Chocolate, Toffee & Pecan Cookies

Pecan & Toffee Cookies

The best gifts, I feel, are ones that can be eaten and shared. It’s easy to guess what I give friends and loved ones on an occasion.
Take this basic cookie dough recipe, then get creative with your mix ins. In the past I’ve used pretzels, nuts, banana chips, etc.

Chocolate, Toffee & Pecan Cookies
2 1/4 cups (300g) Flour
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
Pinch of salt
2 sticks (229g) Butter
3/4 cup (143g) Granulated Sugar
3/4 cup (150g) Brown Sugar
2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
2 cups (340g) Chocolate Chips
1 cup (125g) Toffee Bits
1 cup (120g) Whole Pecans

Preheat oven to 375f/190c degrees.

Stir the flour, baking soda and salt together and set aside.

Beat together the granulated sugar, brown sugar and butter until light and fluffy.
Add the eggs and vanilla to the butter mixture and stir until combined.
Mix the flour a little at a time into the butter/egg mixture until combined.
Stir in the mix-ins until distributed evenly into the dough.

Drop a 2 tablespoon portion onto a parchment lined cookie sheet. Place them about 2 inches apart as they will spread during baking
Bake for 10-13 minutes or until they are golden brown around the edges.

Print this recipe? Chocolate, Toffee & Pecan Cookies

Marbled Trinket Dishes

trinket dishes 2

These took me 30 minutes to make. I kid you not!
You’ve been treated to my fan-girling over the site A Beautiful Mess in the last couple of months, and this latest D.I.Y. is my favorite so far!

You will need:
Oven (Preheat to 275 (130) degrees)
Oven baked clay: White + three other colors
Rolling Pin
Paring or Exacto knife
Oven safe bowls
Tin foil
Baking Sheet
Gold acrylic paint

1) Roll out two white snakes and three smaller snakes of contrasting colors to about 5 inches each.
clay 1

2) Twist the snakes together to form a candy cane like design.
3) Roll out to about 10 inches then fold the snake into itself and roll again.
clay2

Image 11-15-14 at 1.36 PM

4) Fold the snake into a ball and roll out to about 1/4 inch thick.

clay3
clay5

5) Use a round bowl to cut out the clay into a circle.
clay6

6) Place the cut out clay into an oven safe bowl to help it hold it’s shape while baking.
7) Small balls of tin foil tucked between the clay and sides of the bowl helped hold the ruffled shape. (sorry not pictured)
Make very sure your bowl is oven safe -it will say on the bottom- if not don’t risk it.
clay7

8) Place on a baking sheet then in the oven to bake for 15 minutes.
9) Cool for about 10 minutes before un-molding.
10) Paint around the rim of the dish to finish it off.
(I just used my finger to pat on the paint as it was better for the uneven surface.)

Behold! So pretty!

large dish detail

One of these will find a home on my desk. I’m always taking off my earrings setting them down or scooping them into my desk drawer.

marbled trinket dishes

One for the bed side table, vanity, kitchen sink and, everywhere else I leave my jewelry.

trinket dish detail 2

Holiday Panettone Loaf

IMG_3340

We didn’t make it to Pazzoria Bakery this year for our panettone bread so I thought, “How hard could it be?” As it turns out, not that hard! After some experimenting I think I’ve got it right.

Panettone Loaf

For the dried fruit mixture:
1/4 cup each of:
Dried Cranberries
Dried Currants
Golden Rasins
Dried Plums (Prunes) Snipped into small bits
Candied Orange Peel (Click here for how to)
1 cup Triple Sec or Orange Juice

Except the candied orange peel, measure into a small sauce pan, all of the dried fruit and the triple sec. Bring it to a boil then take it off the heat, cover and let the fruit steep for about and hour. When cool, strain off the liquid and add to the dough mixture (see below).
Chop the candied orange peel into half-inch chunks set aside until time to add to the dough (see below)

For the dough mixture:
1 tablespoon Active Dry Yeast
1 cup Warm Water (110 degrees)
1/2 cup Sugar
2 large Eggs
1/2 Cup Plain Yogurt
4-5 Cups All Purpose Flour
1 teaspoon Salt
1/4 teaspoon each of: Allspice, Cinnamon, Nutmeg

Measure the yeast into a small bowl and add the water and 1 teaspoon of the sugar. Let the yeast develop for about 5-10 minutes.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the yeast/water mixture the rest of the sugar, salt, eggs, spices and the yogurt. Mix well with a whisk.

Add the dough hook to your mixer and turn it on low-speed.

Add the flour by 1/2 cup increments until you’ve added 2 1/2 cups of flour.

Now, add the cooled dried fruit mixture and the candied orange peel.
Continue adding the rest of the flour. You might not need all of it so add by increments again.

Your dough will be very sticky. That’s okay! Remove from the mixer and place it into a large, buttered bowl. Place it into a nice warm spot covered with a tea towel. Let it rise for an hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Turn out the dough onto a well floured surface and knead into a ball. Plop your dough into a panettone paper mould or a high sided cake pan. Cut an X into the top of the bread. Allow to rise again for 30 minutes.

Bake in the lower 1/3 of the oven for about 1 hour and 20 minutes.

You can give this super rich and dense bread for a gift or eat it up on Christmas morning!
Serve with orange marmalade and butter.

IMG_3341

Grocery Store Gift Basket (Movie Night)

x-4

Continuing from yesterday lets play around with themes shall we?

If your friends are movie buffs, or never has time to see the latest summer action flick, the movie night basket is the one to make.

First, start with a fun popcorn bowl then, fill it with favorite movie treats and a few videos.
Maybe volunteer to babysit too…

For more info on the products in this post click here!