Pumpkin Spice Blossoms…

I’ve never been a big fan of those ‘peanut butter blossoms’- you know, the peanut butter cookie with a Hershey kiss stuck in the middle? For whatever reason, I just never liked them. Oddly enough, however, those same cookies were the inspiration for these little guys. Nothing fancy, just a plain sugar cookie sprinkled with cinnamon/sugar and topped with a Hershey pumpkin spice kiss. But OH how yummy! I took these to work and (of course) they were gobbled up! Such a cute little Fall/Halloween treat that takes no time to make!

Pumpkin Spice Blossoms
-inspired by this recipe from Betty Crocker

1 batch of your favorite sugar cookie dough, or mix (this recipe would be great!)
24 Hershey Pumpkin Spice Kisses, unwrapped
1 teaspoon cinnamon/sugar mixture, for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Make dough as directed and scoop into 2 mini muffin pans (that gave me 24 cookies). Sprinkle with the cinnamon/sugar mixture and bake for 10-12 minutes, until cookies are golden brown. Let cool for about 3 minutes, then gently press a pumpkin spice kiss into each cookie. **I chose to sprinkle mine with a little orange decorating sugar- totally optional!

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Chocolate Ganache-Stuffed Cookies…

You see these cookies? They look like pretty average, plain ‘ol cookies, don’t they? Well. You’re in for a treat, my friends, because these are NO average cookies! These have a special secret lurking within…just waiting to be discovered. All it takes is one bite………….

Aaaaand BOOM, BABY!! Gooey, warm, flowing chocolate right in the center! One bite and suddenly you’re in heaven. Chocolate heaven. The cookie is warm, soft and chewy; and when it’s accompanied by the soft, melty chocolate in the center, it’s just pure bliss. I got the idea for these the other night while trying to sleep (that happens a lot- most people count sheep; I think up cookie ideas)- I was thinking about how much I love chocolate chip cookies, and somehow I ended up with these in mind. They’re really, really simple to make – just whip up some quick ganache (chocolate and heavy cream), then whip up your favorite chocolate chip cookie dough (sans chocolate chips), stuff the dough with the ganache and you’re done (practically). Unfortunately I couldn’t think up a really clever, delicious-sounding name for these (although hubby suggested I call them “Transformer Cookies”, since there’s more than meets the eye……yep, that’s who I married, folks) – but I think Chocolate Ganache-Stuffed Cookies will do nicely.

Chocolate Ganache-Stuffed Cookies

1 batch chocolate chip cookie dough, without the chocolate chips (any recipe you want- I used this one)
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup (approx. 6 oz.) chocolate chips
pinch of sugar
salt for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat heavy cream and sugar in a small pan over medium heat until boiling; pour over the chocolate chips. Let sit for a few seconds then stir to combine.  Chill for at least one hour.

Make the cookie dough according to desired recipe. Chill.

To assemble: using a small cookie scoop or a spoon, scoop out some dough- flatten with the palm of your hand and place a small spoonful of ganache in the center. Cover with another scoop of flattened dough and seal the edges (you’ll have a small disk), then gently roll into a ball. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Sprinkle with sea salt. Place each cookie at least 2 inches apart on cookie sheet.
Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until cookies are golden brown. If you’re like me, you’ll eat them hot out of the oven, but my husband likes them better when they’re completely cooled. Enjoy!

These cookies are seriously the best thing to come out of my oven in a long time- they’re perfectly, wonderfully, simply delicious!

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Lemon-Lime Sugar Cookie Truffles…

No doubt you’ve heard of cake balls, and Oreo truffles, and cookie dough truffles; and most likely, you’ve even made your own cake balls, Oreo truffles, etc. I know I’ve definitely made my fair share of all kinds. And that’s exactly what these are- more ‘dessert balls’. But these are oh-so much better than the run-of-the-mill Oreo truffles or cake balls! You all know how Oreo truffles work- crushed up Oreos, cream cheese and chocolate coating. These are essentially the same thing, except made with freshly baked sugar cookies and the zest and juice of lemon and lime. I must say….pretty darn tasty. These taste like key lime pie- they’re super tart, chewy and insanely rich. As soon as my hubby got home from work, I immediately shoved one into his mouth and his exact response was, “oh my gosh, these are AWESOME!!!” My family was inclined to agree- since there were so many, my grandmother took them to my aunt and uncle’s house where they were quickly devoured (so I’m told). They even passed the test of all tests- my cousin Ethan loved them. If Ethan loved them- they’ve got to be good! I have big plans to try these in all kinds of flavors- strawberry, peach, maybe even apricot. But for now, the lemon-lime is the flavor of choice!

Lemon-Lime Sugar Cookie Truffles

1 batch of sugar cookie dough (I used a store-bought mix, but you can use any recipe you like!)
zest and juice of 1 large lemon and 1 large lime
1 1/2 blocks cream cheese (12 ounces) at room temperature
1 package white chocolate candy coating
colored sprinkles or coarse sugar, for garnish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare the cookie dough as directed on package or recipe; add in the zest and juice of the lemon and lime and mix well. Spread the cookie dough in a greased 9×9 baking dish and bake for 30-40 minutes, or until cookies are fully baked. Cool completely.

When cookies are cooled, using your hands, remove from the dish and crumble into the bowl of a stand mixer or food processor (small chunks are fine). Add in the cream cheese and mix until the cookie crumbs and cream cheese are completely mixed together. Roll into 1-1 1/2 inch balls and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

When the balls are thoroughly chilled, melt the white chocolate candy coating in the microwave, or over a double boiler. Carefully dip each ball into the white chocolate and turn to coat. Remove with a tooth pick and set on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper. Top with sprinkles. Repeat until all the balls are coated. Store in the refrigerator.

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Cookies For Opera Singers…

People really love cookies. I’ve come to that conclusion rather quickly. There’s no better way to instantly become the most interesting person in the room- show up with an arm full of freshly baked, homemade cookies and immediately, you’ve become everyone’s favorite person. People really love cookies. I discovered this months back, when I started bringing cookies to work with me and my colleagues went crazy for them. And then again recently, when I would bring baskets of cookies to opera rehearsals and performances (singers love free food!). The cookies would literally last about 10 minutes before being completely demolished. I was immediately everyone’s favorite cast member. I even got a marriage proposal (sorry Dan, I’m taken!). Every night when I would walk into the dressing room, some of the other ladies would eagerly look at me to check and see if I was toting baked goods. Like I said- people really, really love cookies.

I think these were everyone’s overall favorites. Lots of people wanted the recipe, so here it is y’all! I had some chocolate covered graham crackers that I wanted to use in some way, plus some marshmallows, so I instantly thought of S’Mores cookies. Everybody likes S’Mores! I used Dorie Greenspan’s chocolate chip cookie recipe, then added in the chopped up chocolate covered graham crackers and marshmallows and voila! S’Mores cookies! My only complaint was that the graham cracker taste wasn’t quite strong enough- next time I’ll definitely add more. But overall, these were a smash hit, and I have to agree with my cast members- they were pretty darn tasty! Now that all the operas are over (thanks everybody, for a great season!!!), I won’t be making cookies for everybody anymore, but hopefully my fellow singers can come here and get the recipes and make some for themselves!

(Here’s a picture from the opening night of Don Giovanni-sorry it’s fuzzy, it was taken with my iPhone)

Chocolate Chip S’Mores Cookies
-adapted from Dorie Greenspan

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped chocolate covered graham crackers (store-bought is fine)
1 cup mini marshmallows

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment or silicone mats.

Whisk together the flour, salt, and baking soda.
Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with the paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter at medium speed for about 1 minute, until smooth. Add the sugars and beat for another 2 minutes or so, until well-blended. Beat in the vanilla. Add the eggs one at a time, beating for 1 minute after each egg goes inches. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients in 3 portions, mixing only until each addition is incorporated. On low speed, or by hand with a rubber spatula, mix in the chocolate, graham crackers and marshmallows.

Spoon the dough by slightly rounded tablespoonfuls onto the baking sheets, leaving about 2 inches between spoonfuls.
Bake the cookies- one sheet at a time and rotating the sheet at the midway point- for 10-12 minutes, or until they are brown at the edges and golden in the center; they may still be a little soft in the middle, and that’s just fine. Pull the sheet from the oven and allow the cookies to rest for 1 minute, then carefully, using a wide metal spatula, transfer them to racks to cool to room temperature.
Repeat with the remainder of the dough, cooling the baking sheets between batches.

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Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Bars…

It was only a few days ago that I saw these on Bridget’s blog, Bake at 350 (one of my favorites!) and I immediately made them. My fellow opera choristers asked if I would make cookies for our hard-working chorus master as a gift for opening night; of course I decided these would be perfect. Everybody loves the combination of peanut butter and chocolate! Plus, I just love how simple and quick they are to make- mix all the ingredients, throw it in a pan and you’re done! And did I mention how delicious they are?! Oh boy….soft, chewy, slightly gooey from the chocolate chips and just a tad salty, which I just love. In fact, I was so impressed with these, I’m going to be making them (among lots of other goodies) for a friend’s housewarming party in a couple of weeks. These are just the perfect dessert to make when you’re craving something sweet, soft and chewy- so quick and easy and oh-so satisfying!

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Bars
-Bake at 350

6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup chocolate chips (semi-sweet)

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease an 8 x 8″ pan (I doubled the recipe and used a 9 x 13 pan)
Whisk together the flour, salt and baking powder. Set aside.
Cream the butter and peanut butter together until smooth. Beat in the sugars until combined.
Add the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the bowl after each addition. Stir in the vanilla.
Stir in the flour mixture. Add the chocolate chips, stirring until combined.
Spread the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for about 30- 32 minutes. Cool completely before cutting.

***Oh, and don’t forget about the cute-as-a-button sprinkle contest I’m in! Vote for my ‘Bubble Bath’ sprinkle mix here!!

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Tuesdays With Dorie…Honey Wheat Cookies

This week’s TWD recipe, Honey Wheat Cookies, was chosen by Michelle of Flourchild. These are definitely some interesting cookies. And by interesting, I mean I don’t like them. Hey, it happens…not often, but still it happens. Perhaps it was because I used orange zest instead of lemon zest and it threw off the flavor balance, but I thought these cookies tasted a little like orange-y saw dust (thank you, wheat germ).

Anyway, these could’ve very well turned out beautifully for lots of other people, so don’t be thrown off by my opinion! If you’d like the recipe, head over to Michelle’s blog and she’ll have it posted.

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Million Dollar Cookies…

Chances are, most of you have heard all about these already. The “Million Dollar Peanut Butter Cookies” that won the Pillsbury Bake-Off a couple of years back. It seems crazy to me that a store-bought cookie dough filled with peanut butter could be worth a million smackaroos, but as usual, I’ve been proven wrong. I’d been seeing these cookies pop up all over the food blogging community and every single person that tried them gave the same review: totally worth a million. So naturally, I was intrigued. I decided to try these out on my most willing guinea pigs: my family. The verdict? Yep – totally worth a million bucks. I have to agree. The gooey peanut buttery centers had me at the first bite – I couldn’t stop eating them! They’re so simple and quick to make – all you need is a roll of store-bought peanut butter cookie dough, peanut butter, a little powdered sugar and some cinnamon/sugar. Simple as that! The next time I make these (and believe me, there will be a next time!) I’m definitely doubling the recipe – these disappear mighty quickly!

Carolyn Gurtz’s Pillsbury Bake-Off Million-Dollar Double Delight Peanut Butter Cookies
- makes 24 cookies -

1/4 cup dry roasted peanuts, finely chopped (I left these out)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup Creamy Peanut Butter
1/2 cup confectioners’ powdered sugar
1 roll Pillsbury refrigerated peanut butter cookies, well chilled.

Heat oven to 375°F. In small bowl, mix chopped peanuts, granulated sugar, and cinnamon; set aside.
In another small bowl, stir peanut butter and powdered sugar until completely blended. Shape mixture into 24 (1-inch) balls.
Cut roll of cookie dough into 12 slices. Cut each slice in half crosswise to make 24 pieces; flatten slightly. Shape 1 cookie dough piece around 1 peanut butter ball, covering completely. Repeat with remaining dough and balls.
Roll each covered ball in peanut mixture; gently pat mixture completely onto balls. On ungreased large cookie sheets, place balls 2 inches apart. Spray bottom of drinking glass with Crisco original no-stick cooking spray; press into remaining peanut mixture. Flatten each ball to 1/4-inch thickness with bottom of glass. Sprinkle any remaining peanut mixture evenly on tops of cookies; gently press into dough.
Bake 7 to 12 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Let cool 1 minute; remove from cookie sheets to cooling rack. Store tightly covered.

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Happy Valentine’s Day!

Aaaand, we’re up and running again. Sheesh! What a long couple of days it’s been – our hosting service (WebHost4Life – don’t use them unless you want all KINDS of trouble…along with workers who don’t give a crap about helping you) changed platforms or something and it screwed everything up. Thank goodness for my sweet, selfless hubby, who has spent every bit of his weekend fixing it for me! On top of that, I got beautiful pink tulips delivered to me and a set of Crate & Barrell juice glasses! What a sweetheart! To thank him for such hard work and such wonderful gifts, I made him one of his favorite things on earth – a giant cookie cake. I used to make them for him in high school before our band contests (yes, we were both “band nerds”) and he always loved them! Of course, he loved this one – I made sure to use plenty of frosting and giant sprinkles. Just a small token of my love. ;-)

There’s nothing to making a giant cookie cake…all you need is a round (or in my case, heart shaped) pan, some cookie dough (homemade or store-bought) and a little vanilla frosting. Just press the cookie dough into the pan, bake and decorate. Voila! Cookie cake and happy husband!

I’m really sorry my blog was out of commission for so long…hopefully now that we have a new web hosting service, this problem won’t happen again. I hope you all enjoy a wonderful, romantic evening! The hubby and I are about to enjoy cheese and chocolate fondues with lots of champagne! HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!!!

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Happy Things…

I realize that there’s really only so much you can learn about a person through their food blog – what kind of foods they like best, their general age, marital status, kids vs. no kids…basic stuff like that. But is that really enough? I guess it may be for some people, but I want my readers to know me a little better than that, ya know? We’ll have plenty of time along the way for all the details, so for now, let me just share with you a few things that make me happy. Really happy. I realize some of you are just here for the recipes, so by all means, scroll down to the bottom….you won’t hurt my feelings.

The King Arthur Flour website. Not only do I love digging through their recipes (which always turn out great), the site in general is just a fun place to be, in my opinion. Fun things to order, fun things to look at…it’s a happy place.

Pearls. I love pearls – they make me very happy. I wore pearls on my wedding day, I wear them with day-to-day outfits, and I always, always wear them when I’m auditioning (opera stuff).  And for good reason – they never go out of style, they’re ever-so-classy, and they always seem to make me feel happy. Which is why they’re on my happy list. :-)

Izzy. Our sweet, hyper, and always entertaining Cairn Terrier/Schnauzer. Sure, she eats my Girl Scout cookies and occasionally waits until we’re gone then poops upstairs; but by golly, if she isn’t the sweetest, funniest, most lovable dog in the whole wide world. It’s been just about a year since we adopted her, and we both agree that we couldn’t have possibly found a more perfect dog.

Cheese. Any kind. Anywhere. Heck, I love the stuff so much, my (sweet, adorable) hubby put cheese in my stocking this Christmas! Imagine waking up to a big ‘ol hunk of Manchego under the tree! Perfection. Really.

My piano. When I was getting ready to graduate from college (and soon after, get married), my grandparents gave me some money as a gift. I took that money and bought myself a beautiful upright piano (second hand) – it was the very first piece of furniture I ever bought and I love it (even though my piano skills barely go beyond “chopsticks”…).

My Great-Grandmother’s Peach Cobbler. Very few things in life make me as happy. When my sister and I were little, one year for our birthdays (or possibly Christmas…I can’t quite remember), Baba, our Great-Grandmother, made us our very own dish of peach cobbler – an entire 9×9 dish ALL to myself!! I didn’t share with anybody, and it was blissful. I still have the dish she gave me and I use it all the time.

Funny socks. I can’t wear plain ‘ol white socks. I like colorful socks – ones with hearts or cupcakes or Santa Claus. In my opinion, one can never own too many funny socks. My personal favorites are my Nightmare Before Christmas Jack and Sally socks….perfect for Christmas or Halloween!

And finally….Chocolate Chip Cookies. I have made probably, 10 different recipes or more. Not just because I’ve been on a 3 year quest for the perfect chocolate chip cookie, but because one of my very favorite things on the entire planet is a warm chocolate chip cookie and a glass of milk. I ask you, is there anything better??? I’ll take just about any kind – I’m an equal opportunity chocolate chip cookie eater. Maybe even an addict, but hey, I can stop anytime I want, ok?

But here’s something big. I mean really big. Are you ready? I’ve found it. The perfect chocolate chip cookie. Yep. It does exist. In fact, it exists in a little plastic baggie in my kitchen right now. Beckoning me. Calling out to me. Sure, I’ve already had 17 ½, but when you’ve found the perfect chocolate chip cookie, all rules and etiquette go out the window. I bet you’re wondering which recipe it is…well, chances are, you won’t be a bit surprised. Yep, the NYTimes Chocolate Chip Cookies. Last July, the New York Times published this recipe, and since then just about every food blogger on the planet has tried them and declared them to be the best. I’m officially joining the bandwagon. They make me very, very happy.

THE NYTimes Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 cups minus 2 tablespoons (8 1/2 ounces) cake flour
1 2/3 cups (8 1/2 ounces) bread flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
2 1/2 sticks (1 1/4 cups) unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups (10 ounces) light brown sugar
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (8 ounces) granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons natural vanilla extract
1 1/4 pounds bittersweet chocolate chips (I threw in some milk chocolate chips too)
Sea salt

Sift flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Set aside.
Using a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars together until very light, about 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla. Reduce speed to low, add dry ingredients and mix until just combined, 5 to 10 seconds. Drop chocolate pieces in and incorporate them without breaking them. Press plastic wrap against dough and refrigerate for 24 to 36 hours. Dough may be used in batches, and can be refrigerated for up to 72 hours.

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat. Set aside.
Scoop 6 3 1/2-ounce mounds of dough (the size of generous golf balls) onto baking sheet, making sure to turn horizontally any chocolate pieces that are poking up; it will make for a more attractive cookie. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt and bake until golden brown but still soft, 18 to 20 minutes. Transfer sheet to a wire rack for 10 minutes, then slip cookies onto another rack to cool a bit more. Repeat with remaining dough, or reserve dough, refrigerated, for baking remaining batches the next day. Eat warm, with a big napkin.
Yield: 1 1/2 dozen 5-inch cookies.

*I didn’t make huge cookies – I used a small cookie scoop and got somewhere around 40. I baked them for about 9 minutes and they were perfectly crisp on the edges and gooey and chewy in the center. Perfect, in my opinion.

So, there you have it. A few silly things that make me happy. And one step closer to getting to know a little more about the weird lady who’s blog you read. Thanks for humoring me! And obviously, my husband, Joel makes me extremely happy. The most happy I could ever hope to be. But I figured you all probably knew that, so I didn’t list him. :-) Plus, I was trying to keep the list “non-human”.

Oh and by the way, if you’ll look over to your right (and up a ways), on my sidebar, you’ll notice now you have the option of “Becoming a Fan” of Sing For Your Supper on Facebook. Just a little fun thing those of you Facebookers can do if you want! Happy baking!

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Tuesdays With Dorie…Almost Candy Bars

candybar2

Yikes! It’s been WAY too long since my last TWD post…I apologize to the TWD gods! But here I am, back on the wagon, ready to sing Dorie Greenspan’s praises once more! And these cookies are the perfect way to start. Chocolate Oatmeal Almost-Candy Bars (doesn’t that sound amazing?), chosen by Lillian of Confectiona’s Realm. Oh man, let me tell you..these were outstanding! They start with a layer of oatmeal-peanut cookie dough (delish on it’s own!), then you top it off with a chocolate-sweetened condensed milk-peanut layer and crumble a little more of the cookie dough over the top of that. Bake it off and you have sticky, crunchy, chewy cookie/candy bars! YUM!

candybar1

Just look at that gooey chocolate center….oh man…. This was such a great recipe to get me back on the TWD wagon- a great treat! I can’t wait to take these babies to work with me sometime! If you’d like the recipe (trust me, you do), head on over to Lillian’s blog and she’ll have it posted for you.

candybar3

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