Cookies, Recipes

Chocolate Espresso Biscotti

My Meme and Papa loved Biscotti!

Do not get scared away from making these classic, twice-baked Italian cookies at home! Biscotti cookies are incredibly easy to make and can be customized with your favorite add-ins. Biscotti remind me of my grandparents, Meme and Papa. They would always dip a biscotti in their coffee. If you’ve ever had biscotti before, you already know that it’s not soft at all; instead it’s hard and crunchy. Perfect for dipping into your morning coffee or a glass of milk.  See I just gave you an excuse to eat cookies for breakfast!

Tonight, I wanted to make a cookie that I could drizzle my leftover orange chai cream cheese from my Orange Chocolate Chai Roll so I created this Chocolate Espresso Biscotti recipe.  Let me tell you, the batter was to die for! I seriously could have eaten the entire bowl! Rich in chocolate and espresso… the perfect combination! You can either drizzle the tops of these with the orange chia cream cheese, melted chocolate or just eat them as are. Honestly they are that versatile. 

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 ¾  cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, spooned into measuring cup and leveled-off
  • ¼  cup plus 2 tablespoons natural unsweetened cocoa powder, such as Hershey’s
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¾  teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons Espresso instant coffee, such as Café Bustelo
  • 1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ¾  cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 1-2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. 

Add the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the bowl and mixing well after each addition. 

Beat in the vanilla. 

Add the dry ingredients And stir on low speed until just combined.

Dust a work surface with cocoa powder. 

Using a rubber spatula, scrape the sticky dough out onto the work surface and dust the top of the dough lightly with cocoa powder. 

Using your hands, shape the dough into a rough ball (if it’s still too sticky, dust with a bit more cocoa powder) and cut into quarters. 

Form the dough pieces into four short logs by rolling back and forth. Place the logs onto the prepared baking sheet and shape into longer logs about 3/4-inch high and 2 inches wide. 

Allow enough space for the logs to spread a few inches while they bake. 

Bake for about 30 minutes, until firm to the touch. 

Let the biscotti logs cool on the pan for about 5 minutes, or until just cool enough to touch (if you wait any longer, the biscotti will be difficult to cut); then, using a sharp knife, slice the logs on the diagonal into 3/4-inch slices (I do this right on the baking sheet). They will crumble just a bit; don’t worry about it. 

Turn the biscotti on their sides (so that the cut sides are down) and place back in the oven for 10 minutes to dry and crisp up. 

Let cool on the pan for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. 

Once cool, drizzle with your choice or leave as is. 

Cakes & Pies, Recipes

Orange Chocolate Chai Roll

I’ve always wanted to make a swiss roll cake. Every time I watch a baking show on Food Network or my favorite show the Great British Baking Show, I’m memorized how they roll the cake and fill it with deliciousness. So when my friend Adam told me he made one, we started talking about different flavors to put together for a Christmas one. He inspired me to create my own. 

I used cocoa powder, brewed chai tea, and orange zest for the cake batter. For the filing, I used cream cheese, pumpkin spice seasoning, more zest and orange juice. 

When I sliced into the orange to add the juice, I realized I accidentally bought blood oranges at the market. I was so excited, I actually did a little dance. When my Papa and I were in Sicily, we would eat a blood orange every morning with breakfast. It was like he was sending me a little sign from heaven! 

INGREDIENTS

CAKE:

  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons chai tea
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup orange zest
  • 3 tablespoons juice from orange
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon 
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • Powdered sugar to aid in rolling

FILING 

  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated orange zest
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Heavy whipping cream

INSTRUCTIONS

MAKE THE CAKE:

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line (10×15”) pan with parchment paper and spray with cooking spray.

Beat eggs at high speed for 3 minutes, until frothy and dark yellow. 

Beat in sugar, tea, and vanilla extract.

In a separate bowl, whisk together cocoa, salt, baking powder, and flour. 

Blend the dry ingredients into wet ingredients.

Spread in the prepared pan. Batter will be in a very thin layer and you will need to use a wooden spoon or spatula to spread it to all the corners of the pan. 

Bake for 10-15 minutes. You’ll know it’s done because if you lightly poke the top with your fingertip it will slightly bounce back.

While the cake is baking, set a clean kitchen towel out on a large work surface, lay a sheet of parchment paper on top of the towel. Sprinkle liberally with powdered sugar and cocoa powder (about ¼ cup). 

As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, turn it over on the kitchen towel sprinkled with powdered sugar and cocoa. Remove parchment paper carefully.

Working at the short end, fold the edge of the towel over the cake. Roll tightly, rolling up the cake into the towel. Let cool completely while rolled, at least one hour (or you can wrap it and chill it overnight).

MAKE THE FILING

Combine cream cheese, pumpkin pie spice, and 1 teaspoon orange zest in a medium bowl. Beat at medium speed until well mixed. 

Gradually add 2 cups powdered sugar and heavy whipping cream, beating well after each addition until smooth and creamy.

Gently unroll cooled cake. Spread filling over cake to 1/2 inch from all edges. 

Starting at the 10-inch side, gently roll up the cake. 

Sprinkle with additional orange zest just before serving. 

Cut into slices. 

Cookies, Recipes

Chocolate Peppermint Cookies

A soft and chewy, chocolate cookie topped a chocolate mint drizzle and a sprinkling of crushed candy canes. 

Chocolate and peppermint is a popular combo, especially during the holiday months. This is another recipe that I created for my brother. He loves chocolate and peppermint! I basically took my red velvet cookie recipe that I adapted from Paula Deen, and just switched out cake box mix and the topping!

These chocolate cookies are soft, chewy, and a bit fudgy in the center. I love the addition of the peppermint flavor because it really awakens the cookie. Crushed peppermint candies make a festive, crunchy topping for these festive cookies. They are the perfect holiday cookie and  will get you in the holiday spirit ASAP. Perfect for cookie exchanges, holiday gatherings or alongside a cup of iced cold milk. 

Ingredients 

  • 1 (18 oz) box moist chocolate cake mix
  • 1 (8 oz) package room temperature cream cheese
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
  • 1 egg
  • 1 stick room temperature butter

Chocolate Drizzle 

  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted
  • 1 teaspoon peppermint extract 
  • 2 large candy canes, crushed

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350 °F. In a large bowl with an electric mixer, cream the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Beat in the egg. 

Then beat in the vanilla extract. Beat in the cake mix. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours to firm up so that you can roll the batter into balls. 

Roll the chilled batter into tablespoon sized balls. 

Place on an ungreased cookie sheet, 2 inches apart. Bake for 12 minutes. 

The cookies will remain soft and gooey. 

Cool completely 

Melt semi sweet chocolate in a double boiler (or in the microwave, just be careful to stir frequently so chocolate doesn’t burn) until it’s smooth.

Add peppermint extract and whisk together. 

Drizzle a dollop of semi-sweet chocolate over each cookie.

Sprinkle a few pieces of crushed candy cane on top of the chocolate cookie centers while the chocolate is still warm. Let chocolate set for 30 minutes to an hour.

Cookies, Recipes

Root Beer Float Cookies

I love finding new and interesting products on Amazon. One night I was looking through the different extracts that are out there and I came across ROOT BEER! 

Immediately my dad popped into my head, he loves root beer floats. I knew I had to order it so I could create a Root beer float cookie for him!

These cookies are soft, sweet and creamy with a buttery glaze drizzled over the top giving you that familiar root beer flavor! These cookies go great with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a cold glass of milk! 

Ingredients

  • 1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon root beer extract (found it on Amazon)
  • 1 ¾ cups all purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt

The glaze:

  • 2 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 5 tablespoons of melted butter
  • 1 ½ teaspoon root beer extract
  • 2 tablespoons hot water

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. 

Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper. 

In a bowl, mix together brown sugar, egg, milk and root beer extract. 

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt. 

Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients bowl, whisking to combine. I add a cup at a time.

Drop the dough by teaspoons 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheet. You can use a small cookie scoop or spoon. 

Bake cookies for 9-11 minutes. 

Cool completely before adding the glaze. 

For the glaze

Mix together all of the glaze ingredients in a small bowl. 

Stir until well combined. 

Using a fork, drizzle the glaze over the top of the cooled cookies. 

*if glaze is too thick, add another tablespoon of hot water, until you get the consistency you desire. 

Cookies, Recipes

Red Velvet Cookies

Paula Deen’s Red Velvet cookies recipe was the inspiration for this cookie. I absolutely love red velvet cake, it is my favorite! So when I watched Paula Deen make red velvet cookies out of a cake box, I fell in love! 

These cookies are the easiest cookies you will ever make! All you need is 5 simple ingredients and yes, I said a box of cake mix! And the best thing is that this recipe can be used with any cake mix for so many great flavor combinations! Wait to see my Chocolate Peppermint cookies! 

So if you are looking for a soft and tender, beautifully crackled cookie with a white chocolate drizzle, look no more!  

Ingredients

  • 1 (18 oz) box red velvet cake mix
  • 1 (8 oz) package room temperature cream cheese
  • 1 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1 stick room temperature butter
  • White Chocolate Drizzle
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips, melted 
  • Christmas Sprinkles

Instructions 

Preheat the oven to 350 °F. 

In a large bowl with an electric mixer, cream the cream cheese and butter until smooth. 

Beat in the egg, Then beat in the vanilla extract.

Beat in the cake mix. 

Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours to firm up so that you can roll the batter into balls. 

Scoop and roll into balls. Arrange 2-3 inches apart on the baking sheets. 

The cookie dough is sticky, I like to keep a cup of water next to the bowl and dip the scoop in to help the dough from sticking.

Place on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet, 2 inches apart. 

Bake for 12 minutes. 

Let cool on wired rack.

White Chocolate Drizzle 

While the cookies are cooling, place the white chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl, microwave for 10 seconds.

Remove and stir then place back into the microwave for 10 seconds.

Remove and stir until completely melted. Be careful not to overcook the white chocolate!

Dip a fork or spoon into melted chocolate, and let the first large drip (to prevent a large drop) land in the bowl. Drizzle chocolate over the edges and tops of cookies. Sprinkle Christmas sprinkles immediately. Let dry for 15-25 minutes. 

This recipe was inspired and adapted from Paula Deen.

Cookies, Recipes

Italian Christmas Cookies

These cookies are soft, buttery, fluffy and melt in your mouth delicious! And as all Italian cookies are, perfect for dipping in espresso….or wine!

Most Italian cookies are often made with anise, which is a licorice flavor. Not everyone loves that flavor so for these cookies, I did a little switching around and used vanilla and almond extracts instead. If you want that traditional Italian cookie taste, add the anise either way you will love these cookies. Now the secret to these cookies is the Ricotta cheese, it makes for the moist tender cookies ever!

Ingredients 

  • 1/2 cup butter softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 15 ounce container ricotta cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon anise, optional

The Glaze

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2-4 tablespoons milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • Christmas sprinkles for topping

Instructions 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 

Cover a baking sheet with Parchment paper. 

Add the butter and sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer and beat until fluffy with the paddle attachment. 

Add in the ricotta cheese and eggs and mix until incorporated.

In a medium sized bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, and powder. 

Slowly add to the wet ingredients and beat together until combined.

Scoop the dough into teaspoons and roll into a ball. Drop on a parchment lined baking sheet.

Bake for 8-10 minutes or until just set. 

Remove onto a wire rack to let cool.

To make the glaze:

In a small bowl whisk together the powdered sugar, milk and almond extract until you get the desired consistency. I like to dip the top of the cookies in the glaze and let them set on parchment paper. Sprinkle with Christmas sprinkles immediately.

Cookies, Recipes

Iced Lemon Cookies

This is one of my favorite cookies! My friends would agree I am a lemon flavor freak. There’s just something that’s so refreshing when lemon is added to just about anything. 

These cookies are packed with a lemony flavor! Not only are these lemon cookies incredibly soft and delicious, but they’re also easy to make with a few simple ingredients!

I first came up with this recipe because just like me my dad loves that lemony flavor. He also is one of my biggest fans when it comes to my cookies, actually he’s probably my biggest fan in everything I do. To create this recipe, I took my butter sugar cookie recipe and switched a few things up to give it that burst of lemon. 

Here’s a couple lemon tips:

  • I recommend zesting the lemon first, then juicing it.
  • Use a zester or Microplane grater to scrape off tiny bits of peel, but beware! The spongy white layer underneath the peel, also known as pith, is very bitter, so avoid grating down too far. 
  • To get the most lemon juice out of your lemon, roll it on the counter firmly with your hand, then cut it in half, and squeeze out the juice.

Let me give you some advice. Run, don’t walk to your kitchen. Make these cookies today!

Ingredients

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 & 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp, about ½ a lemon,  lemon zest
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice, 1 whole lemon

Lemon Glaze

  • 1½ cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp heavy cream or milk
  • ⅛ tsp salt
  • Lemon zest for topping

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.

Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper. 

In a mixing bowl, beat the butter, sugar, and lemon zest with an electric mixer for 1-2 minutes.

Add in the vanilla extract, lemon juice and egg, beat again to combine.

In another bowl, whisk together all your dry ingredients. Gradually add the dry ingredients into the butter mixture, mixing by hand with a spatula until combined.

Use a cookie scoop to form balls, place the cookies 2 inches apart on a parchment lined baking sheet. 

Bake for 11-13 minutes or until the edges have a faint golden color.

Allow the cookies to cool a cooling rack. Cool completely before adding the glaze. 

Make the glaze by whisking the powdered sugar with the lemon juice, salt and cream until smooth.

Once the cookies are cool, dip the tops in the glaze by turning time upside down and gently lift them out, turn them over and return them to the cooking rack or a sheet of parchment. 

Sprinkle lemon zest over the top and let dry.

Cookies, Recipes

DoubleTree’s Famous Cookies

This cookie brings back so many memories! My best friend, Christine introduced me to this cookie recipe! Yes, these are the cookies that you get when you stay at a Hilton DoubleTree® hotel.

Christine and I spent many December nights, making these cookies for our family and friends. It was one of my Papa’s favorite cookies. He used to ask every Christmas for these but he referred to them as “his Christine’s cookies”! I’ll be honest I haven’t made these since he passed away. But when I was preparing my 12 days of cookies list, I knew these cookies had to be a part of it. So this past weekend, I dusted off the recipe card and got to work. I was flooded with so many memories of my Papa and how much he loved all my Christmas cookies. This is why I love cooking, the memories, each recipe brings!

OMG! I forgot how amazingly delicious these cookies are! They are incredibly chewy with crispy edges and have so much flavor! DoubleTree® knew what they were doing when they created this recipe!
Trust me, this will become one of your favorites and you will definitely want to dip it into a tall glass of cold milk.

Ingredients

  • ½ cup rolled oats
  • 2 ¼ cup of flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 sticks butter, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoon lemon juice
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 ½ cup chopped walnuts

Instructions


Grind oats in a food processor or blender.
In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the oats, flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.
In a stand alone mixer or using a wooden spoon, cream the butter, sugar, vanilla, and lemon juice.
In the same bowl with the butter mixture, add the eggs and mix until combined and smooth.
Slowly add in the dry ingredients
Add the chocolate chip and walnuts, wash your hands and mix with your hands.
Refrigerate dough overnight.

The next day, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Prepare a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
Using a medium cookie scoop,, place cookies on to the prepared baking sheet.
Bake for 15-18 minutes.

Merry Christmas & Enjoy!
Blogs, Recipes

Citrus Olive Oil Cake

Olive oil cake has a crackling crust and an aromatic oil-rich middle, which, if it held any more moisture, would be pudding. 

This is one of the easiest cakes you’ll ever bake! You’ll love how simple it is to make.

All you need to do is whisk your dry ingredients together in one bowl, your liquid ingredients in another, and then combine them. The batter will be smooth and a little on the thin side. Just pour it into a greased pan and bake. 

The olive oil cake is delicious on its own, with just a little powdered sugar for garnish.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour 
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 orange – for the juice & zest
  • 3 tablespoons of fresh squeezed orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • Powdered sugar for dusting
  • Rosemary for garnish (optional)

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Butter a 9 inch cake pan make sure to coat all the sides with butter. 

Cream the sugar, eggs and vanilla together on medium for 2 minutes – I used my Kitchen Aid..

Add the olive oil and mix. 

Mix in the orange juice and orange zest for about another minute.

In a separate bowl, combine the baking soda, baking powder and flour. 

Add to the ingredients above in two batches. For each batch, gently mix to incorporate all of the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. 

Pour into the cake pan.

Make sure there are no air bubbles in your cake batter before baking – you will need to tap the pan on a counter or shake it a bit. The air bubbles will cause an uneven surface or cracks in the top of the cake so try to remove them as best you can. 

Bake for 20-25 minutes. The cake is done when it springs back from the touch and the edges pull away from the pan. 

Cool completely or on a wire rack.

Put confectioners sugar in a duster and shake it on to the top of the cake. 

Enjoy!

Blogs, Recipes

Lemon Loaf

This Lemon Loaf recipe is full of lemon flavor, moist, dense, and rich. It’s a perfect snack, dessert or even Breakfast Bread.

The lemon loaf cake itself is perfectly lemony, and the lemon glaze boosts the lemon flavor even more. Lemon lovers will be in their glory! 

I actually prefer this loaf after it has sat overnight, this allows the fresh lemon/sugar mix to have a chance to soak into the cake, which gives it more flavour and makes it even moist. But don’t let it sit for too long because there’s a fine line between when a loaf is moist, then all of a sudden it’s dry.  So moral of the story, let it sit overnight and enjoy it the next day.  Honestly, this loaf is so good so you’ll probably finish it in one day, a slice or two for breakfast with your coffee, one for a sweet mid-day snack and then a few slices with vanilla ice cream after dinner! 

Lemon Loaf Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ teaspoon lemon extract 
  • Zest of 1 large lemon
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk — sour cream works too

Lemon Icing Ingredients

  • 1 cup powdered sugar, add more until desired consistency is reached
  • 2 tablespoon lemon juice,  add more until desired consistency is reached
  • 2 tablespoon cream or milk, add more until desired consistency is reached

Lemon Loaf Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350F degrees. 

Grease and flour an 8 x 4-inch loaf pan, or line with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda & salt.

In a separate bowl beat together the butter and sugar until fluffy – this will take at least 3 minutes.

Mix in the eggs 1 at a time. 

Then mix in the vanilla extract, lemon extract, lemon zest, and lemon juice.

With the mixer on low speed, mix in about 1/2 of the flour mixture followed by about 1/2 of the buttermilk. 

Turn off the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl.

Repeat the process with the rest of the flour mixture and buttermilk.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 50-60 minutes. 

Cool the loaf fully before icing (otherwise, the icing will melt through the cake and run off the sides).

*It will be done when an inserted toothpick comes out clean and the top feels firm to the touch. 

*If after about 30-40 minutes the top is browning too much, place a piece of aluminum foil over top and continue baking.

Lemon Icing Instructions

In a medium bowl whisk together the powdered sugar, lemon juice, and cream/milk until smooth. Add in more powdered sugar or cream as needed for desired consistency.

Remove the cooled loaf from the pan and drizzle or pour over top.