Baking with B: Chocolate Spice Cookies

Do you ever get tired of making the same thing, over and over again? (I used to feel that way about birthday cakes.) I was searching for something to serve during a recent family visit and none of my old standards were really grabbing me. Trying something new didn’t really appeal to me either- I didn’t have the time or energy for experimenting.

I was beginning to feel discouraged until I thought- hey, why reinvent the wheel? You know a lot of great classic recipes, B. Why not spice one up so you can have the best of both worlds?

I took my own advice. Literally. I whipped together the ingredients for my favorite butter cookie recipe (also featured here) and turned things up a notch. I’m pretty pleased with the results, too- these Chocolate Spice Cookies melt in your mouth just like a butter cookie, but taste like a gingersnap, with an extra splash of chocolate to keep things sweet.

Chocolate Spice Cookies (makes 28)

3/4 c. butter, softened

1/2 c. sugar

1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour

2 tsp. cinnamon

2 tsp. nutmeg

1 1/2 c. chocolate chips, melted

Cream together butter and sugar until well blended. In a separate bowl, sift together spices and flour and mix with wet ingredients, adding one spoonful at a time until ingredients are fully combined. Divide the dough and shape into two flat discs. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350F. Remove dough from refrigerator and unwrap. Use your hands to shape dough into desired shape, before placing on a parchment-lined cookie sheet approximately one inch apart. Press down each cookie with a fork before baking 10 minutes. Remove from oven and place on cookie rack until fully cooled.

Melt chocolate in a double-broiler or microwave until smooth. Dip each cookie halfway into the chocolate before placing on waxed paper. Refrigerate until chocolate is set.

B’s Tip: Just because I used chocolate chips doesn’t mean you can’t use your favorite baking chocolate or chocolate bar to make the melted chocolate! You may want to drizzle the chocolate over the cookies instead, or skip that step altogether and throw your chocolate chips into the dough before baking.

The best thing about making over a classic recipe like this is that the variations don’t have to stop there- you can change up the chocolate, switch out the spices, or add nuts or your favorite dried fruit for even more flavor. Your cookies don’t even have to be the same shape- I tried molding mine into logs before squashing with a giant serving fork, instead of the usual circular cookies I make. See? Spicing up your old routine can be addictive. I highly suggest you try it too. You never know what you might come up with!

Happy baking!

B

Baking with B appears every other Monday on the Keeping Busy with B Blog. Find out why I like baking so much here. For more of my baking, click here. And for even more recipe inspiration, check out my Pinterest full of food eye candy that will have you licking your computer. Promise.

Baking with B: Chocolate Pudding Brownies

Isn’t it awesome when you can take something from your cupboard normally used for one thing and then make something completely different using that same thing?

If you don’t follow, then you obviously haven’t made these Chocolate Pudding Brownies where the secret ingredient is (not surprisingly) chocolate pudding. They’re super-soft and moist and honestly do kind of taste like chocolate pudding- if you bake them right, they have that soft, smooth pudding texture that gives the recipe its name. Apologies to brownie purists everywhere-my favorite brownie recipe is still this one-but for people that are short on time and looking for simple baking solutions, this is definitely one you should add to your roster.

Chocolate Pudding Brownies (makes 25 squares)

6 tbsp butter, softened

2/3 c. sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1/2 c. all-purpose flour

1 box instant chocolate pudding powder (4-serving size)

Preheat oven to 350F. In a medium bowl, cream butter and sugar until smooth before beating in eggs, one at a time. Add vanilla. In a separate bowl, sift together flour and chocolate pudding powder. Combine with wet ingredients just until moistened. Spread evenly in a greased 8×8-inch pan and bake for 30 minutes until pick inserted in center comes out moist, not wet, with batter.

B’s Tip: Depending on how hot or cold your oven runs, you may want to check up on these babies frequently to make sure you don’t over-bake them. They’re still pretty tasty if you do, but the texture comes out kind of gummy and spongy instead of cake-y and moist.

These brownies are so ooey, gooey good that you should wait until they cool before cutting and serving, but if you just can’t wait why not pair one with your favorite ice cream or frozen yogurt for a brownie-licious sundae? Just add whipped cream and chocolate sauce and you’re good to go! Brownie points if you top it with a maraschino cherry. (See what I did there?!)

Happy baking!

B

Baking with B appears every other Monday on the Keeping Busy with B Blog. Find out why I like baking so much here. For more of my baking, click here. And for even more recipe inspiration, check out my Pinterest full of food eye candy that will have you licking your computer. Promise.

Baking with B: Rocky Road Sour Cream Brownies

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I confess I used to be one of those people that scoffed at the idea Valentine’s Day. Like those other haters, I believed it was too commercialized, and I resented feeling excluded all of those years I was single on February 14.

As I’ve gotten older and found it more difficult to keep up with all of my personal relationships, I’m starting to realize those greeting card companies might be onto something. There just aren’t a lot of opportunities for romance amidst today’s hustle and bustle unless you make the time for it. Sure, ideally you’d like to show your partner your appreciation every day, but now I think there’s something to be said for putting aside a day once a year for doing something special.

That’s why I’m starting to think Valentine’s Day is really for those in long-term relationships- those relationships that are filled with chores and kids and bills and all those other wonderful things life throws your way as an adult. Those couples need a day like this. They need a way to make things extra-special.

Kind of like these brownies. My chocolate brownies are kind of a staple in my household, and yet when do I ever get the opportunity to jazz them up a little? Valentine’s Day seemed like the perfect excuse to bake this ooey-gooey, junked-up version. The result? A brownie that’s perfect for your favorite chocoholic, or for anyone that you want to feel special.

Rocky Road Sour Cream Brownies (makes 25)

Brownie Base:

1/2 c. butter, melted

1 c. sugar

1/2 c. flour

1/3 c. cocoa

1/4 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 c. sour cream

Rocky Road Topping:

1/2 c. milk or semi-sweet chocolate chips

1/2 c. mini marshmallows

1/2 c. slivered almonds

Preheat oven to 350F. In a medium-sized bowl, cream together butter, sugar and vanilla. Beat in eggs one at a time until frothy, then use a spoon to add sour cream and mix well. In a separate bowl, combine flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt. Stir dry ingredients into wet ingredients until fully combined. Bake in a greased 8-inch pan for approximately 35 minutes.

Remove brownies from oven and sprinkle chocolate chips, marshmallows and almonds (in that order) over top, taking care to distribute evenly. Return to the oven and bake for 5-10 minutes more, or until marshmallows get puffy and golden. Let the brownies cool at least 10-15 minutes before cutting.

B’s Tip: The sour cream brownie base makes these treats really soft at first, so it’s based to wait until brownies are just about cool for the cleanest, neatest cuts. But who am I kidding? Chocolate is chocolate, and these taste good pretty much any which way.

Happy baking!

B

KBwB-Flower-50Baking with B appears every other Monday on the Keeping Busy with B Blog. Find out why I like baking so much here. For more of my baking, click here. And for even more recipe inspiration, check out my Pinterest full of food eye candy that will have you licking your computer. Promise.