Deeply Dark Delights: Chocolate-Espresso Sandwich Cookies

Deeply Dark Delights: Chocolate-Espresso Sandwich Cookies

Yesterday, I said that cinnamon-sugar was one of Bill & I’s love languages. Today, I’m here to share one of Bill’s love languages, in cookie form: Espresso and Chocolate! From mochas to chocolate-covered espresso beans, the man has a chocolate-coated caffeine addiction to be sure. He came by it honestly, though, since his parents have the same love, too.

Chocolate-Espresso Cookies from Mancktastic!

Since we were driving up to Albany, I decided to bring up some baked goods for my wonderful in-laws in the same vein as the love/addiction they share with their son: Chocolate-Espresso Sandwich Cookies! These fluffy dark chocolate cookies with espresso suggestions are wonderful on their own, but they really crank it up to 11 when sandwiched together with a chocolate whipped ganache.

Chocolate-Espresso Cookies from Mancktastic!

The whole effect is that of a grown up whoopie pie or simplified macaron that is a snap to whip up at home! By using both butter and shortening with exclusively brown sugar, you get a silky smooth, extravagant flavor from the get go that is deepened and enhanced with extra-dark cocoa powder and the special oomph of espresso powder that somehow makes chocolate taste even more chocolatey. Since the cookies are studded throughout with semi-sweet chocolate, you get 3 different levels of chocolate with each and every bite. The cookies are outstanding, but man I could just eat this whipped ganache up with a spoon (and I may have whilst assembling these dark delights)! It manages to be light and deep at the same time with a cool, rich taste that will leave you licking your fingers!

Chocolate-Espresso Cookies from Mancktastic!

Chocolate-Espresso Sandwich Cookies

  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • ½ cup butter flavored shortening
  • 1½ cups brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups flour
  • ½ cup extra-dark cocoa powder
  • ½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1½ teaspoons espresso powder
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chunks
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  1. Beat butter, shortening, and brown sugar for 2-3 minutes in the mixer. Add vanilla, salt, and eggs and beat for an additional minute. Add flour, cocoa, chocolate chips, baking powder, and espresso powder, then beat until well-combined
  2. Place dough in refrigerator for 1 hour while you prepare the filling.
  3. Heat heavy cream in a small saucepan over medium until little bubbles form. Whisk in chocolate chips until completely incorporated, then remove filling from heat and place in refrigerator for 1 hour.
  4. After dough has rested in the fridge for 1 hour, preheat oven to 375◦ F. Form dough into 1 Tablespoon balls and place on a baking sheet.
  5. Bake for 9-11 minutes, then allow them to cool slightly on baking sheet, then cool completely on wire rack.
  6. When cookies are cooled, beat the filling with a wire whisk attachment with your mixer until fluffy. Scoop into a ziptop bag, snip off the corner.
  7. Form sandwiches by piping filling onto one cookie, topping it with another cookie, and pressing lightly to adhere the cookies together.

Based on a recipe from Shugary Sweets

Chocolate-Espresso Cookies from Mancktastic!

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Fluffy and Buttery with Summer Fruit: Strawberry Shortcakes

Fluffy and Buttery with Summer Fruit: Strawberry Shortcakes

I don’t know if it’s the same where y’all are, but down here in South-ish Texas we’re starting to get really delicious and cheap produce already! Nothing screams “Spring is here and Summer is coming!” more than juicy, fresh, affordable strawberries and watermelons in the grocery store, just waiting to be taken home. While I’m not really looking forward to 100°+ weather or all of our kids graduating and leaving (sniff), I am glad that it’s warming up so I can exist solely on fresh fruits and veggies for a while : )

This week’s amazing deal at HEB was strawberries for just $1/lb! After grabbing one package Friday night, I went back and snagged 3 more Sunday morning because I just couldn’t stop eating them for breakfast, lunch and dinner. First, it was this tasty breakfast Saturday morning of decaf caramel coffee, sourdough toast, eggs over medium and fresh strawberries, with a side of the amazing graphic novel Relish by Lucy Knisley about her life experiences with food. Highly recommended, especially the awesome illustrated recipes at the end of each chapter (one of which is coming later this week!)

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This breakfast didn’t staunch my cravings for berries, though, so it was time for my favorite strawberry vehicle: Shortcake! I went to my reliable red Betty Crocker cookbook (before she started just recommending Bisquick in everything) to whip up this fluffy, buttery shortcake for Bill, Keri and I to enjoy. By Sunday night, I’d had it for at least 3 meals, plus I used some extra whipped cream in my Sunday morning decaf ; ) This is a extra-rich, buttery shortcake that’s perfect for strawberries and homemade whipped cream! You could also use this sweet and tasty shortcake with any other deliciously ripe fruits all summer long. I also love to crumble the shortcake over a bowl of strawberries and cream for a yummy crumb topping.

Strawberry Shortcakes

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup cold butter
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 2 cups chopped strawberries
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1-2 cups whipped cream
  1. Heat oven to 375° F. Butter and flour bottom and sides of a 9″ round pan.
  2. In medium bowl, mix flour, ½ cup sugar, the baking powder and salt. Cut in butter, using pastry blender, until mixture looks like fine crumbs. Stir in milk and eggs just until blended.
  3. Bake shortcake 30-35 minutes or until light golden brown. While shortcake bakes, combine chopped strawberries and ½ cup sugar in a small bowl and set aside.
  4. Cool for 10 minutes, then slice and serve topped with the strawberries and whipped cream.

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Based on a recipe from Betty Crocker

Click here to download a PDF of this recipe!

I still have about half of a shortcake left since it’s so rich, but then again there’s still 2 pounds of perfect strawberries in the fridge… I don’t think either of those will last long! Are y’all starting to get fresh summer-y fruits where you live or will you have to make shortcake with frozen berries, dreaming about warmer times?

Light and Nostalgic: Creamsicle Cupcakes

Light and Nostalgic: Creamsicle Cupcakes

Yesterday was both Easter and the birthday of our dear neighbor Keri (Sarge’s mom), so of course it was time for me to make a dessert. Keri isn’t a huge chocolate or sweets fiend like most folks I know so, rather than my basic fudge cupcakes, we decided to make a light citrus-y cupcake based on one of her childhood favorites for her special day!

The stereotypical Creamsicle is delicious, but very artificially flavored so it needed a whole new re-imagining. I stuck with wholesome ingredients like fresh OJ and all-natural orange extract for the base, with a hint of orange cream extract from the fancy cake store. Staying true to the original frozen filling, I went with a truly creamy frosting to offset the tang of the citrus. The resulting cupcake was full of light, natural citrus flavor, topped with a sunny-tasting cream cheese frosting studded with orange zest. Keri loved them and I had one marriage proposal from a friend at our Easter lunch, so I believe they turned out pretty well!

If you need a hint of the summer to come or a break from heavy desserts, definitely try these awesome Creamsicle Cupcakes!

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Creamsicle Cupcakes

Creamsicle Cupcake Ingredients:

  • 2 cups flour
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1½ Tablespoons orange zest
  • ¼ cup orange juice
  • 2 eggs
  • ¾ cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon orange extract
  • 1½ teaspoons orange cream extract
  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Line a 2 12-cup muffin tins with cupcake liners.
  2. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. In a small bowl, combine orange juice, heavy cream, orange extract, and vanilla extract.
  3. In mixer bowl, cream butter, sugar and orange zest until pale and fluffy, about 5 minutes.Beat in eggs, one at a time, until fully combined.
  4. Alternate adding the flour mixture and juice mixture into mixer, starting and ending with the flour. Beat until just combined.
  5. Pour batter into cupcake liners and bake 20-25 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.

Orange-Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients:

  • ½ cup butter (1 stick) (very soft)
  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 4 cups powdered sugar (approx.)
  • ½ teaspoon orange cream extract
  • 1 teaspoon orange extract
  • 1 Tablespoon orange zest
  1. Combine butter, cream cheese and a pinch of salt in mixer bowl. Beat on medium-high until well-combined and fluffy.
  2. Pour in the extracts and zest while beating, then turn mixer to low and add powdered sugar gradually. When you reach the desired taste and consistency, beat on medium-high to make really fluffy.

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(Note: If you don’t have orange-cream extract, substitute in vanilla extract instead.)

Click here to download a PDF of this recipe!

Based on a recipe from On Sugar Mountain