Vanilla Sugar Shortbread Wedges

Last year, I took part in the LA Food Bloggers Bake Sale for No Kid Hungry!  I met so many wonderful bloggers and had a great time.  Plus, I had BLD‘s life-changing Blueberry Ricotta Pancakes.  So really, it was a win-win day!

This year, my wonderful husband spotted a newspaper article asking for volunteer bakers for a No Kid Hungry Bake Sale closer to home!  The Redlands Bake Sale for No Kid Hungry sponsored by a Team called the IE Cookie Monsters.  It had to be fate!  You know how I feel about cookies!!

After sending an Email to Team IE Cookie Monsters, I started planning what I wanted to bake. Of course, I had to make brownies. That seems to be a tradition now.  I knew I wanted to do something different, but what?   After a bit of recipe searching, I settled on these easy and delicious Vanilla Sugar Shortbread Wedges.  They are thick, flaky, melt-in-your-mouth, have with a cup of tea on a rainy day, cookies.
Scored Shortbread Wedges

I’m planning on making these again for Mothers Day.  That is, if I can wait that long for another batch.

Vanilla Sugar Shortbread

Vanilla Sugar Shortbread

Ingredients:

2 Sticks Unsalted butter, softened to room temperature

1/4 cup Vanilla Sugar (or regular sugar, with one tsp vanilla bean paste), plus extra for dusting

1/2 cup Powdered Sugar

2 cups Flour

1 tsp salt

Directions:

In a bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter until it turns a pale yellow.  On a sheet of parchment paper, sift sugars together using a fine mesh sieve. Pick up the parchment paper and use it to gently add sugar mix to the butter. Continue to beat until thick and creamy (about 5 minutes).  If you are using regular sugar, add the vanilla paste after you’ve creamed the sugar and butter together.

Sift flour and salt together over the same sheet of parchment paper.  Add to butter/sugar mix, mix until just incorporated.

Wrap dough in plastic wrap and put in the refrigerator for 30-45 minutes.

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

After dough has chilled, press gently in an 8″ round cake pan.  No need to grease the pan, there is plenty of butter in the dough!  Score the dough into wedges, so it will be easier to cut when it’s done baking.

Bake for 1 hour, or until the top of the shortbread has barely browned.

Let cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes.  Cut the shortbread along the score marks, forming eight large wedges.  Dust lightly with 1 tsp granulated sugar.

Share these with a friend and a cup of hot tea or coffee.

Vanilla Shortbread Wedges

NOTE:  These make very thick cookies.  You can split the dough in half and use two cake pans.  Shorten your cooking time to 35-40 minutes (watch carefully).  You can also roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface and use cookie cutters.  If you use cookie cutters, place the dough back in the refrigerator for 30 minutes before baking.  Baking cold cookies will help them maintain their shape.

ENJOY!!

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Dutch Baby Pancakes

I’ve been sick for nearly three weeks and haven’t felt like cooking, eating or frankly doing anything other than napping. Over the weekend I finally turned the corner on this cold. This morning, I made breakfast. Not just breakfast, but a new recipe and a new dish – Dutch Baby Pancakes! I’m so excited! I’ve never made a Dutch Baby! Wait, let me rephrase that… I’ve helped make three Dutch babies. They are now 25, 24 and 18 respectively. Dutch Baby Pancakes in a cast iron skillet however, are new to me. 🙂

IMG_9526

Simple to assemble, this delightful breakfast is whisked together in a blender, then poured into a hot skillet and baked in the oven. Talk about your no-brainer breakfast! Not only is it simple to put together, you don’t need many ingredients and the resulting pancake is spectacular to see coming out of the oven. It does deflate after you take it from the oven, but that doesn’t change the flavor!

Dutch Baby Pancake

This was supposed to be a “Sundays With Joy” recipe, but her recipe calls for Coconut, Pineapple and Banana. My darling Dutch husband doesn’t like coconut or pineapple so I improvised and found a recipe we could try. This is Alton Brown’s version from Good Eats!

DUTCH BABY PANCAKE

Ingredients
3 tablespoons butter, melted and divided
2 3/8 ounces all-purpose flour, approximately 1/2 cup
3 tablespoons vanilla sugar, plus extra for serving
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup whole milk, room temperature
2 large eggs, room temperature
Lemon wedges

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Place 2 tablespoons of the melted butter into a 10-inch cast iron skillet and place in the oven as it is preheating. Set the remaining tablespoon of melted butter aside to cool slightly. Wait 10 minutes before assembling the other ingredients.

Place the flour, vanilla sugar, salt, milk, eggs and remaining tablespoon of melted butter into the bowl of a food processor or blender and process for 30 seconds. Carefully pour the batter into the preheated skillet. Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until the edges are puffed and brown. Sprinkle with additional vanilla sugar and serve with lemon wedges.

I wasn’t sure about the lemon wedges, but let me tell you, after trying it, I wouldn’t ever serve them without it! It brightens the flavor of the pancake and makes the sprinkle of powdered sugar actually taste sweeter.

Dutch Baby Pancake with Lemon Slices

This is a versatile recipe too! You can add fresh berries, apples or do a tropical version with toasted coconut in the pancake and top it with bananas and pineapple. My favorite Dutch Boy drizzled maple syrup on his.

Dutch Baby Pancake

Simple, delicious and yummy! This recipe will be part of our regular weekend breakfast lineup from now on!
Empty skillet
Yep, I think they liked it… 😉 Enjoy my Foodie Friends!

Chocolate Caramel Surprise Crackle Cookies!

It’s the holiday season and I think this might be our Christmas Card this year…
Chocolate Caramel Crackle Cookies

Ok, I’m kidding! But it looks good, right?

With the hustle and bustle of parties, family, friends, work obligations, decorating and shopping everyone needs a simple, easy, looks-like-you-spent-hours-on-it-but-really-didn’t treat! Here it is. My gift to you. You’re welcome! 🙂
Chocolate Crackle Cookies with a caramel center

Chocolate Caramel Crackle Surprise Cookies!
(recipe inspired by the back of the Ghirardelli box and leftover candy in my pantry!)

Ingredients
1 box of your favorite Brownie Mix (I used Ghirardelli Double Chocolate!)
1 cup all-purpose flour
3 eggs
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup powdered sugar (reserved for coating)
30 Rolo mini’s, unwrapped. (Be creative! Any small candy treat will work-mini peanut butter cups, Hershey’s kisses, maraschino cherries, use whatever you’d like!)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F). Place brownie mix, flour, eggs and oil in a medium bowl. Stir until blended. Place powdered sugar in a separate bowl. For each cookie, scoop 1 rounded tablespoon of dough and wrap it around a single piece of candy. Roll the dough gently in your palm to form a ball. Place the dough ball in the powdered sugar and roll again until coated completely. Place 2 inches apart on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Depending on your oven, bake 10-13 minutes until the cookies have crackled and look a bit dry on the top. Do not let them brown!

Makes 30 cookies

Start to finish these cookies took me about an hour to complete. Not bad, right? Don’t worry, it will be our secret. I’ll swear you spent forever on them. Now, let’s grab a glass of milk and share something sweet!

Chocolate Caramel Crackle Cookies

Till next time Foodie Friends!

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