing this all along?Brown Butter White Chocolate Macadamia Nut CookiesBrown Butter White Chocolate Macadamia Nut CookiesThe cookie dough is straightforward and doesn’t require a mixer or anything fancy. I’ve made these with both white chocolate chips (about a cup) and chopped white chocolate, and prefer the chopped stuff every time. It has more cocoa butter, fewer stabilizers, and it just tastes better, period. As for the macadamia nuts, you can use roasted-salted or raw. I love control and have access to raw macadamias through Sahadi’s, so those are what I used here. If you are using roasted-salted, just skip the roasting step and reduce the salt to 1/2 teaspoon (unless you like very salty cookies). As with most of my cookie doughs, this one requires a chill, but it’s pretty short. Once your dough has rested, just scoop/roll/bake/cool/eat eat eat.Brown Butter White Chocolate Macadamia Nut CookiesAnd maybe, just maybe, share a few and spread a little holiday cheer.Brown Butter White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies

Brown Butter White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies
makes about 2.5 dozen cookies

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 cup macadamia nuts (I used raw)
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
6 ounces white chocolate, chopped (I used Ghirardelli)

If using roasted salted macadamia nuts, skip the first step. Chop them before beginning the recipe at “Brown the butter.” Also reduce the salt to 1/2 teaspoon.

Preheat oven to 350F. Scatter pecan halves on a dry rimmed baking sheet and roast 5-7 minutes, or until fragrant. Do not burn. Let cool completely and give them a rough chop.

Brown the butter. Place butter in a light-colored saucepan over medium heat. Let butter melt. Butter will bubble and crackle as the water content evaporates. Swirl the pan frequently for 5-7 minutes, keeping an eye on the color. When the solids are turning brown and the butter is nutty and fragrant, remove the pot from the heat and immediately pour the brown butter into a large mixing bowl and let cool 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk together flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a medium mixing bowl. Set aside.

Retrieve the large mixing bowl full with the brown butter. Whisk in light brown and granulated sugars. Mix in eggs one at a time, followed by vanilla. Add dry ingredients in two installments, mixing until combined. Use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to fold in white chocolate, followed by chopped macadamia nuts. Cover dough with plastic wrap and chill for at least 90 minutes, or up to 3 days.

Place oven racks in the central positions. Preheat oven to 350F. Line two baking sheets with parchment. Set aside.

Scoop chilled dough in 2 tablespoon increments, and roll into balls. Place dough balls at least two inches apart on prepared baking sheets. Bake cookies 9-10 minutes, until puffy. Let cool on baking sheets for five minutes before removing to a rack to cool completely. Repeat process with any remaining dough, letting the baking sheets come back to room temperature between batches.

Cookies will keep well in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.

Brown Butter White Chocolate Macadamia Nut CookiesBrown Butter White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies

Super Sprinkle Popcorn

Super Sprinkle PopcornIn trying to work with the baking supplies I’ve already got during this pandemic, I’ve uncovered a hoard of rainbow sprinkles that I bought at Sahadi’s in January. I don’t know what I was doomsday prepping for back then, but it involved four containers each of jimmies and nonpareils. Good thing they don’t go bad, and that they go in (or on) pretty much everything. I’ve put them in cookies, truffles, blondies, doughnuts, layer cake, and crumb cake, just to name a few. Today, they’re being scattered alllll over some popcorn!Super Sprinkle PopcornYes, this Super Sprinkle Popcorn is loaded with rainbow sprinkles—absolute heaven for a sprinkle enthusiast like myself. The popcorn is popped in oil (you can also use the plain microwave stuff), then tossed with melted white chocolate, sprinkles, and Funfetti crumbs.Super Sprinkle PopcornYeah, Funfetti crumbs. Like crispy, crunchy pieces of Funfetti cookie that are the size and texture of what you’d find on top of a crumb cake, which is exactly what these are. I’ve simply taken the crumb topping from my Double Funfetti Crumb Cake and baked it on a sheet pan, let it cool, and crumbled it into a big bowl of popcorn.

Lest you think I am more creative than I actually am, these crumbs are a riff on Christina Tosi’s confetti crumbs. Mine have fewer ingredients and require melted butter instead of softened, but still bake up perfectly and are hard to stop eating once you start!Super Sprinkle PopcornSuper Sprinkle PopcornAll that said, if you don’t have the ingredients for the crumbs, this popcorn can be made without them and still be sweet, sprinkly and colorful. You can also toss in a couple of cups of broken Oreos (regular, Golden or Birthday Cake!), vanilla wafers, graham crackers, or any other crispy addition you can think up.Super Sprinkle PopcornSuper Sprinkle PopcornThis popcorn is so delicious! If you are a texture person, you’re in for a treat. Light, airy popcorn, crispy crumbs, creamy white chocolate coating and crunchy sprinkles make for texture heaven! No two bites are the same; you might get equal parts popcorn and crumb, big crumbs, little crumbs, or a big cluster of sprinkles. It’s all part of the fun!Super Sprinkle PopcornSuper Sprinkle Popcorn is the perfect treat to have for a movie or game night, for spending some time outside, or as an alternative to a traditional celebration cake. Or, you know, just another thing to spend time making and sharing during this quarantine weekend.Super Sprinkle Popcorn

Super Sprinkle Popcorn
makes about 8 cups

To clarify, jimmies are the long, cylindrical sprinkles. Nonpareils are the tiny ball-shaped sprinkles. For more information, click here.

For the Funfetti Crumbs:
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 tablespoons rainbow sprinkles (jimmies, not nonpareils)
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly

Popcorn:
1 tablespoon coconut oil (or canola oil)
1/4 cup popcorn kernels

Coating:
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 teaspoon coconut oil (or canola oil)

For finishing:
3/4 cup Funfetti Crumbs
2 tablespoons rainbow sprinkles (jimmies and/or nonpareils)

Preheat oven to 300F.

Make the crumb topping. In a small mixing bowl, use a fork to whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Whisk in rainbow sprinkles. Add vanilla and melted butter and stir until dry ingredients are saturated and clumps form. Scatter mixture over a dry rimmed baking sheet and bake 20 minutes. It will be puffy and clumpy and soft, but will crisp as it cools. Once cool, crumble into pieces. Reserve 3/4 cup of the crumbs for finishing, and set the rest aside.

Make the popcorn. Put oil in a large heavy-bottomed pot. Add 4-5 popcorn kernels. Heat over medium heat until kernels begin to pop. Add remaining kernels and cover with lid, leaving it a little bit ajar. Jostle constantly while popcorn pops, until pops are 2-3 seconds apart. Do not burn.

Remove pot from heat and pour popcorn into a bowl. Measure popcorn to ensure there are about 6 cups. Discard unpopped kernels. Place popcorn in a medium-large mixing bowl.

Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment. Set aside.

Make the coating. Fill a small pot with 1-2 inches of water. Set a heatproof bowl over the top, ensuring that the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl. Remove bowl and bring water to a simmer.

Place white chocolate chips and oil in the bowl. Turn simmering water to low. Place the filled bowl over the water. Use a dry whisk or fork to stir constantly until the mixture is melted and smooth. Remove from heat.

Pour coating over popcorn and toss with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon. Add Funfetti crumbs (not the reserved ones) and toss. Spoon/pour/spread mixture on parchment-lined baking sheet. Scatter with reserved Funfetti crumbs and rainbow sprinkles.

To expedite hardening the coating, put the pan in the refrigerator for 15 minutes. Break popcorn into pieces and serve.

Leftovers will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for 3-4 days.
Super Sprinkle PopcornSuper Sprinkle PopcornSuper Sprinkle Popcorn

White Chocolate Pecan Cookies

White Chocolate Pecan CookiesSince we last spoke, things have only gotten weirder. What is happening? I mean, I know what’s happening, but…what. is. happening?

Well, a lot. And also very little. Like everything outside and on TV is bananas, but everything inside and away from the news is super chill. I’ve never been much for FaceTime or putting my face on video, but I’m doing more of both of those things because social distancing. I am doing less and less going outside—my kitchen is stocked and I have all my essential medications. I hope you do, too.White Chocolate Pecan CookiesOne thing that hasn’t changed at all? I’m still baking. Sure, there’s a part of me that just wants to quit everything and pout, but I think that would get boring quickly. Also, I’d run out of cookies.White Chocolate Pecan CookiesAnd speaking of cookies, I am in love with these White Chocolate Pecan beauties. They’re thick and chewy and stay that way for a whole week! Yes, a whole week! That simply doesn’t happen with most cookies.White Chocolate Pecan CookiesThis is not a flavor combination I would have thought of myself. I was clued in when a friend’s fiancé mentioned that they loved their grocery store’s white chocolate pecan cookies but didn’t love the ingredient list, and could I make them with less-questionable ingredients, please???

Yes. Yes, I could. And I did. And now, you can too.White Chocolate Pecan CookiesToasty pecans and sweet, creamy white chocolate chips are a match made in heaven, especially when folded into a buttery sugar cookie base. These cookies are rich, but not heavy, and I know from a lot of personal experience that it’s difficult to only eat one.White Chocolate Pecan CookiesI recognize that not everyone has white chocolate chips and/or pecans at home right now (this recipe is not a reason for “essential travel” to the grocery store!), so feel free to put whatever mix-ins you like in the sugar cookie base, up to 2 cups. When things get to some point of normalcy though, get yourself some bags of both and prepare to meet (and eat) the cookie combo you didn’t know you needed!

Also, if you don’t have both granulated and brown sugars, you can use all of one or the other. Oh, and should you not have baking powder, swap all the leaveners for 3/4 teaspoon baking soda. Your cookies will likely be a little darker and flatter, but they will still be cookies.White Chocolate Pecan CookiesStay safe, y’all! I’ll be back Friday with a list of things to make while you’re cooped up ❤ White Chocolate Pecan Cookies

White Chocolate Pecan Cookies
makes about 2.5 dozen cookies

1 cup pecan halves
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup white chocolate chips + more for topping

Preheat oven to 350F. Scatter pecan halves on a dry rimmed baking sheet and roast 5-7 minutes, or until fragrant. Do not burn. Let cool completely and chop finely.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to cream butter until fluffy and lighter in color. Beat in granulated and light brown sugars. Mix in eggs one at a time, followed by vanilla. Add dry ingredients in two installments, beating until combined. Use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to fold in white chocolate chips, followed by pecans. Cover dough with plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours, or up to 3 days.

Preheat oven to 350F. Line two baking sheets with parchment. Set aside.

Scoop chilled dough in 2 tablespoon increments, and roll into balls. Place dough balls at least two inches apart on prepared baking sheets. Bake cookies 10-11 minutes, until puffy. Let cool on baking sheets for five minutes before removing to a rack to cool completely. Repeat process with any remaining dough, letting the baking sheets come back to room temperature between batches.

Cookies will keep extremely well in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.White Chocolate Pecan CookiesWhite Chocolate Pecan CookiesWhite Chocolate Pecan Cookies

Vanilla Malt Magic Bars

Vanilla Malt Magic BarsI must have a thing for sweetened condensed milk right now—this is the third post in a row that requires cracking open a can of the good stuff.Vanilla Malt Magic BarsCan you blame me? It’s just so versatile! If you want something to be smooth, creamy, or structurally sound without a million ingredients, sweetened condensed milk is probably the ingredient you want. See exhibits A, B, and C. And these brownies. And these cookie bars. Oh, and this no-churn ice cream. This one, too.

I told you, I’m a little obsessed.Vanilla Malt Magic BarsVanilla Malt Magic BarsVanilla Malt Magic BarsSweetened Condensed Milk is probably most popular as the key ingredient in Magic Bars (aka 7 Layer Bars, aka Hello Dollies). In those, it acts as a soft, chewy filling and a vehicle for various chocolate chips, nuts, and coconut. I don’t currently have a recipe for traditional Magic Bars—rest assured, you can find a million of them online—but I have taken the basic formula and put it on a blondie and made two chocolate variations, including Chocolate Malt Magic Bars! Today, I’m taking that recipe and giving it a vanilla malt makeover 😍 Vanilla Malt Magic BarsThat’s right—Vanilla Malt Magic Bars, y’all! They’re soft and chewy with a big vanilla malt flavor and a buttery cookie crumb crust. The filling is studded with white chocolate chips and broken pieces of Golden Oreo, and the tops are ever so slightly crackly thanks to the way sweetened condensed milk caramelizes in the oven.Vanilla Malt Magic BarsThese bars require just seven ingredients and come together quickly and easily…again, because sweetened condensed milk makes things a snap.Vanilla Malt Magic BarsOh, and they stay soft and delicious for days on end because…well, you know.Vanilla Malt Magic Bars

Vanilla Malt Magic Bars
makes 1 8- or 9-inch pan, about 12-16 bars

30 vanilla sandwich cookies (like Golden Oreos), divided
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, divided
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2/3 cup malted milk powder
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
1/2 cup white chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350F. Heavily grease a 9-inch square pan and line with parchment paper, leaving overhang on two sides. Grease again. Set aside.

Place 24 vanilla sandwich cookies the bowl of a food processor and process until pulverized. Add 5 tablespoons of melted butter. Pulse until combined. Transfer mixture to the prepared pan. Press into an even layer. Bake for five minutes, until set. Set crust aside to cool while you prepare the filling.

In a small mixing bowl, whisk together sweetened condensed milk, 1 tablespoon melted butter, and vanilla. Whisk in malted milk powder and salt. Mixture will be thick and slightly grainy.

Drizzle sweetened condensed milk mixture over crust. Use a silicone spatula or the back of a spoon to carefully spread into an even layer.

Break remaining 6 vanilla sandwich cookies into pieces and scatter over sweetened condensed milk mixture, followed by white chocolate chips. Bake for 30-32 minutes, tenting pan with foil at the 10 minute mark. Bars are done when the center jiggles just slightly when the pan is jostled.

Let bars cool completely in the pan on a rack. Use overhang to remove bars from the pan to a cutting board. Peel off foil. Slice with a lightly-greased knife and serve.

Leftovers will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days, or in the refrigerator for up to a week.Vanilla Malt Magic BarsVanilla Malt Magic BarsVanilla Malt Magic Bars