Puppy Cookies for Today’s Top Dog

IMG 2259 Edited Puppy Cookies for Todays Top Dog

Hi Wy,

I wrote your sister a letter for her birthday,  so it’s only fair I do the same for you. The trouble is, you’re only turning one year old today, so I don’t yet know you well enough to write a decent letter. But I’ll try to tell you about yourself anyway.

You have been described by many people who love you as a happy baby. I haven’t been around too many babies, but you strike me as having an intrinsic happiness about you. Though you haven’t been here long, I admire that quality about you, and I’m interested to see how it develops as you grow.

So far, you seem to have an interest in music. You liked it when I tapped on the toy xylophone while we played at Christmas,  and your mom tells me you like the toy instruments in your toy chest the best. The great thing about liking music is your dad, aunt (not me!), and uncle are talented when it comes to playing instruments and singing.  I’m sure they will teach you all there is to know.

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Though this aunt doesn’t have much any musical talent, I think we’ll still be pals because you really like to eat. I also like your insatiable curiosity, and I think it’s good to always keep exploring. But do you really need to empty the socks from your sister’s drawer every day? And can you please not crawl into the dog kennel with June?

Speaking of June, since your birthday invitation had a puppy on it, I thought you might like to see some puppy cookies as a virtual birthday treat. I used a shortbread recipe, but in hindsight, I wonder if  a sugar cookie recipe would have been the better choice. I had a very difficult time getting the shortbread dough to come together, but so it goes sometimes.

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These puppy dog cookies were a good cookie to make for a little boy born in February because my heart-shaped cookie cutter was nearby (I just used it for Valentine’s Day). I cut out a vanilla heart and a chocolate heart, and I split the heart I wanted to use for ears down the middle. Then I took the heart I wanted to use as the puppy’s face and placed in on a baking sheet so the point faced the top.

I placed the edges of the broken heart down along the edges of the full heart to resemble ears. Making puppy dog cookies is the only time you are allow to break hearts, okay? Then I pinched the sides together so they didn’t fall apart. This last step was very important. When the puppy cookies baked and cooled, I decorated them with royal icing, sprinkles, and red hots. You could use other candies or chocolate chips too. Pretty simple dimples. Happy Birthday Wyatt!

Love,

Aunt LeAndra

Wyatt Puppy Cookies for Todays Top Dog

Shortbread Cookies
 
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Ingredients
  • 3 sticks butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
Instructions
  1. Cream the butter and sugar until just combined.
  2. Add the vanilla and mix until incorporated.
  3. Whisk together the flour and salt in a separate bowl, then add them to the butter and sugar.
  4. Mix on low speed until the dough starts to come together, then dump onto a surface dusted with flour.
  5. Shape the dough into a flat disk, then wrap in plastic and chill for 30 minutes.
  6. Roll out the dough to ½-inch thickness and cut with a cookie cutter and place the cookies on an ungreased baking sheet.
  7. Bake at 350 degrees F for 20 to 25 minutes, until the edges begin to brown.
  8. Remove and allow to cool to room temperature.
Notes
To make the cookies seen in this post, I made two batches of shortbread. to make the vanilla shortbread cookies, I followed the recipe as written above. To make the chocolate shortbread cookies, I substituted ¼ cup of cocoa powder for ¼ cup of flour.

 

Daring Bakers’ Challenge – Marbled Chocolate & Vanilla Quick Bread

IMG 2138 Edited e1329707967895 Daring Bakers Challenge   Marbled Chocolate & Vanilla Quick Bread

The Daring Bakers’ February 2012 host was – Lis! Lis stepped in last minute and challenged us to create a quick bread we could call our own. She supplied us with a base recipe and shared some recipes she loves from various websites and encouraged us to build upon them and create new flavor profiles.

Via way of her challenge instructions, Lis wrote she is a cook, not a baker. I could empathize, as I am a baker, but not a quick bread baker. Perhaps that comes as a surprise given I did an entire Monday Muffins series, but the only thing I found to look forward to in a quick bread challenge was an excuse to purchase a popover pan.

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As you can see from these photos, I did not get around to popovers, and that is because I found a recipe for a Marbled Chocolate & Vanilla Quick Bread that I just had to try. Throughout this challenge, I was reminded how baking even what appears to be the simplest of quick breads can be, well, a challenge. “Why’s that,” you ask? Because I made this bread not once, not twice, but three times.

The first loaf of marbled chocolate and vanilla quick bread did not rise quite as high as I thought it should, baking slightly under an inch from the top of the loaf pan. I switched out the baking powder on my spice rack with a fresh can, and yet again, the second loaf looked good but small. This led me to believe the amount of ingredients was better suited to smaller loaves, so I baked the recipe a third time using mini loaf pans. The third time is a charm, I think!

IMG 2135 Edited Daring Bakers Challenge   Marbled Chocolate & Vanilla Quick Bread

 

Chocolate & Vanilla Marbled Quick Bread
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 ounces semisweet chocolate
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tablespoons sour cream
  • ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl and set aside.
  2. Place the chocolate and the milk over a small bowl set over a simmering pan of water and stir occasionally until the chocolate melts. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
  3. Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  4. Beat in the egg and sour cream.
  5. Halve the batter, then add the melted chocolate to one half and the vanilla extract to the other half.
  6. Alternately spoon the chocolate and vanilla batters into a greased and floured loaf pan.
  7. Gently swirl the batters together with a spatula or spoon to achieve a marbled effect.
  8. Bake at 325 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the bread comes out with just a crumb or two.
  9. Cool the bread in its pan for 10 minutes before turning it out and allowing it to finish cooling.
Notes
I reduced the bake time for the mini-loaves I baked from 40-45 minutes to 25-30 minutes.

 

And the Oscar Goes to…Coconut Curry Popcorn

IMG 2301 Edited And the Oscar Goes to...Coconut Curry Popcorn

It’s Saturday afternoon, and though I baked today, I feel a bit drained after pouring my heart into some birthday posts you have already seen and are about to see in the coming days. Couple that feeling with an outdoor temperature that is a good 25 degrees cooler today than it was yesterday, and all I really want to do as the day winds down is snuggle in on the couch and watch a movie. And where there is a movie, there must be popcorn.

I’m a pretty traditional popcorn eater. A pat of melted butter and a couple of shakes of salt please me, but when I want to amp up the flavor, I turn to a recipe for Coconut Curry Popcorn Seasoning. The blend offers a little sweet – in the form of coconut and sugar – and a little heat – in the form of curry and cayenne pepper. Add those ingredients to some ginger, cinnamon, and garlic powder, and you have a wonderful combination of flavors waiting to meet your popcorn.

IMG 2287 Edited And the Oscar Goes to...Coconut Curry Popcorn

If you have plans that will lure you out of the house instead of on to the couch tonight, perhaps you can enjoy some Coconut Curry Popcorn tomorrow evening during the Oscars. I haven’t had the opportunity to see every film nominated for best picture, but I loved The Help almost as much as I did the book, and Midnight in Paris was a delight. I was thoroughly entertained by Moneyball,  though Tree of Life ranks on the list of worst movies I have ever seen.

My favorite movie, in terms of number of times watched, is StarWars. Before I was old enough to attend school, I had the lines from most scenes memorized. When we got home from the baby-sitters’ house, I’d rush to pop the tape in the VCR (well, Mom probably did that for me), and proceed to act out the scenes. Today my favorite movie, in terms of actual favorite, is Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. It’s a bit unusual, but I like the way it makes me think about things.

IMG 2292 Edited And the Oscar Goes to...Coconut Curry Popcorn

Coconut Curry Popcorn Seasoning makes a nice gift from the kitchen. Present it alone or as part of a gift basket that could include popcorn, a DVD, movie tickets, or even candy (I love to eat Junior Mints right along with my movie popcorn).

Looking for other popcorn toppings? How about trying some Dijon Buttered Popcorn or Spiced White Chocolate Popcorn. Or maybe you feel like baking with popcorn instead? Try some Popcorn Bread or Caramel Corn Chocolate Chip Cookies. Just make sure to try this Coconut Curry Popcorn the next time you have a movie night. It’s reel good – enjoy!

IMG 2300 Edited And the Oscar Goes to...Coconut Curry Popcorn

Coconut Curry Popcorn Seasoning
 
Author:
Recipe type: Snack
Ingredients
  • 1¾ cups Sweetened Shredded Coconut
  • 7 tablespoons Curry Powder
  • 2 tablespoons Salt
  • 3½ teaspoons Sugar
  • 1¾ teaspoons Ground Ginger
  • 1¾ teaspoons Ground Cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoons Cayenne Pepper
  • 1 teaspoons Garlic Powder
Instructions
  1. Place all ingredients in a food processor.
  2. Pulse to combine.
  3. Sprinkle over popcorn.