Showing posts with label sweet treats. Show all posts
Showing posts with label sweet treats. Show all posts

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Cream Cheese Cinnamon Roll Cookies #CreativeCookieExchange

Cream cheese cookie dough is filled with cinnamon and brown sugar, rolled up, sliced and baked till golden then drizzled with sweet cream cheese glaze.

Is there anything that smells better than a kitchen with something cinnamon baking in the oven? I’m pretty sure there isn’t! I have a quite a few recipes, sweet and savory, that call for cinnamon and it’s not uncommon for me to increase the amounts, especially in a sweet dish.

One of our first overseas posting after marriage was in Balikpapan, Indonesia where fragrant cinnamon sticks were cheap and easy to find. When we moved on to Paris, I made sure to pack loads of spices needed for curries and the like, pretty sure that they wouldn’t be as available. And so began my on-again-off-again quest for spices, especially quills of cinnamon bark, from the markets of southeast Asia to South America, to northern Africa and the Middle East, even in a little out-of-the-way Mom and Pop shop called Flores’ Spice Co. in Houston, Texas. It’s been sort of a personal mission and I am please to say that our current home, Dubai, has a fabulous spice souk too, just near the far bank of the Dubai Creek. Do put it on your list if you ever come to visit.

This month my Creative Cookie Exchange group is baking with cinnamon. These cinnamon roll cookies are great for when you’d like the flavors of a cinnamon roll without waiting for the dough to rise. That said, the rolled, filled dough keeps for several days well wrapped in the refrigerator or for a few weeks in the freezer. Just thaw, slice and bake when you are ready.

Make sure you scroll down to see the other great cinnamon recipes our fearless leader, Laura of The Spiced Life and the rest of the group have for you this month. Special thanks to Renee from Magnolia Days for handling the technical details and creating our link list.

This recipe was adapted from one on A Spicy Perspective.

Ingredients for 2 dozen cookies
For the cookie dough:
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon dry active yeast
3/4 cup or 170g unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 oz or 57g cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup or 100g sugar
2 cups or 250g all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt

For the filling:
1/4 cup or 50g dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
Pinch fine sea salt

For the cream cheese glaze:
1 1/4 oz or 35g cream cheese, at room temperature
1-2 tablespoons whole milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup or 125g powdered sugar

Hydrate your dry yeast by mixing it with the teaspoon of vanilla extract. Without any warmth, it doesn't really activate but the slight yeasty flavor is still there.

Cream your butter and cream cheese with the sugar and vanilla/yeast until light and fluffy using handheld electric beaters or in the bowl of your stand mixer.

With the mixer on low, add in the salt and then the flour, a little at a time. Scrape down the bowl occasionally and mix until everything is well combined.

Flatten the dough and wrap it in cling film. Refrigerate at least half an hour.

Preheat your oven to 375°F or 190°C and line your baking sheet with baking parchment or a silicone mat.

Mix your brown sugar, cinnamon and the pinch of salt together, making sure to press out any lumps in the brown sugar.

Lightly flour a piece of wax paper and roll the dough into a 7x18 in or 18x46cm rectangle that is approximately 1/4 in or a little more than 1/2cm thick. I marked my lengths on the underside of my waxed paper with a permanent marker for easier measuring. Tidy the edges up a little by pushing inwards with the side of a blunt knife.

Sprinkle on the brown sugar/cinnamon mixture covering the dough completely on three sides but leaving the one long side farthest from you bare about 1 1/2 in or 3cm from the edge.

Starting on the long side closest to you, begin rolling the dough up tightly.

Use the waxed paper to make sure you get it rolling evenly all the way along.

Once you get to the other side, bring the waxed paper up from that edge and fold the naked dough over to form a seal with the dough roll.

Now roll the whole thing up in the waxed paper. Cut off the uneven end of the roll and discard. (Read: Eat raw.) Then cut the roll into 1/2 in or 1cm slices. (I sliced half and saved the other half for later, wrapping it tightly in cling film around the waxed paper and freezing.)

Remove the waxed paper from each slice and put them on your prepared baking sheet. Bake in your preheated oven for 12-15 minutes or until the edges start to brown .

Allow to cool completely before glazing.

To make the glaze
Use a fork to loosen the cream cheese by mixing it with one tablespoon milk and the vanilla extract.

Add in the powdered sugar a little at a time and stir well to combine. Add in a little more milk if you want a thinner glaze.

Once the cookies are completely cool, drizzle on the glaze or spread it on with a knife.


Check out all the other fragrant cinnamon cookies we have for you today!

The Creative Cookie Exchange gets together once a month to bake cookies with a chosen theme or ingredient. We post on the first Tuesday after the 15th of each month.

You can also use us as a great resource for cookie recipes. Be sure to check out our Pinterest Board as well as our monthly posts, collected for you on The Spiced Life.


Sunday, September 6, 2015

Creamy Coconut Popsicles

Two ingredients are all you need to make these creamy coconut popsicles: Sweetened condensed milk and coconut cream. Well, and freezing time! So easy and delicious!

This week my Sunday Supper group is anticipating Labor Day in the United States by sharing no-labor recipes, with plenty of make-ahead or simple-to-prepare dishes and drinks that will leave you plenty of time to relax and enjoy the holiday tomorrow! I had no idea what to share for this event until I remembered some coconut popsicles I made a couple of months back as an experiment that had turned out with gratifying success. So I made them again for real. 

I wanted to add actual fresh coconut to them but was discouraged by my younger daughter who prefers her ice cream without “bits” in it. So that coconut you see is just for show. With only two ingredients, both from cans, these creamy popsicles practically make themselves! Feel free to add fresh coconut to yours, if you can be bothered. They are absolutely coconutty, just sweet enough and perfect as is. And even the dog agrees.


1 can (13.5 oz or 400ml) unsweetened coconut cream – not milk!
1/2 can sweetened condensed milk  - 260g or 6 3/4 oz

Equipment needed:
Popsicle molds (or paper cups, popsicle sticks and cling film)
Deep freezer

Pour or scoop the coconut cream into a large mixing bowl, preferably one with a spout. Whisk it until the cream is smooth and homogeneous.

Add in the condensed milk and whisk again.

Pour the liquid into your popsicle molds (or paper cups, then cover with cling film and insert a stick in the middle) and freeze until solid – this will take at least a couple of hours but overnight is even better.

When ready to serve, run the popsicle mold (or paper cup) under some warm water to release the popsicle.


Whether you are celebrating Labor Day this weekend or just love the idea of no-labor recipes, this is the list for you!

Savory Snacks and Sides
Labor Free Main Dishes
Sweet Treats and Drinks

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Queijadas de Sintra #IsabelsBirthdayBash

Queijadas de Sintra are sweet cheese tarts with a hint of cinnamon, a traditional dessert from a town high in the hills outside of Lisbon. In Portugal they are made with fresh cheese or queijo fresco. This version is made with ricotta. 

[Shhhhh! Get behind the sofa! I can't stop giggling!!! Is she here yet?!! Any minute now...]

Surprise, Isabel! Happy Birthday! 

Today I’m sharing this sweet treat from Portugal to celebrate the birthday of someone very special, my friend, Isabel, otherwise known as Family Foodie, founder of the Sunday Supper Movement. Back in December of 2012, when Isabel sent me a private message on Twitter inviting me to join Sunday Supper, I emailed her right away to accept. I had heard such great things about the supportive community and was delighted to become a part of it. Her mission, the goal of Sunday Supper, is to encourage families, one home at a time, to gather again around the family table for mealtime. Under her passionate leadership and with a great team of willing workers, the movement is spreading around the world.

One thing for certain is that our online Sunday Supper family also comes together every week, each bringing a dish or drink to share. Isabel's recipes are often favorites from her early childhood in Portugal or recreated memories from summers spent there as she grew up, as well as family traditions learned from her mother. In fact, if you search her blog for the word Portuguese, 12 pages of recipes show up and, boy, does she love her chorizo! I couldn't resist trying to create a Portuguese dessert in her honor.

Today many of her Sunday Supper family members are gathering again on this rare Tuesday, dishes in hand to wish Isabel a very happy birthday, so make sure to scroll down to the bottom to see the whole list of deliciousness we are bringing to the surprise party.

Many thanks to Terri from Love and Confections for organizing this great celebration!

For the pastry crust: (Best made one day ahead, if possible.)
1 cup or 125g flour
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 cup or 60ml cold water – or as needed. I added about one teaspoon more.
Good pinch salt

For the filling:
1 cup or 250g ricotta
2 egg yolks (preferably from large eggs)
3/4 cup or 150g sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 level tablespoons plain flour
Good pinch salt

Cut your butter into the flour with the pinch of salt, until you have sandy crumbles.

Add in the cold water and mix it in with a fork until it just starts hanging together. Mine still had quite a bit of dry flour so I added one teaspoon of water more and then it was perfect.

Knead the dough for a couple of minutes and then wrap it in cling film and refrigerate for a minimum of several hours or preferably overnight.

When you are ready to bake, preheat your oven to 400°F or 200°C and grease six holes in your non-stick muffin pan. I also cut six small circles of parchment to cover the bottom, as more insurance that the tarts will release.

Roll your dough out very thinly, on a sheet of cling film, covered with another sheet of cling film. This helps make sure it won’t stick to your work surface.

For a normal sized muffin pan, your circles of dough needs to be about 4 3/4 in or 12cm across. Make a template or find something round in your kitchen that’s about that size. As you can see, I used the top of a plastic container.

Cut around the template and remove the dough in between the circles.

Ease each circle into a greased muffin pan hole. Pop the pan in the refrigerator while you get on with the filling.

To make sure there are no lumps whatsoever, push the ricotta through a metal sieve.

Add in the sugar, the two egg yolks, the cinnamon, the flour and the good pinch of salt.

Whisk well to combine. Spoon the filling into the pastry cases.

Bake in your preheated oven for about 20 minutes or until the tarts are just cooked, perhaps still just a little jiggly. They’ll firm up further when they start to cool.

Remove them from the muffin pan and cool on a wire rack.


Parabéns, Isabel! Desejo-te tudo de melhor hoje e todos os dias! Obrigada por criar um grupo que se tornou como uma segunda família para mim. Nós te amamos!

Join us in celebrating Isabel's Birthday with all the delicious food and drinks her #SundaySupper family prepared!

Birthday Drinks
Birthday Appetizers
Birthday Main Courses
Birthday Desserts


Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Uncle Hector's 100 Cookies #CreativeCookieExchange

Chocolate is essential in these cookies, as are eggs, sugar, butter, oil and flour, but the rest of the ingredients can be mixed and matched, adding cereals, nuts, seeds, coconut or whatever you’ve got on hand to mix in.

We were living in Balikpapan when our elder daughter was born almost 25 years ago. I’d gone home to Houston to have her but we returned to Indonesia when she was but three weeks old, her passport photo just a tiny baby face, days old, swaddled in that ubiquitous pink and blue hospital blanket, with her eyes squeezed shut tight against the camera flash. Try as he might, her father couldn’t get a photo with her eyes open, as normally required. The passport lady took pity on him and processed it any way.

I’ve written about Balikpapan before, the small oilfield town on the southeast corner of Borneo without much to recommend it but the good friends we made there. There was no system in place in case of an emergency – no 911 or 999 to call in case of trouble or an accident, so I never felt comfortable leaving our baby with anyone, until she was one year old and we were being transferred away from Balikpapan. The person I finally entrusted her to, to attend our company going-away dinner, was my dear friend Margaret, also known as MJ. She is a teacher by profession and by nature, one of the best women, in every respect, who I am blessed to know. If you've reading along with me for a while, you'll know she is the reason I got involved with supporting the elementary school in Uganda.

One of the most challenging aspects of expat life is parting from dear friends who are moving on or moving away. I left Margaret once in 1992 and now, after almost three years together in Dubai, she’s leaving me, headed back to Canada after 25 years overseas. As she prepared to depart, she gave me the candy apple red Kitchenaid her own dear friend Carol bequeathed to her when she left Dubai last year. There’s no adequate way to thank someone for such a gift but I offered to use the mixer to bake whatever she’d like.

Isn't she a beauty?

She sent me this recipe for Uncle Hector’s 100 Cookies, so called because he said they could be made 100 ways.

Uncle Hector was her father’s brother, a doctor who had moved south from Canada to sunny California. After working all day at a stressful job, he’d come home and cook or bake to relax. These cookies were one of his specialties. When our Creative Cookie Exchange theme of Chips, Chunks or Bits was announced, I knew I had to ask permission to share this recipe. I am delighted to honor Uncle Hector and my friend, Margaret, by sharing them here, with her kind permission.

Ingredients for about three dozen cookies
1 cup or 200g white sugar
1 cup or 200g brown sugar
1 cup or 225g butter
1 cup or 240ml oil
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups or 440g flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup or 90g Grape Nuts cereal (original, not flakes)
1 cup of 100g quick cook oats
2 cups or 400g semi-sweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup or 65g freshly grated coconut
1 cup or 60g bran flakes

This is what I actually used because it’s what I had on hand. Margaret says nuts are good too but she avoids them because of allergies. Have a look at the screenshot above for other suggestions.

Preheat your oven to 350°F or 180°C.  Grease a cookie sheet or line it with baking parchment or a silicone mat.

Cream the sugars and butter together in your mixer.

Add in the egg, oil and vanilla and beat well.

 Now add in the flour, baking powder and salt and mix again.

Here’s where things get interesting. You can use the combination of ingredients I did or mix and match your own. Once again, take a look at the screenshot above for other suggestions. Plus nuts. As Margaret says, the only essential is chocolate, which I doubled. I think Uncle Hector would probably approve.

I added the chocolate, oatmeal and coconut first. And mixed well.

Then I added my two cereals and mixed well again.

Do not taste the dough or you may not bother to bake it. It's delicious as is and, as a bonus, also freezes beautifully.

Scoop your cookie dough out on the prepared pan.

Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown on the bottom, in your preheated oven. Remove to a wire rack to cool.


Many thanks to our Creative Cookie Exchange host this month, Tara from Noshing with the Nolands. Check our all the wonderful cookies with Chips, Chunks or Bits!

If you are a blogger and want to join in the fun, contact Laura at thespicedlife AT gmail DOT com and she will get you added to our Facebook group, where we discuss our cookies and share links. Please be patient though, as this month Laura is traveling in Italy and will not be checking email quite as often!

You can also just use us as a great resource for cookie recipes--be sure to check out our Pinterest Board and our monthly posts (you can find all of them at The Spiced Life). You will be able to find them the first Tuesday after the 15th of each month!