Happy Valentine’s Day – Chocolate Valentine’s Day Cookies – Experience the Love

Happy Valentine’s Day!

I must confess, I’m an eternal romantic at heart, I always have been, and I always will be – it is in my soul, it is part of me.  Romance makes your spirit sing and your soul take flight.  Love breathes life into your poetry, into your art, into your music … into every fiber of your being, magnifying all that is beautiful and real.  Today, and every day, is a celebration of love and of life … love for yourself … and love for that someone special in your life!  Happy Valentine’s Day!

One of my loves is chocolate, especially dark chocolate.  Another love is sugar cookies, but chocolate surpasses that love and I was happy to discover a recipe for chocolate rolled cookies that is really good and I could practice my new-found love of decorating cookies.  Give it a try and experience the love.  Enjoy!

Chocolate Rolled Cookies

1 cup butter
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
2 Tablespoons chocolate liqueur or extra strong coffee (this can be made with about 1 teaspoon of instant espresso dissolved into 2 Tablespoons warm water)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup cocoa powder
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1.) Sift together (or gently stir with a whisk) the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt.  Set aside.
2.)  With an electric mixer cream together the butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar until fully incorporated and fluffy.
3.)  Beat in egg, coffee or liqueur, and vanilla.
4.)  Add in flour/cocoa mixture about 1 cup at a time.  Blend until fully incorporated.  (If you are using a hand mixer you may need to add the last cup of flour by hand).
5.)  Divide dough into two or three large balls, place in a plastic bag and chill in the refrigerator 1-2 hours (if you’re in a hurry, you can chill the dough for about 20 minutes in the freezer).
6.)  Once chilled, work with one ball of dough at a time, and roll onto a lightly floured surface.  I find it works best to place a sheet of parchment paper on top of the dough, and then roll on top of the parchment.  This prevents the dough from sticking to your rolling-pin, and you also don’t need to add as much extra flour (as you would without the parchment).
7.)  Cut out desired shapes with cookie cutters and place on a baking sheet.
8.)  Place the baking sheet (with cookies on it) in the freezer about 5 minutes (this helps the dough keep it’s shape when baked).
9.)  Bake cookies for 7-10 minutes (depending on size) in a 350*F oven.
10.)  Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet a few minutes and then transfer to a wire cooling rack.
11.)  Decorate as desired.
Recipe Source- Glorious Treats

Valentine’s Day Cookies – Pretty in Pink

I decorated my first batch of sugar cookies with royal icing in December and loved the results so much I couldn’t wait for the next holiday to decorate more cookies. Valentine cookies were fun to decorate, after all, what girlie girl doesn’t love pink?!

To make these cookies refer to my previous post for the recipe and how to decorate cookies using royal icing.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes

My husband loves Reese Peanut Butter Cups (I must admit, so do I!), so when I found this recipe on Annies-eats (her recipes are fabulous!) I knew I had to make these cupcakes.  If one is going to indulge, these cupcakes are certainly worth it!  Delicious chocolate cake with peanut butter filling in the middle – what could possibly be better! 

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes
For the filling:  
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
¾ cup creamy peanut butter
4 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ tsp. vanilla extract

For the cake:
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
1 cup sour cream 
2 tbsp. milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
8 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1½ cups sugar
2 large eggs

For the frosting:
8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
4 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
½ cup creamy peanut butter
3¼ cups confectioners’ sugar
1 cup frozen whipped topping, thawed

Preheat the oven to 350° F.  Line two cupcake pans with paper liners.  

To make the filling, combine the confectioners’ sugar, peanut butter, butter and vanilla extract in a bowl.  Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until well combined.  Roll the mixture into 1-inch balls (at least 24) and set aside on a baking sheet.

To make the cake batter, combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl; whisk together and set aside.  In a liquid measuring cup, stir together the sour cream, milk and vanilla extract.  In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter and sugar, and beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Beat in the eggs one at a time, scraping down the bowl as needed.  With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the dry ingredients and the sour cream mixture, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients.  Mix just until incorporated. 

Spoon a tablespoon or two of batter into the bottom of each cupcake liner.  Place a ball of the peanut butter filling in each cupcake well and top with the remaining batter so that all the cups are filled.  Bake for 18-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Allow to cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the frosting, in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the cream cheese, butter and peanut butter until smooth.  Slowly mix in the confectioners’ sugar, beating until smooth and well blended.  Mix in the whipped topping until smooth and fluffy.  Frost cooled cupcakes as desired.