Speaking of Spritz, I have a fabulous new product to share with you! My cookie press broke earlier this year, so I needed a replacement. This was the first time I tried my new one and I LOVE it! It’s the Cuisinart ELECTRIC cookie press. Honestly, my kids got to do this more than I did because they thought it was really cool and kept asking if they could have a turn. You can’t see the cord in the picture, but it plugs in and does the work for you. This may sound lazy, but the manual-hand cranked cookie press just never seems to produce even cookies for me. The electric cookie press is no-fail.
I was rather impressed with this fun little product. It was the same price as the manual cookie presses that I was looking at, but it worked so much better than my old one.
Pretty cookies for the neighbors make me happy.
Start with a block of softened cream cheese.
Chop a small handful of basil and mix it into the cream cheese.
Spread the mixture on a plate.
Top with pesto (homemade is best, but store bought will do just fine).
Dice up a few sundried tomatoes and spread those over the top.
Garnish with a sprig of fresh basil.
We served this dip with Pita chips and it was pretty yummy. One of my hubby’s coworkers asked for the recipe and I was truly embarrassed at how easy this was.
The mint brownies we brought to the party took quite a bit more work, so at least I didn’t feel too guilty!
I’m linking up to Fertilizer Friday to share my herbs!
Homemade chocolate chip cookies, with homemade ice cream sandwiched in between, rolled in mini chocolate chips…. does it get any better than that?
Here’s the link to my cookie recipe. I used semi-sweet chocolate chips instead of white chocolate and macadamia nut for this recipe. You’ll have to keep checking back for my homemade vanilla ice cream recipe. That’s coming in a future post.
It’s no big secret that I love to garden. Herbs are definitely my favorite things to grow. I use fresh herbs all the time in my cooking. Last year I ran across a chocolate mint plant at the garden center. CHOCOLATE MINT, friends! I decided to plant them in planters on my deck for a couple of reasons.
1. Mint will overtake everything! I knew it needed to be in a container so it wouldn’t get out of control.
2. It would smell wonderful, in the summer, when we’re sitting on the deck.
3. Anytime you brush up against fresh herbs, you can smell them.
4. It’s a very sunny spot on my deck.
(Side story: Since we’ve moved into our house, the tree directly behind us has gotten huge. It’s not our tree, so I can’t cut it down. It would be so nice to have that tree gone because my garden is not getting nearly enough sun! At least the pots on my deck still get plenty of sunshine!)
Back to the chocolate mint…
I infused the milk and the melted butter for this recipe with the chocolate mint, and let them sit for about an hour. I made a big batch of the minty milk so that I could use some later in milk shakes. The recipe for this came from Six Sister’s Stuff, although I did not use peppermint extract. I just used the herbs from my garden to add the flavor.
We took this platter to a party over the weekend. Served with vanilla ice cream is definitely the way to go!
Just so you’re prepared, this recipe calls for 6 eggs! Yes, you read that correctly. It also requires several sticks of butter, so stock up!
***WARNING: Lots and lots of butter used here!***
For the shortbread layer:
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ cup sugar
***I also added a 1/4 cup of water to the mixture because mine was a little too dry.***
For the caramel layer:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into pieces (I told you there was lots of butter!)
1 cup sugar
***I also added 1/4 cup of brown sugar because I like a darker caramel.***
4 tbsp. light corn syrup
2 (14 oz.) cans sweetened condensed milk
For the chocolate layer:
8 oz. semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
***I used the whole bag of chocolate chips, because there’s no such thing as too much chocolate.***
1 tsp. light corn syrup
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
***I didn’t use a full stick, just because it’s a lot of butter. I cut it down to 6Tbsps. Whew! Think of all of those calories I just saved!***
Sea salt, for sprinkling
To make the shortbread layer, preheat the oven to 325° F. In a small bowl combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Stir with a fork to blend, and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until well blended, about 1-2 minutes. With the mixer on low speed blend in the dry ingredients just until incorporated. ***Add water if you do my version.***Transfer the dough to a 9×12 pan and press. Bake 15-18 minutes or until golden.
To make the caramel layer, combine the butter, sugar (***both sugars if you’re doing it my way***), corn syrup and condensed milk in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Heat, stirring CONSTANTLY, until the butter is melted. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer, stirring constantly. Continue simmering and stirring until the mixture turns an amber color and thickens slightly. This step took me about 20 minutes of constant stirring. Pour the mixture over the cooled shortbread layer, smooth the top, and allow to cool completely and set. I refrigerated it for about 30 minutes.
To make the chocolate glaze, combine the chocolate, corn syrup, and butter in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Heat, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate is completely melted and the mixture is smooth. Pour evenly over the caramel layer. Allow to cool for a minute or two and then sprinkle with sea salt. Chill, covered, until ready to slice and serve.
Cutting the cookies works best if they are completely set. I let mine set over night and then cut with a very sharp knife. This time, I made a double batch and used almost every last crumb. There were a few little scraps for us to nibble on, but I was secretly glad we didn’t have half of a pan left over. I love these, and would have eaten my weight in
butter cookies if they had been in my kitchen.
I hope the teachers enjoyed them and had a terrific Teacher Appreciation Week!