Soft and Thick Snickerdoodles.

The holiday baking posts continue with these yummy snickerdoodles!

Snickerdoodles seem to fly under the radar. They’re simple, which is why they don’t get a lot of attention, but I think their simplicity is what makes them so wonderful. They are soft, chewy, and sweet, with just a hint of warm cinnamon flavor. I hope to inspire you to make some with this post; they’re worth it!

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The title aptly describes the texture of these cookies: soft and thick. They aren’t cakey or dry, but instead perfectly chewy. They get rolled in a little bit of cinnamon sugar before baking which makes them look beautiful but also adds a nice sugary crunch in each bite.

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A note about the recipe… you MUST make sure your butter is very, very soft. I have made these twice now. The first time the batter was extremely crumbly to the point where I had to add a little bit of water to help it come together. The second time I made sure my butter was at room temperature for a few hours before baking, and I noticed the flour incorporated much easier. I recommend not adding all the flour at once. The first time I used the full 3 cups, and the second time I only used 2 3/4 cups because I was afraid they would be too dry. Just keep an eye on it and make sure you will still be able to roll them into balls.

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Happy baking! : )

Soft and Thick Snickerdoodles

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 and 1/3 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour (I only used 2 3/4 cups)
  • 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 and 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Topping ingredeints:

  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  1. Preheat the oven to 375F. (Check your oven temperature…mine runs very hot so I baked them at 350F for about 14 minutes!)
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter until smooth. Add the brown sugar and beat together on medium speed for several minutes, until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla, and beat to combine.
  3. With the mixer on a very slow speed, slowly add the cream of tarter, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, and flour (about a cup at a time). You will likely have to mix the last part by hand because the batter will be so thick.
  4. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside. In a small bowl, combine the sugar and cinnamon together.
  5. Take no more than 2 tablespoons of dough and roll into a ball. Roll in the cinnamon sugar mixture, then place on the cookie sheet. Repeat with remaining batter.
  6. Bake cookies for 11-12 minutes. They should still be very soft and almost appear underbaked, but they will continue baking on the cookie sheet. Allow them to cool on the cookie sheet for 10 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

Recipe adapted from: http://pastrychefbaking.blogspot.com/2013/09/soft-thick-snickerdoodles.html

Chocolate Puffs with Mascarpone Cream

Chocolate puffs with mascarpone cream…is your mouth watering yet?

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Every now and again I make a dessert that really stands out. One that is truly special, both in flavor and appearance. This recipe defied the standard mold of cookie, bar, pie, or cake. It is difficult to put into words how delicious these were. Imagine silky mascarpone cream sandwiched between chocolate puffs as light as the name alludes, but rich and satisfying at the same time. Very decadent.

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Top them of with melted chocolate or chocolate ganache, based on your preference. Here’s what they looked like before the additional chocolate drizzle:

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The original recipe is from the great baker Dorie Greenspan, someone about whom I had read over and over again on cooking blogs. Until now, I had never dared to replicate her recipes. I now realize I misunderstood the uniqueness of her recipes (and sometimes lengthy steps) for difficulty, as was almost the case with these chocolate puffs. But, due to the convenience of having leftover mascarpone, heavy cream, and chocolate ganache from a previous baking endeavor a few days prior, I decided to go for it. Just for the record, they are worth making a special trip to the store for those ingredients. Don’t be intimidated by the number of steps. Just follow the directions, enjoy them, and share them with someone you love. Valentine’s day is coming up, you know!

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Chocolate Puffs with Mascarpone Cream

Ingredients

Cream Puffs:

  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder (I used dark)
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream (or whole milk)
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, cut into chunks
  • 2 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. salt

Filling:

  • 1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • 2 Tbsp. sugar
  • My not-so-optional addition: 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

    Also optional (but not really): melted chocolate or ganache for drizzling over top of the filled cream puffs.

Instructions:

  1. Let eggs stand at room temperature 30 minutes. Position oven racks to divide oven into thirds; preheat to 425F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside. (I did not do this and it still turned out fine)
  2. For cream puffs, in a medium bowl sift together flour and cocoa powder. In a medium saucepan combine water, milk, butter, sugar, and salt; bring to boiling over medium-high heat. Add flour and cocoa mixture all at once; lower heat slightly. Using a wooden spoon or sturdy heatproof spatula, stir vigorously. The mixture will come together in a ball and there will be a film on the bottom of the pan, but do not stop stirring; give it another minute of energetic beating. Transfer hot dough to a mixing bowl; let rest for 2 minutes.
  3. Using a whisk (or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment), beat dough 1 minute. Add eggs, one at a time, beating very well after each. You’ll have a smooth, shiny dough.
  4. Using a small cookie scoop or small spoon, place 8 even mounds of dough on each of the prepared baking sheets, leaving at least 1 inch of space between mounds.
  5. Transfer baking sheets to oven; immediately reduce heat to 375F. Bake for 25-27 minutes or until the puffs feel hollow and lift easily off the paper, rotating the baking sheets from top to bottom and front to pack at the halfway point. Cool to room temperature before filling.
  6. For filling, in a medium bowl gently stir mascarpone with a spatula to loosen. Beating makes mascarpone turn grainy, so go easy. Set aside.
  7. In a medium bowl beat whipping cream until it just starts to thicken. Beat in sugar and vanilla extract. Continue to whip until the cream holds medium peaks that stand up nicely and just start to fold over at the top. Stir a spoonful of the cream into the mascarpone to lighten. Gently fold in the remaining cream.
  8. To assemble, cut cream puffs in half. Using a pastry bag fitted with a large round tip (or a spoon), pipe filing over one half; top with remaining half. To serve, drizzle with chocolate ganache (or melted chocolate), if desired. Makes 16 cream puffs.*A note about storage. Unfilled cream puffs will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 2 weeks. Filling will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Fill cream puffs just before serving.Nutritional Information per Cream Puff (will change depending on if you use heavy cream or whole milk, chocolate or ganache, etc.): 130 calories, 10 g fat, 51 mg cholesterol, 54 mg sodium, 8 g carbs, 0 g fiber, 2 g protein.

    Recipe adapted from Dorie Greenspan, Better Homes and Gardens February 2013.