Showing posts with label desserts for grown-ups. Show all posts
Showing posts with label desserts for grown-ups. Show all posts

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

ICED GINGERBREAD COOKIE STICKS (Edible #Coffee Stirrers) from ONCE UPON A GRIND by Cleo Coyle



Here's a slightly more sophisticated take on the classic gingerbread cookie, letting you serve with style and dunk and crunch with joy. 

It's a fun idea for dessert trays, holiday parties, or that cozy evening by your roaring fireplace DVD (and, yes, we have one). I have a little decorating tip for your holiday tables, too, but first the recipe...


Cleo Coyle has a partner in 
crime-writing—her husband.
Learn about their books
by clicking here or here.


Cleo Coyle's
Gingerbread Cookie Sticks

(Edible Coffee, Tea, or Cocoa Stirrers)

My readers will recognize this cookie 
from Once Upon a Grind, my brand new Coffeehouse Mystery.

During the book's Fairy Tale
Festival in Central Park, where the first crime scene occurs, 
my amateur sleuth uses this recipe to create "beanstalk" cookie sticks for her landmark shop's coffee truck. 

Clare's merry band of baristas give the vehicle a Jack-in-the-Beanstalk makeover for the children's festival, so the cookies seem appropriate. Unfortunately for Clare, her coffee hunter ex-husband Matt brings his own "magic beans"coffee beans sourced from a legendary and very real area of Africa. And boy will they bring Giant trouble. 

These cookies, on the other hand, are designed to bring joy. Drizzle them with melted white chocolate or make your own vanilla glaze (recipe included). A final sprinkling of coarse finishing sugar will create a treat as pretty as a winter snowfall. May you bake them with love and eat with holiday joy!

~ Cleo




Click here for free
recipe PDF.






To download this recipe in a free PDF document with additional step-by-step photos, click here. Print, save, or share it.





Makes about 4-5 dozen cookie sticks, depending on size

For cookies:

2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice (or 1⁄8 teaspoon ground cloves)
10 tablespoons (1-1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature*
2⁄3 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
1/4 cup molasses (unsulphured, not blackstrap)
1⁄3 whole milk (or brewed coffee)*

To finish:

Vanilla Glaze (see recipe below) and
Coarse finishing sugar (about 1/4 cup)

*Note: To make this recipe dairy free replace butter with non-dairy margarine and the whole milk with coffee or almond milk.

Step 1— Assemble the dry ingredients. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, and allspice (or cloves). Set aside.




Step 2—Make the dough. Using an electric mixer, cream the softened butter and dark brown sugar; add the molasses and milk (or coffee) and blend again. While continuing to beat at a low speed, slowly add in your dry ingredients, blending to make a smooth dough. Do not overbeat, but be sure all of the flour mixture is incorporated. 


Troubleshooting note: The dough should be sticky and in the next step you will chill it to harden up the butter, but you may need to adjust the dough slightly, depending on your climate, brand of flour, and vagaries in measurements. All this to say: If your dough seems particularly wet, beat in a bit more flour. Just don't overdo it because too much flour will toughen up your cookie.



Step 3—Wrap and chill. Form the sticky dough into 2 balls and flatten into disks. Wrap the two disks in plastic and refrigerate for at least 1 hour; overnight is fine, too. (If you’re in a hurry, place the dough discs in the freezer for 20 minutes instead.) The chilling will harden up the butter and make the dough easier to work with for the next step.

Step 4—Roll the dough. First, preheat the oven to 350°F. Remove the chilled dough disks from the fridge and (if too hard) allow to warm just enough to become pliable. Place the dough between two sheets of lightly flour-dusted parchment paper. (This is a great method for rolling cookies because you will only need the lightest dusting of flour, which will keep the cookies from toughening up.) Roll your dough thin, about the thickness of a pie crust (around 1/8 inch). 





Troubleshooting: The biggest issue you may have in rolling this dough will be the dough’s stickiness. This will depend on your climate and the weather. If the dough becomes too warm as you roll it and it sticks too much to the parchment paper, simply slip the whole thing onto a pan and place the pan in the fridge for 15 minutes or freezer for 10. Once the rolled-out dough is chilled, it will firm up and easily separate from the paper.

Step 5—Cut the cookies. Remove the top layer of parchment paper. Use a pizza cutter to clean up the edges of your rectangle and slice into sticks. Do not move the sticks off the bottom parchment layer. Simply slip the entire sheet of parchment onto a cookie sheet.





Step 6—Bake. Bake for 10 to 13 minutes. When the cookies are finished baking, you will need to recut them and you must do this while the cookies are still warm. Gently slide the entire sheet of parchment paper onto a cutting board or a sturdy counter surface and use your original slicing lines as a guide. The pizza cutter will make quick work of it, roll from the top down, as you see in my photo below, so you can easily follow your lines. 


Step 7COOL: You must allow the cookie sticks to cool completely before handling. If you try to move them while they are warm, they are very likely to crack and break (ask me how I know).



Step 8—Drizzle with glaze. Once cool, you can make the glaze (recipe below) or melt white chocolate and drizzle it on the sticks. Finish with a sprinkling of coarse sugar. 






Cleo's Vanilla Glaze

2 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 tablespoon milk or cream (or almond milk)
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (for a whiter glaze, use clear vanilla)

Directions: In a small saucepan, over medium-low heat, melt the butter. Add milk and whisk in the powdered sugar, a little at a time. When all the sugar is melted into the butter and milk, remove from heat and stir in the vanilla. TOO THICK? whisk in a bit more milk. TOO THIN? Add a bit more powdered sugar and continue to cook it down until it’s thick enough. TEST: Before drizzling on your cookie sticks, use a fork and drizzle a bit on a plate. If you’re having trouble drizzling it nicely, then it’s too thick. On the other hand, if the glaze doesn’t harden fairly quickly after cooling, then it’s too thin. Finally, if the glaze hardens in the pan or becomes crusty, whisk it over heat and add a bit more milk, and you will be able to return it to drizzling consistency again, and...




Click here to download
this recipe in a
free PDF document.




Eat with holiday joy!


~ Cleo Coyle

New York Times bestselling author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries


Friend me on facebook here. * Follow me on twitter here
Learn about our books here


Sign up for my Coffeehouse Newsletter here.
(Recipes, contests, videos, fun info)
 

Now a National
Bestseller in Hardcover!


Join coffeehouse manager
Clare Cosi as she solves the crime
against "Sleeping Beauty," opens
secret doors (uptown and down),
and investigates a cold case that's
been unsolved since the Cold War.

"Fresh and fun...clever" ~ Booklist
"Charming, vivid, memorable" ~ RT Book Reviews
"Wicked good" ~ Library Journal


Wonderful recipes are also featured in Cleo's 14th 
culinary mystery, Once Upon a Grind, including...

* Black Forest Brownies 
* Cappuccino Blondies 
* Shrimp Kiev (new photo!)


Shrimp Kiev from the recipe section
of Once Upon a Grind

* Dr Pepper Glazed Chicken
* Silver Dollar Chocolate Chip Cookies
* "Fryer Tuck's" Ale-Battered Onion Rings
* Poor Man's Caviar 
* Caramel-Dipped Meltaways (new photo!)


Caramel-Dipped Meltaways from
the recipe section of Once Upon a Grind

...and many more recipes, including
a guide to reading coffee grinds...


See the book's
Recipe Guide (free PDF)

* * * 



Cleo also writes
The Haunted Bookshop
Mysteries 


Get a free title checklist,
with mini plot summaries, by clicking here.
Or learn more here. 



* * * 

Quickie Decorating Tip



A little reminder of a common way you can make your tables appear more festive and romantic during the holiday season. (Do you do this, too?) Find pretty glassware, making sure it's thick, sturdy glass. Fill or partially fill the containers with water and float tea candles in them. 

We use plain and scented tea candles: apple-cinnamon, berry, and French vanilla are all beautiful aromas for the holidays. Marc and I always have fun searching thrift stores for retro glassware of all shapes and sizes.

May your own holidays be bright! 

~ Cleo





Win Books and More!

If you are a subscriber to our Coffeehouse Mystery
newsletter, then you may have entered our
holiday giveaway by answering the
special question that we asked in our newsletter...

What is one of your most
treasured holiday memories?

The randomly drawn
winner of the
comment contest was...

Jessie S.
of Rio Rancho,
New Mexico

Congratulations,
Jessie!


Thanks to everyone for participating
in our holiday memories contest.
Don't miss our next contest,
coming up soon.
If you would like to subscribe to our
n
ewsletter, click here

~ Cleo



Saturday, April 12, 2014

Chocolate Walnut Cake for Grownups



Happily brought to you by Victoria Abbott (aka Victoria and Mary Jane Maffini)


We use this cake for celebrations and right now we're celebrating the arrival of the audio version of The Christie Curse, the first in our book collector mystery series. Life has much to celebrate such as new books and good friends who share recipes.






We were introduced to this beautiful chocolate walnut cake when our good friends Rita and Arch visited from Connecticut last winter. Rita is a terrific cook and they brought this cake with them. We had a reunion dinner with old friends and it was the star of our party.

It takes about an hour to make (be warned!), but it’s a fun process and it is worth every minute.  This is probably a good time to mention that it is even better after twenty-four hours or after being frozen.  We find it’s a wonderful cake for a gathering of grown-ups and as it’s already been made in advance, it leaves you nice and relaxed. It has a rich sophisticated flavor, is not overly sweet and isn’t too high in carbs, although we admit it’s not low carb. 

Chocolate Walnut Cake  12 servings



Ingredients
8 large eggs, at room temperature 
1 cup granulated sugar, divided 
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar 
1 1/2 cups toasted finely ground walnuts, (that is a scant 2 cups walnut halves) 
2 teaspoons vanilla extract 
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour 
1/3 cup cocoa powder, sifted 
1/2 teaspoon salt 
3/4 cup good quality raspberry marmalade 
1 teaspoon confectioners' sugar 
Whipping cream and berries (optional)







PREPARATION

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly oil and flour a 9-inch springform pan, tapping out any excess flour. (I have taken to using parchment to line the pans as well.)
Crack 2 eggs into the larger bowl. Separate 2 more eggs, placing the whites in a second large bowl and adding the yolks to the bowl with the whole eggs. Separate the remaining 4 eggs, adding the whites to the other whites (reserve the 4 yolks for another use.) You should have 6 whites in one bowl, 2 whole eggs plus 2 yolks in the other bowl.  This will feel a bit like a math test!
Add brown sugar and 2/3 cup granulated sugar to the eggs and yolks and beat with the mixer at medium speed until thick and light in color, about 3 minutes. 
  
Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula; beat in the toasted ground nuts and vanilla until combined.

Beat in flour, cocoa powder, salt and cinnamon just until combined, scraping down the sides as needed. 
Clean and dry the beaters. Beat the egg whites with an electric mixer at high speed until foamy. Add 1/3 cup granulated sugar and continue beating until soft peaks form. 
Fold in 1 cup of the beaten whites with a rubber spatula until smooth, then fold in the remaining whites with very gentle arcs, just until incorporated (some white streaks may still be visible).

Gently pour the batter into the prepared pan.

Place the pan in the oven and reduce heat to 325 degrees F. Bake the cake until set, puffed and spongy but still firm, 40 to 45 minutes.  









 Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely, about 2 hours. As it cools, the cake will shrink away from the sides of the pan.

 
Remove the pan's side. Release the cake from the pan's bottom using a long, thin, metal spatula and carefully transfer it to a serving plate.  Slice cake horizontally. Gently lift off top. 
 

Spread bottom with raspberry jam.   












 
Replace top.  



 DO NOT PRESS DOWN!












Sprinkle with confectioners' sugar just before serving.

This cake is even better after twenty four hours. It also freezes beautifully.  

You can serve it with whipped cream and raspberries or by itself. 






 

 

Check out the Victoria Abbott book collector mysteries in audio.  The Christie Curse is now available.  A great reason to have cake!  We think Walter the Pug looks great on the cover. 

Order it here!





The Wolfe Widow, third in Victoria Abbott's book collector series, will be out in September, 2014.  









    Pre-order it here!












 The Sayers Swindle is on the shelves now.




 

You can click here to order The Sayers Swindle!

Or here for the Kindle version!

Or order through your favorite bookstore - in person or online.











  

The Christie Curse, the first book collector mystery, launched in March 2013 to great reviews.








 
The Christie Curse is also available in Large Print! Tell your local librarian!


















 Walter, the pug in the series is a dead ringer for Peachy, Victoria's new best friend. 


 Come over and friend Victoria on Facebook

www.facebook.com/BookCollectorMysteries   www.facebook.com/maryjane.maffini

Tell  her  you love the pug!
www.twitter.com/AbbottMysteries

www.pinterest.com/jbinghamkelly

and check out Mary Jane Maffini and Victoria Abbott