STRAWBERRY RHUBARB PIE

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  It’s strawberry and rhubarb season.  Need I say more?  Strawberries and rhubarb in a homemade lattice-topped pie crust is sure to wow your guests. It’s quite easy, too.  Really!

INGREDIENTS:

Double pie crust (unbaked)

1 ¼ – 1 1/3 cups sugar

3 TBSP quick-cook Tapioca

¼ tsp nutmeg

3 cups rhubarb, cut into 1/2 pieces (don’t peel)

2 ½ cups fresh strawberries, cut in half or quarters

PREPARATION:

Place all ingredients (except pie crust, of course) into a large bowl and mix with a serving spoon until well combined.  Place pie crust into a pie plate and pour in the fruit mixture.  Go ahead and give the lattice top a try.  It’s very easy.  I usually cut 1″ strips.

Bake at 375° F for about 50 minutes.

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By Tika for CHEW WANNA EAT? © 2017

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SNICKERDOODLE CHEESECAKE

 

 

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   My daughter-in-law was teasing me with photos and a recipe for Snickerdoodle Cheesecake.  I’ve seen them around before, but I might have been in one of my moods for cinnamon.  And Bob is always in the mood for cheesecake. 

     By now, you must know that I’ve never met a recipe I couldn’t alter.  It’s just my thing, and I can’t help myself.  I added an extra half tsp of vanilla and more cinnamon.  Since most of us have a stand-up mixer with only one bowl, I made a note after the cheesecake portion of the recipe so you can use the same bowl twice.  Oh yeah, one other thing.  I rarely use unsalted butter and then add salt to the recipe.  I think that’s silly.  Each stick of salted butter has approximately ¼ tsp of salt.  If a recipe calls for 2 sticks of unsalted butter and 1 tsp salt, I use 2 sticks of salted butter and ½ tsp salt.  I also added baking soda and salt to main snickerdoodle mixture, and then added flour slowly.  (Saves washing another bowl.)

By the way?  This cake is OUTSTANDING!

Ingredients

Cheesecake

  • 2 blocks cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract (I used 1 tsp)
  • pinch of kosher salt

Snickerdoodle

  • 2 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. salt (I cut this to 1/2 tsp because I used salted butter)
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, melted (I used room temp salted)
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 1/2 c. brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon (or more)
  • cinnamon sugar, for sprinkling

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350º. Grease (I used butter) a 9″-x-13″ baking pan with cooking spray.
  2. Prepare cheesecake mixture: In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and 1/2 cup sugar until fluffy. Add eggs, vanilla, and salt and beat until combined. Note: If you have only one mixer bowl, transfer cheesecake mixture to a small bowl and set aside. You’ll have to rinse and dry bowl and beater.
  3. Prepare snickerdoodle dough: In mixer bowl, beat butter, sugar and brown sugar until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla and mix until just combined. Add baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Slowly add flour and mix on low until just combined.
  4. Press about two-thirds of the snickerdoodle dough into an even layer in the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar on top. Pour cheesecake batter on top and smooth the top with a rubber spatula. Break up remaining snickerdoodle dough into small clumps and sprinkle over cheesecake layer. (I found it easy to use a serving spoon and scrape pieces right onto the cheesecake with a butter knife. Sprinkle with more cinnamon sugar.
  5. Bake until edges are set and center of cheesecake mixture is only slightly jiggly, 35 to 40 minutes. Let cool completely until slicing into squares.

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By Tika for CHEW WANNA EAT? © 2017

Snickerdoodles Cheeecake

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Snickerdoodle Cheesecake (5)

ST PATRICK’S DAY CUPCAKES W/MINT FROSTING

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     Green Mint Frosting for St Patty’s Day?  You bet!  Use your standard frosting recipe and add Spearmint Extract and Green Food Coloring.  I used a Russian Ball tip to pipe.

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By Tika for CHEW WANNA EAT? © 2017

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CARROT CAKE COOKIES W/ORANGE CREAM CHEESE FROSTING

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    These cookies are so delectable, nobody will guess that they’re chock full of healthy ingredients.  Low in sugar, full of beta carotene, Vitamin C, as well as fiber.  They are like taking a piece of carrot cake to go!  You can add dates, chocolate chips, raisins, or walnuts. You can frost them or eat them plain.  You can add walnuts to the delicious Orange Cream Cheese Frosting.  You can omit an egg and make them a little firmer, or use both eggs and end up with a soft cake-like result.  They’re your cookies.  Bake them your way. It’s more fun!

INGREDIENTS:  Yields 36 cookies

1 stick room temp butter

½ cup shortening

½ cup white sugar

¼ cup packed brown sugar

2 eggs for cake-like (1 egg, 1 TBSP canola oil if you want more cookie-like)

1 cup carrots, cooked, mashed and cooled (3 – 5 carrots)**

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 ½ rounded cups AP flour (or 1 rounded cup AP flour and 1/2 cup wheat flour)

½ cup oatmeal

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp cinnamon

1/8 tsp cloves

Couple dashes salt

OPTIONS:  chopped nuts, dates, raisins, chocolate chips.

 

PREPARATION:

Peel carrots, cut into chunks and cook in covered pan with about 2” water until soft.  When cool, drain (reserving water) and mash with fork.  (Cooked a bit too much?  No problem.  If you have a baby, there’s lunch.  If not, give the dogs whatever is left over.  I also pour the cooled liquid over their dry food to provide extra nutrients.   The cooled liquid can also be frozen to use in soups or stews.)

In mixer bowl, beat butter and shortening for 30 seconds.  Add sugars and beat for 1 minute.  Add eggs, cooled carrots, vanilla, oatmeal, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, cloves and beat until well incorporated.  Add flour and beat until thoroughly mixed but not over beaten.  Add Optional Ingredients.

I use my large cookie scoop (2 TBSP or so per cookie.)  Bake at 350 ° F for 16 – 17 min on stoneware, silicone sheet or regular sheet with parchment paper.

 

Orange Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients:

2 oz cream cheese, at room temp

1 TBSP butter, room temp

2 TBSP orange juice +/-

2 tsp orange zest

½ tsp vanilla extract

1 ½ cups confectioner’s sugar

Dash salt

OPTIONAL:  ½ tsp cinnamon, crushed walnuts

PREPARATION:

In mixer bowl, beat cream cheese and butter until just combined.  Add remaining ingredients and beat until desired spreading consistency is reached.  Add a bit extra orange juice if it seems too thick.  If too thin, add a bit extra confectioner’s sugar.

If you want the crushed nuts, they can be added directly to the frosting, or sprinkled on top.  I usually do half with nuts on top and half plain.

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By Tika for CHEW WANNA EAT? © 2017

AMISH SUGAR COOKIES

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     You know that it’s rare when I make someone else’s recipe, but I’ve seen this Amish recipe a few times and noticed that it had a nice high rating.  I wanted to give it a try.  Quick prep time makes these a wonderful every-day dessert.  Lightly sweet, barely crispy on the outside while chewy on the inside makes these cookies pretty perfect.  

     The original recipe is below.  It was perfect as is.  The only thing I changed was to use my large cookie scoop and bake for 11- 11 ½ minutes.  Yielded 46 Larger cookies. 

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, beat the butter, oil and sugars. Beat in eggs until well blended. Beat in vanilla. Combine the flour, baking soda and cream of tartar; gradually add to creamed mixture.
  2. Drop by small teaspoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 375° for 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove to wire racks to cool. Yield: about 5 dozen. I USED MY LARGE SCOOP AND BAKED FOR  11 MINUTES.

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By Tika for CHEW WANNA EAT? © 2017

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SPRITZ COOKIES

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Spritz cookies are wonderful!  The flavor is so good, and they are simple to make.  Go find your cookie press and let’s make cookies!  You can customize with food coloring, sprinkles, colored sugar, frosting, or whatever else you can think of.  I’m going to teach you how to use your regular pastry tip to create dual or even triple colored cookies.  The recipe makes a lot of cookies, but I promise you, they won’t last long. 

     Of course, you can change the flavor extract to make other than vanilla flavored.  Some suggestions would be cinnamon, anise, chocolate, coffee, orange, lemon, peppermint, etc.  How about ginger powder?  Get the idea?  Make these your own!

VANILLA SPRITZ COOKIES

YIELD: 48 cookies

INGREDIENTS:

2 STICKS BUTTER, AT ROOM TEMPERATURE

1 CUP GRANULATED SUGAR

1 LARGE EGG

2 ½ TSP VANILLA EXTRACT

2 ½ CUPS AP FLOUR, SIFTED

Optional: 3/8 TSP CINNAMON AND

3/8 TSP NUTMEG

 

PREPARATION:

In large mixer bowl, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add egg, vanilla and any other seasonings you want to add and mix well.

Add flour, mixing only until incorporated.

That’s it!  Could any cookie be simpler?  I doubt it.

Now for the fun part.  Find the disks you want to use and fit one in your cookie press.  Fill the press with plain or tinted dough.

I don’t like to use too much food coloring, because it could mess with the consistency of the dough.  So for approximately 1/3 of the dough, I would use 3 – 4 drops maximum.  Leave the white dough in the mixer bowl or make a third color.  Use a cereal or soup bowl to make red and green dough.  Or make purple or blue if you want.  These are your own special creations! Use a spoon to mix the coloring.  I even did some without thoroughly mixing the food coloring in so the cookies were a bit swirly.

To make two or three colors in one cookie, roll out two or three colored ropes that are the length of the press.  Press one piece of dough against one side of the tube.  Use a small spatula or butter knife to push it to one side.  Press the second colored dough on the other side of the tube.  If using three colors, put in a third colored rope.   You’ll get some very interesting and colorful cookies that don’t need to be decorated if you don’t want to.  They are delicious just as they are.

Bake on a silicone mat or stoneware sheet.

In my oven 355° F for exactly 10 minutes is perfect.

GAIL’S HINTS:

Do not chill the dough.  The butter will harden and your consistency will be off.

The first cookie out after changing the disk will probably be garbage.  Throw it back in the dough bowl.  It takes one wasted cookie to get all the air pockets out of the tube.

Cookies do not spread, so you only need to leave an inch between them.  Cool?  Yep

Place the press directly on the silicone sheet.  When you squeeze the handle and pull the press up in a straight motion.   Work in a semi quickly motion.  Place press on sheet and press the handle once.  Move on to the next.  When you figure out the perfect rhythm, you can fill a whole sheet in about one minute.

Let the sheet cool between batches or the cookies will begin cooking the moment they hit the hot sheet.  This is pretty true for any cookie recipe.  Best to use two sheets.

You want your baking utensil to hold onto the dough as you’re pressing.  Silicone mats do the job perfectly.  If I didn’t have them, I would use a plain, uncoated, non-greased cookie sheet.  I would not suggest parchment paper or Teflon sheet for this reason.

Slide them right off onto a cooling rack.  Do NOT let them turn brown.  It will ruin the texture and give you a very crunchy cookie.

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By Tika for CHEW WANNA EAT? © 2016

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BRAIDED STRAWBERRY DANISH

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     Via another post, we previously discussed fresh homemade Danish.  OK, maybe “we” isn’t the right word.  I discussed it.  I hope some of you have tried it because there’s nothing better!  Today I experimented with strawberry filling made from a bag of sliced strawberries that I had stuck in the freezer over the summer.  The taste is great, however, I experimented a teensy bit with the preparation.  I used a silicone sheet instead of parchment paper. Let’s just say I’m never doing that again.  It didn’t stick, so that was good.  The problem was that I ran out of room.  So, please follow my prep instructions. Use a big sheet of Parchment paper.  Ha ha. Do as I say, not as I do.  Or as I did.  I know I learned my lesson.

 DANISH DOUGH

¾ cup cottage cheese

1/3 cup sugar

¼ cup vegetable or canola oil

1/3 cup milk

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 cups AP flour

2 tsp baking powder

½ tsp salt

 

FILLING

4 Ounces cream cheese, at room temp

¼ cup sugar

1 egg yolk

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 rounded Cup fresh strawberries

NOTE:  All I had was a quart of frozen strawberries so I drained them very well before using them.  On the plus side, the icing is strawberry flavored!

 

GLAZE

3/4 cup confectioner’s sugar

2 tsp milk (or 2 tsp juice from drained strawberries)

½ tsp vanilla (don’t add vanilla if you’re making strawberry glaze)

 

PASTRY DOUGH PREPARATION:

In a blender or food processor, process cottage cheese until it’s lump free. Add sugar, oil, milk, and vanilla.  Process until well incorporated.

Add baking powder and salt, processing until well mixed.  Add flour and pulse just until dough comes together and forms a ball. (Dough will be very sticky). Place dough in a bowl, cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

FILLING PREPARATION:

In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar, vanilla, and egg yolk until smooth. (Reserve the egg white for wash).

ROLLING PASTRY DOUGH:

Place pastry dough ball in the center of an 18” length of parchment paper. Spray two large lengths of plastic wrap and lay side by side on top of the dough, overlapping them 3” – 4”.  You want them to overlap because the dough will grow larger as you roll it out.  (A great trick to avoid frustration!  The dough will not stick and you don’t have to wash your rolling pin.  (Yippee)

Roll dough into a 16 x 12-inch rectangle. Pick up the dough and parchment paper together, placing them on a large baking sheet.  (You may need to angle your pastry to give it room to expand while baking.  See my photo.  I used a half sheet baking pan).

Spread cream cheese mixture down the center of dough. Sprinkle fresh sliced strawberries (or drained frozen strawberries) on top of the cheese. On each side of dough, use a very sharp paring knife, and cut 3/4” wide strips. Don’t cut all the way to the filling, it’s best to leave approximately ½” uncut dough.  Near the filling is the section of dough that will wrap around the side section of your pastry.  You don’t want it to ooze out during baking. Fold alternating strips at an angle across berries. Pinch ends to seal and tuck under. Beat egg white with 1 tsp milk; brush over dough.

Bake at 400°  F for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Remove to a wire rack.

In a small bowl, combine glaze ingredients, and drizzle over warm pastry. Refrigerate leftovers, if there are any.

By Tika

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By Tika for CHEW WANNA EAT? © 2016

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SURPRISE CANDY TREATS

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     Can you make homemade candy?  Yes!  Yes, you can.  

      We have a bunch of party poopers in our neighborhood.  Nobody trick-or-treated.  We bought candy.  We turned our lights on.  We waited.  Nothing!  Not one kid was out.  What’s up with that?  I think the trunk trick-or-treating parties have done us in.  

     So, here we are with a bunch of candy.  What’s worse, it was a big variety.  I couldn’t stay out of it, and that was bad.  I decided to try to make something fun with them.  Since I am going to try my hand at real candy-making for Christmas, this got my feet wet.  They are very easy to make, trust me.  I literally made this up as I went along, and they are scrumptious!  The peanut butter and graham crackers cut down on the sweet, and if you use semi-sweet chocolate chips . . . even better!   

MAKES 24

INGREDIENTS:

1 sleeve Original Graham crackers (9 whole crackers)

7 TBSP Confectioner’s sugar

3 TBSP butter

½ cup Peanut butter, divided

½ tsp Vanilla extract

8 fun-size Candy bars *See below for suggestions

42 semisweet or milk chocolate chips (probably about ½ a cup)

PREPARATION:

Line a 24-cup mini muffin tray with mini paper liners

Crush Graham crackers in a food processor (or use a rolling pin) until they are finely ground.  Place in a medium size bowl and stir in confectioner’s sugar.

In a second medium microwaveable bowl, combine butter and only ¼ cup Peanut butter.  Microwave 30 seconds, stir until smooth.  If it isn’t completely melted, give it another 10 seconds in microwave.

Press 1 rounded tsp into each cup and up the sides a little bit. Bake at 350° F for about 5 minutes.  Leave the oven on.

While shells are baking, chop candy bars into chunks.  If using different flavors, keep them separated.  Divide up and place candy in center of baked shells.

Melt remaining ¼ cup peanut butter in microwave for 20-25 seconds.  Stir until smooth.  Mix into remaining crumbs.

Top each cup with another good tsp of graham cracker/peanut butter mixture and flatten across the cup all the way to the paper liner.  A small offset spatula or silicone spatula works great.

Pop back into the oven for 7 minutes.  Turn oven off, but leave door closed.  You’ll need the heat again in a minute.

Place 3 Chocolate chips in the center of each cup and put tray back in the oven for 2 minutes.  Using a small spatula or butter knife, spread melted chocolate. Let cool

Hide them.

Candy surprise centers suggestions:  M & M’s, Rollo, Milk Duds, Nestle’s Crunch, Kit Kat, Milky Way, Snickers, Twix, Reese’s Pieces, Heath Bars, Rolo, Hershey Bar, or whatever strikes your fancy!  Make sure you make a variety so the inside is truly a surprise center.  What fun!

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By Tika for CHEW WANNA EAT? © 2016

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TRIPLE LAYER BUTTER PECAN CAKE

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      Today was one of those days.  I needed cake.  I had to have cake. You can only eat so much chocolate or white cake.  I admit that “so much” can be a real lot of cake, but I get in my moods.  I wanted a new flavor, but wasn’t sure what I wanted.  I scrounged around on the net and came across this butter pecan cake.  It was a contest winner, although I didn’t see where or what contest it won.  It looked good, but after reading the comments I was pretty sure I was going to change the recipe. Some people liked it as is, but I just wasn’t sure and decided to trust my own  judgment. 

     Yep, you guessed it.  I made some changes  and I think it’s outstanding.  Rich.  Light.  Flavorful.  Big.  Yes, it’s a big cake.  Three layers baked in 9” cake pans.  (A link to the original recipe is at the end of this post).

Ingredients

  • 2-1/4 cups chopped pecans, divided
  • 1-1/4 cups butter, softened, divided
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • FROSTING:
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 5 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar
  • Slight ¼ cup half and half
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

 

PREPARATION:

  1. Place pecans and 1/4 cup butter in a baking pan. Bake at 350° for 10-15 minutes or until toasted, stirring frequently. Set aside.
  2. In a mixer bowl, cream sugar and remaining butter until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla, baking powder, oil, and salt, mixing well. Add flour and milk alternately, beating on low speed.  Stir in 1 ½ cups of toasted pecans. (the remainder will go in the frosting).
  3. Pour into three greased and floured 9-in. round baking pans. Bake at 350° for 25-28 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.

FROSTING PREPARATION:

Cream butter on low medium speed for a minute or two.  It should get nice and fluffy.  Slowly add the confectioner’s sugar and alternately add milk and vanilla.  Beat until it becomes light and of a spreadable consistency.  Add remaining ¾ cup pecans.  I saved about ¼ cup to garnish the top of the cake after frosting.

This cake was the creation of Betty Miller, Tallahassee, Florida.  I made quite a few adjustments.  Read the original recipe:  http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/butter-pecan-layer-cake

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By Tika for CHEW WANNA EAT? © 2016

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BLUEBERRY WHITE CHOCOLATE COOKIES

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If you’ve been following me for a while you may remember when I made these awesome cookies before. I did something different this time. I used dehydrated blueberries. Look how pretty! And of course, they’re still delicious whether you use dehydrated, fresh or frozen blueberries. If you went berry picking this summer, here’s a great recipe to try.

A delicious soft cookie with a subtle taste of lemon.

YIELD: 18 COOKIES
INGREDIENTS
• 6 Tablespoons salted butter, softened
• 2 ½ ounces cream cheese, softened (use markings on side of package for easy measuring)
• ½ rounded cup granulated sugar
• 1 Egg
• ½ Teaspoon vanilla extract
• ½ Teaspoon lemon extract
• 1 ½ Teaspoons lemon juice
• 1 Teaspoon lemon zest
• ¼ Teaspoon salt
• 1 cup + 1 TBSP all-purpose flour
• ½ cup white chocolate chips
• ½ cup dehydrated, fresh or frozen blueberries (Craisins or raspberries are fantastic too!)

PREPARATION
Use a stoneware baking sheet if you have one. Otherwise, line two baking sheets or a half baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone sheets, and set aside.

Beat cream cheese and butter until fluffy. Add sugar and beat about 2 min.

Add egg, lemon zest, salt, lemon juice, both extracts, and beat well.

Add flour and beat on low speed until just incorporated.

Fold in white chocolate until combined. Add frozen blueberries, which will be partially thawed by now. (NOTE: If you prefer the cookies to be swirled, don’t be so gentle with them. (I wanted them left whole).

Preheat oven now to 350*

Using a medium cookie dough scoop or two tablespoons place cookie dough balls on prepared baking sheets. I left them in a rounded mound because it was near impossible to shape them. They will flatten and take on a cookie shape as they bake. Bake cookies for about 15 minutes or until tops are firm.

Cool in pan for 2 -3 min then place on cooling racks.

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