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Archive for the ‘Bars’ Category

Yay, it’s almost Christmas! You know how I know? Let me tell you. If I had a dollar for every email that infiltrated my inbox this past week looking like this: Homemade cupcakes in the kitchen!! Happy holidays everyone!!! ENJOY!! I would have enough money to buy a Venti Starbucks peppermint mocha, perhaps even two.

I promise that I’m not a grinch. In fact, I’ve been listening to Christmas music all day. I have a red candle. JC and I share a birthday. But as a year-round unprofessional baker, one of my least favorite tensions associated with the holiday season is what I like to call the abundance of loaded baked goods in the office dilemma.

You probably have no idea what I’m ranting about, and that’s understandable, because you are a normal person. But to me, the occasionally jittery and sensitive female baker, the situation unfolds like this: as fair-weather (i.e. holiday) bakers descend upon the office kitchen with piles and piles of frosted cookies, confetti cupcakes, peppermint brownies, sprinkled donuts, etc., a desire to provide the most liked office treat becomes intense and very real. Unlimited supply meets limited demand. And since the people who bring in homemade treats rarely eat them–it’s too taboo or something–you, the non-baker/innocent bystander, become the target eater. Don’t even try to politely refuse a cookie from one colleague while you literally finish eating a giant cupcake “baked with love” from another colleague. It won’t work. Unless you smile and take a big bite and say “mmm! wow! so good! thank you so much!” you are not a team player.

Yes, I’m ridiculous. That’s why I decided to do my new colleagues a favor and abstain from bringing baked goods into the office this week. So I waited until today, Saturday, a safe day. And it was perfect. I hope people like these cookies tonight. I will try really hard not to care if they don’t.

If you’re still here after all that superfluous blabbing, I bring you a recipe for the chocolate peppermint bark cookie.

Peppermint bark cookies (adapted from Bon Appetit)

Ingredients
Nonstick vegetable oil spray or butter
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg yolk
6 oz bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup chopped peppermint candies or candy canes
2 oz white chocolate

Preparation
Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray 13×9 inch metal baking pan with nonstick spray. Whisk flour and salt in medium bowl. Beat butter in large bowl until creamy, about 2 minutes. Gradually beat in sugar. Continue beating until mixture is light and fluffy, stopping occasionally to scrape down sides of bowl, about 3 minutes. Beat in vanilla, then egg yolk. Gradually add flour mixture to blend. Drop dough into prepared baking pan, spacing evenly. Using moistened fingertips, press dough to form even layer over bottom of pan. Pierce dough all over with fork.

Bake cookie base until light golden brown and slightly puffed and edges begin to come away from sides of pan, about 30 minutes. Place pan on rack and immediately sprinkle bittersweet chocolate over. Let stand until chocolate softens, about 3 minutes. Using a spatula, spread bittersweet chocolate over top of cookie in thin even layer. Immediately sprinkle chopped peppermint candies over.

Microwave white chocolate in medium bowl for 30 second increments and stir until melted and smooth. Using fork, drizzle white chocolate all over cookies. Chill until white chocolate is set, about 30 minutes.

Using large knife, cut cookie into irregular pieces. EAT.

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Megan vs. the Kolaczki, Round 1.

Every baker has a day that begins with high hopes and ends in complete disaster. Right? Well, today was mine.

It all began this morning at approx. 10:30 am. C casually mentioned that he had a cook-out tonight and needed to bring dessert. Of course, I immediately volunteered to bake something for him. It seemed like a perfect chance to a) stay inside where it’s cool b) demonstrate my flourishing baking skills and c) tackle the kolaczki. I’ve been craving a sweet cheese kolaczki (pronounced koh-lotch-key, I think) for a couple of weeks, so I found a recipe online and health-ified it a bit. I also made a batch of lemon bars (below) in case the kolaczkis didn’t turn out. Little did I know.

My, how nice and innocent those kolaczkis look. Do do do. Into the oven they go for 12 minutes.

DISASTER.

The things just fell apart. Jam ran everywhere. My beloved cookie tray turned into a bloody battlefield. Well, that’s actually because I gently attacked the cookies with a fork in a fit of disbelieving anger before chucking them in the bin. A bit over the top, maybe, but I felt betrayed.

So. Today I learned that baking sucks when you fail miserably. However, once the initial shock wears off, failing can lead to perseverance: I am now determined to make the best damn kolaczki cookies in the world.

Until then.

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