Candy Cookie Cake

Happy Halloween, my friends!

What are your plans?! Trick-or-treating? Passing out candy? Ridiculous parties? Or, if you’re like me, you'll be devouring all of the candy you had to buy, knowing that no one will come up to your apartment door ringing the bell…

Yes. That’s me. I can’t resist the candy aisle for any holiday, and when you can get an assorted bag of all of the best mini-size chocolates, you go for it! As a chocolate-obsessed gal, I just can’t help myself and I’m not ashamed. Funny story—I recently did a small “about me” for my job’s website and had to write about my favorite foods…all I could think of was, well, chocolate…

Yes, Katie’s favorite food is chocolate…who am I?!

ANYWAYS! Back to this glorious cookie cake. As I mentioned in my post here, cookie cakes are just like a dream of mine—and I always am tempted to buy one when walking past Mrs. Fields. So, of course, challenge accepted, and I had to make this, especially since I’m trying to use the pounds of Halloween candy that I bought so I don’t binge eat it every night.

I also feel like, if I was to get actual Trick-or-Treaters and if handing out baked goods was acceptable, this would be the most incredible treat ever!! Like, oh yeah, if you go to Katie’s house, you can get slices of a cookie cake that is stuffed with candy…basically a 2 for 1! Ahh in my wildest dreams…

AND what I love so much about this is that you can put anything you want in it—yum! I mean, Kitkats, Twix and Snickers are the best chocolates to choose, but I won’t judge if you chose something a little less exciting and wonderful. So, if you’re like me and you bought way too much candy, this is a perfect way to use it! Bake up a few of these cakes, invite over some friends, watch Hocus Pocus, or even Saw, drink so wine—really there’s nothing you can do wrong with this candy-filled cake. While I do sometimes miss the weeks of costume making and end up wearing basically a black dress with cat ears, this new tradition I have of putting on big sweats and stuffing my face with candy and wine (maybe “Crazy Dog Lady” is this costume?) is something that I can get on board with!

 

cookie ingredients

Butter—4 oz, or ½ C

Brown Sugar—3 oz, or 1/3 C

Sugar—1 oz, or 2 TBL

Eggs—1

Vanilla—½ tsp

Flour—6 oz, or 1 C

Salt—½ tsp

Baking Soda—½ tsp

Halloween Candy, chopped—3 oz, or ¾+ C

 

process

In the bowl of your mixer, cream together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy.

Add in the egg and vanilla.

Sift together the flour, salt and baking soda. Slowly add this into your creamed mixture.

Scrape down the sides of your bowl.

Add in your chopped candy (reserve a small handful)—whatever you like best!

In terms of Halloween candy, I chose chocolate because, to me, that goes yummiest with this cookie cake! From there, pick your favorites. Mine happen to be Twix, Snickers and Kit Kats, but the candy aisle is your oyster!

Spray a spring form pan or a tart pan with nonstick spray.

Press the cookie dough in the pan, leaving about ½ an inch around the edge so that the cookie can spread slightly.

Sprinkle the remaining chopped candy on top of the cookie dough.

Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes so that it will firm up.

When you are ready to bake, preheat your oven to 350˚ F.

Bake your cookie cake for about 20 minutes, until the edges are slightly golden.

The center may look underbaked, but it will finish baking from the heat of the pan outside of the oven.

Allow to cool completely before decorating!

 

buttercream ingredients

Butter—2 oz, or ¼ C

Shortening—0.5 oz, or 1 TBL

Confectioner’s Sugar, sifted—5 oz, or 1 C

Cocoa Powder, sifted—0.5 oz, or 2 TBL

Milk—0.5 oz, or 1 TBL

 

process

In the bowl of the your mixer, cream the butter and shortening until smooth and fluffy.

Sift together the confectioner’s sugar and the cocoa powder.

Slowly add this into the mixer, scraping down the sides when necessary.

Add the milk in about a teaspoon at a time—you may need more if you want it a little creamier.

Scrape down the sides of the bowl, and then turn the mixer up to medium-high to give the buttercream a nice, final whip.

 

When your cake is completely cooled, you can begin to decorate with the buttercream!

Put it into a piping bag with whichever tip you’d like to use—a star tip will make nice rosettes or a rope, but it’s whatever look you’re going for.

Pipe around the outside boarder, decorate with some sprinkles or some more candies of your choice, and devour!

 

Bon Appétit!

Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Truffles

Happy New Year, my friends!

I hope that everyone’s end of the year was as spectacular and restful as mine. A two-week break from work, spending some much needed time with my family in Maine, snuggling my two dogs, and ringing in the New Year with my fiancé, I couldn’t have asked for a more wonderful vacation! Another plus? It snowed a lot while I was home! Well, one day and one blizzard, but enough for us to be stuck in the house for most of it! The dogs absolutely loved it (see Instagram) and it gave us all an excuse to lounge around for the day.

So, while Christmastime is by far one of my favorite times of the year, cue Michael Bublé and Elf and Gingerbread houses, I am pretty excited for 2016! I mean, I’m getting MARRIED this year!

What?!!?

Yes. Eight and a half months away!! You could say that I’m kinda sorta super duper excited about it!—even had my first dress fitting and met with our wedding cake maker over the holidays…which included over an hour of stuffing my face with multiple kinds of cake/buttercream/filling combos…

So 2016 is going to be amazing with just the wedding alone! What else is new about this year? Oh, well I started a KBB Dessert of the Month Club! (Inquire if interested!) Each month I’ll be sending out a lovely package full of homemade baked goodies, my own recipes, and many not posted to the website (just yet), but some will be—including the recipe below!

How did I decide to start the DOTM Club? While I believe that anyone can truly bake anything, posted on my site and others, sometimes you really just 1. Don’t have time, 2. Just aren’t too into baking, but love to eat desserts, or 3. Love to get yummy, homemade goodies sent to you! And so was born this fabulous little club.            (For January, I am sending out some to die for coconut macaroons as well as these simply delectable Oatmeal Raisin Truffles! )

To me, January is all about two things: getting back into your healthy habits (aka less gingerbread, more kale) and staying cozy while the temperature drops to -10˚F. The Oatmeal Raisin Truffles are more on the guilt free end of the spectrum of many of my desserts. They are bite size (so try and restrain yourself from eating the entire 4 dozen batch) and they are relatively low in the fat and sugar department, because, to bind properly, I’ve loaded them with a LOT of oats and a TON of raisins! And to finish, coating them in a dark chocolate is optional!

Yes, it’s cookie dough, yes it’s a dessert, but you really only need to eat 1, maybe 2, to feel satisfied! While this recipe may not be a beet-kale protein smoothie, it is a spice-packed, fiber-filled oatmeal raisin cookie truffle that’ll satisfy the start to your amazing 2016!


ingredients

Butter, room temperature—4 oz, or ½ C

Brown Sugar—5.25 oz, or ¾ C

Vanilla Extract—0.2 oz, or 1 tsp

Milk—2 oz, or ¼ C

Flour—4.25 oz, or 2/3 C

Salt—0.1 oz, or ½ tsp

Cinnamon—0.1 oz, or 1 tsp

Nutmeg—¼ tsp

Oats—6 oz, or 2 C

Raisins—4 oz, or ¾ C

Chocolate—8 oz

Butter—1 TBL

Sprinkles—optional


process

Cream together the butter and brown sugar.

Add the milk and vanilla.

In a separate bowl, combine the flour, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, oats and raisins.

Slowly add into your creamed mixture.

Once you have combined all of the ingredients, and a dough has formed, scoop out into whatever size truffle that you’d like.

You may either use a small scoop or a scale, like I prefer to do. I weigh each ball into 0.5 ounces, just the right size to pop into your mouth!

Place all of your scooped dough onto a sheet tray lined with parchment or a Silpat and put into the refrigerator to firm up, for about an hour.

When you’re ready to dip your truffles, make a double boiler using a medium sized pot filled with about an inch of water, and then a heat safe bowl on top. Make sure that the water is not directly touching the bottom of the bowl; you do not want to scorch your chocolate!

Turn the burner onto medium-low heat.

In the bowl, place your chocolate and butter, making sure to stir every few minutes so that the chocolate melts evenly.

Once melted, begin to dip your chilled cookie dough truffles.

You may either dip the entire ball, or just half, whatever you’d like!

I then put a little bit of sprinkles on top of each truffle before the chocolate sets, because, well, why not!

Allow the chocolate to firm up, and enjoy!


Bon Appétit!

Peanut Butter Marshmallow Candy

Merry Christmas! Too soon? It is December, so, for me, it’s Christmas all month long!

I wanted to kick off this holiday baking month with some “candy” that my mom makes each year for Christmas. Traditionally, my mom makes these with a thick peanut butter crust and a layer of chocolate on top. I added some homemade marshmallows between those two layers to kick it up a notch, to turn my moms PB Candy into PB Fluff Candy! Or could we call it S’mores Candy?

Let’s stick with PB Fluff—bring back some of those happy childhood times when you would open your lunchbox up to a peanut butter and fluff sandwich!

Anyways, let’s stop being sidetracked by childhood nostalgic moments...

Each year for Christmas, my mom will make at least two pans of this incredible candy. Usually, it will go out as gifts with some other homemade breads and cookies, wrapped in adorable tins with snowmen on them, spreading endless cheer. Other times, my brothers and I will eat so much that we get stomachaches, but it’s worth it.

First off, who doesn’t love peanut butter?!(—another nut butter can be substituted!) But peanut butter. You can eat it by the spoonful, you can put it on toast, you can eat it by the spoonful, you can cover fruit in it. Yeah, endless possibilities, and you can turn it into a thick, wonderfully sinful crust that you will eat 10 pieces too many of. Sounds magical, huh?

Want some homemade marshmallows on top? This recipe from over the summer is OH so simple, and makes this candy that much more fabulous. Final piece of this delicious puzzle? A melted butter and chocolate glaze—as you know peanut butter and chocolate ARE a match made in dessert heaven!

While this may not be coated in candy canes or be a cute little gingerbread man that you can decorate with icing and sprinkles, this is such a fabulously tasty peanut butter fluff candy that can be given as gifts, enjoyed at holiday parties, or just quietly eaten in the corner with a fork…

I would say go ahead, make a batch, but I think that saying make three batches is going to be your safest bet—you will not want to run out of this candy at any point during this absolutely magical month of December!

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ingredients

Butter (melted)—12 oz, or 1 ½ C

Peanut Butter—17.5 oz, or 2 C

Confectioner’s Sugar—22.5 oz, or 4 ½ C

Graham Cracker Crumbs—1.5 oz, or ½ C

Oats—4.5 oz, or 1 ¼ C

Marshmallows—Recipe found here, or 1 bag (fluff can be used, too!)

Butter—4 oz, or ½ C

Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips—12 oz, or 2 C


process

In a large bowl, combine the 12 oz of melted butter, peanut butter, confectioner’s sugar, graham cracker crumbs and oats.

Mix until a dough forms.

Press into the bottom of a 9” x 13” pan.

Next, whether you have decided to just use store bought marshmallows, or my homemade marshmallow recipe (super simple!), layer this on top next.

This homemade marshmallow recipe will take only about 20-25 minutes to make. It’s so quick and easy, and who won’t be impressed by them??!

In a heatproof bowl, melt together the 4 oz or butter and chocolate chips either in your microwave or over a double boiler.

Once melted and mixed, pour over your marshmallows.

Allow to set and cool.

Cut and enjoy!


Bon Appétit!

Ginger Spice Cookies

          Happy November! Now that Halloween is over, the true holiday season is upon us! Why yes, I may begin to watch Elf soon (don’t tell Roberto), and humming some tunes that are only appropriate for next month may occur while I prepare my Thanksgiving dessert menu, but I just cannot help it. While I absolutely adore fall and all that it has to offer, November 1st-December 26th has me in a rather nonstop giddy state. Who knows, maybe there is just 100x the normal amount of love in the air, or maybe I am just super excited for Peppermint Mocha season (sorry, PSL, you no longer win!), but as of November 1st, general happiness is at an all time high!

            So, of course, I had to bake a staple in the winter diet—ginger cookies. Growing up, my grandparents would always have a huge box of these in their house, and I would, not so sneakily, eat handfuls at a time. I used to just let them soak in milk or hot chocolate, get super mushy, and then eat them, about 10 in a sitting, before possibly going back for more. Wow, sugar obsessed much? Not ashamed!

            As I now feel as though it is acceptable for me to purchase these forever favorite ginger snaps, I thought it would be even better to make my own version, so I don’t have to go back to the supermarket every other day to shamefully buy another box! With my addition of candied ginger, the spiciness of this cookie multiplies, and at the same time, brings the sweetness level down—this allows you to eat more of these, guilt free because your mouth isn’t screaming at you for a sugar overload! Best part of my ginger spice cookies? When you roll them in sugar and bake them, they form a nice, crisp outer shell, but leaving the insides soft and chewy, the most amazing combination of textures.

            It’s a good thing that I am feeling extra full of love these days because, as much as I am obsessed with these cookies, my fiancé is even more! So go and take your cheery self into the kitchen, maybe put on a pair of favorite socks that happen to have reindeer on them, or your coziest snowflake sweater, and get to baking!

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ingredients

Butter—6 oz, or 12 TBL

Brown Sugar—8 oz, or 1 ¼ C

Eggs—1

Molasses—2.75 oz, or ¼ C

Flour—12.5 oz, or 2 ½ C

Baking Soda—0.1 oz, or ½ tsp

Salt—0.05 oz, or ¼ tsp

Ground Ginger—0.15 oz, or 2 tsp

Candied Ginger (cut into small pieces)—0.75 oz, or 1 TBL

Allspice—0.1 oz, or ½ tsp

Black Pepper—0.1 oz, or ½ tsp

Sugar—as needed to roll dough in


process

In the bowl of your mixer, cream together the butter and brown sugar.

Once smooth, add in your egg and molasses. Mix until combined.

Sift together all of your dry ingredients and then slowly add to your creamed mixture.

Once the dough has formed, add in your chopped candied ginger.

Transfer your cookie dough either into another bowl or wrap it in plastic, allow it to firm up in the refrigerator for about an hour.

When you are ready to bake your cookies, preheat your oven to 350˚ F.

Form your cookie dough into whatever sized balls you would like, 2 oz is the perfect cookie size to me!

Roll them in sugar and then put on a sheet pan that has been sprayed with nonstick spray.

Press down slightly.

Put into your preheated oven and bake for 12-15 minutes.

Remove from the pan and allow to cool slightly before eating.


Bon Appétit!

Sweet and Salty Buttercrunch

As Halloween is quickly approaching and I have stuffed my face with enough candy corn, M&M’s and Reese’s Cups for at least a large family, I decided that enough is enough—I must make my own Halloween candy!

For some reason, holiday candy seems to taste that much better to me than if I was to buy the same exact thing at any other time during the year. Something about the packaging, how the stores are decorated, the bite sized candies, really gets me! Since moving into our new apartment that is actually in a neighborhood with potential trick-or-treaters, I figured that there was the possibility of having kids stop by (but who am I kidding, children won’t come into our apartment building…). With the disappointment of not being able to have a creepy candy bowl filled with all sorts of goodies—tootsie rolls were always my weakness—I thought why not have a jar filled with some homemade buttercrunch toffee to munch on well before and after this costume filled evening.

This candy is oh so simple and about 100x more delicious. Butter, sugar, water and a little bit of vanilla (substitute in some bourbon for an adult appropriate Halloween treat) are what make up this sweet and crunchy bite. What else is so great about this homemade candy? You can top it with whatever you choose! Whether leaving it au natural or dressing it up, your taste buds will thank you. To be honest, it is Halloween, where dressing up is pretty magical (minus ages 18-22), so why not give your buttercrunch some flair as well! Covered with melted chocolate, sprinkled with cinnamon, salt and toasted pepitas, your candy has a pretty tasty costume!

While the days of being part of Josie and the Pussycats, a gypsy or Baby Spice are long gone, I would say my adult celebration of homemade candy, a Punkin Ale and a thriller with my fiancé is a pretty great trade!

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ingredients

Butter—4 oz, or 1 stick

Sugar—4 oz, or ½ C

Water—0.75 oz, or 2 TBL

Salt—pinch

Vanilla Extract—0.15 oz, or 1 tsp

 

Chocolate, 70%—2 oz

Toasted Pumpkin Seeds—½ C

Salt—1 TBL

 

process

In a small saucepan, melt the butter.

Add in the sugar, water and salt; stir.

At medium heat and while constantly stirring, cook your toffee until it reaches 295˚ F.

Remove from the heat and add in your vanilla.

*To make this toffee a little unique, replace the vanilla with an equal amount of bourbon!*

Pour onto a sheet pan that has been lined with parchment or a silpat.

Spread quickly with a spatula and allow to set.

Once the candy has set, blot with a towel to pick up any oil that has come to the surface.

Make a double boiler using a small saucepan filled with water and a heat proof bowl.

Place your chocolate in the bowl and, over low heat, melt the chocolate.

I like to use a dark chocolate between 70%-80% to cover this candy. The toffee is so wonderfully sweet, that a darker chocolate gives balance to the end result.

Once the chocolate has melted, pour over your toffee and spread with an offset spatula.

Sprinkle with salt and toasted pumpkin seeds! (To toast the seeds, spread on a sheet pan and put in an oven set at 300˚ F for about 8-10 minutes.)

Once the chocolate has set, break apart the toffee in large or small random sized pieces and enjoy!

 

Bon Appétit!