Are you mid-resolution? Did you make some goals for 2020 that may or may not include the word “healthy”? I’m not one for resolutions, but I am a fan of being healthyish. True story: before I began this blog I was working full-time as a registered dietitian. Does that just sound like the biggest joke ever? The truth is, as much as I LOVE baking, butter, and indulgent desserts, I value fitting in my pants and taking care of the body I’ve been given. Naturally, that means I can’t exist solely on banoffee pie and peanut butter babka (but, man, I wish it did) and it nudges me to think inside the box of healthyish. So here’s some morning glory muffins and a few links to some lightened-up favorites of mine. I hope you enjoy them as much as your enjoy the banoffee.
Morning glory muffins have loads of fruit and veggie add-ins to make these nutrient-rich treats. Yes, they do contain sugar, but they also have shredded carrots, 100% whole wheat flour, raisins, coconut, and unsweetened applesauce. These morning glory muffins are one-bowl treats that can be made-ahead or frozen and (BONUS!) taste even better on day 2. Bake a batch of these on a lazy Saturday and enjoy them all week long. Guilt-free.
To make morning glory muffins, we start by combining milk, oil, applesauce, and eggs until smooth. Next comes the sugars and shredded carrots followed by the dry ingredients. Cinnamon gently spices these fluffy treats, but the mainly flavors are all those add-ins! Coconut, raisins, and chopped pecans round out the ingredients, and the batter comes together into a thick, scoopable mixture. Load up your muffin pan and bake for just over 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out just barely clean.
Give these morning glory muffins a try sometime this week and check out a few other healthyish recipes on my site at the links below! Happy baking and enjoy your weekend!
If you like these morning glory muffins you should try:
These are healthy muffins with natural sweeteners, whole wheat flour, and loads of carrots, coconut, and raisins. These are hearty breakfast pastries and afternoon snacks and make great little energy bites that are simple, make ahead, and easy to freeze. Learn more about the recipe on thewoodandspoon.com
Morning Glory Muffins by Wood and Spoon Blog by Kate Wood.
Total Time:30 minutes
¾ cup (180 gm) milk
1/3 cup (80 gm) canola oil
1 large egg
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup shredded carrots
½ cup (100 gm) sugar
¼ cup (50 gm) brown sugar
1 cup (140 gm) all-purpose flour
1 cup (140 gm) whole wheat flour
2–1/2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
2–1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
½ cup shredded coconut
½ cup raisins
¼ cup chopped pecans
Preheat an oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and put paper muffin lines in a 12-compartment tin. In a large bowl, whisk together the milk, oil, egg, applesauce, and extract until smooth. Stir in the carrots and both sugars. Add the flours, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon and stir just till barely combined. Fold in the coconut, raisins, and pecans. Divide the batter among the 12-muffin compartment. Mine usually end up about 2/3- 3/4 of the way full. Sprinkle the tops of each with sparkling sugar or additional mix-ins (if desired) and bake in the preheated oven for about 17 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Allow to cool briefly before consuming!
As an option, you can use 1-1/2 cups of whole wheat flour and only ½ cup of all-purpose flour. In this instance, use ½ cup brown sugar and only ¼ cup of white sugar. This will help to keep the muffins moist.
If you don’t plan to consume the muffins on the day of preparing them, seal them in a Tupperware or large plastic bag and freeze until ready to consume. This will help to keep the muffins moist and fresh!
NEW YEAR NEW SITE! Agh! I’m so excited for you guys to check out what’s new here on Wood & Spoon. I have adored my website design for the past 3 years, but man, it was time for a facelift. My hope is that this new site is more user-friendly so that you guys can find exactly you’re looking for. Wanting to find a recipe? The recipes tab is way more searchable so that you can see the type of stuff you’re into! Curious about what kind of cake pans, baking sheets, and utensils I love? You can click the shop tab for direct links to the varieties I use in my own home. Interested in taking a trip? The travel tab will give you a sneak peek into some of our recent adventures and link to my favorite places to eat in those cities. Granted, this isn’t some drastic overhaul, but I’m really excited to present this to you y’all. I hope you love it.
Also along the lines of “things I hope you love” is this red velvet cake. Isn’t she a looker? I was going to save this cake for Valentine’s Day, but the time just seemed right. We’re celebrating a new site after all, right? Red velvet is always a favorite of mine, and this fluffy layer cake is no exception.
You might be wondering what the heck is red velvet anyways. Great question. I have no idea, but I’m totally into the ingredients that make this cake’s texture and flavor everything it is. First, we have cocoa powder- and just a little. This adds a subtle richness to the cake and leaves you asking, “what is this flavor I’m tasting?” The vinegar adds acid which helps to create a seriously fluffy cake. And finally, the cream cheese frosting, not necessary to a red velvet cake but almost always found in accompaniment, adds tang for contrast to the velvety sweetness of the layers. While a lot of red velvet cakes tend to be a tad too sweet, I love that this one seems to be fairly balanced in every way.
I’m planning to make a quick tutorial for stacking layer cakes soon, but in the meantime, check out my cake baking hacks at this link here! There’s a few simple tricks that can keep you from experiencing frustration while in the kitchen, and some of these tips may help you. I hope you all get a chance to peruse the cake recipes on my site and give this one a try if you think about it. Happy baking to you all!
If you like this red velvet cake recipe you should try:
This red velvet cake is a fluffy three layer cake with a tangy and sweet cream cheese frosting.
Yield:8” 3 layer cake 1x
For the cake:
3/4 cup (170 gm) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup (120 gm) canola oil
2 cups (400 gm) sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
2–1/3 cups (320 gm) all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1–1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1–1/4 cups (300 g m) whole milk, at room temperature
1/4 cup (60 gm) white vinegar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons red food coloring (optional)
For the frosting
1–1/2 cups (285 gm) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 block/ 8 ounces (225 gm) cream cheese, room temperature
½ teaspoon salt
1–1/2 teaspoons vanilla
Appx. 5 cups/ 1-1/2 pounds (680 gm) of powdered sugar
To prepare the cake:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease 3-8” round pans and line the bottoms with pieces of parchment paper cut to fit inside the bottom.
In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter, oil, and sugar on medium speed for 3 minutes, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the eggs one at a time, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed. Stir to combine.
In a separate bowl, gently whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl, combine the milk, vinegar, and vanilla. Add half of the dry ingredients mixture to the butter and stir on low to combine. Add half of the liquid ingredients and stir just to combine. Scrape the sides of the bowl and then repeat this process. Add the red food coloring and stir to combine. Divide the batter equally among the three pans and bake in the preheated oven until puffed and a toothpick inserted comes out clean, about 22-25 minutes. Allow to cool completely prior to frosting.
To prepare the frosting
In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter on medium speed (I use 4 on my stand mixer) for 2-3 minutes until light and creamy, scraping the bowl as necessary. Add the cream cheese and beat to incorporate for an additional minute. Add the salt, vanilla, and powdered sugar and beat on low speed until incorporated. Scrape the sides of the bowl and continue to beat until well combined. Do not overbeat as this can cause the cream cheese to loosen. If needed, add a tablespoon of water or milk at a time to get the frosting the right consistency. Refrigerate as needed to thicken the frosting up.
To assemble the cake
Use a serrated knife to level the cakes. Smooth a small amount of frosting on an 8” cake board or plate and center a single cake layer on top. Smoothly spread a thick layer of frosting on top, extending the buttercream all the way to just eby9ond the edge of the cake. Stack the second cake layer on top and repeat the entire process once more. Place the final cake layer on top. Spread a thin coat of frosting (crumb coat) all over the cake and allow it to set up in the fridge prior to applying the final coat of frosting. You can skip this step if desired. Finish frosting the cake as desired with the rest of the buttercream. Cake will keep in the refrigerator covered in plastic for up to three days.
We’ve got a lot to look forward to this year. After all, there’s a new decade upon us. In the spirit of new beginnings, my site will be undergoing a bit of a face lift over the next few days. We’ve been trucking along here for almost FOUR years now, and it’s time this little place got some nips and tucks in all the right places. Please bear with me for a few days while recipes are unavailable, and feel free to reach out to me via email if you need anything immediately. Before the transformation, I do have one more recipe to share with you all, and boy, it’s a cute one. These Swedish cinnamon rolls are lookers for sure, and I think you’ll enjoy the taste as much as the style. Let’s chat all about them.
Remember the overnight cinnamon rolls that I posted near the end of 2018? They continue to be a hit on this site, for reasons that are perfectly understandable. They’re fluffy, flavorful, and convenient with their make-ahead capabilities. These Swedish cinnamon buns are similar in preparation and ingredients, but their twisted forms and cardamom-scented innards give them a special feel for these warm and cozy months. Still, the dough begins the same with milk, yeast, and water, followed by butter, eggs, and loads of dry ingredients. These rolls are baked with a spiced simple syrup in for an extra bite of sweet that compensates for the lack of frosting or glaze. Of course you could always add a frosting at the end anyways… who am I to stop you from living your best life?
The twisting for these Swedish cinnamon buns is a little tricky at first. Practice a bit on your first strip of dough until you come up with a knot that you’re fond of. Keep in mind that the doughy buns will fluff upon rising and fill out a bit so don’t be sad if they look a little funny right after you twist them. Nothing is going to look gross with that beautiful pearl sugar on it.
Speaking of which, if you’re wondering, “What the heck is this pearl sugar?” you’re not alone. It’s exactly what it sounds like, little pearls of sugar, and you can find it in speciality stores, boujie grocery stores, and on Amazon. The sugar on top is entirely optional, but don’t you think it looks adorable?
Happy New Year to you, sweet friends, and thank you in advance for your patience while my site gets a makeover. I can’t wait to share it with you! Happy Baking!
If you like these Swedish Cinnamon Rolls you should try:
These Swedish cinnamon rolls are lightly scented with cardamom and speckled with pearl sugar! Enjoy for breakfast or dessert!
For the dough:
1 cup (240 gm) milk, lukewarm
¼ cup (60 gm) water, lukewarm
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
6 tablespoons (85 gm) unsalted butter, melted but not too hot
1 large egg plus 2 egg yolks
1/4 cup (50 gm) brown sugar
1/4 cup (50 gm) sugar
2–3/4 cups (385 gm) all-purpose flour
1–1/2 cups (210 gm) bread flour
1 teaspoon cardamom
½ teaspoon salt
For the glaze:
¼ cup water
¼ cup (50 g) brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon cardamom
Swedish Pearl Sugar
For the filling:
5 tablespoons (70 gm) unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon cardamom
½ cup (100 gm) brown sugar
In the bowl of a stand mixer or a large bowl, combine the milk and water and sprinkle the yeast over top of it. Allow the yeast to dissolve, about 5 minutes. Stir in the butter, egg, egg yolks, and brown sugar, and sugar until smooth. In a small bowl, combine the flour, bread flour, cardamom, and salt. Dump about half of the dry ingredients into the yeast mixture and stir until combined. Pour in the remaining dry ingredients and knead in the bowl using the dough hook attachment until smooth and slightly tacky, about 7 minutes. If you notice your dough isn’t pulling away from the sides of the bowl or it’s too wet, add flour 2 tablespoons at a time until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl and forms a little dough “tornado” around the dough hook. Once done kneading, place the dough into a large lightly greased bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap to double in size, about 1-1/2 – 2 hours. (Tip: I like to allow mine to refrigerate overnight so that the dough is easier to work with. This is totally optional but is great if you’d like to let it rise in fridge overnight instead of on counter!)
In the meantime, prepare the glaze. Combine the water, brown sugar, cinnamon, and cardamom in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stirring regularly, bring the mixture to a boil and then remove from heat to cool completely.
Once the dough has risen, dump it out onto a lightly floured surface. Use a rolling pin to roll it out into a large rectangle about 12”x26” in size. Pour the melted butter and spread it out over top. Combine the cinnamon, cardamom, and brown sugar and sprinkle evenly over the buttered dough. Fold the dough in half lengthwise to form a 9″x10″ square and roll or pat it out to thin the folded dough a bit. Using a sharp knife, cut 1/2″ strips of dough (approximately 12 total). Take one strip of dough and wrap it around your index and middle finger twice. Remove the double loop from your fingers and tuck both ends of the dough back through the center loop to form a bit of a twisted knot. Place each knot on a prepared sheet or dish about two inches apart, being sure to keep the loose ends on the underside of the bun. Cover the baking sheets with plastic wrap and set aside to rise while you let the oven preheat to 350 degrees. (Alternatively, you can let the buns rise in the fridge overnight). Once the knots have risen, about 30 minutes, brush the tops with the cooled syrup and sprinkle generously with pearl sugar. Bake in the oven for about 180-20 min or until golden brown. Allow to cool slightly before eating.
The lull between Christmas and New Year’s Day is some kind of serious. My level of initiative, which is normally leaping off the charts, is unreasonably low this time of year, and my primary MO is to just chill. Honestly, it’s been really nice to let baking and writing and work sit on the back burner of my brain and let these days be whatever the end up being. In our house, that’s meant lots of pajama-wearing, some Christmas clean-up, and the continued over-consumption of sugar cookies and decaf coffee. My kids are loving lazy Mom mode, and, to be frank, I am too. It’s not forever, but it’s a good fit for these days.
With a new year decade just around the corner, I’ve been thinking a lot about how I want my story to read. I’m not one for New Year’s resolutions, but I do think this fresh page is a great time to re-evaluate goals, priorities, and desires. Who do I want to be? What do I need to make room for within my family and household? What needs to top my list on a day to day basis? 2019 was a stretching year for me. Career-wise, I stepped into some new things that were previously foreign. I tested the waters in some areas and am still learning to recover from the belly flops. At home, we did some stretching in the literal sense too. Baby number three (It’s a girl! Wait, no, It’s a Boy!) grew and arrived in 2019 and we all scooted closer to make room for the precious new life that was introduced to our world. My husband’s business shifted gears, we settled into a new home, and life looks entirely different than it did this time last December. Growth, in every sense of the word, was all over our year, and while there were some pains in that growing I’m hoping that some of what we learned along the way had a chance to seep in.
I’m not sure what my word for 2020 is. I don’t yet have a clear picture of what I want life to look like, but I’m eager to bring some of that growth from 2019 along for the ride. In the meantime, thank you sweet readers for walking through this past year with my family. My hope is that, via stories and recipes, you found yourself well-fed this year. Maybe you welcomed new friends to your table or worked up the nerve to braid your first babka. Maybe you laughed on a day when you felt like crying or finally felt confident enough to whip an egg white. Whatever the case, I’m grateful for all of the emails and kind words from you all, because your pictures of cheesecakes and stories of successes feel like tiny victories for me. I’m happy we’ve shared cookies and pies and cocktails this year, and I’m eager for more in the coming months. It might all look a little different in 2020, but I think it’s still going to be sweet.
These white chocolate caramel pretzel cookies are delicious. I took my peanut butter caramel pretzel cookies and whizzed the recipe into something nut-free and extra-sweet and salty. These white chocolate caramel pretzel cookies are rich and chewy treats loaded with caramel goodness and just enough salt to offset all the sugar. They’re rather simple and I think you’ll find them to be a crowd pleaser. I know I did. Check out the instructions for the how-to on these white chocolate caramel pretzel cookies below, and if you get to try them, let me know what you think! Happy New Year, friends. 2020 is going to be a ball.
If you like these white chocolate caramel pretzel cookies you should try:
These white chocolate caramel pretzel cookies are loaded with sweet and salty flavor as well as chewy and crunchy texture!
Total Time:25 minutes
1 cup (230 gm) unsalted butter
½ cup (100 gm) sugar
¾ cup (150 gm) brown sugar packed
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups (405 gm) all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
¾ cup caramel baking bits, caramel chips, or diced caramels
¾ cup white chocolate chips or chopped white chocolate
¾ cup chopped salted pretzels (OR chopped pecans- your choice!)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Melt the butter over low heat on the stove, being sure to not let it boil. Pour the melted butter into a large bowl and stir in the sugar and brown sugar. Stir in the eggs and extract. Add the flour, soda, powder, and salt and fold the mixture together until combined. Add in the caramel, white chocolate, and either pretzels or pecans. Fold to combine. Use a medium cookie scoop to portion out 1-1/2 tablespoon sized rounds of dough. Roll them gently and space them out 2” apart on the baking sheets. Sprinkle with a bit of flaky sea salt if desired. Bake in the preheated oven for 11-12 minutes or until the edges are set and the cookies are baked through. Allow to cool prior to enjoying!
Have you been wondering what holiday treat to make? Are you in need of a terrific tasting last minute cookie to share with the out of town crazies, next door neighbors, and hostesses you’ll be interacting with over the next few days? WELL LOOK WHAT WE HAVE HERE: a list of must-bake cookies and a brand new recipe for white chocolate peppermint cookies. They’re festive, deliciously chewy, and even have an option to be vegan if you’re into that sort of thing. Could this be the prom queen cookie of Christmas 2019? I’ll let you decide, but first, here’s a few old faves.
Okay, have I whet your appetite? Are you ready for the main event? These white chocolate peppermint cookies are chewy with crunchy bits of peppermint throughout. The white chocolate pairs deliciously with the minty candies, and (BONUS!) these cookies can be made 100% vegan. The recipe is a play on my favorite vegan chocolate chunk cookies, so you can expect the same toothy bites and decadent flavors throughout. All of the ingredients can be combined in a single bowl and the entire recipe takes less than 30 minutes from start to end of baking.
If you’d like to keep these white chocolate peppermint cookies vegan, be sure to snag some vegan white chocolate and peppermint candy pieces at the store. In my research, I found that Brach’s brand peppermints were vegan, but if you’re not set on making a vegan cookies, no problem! Just use whichever white chocolate chips/bars and mints/candy canes that you prefer. I tested this recipe with a couple of different varieties and had no problems. Do note that any candy pieces you press on top of the cookies will get tacky and chewy over time if exposed at room temperature for a long time. If you plan to serve them quickly, go ahead and leave some candies on top of your rounds of dough, otherwise just mix them right into the batter.
I hope the next few days are merry and bright in your home. Merry Christmas to you guys and HAPPY BAKING!
White Chocolate Peppermint Cookies (With Option For Vegan Too!)
These white chocolate peppermint cookies are a festive vegan option for your holiday table!
Total Time:15 minutes
1 tablespoon flaxseed meal
3 tablespoons water
1/3 cup (80 gm) coconut oil, firm not liquid
6 tablespoons organic brown sugar
6 tablespoons organic cane sugar
1 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon peppermint extract
1–1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons (180 gm) all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
¾ cup vegan white chocolate chips
½ cup crushed vegan peppermint candies, if desired
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and prepare one or two large baking sheets with a sheet of parchment paper.
Combine the flaxseed meal and water in a small bowl and set aside for at least five minutes.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the coconut oil, cane sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla, beating on medium speed just until combined, about 30 seconds. Add the flaxseed mixture and beat just to combine. Add the flour, soda, baking powder, and salt and stir just to combine. Add the white chocolate and stir to combine.
Scoop out small balls (I use a medium cookie scoop) of dough and place them two inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Bake in the preheated oven about 9 minutes or until the cookies have set around the edges. Quickly remove the sheet pan from the oven and sprinkle the tops of each generously with crushed peppermint candies. Return to the oven for one more minute or until set and allow to cool completely before enjoying.
Coming in hot with the another Christmasy treat! I love mint chocolate things all year round, but there’s nothing quite as festive as the red and white stripe of a winter candy cane. This peppermint white chocolate cheesecake is a festive crowd pleaser that feels fitting for the season and is sure to land you on the nice list of everyone you share it with.
Last week Brett and I traveled to Chicago for a quick 48 hours of food with friends. I got to visit with my brother and do some big city shopping with my BFF, so it ended up being a really special way to kick off December. We tried out a few new restaurants, had an abundance of delightful cocktails, and even checked off a bucket list meal at Alinea. Truly, a good time was had by all, and I was tickled to squeeze in all the laughter and fellowship we experienced. One of my favorite things I love about traveling during the holidays is all of the festive decor. The gussied-up department stores and tinsel-draped trees speckled about the city really help me to get in spirit of Christmas, so I did my best to take in as much as possible. Our hotel, The Langham, contributed to the spirit with little welcome gifts of jarred cocoa, homemade marshmallows, and white chocolate peppermint cookies. YUM. I attempted to save all of the treats for Aimee and George, but, LOL, we all know how that effort went. I tucked those little cookies away for myself like any self-respecting mother would do, and I have zero shame about that.
This peppermint white chocolate cheesecake is one of those things you’ll wish you could hide for yourself. A chocolate cookie crust loaded with Kerrygold butter hosts the white chocolate peppermint filling, and the whole cake is done up with speckled of crushed candy canes and peppermint bark. The richness of this cheesecake is offset with the bright minty candy pieces, and I love the combination of the textured crust with the fluffy cake. Cheesecake is one of those things that feels fitting for the holidays, and the peppermint white chocolate cheesecake really knocks it out fo the park. Let me tell you how to make it.
To prep this dessert, we start with the crust. Crushed chocolate sandwich cookies come together with a whole lot of Kerrygold butter to make a tender, melt-in-your-mouth crust. Kerrygold is a higher fat butter, so you can expect this crust to have more flavor and extra texture when you use that here. The filling for this white peppermint white chocolate cheesecake starts as most others. Room temperature cream cheese is beat until smooth and creamy. Sugar, eggs, and the liquid ingredients come next, and the final mixture is poured through a sieve to ensure it is perfectly smooth. After baking, the cheesecake is slowly cooled, topped with whipped cream, and decorated with crushed peppermints and bark. Can you say, “Mega Yum”?
There are a few things to keep in mind when making a dessert like this peppermint white chocolate cheesecake. First, it is essential to use room temperature ingredients. The cheesecake will be lumpy and unevenly mixed if you throw in cold items. Using room temperature ingredients ensure that your cheesecake it allowed to cream properly. Pay attention to mixing times as well! An over-whipped cheesecake will develop air pockets that can make it puff and bake weird. Just don’t do it, okay? Finally, I do recommend following the instructions for the water bath here. Again, the water bath will help to ensure even baking, and don’t you know it would be hugely disappointing to go through alllll the work for this peppermint white chocolate cheesecake only to have it burn or end up soupy and cratered in the oven? Trust the process and keep an eye on your cake while it’s in the oven if you’re new to baking cheesecake. The extra steps feel like a lot of work but it’s worth it.
Many thanks to Kerrygold for sponsoring this post! By now you already know how much and why I adore their products, but I especially lean on them when I’m making special treats like this peppermint white chocolate cheesecake. Check out their products at your nearest grocery store or find a retailer here! Get in the holiday spirit with this recipe sometime this week and let me know how you like it. Happy baking!
If you like this peppermint white chocolate cheesecake you should try:
This peppermint white chocolate cheesecake is a delicious make ahead dessert for the holidays and features a chocolate cookie crust!
For the crust:
1–1/2 cups finely ground chocolate wafer cookies
2 tablespoons sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
For the cheesecake:
10 ounces white chocolate, chopped
2 lbs (4 blocks) cream cheese, at room temperature
½ cup sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¾ teaspoon peppermint extract
½ cup heavy whipping cream
Whipped cream, if desired
Crushed peppermints or chopped peppermint bark, if desired
To prepare the crust:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Prepare a 9″ springform pan by wrapping it in sheets of aluminum foil. I use 3 layers of extra wide, heavy duty foil wrapped to the top lip of the pan. Spray the inside walls and bottom of the pan with cooking spray.
Stir together the dry ingredients until combined. Add the melted butter and stir just until combined. Gently pat out your mixture evenly into the bottom of the pan. Bake in the preheated oven for 8-9 minutes. Set aside while you prep your filling.
To prepare the cheesecake:
Begin boiling some water in a kettle or saucepan for your water bath.
In a double boiler simmering over water on low heat, gently melt the white chocolate, stirring regularly. Do not let it overheat or it may seize. Remove from heat while you prep the rest of your filling.
Beat cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer at medium speed (I use 4 on my Kitchen Aid Mixer) for 2 minutes to remove all clumps. Do not overbeat, but scrape the sides of the bowl as needed. If many clumps remain, ensure that your cream cheese has softened to room temp.
Add the sugar and beat on medium for an additional 1 minute. Add eggs, one at a time, and beat to combine an additional 1 minute. Scrape the sides of the bowl and then add the extracts and the heavy cream. Stir and scoop one cup of the mixture into the melted white chocolate and stir quickly to barely combine. Add the mixture to the cheesecake batter and stir just until smooth.
Strain the cheesecake batter through a mesh strainer (if desired) into a reserved bowl. Pour the batter on top of the crust. Gently rap the pan on the counter to help any air bubbles escape.
Place your springform pan into a slightly larger baking dish/pan and fill the larger pan with the boiling water you prepared for the water bath until the water reaches about halfway up the sides of the springform pan.
Carefully place both pans in the preheated oven and bake for 60-70 minutes. After an hour of baking, the edges and top of the cheesecake should be set but still slightly jiggle in the center. Feel free to cover the cheesecake with a sheet of aluminum foil if it appear to be getting too dark. Turn the oven off and allow the cheesecake to bake for an additional 30 minutes in the oven. Prop the door of the oven open slightly with a wooden spoon and continue to cool the cheesecake for another 30 minutes in the cooling oven.
Discard the water bath, remove the foil and then place the cheesecake in the fridge to chill for several hours or overnight. The cheesecake can be stored in the fridge for several days.
When ready to serve, garnish with whipped cream and the crushed candies. Serve and enjoy!
I wrap my springform pan with three layers of heavy duty aluminum foil. This is to protect your crust from any water leakage of your springform pan. Many pans will claim to be waterproof but your crust will get soggy and inedible if water leakage happens. Don’t take any chances!
I use a 11″ round cake pan for my water bath but you can use any oven-safe dish that you have. Once of my readers used a roasting pan and that works just fine!
The cooling process seems lengthy and unnecessary, but it helps to prevent drastic temperature changes that can cause structural issues with your cake.
Do you think there will come a time when we won’t welcome another perfect chocolate recipe into our arsenal of go-to’s? Will decadent slices of chocolatey goodness like this fudgy brownie tart ever not feel synonymous with holiday desserts? NOPE. Chocolate is here to stay, folks, and today I’m happy to be sharing a recipe that is worth making room for in your kitchen this coming Christmas season. This graham cracker crusted bit of brownie magic is a delicious make-ahead option for those gatherings you’ll be hosting and attending this year, and I can’t wait to tell you about it. Let’s dive in.
I love brownies. Whether they’re from a box, stuffed in an ice cream cake, or piled high with peppermint bark, brownies are my jam. Second only to a chocolate chip cookie (in my book, that is) brownies are an excellent go-to dessert-wise when we just need a sure thing. But what about those times when we’re feeling fancy or when we’re wanting something a little bit out of the box? This fudgy brownie tart is a terrific option for those moments when you need a dessert that shines but is bound to make people feel great. Here, a simple graham cracker crust adds salt and texture to the rich fudgy interior. The filling, made up of butter, melted chocolate, and sugar, benefits from the addition of Red Diamond Classic Coffee which adds an extra layer of flavor and intensity to this already bomb dessert. The small bit of brewed coffee allows the chocolate to taste more chocolatey, and the dessert as a whole develops in complexity. Truly, coffee and chocolate make a beautiful duo.
To make this fudgy brownie tart, we start with the crust. Crushed graham crackers, melted butter, brown sugar, and salt make up the bulk of the sweet and salty crumble. If you’re in the mood, you can throw in a tablespoon of that Red Diamond coffee for an extra bit of mocha flavor. The mixture gets pressed into the bottom of a fluted tart pan with a removable bottom and baked briefly while we mix up the filling. Chocolate and butter are melted together first and then eggs and sugar are whipped together in a large bowl. Whisk in the chocolate mixture and then fold in the dry ingredients. Finally, a pour of brewed coffee is added to the batter that comes together in a brownie-like consistency. I’d highly recommend a little extra coffee here because you know it’s going to taste delicious with the tart.
The final product is a simple fudgy brownie tart that feels special enough for your favorite events but easy enough for a weekday treat. You can feel free to top it with a scoop of ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream, but I prefer it with a single fork and a great cup of coffee. Many thanks to Red Diamond for sponsoring today’s post. I’m very happy to be able to partner with an Alabama local, family-owned company! Red Diamond offers the finest ground and whole bean coffee in a variety of blends, all slow-roasted from 100% Arabica coffee beans. Their classic blend is perfect for including in baked goods like this fudgy brownie tart, and it’s delicious enough to enjoy as a beverage alongside it. Check out their products at a store near you, and thank you for supporting brands that make Wood and Spoon possible. Happy baking to you all and have a great week!
If you like this fudgy brownie tart you should try:
This fudgy brownie tart has a rich chocolate center and a sweet and salt graham cracker crust. Tastes like brownie batter!
Total Time:40 minutes
Yield:9 servings 1x
For the crust:
1/3 cup (70 gm) brown sugar, packed
2 cups (200 gm) graham cracker crumbs
1/2 teaspoon salt
7 tablespoons (100 gm) unsalted butter, melted
For the filling:
6 tablespoons (90 gm) unsalted butter
½ cup (125 gm) chopped dark chocolate (70%)
¾ cup (150 gm) sugar
2 large eggs
¼ cup (35 gm) all-purpose flour
¼ cup (30 gm) cocoa powder
½ teaspoon salt
¼ cup strong-brewed Red Diamond coffee
To prepare the crust:
Preheat the oven to 350. Whisk together the brown sugar, graham cracker crumbs, and salt in a medium sized bowl. Add the melted butter and stir until well combined. Press the crumbs into the bottom and sides of a 9-10” tart pan with a removable bottom. Bake in the preheated oven for 9 minutes or until set. In the meantime, prepare your filling.
To prepare the filling:
In a double boiler or heavy bottomed pot set over low heat, gently melt the butter and dark chocolate, stirring regularly, until melted completely. In a large bowl, beat together the sugar and eggs until pale and slightly thickened, about 2-3 minutes. Gently fold in the melted butter and chocolate mixture and then fold in the flour, cocoa powder, and salt. Stir in the coffee just until combined and then pour the batter into the prepared crust. Bake in the oven until the top is set and only barely jiggles in the center, about 20 minutes. Allow to cool completely before cutting.
I have this photo of Aimee and George from a few years ago. They’re sitting next to Santa Claus and his fake stuffed reindeer. George’s face is nearly purple, screaming in terror at the proximity of this jolly stranger. Aimee stands, arms crossed, with a pout on her face that says, “I’m only doing this because I was promised a candy cane.” Christmas 2017 was short of merry, but this year, with a 5 and 3 (and 5 month!) old, the magic of Christmas is really starting to take on a life of its own. As the Mom, I’m enjoying the tradition of things like decorating our home, constructing gingerbread houses, and singing Louis Armstrong to and from school, but my absolute favorite thing to do is indulge in Christmas food and drinks- the tastes and flavors that make this season feel like what it is. These gingerbread cinnamon rolls are a choice breakfast item for getting into the holiday spirit, and I’m thrilled to be sharing them with you today.
There is absolutely no way to dream up a prettier make-ahead breakfast treat. These gingerbread cinnamon rolls have the ease and simplicity of my make-ahead cinnamon rolls with all the flavor and holiday richness of your favorite Christmas treat. The spirals, the frosting, the deep amber color of the buns all feel over-the-top in the very best way, and don’t you think that’s what Christmas food should be all about? These gingerbread cinnamon rolls are fluffy, smoothly-spiced, and are sweet and sticky from the gooey filling and lemony cream cheese frosting. They’re just divine. Let me tell you how to make them.
We start these rolls with yeast and warm liquid in the bowl of a stand mixer. Allow the yeast to dissolve and barely bubble before stirring in the butter and molasses. The rich, dark flavor of molasses is one of the primary flavor contributors of these rolls. Together with a bit of sugar, the molasses sweetens the dough and keeps the rolls tender. Next comes the dry ingredients of flour, salt, and spice. The dry ingredients help the dough comes together in a wet and shaggy mixture that should tornado up on the kneading hook of your mixer but still feel slightly tacky to the touch. Set is all aside to double in a bowl in a warm area of your kitchen. Once proofed, roll out the dough and slather it with melted butter, sugar, and loads of spice. Spiral it tightly into a long log and use a sharp chef’s knife to slice into individual rolls. Place the buns on a sheet pan to rise for a second time prior to baking.
I love to prep these gingerbread cinnamon rolls in advance and bake the following morning. If allowed, they’ll rise overnight in the chill of your fridge and will be plump and ready for baking the following morning. It’s best to frost with the butter and cream cheese frosting just before serving to keep it gooey and fresh. After baking, the rolls are soft to the fork, festively spiced, and practically beg for a cup of coffee. They’re delicious.
I’m honored to be sharing these gingerbread cinnamon rolls in partnership with my friends at Kerrygold. Their premium butters are my go-tos in the kitchen, particularly when I’m taking time to make a special treat like these morning rolls. I love the rich flavors and higher fat percentage that they add to my baked goods, especially when I’m making something that I prefer to be soft and gooey. Kerrygold is a surefire thing, and I hope you’ll give it a try in your own kitchens. As always, thank you for supporting brands that make Wood and Spoon possible. Give these gingerbread cinnamon rolls a try and let me know what you think! Have a great week and happy baking!
If you like these gingerbread cinnamon rolls you should try:
These gingerbread cinnamon rolls are loaded with molasses and holiday spice flavors and served with a lemon cream cheese glaze on top!
For the dough:
1/2 cup (120 gm) milk, lukewarm
¼ cup (60 gm) water, lukewarm
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
6 tablespoons (85 gm) unsalted butter, melted but not too hot
1 large egg plus 2 egg yolks
½ cup molasses
2–1/2+ cups (350 gm) all-purpose flour
1–1/2 cups (210 gm) bread flour
½ teaspoon salt
For the filling:
5 tablespoons (70 gm) unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon cinnamon
2–3 teaspoons ground ginger
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
¾ cup (150 gm) brown sugar
For the frosting:
4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
¼ cup (55 gm) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups (230 gm) powdered sugar
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Milk as needed
To prepare the dough:
In the bowl of a stand mixer or a large bowl, combine the milk and water and sprinkle the yeast over top of it. Allow the yeast to dissolve, about 5 minutes. Stir in the butter, egg, egg yolks, and molasses until smooth. In a small bowl, combine the flour, bread flour, and salt. Dump about half of the dry ingredients into the yeast mixture and stir until combined. Pour in the remaining dry ingredients and knead in the bowl using the dough hook attachment until smooth and slightly tacky, about 7 minutes. If you notice your dough isn’t pulling away from the sides of the bowl or it’s too wet, add flour 2 tablespoons at a time until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl and forms a little dough “tornado” around the dough hook. Once done kneading, place the dough into a large lightly greased bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap to double in size, about 1-1/2 – 2 hours.
Once the dough has risen, dump it out onto a lightly floured surface. Use a rolling pin to roll it out into a large rectangle about 11”x21” in size. Pour the melted butter and spread it out over top. Combine the cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and brown sugar and sprinkle evenly over the buttered dough. Starting with one of the long ends, tightly roll the dough from end to end and pinch the edges together to seal. Cut the dough into 1-1/2” sections and lay them out 2” apart in a lightly greased baking dish. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge overnight.
In the morning, remove the rolls from the fridge and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Keep the baking dish close to the oven while it preheats to help the rolls come to room temp. Once preheated, bake in the oven for about 22-25 minutes or until the edges are barely golden and the internal temp is 185 degrees. Remove from the oven and prepare your frosting.
To prepare the frosting:
Cream the cream cheese and butter in large bowl at medium speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Add the powdered sugar, lemon zest, and lemon juice, and beat to combine. Add additional milk to thin out the frosting or more powdered sugar to thicken it. You can also gently warm the frosting to pour over the rolls as a glaze. Cinnamon rolls are best enjoyed warm.
Now that Thanksgiving is behind us, I’m going full-on Christmas mode. Granted, my house has been decorated for two weeks, we’ve already made a gingerbread house, and the Jonas Brothers’ Christmas single has been played like 342 times, but still. Our last Christmas was hectic and abrupt because of our move, and I’ve been determined to make the biggest deal out of it this year (#momlife). To get things going in a festive direction, I’m sharing this pear almond cake today! Let’s talk all about it.
This is a one-bowl butter and sour cream-based bundt cake that is loaded with chopped pears and a sweet streusel and glaze. Cakes like this always read coffee cake to me, which basically means it’s an appropriate choice for breakfast, brunch, snack, or dessert. Is there anything better than a green light for dessert all day long? NOPE. To make it, simply cream butter and sugar in a large bowl before adding eggs and extract. The dry ingredients come next and are alternated in with sour cream which bulks up this cake and adds moisture. Finally, the chopped pears are folded in and the cake is ready to be topped with streusel.
This pear almond cake is seriously dense and hearty. The pears help to offset sweetness and add a ton of moisture. The end product is a cake that is super fruit-foward and great for munching on all day long. I’m sharing today’s recipe over on Stemilt’s blog! Stemilt is is a leading Washington state grower, packer, and shipper of fruit including apples, pears, cherries, and more. Each quarter, I’ve been developing recipes for their blog using their best in-season fruits. This month, I got my hands on their Anjou Pears and thought a sweet and simple pear almond cake would make for a delicious treat to enjoy all season long. Head to their site at the link below to read all about it and give the recipe a try! I can’t wait to hear what you think. Have a great week and tune in later this week for a second (!!!) recipe!
The countdown is on. It’s two days until we all stuff our faces full of dressing, pie, and turkey (jk, we’re all just here for the sides), and I am so ready. I guess there’s people in America who don’t get into the communal tradition of a shared table and breaking bread, but, if you didn’t already guess, I am so here for any reason to pile my plate full of carbs and stare across the spread at a bunch of faces I love. For a family-focused baking blogger, Thanksgiving is my dream day, and I can’t wait to dive in. So if you haven’t already nailed down exactly what you plan to contribute at the holiday feast you’re attending, let me lovingly nudge you in the direction of these gouda cheese puffs and a simple holiday snack board. It’s a cute and yummy way to make a fancy looking spread, and I’m eager to get a few of y’all in the kitchen to make it.
So why a holiday snack board? Why these gouda cheese puffs? Thanksgiving may be all about the main event of a turkey plus some fixin’s (that’s Southern talk for side dishes, by the way), but every gathering needs a few appetizers. You can consider these gouda cheese puffs the pre-game to any Thanksgiving supper, and loading them onto a snack board with a spread of other semi-homemade treats is a surefire way to make your guests extra thankful. Let’s start by chatting the ins and outs of the puffs.
These gouda cheese puffs utilize the star shortcut of store-bought puff pastry. The frozen dough is really simple to work with and adds a terrific amount of texture and flavor to whatever baked appetizer you’re making. Here, the dough is loaded up with a buttery onion and thyme saute and then baked under a blanket of Kerrygold Blarney Castle cheese. Yes, it’s as delicious and indulgent as it sounds, and they’re fun to make! Here’s how to do it.
First, follow the instructions on your puff pastry to gently and briefly thaw it out. Unfold the sheet and use a 2″ round cookie cutter to trim out rounds of dough. Place them on a prepared baking sheet and then use a second smaller cookie cutter or a pairing knife to score a 1/4″ border around the dough. We do this so that the piled toppings can rest in the middle while the outer 1/4″ can puff and flake in the oven. YUM. Put the prepared dough in the freezer to keep cold while you prep the rest of the ingredients. Thinly sliced onions cook down with butter and thyme until translucent and barely browned, and Worcestershire sauce and ground mustard are added to the mix for extra flavor. Set the onions aside to cool while you grate the Kerrygold gouda, and then pile it all into the unbaked puff pastry.
Once baked, the outer edge of the pastries are puffed and flaked while the interior is rich and ultra-savory. These are best served right after baking and topped with bacon or tomato jam. YUM. In the meantime, you can begin prepping your holiday snack board. Here’s a few details on how to throw one together in a cinch!
Feel free to assemble your snack board on any type of serving tray or platter that you have. I like to make sure mine if brimming with lots of goodies, so consider what you plan to put on it while picking a platter. Here I’ve used a slate cheese board, but a fine wood cutting board, ceramic dish, or even a pizza board works splendidly! I’ll link a few favorites here and here and here.
I like to anchor my snack boards with a few larger staples. Here, the gouda cheese puffs were the main event, and I supplemented entirely with store-bought appetizers. Pre-made hummus was gussied up in a pretty dish with an extra drizzle of olive oil and spice. A whipped goat cheese dip that I found at my grocery store also got the royal treatment in a fresh bowl with herbs. Finally, a single block of cheese (I’m looking at you, Kerrygold!) and some peppered salami bulked up the offerings and and added some substance to an otherwise carb-fest. Other great options to consider include veggie dip, pimento cheese spread, a baked wheel of brie, or another kind of salsa or dip.
Once you’ve got some heavy hitters on your board, fill in the gaps with things to eat with them. Assorted crackers, cheese straws, sliced baguette, or pita chips are a few of my favorites. Choose varieties that taste good and will add texture to your board. With any remaining space I like to add pickled veggies, olives, bite-sized fruits, or any variety of crudités. Jams, relishes, or a small jar of honey often work well too depending on the elements of your board.
Start your board assembly with the larger items or anything that requires a bowl. It’s easier to fill in with the snack crackers and relishes than it is to try to find a home for a giant cheese log. Start big and work your way smaller. You can garnish your store-bought dips and spreads with fresh herbs or a drizzle of olive oil to make it feel homemade. No one has to know you just threw a bunch of pre-made goods on a tray! If toothpicks, relish forks, or spreading knives are needed for any of your board items, be sure to bring those with you so that your host isn’t left rummaging for them at the last minute. This is supposed to make things easy, remember?
Many thanks to Kerrygold for sponsoring this post! I love to include their cheeses on my board, and it was a happy find that their gouda tasted so great on the gouda cheese puffs. If you’re in need of a last minute addition to your Thanksgiving menus, I hope you’ll include these! I’m incredibly thankful for all your who join in on my baking fun and will certainly be counting you on my gratitude list this year. Happy baking and Happy Thanksgiving!
If you like these gouda cheese puffs you should try:
These gouda cheese puffs are made from flaky puff pastry, sautéed onions, and shredded cheese. Little appetizers with yummy flavor!
Total Time:35 minutes
1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed according to package instructions
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 large white onion, sliced thinly (1/8”)
½ teaspoon dried thyme
¼ teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
½ teaspoon Worcestershire
1 egg, lightly beaten, if desired
1 cup shredded gouda cheese
3 tablespoons grated parmesan
1/3 cup bacon jam
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Unfold the puff pastry sheet on the piece of parchment or on a lightly floured counter. Use a 2” round cutter to trim out 12 circles of dough. You may have extra dough- feel free to freeze and save or make a double batch of puffs. Use a smaller round cutter or a paring knife to score a ¼” border around the edge of each pastry circle and prick the inner circle with a fork a few times. Place in the fridge to keep cool while you prep your filling.
In a sauté pan over medium heat, melt the butter and olive oil together. Add the thinly sliced onions and cook, stirring regularly, until the onions are soft and translucent. Add the thyme, salt, and pepper, and continue to cook until the edges of the onions start to get dark. Add the mustard and Worcestershire and stir to combine. Remove from the heat.
If desired, add a teaspoon of water to the lightly beaten egg and use a pastry brush to paint a thin layer of the wash on top of each tart. Divide the sautéed onions among the rounds of , piling a few onions only into the inner circle of each round. Depending on the size of your onion you may have a little leftover. Divide the cheese among the tarts, sprinkling it and the parmesan directly on top of the onions. Bake in the preheated oven for about 15 minutes or until the puffs have risen and the edges are golden. Remove from oven and set aside to cool slightly. Add a teaspoon of the bacon jam to the top of each tart and serve!