Thursday, December 26, 2013

Peppermint White Chocolate Cookie Bars

Merry Christmas my lovely fellow bloggers! I hope you had a wonderful relaxing Christmas filled with family, friends, and laughter. I just want to take a second to say how much I appreciate everyone who has read, looked at, pinned, tweeted, or shared my blog. Anyone who has tried one of my recipes- I am deeply flattered. Baking and cooking is something I enjoy tremendously and being able to share it through my photography has been such a blessing. This year has been really exciting! I started my own blog in March 2013 with absolutely no experience. I started making food and taking some pictures, no big deal, just thought it would be fun. I posted them and my blog got maybe 5 or less views a day. Finally I decided to get serious about it. I started learning more, researching, following popular food blogs, learning and admiring their ways, reading foodblogging books, buying cookbooks, trying my own recipes and more. Now 10 months later, my blog has over 9000 views and has been featured on popular food blogs and Tumblr's. My recipes/photos have been pinned over 500 times. My photos have been accepted on well known and prestigious recipe sharing websites like Tastespotting, Foodgawker, and Dessert Stalking. I am blown away by the response I have gotten from friends, family, and strangers! It has been such a blast, and I cant wait to keep getting better, and keep pursuing my passion. Thank you for sharing this journey with me!

Now, back to business ;) I found this recipe on Pinterest when I was looking to find a mouth-watering and fun Christmas dessert. As a scrolled through the many red and green colors that flashed by, one in particular caught my eye. It was a sugar cookie peppermint bark. Now peppermint is one of my favorite flavors at Christmas time, as it is for many people. I checked it out, and it looked easy enough, so I thought why not? Then boom! Off to the grocery store I fled. I only needed to pick up one or two special things, as I had most on hand. I had my friend come over and help me make it, and after following the recipe, I decided to modify it a bit to make it work a little better. I cut them into bars instead of breaking it up like bark because I felt like it wasn't hard enough to be classified as bark, as it is made out of soft sugar cookie. So without further ado, here it is! Enjoy.

xoxo






Peppermint White Chocolate Cookie Bars

Ingredients


  • 1 (16.5 oz) roll refrigerated sugar cookie dough ( or you can make your own batch of gluten free sugar cookies, which is what I did.)
  • 3/4 cup Andes Peppermint Crunch Baking Chips
  • 2 cups white chocolate chips
  • 1 1/2 cups Peppermint M&Ms


Instructions


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine the peppermint chips and sugar cookie dough in a medium bowl and mix.
  3. Roll out the sugar cookie dough to 1/4 inch thickness on a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Flour your rolling pin and dough as necessary to keep from sticking.
  4. Bake for 15-17 minutes or until just before the cookie turns brown
  5. Let cool completely.
  6. Melt white chocolate using a double boiler and spread carefully with a knife or spoon on top of sugar cookie and sprinkle on M&Ms and crushed candy canes evenly.
  7. Let candy coating set up completely before cutting into square bars
  8. Store in an airtight container.
Recipe inspired by: http://bit.ly/18NkTpE

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Salted Caramel Mini Apple Pies

When I first stumbled upon this recipe, I thought that they looked amazing, but mostly they looked fun to make. They are the perfect serving size, because they are small enough that you don't feel like a pig if you eat two. It's not just your typical apple pie because its gluten free and the caramel and the salt really top it off. It really adds a unique and chewy flavor. The flaky dough also made it like a pastry that you never want to stop eating. Anyway, make this any day of the week, and you will be everyone's best friend. Have fun!
xoxo







Salted Caramel Apple Pies


INGREDIENTS:
Dough:
2 cups GF Flour
1/2 TSP salt
1/2 TSP baking powder
1 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1/2 cup sour cream
Filling:
2 cups small diced peeled Granny Smith apples (apple cubes should be no bigger than corn kernels)
2 TSP lemon juice
1/2 TSP cinnamon
1/4 cup sugar
2 TSP GF Flour 
For the Top/Inside:
8 store-bought soft caramels, roughly chopped
Sea Salt Flakes
Egg wash (1 egg lightly whisked with 1 TBS water)
Extra sugar crystals for the top (optional)
DIRECTIONS:
To make the dough:
Whisk together the flour, salt and baking powder in a large bowl.
Add the cubed butter to the bowl and use your fingers or a pastry cutter to work the butter into the flour until the mixture is the consistency of wet sand.
Stir in the sour cream and then turn the dough out onto a well-floured work surface.
Knead the dough a few times until it comes together, adding more flour, 1 teaspoon at a time, if the dough is too sticky to handle. Roll the dough into an 8x10-inch rectangle and dust both sides with flour before folding it into thirds as if you were folding a letter.
Rotate the dough 90º and roll it out again into an 8x10-inch rectangle  and refrigerate it for at least 30 minutes while you make the filling.
To make the filling:
In a  bowl, combine the apples,cinnamon,  lemon juice, sugar and flour, stirring until well mixed. Set aside.
Assemble the pies:
Preheat the oven to 425ºF.
Remove the dough from the refrigerator and unfold it onto a well-floured surface, rolling it out to a 14x14-inch square. 
Using a 3-inch circular cup, cut out as many circles as possible. Re-roll the scraps and continue cutting out circles until you run out of dough, ensuring you end up with an even number of circles. (You should have approximately 20 circles, or 10 pies)
Place six of the dough circles on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet. Spoon a small portion of the apple filling into the center of each circle, leaving enough of a border around the filling. Top the apple filling with a portion of the chopped caramels( probably 2 small chunks) and a pinch of sea salt. Place a second dough circle atop each filled circle then use a fork to crimp the edges together, sealing each pie.
Brush each pie with the egg wash, and using a sharp knife, cut 4 small vents on the top of each pie. Sprinkle the pies with sugar crystals (optional).
Bake the pies for about 15-18 minutes, or until they're golden brown.
Remove the pies from the oven and allow them to rest for 10 minutes before serving. Repeat the filling and baking process with the remaining dough circles.
Enjoy!
Recipe adapted from: http://bit.ly/1cZTvC3