Friday, May 31, 2013


This is the follow up post I promised about my baking adventures for the babies' first birthday party.  Four of the recipes I used I really liked.  Two of them I will never use again.  First let's start with the good stuff!

I have recently discovered silicone baking mats and I use them any time I bake cookies, or anything else for that matter.  I used to use parchment paper, but I find I prefer the silicone mats.  They're easy to clean, I throw mine in the dishwasher, and there's no waste.

Coconut Smoochies

These cookies are a coconut macaroon with a chocolate kiss on top.  I love the movie "Just Go With It" and decided to dub these cookies Coconut Smoochies after the coconut competition they have as the tie breaker.  I followed this recipe pretty much to the letter.  I did use less coconut than what the recipe calls for. I didn't need a full 4 cups for coating the cookies. I purchased three bags of coconut and only used two.  I think I used about 8 cups total. I also let the dough refrigerate for longer than an hour.  It it a very sticky dough and the colder it was, the easier it was to work into balls.

2 1/2 cups All purpose flour
1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon table salt
2/3 cups butter, softened
6 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 egg yolks
1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon Vanilla extract
1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon juice from a fresh orange
10 cups sweetened flaked coconut, divided in to 6 cup and 4 cup portions
1 bag Hershey Kisses (48 pieces)

Step 1: In a medium bowl, sift flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

Step 2: In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter, cream cheese, and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg yolks, vanilla and orange juice and beat till smooth.

Step 3: In 1 cup increments, mix flour in to the butter mixture. Add the 6 cups flaked coconut and beat to combine.

Step 4: Refrigerate dough for 1 hour. While dough is chilling, remove wrappers from the Kisses.

Step 5: Preheat oven to 350. One at a time, scoop dough into 1.5" balls (about the size of a large walnut, roll between your palms, then roll in the bowl of remaining coconut (4 cups). Arrange on an ungreased baking sheet, at least an inch apart (cookies will spread slightly). A standard cookie sheet should accommodate a dozen cookies at a time. Bake 12-14 minutes, until the cookies puff and are very lightly browned.

Step 6: Remove from oven. Immediately press one Kiss into each cookie. Return pan to oven and bake for an additional minute.

Step 7: Remove pan from oven and cool on a rack for 10 minutes. With a thin spatula, gently move cookies on to a rack to finish cooling.

Mint Chocolate Chips

These are a cake cookie and super easy to make. I used Duncan Hines chocolate fudge cake mix. The recipe calls for Toll House Mint and Chocolate chips. The problem with that is that those are a seasonal item and only available around Christmas. The first batch I made I used Andes baking bites. They worked really well. For the second batch I went to Country Kitchen SweetArt, a local baking store, and bought mint chips and mixed them with bittersweet chocolate chips. I did like the result of the second batch better.  If you don't have a local baking/cooking store, the Andes bits still work. I also wasn't able to find mint Oreos, but the store brand was available and worked just fine.

1 chocolate cake mix (
8 Tablespoons butter, melted
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups mint Oreo cookie chunks
1/2 c. chocolate and mint chips

Step 1. Whisk together the butter, egg, cream cheese, and vanilla. 

Step 2. Add half of the cake mix and mix well. Add the other half of the cake mix and cookie chunks and mix again. Stir in the chocolate mint pieces by hand.
Step 3. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. 

Step 4. Roll dough into 1 or 1 1/2 inch balls. Place on un-greased baking sheet or a Silpat. 

Step 5. Bake at 350* for 9 minutes. Cool on the baking sheet for 2-3 minutes. Remove to a wire rack to cool completely. 

Citrus Sugar Cookies

These were probably the most difficult cookie to make.  It's not a hard recipe, it's just time consuming.  It calls for the zest of 1 lemon, 1 lime and 1 orange.  The result is totally worth it, but it takes a little while.  The recipe calls for you to roll the cookies in a sugar and zest mix, press the cookies and then add more of the sugar mix. The first batch I made I followed the recipe to a T.  The cookie wound up flat and had a big glob of baked sugar on top.  The second time I didn't flatten the cookies and didn't add extra sugar.  The result was much better.

3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cup granulated sugar, divided
1 egg
2 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 orange, zested
1 lemon, zested
1 lime, zested

Step 1. In a small bowl, zest all the citrus. Remove about 2 tsp of zest and place in a separate bowl. Add 1/2 cup granulated sugar to the 2 tsp of zest. Combine with a fork and set aside.

Step 2. In a mixing bowl, add butter and remaining 1 cup sugar. Beat for 1-2 minutes. Add egg and beat until combined. Add flour, baking powder and baking soda. Beat until combined. Slowly add in zest.
Step 3. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Roll cookies into 3/4-1inch balls. Then roll them in the sugar/zest mixture, coating generously. Place ball on cookie sheet and repeat. 

Step 4. Using a flat bottom of a cup, press the ball slightly to form a disc. Repeat for all balls. I then pressed a little extra sugar on the tops of the cookies at this point (totally optional). 

Step 5. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 10-12 minutes. Remove and cool on wire rack.

Oreo Cheesecake Bites

The cream cheese pudding mixture on these is to die for! I would be lying if I said it wasn't eaten with a spoon.  I had every intention of piping this with a piping tip, but it didn't happen.  I made the mixture the day before and put it in a gallon ziploc bag.  I just cut the tip of the bag and piped it straight from there with no tip. Not fancy, but they still looked good. There was plenty left over so I froze it to use the next weekend.  It froze really well and was just as good once it was unfrozen.

33 Oreos, divided
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup milk
1 (3.4 oz) pkg cheesecake flavored instant pudding mix
30 mini Oreos

Step 1. In a mixing bowl, using an electric hand mixer, whip together cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla until smooth. 

Step 2. Using a wire whisk, stir in cream, milk and instant pudding. Whisk mixture for about 2 - 3 minutes until very thick. 

Step 3. Freeze mixture for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, place 3 large Oreos in a ziploc bag, seal bag and crush Oreos finely using a rolling pin (alternately you can do this in a food processor). 

Step 4. Stir crushed Oreos into cheesecake mixture. 

Step 5. Pipe cheesecake mixture over 30 large Oreos, then top each one with a mini Oreo. For best result serve immediately (store in refrigerator if not used immediately).

I did also make no bake cookies, the Food Network recipe, and chocolate chip cookies, the America's Test Kitchen recipe.  I will not be using either of those recipes again.  

The no bake cookies didn't set up well.  I will be sticking with the recipe I have from 7th grade Home Ec. 

I usually love America's Test Kitchen recipes.  I own 6 of their cook books and most of the recipes are winners.  This one was not.  I will be sticking with the Toll House recipe from now on. I did use their quick vanilla frosting recipe for the babies' smash cakes and it turned out really well. A certain future sister in law of mine, not naming names, was eating the extra icing from the mixing bowl.

All of the cookies were frozen after baking and taken out the night before the party.  They were all just as good the day of the party as they were the day they were made.  I just stored them in gallon freezer bags.

Happy baking!!

Below are the links to the blogs where I found the recipes.

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