Salted Chocolate Chunk Congo Bars

Easy Salted Chocolate Chunk Congo Bars loaded with chunks of dark chocolate and topped with fleur de sel or sea salt.  These are truly irresistible!

Salted Chocolate Chunk Congo Bars | Mother Thyme

I have a thing for Congo Bars that goes back, wayyyy back.

Growing up I always remember laid back summer picnics enjoying Macaroni Salad, Pinky Winky, and Salt Potatoes. To this day I still have cravings for those foods.  The funny thing is, I only want them in the summer. I guess you could say it’s a summer thing, because surely Pinky Winky just wouldn’t be the same in the fall (enter sarcasm.) If you are wondering what Pinky Winky is and I’m sure you are, it is a family recipe that combines cottage cheese, cool whip, mandarin oranges, crushed pineapple and raspberry jello mix. I have no clue how it got its name, but that is what we have always called it. The recipe is actually in my Summer Thyme cookbook. Summer just wouldn’t be the same without it.

What reminds me most of summer picnics as a kid is a tray of Congo Bars made by yours truly. Congo Bars are actually cookie bars which make these perfect for a crowd. Serve them with a little scoop of vanilla ice cream for an instant crowd pleaser. I don’t make these often, but when I do it reminds me of making these when I was a wee little Mother Thyme. They taste just like I always remember them.

congo bar
I couldn’t resist sharing this picture!  How funny is this?  I should have saved this picture for #TBT. This is me circa 1982 with my Congo Bars.  They look just as good back then as they do now!  What I can’t wait for is for my kids to do this.  They already have a interest and passion for cooking.  They love to help me in the kitchen.  In the mornings they are right there with me at the counter stirring pancake batter or prepping fruit to make smoothies.  I love that my kids are having fun cooking as much as I do!

Salted Chocolate Chunk Congo Bars | Mother Thyme

Recently I was thinking about these since I haven’t made them this summer.  I thought I would put a spin on my classic recipe given to me from my mom that I have held onto for years. I added roughly chopped Dove® Dark Chocolate and topped it off with a sprinkle of fleur de sel. Oh my goodness! These are good, really good!  You get chunks of smooth Dove® Dark Chocolate in each bite. Not only are they delicious, they are easy to make. Just be warned, once you make these they’ll be gone before you know it. You may secretly want to hide a few so you can enjoy them yourself with a tall glass of cold milk!

Salted Chocolate Chunk Congo Bars | Mother Thyme

DOVE Dark Chocolate.jpg

For more chocolate yumminess, stay connected with Dove® Dark Chocolate on Facebook and Twitter.

Salted Chocolate Chunk Congo Bars

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 35 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Yield: 16 bars

Salted Chocolate Chunk Congo Bars

Ingredients

  • 2 2/3 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 1/2 bars (3/4 cup) butter, melted
  • 2 2/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 9.5 ounce bag Dove® Dark Chocolates, unwrapped and roughly chopped
  • 1-2 teaspoons fleur de sel or sea salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9x13 inch baking pan with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl mix flour, baking powder and salt.
  3. In a large bowl mix butter, brown sugar, eggs, milk and vanilla until blended.
  4. Stir flour mixture into wet ingredients until combined.
  5. Fold in chopped chocolate.
  6. Pour into prepared baking pan.
  7. Sprinkle with a little salt.
  8. Bake for about 30-35 minutes until cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean.
  9. Cool pan on a wire rack.
  10. Cut into squares and sprinkle with a little more salt if desired. Serve or store in an airtight container.
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Disclaimer: Compensation was provided by Dove® Dark Chocolate via MomTrends. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions of Dove or Momtrends.

Meyer Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

Sweet and delicious Meyer Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins — enjoy one with your afternoon tea.

Meyer Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins | www.motherthyme.com

Who doesn’t love a thick slice of freshly toasted bread with butter and maybe sprinkled with a little cinnamon and brown sugar? 

Mornings can’t get any better with that along with a cup of coffee.  Maybe I’ll include a bowl of fresh berries or some oatmeal, but breakfasts like that are what get my day started.  It’s all about simplicity

I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter has introduced a new spread Deliciously Simple™It has a creamy, buttery taste and is made with simple ingredients like non-fat yogurt, vegetable oil and no artificial preservatives.  

I could enjoy this every day not just on my morning toast, but just about anything.

Meyer Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins | www.motherthyme.com

My kiddos also love toast in the morning.  Having three year old twins, they love to help mommy in the kitchen, especially with breakfast.  They stand on their little step stools to help make the toast, it’s so cute.  They also think they don’t need my help anymore, and like to make their own toast.   Deliciously Simple™ is made with ingredients I can recognize, and I am happy I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter made this an option that my whole family can enjoy. 

Not only is Deliciously Simple™ the perfect topper for sweet and savory dishes, I have enjoyed using it in my baking.  I have used Deliciously Simple™ in some of my recipes such as Chocolate Chip Cookies, Banana Cake, and muffins, including these Meyer Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins.  Made with simple ingredients, it adds that creamy taste to all my baking that we all know and love.

Meyer Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins | www.motherthyme.com

Another advantage I have found using Deliciously Simple™ in baking is it doesn’t need to sit out to come to room temperature or soften.  Its creamy texture makes it easy to just measure and mix.  A great addition to my baking needs not just for convience, but for 100% taste, 0% artificial preservatives

Meyer Lemons are in season, a culinary favorite.  These slightly sweeter lemons are perfect in these Meyer Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins.  A welcome taste of sunshine for many of us battling the snow and cold. 

Using Deliciously Simple™ from I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter make these muffins moist and delicious.  Perfect with a cup of hot tea.

Meyer Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins | www.motherthyme.com

Meyer Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes

Yield: 16 muffins

Meyer Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup I Can't Believe It's Not Butter® Deliciously Simple™
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • Zest and juice of 1 meyer lemon
  • 2 teaspoons poppy seeds
  • Glaze
  • 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1-2 tablespoons freshly squeezed meyer lemon juice

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin tin with paper liners or spray with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl mix flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  3. Using an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar.
  4. Stir in eggs one at a time.
  5. Stir in vanilla, zest and lemon juice.
  6. Stir in sour cream.
  7. Stir in flour mixture until just combined. Don't overmix.
  8. Stir in poppy seeds.
  9. Spoon batter into muffin tin filling each about 2/3 full.
  10. Bake for about 20 minutes until cake tester inserted into the center of the muffins come out clean.
  11. Cool on a wire rack.
  12. Glaze
  13. In a medium bowl mix confectioners' sugar and 1 tablespoon lemon juice. Stir in additional lemon juice until desired consistency. If glaze becomes too thin, stir in more confectioners' sugar.
  14. Dip cooled muffin tops in glaze. Set on wire rack until glaze has set.
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Disclosure — This post was sponsored by I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter® through their partnership with POPSUGAR.  While I was compensated to write a post about I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter® Deliciously Simple™, all opinions are my own. 

Eggnog Muffins

Enjoy the holidays with Eggnog Muffins.  Perfect with your morning coffee.

Eggnog Muffins | www.motherthyme.com

Holiday Breakfast Ideas — Week 2

What are the holidays without eggnog.  Whether you like it or not, for many it is a holiday tradition.  It’s a cup of good cheer around the fire with family and friends to celebrate the holiday season. 

I wasn’t much into eggnog until about eight years ago when I had a glass of spiked eggnog on the rocks.  It changed my life.  Well, not really but it tasted mighty good.  Slowly eggnog grew on me and I started liking it more.

Eggnog Muffins | www.motherthyme.com

Now I love it.  I even included my homemade Eggnog recipe in my cookbook Holiday Thyme.  It’s a fun treat to make at home and you can really customize it to your liking.  And although I love my homemade version, I save that for a special occasion and still grab a carton of eggnog here and there throughout the holiday season to have on hand and to enjoy in various recipes like these Eggnog Muffins.

These Eggnog Muffins are great to enjoy with a cup of coffee throughout the holiday season.  If you are hosting a holiday brunch or even for Christmas morning, these delicious muffins with a hint of eggnog, cinnamon and nutmeg are a great addition to any of your holiday festivities. 

Eggnog Muffins | www.motherthyme.com

Eggnog Muffins

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 16 minutes

Total Time: 31 minutes

Yield: 12 muffins

Eggnog Muffins

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 cup eggnog
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Eggnog Glaze
  • 1 cup confectioners sugar
  • 3-4 tablespoons eggnog

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line 12 cup muffin pan with paper liners or spray with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl mix flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg.
  3. In a large bowl whisk eggnog, vegetable oil, sugars, eggs, and vanilla.
  4. Gradually stir wet ingredients into dry until combined.
  5. Pour batter about 2/3 full into each muffin tin.
  6. Bake for 14-16 minutes until cake tester comes out clean and muffins are firm on top.
  7. Cool for about 5 minutes in pan before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
  8. Eggnog Glaze
  9. In a medium bowl stir confectioners sugar and gradually add milk until mixture is thick yet can run off a spoon easily.
  10. Dip tops of muffins in glaze and set back on wire rack until set.
  11. Store in an airtight container.
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Peach Bread

With fresh peaches in season, whip up a loaf of this delicious Peach Bread.  Enjoy a slice for dessert or even with your morning coffee. 

Peach Bread - Mother Thyme

Last weekend was our first weekend to the Farmer’s Market since May, crazy!  This summer has been flying by and every weekend we have been busy or out of town that we have been unable to go.  The kids and I headed there on a beautiful morning.  I have to be honest, with two three year olds at a busy Farmer’s Market I was a little scared going myself.  I am always so worried one of them will run off.  They don’t like to ride in a stroller.  They like their freedom and would rather walk. 

With a firm grip on the twins, we ventured into the Farmer’s Market.  It was bustling with vendors and a variety of fresh produce I couldn’t wait to get my hands on, including some ripe peaches.  I always go for the seconds if available, which are great for cooking.  With a bushel of peaches and the kids in hand we made our way to my favorite blueberry vendor before heading out.

I couldn’t wait to make peach cobbler and a grilled peach salad with poppyseed dressing, some of my favorite dishes I love to make every summer.  Recently when I was at Wegmans, our local grocery store they were sampling Peach Loaf which is out of this world.  I actually remember trying it last year and remember how delicious it was.  Each bite was not only filled with chunks of fresh peaches, but the bread itself had a lovely peach flavor to it. 

This recipe for Peach Bread is very similar in flavor and texture to the one I tried at the grocery store, if not better.  It is so moist and delicious, perfect for dessert or with your morning coffee. 

If you have fresh peaches on hand, you need to try this bread.  I’m sure you will fall in love with it as much as I have. 

Peach Bread - Mother Thyme

What you need
All-purpose flour
Peach flavored instant gelation
Baking powder
Salt
Cinnamon
Unsalted butter
Sugar
Almond extract
Eggs
Milk
Peaches
Light brown sugar
Rolled oats

Step one:  Mix flour, gelatin mix, baking powder, salt and cinnamon in a medium bowl and set aside. 

Peach Bread - Mother Thyme

Step two:  Cream butter and sugar. 

Peach Bread - Mother Thyme

Step three:  Add eggs one at a time then almond extract. 

Peach Bread - Mother Thyme

Step four:  Gradually add in flour mixture, alternating with milk until combined.

Peach Bread - Mother Thyme

Step five:  Fold in peaches and spread in a greased  9×5- inch loaf pan.  

Peach Bread - Mother Thyme

Step six:  In a small bowl combine melt butter, brown sugar, flour, oats and cinnamon and sprinkle on top.  Bake in a 350 degree oven for 55-60 minutes. 

Peach Bread - Mother Thyme

Peach Bread

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Yield: 8 servings

Peach Bread

Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 ounce box peach flavored instant gelatin mix
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 1 1/2 cups diced peaches
  • Streusel topping
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon slivered almonds, optional

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Generously spray a 9x5 inch loaf pan with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl mix flour, gelatin mix, baking powder, salt and cinnamon, set aside.
  3. Using an electric mixer cream butter and sugar.
  4. Add eggs one at a time then almond extract.
  5. Gradually add in flour mixture, alternating with milk until all combined.
  6. Spread in prepared loaf pan.
  7. In a small bowl mix butter, brown sugar, flour, oats and cinnamon until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle on top of batter and top with slivered almonds
  8. Bake in preheated oven for 55-60 minutes until cake tester inserted into the center of bread comes out clean.
  9. Cool on a wire rack before removing from pan.
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More summer favorites using seasonal produce
Banana Zucchini Muffins
Strawberry Pie
Tomato Pizza Pie
Blueberry Lemon Bread
Zucchini Quesadillas

Nutella Muffins

Nutella Muffins

I have a weakness for Nutella.  I can’t keep a jar of it in the house or I end up eating half of the jar with just a spoon.  A little here, a little there, before I know it half the jar is gone. 

Sometimes I can’t help myself when I find myself at the grocery store and a I see a lonely jar of Nutella on the shelf.  I know it is just destined to come home with me.  I just better put it under lock and key or I’m in trouble. 

Nutella Muffins

I love Nutella for many things.  Sometimes as a little snack, I will spread a little Nutella on a flour tortilla and wrap it up with a banana.  It is so good like that!  My Nutella Brownies are wildy popular.  Thank you so much for the continued positive feedback on that recipe.  I am so thrilled that everyone love those.  If you haven’t tried those yet, those are a must try.  They may quickly become your new favorite brownie.

These Nutella Muffins may become a new favorite of yours as well.  They are light, moist and delicious served warm alone or even spread with a little strawberry preserves.  Try them even as a dessert with a little vanilla ice cream.  You may also pop them in the freezer so you have some on hand anytime the urge for one hits.  They thaw quickly in the microwave or even just sitting on the counter.

Nutella Muffins

Nutella Muffins

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: PT18-20M

Total Time: PT33-35M

Yield: 12 muffins

Nutella Muffins

Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted and cooled
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup low fat milk
  • 1/2 cup Nutella
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a 12 cup muffin pan with liners or spray with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl mix flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt and set aside.
  3. In another large bowl, stir butter and sugar until combined. Stir in eggs one at a time. Stir in milk followed by Nutella until mixture is smooth.
  4. Gradually stir in flour mixture into wet ingredients until combined. Stir in chocolate chips.
  5. Pour batter about 3/4 full in prepared muffin pan. Bake for 18-20 minutes until cake tester comes out out clean.
  6. Cool in pan for about 5 minutes. Serve warm or transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
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STbookcover3

An early release of Summer Thyme is now available!  Click on the book cover for a sneak peak and to grab your early release copy!  Later this week there is some great things happening that I can’t wait to share with you along with the full launch of Summer Thyme including fun giveaways!

Anise Cookies + BeaterBlade Giveaway

anise cookies

These anise cookies are very special to me.  They remind me of cookies I would make with my mother growing up.  She must have used anise in her Christmas cookie cutouts since that distinct anise flavor that are in these were in those cookies too.  We used to make our cookies in late November and freeze them.  As we got closer to Christmas we would spend the day frosting the cookies.  As a child it was so much fun frosting the cookies that were in shapes of Santa, Christmas trees and snowflakes.  I look forward to passing on those holiday baking traditions with my kids as well.

These darling Italian anise cookies are the last featured cookie for this seasons Christmas Cookie Countdown series.  If you plan on doing last minute baking this weekend before the big day, these are simple to make and a perfect addition your holiday cookie tray.  They are slightly sweet and buttery with just the right amount of anise.  They are topped with a simple anise glaze to layer the anise flavor and sprinkled with nonpareils.  If you are looking for a classic Italian Anise Cookie you will love these and love how easy these are make too!

anise cookies

To make my baking easier this holiday season, I have to thank the BeaterBlade.  This brilliant attachment fits perfectly to my KitchenAid.  It also works on Cuisinart, Viking, and Kenwood stand mixers.  It scrapes the bowl while mixing.  How genius is that?  I can’t tell you how many times I used to have to stop while mixing to scrap the bowl before I owned this.  With the BeaterBlade it scraps it for me.  The Beaterblade and Beaterblade Pro also cuts mixing time up to 50%.  With all the baking I am doing for the holidays, this handy attachment is making my baking a lot easier. 

I am in love with the BeaterBlade attachment and I am so excited to giveaway one of these to one lucky MT reader!  Enter below for your chance to win!  Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

anise cookies

Cream butter and sugar.  While mixing add in eggs and anise extract. 

anise cookies

Stir in flour mixture. 

anise cookies

Drop tablespoon size balls on parchment lined baking sheets.  Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 12-15 minutes. 

anise cookies

Dip top of cookies into glaze and sprinkle with nonpareils. 

anise cookies

Anise Cookies

Yield: 3 dozen

Ingredients

  • 2 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 3/4 cup butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons anise extract
  • Anise Glaze
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon anise extract
  • 3 tablespoon milk
  • Nonpareils or sprinkles for garnish

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl combine flour and baking powder and set aside.
  3. Using an electric mixer cream butter and sugar. Stir in eggs, one at a time then anise extract. Gradually blend in flour mixture until combined.
  4. Drop tablespoon size balls on prepared baking sheets. Bake for 12-15 minutes until bottoms are golden brown. Place on wire rack to cool.
  5. Anise Glaze
  6. In a small bowl stir together confectioners sugar, anise extract and milk until creamy. Dip tops of cookies in glaze. Sprinkle with nonpareils before glaze dries.
  7. Store in an airtight container.
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Candy Cane Macarons

candy cane macarons

Paris, the city of light.  It is such a beautiful city that I hope to get back to one day.  I haven’t been there in almost seventeen years since I was in my early twenties.  I have such wonderful memories of visiting the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, and Notre Dame.  I also remember the best cup of coffee I ever had and enjoying walks down little streets and passing quaint bakeries.

Macarons, a French confection is made simply with egg whites, confectioners sugar, almond meal or almond flour and sugar.  Sounds simple, right? Macarons are simple however they can be a little difficult if you are not patient with them.  If you get the wrong consistency, the cookies may crack or you may not get the proper feet on the cookies.  Feet on a macaron is referred to that little crackly area on the bottom of the cookie that gives it that distinct macaron look.  I never thought I’d be so into feet, especially on a cookie until I started making these.  After practice and several dozen cookies, you will finally get the hang of it.  And once you do, if you are like me you may just stare at them the rest of the day.

I made these Candy Cane Macarons for the 2nd Annual Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap.  I participated in this event last year and it was so much fun I was thrilled to do it again this year.  It is the ultimate cookie exchange for food bloggers.  I received three food bloggers, Katie from Katies Cucina, Jessica from Kettler Cuisine, and Dea from The Baking Robot.  I sent them each a dozen of these macarons.  In return I received a dozen cookies from three different food bloggers.  Best part it is a total surprise, so you don’t know who has you until a package arrives at your doorstep filled with delicious cookies.

A big thank you to Annakate from La Aguacate, Crystal from Eat, Drink, Cleveland, and Christine from Cook the Story for the wonderful cookies they sent me.  They were fabulous and great treats to enjoy these last few days.

These Candy Cane Macarons are perfect for the holidays, and even better for little confections to wrap and gift.  People pay a premium price for these little goodies, so imagine making these yourself and gifting these this holiday.  They are cookies that will certainly be enjoyed.

Here are some of my tips on creating the perfect macaron
~ Measure everything in grams with a kitchen scale.  If you don’t have a scale I have included volume measurements but those numbers can vary.  For precise measurements and for best results use a scale.
~ Gradually sprinkle in almond meal and confectioners sugar on egg whites in thirds. In a circular motion around the bowl and then into the egg whites.  Continue that motion until combined and then continue to add more mixture.
~ Overmixing and undermixing.  I realized that in my trial and error that I undermixed because I was scared to overmix.  This resulted in the macarons cracking. You want to gently fold until the mixture becomes ribbon like and is glossy.

What you will need to make macarons
~ Ingredients indicated on the recipe
~ Kitchen scale
~ Electric mixer
~ Baking sheets lined with parchment paper
~ Pastry tip (I like to use Wilton tip 12) and pastry bags. If you don’t have pastry bags use a freezer bag and cut a tip from there.

macaron ingredients

Ingredients for the shell include almond meal, confectioners sugar, egg whites, sugar, vanilla extract and food coloring if desired.

macarons

Whisk egg whites until foamy.

macarons

Add in sugar, vanilla and food coloring if desired and whip on medium high speed until soft peaks form. 

Gently fold in almond and confectioner sugar until incorporated and batter is glossy and can flow off a spatula like a ribbon.

Pipe 1 inch circles spacing about 1 inch apart on parchment lined paper. Let sit for until the tops have set and you can touch them without getting any batter on your fingers, about 30 minutes to an hour.

candy cane macarons

Candy Cane Macarons

Yield: 2 dozen

Ingredients

  • 150 grams (about 1 1/4 cup) confectioners sugar
  • 110 grams (about 1 cup) ground almond meal
  • 100 grams (about 3 large eggs) egg whites, room temperature
  • 50 grams (about 1/4 cup) sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1-2 drops food coloring or food gel (optional)
  • Candy Cane Filling
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup confectioners sugar
  • 4 oz. Wilton Candy Cane Colorburst Candy Melts, melted and slightly cooled

Instructions

  1. Line 2-3 large baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl sift confectioners sugar and almond meal and set aside.
  3. Using an electric mixer whisk egg whites until foamy on medium speed. Sprinkle in sugar, vanilla and food coloring and whip on medium high speed until soft peaks form.
  4. Gradually fold in almond mixture into egg whites a third a time until mixture becomes glossy and has a ribbon like consistency.
  5. Place batter into pastry bag fitted with a round tip and pipe about 48 1-inch circles on prepared baking sheets. Tap side of baking sheet to remove any air bubbles. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes to 1 hour until top can be touched without any batter coming up.
  6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake in preheated oven for 12-16 minutes, rotating half way through. Cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.
  7. Candy Cane Filling
  8. Using an electric mixer beat butter until fluffy. Gradually add in confectioners sugar until combined. Blend in melted chocolate until creamy. Place filling in pastry bag fitted with round tip.
  9. Pair up same size macarons. Swirl a small amount of filling on macaron and gently sandwich paired macarons together.
  10. Store in an airtight container.

Recommended tip for piping, Wilton tip 12. If you can't find Wilton Candy Cane Colorburst Candy Melts, use white chocolate or vanilla candy melts. Add a drop or two of peppermint extract and stir in a few tablespoons of finely crushed candy canes or peppermints. Macarons should remove from parchment paper with ease once baked using an off set spatula. To keep parchment paper down on baking sheets without shifting, spray baking sheet first with cooking spray then place parchment paper down. Bob's Red Mill Finely Ground Almond Meal/Flour was used in this recipe. It can be found at many local grocery stores, often in the organic section.

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Chocolate Mint Pudding Poke Cake

chocolate mint pudding poke cake

Can you believe Christmas is two weeks away!  This holiday season is going by so fast.  Before we know it Christmas will have come and gone and we will be heading into the New Year.

Remember when you were young and Christmas seemed to be far away?  Two weeks couldn’t get here soon enough.  As soon as January came, thinking of Christmas seemed like centuries away.  For me, Christmas and my birthday are all within ten days of one another so I celebrate everything all at once.  I never liked that very much when I was a kid.  Now I can’t even remember how old I’m going to be.  The last few weeks I was thinking I was turning 37.  I just realized I’m turning 38.  That is how fast time is flying by.

I don’t mind slowing things down to sit back and enjoy a piece of moist chocolate cake.  Make it from scratch and add in some mint to make it festive and even better.  This is such an easy cake mix to make.  It is actually my staple, go to chocolate cake mix except I just had fun poking some holes in it and adding mint extract.  What is not to love with a creamy pudding topping, which also makes frosting the cake a breeze since the pudding doubles as the frosting.  Sprinkle with some crushed creme de menthe candies like Andes or how about some crushed Thin Mint Girl Scout cookies for a simple, moist and delicious chocolate dessert.

chocolate mint pudding poke cake

Chocolate Mint Pudding Poke Cake

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon mint extract
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1/2 cup crushed creme de menthe candies or thin mint cookies (optional)
  • Pudding Topping
  • 2 boxes (3.4 oz each) instant chocolate pudding mix
  • 4 cups milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon mint extract

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease and flour a 9 x 13 inch cake pan and set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl sift flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
  3. In a medium bowl whisk eggs, milk, vegetable oil, sour cream and mint extract.
  4. Stir wet ingredients and water into dry ingredients until blended.
  5. Pour into prepared cake pan and bake for 35-40 minutes until cake tester inserted into the center of cake comes out clean. Cool completely on wire rack.
  6. Using the back of a wooden spoon poke holes in the cake about 1 inch apart.
  7. Pudding Topping
  8. In a large bowl whisk pudding mix, milk and mint extract. Slowly pour into mixture into holes of cake then pour remaining mixture evenly over cake.
  9. Sprinkle with chopped creme de menthe candies or crushed thin mints if desired.
  10. Refrigerate until pudding is set.
  11. Keep refrigerated.

This cake can be made without poking holes in it and frost with your favorite buttercream frosting. For a classic chocolate cake, substitute mint extract for vanilla extract.

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