Author Archives: The Spiffy Cookie

About The Spiffy Cookie

Erin is a full-time graduate student working towards a PhD in Biomedical Sciences and loves to cook and bake almost every day as an outlet from daily life. Erin has grown her interests in the kitchen starting at a young age while helping her father. Today, she is very passionate about desserts, especially those containing peanut butter, but blogs about everyday foods as well. Find out more on her blog at www.thespiffycookie.com.

Chocolate Cake Ball Stuffed Oreo Pudding Cookies

Many of you may be scolding me for posting these decadent, irresistible cookies only two days into the new year when the most popular resolution is to lose weight or at least eat healthier. But I just cannot help myself! It is impossible for me to resist so why must I be alone in consuming all of these cookies? The more I share, the less I have to eat!

These cookies are made with chunks or Hershey’s cookies and cream candy bars, Oreo pudding mix (which makes them super soft), and chocolate chips. But inside there is a surprise – a moist chocolate cake ball! It seems like I always have some sort of truffle frozen in my freezer and they are perfect for jazzing up cookies and cupcakes.

CHOCOLATE CAKE BALL STUFFED OREO PUDDING COOKIES

Makes 3 dozen

Ingredients:

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

3/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup white sugar

1 (4.2 ounce) package instant Oreo Pudding mix

2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking soda

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 tsp salt

2-2.6 oz. (5.2 oz. total) Hershey’s Cookies N Cream Candy Bars broken into small pieces

2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

3 dozen uncoated chocolate cake balls

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two cookie sheets with silicone baking mats, or parchment paper, set aside.
  2. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl and set aside. Cream together butter and sugars. Beat in pudding mix until blended. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix well. Add the flour mixture and mix to combine. Stir in cookies n’ cream pieces and chocolate chips. Batter will be thick.
  3. Using a cookie dough scooper, form golf ball sized dough balls. Flatten one out in the palm of your hand, place one cake ball in the center, and wrap the dough around it. Place on prepared baking sheet about 2 inches apart. Repeat with remaining dough and cake balls.
  4. Bake for 8-10 minutes. You do not want to overbake these! They will barely be golden on the edges and bottom. Let cookies cool for 5 minutes on baking sheet before moving to a cooking rack. Store in air-tight container.

Source: Adapted slightly from The Girl Who Ate Everything.

White Chocolate Cranberry Shortbread Cookies

It’s time for the holiday baking to dominate your kitchen! I hope you had a talk with your oven about all the overtime it is going to be accumulating over the next month. Which means you need to be sure that you fill it with plenty of delicious treats for compensation.

Last year through a holiday cookie swap, I received a batch of white chocolate cherry shortbread cookies. They were the best shortbread I had ever tasted, so when I found a recipe using cranberries it was instantly added to my list of things to make. The cranberries add just a little bit of tartness to the overall sweetness of these shortbread cookies. And the added moisture made them super soft as well! Who knew shortbread could be so sweet, flavorful, and soft?

You may be able to use up any leftover homemade cranberry sauce from Thanksgiving in these cookies. I haven’t tried it myself, but it sounds good to me.

WHITE CHOCOLATE CRANBERRY SHORTBREAD COOKIES

Makes 3 dozen

Ingredients:

1/2 cup fresh cranberries, finely chopped*

2-1/4 cups + 1 Tbsp all-purpose flour

1/2 cup sugar

1 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes

12 oz. white chocolate baking bars (such as Ghirardelli), finely chopped, divided*

1 tsp almond extract

2 drops red food coloring

2 tsp shortening

Red sanding sugar

* I used a small food processor to finely chop the cranberries and white chocolate

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line baking two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, stir together the flour and sugar. Add the butter and toss with a fork to coat with the flour mixture. Mix on medium-low speed until the texture resembles coarse cornmeal, with the butter pieces no larger than small peas.
  3. Stir in chopped cranberries and 4 ounces of the chopped white chocolate. Stir in almond extract and food coloring. The mixture will be crumbly. Knead mixture until it begins to stick together. Using a tablespoon, mold dough into a 1 inch ball. With your hand or the bottom of a glass cup, flatten balls into a 1-1/2-inch round and place on prepared baking sheet.
  4. Bake, one baking sheet at a time, in preheated oven for 10 to 12 minutes or until centers are set. Cool for 1 minute on the baking sheet before transferring cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.
  5. in a small saucepan over low heat, combine remaining 8 ounces white chocolate and the shortening. Cook and stir until melted. Dip half of each cookie into chocolate, allowing excess to drip off. Roll dipped edge or half in sanding sugar. Place cookies on waxed paper until chocolate is set.

Source: Sweet Pea’s Kitchen

Fresh Strawberry Cupcakes with Chocolate Cheesecake Frosting 1

Fresh Strawberry Cupcakes with Chocolate Cheesecake Frosting

Cupcakes have been on my brain non-stop lately, and there is no end to the list of flavors I want to try. At first I had planned on making peanut butter cupcakes with chocolate cheesecake frosting, since that’s what the original recipe had paired with this frosting. Peanut butter + chocolate is of course my favorite combination of flavors. But at the end of the post, there was mention of using it on top of a strawberry cupcake. Well, doesn’t that just sound delicious? So I had to try it.

The cupcake batter has pureed fresh strawberries mixed into it, which makes the best strawberry cupcake possible. You can add a little food coloring to make the pink color more vibrant, but I preferred the more natural look to them. Then they got topped off with a small mountain of chocolate cream cheese frosting that will remind you of chocolate cheesecake. (It’s reasons like this that cream cheese frosting is the best kind of frosting ever created.) Together, these are like chocolate covered strawberries in cupcake form. And who can resist that?

Want to make a smaller batch? These halve well to make six cupcakes.

Fresh Strawberry Cupcakes with Chocolate Cheesecake Frosting

Makes 12 cupcakes

Cupcakes:

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened

2 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1-1/4 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup chopped fresh strawberries (not frozen)

1-2 tablespoons milk, if needed

Frosting:

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened

8 ounces reduced fat cream cheese, softened

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

4 cups powdered sugar

1/3 cup cocoa powder

1-2 tablespoons milk, if needed

Chocolate sprinkles

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. For the cupcakes, beat butter and sugar together in the bowl of an electric mixer until fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla extract and mix until combined. Add flour, baking powder and salt with the mixer on low speed, then gradually increase speed. Add in chopped strawberries and beat on medium speed until the strawberries break down – about 1-2 minutes. At this point, the strawberries most likely have enough liquid that you don’t need to add any milk to the batter. If your batter seems dry and is not like typical cake batter, then add milk 1-2 tablespoons at a time, beating until incorporated.
  3. Pour into cupcake liners, filling 2/3 of the way full, and bake for 20-25 minutes or until cake is set. Let cool completely.
  4. For the frosting, in the bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter and cream cheese together until smooth. Add in vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time and add cocoa powder, increasing the speed to mix. If the frosting is a bit too thick, add milk 1 teaspoon at a time, until desired consistency is reached.  If it is too thin, add additional sugar gradually. Frost cupcakes and top with chocolate sprinkles.

Source: Cupcakes and Frosting from How Sweet It Is.

Mini Pumpkin Black and White Cookies

Mini Pumpkin Black and White Cookies

It is hard to believe that fall has already begun. If it weren’t for the sun setting earlier every day, it would still seem to be summer where I live because we are still experiencing highs in the 80s. As a result, it took me awhile longer than most to be ready to dig into the fall flavors such as pumpkin.

That all changed when I saw these cookies in the Joy the Baker Cookbook. I knew I had to make them. Not only have I never made black and white cookies before, but I have never heard of any different flavor variety. It starts off with a pumpkin cookie, which is soft and moist due to the addition of the pumpkin puree, and is then topped off with a typical chocolate glaze and an untraditional cinnamon glaze.

Upon first bite, these became my favorite kind of black and white cookie. The cinnamon glaze is absolutely perfect with the pumpkin, and I was surprised by how much I enjoyed chocolate and pumpkin together. I also enjoy that they are smaller than traditional black and white cookies. They  just might become a staple every fall from now on!

Mini Pumpkin Black and White Cookies

Makes about 3 dozen cookies

Ingredients:

Cookies:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons  baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1  can (15 ounces) pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
 
Cinnamon Glaze:
2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Up to 1 teaspoon water (despite what the recipe said, I ended up using a couple tablespoons water)
 
Chocolate Glaze:
4 ounces semisweet chocolate chunks or chips
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
Pinch of salt
1 tablespoon light corn syrup

Directions:

  1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 325 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. To make the cookies: in a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs and sugar until well incorporated and slightly pale, about 2 minutes. Add the oil, pumpkin, and vanilla, and carefully whisk until completely incorporated.
  4. Add the flour mixture to the pumpkin mixture and fold together with a spatula until no dry flour bits remain.
  5. Dollop tablespoonfuls of batter onto the baking sheet, keeping about 2 inches between each cookie. Spread the cookie batter slightly with the back of a spoon or a butter knife, creating a 2-inch cookie circle.
  6. Bake cookies for 12 to 14 minutes until just cooked through. Use a skewer to test the center of the cookie if necessary. When the skewer comes out clean, the cookies are done.
  7. Allow the cookies to rest on the pan for 10 minutes before using a thin spatula to remove cookies to a cooling rack to cool completely before frosting. While cookies are cooling, make the glazes.
  8. To make the cinnamon glaze: whisk together all ingredients, except water, until smooth. Add enough water to thin the glaze. Set aside.
  9. To make the chocolate glaze: place a small heatproof bowl over, but not touching, a small saucepan of simmering water. In the bowl, melt chocolate and butter. Stir until melted then remove the bowl from the heat. Stir in the salt and corn syrup and set aside.
  10. Cookies should be completely cooled before frosted. Take a baked cookie, flip it over, and wipe any excess crumbs off the bottom. The bottom of the cookie will become the top of the cookie. With a butter knife, spread cinnamon glaze on half of the cookie. With a separate butter knife, frost the other side of the cookie with chocolate glaze. Set the cookie on its top to harden slightly before wrapping individually in small squares of plastic wrap.

Source: Joy the Baker Cookbook.

Root Beer Brownies 3

Root Beer Cake Brownies

Want to know the simplest way to make brownies? All you need is a box of brownie mix and 12 ounces of your favorite pop — root beer for me! No eggs are needed, not even oil. But don’t be shy about adding your own little extras like butterscotch chips. Versions of this recipe have popped up all over the place, usually with Diet Coke. But I don’t like Diet Coke unless it is concealed by liquor. So I went ahead and used a very delicious root beer from St. Louis, MO — Fitz’s. (If you’ve never been, you need to go, they brew it there and have it on tap — yum!)

 

When I made this recipe, the batter was more of a cake batter consistency than brownie batter. As a result, the butterscotch fell to the bottom and took almost twice as long to cook than the original recipe. I don’t understand what changed since I used the exact same volume of liquid. Maybe using regular instead of diet pop was the issue? Regardless, I still nearly inhaled the entire pan of this after one bite. I forced myself to brush my teeth after finishing the second piece to prevent myself from going on an eating marathon.

These bars are more like cake brownies because they are are not quite as fluffy as a cake, but not quite as dense as a brownie — but they still taste like a brownie but with some root beer flavor. I think next time I would omit the butterscotch — not because I didn’t like it because in fact I really enjoyed it, but it all sunk to the bottom. Or I could keep the chips and maybe try only using 6 ounces of root beer. Oh and did I mention I decided to throw on some frosting? Guess I felt the need to use more than 3 ingredients after all.

ROOT BEER CAKE BROWNIES

Makes 16 bars

Ingredients:

BROWNIES

1 box Betty Crocker low fat brownie mix

12 ounce root beer

1/2 cup butterscotch chips (optional)

FROSTING

1 ounces butterscotch chips, melted and cooled slightly

1/4 cup (2 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons milk

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1-1/4 cups powdered sugar

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line an 8-inch baking pan with foil and spray with non-stick spray.
  2. Mix brownie mix and root beer together in a large bowl. Fold in the butterscotch chips. Pour into prepared baking pan. Bake for about 50 to 60 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before frosting.
  3. While they cool, put all of the frosting ingredients in a medium bowl. Using a hand mixer, mix on medium-low until combined and satiny smooth. Frost bars once cooled.

Source: Brownies adapted from Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts. Frosting adapted from Brown Eyed Baker.

Cinnamon Candied Walnut Chocolate Chunk Cookies 4

Cinnamon Candied Walnut Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Do you own a kitchen scale? Because you’re going to need it for these cookies. Until now, I had never baked using a scale to measure my flour and sugar, but have been told it’s the way to go in order to ensure reproducibility. It makes sense, because how packed your flour or sugar becomes when using measuring cups will vary every time. Weighing it out ensures that you are using the exact same amount.

Now this may seem tedious, but actually ended up with less clean up afterwards. Instead of using various sizes of measuring cups, I just used one bowl tared on my kitchen scale. It made me feel like I was back in lab measuring out components of a solution. The precise amount of each ingredient is necessary for the correct ratio, which results in one heck of a delicious cookie.

Now, I did intend to also give you the cup measurements of each item on the ingredient list for those of you who refuse to do not own a kitchen scale, but they weren’t exactly matching up to any of my measuring cups. Of course there is always the rule that 8 ounces = 1 cup, but depending on the density of the ingredient (such as brown sugar versus regular granulated) this isn’t exactly true. So just go buy yourself a kitchen scale (I use this one by EatSmart). I promise you will find many more uses other than to make these cookies – even though these cookies alone should be a good enough reason.

To begin, you make the cinnamon candied walnuts. The quantity will exceed what is needed for the cookies, but they are great by themselves as a snack or mixed into your granola for breakfast. What you do add into the cookies is accompanied by chunks of chopped dark chocolate. After a short time in the oven, these cookies come out soft and bursting with cinnamon-chocolatey flavor.

Cinnamon Candied Walnut Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Makes 2 dozen cookies

Ingredients

4 ounces unsalted butter, at room temperature

3 ounces sugar

3 ounces light brown sugar

1 egg

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

5 ounces cake flour*

2 ounces bread flour*

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

4 ounce dark chocolate, chopped (or chips)

5 ounces cinnamon candied walnuts, chopped (recipe below)

*Or use 7 ounces all-purpose flour

Directions:

  1. Preheat an oven to 375 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicon baking sheets.
  2. Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  3. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until completely mixed together.
  4. Add the flours, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and baking soda and mix until blended well.
  5. Add the chocolate chunks and the candied walnut bits and mix until evenly distributed.
  6. Spoon the dough onto the cookies sheets using a medium cookie scoop. Bake each sheet for 8 to 11 minutes until slightly golden.

Cinnamon Candied Walnuts

Ingredients:

1 egg white

1 tablespoon water

8 ounces raw California walnuts

2 ounces sugar

2 ounces light brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1-1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Directions:

  1. Preheat an oven to 300 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicon baking sheet.
  2. Whip together the egg white and water until frothy (this can be done with a hand whisk in about a minute or two).
  3. Add the walnuts and mix them in until they are all evenly coated.
  4. Add in the sugars, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg (making sure there are no lumps). Mix until the walnuts are evenly covered.
  5. Spread the walnut mix evenly onto the lined baking sheet.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes. Stir once halfway through.
  7. Let cool completely. Place the walnuts in a bowl and break apart any pieces that have stuck together.
  8. Store in the refrigerator in an air-tight container.

Source: Adapted slightly from Chasing Delicious.