Chocolate Cherry Ganache Cake + Happy Anniversary, Cuoco!

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Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco

I skipped my workout this morning so I could ice this chocolate cake at 6:30am before work. Life is short.

A year ago today, I officially launched Cuoco Contento. Happy Anniversary, blog! You’re an outlet, a safe place and a truly happy food journal. I’ll never forget the day a good friend of mine convinced me to start a blog. I didn’t think much would come of it. I was hesitant, even scared. But, that day she sparked something in me that has now become such a big part of who I am. There isn’t a minute that goes by that I’m not thinking about what I want to cook next. The list is endless. The memories attached to the things I make are countless. All of them make me infinitely happy. I want you to feel what I feel: when I close my eyes and smell a pie fresh out of the oven, I am reminded of home, of my family, of my grandmother. I am instantly filled with joy and content. Seek out that feeling. Find what it is that makes you glow, the thing that keeps you up at night buzzing with new ideas and desires.

Sometimes I feel like I can’t contain all the things I want to bake and cook. Like a bubble about to burst, I wish I could get them out fast enough! Yet, it’s good to slow down and savor the experience of cooking. For me, it is my absolute favorite way to relax. I am calmed and at peace in the kitchen. I know it’s not for everyone, but there’s something to be learned from it. I am one who loves routine. See if you can find a way to cherish the mundane, to turn a weeknight dinner into something you meditate on. I’d even say it’s something of the spiritual. Some of my quietest moments with God are when I’m stirring a cream sauce or pouring spoonfuls of batter into muffin tins. One. Two. Three. Scrape. Click. Ding. Scoop. Sizzle. Simmer. The rhythm of my heart.

This chocolate cherry ganache cake is a combination of a FANTASTIC recipe from my friends at Food and Wine, and a little playfulness of my own. In celebration of my blog’s first birthday, give this cake a whirl. The sour cream and coffee make this the most decadent, chocolate-enriched, and dare I say, moist, cake you’ve ever eaten. (Sorry, I’m not sorry about ‘moist’). People will start clamoring for the recipe. Light, fluffy, and rich. Cherry compote adds a little summer flair, juicy and bright.

If you’re reading this, I want to say thank you. Cuoco Contento is 100% personal, and I’d still be enthused to share it even if I were the only one reading it. If you enjoy the kitchen as much as me, we are two of a kind. Here’s to another year of Cuoco!

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Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco

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Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco

Total Time: 2 hrs 45 mins / 12 servings

Cake Ingredients:

  • unsalted butter, for greasing
  • 3 cups flour, plus more for dusting (I prefer King Arthur Flour)
  • 9 oz semisweet chocolate chips (I prefer Ghirardelli)
  • 2 cups hot brewed coffee
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 1 cup sour cream, at room temperature
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp salt

Cherry Filling Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups fresh cherries
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2-3 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 Tbsp water

Ganache Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 lb semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup hot brewed coffee
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • Fresh cherries, for garnish
  1. Preheat the oven to 350° and position the racks in the center and lower thirds. Butter three 9-by-2-inch round cake pans and line with parchment paper. Butter the paper and dust the pans with flour, tapping out the excess.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the chocolate with the coffee and vanilla and let stand for 2 minutes, then stir until the chocolate is melted. In another medium bowl, whisk the eggs with the oil until pale yellow, then whisk in the sour cream. Gradually whisk in the melted chocolate mixture until smooth.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle, combine the 3 cups of flour with the sugar, baking soda, cinnamon and salt and mix well. At medium speed, beat in the wet ingredients in 3 batches until just incorporated. Scrape down the bowl and beat until the batter is smooth.
  4. Pour the batter evenly into the prepared cake pans. Gently tap the pans on the counter to release any air bubbles. Bake for about 35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of each cake comes out clean; shift the pans halfway through baking. Let the cakes cool completely, then carefully invert onto a rack and peel off the parchment.
  5. Meanwhile, make the ganache and the cherry filling. For the ganache, In a medium saucepan, bring the cream, butter, sugar and salt just to a simmer over moderate heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Remove from the heat and add the chocolate. Let stand for 2 minutes, then stir until smooth. Stir in the coffee and vanilla. Let cool completely, stirring occasionally.
 (Don’t skip this part, it must cool completely or it will be really liquid-y. If your a bit impatient, cool in the refrigerator for 20 minutes to speed up the process). To make the cherry compote, half and pit cherries. Add cherries to a small saucepan over low heat. Add sugar and cornstarch and water. Stir continually until it thickens. Set aside and let cool.
  6. When cakes are cool, slice off the tops to create flat surfaces. Transfer 1 cake to a plate. Spoon 1/4 of the ganache on top and spread in an even layer. *Spoon 1/2 of the cherry filling on top of that and smooth. Top with another cake and 1/4 of the ganache, and 1/2 of the cherry filling. Cover with the third cake and spread the remaining ganache over the top and side 
of the cake; decoratively swirl the ganache on top. Top the cake with cherries, cut into wedges and serve. 


*If you find that the icing has not solidified enough yet, do a quick crumb coat and then refrigerate cake for 20 minutes. The final layer of ganache will go on much better!

Recipe adapted from Food and Wine Magazine.

Carrot Cake

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Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco for Food.com

Who said carrot cake is just for Easter time? Not me. Not only is it pretty, but one can argue that it’s technically healthy cake. Vegetable cake, if you will. Zucchini is a close second. Shredded carrot mixed in sweet cake batter, baked and topped with creamy cream cheese icing. It’s a decadent dessert everyone loves (even my picky husband). This recipe is brought to you by Food.com, who I’ll be working with to take photos for their site! I am SO excited about this new opportunity. The only thing better than baking all day is getting paid to bake all day. Am I right? Check out the recipe below and stay tuned for more food photography!

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Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco for Food.Com

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Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco for Food.Com

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Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco for Food.Com

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Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco for Food.Com

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Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco for Food.Com

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Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco for Food.Com

Prep time: 10 mins, Cook time: 35 mins

Cake Ingredients:

  • 1-1/2 cups oil
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups flour (I prefer King Arthur Flour)
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 3 cups grated carrots, fully packed
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Frosting Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 8 oz cream cheese, packaged block
  • 1 lb powdered sugar
  1. Beat oil and sugar, then add eggs. Add the remainder of the cake ingredients in the order given and beat for 1 minute.
  2. Pour into 2 9-inch cake pans (the original recipe says to fill 3 cake pans but I could only fill 2. Worked fine!)
  3. Bake at 350 F for for 35 minutes. Allow cakes to cool completely before frosting.
  4. To make frosting, beat butter and cream cheese on high speed until smooth. Gradually add in sugar and mix until smooth.
  5. Frost cake and garnish with carrots, crushed pecans, or whatever you want!

Recipe courtesy of Food.com

Toasted Almond Ice Cream

2Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco

First things first. This weather in New York is starting to scream summer! The sun and heat can only mean one thing: time for ice cream.

The thought of making ice cream has always scared me… I don’t want to use one of those crazy machines. Seems like a lot of hassle even though the reward is ice cream. But, I got all excited when I found an easy, 2-ingredient no-churn recipe! The Kitchn showed me the basics and then I decided to make it my own. Hey, now… who remembers growing up with toasted almond ice cream bars? From the ice cream truck? They were my absolute FAVORITE as a kid! My mind immediately went to that memory when I thought about the perfect flavor. Nutty, crunchy and a little sweet. So, this recipe is officially a 4-ingredient ice cream. All you need is a 8 or 9-inch loaf pan and an ice cream scoop. Get ready, you’re in for a serious treat for adults and kids alike.

 1Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco

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Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco

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Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco

Yields: 1 pint of ice cream

Ingredients:

  • 1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 cups heavy cream, chilled
  • 2 tsp almond extract
  • 1/2 cup almond slivers plus more for serving
  1. In a small saucepan, heat almond slivers on medium high heat until slightly golden and toasted, about 8 minutes.
  2. Remove 1/4 cup of the almonds and set aside. Add the heavy cream to the remaining 1/4 cup almonds in the pan and heat on low just until you see a few whisps of steam. Remove from the heat and let cool. When cool, strain the cream from the almonds and chill in the refrigerator until it is cold again.
  3. Pour the sweetened condensed milk into a large bowl. Add 2 tsp of almond extract and stir to combine.
  4. Whip the heavy cream with a hand mixer or stand mixer until peaks form, about 3 minutes on medium high speed.
  5. One spoonful at a time, mix the whipped cream into the sweetened condensed milk. Mix until just combined, do not over-mix. A few lumps are okay. Mix in the remaining 1/4 cup almond slivers. Pour into a 8 or 9-inch aluminum or glass loaf pan. Smooth the top and cover the top with wax paper to prevent ice crystals from forming. Freeze for at least 6 hours and up to 2 weeks. The ice cream will have the best flavor and texture within the 2 weeks.

No-churn 2-ingredient recipe adapted from The Kitchn.

Avocado Truffles

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Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco

Chocolate truffles…decadence at its finest. But everyone knows that after one too many, your stomach pays the price. Guess what: these truffles are made with 5 ingredients and no added sugar. The best natural fat, everyone… avocado! So I didn’t think it was possible, but I found a new way to love avocados with this one. Who KNEW. In just over 30 minutes you can get one (or five) of these in your mouth. And savor them because they’re not bad for you!

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Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco

Prep Time: 5 minutes, Total Time: 40 mins. Yields 12 small truffles

Ingredients:

  • 1 nice and ripe avocado, mashed with a fork very finely
  • 3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate, melted
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • unsweetened cocoa powder
  1. Melt chocolate chips in a bowl in the microwave until smooth.
  2. In a separate bowl, mash the avocado until very fine. Add in melted chocolate and mix well. Add in the vanilla extract and cinnamon. Mix well to combine.
  3. When nice and smooth (as smooth as possible, some small avocado clumps are expected) place bowl in freezer for 30 minutes until firm. Scoop into 12 small balls and roll smooth.
  4. Roll each ball in the cocoa powder and serve. Store in the refrigerator in an air tight container for 3 days.

Recipe adapted from Yummy Healthy Easy.

Raspberry Linzer Tarts

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Nothing says Valentine’s Day like a heart shaped cookie. Growing up, my mom made these around the holiday for us. Soft, buttery cookies filled with sweet raspberry jam and dusted with confectioner’s sugar. Sandwich cookie heaven in your mouth. And I like them for breakfast too! I adapted this recipe to use finely crushed pecans instead of almond flour. Either will work. The buttery, nutty taste is delicious! Choose any jam you like for the filling. Raspberry is my favorite. These cookies are a real labor of love– share them with your Valentine.


Yield: 12 cookies — Prep: 25 mins — Cook time: 8-10 mins — Total: 2 hrs 35 mins

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup finely crushed pecans (or almond flour)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup raspberry jam for filling
  1. To make the dough, beat the butter, sugar, and cinnamon until light and fluffy, scraping the bowl as needed, about 3 minutes. Add the yolk and vanilla and beat until combined. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, almond flour, and salt. Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture and mix until just combined. Be careful not to over-beat.
  2. Divide the dough in half and pat each half into a disc. Wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  3.  Flour your work surface. Roll one disc of dough out about 1/4″-thick. Using a heart-shaped cutter, cut out cookies. Transfer cookies to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Gather the scrap dough, roll, and repeat. Place the cut cookies in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350°F. While the first half of cookies is chilling, cut rounds from the remaining dough. Once you’ve transferred these cookies to a baking sheet, use your smaller heart-shaped cookie cutter to make a “peekaboo” cutout in the center of each. Place cookies in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to chill.
  5.  Bake all of the cookies for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the edges are just beginning to turn brown. Let them cool for 5 minutes on the pan, then transfer to a rack to cool completely.
  6.  When the cookies are cool, place the cookies with the holes in them on a cookie sheet and sift confectioners’ sugar over the top. Turn the remaining cookies flat side up and spoon 1/2 teaspoon of jam into the center, spreading it slightly. Top with the sugar-dusted cookies. Enjoy!

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Recipe adapted from King Arthur Flour.

All photo credit: Ashley Cuoco

Pecan Snowball Cookies

1Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco

Holiday baking is in full swing!! These pecan snowball cookies are one of my favorites. Sweet and nutty, melt-in-you-mouth goodness. My grandmother makes these every year in smaller, bite sized balls. They dissolve instantly in your mouth. The great thing about this recipe is that it will yield about 48 cookies, making it great for large gatherings or cookie exchanges with friends and family. Set these on your Christmas table and watch them disappear! Happy Christmas baking, everyone!

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All Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco


Prep time: 15 minutes — Cook time: 15 minutes — Total time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup powdered sugar (plus more for coating)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1¼ cups finely chopped pecans
  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl or in the bowl of your stand mixer, cream your butter and sugar. Add the vanilla and salt and mix well. Gradually add the flour, mixing well and scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition. Your dough will become thick.
  3. Add the chopped pecans and mix well. I found incorporating the chopped pecans to be easier to do by hand rather than in the stand mixer, as the dough is so thick. Once combined, scoop 1 tablespoon of the dough out and roll it into a ball and place it on the cookie sheet. For consistency, use a 1 Tablespoon measuring spoon to scoop out balls. Place them on the cookie sheet about 1 inch part. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes.
  4. Allow the cookies to cool for about 5 minutes then gently roll them in powdered sugar while still warm. Allow them to cool completely and then coat them in powdered sugar again. The first coat will be sticky– the second coat will allow the sugar to stick better. Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Southern Bite.

Almond Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies

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Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco

Let’s face it: It’s already the middle of November. Needless to say, Christmas cookie season is soon upon us. Don’t get me wrong– I am in no way trying to glance over Thanksgiving! In fact, Thanksgiving is my favorite day of the year. BUT, with your turkey and stuffing in mind, you may want to consider testing out some new Christmas cookies. I’ve considered freezing a batch or two at a time. You can freeze cookies easily for 1-2 months and they’ll come out just the same as they went in. I call this a “super” cookie. I say super because… well, look at these healthy ingredients!! Almond flour (gluten free!), flaxseed (awesome source of good fatty-acids and fiber), egg whites (no yolks, and no butter), coconut oil, and last by not least: dark chocolate. Heart healthy and as far as I’m concerned, part of a balanced diet! Not to mention, you’re done in 20 minutes from start to finish. Don’t be fooled: the texture here is not what you’d expect from a typical cookie creamed with an obscene about of butter and sugar. But, for the gluten-free, health-conscious and those who want that guilty pleasure without the guilt, this one’s for you. Just be sure you glob on a nice portion of dark chocolate. T-9 days to Thanksgiving Day, folks!


Yield: 12 large cookies — Prep Time: 10 mins — Bake Time: 12 mins — Total Time: 22 mins

Ingredients:

  • 1¼ cup almond flour
  • ¼ cup ground flaxseed (ground is preferred, but whole will also work)
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons egg whites
  • 1 tablespoon + ½ teaspoon melted coconut oil
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon almond extract
  • ⅓ cup dark chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, flax seed, salt, baking soda and brown sugar. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg whites, extracts and 1 tablespoon of the coconut oil. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix until combined.
  3. With wet hands, roll about 1 tablespoon of the dough into a ball and place on the baking sheet. Wet the back of a ½ teaspoon and gently press down in the center of each dough ball to create an indent. Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake for about 12 minutes.
  4. Remove from the oven and using the ½ teaspoon, press down again in the indent just to make it a bit deeper as it probably puffed up a bit while baking. Let the cookies cool completely on a cooling rack.
  5. Meanwhile, melt the chocolate chips and the ½ teaspoon coconut oil either in the microwave or on the stove top.
  6. Once cookies are cooled, spoon the chocolate into the indent. Let them sit for about 10 minutes until set. Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days. Enjoy!

Recipe courtesy of Running To The Kitchen, www.runningtothekitchen.com

1Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco

Chocolate Pistachio Biscotti

2Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco

Biscotti: traditional Italian cookies (also known as cantuccini) are twice-baked, oblong-shaped, dry, crunchy, and typically dipped in a something like coffee. The name comes from the medieval Latin word biscoctus, which means “twice-cooked.” Baking twice ensured they were very dry and could be stored for long periods of time. You learn something new every day! These were fun to make. And the aroma while doing so is wonderful. My mom and I spent the day testing out some new cookie recipes. While this is not as simple or as quick to make as your typical chocolate chip cookie, it is absolutely feasible for all levels of comfort in the kitchen. Just takes a little extra time and TLC. The very first step is to candy orange zest– while a little time consuming, it makes all the difference in the end result. That chocolate flavor, a bite of pistachio and the hint of orange zest in the background…it’s divine! My dad and my husband said so. I think they ate half the tray between them. Word to the wise: freeze these for up to two months and save them for Christmas. Put on a pot of your favorite brew and get dipping! In the company of friends and family, this is my idea of hosting beautifully.


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Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco

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Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco

Yield: 25-30 biscotti — Prep: 25 minutes — Total time: 1 hour 35 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 4 navel oranges
  • 2 cups sugar
  • ½ cup semisweet chocolate chips (I prefer Ghirardelli)
  • ¾ cup shelled pistachios
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 6 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 2 large eggs
  • Fleur de sel (or sea salt)
  1. Cut long, thin strips of zest (avoid white pith) from oranges. Place zest in a small saucepan, add enough water to cover, and bring to a boil over high heat. Then drain off water. Repeat boiling and draining process 2 more times. Set aside.
  2. In a medium saucepan, bring 1 1/2 cups water and 1 cup sugar to a boil. Add zest and simmer for 4 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  3. Place chocolate chips in a food processor and pulse 3 or 4 times to break up. Add pistachios and pulse 2 or 3 times.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat together butter and remaining sugar on medium speed until light yellow and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs and beat on medium speed until incorporated, 2 to 3 minutes.
  6. Reduce mixer speed to low; using a slotted spoon, add candied orange zest to butter-sugar mixture and beat for 30 seconds. Gradually add three-fourths flour mixture, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Add chocolate-pistachio mixture and remaining flour mixture, mixing until dough just comes together. Do not over mix.
  7. Divide dough into 2 equal pieces and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Using damp hands, shape each piece into a 12-inch-long log, 1/2 inch high.
  8. Bake logs until firm, about 24 minutes, rotating baking sheets halfway through. Reduce oven temperature to 250 degrees F. Cool logs on baking sheet for 12 to 15 minutes.
  9. Transfer logs to a cutting board. Using a serrated knife, slice each into 24 half-inch-thick biscotti. Place biscotti on parchment-lined baking sheets, spacing 1/2 inch apart. Sprinkle with sea salt if desired. Here comes the second baking phase! Bake biscotti until slightly crisp, about 10-15 minutes, rotating baking sheets halfway through. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Enjoy!

Recipe courtesy of Country Living, www.countryliving.com

Crunchy Peanut Butter Cups

Peanut. Butter. Cups. Three words that get me excited for this time of year! I don’t do Halloween but I DO do chocolate. As a kid, I remember getting the “king sized” Reese’s cups and savoring every bite. But, never mind Reese’s: these homemade cups are 10x better. Here’s the secret: graham cracker crumbs mixed into the peanut butter filling. It adds the BEST texture and flavor. Combine that with silky, smooth chocolate and… you get the idea. Crunchy peanut butter enveloped in the lusciousness that is your favorite Halloween treat. This recipe is especially dear to me because my mother came up with it after years of trial and error. This makes 4 dozen cups (THAT’S RIGHT!) so you’ll be everyone’s best friend as you share these with family, co-workers, friends, and trick-or-treaters alike. Feel free to sub in your favorite nut butter!

Makes 48 cups

  • 1/2 stick salted butter
  • 1-1/2  cups all-natural crunchy peanut butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (only add if your peanut butter does not already contain salt)
  • 1-1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1-3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs (process in food processor or purchase pre-made crumbs)
  • 1 and 3/4 (12 oz) bags of semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup all-natural smooth peanut butter
  • 48 small baking cups
  1. Melt butter in a pot over medium-low heat. When melted, remove from heat and add finely pulsed graham cracker crumbs, crunchy peanut butter, salt (if using) and 3/4 cup of the powered sugar. Mix well and taste. If it is not sweet enough, add more powdered sugar. The consistency needs to be that of your typical cup– you should taste more peanut butter than any other ingredient. You want consistency that allows you to form into balls.
  2. Roll into 3/4″ – 1″ round balls.  Flatten slightly. Place baking cups into mini baking pan. If you don’t have a pan, a cookie sheet will work just fine.
  3. In a small sauce pan, melt chocolate chips. Add smooth peanut butter and stir until silky. If it’s too thick, add 1 Tablespoon or so of coconut oil to smooth out. To fill your cups, spoon about a half-teaspoon of chocolate into the bottom of each baking cup. One at a time, place each peanut butter ball into the pot of chocolate to coat.
  4. Place coated ball into each paper baking cup. Fill the rest of the cups with about a tablespoon of the chocolate mixture. Tap the pan to spread chocolate evenly. Place your pan of cups into the refrigerator for at least 1 hour to firm up. Store in the refrigerator. These are best enjoyed chilled!

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Hazelnut Coffee Sugar Cookies

Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco

Confession #1: my beautiful new KitchenAid mixer came in the mail yesterday and I had to bake something immediately. It no sooner arrived on my doorstep than I was tearing the top open, shaking the packaging like a box of crackerjack to get the machine loose and gazing at it all googley-eyed on my countertop. It is matte gray. It is magical. It is perfect! (Early Christmas gift from my husband, just in time for the holidays!) Confession #2: coffee. I love coffee. Sometimes I wake up a half hour earlier just to savor a cup of coffee in the calm of morning. I once added espresso powder to brownies and it was incredible. The coffee enhances the chocolate flavor, making it bolder and richer. Here we have your standard sugar cookie with the added bonus of hazelnut coffee!!! Coffee + Sugar were meant to be. Hazelnut is my favorite (of course any flavor will please will do). The grain adds a nice texture and color to the cookies. Instead of rolling them out and punching out shapes with a cookie cutter, I chose to roll them into balls and give them a criss-cross with a fork. You can do either. Drink your coffee and eat it too!


Ingredients:

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 Tbsp fresh ground coffee
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  1. In a mixer, cream together butter and sugar. In a separate bowl, combine eggs, vanilla, and coffee until fully combined.
  2. In another bowl, combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Slowly add your egg mixture to the butter mixture until well combined. Slowly add flour mixture until fully combined. Do not over beat.
  3. Chill this dough for at least one hour. When you are ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  4. Roll out dough on floured solid surface to about 1/2 inch thick. Using a circle cookie cutter, punch out circles and place on a parchment lined baking sheet (or roll into 1 tsp size balls). Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until edges are slightly golden. Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from I Am Baker, www.iambaker.net

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Photo Credit: Ashley Cuoco