HAPPY 1 YEAR BLOG-AVERSARY TO ME!! : D !!!
I did it! I’ve made it through one whole year… I can’t believe it! Where does time go? Although I can’t give you the exact date, somewhere this time last year (give or take a few days) I started laurassweetspot.com. For about 5 months prior to that I had been using a blogspot account for my food-blogging. I had been enjoying the task so much and getting such great feedback from everybody that I decided to take things to the next level- a “.com”. It’s was quite a challenge since I knew nothing about the technicalities with website format and design, not to mention anything about photography…. but with a bit of perseverance I was able to make it through a full year and come out the other side more improved than I thought possible. If you’ve been following me on my journey, you’ll have noticed the difference too. All you have to do is look at one of my original posts and one of my more recent posts. Not to mention the facelift my blog got this past June. That was a HUGE improvement. Things are finally starting to look a bit more professional around here…
This past year has been SO amazing for me! Having been able to share some many great recipes and stories with you, I couldn’t be happier with the way things have turned out. To thank everybody for their support and to celebrate, I decided to host my first Give-Away Contest!! Yay! Are you as excited as I am?
The most recent love of my life is the newest installment in Matt Lewis & Renato Poliafito’s cookbook collection- “Baked Elements: Our 10 Favorite Ingredients“. It is full of some of the most mouth-watering recipes I have ever seen. The BAKED boys are notorious for taking traditional items and ingredients and giving them a fun and delicious spin. This book is a play on their ten favorite ingredients: peanut butter, caramel, pumpkin, chocolate, booze, malt milk powder, lemon & lime, cinnamon, cheese, and banana. They offer such a wide range of recipes from Lemon Shaker Pie to Turtle Thumbprint Cookies to Holiday Spice Cake with Eggnog Buttercream. I was really, truly impressed with what they came up with. It is for that reason that I am offering to give away ONE cookbook to ONE lucky winner chosen at random!
Here are the rules:
1) You get one entry for liking Laura’s Sweet Spot on Facebook.
2) You get one additional entry for becoming a follower of Laura’s Sweet Spot on Twitter.
3) You get one additional entry for signing up for e-mail notifications.
4) You get one additional entry for becoming a follower of Laura’s Sweet Spot on Pinterest.
*As you can see, you can get up to FOUR entries per person. BUT each time you do one of these you MUST come back to laurassweetspot.com and leave a comment under this post telling me that you did so. For example write “I just became a follower on twitter.” See? SO super easy! Also, remember to leave a SEPARATE COMMENT for each entry you complete. If all entries are left in a single comment then this will only count as ONE entry. Last entry will be on Friday at 10 pm eastern time. I will be picking the winner at random and announcing on this post who won on Saturday morning.
THE WINNER: Comment #31 as generated by Random.org – Venetrise!
Thank you so much everybody for participating and showing your support for my blog! I think my first give-away was a great success, can’t wait to have another one!
And for another extra special treat, here is a sneak peak at one of the recipes found in “Baked Elements: Our 10 Favorite Ingredients”
Peanut butter and chocolate anyone??
These cookies call for a little work so I am going to quickly run through that with you.
Begin by mixing up the delicious peanut butter cookie dough recipe.
It will be super soft so it needs to be refrigerated for a few hours.
Once chilled, it’s time to roll out the dough on a piece of parchment.’
Divide in two, rolling each out to about 9 1/2″ by 7 1/2 “.
You can try to do this between two pieces of parchment, but I found that caused it to just slide around.
I actually ended up just pressing the dough out with my fingers… if you can’t tell from all those fingerprints.
Then you spread on half the melted chocolate mixture on each piece of dough.
I weighed out the chocolate so this would be even.
Keep away from the far edge on one of the long sides. The chocolate is going to spread that way as soon as you start rolling.
Using the parchment as a guide (without rolling the parchment into the cookie dough), roll up the dough towards the long side that is clear from the chocolate mixture.
Seal the dough by twisting or using clothes pins, then pop it back in the fridge to firm back up.
Once the dough is firm enough to work with, use a serrated knife to cut off 1/2″ to 3/4″ slices.
As you can see from my photo, my chocolate was very hard and my dough wasn’t hard enough to handle it.
The peanut butter dough is pretty soft no matter how long you leave it in the fridge and it makes things impossible to deal with when the chocolate is fully chilled. My advice to you is to just leave it in long enough for the chocolate to still be soft but not melty. Then maybe you will get the pretty little spirals like shown in the book.
No matter what shape your Peanut Butter Whirligigs come out, they are incredibly delicious!! Quite a special peanut butter treat.
- For the Cookie Dough:
- 2¼ cups all purpose flour
- ¾ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 6 ounces (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, cool but not cold
- 1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 3 Tb vegetable oil (preferably canola)
- ¾ cup smooth peanut butter
- 1 large egg plus 1 large egg yolk
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- For the Chocolate Filling:
- 12 ounces good-quality dark chocolate (60 to 72%), coarsely chopped
- ½ tsp light corn syrup
- For the Peanut Butter Dough: In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, sugars, oil, and peanut butter on med-high speed until fluffy, about 5 minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla, beating until incorporated.
- Scrape down the sides and bottom of bowl and add half of the flour mixture. Beat until just incorporated; do not overmix. Add the remaining flour mixture and beat until just incorporated.
- Transfer the dough to a cool, lightly floured work surface and shape into a disk. Wrap the dough in parchment paper, then in plastic wrap, and refrigerate until the dough is firm, about 3 hours. The dough can be made a day ahead and refrigerated for up to 24 hours.
- Flour a rolling pin. Line a work surface with a piece of parchment paper about 14 inches long, dust the parchment with a sprinkling of flour, divide the disk of dough in half, and roll out one half directly on the parchment into a rectangle about 9½ inches long by 7½ inches wide and just under ½ inch thick. If the dough is too thin, it will be extremely difficult to roll up. Transfer the dough, keeping it on the parchment, to the refrigerator to firm up. Repeat the rolling process for the second half of the disk and refrigerate.
- For the Chocolate Filling: While the dough is chilling, melt the chocolate and corn syrup in a microwave or double boiler. Whisk until smooth, then set aside to cool for a few minutes.
- Assembly: Remove 1 sheet of dough from the refrigerator. Dip a pastry brush in the chocolate and brush the top surface of the dough almost to the edge. Make sure the chocolate coverage is good and hearty, but leave a ½-inch strip with no chocolate on one of the long sides of the rectangle and double up the chocolate on the opposite long side- this will be the center of the cookie. (Alternatively, drizzle some of the chocolate mixture on the dough and use the back of a spoon to spread into an even layer). Using the parchment paper to help you, slowly roll the dough into a log, starting from the long side of the rectangle that has double chocolate. (The paper should not be inside the log but used as a tool to help create the log.) Once the dough is rolled, keep it wrapped in the paper, then wrap tightly in plastic and refrigerate. Repeat this process with the second sheet of dough.
- Chill the logs for at least 3 hours, or up to 24 hours, until the logs feel very solid; if they do not feel solid, they probably need to be refrigerated for a few hours longer.
- Make the Cookies: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Unwrap the logs and place on a cutting surface. Dip a knife in very hot water and cut the log into individual cookies, ½ to ¾ inch thick, and place on the prepared baking sheets. If they get a tiny bit disfigured in the cutting process, you can use your fingers to reshape the cookies slightly; if the chocolate breaks or spills out, you can gently push it back in place.
- Bake for 11 to 13 minutes, rotating the baking sheets halfway through the baking time. Do not overbake these cookies- remove them from the oven the second they start to brown.
- Place the baking sheets on wire racks to cool for 5 minutes. Then use a spatula to transfer the cookies to the racks to cool completely.
- Cookies can be stored at room temperature, tightly covered, for up to 2 days.
adapted from “Baked: Our 10 Favorite Ingredients” by Matt Lewis & Renato Poliafito