Cocoa-Cayenne Cookies

Ohhh, these were a surprise.

Not necessarily that they were chocolate or that they were spicy as we are told that in the name…but the subtle, building heat you get while eating these, balanced with the salt and chocolate…that…was a tasty surprise!

I am not a spicy food lover like the rest of my family, but these were good. A good kick, but not so much so that it was just plain hot.

Basically, these are a chocolate shortbread cookie enhanced by some salt in the dough, and on top…finished with a touch of cayenne. Dorie tells us the salt is the key…livening up the cocoa, butter, and cayenne, making you want to reach for more than just one.

These are a small 1 and 1/2 inch cookie meant as a cocktail cookie…specifically created to have with red wine. I say, chocolate is good anytime…and the kick was just different enough to make these interesting and slightly addicting!

Everyone loved these!

This one is a keeper!

I was excited to use this great gift from my mom and dad! Now I have any size cutter needed. It was perfect…didn’t have to go searching for something or some cup to use!

Boozy Jumbled-Fruit Croustade

This was a construction project of a recipe. We are given the basics and told…go for it.

I am not sure I have made a croustade before. It is described as similar to a pie, but in this case made in free form with phyllo.

The base is built up of four double layers of phyllo, each brushed with butter and sprinkled with cinnamon sugar. The fruit mixture which has been steeping for a minimum of a hour is placed in the center leaving a 1in border. Then another round of four double layers is brushed and sprinkled. I went the fancy route and added the smaller pieces to add a ruffle effect to the top…which I say is a must. Just makes it look so pretty and impressive for not much extra effort!! The whole thing is popped in the oven for 15 min untented and then another 15 tented. It is to cool and be eaten the day you bake it.

This version has a fruit filling that can be steeped in a few choices of alcohol or orange juice. I didn’t have enough alcohol so I went a combo of bourbon and orange juice. Went a little rogue on that decision haha. I only have those little bottles so I figured I would just go with what I had. The fruit choices were a stretch for us…very prune forward and then also with dates, dried apples, and crystallized ginger. There were a few other dried fruit options but I just decided to make it the way it was called for in the recipe.

Not surprisingly, my husband said he could think of better filling choices…for example he offered an apple and cinnamon combo 😂 BUT he loved it as is…even having a second piece. He thought it looked so fancy and tasted delicious.

This one was a winner all the way around…which surprised us all a bit. I think the possibilities are endless of what kind of filling you can use. I think with my leftover phyllo, I will make some sort of apple and cinnamon to test my husbands theory haha.

This one is a keeper!

One-Bite Cinnamon Puffs

We are making Dorie’s take on a French beloved snack dessert called chouquettes. Basically a little ball of choux pastry, sprinkled with pearl sugar.

Dorie’s version has some cinnamon in the dough which I think really makes this dessert. Not only did they smell amazing while baking, but the subtle cinnamon with the pearl sugar was just the right amount of sweetness. Dorie calls them the popcorn of the sweet world and after trying them I see why…they are strangely addictive, you keep wanting another one and because they are small, you really could pop a few in at a time!

The ball are fairly easy to make, beating up a base of choux consisting of water, milk, butter, sugar, salt, and cinnamon….adding to that the flour and beat, beat, beat. The dough is then placed in a stand mixer and eggs and some egg whites are beat in one at a time until the dough is smooth and shiny.

I went the route of piping my balls but I think if I made these again I would just scoop them. The balls are heavily sprinkled with the pearl sugar and then popped in the oven and then finished with a resting period with a propped oven door.

My husband did say these smelled better than they tasted 😂😂, but I think we both enjoyed them way more that we expected. They were fun and light and just the right amount of sweetness and crunch.

This one is a keeper!