Saturday, December 22, 2012

Chocolate-Vanilla Swirl Cookies

I really like making what used to be called "ice box" or refrigerator cookies.  They are simply cookies that are rolled into logs and refrigerated or frozen for a period of time.  I had to add about two teaspoons of vanilla extract to get the dough to come together.  

Chocolate-Vanilla Swirl Cookies
Baking for All Occasions by Flo Braker 
Makes about 12 dozen cookies

Vanilla Dough

2-3/4 Cups (11 ounces/310 grams) cake flour 
1 Cup + 2 Tablespoon (4 ounces/115 grams) powdered sugar 
1/4 teaspoon salt 
8 oz (2 sticks/225 grams) butter @ room temperature 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (I used two teaspoons vanilla)

Chocolate Dough

2-1/4 Cup (9 ounces/255 grams) cake flour 
1 Cup + 2 Tablespoon (4 ounces/115 grams) powdered sugar 
1/2 Cup + 1 Tablespoon (2 ounces/55 grams) natural or Dutch-processed cocoa powder 
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 oz (2 sticks/225 grams) butter @ room temperature 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (I used two teaspoons vanilla)

2 Cup (about 15 ounces/430 grams) nonpareil sprinkles for decoration (I used 1 Cup 
raw sugar)

For the Vanilla Dough: 
Combine flour, sugar and salt and mix on lowest speed just to blend. Stop the mixer and place the butter on top of the flour mixture. Wrap a kitchen towel around the mixer bowl to prevent the flour from flying out of the bowl. Mix on the lowest speed just until it starts to appear lumpy. Stop the mixer and add the vanilla. Mix on the lowest speed just until the mixture is combined. Transfer the dough to a bowl, cover and refrigerate for 15 minutes. 

For the Chocolate Dough: 
Use the same instructions above, placing the flour, sugar, cocoa powder and salt in the bowl and mixing on the lowest speed to blend. Add the butter and proceed as above, then add the vanilla. Transfer the dough to a bowl and if too soft, cover and refrigerate for 15 minutes.

To form into logs: 
Divide the Vanilla Dough into thirds, with each piece weighing about 7 1/2 ounces (215 grams). Divide the Chocolate Dough the same way. You will work with one-third of each dough at a time. 

On a piece of parchment or clean work surface, flatten one piece of Vanilla Dough into a 7" x 5" rectangle. Repeat this with a piece of the Chocolate Dough. Place the chocolate rectangle on top of the vanilla rectangle, then cut the stack in half crosswise to create 2 pieces, each about 3 1/2" x 5". Place one half on top of the other half to create 4 layers. (You may need a dough scraper to help with this.) Press or roll the stack into a 9" x 4" rectangle. Cut the stack in half lengthwise to create two 9" x 2" pieces. Place one piece on top of the other to create a long narrow stack with 8 layers.

Carefully twist each end of the dough once or twice, gently working toward the center. Use your hands to twist the pattern and shape the swirled dough into a log about 8 1/2 ” x 2”. Set aside. Repeat this process with the remaining pieces of each dough to form two more logs. Compress each log with your hands so it is compact, gently rolling back and forth until the log is round and uniformly shaped.

Roll each log in the sprinkles to coat. If the dough is soft, set the coated logs on a baking sheet and refrigerate for about 1 hour or until firm enough to handle. Wrap each log in plastic wrap and return to the refrigerator for a few hours to chill thoroughly. 

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Use a sharp knife to cut generous 1/4” slices and arrange 1/2" apart on baking sheets lined with parchment or a silpat. 

Bake one sheet at a time just until they are no longer shiny on top and are lightly golden on the bottom, about 10 - 12 minutes. Cool completely on wire rack.

Cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 10 days.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Vanishing Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

This is the recipe on the inside of the cover of the Quaker Oats Oatmeal box.  One of my friends made them for my cookie exchange.  They were the only cookies my son would eat, including the ones I made.  He wouldn't even try mine.  Nice.  I decided to give these a try.  She simply replaced the raisins with chocolate chips and voila!  I ran the oatmeal through my food processor to break it down a little bit.

Vanishing Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies


1/2 cup (1 stick) and 6 tablespoons butter, softened
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups Quaker Oats (quick or old fashioned, uncooked)
1 cup chocolate chips


1.  Heat oven to 350 degrees F.  In large bowl, beat butter and sugars on medium speed of electric mixer until creamy.

2.  Add eggs and vanilla; beat well.

3.  Add combined flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; mix well.

4.  Add oats and chocolate chips; mix well.

5.  Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets.

6.   Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until light golden brown.  Cool 1 minute on cookie sheets; remove to wire rack.  Cool completely.  Store tightly covered.

Makes about 4 dozen cookies.

Bar Cookies:  Bake 30 to 35 minutes in ungreased 13 x 9-inch metal baking pan.


The Creative Cook

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Chicken Tetrazzini with Prosciutto and Peas

I made this Chicken Tetrazzini tonight for dinner.  I split the difference and put mushrooms into half and peas into the other half to satisfy my family's food likes and dislikes (including my own).

Chicken Tetrazzini with Prosciutto and Peas


3 ounces finely chopped prosciutto
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 (6 or 7 oz.) package vermicelli pasta
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
4 cups milk
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons chicken bouillon granules or paste
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese
4 cups diced cooked chicken
1 (4.5 oz.) jar sliced mushrooms, drained
1 cup frozen baby peas, thawed
1/2 cup slivered almonds (optional)


1.  Saute prosciutto in hot vegetable oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat 2 to 3 minutes or until crisp.

2.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare pasta according to package directions.

3.  Melt butter in dutch oven over low heat; whisk in flour until smooth.  Cook 1 minute, whisking constantly.  Gradually whisk in milk and wine; cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, 8 to 10 minutes or until mixture is thickened and bubbly.  Whisk in bouillon, pepper and 1 cup Parmesan cheese.

4.  Remove from heat; stir in diced cooked chicken, sliced mushrooms, peas, crispy prosciutto, and hot cooked pasta.

5.  Spoon mixture into a lightly greased 13 x 9-inch baking dish; sprinkle with slivered almonds and remaining 1 cup Parmesan cheese.

6.  Bake at 350 degrees F. for 35 minutes or until bubbly.


The Creative Cook

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

White Chocolate Cranberry Cookies

These cookies are from the FoodNetwork website but they originate from Trisha Yearwood.  I made them for the first time today.  The cookies are yummy.  They are different from the average Christmas cookies.  I highly recommend these even if you don't like white chocolate.

White Chocolate Cranberry Cookies
courtesy Trisha Yearwood


1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup packaged light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 cup dried cranberries, chopped
3/4 cup white chocolate chips
3/4 cup macadamia nuts, chopped


1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

2.  With an electric mixer, cream the butter and both sugars together until smooth.

3.  Add the vanilla and egg, mixing well. Sift together the flour and baking soda.

4.  Spoon the flour mixture gradually into the creamed sugar mixture.

5.  Stir in the cranberries, white chocolate chips and macadamia nuts.

6.  Drop by heaping spoonfuls, about 2 tablespoons, onto the prepared baking sheets, 2 inches apart.

7.  Bake 1 sheet at a time until lightly golden on top and the edges are set, 12 to 15 minutes.

8.  Cool on the sheet about 5 minutes, and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

9.  Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.


The Creative Cook


Saturday, December 1, 2012

Cranberry Banana Bread

I made this banana bread for my cookie exchange last year.  I wanted to make it again this year but I had a hard time finding the recipe.  I figured that I better post it so that I don't lose it again.

Cranberry Banana Bread
Prep Time: 10 Minutes
Cook Time: 1 Hour

1 cup white sugar
½ cup butter, melted (I used coconut oil)
1 cup mashed banana
¼ cup milk
2 eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ cup almonds, chopped
6 ounce package Craisins or Dried Cranberries


  1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together the melted butter and sugar.  Add the milk and eggs, mix well.  Combine the flour, baking soda and salt, stir into the butter mixture until smooth.  Finally, fold in the almonds and dried cranberries.  Spread evenly into the prepared pan.
  3. Bake at 350 degrees F for 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean.  Cool loaf in the pan for 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.