Sunday, March 30, 2014

Gooey Butter Cake Cookies

Gooey butter cake cookies.  Kind of a funny name, but actually a very fitting and accurate description.  And they're totally simple to boot!  What could be better?

I first tasted these cookies at a luncheon.  They were some of the most decadent cookies I'd ever eaten.  Expecting something lemony and perhaps crunchy, they were soft and extremely buttery.  I knew the cookies had been purchased at Schnucks, so when I had the chance, I checked out the market's website to find out what they were called:  Gooey Butter Cookies.

Once I had the name of the cookies, I learned that gooey butter CAKE is actually a St. Louis tradition.  It was supposedly made by accident in the 1930s when a local baker making cake batter swapped the proportions of butter and flour.  The bakery served the flat, dense cake anyway and it became popular.  A number of bakeries in St. Louis now make the treat.  When we visited St. Louis last summer, we made sure to find some at Park Avenue Coffee.  It was very good and extremely butter (although flatter than I anticipated), but I decided I actually prefer these cookies instead!

 (Traditional Gooey Butter Cake from Park Avenue Coffee in St. Louis)

Gooey Butter Cake Cookies
Adapted slightly from
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1 - 8 oz. package cream cheese
½ cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1 egg
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 18.25 oz. box yellow cake mix
⅓ cup powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a medium bowl, cream together the cream cheese and butter.  Mix in the egg and vanilla until well blended.  Add the cake mix and mix until combined.  Using a medium-size cookie scoop, roll the dough into balls.  Coat the dough balls in powdered sugar.  Place the dough balls on an ungreased cookie sheet, one inch apart.  Bake for 10-13 minutes.  Remove from baking sheets to cool on wire racks. Store in a covered container.  Makes approximately 28-29 cookies.

Calories:  Approximately 115/cookie

Park Avenue Coffee makes Gooey Butter Cake in 73 different flavors.  This means one could easily swap out the yellow cake mix for pretty much any other flavor of cake mix.  The possibilities are only limited by cake mix varieties!  Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Nutella Rugelach

My boy E loves his Nutella.  L-o-v-e-s.  So when I saw this recipe on my Pinterest feed, I knew it would be right up his alley.  But the thing is, my boy is also picky.  So I sort of have to run recipe ideas by him first, so I don't spend a bunch of time making something he'll take one look at and decide not to try.  So I showed it to him.  And his interest was piqued.  And I hoped I might have a winner.

When the opportunity arose, I made the pastry dough.  Unlike any pie dough I've ever worked with, this was a dream.  It came together really easy, but wasn't sticky.  And it rolled out into a perfect circle.  I've never had that happen before!  The most difficult part of the recipe was spreading the Nutella onto the narrow point of each triangular-shaped piece (there are great step-by-step directions here).

Bubba wanted to have a taste as soon as the pastries came out of the oven, but he did take my sage advice to wait until they cooled a bit.  He ate one and asked for another (Mom score!).  Then I decided I ought to have a taste.  The rugelach was still pretty warm (no, I don't always follow my own you?) but it was also really crispy, like an actual pastry!  And that's when I decided to snap a few photos (because this recipe is definitely a keeper) to send to my hubby.  He's a Nutella fan, too.  Later that evening hubby tried one and after that complained how much willpower it was taking not to eat another.  He gave in, though.  And so did I.  Again.  They're really that good.

Nutella Rugelach
Adapted from The Dough Will Rise Again
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Makes 16 pastries


1 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 Tbsp. (4 1/2 tsp.) granulated sugar
1 stick (8 Tbsp.) salted butter, cold, cut into 1/2" cubes
1/4 c. Greek yogurt, plain or vanilla (I used non-fat)
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 c. ice water
10 Tbsp. Nutella (warmed slightly, if necessary, to ease spreading)
1 egg + 1 Tbsp. water, beaten well
Raw or turbinado sugar, for sprinkling

In a food processor, add the flour, salt, sugar, and butter cubes. Pulse until the butter is just cut into the flour, and there are pea-size pieces of butter (about 4-5 pulses).  In a small bowl, whisk together the Greek yogurt, vanilla extract, and water.  Add a third of the yogurt mixture to the food processor, then pulse three or four time.  Repeat two more times until all the yogurt mixture has been added, and the dough has just come together (you want to keep the pulsing to a minimum, so as not to overwork the dough).  Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and lightly pat it so that it sticks together.  Wrap in plastic wrap coated with non-stick spray and place in the fridge to chill for one hour.  When the dough has chilled, lightly flour your work surface and roll the dough out to about a 1/8″ thickness. As you roll, be sure to lift and rotate the dough often, so the dough doesn't stick to the work surface.  Once the dough is rolled out, cut it into a rough circle shape by trimming the jagged edges.  Remove the scrap edges, and then cut the circle into 16 wedges.  Using a butter knife or small spatula, spread Nutella onto each wedge; you want to cover it as well as you can from top to bottom, leaving a thin but substantial layer of filling.  Then, roll each triangle up, starting with the widest end and rolling toward the point, and place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet (with the tip of the triangle tucked underneath the roll, so they don’t start to unravel).  Chill the rolls in the fridge for about an hour.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Remove the pastries from the refrigerator, brush with egg wash, and sprinkle with sugar, if desired.  Bake for 15-18 minutes, until golden brown.  Allow to cool (if you can!) and enjoy.  Store in a covered container.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Naughty Dog Peanut Butter Pumpkin Treats (Grain Free)

I made Ruby some dog treats today.

After she ate Bubba's crayons.

Egad.  Nice.

The dog treats weren't a reward.  Certainly not.  But I already had the ingredients, E had the day off school due to snow (or no snow, as the case may be), and I wasn't going anywhere because I'm sick. Hacking up a lung, in fact.  And I felt like baking something, and no human in their right mind is going to eat baked goods made by a coughing sick person (i.e., me).  Sooo, dog treats for a naughty dog.  Right-o.

The whole reason I wanted to make Ruby some treats in the first place is because she's sort of been through a lot in the past month.  She had major surgery (which I shall refrain from describing on this, a food/family blog) and unexpectedly spent about three weeks at the puppy hospital recuperating.  We're really happy she's well enough to be home.  Not so happy about the crayon eating, but I digress.  Plus, she's almost out of kennel treats (which she gets when she goes "in in" to her kennel on her own), so the timing was good.  Anyhow, I made her some reward biscuits.  And she likes them.  Quite a lot.  She even seemed to know when I was mixing them up that they were for her.  She stalks me whenever I'm in the kitchen anyway, because apparently a lot of stuff ends up on the floor.  I know, because when she wasn't here, I had to get the vacuum out.  A lot.  She's a smarty, that one!
Naughty Dog Peanut Butter Pumpkin Treats (Grain Free)
from A Cozy Kitchen
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2 1/2 cups garbanzo-fava flour (plus additional, as needed)
2 eggs
3/4 cup canned pumpkin
2 1/2 tablespoons peanut butter

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  In a large bowl, mix together flour, eggs, pumpkin, and peanut butter. Turn out dough onto a floured surface (it is sticky, so use additional flour as necessary). With a rolling pin, roll the dough to a thickness about 1/4-inch to 1/2-inch thick.  Using a cookie cutter of your choosing, cut the dough into shapes and transfer onto a Silpat-lined baking sheet.  Alternatively, use a medium-size cookie scoop to shape the dough and flatten slightly with a fork.  Bake for 30-40 minutes and allow to cool completely before serving to your pooch.  Store in a sealed container.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

White Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Cookies

Peanut butter and white chocolate are two things I just cannot seem to get enough of.  I've been wanting to make these cookies for some time, but I didn't want a whole batch of them sitting on the countertop calling my name.  Because I'd answer.  So when the opportunity arose to take some cookies to someone who is doing us a ginormous favor, I totally jumped on it with these.  I hope our favorer likes them.  I certainly do!  If you make them, let me know what you think!

White Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies
Adapted from Jif

¾ cup creamy peanut butter
½ cup butter flavor vegetable shortening
1¼ cups light brown sugar, packed
3 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 cup all-purpose flour
¾ cup bread flour
¾ teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoon salt
1 12-ounce bag white baking chips, or 12 ounces white chocolate, chopped

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  In a large bowl, combine peanut butter, shortening, brown sugar, milk, and vanilla.  With a hand or stand mixer, cream together on medium speed until very well blended, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.  Add egg and beat briefly, just until blended.  Add flours, baking soda and salt and mix to combine at low speed; do not overmix.  Add in the baking chips or white chocolate, again just until blended.  Using a medium cookie scoop, place batter on baking sheets lined with a Silpat mat or parchment paper two inches apart.  Flatten slightly with the tines of a fork.  Bake 7 to 8 minutes or until set and just beginning to brown.  Cool on baking sheet for 2 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.  Store in a sealed container.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Quotes Worth Remembering

A couple of the bloggers I follow regularly on Pinterest often pin inspirational or memorable sayings and quotes.  My mom always used to tell me, "Tomorrow is a new day," so I went on a Google search to see if that was actually a quote.  Turns out, it's from L.M. Montgomery, author of Anne of Green Gables.  How perfect is that?

Using one of my Photo A Day reject photos, I created my own inspirational quote photo.  I kind of like it and thought it would be fun to share:

I made another in October that I posted on my Facebook page.  Curiously enough, it's also an L.M. Montgomery quote:

There are lots of Bible verses that would be great in this format, too.  Good thing I have a lot of reject photos!

What are your favorite quotes and Bible verses?