cookie dough truffles, and a giveaway!

One of my favorite bloggers, Lindsay Landis of Love and Olive Oil, has come out with a gorgeous cookbook.

It’s entirely about cookie dough! No more sneaking naughty tastes of raw egg dough straight from the bowl: Lindsay’s recipes are egg-free, so there’s no guilt.

You can make dreamy concoctions like cookie dough cheesecake…

Mexican chocolate cookie dough tartlets…

Cookie dough ice cream sandwiches…

And cookie dough layer cake, for a special someone’s birthday.

I was most intrigued by her recipe for chocolate chip cookie dough truffles, so I gave them a go. All you do is mix up a quick, egg-free chocolate chip cookie dough…

Form into balls and dip in chocolate (I decided to make them into pops–it made them easier to dip and fun to eat)…

And swoon. Cookie dough wrapped in chocolate? Dude. This lady is genius.

The best part about her new cookbook? You can win it. Right here, right now.

To enter, just leave me a confession in the comments: do you eat raw cookie dough? Me: yes. Always. With a spoon. Or a finger. Or a spoon and a finger. And the winner is: MeganM . Congrats, Megan! I’ll be emailing you for your address soon.

The fine print: U.S. Addresses only. One entry per person. I’ll announce the winner a week from today (monday, June 11). Good luck! 


Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Truffles from The Cookie Dough Lover’s Cookbook by Lindsay Landis

Makes: 30 to 40 truffles  Active Time: 1 hour   Total Time: 2 hours

For Cookie Dough:

  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 2 tablespoons milk or cream
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup mini semisweet chocolate chips

For Chocolate Coating:

  • 8 ounces dark-chocolate candy coating

In a large bowl, beat butter and sugars with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Mix in milk and vanilla. Stir in flour and salt and mix on low speed (or by hand) until incorporated. Stir in chocolate chips. Cover and chill dough for 30 minutes or until firm enough to handle.

Form dough into 1-inch balls and arrange them on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Place sheets in freezer for at least 15 minutes. Meanwhile, melt chocolate candy coating in a double boiler or microwave according to package directions, being careful not to overheat it. Using a fork or dipping tool, dip truffles one at a time in candy coating to cover. Tap fork on the edge of the bowl to shake off excess coating, and return truffles to baking sheets to set. If you have any leftover coating, transfer it to a piping bag or squeeze bottle fitted with a small round tip and pipe decorative lines over top of truffles—or simply drizzle coating with a fork for an abstract finish.

Refrigerated in airtight container, truffles will keep for up to 1 week, though I dare you to make them last that long.

cinco de leche {tres leches cake}

One of the reasons I seem to have fallen off the face of the food blogging planet is that I used to have a tiny assistant in the kitchen. Lucy would “help” me with everything from stirring flour and salt to icing cakes to tasting sauces. When her younger sister Charlie was tiny we still went on our merry way in the kitchen, Charlie napping in her swing or basking on a stack of blankets on the dining room floor. But now that my baby is not quite a baby anymore and demands my attention at all times (that fun but taxing “up!” “down!” “water!” “grapes!” “I crapped my pants!” “The car seat? What are you, insane?!” stage), my time in the kitchen (with or without Lucy) has grown slim.

But when some dear friends asked us over for fish tacos and margaritas for Cinco de Mayo, I knew we had to bring tres leches cake. I fall back to Pioneer Woman’s recipe for this one, because it’s easy and delicious and I knew that Lucy and I would have a blast making it together.

{Lucy grew tired of poking the cake with a fork and decided a chopstick would be more efficient.}

We carved out some time to bake, just the two of us. I hadn’t gotten down and dirty in the kitchen (read: flour flying into the corners of the ceiling, egg whites dripping down the countertops) with her for a long while, and as we went through the steps of making the cake I came to realize that my oldest baby was no longer a baby anymore, either. Instead of wanting to simply make messes for messes sake, she began asking questions about the process.

“What is that [baking powder] for, Mom?”

“Why do you spray that [cooking spray] into there [a 9×13 pan]?”

“What’s going to happen when we mix them together?”

“Why does it go in the oven?”

A few of her questions were the simple “3 year old why’s” but many were so pointed that I began explaining what each ingredient was for, why we used it, and how it would make the cake taste. She was fascinated. I’d like to think that she’s so interested because I’ve been letting her cook with me since she could hold a spoon, but more than likely it’s simply because she’s a curious girl. Whatever the reason, I was in delighted awe as we mixed, poured and spread.

We baked the cake in the evening, and I told her that the next morning her job would be to pour the milk mixture over the top, help me whip the cream, stem the strawberries (for topping), and frost the cake. As I was putting her to bed she said, “Mom, I can’t wait for my special cake job tomorrow!” And then I melted into a puddle of tears onto the floor and cried because my baby girl is certainly not a baby, at all. When the old granny in the grocery store quips “they just grow up so fast!” she doesn’t say that their first word will be dada and seemingly the next will be “why do the egg whites get all puffy when you turn the mixer on really fast?”

{Pink on pink on pink. A mind and style of her own.}

But back to the cake. If you’ve never tried tres leches, come on over to the dark side. Essentially you bake a very dry, airy cake and soak it with a mixture of sweet milks. Each slice oozes with caramel-flavored cream. I make this several times a year for different occasions and everyone seems to think that it’s sent from a magical dessert deity. I’ve tried different versions, but I think Ree’s is the best. Plus, if you make it with your kids you will create 1) a giant, fun, magical mess, 2) a giant, fun, magical cake, and 3) memories in the kitchen with your wee ones. Just don’t collapse into the closet into a pile of tears like I did when you realize they’re old enough to crack an egg by themselves.

You can find my step-by-step instructions in an older post on tres leches here, or Ree’s prettier photos and recipe here.


mint thins, and a giveaway

*Contest Closed*

As a food blogger, you get offered a lot of odd things for free. My all-time favorite? Kangaroo meat. I wish I were joking.

It’s every blogger’s own decision whether to accept swag or not. Personally, I believe that my blog is all mine, and I don’t do any sponsored posts here. If companies want to send me something, I’m cool with it. I just don’t promise to write about it.

My other rule of thumb is that when I receive things that I honestly do like—things that I would recommend to you all—I have to give them away to you guys. That’s why I’m excited to be handing over this great cookbook from Quirk Books, and a little bummed that I’m not keeping it for myself.

The Cookiepedia by Stacy Adimando (who also writes for Serious Eats), is yes, you guessed it—an cookie encyclopedia. It’s cute and colorful and full of tips for churning out perfect cookies. I do believe this cookbook was tailor made for me.

There are recipes for chocolate lovers.

Recipes for ambitious bakers.

Pretty photos to gaze at even if you don’t bake at all. And if you love to bake, there are recipes for every cookie under the sun, from buttery to spicy to fruity.

I even found a recipe for one of my all-time favorites: mint thins. Or in Girl Scout land, the über popular “Thin Mints.”

It would be irresponsible of me to not test out a recipe from the book before handing it over to one of you. So I just *had* to make them. And as it turns out, they weren’t as labor-intensive as I thought they would be. And worth every minute of preparation.

You begin by churning a thick, buttery dough in the mixer.

After letting it chill, you roll it out and cut into circles.

Bake, then dip in a blissful blend of chocolate and peppermint…

…and twiddle your thumbs as they cool.

In Lucy’s case, twiddle your tiny, very impatient thumbs.

Savor. Lick the melted chocolate from your fingers.

They are, in my approximate estimation, about 11,957 times better than the Girl Scout version. No offense, little ladies.

Try them for yourself using the recipe below. And if you want to try your hand at other types of cool cookies, enter to win The Cookiepedia in the comments. I’ll announce the winner next week!

Contest Rules

  1. To enter to win The Cookiepedia by Stacy Adimando, simply tell me in the comments: What is your favorite type of cookie?
  2. U.S. addresses only, please. I’m paying for the shipping myself, y’all. One entry per person.
  3. A magical random number winner picker computer thingie (that’s it’s technical name) will choose the winner next week.
And the winner is…
Karen! Karen said, “My favorite cookie is chocolate chip. Maybe a little boring but eating one while still warm from the oven with a glass of milk always makes me smile.” Karen, you’re my soul sister. Soul. Sister. I’ll be emailing you with the details. Thanks everyone for entering!

Mint Thins from The Cookiepedia by Stacy Adimando        printable version

Nobody you know will not come by when you say you’re baking homemade mint thins. (If they don’t so much as ask, consider defriending them immediately.) The question is: Do you want to share? The baking and dunking takes no time (especially if you taste as you go), but these bite-sized treats do hold up best (and taste yummiest) once the mint chocolate has had ample time to set. If you’re protective of your stash, store them in the freezer. They’re best with a chill anyway.

Preheat oven to 350F. Makes 3 1/2 dozen cookies.

  • 1 c unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 c powdered sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 c all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 c cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 12 oz semi-sweet chocolate
  • 1/4 c unsalted butter
  • 3/4 tsp peppermint flavor
1. Cream the butter until it’s light and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar and continue mixing, stopping to scrape the sides of the bowl as needed. Mix in the egg and vanilla extract. Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, and salt. Add the flour mixture by halves, beating to incorporate after each addition.

2. Turn out the dough onto a clean surface and form it into a disk with your hands. Split the disk in half and place them in the fridge to firm up for 1 hour.

3. Working on a floured surface (you’ll need a decent amount, since the dough is sticky), roll out the dough to 1/8-inch thick. Shape the cookies using a 1 1/2-inch round cutter and place them on a parchment-paper-lined baking sheet. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, then let cool completely.

4. Break up the chocolate into a bowl and set it over a small pot of simmering water* (make sure the bowl doesn’t touch the water). Add the butter and the peppermint flavor and stir the mixture steadily until it’s fully melted and looks glossy and smooth. Remove the bowl and let the chocolate cool slightly.

5. One by one, drop the cookies in the chocolate, then scoop them out with a fork to let the excess drip off. (Tap the cookies against the side of the bowl to help drain the extra chocolate). Move them carefully to a wire rack or parchment-paper-lined baking sheet. When they’re all coated, move the sheet to the refrigerator or freezer to set.

*Note from RDG: If the chocolate gets too hot, it will harden. To reconstitute it, add a little vegetable oil and/or milk and stir until it comes back to a smooth consistency.


raspberry cheesecakesicles

Remember in high school when you were forced to take a career aptitude test? You had to fill in little bubbles with #2 pencil, answering questions like “Do you enjoy completing the same task repeatedly?” and “Do you put others’ needs before your own?”
A few weeks later you were handed a list of possible careers. While my friends ooohed and aaahed at the prospect of becoming doctors and legal aides, I stared down at my own results list.
Jenny Puckett
Score: 0
Possible Career Matches: none
Likelihood of living in a van down by the river: 100%
“Well, shit,” I thought. “I guess I’m not suited to do anything.”
Yes, it’s a crap test. No, it won’t actually tell you what you’re going to do with your life. Because if it had any powers of prediction it would have said:
Jenny Puckett
Score: Awesome
Possible Career Matches: One Billion and a Half
Likelihood of crafting fabulous desserts: 100% 
Take my newest creation, for example. It combines the creaminess of cheesecake with the chill of ice cream. It has a crunchy graham cracker crust, requires no baking, and is so easy to make a toddler could do it (mine did).
All you’ll need are a few waxed paper cups and popsicle sticks, along with sugar, whipped topping (Cool Whip), raspberries, cream cheese, butter and graham crackers.

Place the graham crackers in the bowl of a food processor.

Pulse several times until fine crumbs form.

Melt the butter, pour it over the crumbs and squish together with your fingers until the crumbs are thoroughly moistened.

Scoop one heaping tablespoon into the bottom of each cup (or have a tiny helper do this part. It got messy but she was in seventh heaven).

Press the crumbs down firmly into the bottom of each cup. The more compact, the better. Lucy’s tiny pink “wine glass” was perfect for this step (yes, I find it weird that my 2 year-old has pretend wine glasses, too. I have no idea where they came from).

Stick them in the freezer for at least 15 minutes or until the crust is set.

In the meantime put the cream cheese, raspberries and sugar in a large bowl.

Blend with an electric mixer until smooth.

Fold in the whipped topping…

…and use a large freezer bag with the tip cut off to squirt the filling into each cup.

Insert the popsicle sticks into the center of the filling, careful not to push too far and break the crust. This is such a fun dessert to make with kids. Lucy was so proud of herself.

Stick ’em all in the freezer for at least an hour before serving.

When you’re ready to eat, simply tear away the cup and you’re good to go.

These are so creamy and light, with fresh raspberry flavor and great texture from the crust. They’re such a fun, easy dessert—we’ll be making batches for the rest of the summer with blackberries, peaches, cherries and nectarines. They would be so fun for a party, too, as an alternative to cupcakes or ice cream cake.

Take that, career crap-titude test. I’m a dessert genius.

Raspberry Cheesecakesicles        printable recipe

This is a fun, easy summer dessert that’s great for parties. Substitute your favorite fruit or combination of fruits to make your own flavor! Makes 8 popsicles. 

Prep Time: 15 minutes Freeze Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

  • 7 graham crackers to yield 1 c graham cracker crumbs
  • 3 tbsp butter, melted
  • 8 waxed paper cups, 9 oz size
  • 8 popsicle sticks
  • 1 c raspberries
  • 8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/3 c sugar
  • 8 oz whipped topping (Cool Whip)

1. Pulse graham crackers in a food processor until fine crumbs form. Using your fingers, mix crumbs with melted butter until thoroughly moistened. Pour one heaping tablespoon of crumb mixture into each cup and press down very firmly. Freeze cups for 15 minutes or until crusts are hardened.

2. In a large bowl beat together raspberries, cream cheese and sugar using an electric mixer. Fold in whipped topping. Pour mixture into large freezer bag, cut off tip, and squeeze filling into cups. Insert popsicle sticks into center of filling, being careful not to pierce crust. Freeze for at least one hour before serving. Carefully tear away paper cups and eat.

nutella brownies

We have a bit of a civil war going on in our house. It’s the Nutella lovers versus the Nutella haters. I, because I am awesome and always right, love Nutella. Lucy, because she is a mini-me and equally awesome, loves Nutella.

Dave, human garbage disposal, will eat pretty much anything EXCEPT Nutella (I blame his formative years being spent in Europe, where they use this stuff like butter). Charlie is the tie breaker. She’s a baby who can’t eat Nutella yet. So she defaults into Dave’s category (although I’m very optimistic that she’ll turn the tables once she is older) .

Two for, two against. They say a house divided against itself cannot stand. But since I am the baker, I dictate what sweets emerge from the oven. And this weekend, it was Nutella brownies.

If you don’t know what Nutella is, you’ve been living under a rock  let me explain: it’s a creamy, chocolatey spread made from hazelnuts and cocoa. Think of it as chocolate-flavored peanut butter with a slightly nutty taste. Most grocers carry it on the peanut butter aisle.

To make these brownies, you’ll also need some vanilla extract, sugar, flour, baking soda, salt, butter, eggs, hazelnuts and chocolate chips.

What is there not to love about Nutella? It’s creamy. It’s chocolatey. It can be spread on bread or swirled into yogurt, dolloped on ice cream or dipped with a graham cracker.

I found hazelnuts on my grocer’s bulk foods aisle and they were pretty inexpensive. We’ll use them later to top these gorgeous brownies. It gives them a nice crunch and makes them purdy.

Begin by melting together the butter and sugar together with a few tablespoons of water. Stir often.

Just as it begins to boil, remove from heat. We don’t want scorched butter on our hands.

Stir in the Nutella…

…and beat in the eggs one at a time. Add the vanilla, too.

Whisk in the flour, baking soda and salt until smooth.

Fold in the chocolate chips.

Have a tiny helper grease a baking pan for you. Sure, you have to wash butter hands afterwards, but look how much fun she’s having!

Spread the batter into the greased pan.

Chop the hazelnuts and sprinkle them on top.

Bake for 30-35 minutes in a 325F oven. A toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean (just make sure you’re poking the batter and not a melted chocolate chip—give the toothpick a little taste to make sure. Over-baking these puppies is not allowed).

Here’s the kicker: let cool completely before cutting. The chocolate chips will solidify and the brownies will become denser and more fudgy as they cool. Trust me, it’s worth it.

See? Told you.

The bittersweet chocolate chips add a perfect contrast to the richness of the batter, and the nuts on top give a nice crunch. These little squares disappear fast.

For the moment in our house it seems the Nutella lovers are winning. Poor Dave. He never stood a chance. But as they say, to the victor go the (nutty, chocolatey) spoils.

Nutella Brownies    printable deliciousness

It’s torture to let these brownies cool completely before eating, but you’ll be rewarded handsomely if you can stand it (as they cool, they become more fudgy and the chocolate chips solidify). Makes one 9″x9″ pan of brownies. 

  • 1/3 c butter
  • 3/4 c sugar
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 3/4 c Nutella
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 c flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 c bittersweet chocolate chips (I like Ghiradelli 60% chips)
  • 1/3 c hazelnuts
1. Preheat oven to 325F. Grease a 9″x9″ baking pan with butter.
2. In a saucepan over medium heat melt butter, sugar, and water, stirring often. When mixture just begins to boil, remove from heat. Stir in Nutella. Add eggs one at a time, whisking well after each addition. Stir in vanilla. Stir in flour, baking soda and salt. Fold in chocolate chips. Pour into prepared baking pan.
3. Chop hazelnuts and sprinkle over batter. Bake for 30-35 minutes until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Do not over-bake. Let cool completely before slicing and serving.