Tag Archives: white chocolate

Red Velvet Blondies

Red Velvet Blondies​

When someone asks my favorite holiday, I usually say something expected like Christmas or Thanksgiving, but honestly? It’s Oscar Night. It’s always been Oscar Night. Lucky for me, it’s this weekend.

Half of you are probably clicking away or rolling your eyes (or both), but hear me out. People like what they like, and no matter how ABC or the Academy try to screw them up, I like the Oscars. I like the dresses, the pageantry, and the movies, and I especially like that I can’t remember ever missing a ceremony.

Red Velvet Blondies​

One of my absolute best friends and I are bonded over our love of Oscar, spending the entire calendar year discussing how things may or may not go, and then watching every film in every category before the big night (at the time of publishing, I have exactly three left). Technology has many drawbacks, but one of the great things it’s done for us is connecting with a whole community of people who are just as into awards season as we are—it’s the best.

While with other holidays there are prescribed ways to celebrate, Oscar Night is more of a “choose your own adventure” sort of occasion. You have to watch the show, of course, but any other traditions are completely up to you. Some have parties, some order Chinese food, some have no rituals and allow chaos to reign supreme. I stay home all day if possible, watch all the red carpet coverage, finalize my predictions, and make a Pesto-Mozzarella Grilled Cheese. Oh, and there has to be a red velvet dessert—red like the red carpet, obviously.

Red Velvet Blondies​

Last year’s offering was a Vegan, Gluten-Free Red Velvet Sheet Cake, but I’ve also done the traditional layer cake, a cookie cake, thumbprints, sandwich cookies, and cut-out cookies shaped like Oscars. This year, I’m going very simple—I’m taking an old recipe out of my archives and simplifying it just a tiny bit. Yep, you’ve seen these Red Velvet Blondies before, but they were covered in cheesecake! Today they’re just by their lonesome (+ white chocolate chips), but no less delicious. The first time I made these was for my 27th birthday picnic, and I’m turning 37 this year, so you know this recipe is tried and true!

Red Velvet Blondies​

Red Velvet Blondies come together in under an hour and don’t require a mixer. They absolutely hit all the red velvet marks, too. Aside from being a vibrant red, these bars are perfectly chewy, have the vanilla-chocolate flavor we know and love, and are stuffed to the gills with white chocolate chips! And yeah, I know Red Velvet Blondies with white chocolate chips don’t hit quite the same notes as Red Velvet Cake with cream cheese frosting, but they’re also less than half the work of a layer cake. As far as I’m concerned , that’s always a hit.

Red Velvet Blondies​
Red Velvet Blondies
makes one 8- or 9-inch pan, about 16 blondies

3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch process)
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg + 1 large egg yolk, room temperature
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons liquid red food coloring (or 1/4-1/2 teaspoon gel)
1 1/4 cup white chocolate chips + more for decorating

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 8- or 9-inch square pan. Line with parchment, leaving overhang on two sides for removal. Grease again. Set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, and salt. Set aside. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together melted butter and sugar. Whisk in egg and yolk, followed by white vinegar, vanilla, and food coloring. Use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to stir in flour mixture. Fold in white chocolate chips.

Spread batter into prepared pan. Bake 25-28 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with only a few moist crumbs (no wet batter). If desired, dot the top with more white chocolate chips while bars are still warm.

Allow bars to cool in the pan on a rack until they reach room temperature. Use parchment overhang to lift the bars onto a cutting board. Discard parchment. Use a large, sharp chef's knife to slice them into bars. Serve.

Red Velvet Blondies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to five days.

Cookies & Cream Cookies

Cookies & Cream Cookies

Oreo turned 110 last week, but that’s not the reason I made these Cookies & Cream Cookies.

Cookies & Cream Cookies

No, I made them just because I like cookies & cream, and because I do my best to never be too far from a family size pack of Oreos. I’m not in the business of telling people how to live their lives, but I do endorse that as a lifestyle choice.

If you’re thinking “but why did you put Oreos in cookies when they are already cookies themselves?” Well, that is also a lifestyle choice that I endorse. Cookies in cookies is the kind of energy that I’m bringing in 2022.

Cookies & Cream Cookies

Cookies & Cream Cookies are so good, with irregular chunks of Oreo and white chocolate chips folded into my favorite soft sugar cookie dough. They bake up tall and thick, with tender centers and golden undersides. While the Oreos in these cookies won’t retain their crispness, their flavor and magnificent dark color are all over the place—they meld in here perfectly.

Cookies & Cream Cookies

If you’d like a crisper cookies & cream treat, check out these fabulous blondies. Or better yet, make time for the cookies and the blondies. Now that is my kind of lifestyle choice.

Cookies & Cream Cookies
Cookies & Cream Cookies 
makes about 2.5 dozen cookies

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
16 Oreos (regular or DoubleStuf), cut into quarters
1/2 cup white chocolate chips + more for topping

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 chopped Oreos, followed by 1/2 cup white chocolate chips. Cover dough with plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours, or up to 3 days.

If chilled longer than a few hours, let dough sit at room temperature for 15-30 minutes for easier scooping.

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. Once out of the oven, dot the tops with additional white chocolate chips, if desired.

Let cookies 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.

Brown Butter White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Blondies

Aaaaand we’re back! And by “we” I mean “me”…and these Brown Butter White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Blondies.

Brown Butter White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Blondies​

Are these a traditional Christmas treat? Probably not. But after learning that some people consider white chocolate macadamia nut cookies a Christmas staple, I perfected my recipe last year. I turned up the flavor by browning the butter, toasting the macadamia nuts (and leaving them in big pieces), and using pure white chocolate instead of white chocolate chips. They’re incredible, if I do say so myself. Which I do. Obviously.

Brown Butter White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Blondies​

I didn’t try to top that recipe this year, but I’ve simplified it by making it into blondies, and that’s basically the same thing. There’s no tedious chilling, rolling, and batch-baking—just mix the batter, spread it into a pan, bake, cool, and slice into thick, chewy squares. Easy peasy.

Brown Butter White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Blondies​

Serve them on your best thrifted Christmas Spode plates and definitely eat one too many.

Brown Butter White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Blondies​

The most wonderful time of the year, indeed.

Brown Butter White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Blondies​
Brown Butter White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Blondies
makes one 8- or 9-inch square pan, about 16 blondies

3/4 cup macadamia nuts (I used raw)
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
2/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg + 1 large egg yolk, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
3 ounces white chocolate, chopped (I used Ghirardelli)
flaky salt, for garnish (optional)

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 macadamia nuts 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.

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease an 8- or 9-inch square pan and line with parchment, leaving overhang for bar-removal. Set aside while you make the blondie batter.

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 medium-large mixing bowl.

Whisk light brown sugar and granulated sugar into the brown butter. Mix in egg, egg yolk, and vanilla, followed by flour and salt. Fold in chopped macadamia nuts and white chocolate. Batter will be thick.

Spread the blondie batter in prepared pan. Bake 25-30 minutes, or until the top is golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean (no raw batter). Sprinkle blondies with coarse salt, if desired. Let blondies cool completely in the pan on a rack.

Run a small, thin knife around the edge of the pan, then use parchment to lift them onto a cutting board. Slice with a large, sharp chef’s knife, wiping the blade clean between cuts. Serve.

Blondies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days.

White Chocolate Candy Corn Cookies

Look away, candy corn haters! This recipe isn’t for you!

White Chocolate Candy Corn Cookies

Nope, these White Chocolate Candy Corn Cookies are for me, a person with questionable taste in television and Halloween candy. Are you also a person with these interests? Hi, hello, let’s be friends. Would you like a cookie?

White Chocolate Candy Corn Cookies

These are so simple to make. The base is a drop sugar cookie dough that I’ve used on here several times that bakes up chewy and perfect every time. But let’s be real, these cookies are all about the mix-ins. The white chocolate chips stay intact, but the candy corn melts into festive little puddles that retain their chew but are devoid of chalkiness. They’re so good!

Before you start mixing up dough, you should know a couple of things:

  • You need to roll your dough into balls before you chill it. Is this the opposite of literally every cookie recipe I’ve ever posted? Yep. But it’s necessary if you want to keep your candy corn intact, which I very much do, not only for the bigger pockets of melted candy but also because…
  • Any candy corn that’s on the bottom of the dough balls will burn after several minutes of contact with the pan. This means you want to make sure that the bottoms of all your dough balls are just dough (and maybe some white chocolate). The cookies will spread as they bake, causing some candy corn to inevitably meet the pan, but it won’t burn and become a big lacy mess. If any of the candy corn on the edges starts to spread, you can gently reshape the cookies with a glass or spoon after baking. Resist the urge to do this with your fingers though, as few things hurt like a molten sugar burn.
White Chocolate Candy Corn Cookies

Other than those very doable adjustments to a traditional drop cookie routine, these cookies are business as usual (but make it spooky season). Make them for yourself or your fellow candy corn devotees, and have a wonderful Halloween weekend!

White Chocolate Candy Corn Cookies
White Chocolate Candy Corn Cookies
makes about 2.5 dozen cookies

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
1 cup candy corn + more for topping

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 candy corn.

Line a pan (or a couple of plates that will fit in your refrigerator) with parchment. Scoop dough into 2 tablespoons and roll into balls. Make sure there are no bits of exposed candy corn on the bottoms of any dough balls. Cover dough balls 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.

Place dough balls at least two inches apart on prepared baking sheets. Bake cookies 10-12 minutes, until puffy. Decorate with more white chocolate chips and candy corn, if desired. Let cookies cool on baking sheets for 10 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.

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