Tag Archives: cream cheese

Getting Your Vegetables with Carrot Cake Cookies

grated carrotsDoctors say it. Health enthusiasts say it. Even your mother says…and probably has been saying it since you were little. “You need to eat your vegetables!” Well, I’ve got the perfect way to do just that…in a dessert! There is just no better way to eat your vegetables. From zucchini bread to pumpkin pie, veggies can make excellent desserts. And the one vegetable that probably makes the best dessert is the carrot. It’s sweet and delicious and makes the most delicious cakes. But, take it one step further, make it portables, and keep that wonderful cream cheese frosting, and you’ve got carrot cake cookies!

butterI am a huge fan of the whoopie pie, and this cookie recipe essentially creates a whoopie pie made out of carrot cake. The cookies stay moist and richly spiced, and the cream cheese frosting is amazing sandwiched between! This recipe is from Martha Stewart’s Cookies book, and from the first time I saw it, let alone the first time I tasted it, I knew it was a keeper.

butter and sugarTo start, make the cookies. Cream 1 cup (2 sticks) butter at room temperature with 1 cup brown sugar and 1 cup granulated sugar. Let this cream for a few minutes until light and fluffy. Then add 2 eggs and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, and beat until combined.

Next, combine the dry ingredients. Add 2 cups flour, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, and 1/2 teaspoon ginger to a bowl. Mix together with a whisk. Gradually add this flour mixture to the butter mixture. Make sure your mixer is on low, otherwise you’ll be covered in flour (and so will your kitchen).flour mixtureNext, grate the carrots. You want 1 1/2 cups grated carrots, which for me took 4 pretty large carrots. Add the grated carrots, 2 cups rolled oats, and 1 cup raisins to the batter, and stir to combine. Chill the mixture for 1 hour, until firm.adding carrotsdoughAfter an hour, scoop out tablespoon size balls of dough onto a parchment lined cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes, until browned. And make sure you give them some space, they will spread (as you can see). If they do, just cut through with the spatula right away. If they cool, they’ll break when you try to cut them. Allow them to cool while you make the frosting.ready for the ovendonespatulaCombine 8 ounces cream cheese with 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, both at room temperature. Add 1 cup confectioners’ sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Mix until smooth. I use the mixer for this, but feel free to just use some elbow grease and a spatula.butter and cream cheeseadding sugarTo frost, I first pair up similar sized cookies and lay them out next to each other. I then add frosting to one side. This helps me make sure I’ve evenly distributed the frosting and also use it all up. After your frosting bowl is empty, spread out the frosting, press the cookies together, take a bite, and enjoy!matcheddropspreadThese really are an excellent treat. And, while I’m sure it’s not what your mother had in mind when she said to eat your vegetables, I’m sure she’d approve of this delicious dessert!enjoy

Getting Ready for St. Patrick’s Day with Irish Potatoes

Ok, I’ll admit it, I’m not Irish.  My last name is D’Addezio, and, well, you can’t get much more Italian than that.  In fact, I’m pretty sure that none of my ancestors ever came from the Emerald Isle.  But I can’t pass up a St. Patrick’s Day staple…Irish Potatoes!  If you’ve never had them, they are a sugary sweet, coconuty (it could be a word), dripping in cinnamon little candy, and they are delicious.  They’re also very easy to make!

MixingTo start, beat 4 tablespoons butter (half a stick) with 4 oz cream cheese (half a block) until fluffy.  Make sure both the butter and cream cheese are at room temperature so they combine easily.  Add 1 teaspoon of vanilla and mix until combined.  Next, add 4 cups powdered sugar, about 1 cup at a time, and mix thoroughly after each addition.  Finally, add 2 1/2 cups sweetened shredded coconut and keep the mixer going until it’s all mixed together.  Cover the bowl with plastic and stick it in the fridge for about an hour or so to make the rolling easier.

RollingAfter about an hour, or even overnight if you have time, take out the mixture.  In a dish, sprinkle 3 tablespoons cinnamon.  Take about a teaspoon of the coconut mixture and form it into a little potato, then roll it in the cinnamon to cover completely.  Lay the potatoes on a parchment lined cookie sheet and continue until you’re finished the whole mix.  I made 44, but I’d say you’ll make between 40 and 50 small potatoes.  You don’t want these too big, as they are sweet and rich, but also delicious.  Once you’re finished, store them in the refrigerator so they stay firm.

Even though the recipe is pretty easy, I seemed to make a mess with the powdered sugar.  Make sure you turn the mixer on LOW when you’re adding the powdered sugar!

Good luck and Happy St. Patrick’s Day!Mess

My First King Cake for Mardi Gras

Colored SugarI had the good fortune of being invited to a party last night to celebrate Mardi Gras.  The party was a blast, complete with beads, Cajun food, masks, and decorations of purple, green, and gold.  Of course, as the good guest that I am, this week I asked what I could bring.  The very simple response was “maybe something sweet” so, of course, I had to bring a traditional Mardi Gras dessert…king cake!

Sour Cream, Sugar, ButterKing cake is a sweet bread, baked in a ring, covered in a sugary icing, and usually decorated with colored sugar in the traditional colors of Mardi Gras, purple, green, and gold.  One special part of the king cake is that a little plastic baby is hidden in the cake after it’s baked, and, whoever gets the piece of cake with the baby, “wins”.  I say wins in quotes because it seems to vary what you win.  Some people say you’re the “king” for the day, others say you win the privilege of bringing the cake the next year.  Not really sure the official rules, as until yesterday, I had never made one or tasted one.

YeastBecause I’ve never made it before, I had to do some digging for a recipe.  I came across a traditional king cake recipe from Southern Living and then also a cream cheese-filled king cake recipe, also from Southern Living.  Since I can’t pass up anything cream cheese-filled, I opted for that one, and then ended up sort of melded the two together.  It was a big hit at the party, even though I didn’t add the baby.  I searched and searched for a plastic baby (and by searched and searched, I mean the night before the party, I went to the grocery store, a party store, and a craft store, then gave up…but still, I tried), and I wasn’t able to find one.  DoughSo I just skipped it, although I think it would have been fun to have it.  I hear you can substitute something else, you just need something someone’s not going to choke on that could be hidden inside after it’s baked but before it’s iced.

For the recipe I picked, it makes 2 cakes.  It was very easy to half, and there was plenty of cake for the party.  First, heat  8 oz of sour cream, 1/6 c sugar, 2 tablespoons of butter, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt in a small saucepan over a low flame until the butter Pre-Risemelts.  You’ll want to stir often just to be sure nothing burns.  Once everything is melted, you want to cool it to about 100-110 degrees.  Meanwhile, stir together 1/4 oz envelope of active dry yeast with 1/4 cup of warm water and 1 1/2 teaspoons of sugar, and let stand 5 minutes.

Once the yeast has sat for 5 minutes and the sour cream mixture is the right temperature, beat these together with 1 egg and 1 cup of flour (the recipe called for bread flour, but I used all-purpose, and it turned out Post Risegreat) at medium speed until smooth.  Then reduce the speed to low and add 2 cups flour (1 cup at a time), and mix until a soft dough forms.  Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead until smooth, for about 10 minutes or so.  Place in a greased bowl, cover, and let rise until doubled for about an hour.  My house was cold, so I turned the oven on to its lowest setting for a few minutes, then turned it off, and put the bowl in there.  Just be sure it’s not too hot.

RolledAfter an hour, punch down the dough, and roll it out to a 22×12 inch rectangle.  Beat 1/2 cup sugar, 8 oz softened block of cream cheese, 1 teaspoon vanilla, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (this was my change from the original), and 1 egg yolk on medium speed until smooth. Spread the cream cheese mixture over the dough, leaving about a 1 inch border.  Then roll the whole thing up, starting at the 22 inch side.  Transfer to a parchment lined cookie sheet with the seam side down and bring the ends together to form a ring.  I had to moisten the ends with water and pinch Ready for the Ovento get them to stick together.  Then cover and let rise till doubled again, about 20-30 minutes.

Bake the dough at 375 degrees until golden.  The recipe says that will take 14-16 minutes, but it took mine more like 25 minutes.  Then cool the cake for about 10 minutes, and put it on your serving tray.  Cover it with the glaze (mix 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, 1 1/2 tablespoons butter melted, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla, and 2 tablespoons of milk until spreadable…and you can add more milk or use less, depending on the consistency).  Then, while it’s still wet, cover it with colored sugar.  The traditional is purple, green, and gold.  Just sprinkle bands of color all the way around.

DoneIf you’re looking for a show stopper dessert for Mardi Gras, this is definitely a good pick.  It did take a while because you had to wait for the dough to rise on several occasions, but it was delicious and I thought it was worth it.  When you bring this to the table, you will definitely impress your guests!