Two months ago, I joined up with SITS--a comment, support, and networking community for women bloggers. Through SITS, I've been exposed to so many wonderful bloggers, one of whom was a recent Featured Blogger. Her name is Holly Noelle and she's the mastermind behind the Domestic Dork blog. When I visited her blog through the link on SITS, I learned she was hosting a Valentine's Day Blog Exchange--which I promptly signed up for. There weren't any hard and fast rules, just that the items should be handmade if possible. I was partnered up with the lovely Liza of The Smiths, and I set off to brainstorm on what to include in her package. Here's what I came up with:
Believe me, it wasn't easy to narrow down what I wanted to send...which is probably why I settled on a selection of FIVE chocolate-themed goodies. I wanted her package to contain a "Best of Kitchen Koala" selection--something to represent some of my best and favorite recipes:
Mexican Hot Chocolate Snickerdoodles (vegan)
White Chocolate Cherry Cookies
Double Chocolate Walnut Brownies
Blueberry Macadamia White Brownies
White Chocolate Almond Sugar Cookies
Liza e-mailed me last night to let me know she received her goodies; I'm glad it arrived on time and in one piece! I hope she and her husband have a wonderful time sampling everything I sent, as well as a lovely Valentine's Day! :) Her husband is a chef, so I was more than a little intimidated to send food items for the exchange. I almost considered sending a knit or crochet project, but since baking is what I do best I had to calm my nerves and stick with it!
Because I have five recipes to share, I'll be posting them in installments. Here are the first two:
Mexican Hot Chocolate Snickerdoodles (Yields 2 dozen)
From Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar
For the topping:
⅓ cup sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
For the cookies:
½ cup canola oil
1 cup sugar
¼ cup pure maple syrup
3 Tbl. almond milk (or your preferred non-dairy milk)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. chocolate extract (didn't have this; used ½ tsp. vanilla extract instead)
1⅔ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup cocoa powder (used half regular, half Hershey's Special Dark®)
1 tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
½ tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. cayenne
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.
Mix the topping ingredients together on a flat plate. Set aside.
In a medium mixing bowl, use a fork to vigorously mix together oil, sugar, maple syrup, and almond milk. Mix in extract(s).
Sift in remaining ingredients, stirring as you add them. Once all ingredients are added mix until you've got a pliable dough.
Roll dough into walnut-sized balls. Pat into the sugar topping to flatten into roughly 2-inch discs. Transfer to baking sheet, sugar side up, at least 2 inches apart (they do spread). This should be easy as the bottom of the cookies should just stick to your fingers so you can just flip them over onto the baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes, they should be a bit spread and crackly on top. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.
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White Chocolate Cherry Cookies (Yields 3 dozen)
Adapted from Allrecipes
1 cup butter, softened
¾ cup packed light brown sugar
¼ cup white sugar
3.4 oz. pkg. white chocolate instant pudding mix
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. baking soda
2¼ cups all-purpose flour
6 oz. dried tart cherries, coarsely chopped
6 oz. white chocolate, chopped
Preheat oven to 350°F.
In a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar. Beat in the instant pudding mix until blended. Stir in the eggs and vanilla. Blend in baking soda, then graudally add flour. Finally, stir in the chopped cherries and white chocolate chunks. Drop cookies by rounded spoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets.
Bake for 10-12 minutes in the preheated oven. Edges should be golden brown.