The Most Perfect Snickerdoodles

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I don’t “toot my own horn” (as they say) that often, but when it comes to Snickerdoodles, I will say that you will never have a better one than my version. I like how fluffy these are, rather than the flat versions like most other ones you’ll come across. Those ones are JUST FINE, so don’t look at me like that, but these are little clouds of fluffy perfection. The key is to keep the ingredients cold and to refrigerate between steps. I made these with one of bests last week and she and her kids loved them—I love baking with my people! That’s how we Carolines roll, we wanna bake with you and give you All the Treats.

The Most Perfect Snickerdoodle

3 cups flour
2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter (chilled – only microwave it for about 10 seconds to get it barely soft)
1 1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
2 eggs (chilled – normally room temp works for most cookies, but not this recipe)
1 teaspoon vanilla

Topping
2 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a medium-sized bowl, add flour, cream of tartar and salt. Refrigerate while you work on the next step.

Mix butter and sugar until light and fluffy, add baking powder and soda. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Once mixed, add the dry ingredients and mix until combined and uniform. Refrigerate till cool (10 – 20 minutes).

Roll into balls then refrigerate and let stand 15 minutes.

Coat the pre-rolled balls in cinnamon sugar mixture and place on greased cookie sheets. Bake for 7-8 minutes—the tops should just be getting a few cracks—remove from oven and let bake on cookie sheet at least 5 more minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. Repeat for each batch.

 

Sourdough Chocolate Cake

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Sourdough Chocolate Cake by twocarolines.com

I was just informed of today being National Chocolate Cake Day, I mean, is that really a thing?  And if it is, why aren’t we all eating chocolate cake right this minute!?  Fortunately, I always have a chocolate cake on deck somewhere and today’s chocolate cake is not only super easy, it’s dairy free (except the frosting which you can omit or make without the dairy) plus it’s a cake you can make straight up, or with a cup of sourdough start which is what I did yielding truly amazing results.  My husband loved it because of the hint of sour and the ganache frosting made it less sweet than a buttercream topped cake, and for a from scratch cake the texture was so perfectly bouncy, moist and rich.  I will give you instructions to make it without the starter because I know that only pretty hard-core bakers maintain a sourdough start, but if you do take my notes on making it with your recently fed sourdough, it’s just so fun when you can use it for something other than bread or waffles.

Cake:

1 1/2 cups flour

1 cup sugar

1/4 cup cocoa (dutch process if you have it)

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon vinegar (cider or white)

1/3 cup vegetable oil

1 cup cold water (you can use milk as well but water worked great for me)

If using sourdough start do 1 cup of starter and reduce water to 4 ounces and reduce flour to 1 cup and don’t add starter until the end, just combine well before pouring into your pan.

Frosting:

1 1/2 cups chocolate chips or chocolate chopped up

1/2 cup heavy cream (half and half works too)

  1. Preheat oven to 350.  Lightly grease an 8″ square or 9″ round cake pan that’s at least 2″ deep.
  2. Whisk the dry ingredients together in a medium sized bowl.  Whisk the vanilla, vinegar, vegetable oil, and water in a separate bowl.  Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl of dry ingredients, stirring until thoroughly combined.  (Add the sourdough now if using) Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
  3. Bake 30-35 until a toothpick in the center comes out clean, or with just a few moist crumbs.
  4. Once most the way cooled make the frosting.  Heat the chocolate and cream until the chips melt and stir until smooth.  I do this in a pyrex heating only 30-45 seconds at at time so I don’t burn the chocolate.  Once smooth pour/spread over the cake.  Let cool a good 10-15 minutes and serve.  Keeps well at room temperature for 3-4 days.

Recipe adapted from King Arthur Flour’s Original Cake Pan Cake 

 

Chocolate Cream Pie

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chocolate cream pie by twocarolines.com

When I really need a chocolate fix this is my go to pie, it’s pretty easy, super rich and chocolatey, loved by all so it disappears quickly, and versatile so you can easily put your own spin on it.  And as a bonus it’s extra handy when you have a bunch of yolks left over from last weeks white sticky frosting.  It follows my basic cream pie recipe that I use for vanilla cream pie, coconut cream pie, banana cream pie, etc. etc. but I’ve developed my own recipe as the Joy Of Cooking version tries to make this way too complicated.  Once you feel that you have this one down, you can change your flavor in a number of fun ways.  I sometimes use more unsweetened and bittersweet chocolate for an extra rich flavor, but my husband likes his chocolate pie a little less rich so you can use sweeter chocolate to ease up on the richness.  It’s also fun to add the Lindt chile chocolate so you get that little hint of hot after each bite, or go with milk chocolate and make it a sweet smooth and creamy dream.  Another idea is to mix your chocolate with mint chips or just add a half teaspoon of mint extract to make a deep dark chocolate mint pie then crush peppermint Oreos on top of your whip cream.  This recipe will fill a deep dish pie pan, but if you’re using a normal 9 inch that’s fine, it’s always nice to have some extra pudding in a bowl as a reward for your efforts!  I like it best served with whipped cream and shaved chocolate but do whatever you feel good about, you truly can’t go wrong!

Crust: Single 9-10 inch traditional pie crust 

1 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup Crisco shortening

4 tablespoons ice cold water

 

For the filling: 

 

1 cup sugar

1/3 cup cornstarch

1/4 teaspoon salt

3 3/4 cups whole milk (if you don’t have whole use what you have, or mix lowfat milk with cream)

7 egg yolks (save whites for a fancy frosting or meringue)

3-4 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 teaspoons vanilla

4 ounces unsweetened chocolate chopped

4 ounces semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate chopped

 

  1. Pre-heat oven to 450. Mix flour and salt together then add shortening.  Combine with a pastry cutter until it looks like coarse crumbs then add water, start with 3 tablespoons, but I usually end up using all 4.  Work with your hands until you form a nice pliable dough.  Turn out onto a floured surface and roll into a circle then roll on to your rolling pin and back out into your pie pan.  Make a ridge and crimp however you would like.  I got a little creative with my crimp and punched out circles that I layered around the crust, I honestly don’t like the way it turned out, but it’s fun to try new things.  Poke a million holes with a fork or weigh down with parchment and pie weights or beans.  Bake for about 8 minutes until nicely browned.  Let cool.
  2.  Put sugar, cornstarch and salt into a medium/large heavy saucepan.  I use this all clad one, anything decent sized with a good thick bottom will work.
  3. Gradually whisk in your milk
  4. Vigorously whisk in your egg yolks one at a time until no yellow streaks remain.
  5. Stirring constantly with a heatproof rubber spatula, bring to a simmer over medium heat.  Remove from heat once bubbles come up and scrape down the corners of your saucepan then whisk until smooth.
  6. Return to heat and whisking constantly, bring a simmer and cook for 1 minute. (make sure you’re wearing an apron as sometimes the bubbles pop on to you!)
  7. Take off the heat and whisk in your butter, vanilla and chopped chocolate whisking vigorously until smooth.  (I was totally sick and didn’t whisk long enough which is why you can see that my filling isn’t totally smooth, if yours doesn’t look smooth enough you can pour into crust through a sieve).
  8. While your filling is still hot pour into pre-baked crust and put plastic wrap directly over the top.
  9. Chill for a good 4 hours before serving.  This pie keeps nicely in the fridge for a good 5 days or so.

Recipe adapted from Joy Of Cooking chocolate cream pie

 

Mama King’s Perfect Sandwich Bread

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This sandwich bread is the blessed brain child of my wonderful mother. It is sweetened with honey and makes the best toast known to human-kind. This bread is so legit, that she used to sell it when I was in Jr. High and High School, and it was in serious demand. Needless to say, I’m obsessed with this bread. From the smell that permeates the house while it bakes, to the way it tastes with butter or dipped in soup. It is one of my all-time favorite things to make, and YOU’RE WELCOME for sharing this recipe.

3 cups warm water
1/2 cup honey
1 tablespoon yeast
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups white flour
3 cups wheat four

Dissolve yeast in water; add honey. Add flour two cups at a time, mixing after each addition. Add salt. Dough is ready when it no longer sticks to the sides of mixer so add additional flour if needed. Divide dough into two portions and place in greased loaf pans. Let rise one hour or until doubled in size. Bake at 325 for 45 minutes.

-CK 1.0

Cranberry Pecan Scones

Two_Carolines_CranberryScones.jpgOne of the best things about being home is eating some of the classic treats my mom has made throughout the years. She found the recipe for these in a Williams Sonoma catalog many years ago and they’ve been a staple ever since! They are soooo good fresh out of the oven. Slightly crisp on the outside, and soft on the inside with those tangy bits of cranberry—they are the perfect way to dress up your morning. My mouth is watering just thinking about them! So, if you will excuse me, I will be pillaging the kitchen while you go ahead and make these…

Cranberry Pecan Scones

2 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup chopped pecans
3/4 cup buttermilk (you can sub for 3/4 cup milk + 1 tablespoon vinegar or lemon juice)
1 egg
2 teaspoons turbinado sugar

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with baking paper or a silpat.

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, nutmeg, baking soda, and salt; mix well. With pastry blender or fork, cut in butter until mixture resembles course crumbs. Add cranberries and pecans; mix well. In a small bowl, combine butter milk and egg; mix well; add to flour mixture; stir until dry ingredients are moistened.

Turn out dough onto lightly floured surface and knead lightly. You can either roll out into two 6″ circles and cut each circle into six wedges—or you can use a biscuit cutter and make them round. With a pastry brush, brush the top of the scones with water and sprinkle with 2 teaspoons of turbinado sugar.

Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Cool for 10 minutes, and serve warm. Makes about one dozen scones.

Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies

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I think we can all agree the jet lag is kind of the worst. I have moved across the world again—back to the U.S. Needless to say, that is a very tiring and intense thing to do. Thank goodness I came straight into the loving arms of my mother’s comfort food. While I’ve been recovering and dealing with the nightmarish logistics of re-setting up my life, I’ve left 2.0 all by herself out in the blogging wild. She’s been handling it like a champ, which just goes to show just part of the reason why I call her 2.0—she’s the best Caroline around!

It was a close friend’s birthday yesterday, and since I show my affection with baked goods, I made cookies for his gift. My mama and I were looking up recipes and this one stuck out to us. The origins of this recipe are kind of murky, so I have no idea who to credit, but we combined this recipe with another one I had back in the archives. And considering the reaction of the birthday boy, I’d say we found a winner! I want to make these again, this time with macadamia nuts for an even bougie-er cookie.

1 cup butter (room temp.)
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3 1/2 cups oats
1 3/4 cups coconut
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips
(consider macadamia nuts, about 3/4 cup)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy; add eggs, one at a time; add vanilla.

In a separate bowl mix together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add to the butter mixture until just mixed. Lastly, add the oats and chocolate chips (and nuts, if desired).

Scoop on to tray using a 2 oz. cookie scoop and cook, one batch at a time for 12ish minutes. Makes approximately 3-dozen cookies.

-CK1.0

Chocolate Brownie Cookies

imageIt’s a cookie! It’s a brownie! It’s a Chocolate Cookie Brownie and you should really eat it this weekend.  It’s like eating the corner piece every time! This is another Smitten Kitchen recipe that turned my head right away because: obvious.  Caroline King v1.0 has been in transit back to the USA and once she’s here we can tip the balance back from my stream of non-stop chocolate desserts, sorry (not sorry).  Hope your weekend if full of friends and chocolate!

1/2 cup butter
4 ounces (115 grams) unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1 cup dark or light brown sugar
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon fine sea or table salt
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cups chocolate chips or bitter- or semisweet chocolate, chopped into chunks

  1. Melt butter and unsweetened chocolate together — you can do this on the stove over very low heat, stirring constantly, in a double-boiler or in the microwave in 30-second bursts, stirring between each — and taking the chocolate out when it’s almost, but not fully, melted. Off the heat, stir until it is.
  2. Whisk sugars into melted butter and chocolate, then eggs, one at a time, then vanilla. Whisk in baking soda and salt. If your cocoa powder is lumpy, sift it right onto the surface of the batter, other wise, just add it to the bowl. Add flour, too, and then stir until just combined. Add chips or chocolate chunks and stir until combined.
  3. Place bowl in the fridge for about 30 minutes, and up to a few days. Shorter than 30 minutes, you can bake it right away but they keep better shape once chilled and are easier to scoop. Longer than 30 minutes, they become difficult to scoop, but you can let them warm up slightly before you do.
  4. Heat oven to 350°F (175°C).
  5. Scoop into about 1 1/2- to 2-tablespoon sized mounds and space evenly on parchment- or nonstick baking mat-lined baking sheets, allowing room for them to spread a little. I use a cookie scoop which is a major time saver that I’m mad I didn’t get sooner.  Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, at which point they will still definitely look underbaked, but you should take them out because you want them soft, chewy and fudgy in the center.
  6. Let set on baking sheets for a few minutes before carefully transferring to a rack to cool the rest of the way before eating, yea right, eat them as soon as your mouth won’t burn!

 

Recipe Smitten Kitchen 2016