I met fellow blogger Jennifer from Confections of a Bake-a-holic yesterday! I visited her blog, exchanged a few emails and realized that we lived in neighboring cities, so we met up. We had lunch at Macaroni Grill and exchanged sweet treats.
One problem. She gave me a gift all wrapped up so nicely and some fabulous cookie bars packaged up in a cute striped box. No, that's not the problem. The problem was on my end. I had a paper plate (at least it was Chinet!) with a few cinnamon squares covered in press-n-seal. it was a sad looking package. And it was for a fellow foodie- what was I thinking?! I am so embarrassed.
Anyway, back to our lunch. We had a great time chatting and eating. I made her Cinnamon Squares that were featured by the Tuesdays With Dorie members earlier in the summer. They were delicious and cinnamony, with just the right amount of chocolate. I used Red Ape Cinnamon that was sent to me by the great people at Kestrel Growth Brands. They are also a part of the Singing Dog Vanilla (I'm dying to try their vanilla bean paste!) and Pohnpei Pepper Company.
This was the perfect recipe to use their Red Ape Cinnamon in because I love the combination of cinnamon and chocolate. Their cinnamon is a lighter brighter reddish brown color compared to most other darker cinnamons. The reason for this is because "only the pure inner cinnamon bark is ground and the extra outer bark that would normally dilute the final powder is disposed of" creating a higher quality product.
Also to highlight the chocolate and cinnamon combination, I used a bar of Abuelita Chocolate and grated it to create the ripple down the center of the bars. If you're not familiar with Abuelita chocolate, it's ground chocolate, cinnamon and sugar pressed into a disc or a bar. You melt it into milk to make Mexican hot chocolate. Yummy!Cinnamon Squares from Dorie Greenspan
- 1 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 1/2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- pinch of salt
- 3/4 cup whole milk
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (I used Abuelita chocolate)
- 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
- 2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
Getting Ready: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 F. Butter an 8-inch square baking pan and line the bottom with parchment or wax paper. Place the pan on a baking sheet.
To Make the Cake: Stir 2 tablespoons of the sugar, 2 1/2 teaspoons of the cinnamon and the espresso together in a small bowl and set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, the remaining 1 1/4 cups sugar, the baking powder, salt and the remaining 1 tablespoon cinnamon.
In another bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs and vanilla. Pour the liquid ingredients over the flour mixture and gently whisk until you have a homogeneous batter. Now, using the whisk or a rubber spatula, fold in the butter with a light touch, just until the butter is absorbed. You'll have a smooth, shiny batter.
Scrape half of the batter into the pan and smooth the top. Sprinkle the chocolate over the batter and dust with the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Cover with the rest of the batter and smooth the top again.
Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the cake is puffed and beginning to pull away from the sides of the pan; a thin knife inserted into the center will come out clean. Transfer the cake to a cooling rack and let it rest for 15 minutes before unmolding it onto another rack. Peel off the paper, invert it onto the first rack, and cool to room temperature right side up.
To Make the Frosting: Put the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl and fit the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Cook, stirring gently and often, just until they melt. Be careful not to overheat the mixture so much that it thins out; the chocolate should be smooth, very shiny, thick and spreadable. (If it thins, leave the frosting at room temperature for a bit, until it thickens a little.)
Using an offset metal icing spatula or a table knife, spread the frosting in generous sweeps and swirls over the top of the cake. Allow the frosting to set at room temperature, then cut the cake into squares.
Cappuccino Squares:If you like the cappuccino flavor combination of coffee and cinnamon, you can easily switch the balance in this recipe by adding a jolt of coffee flavor to the batter. Just mix 1 tablespoon instant espresso into the milk and warm the milk in a microwave oven until it is hot enough to dissolve the coffee. Cool the milk and carry on.
Storing:Wrapped in plastic, the cake will keep at room temperature for 2 days. It can be frozen for up to 2 months, but it's best to put the cake in the freezer unwrapped and then, when the frosting is firm, to wrap it airtight; defrost, still wrapped, overnight in the refrigerator.
NOTE:My cake took about an hour to cook through. When a toothpick inserted in the center My cake took about an hour to cook through. When a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, it's done. __________________________________________________________________________________________
Jennifer made some seriously good cookie bars called Motherload Bars that she saw on Picky Palate. They consist of 4 different cookies baked together in one bar then topped off with a drizzle of melted chocolate. Sugar cookie dough, chocolate chocolate chip cookie dough, peanut butter cookie dough, and chocolate chip cookie dough. Incredibly sinful and utterly delicious.Motherload Cookie Bars from Jennifer via PP
Layer 1: Sugar Cookie
- 1 Roll of Pillsbury Sugar Cookie Dough
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Press sugar cookie dough into bottom of a 9×13 inch baking dish that’s been lined foil and sprayed with cooking spray.
Layer 2: Double Chocolate Chip Cookie
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 6 Tbsp. packed brown sugar
- 1 egg
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla
- 3/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp. flour
- 1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp. cocoa powder
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1/8 tsp. salt
- 3/4 cup chocolate chips
In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Slowly add egg and vanilla until well combined.
In another bowl, combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Slowly add to wet ingredients then stir in chips. Layer over sugar cookie layer, pressing gently.
Layer 3: Peanut Butter Cookie
- 1 cup creamy peanut butter
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 egg
Place all ingredients into a bowl and mix until combined. Press over chocolate cookie dough.
Layer 4: Chocolate Chip Cookie
- 1 stick softened butter
- 1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp.granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp. packed brown sugar
- 1 egg
- 1/2 Tbsp. pure vanilla
- 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 bag chocolate chips plus more for drizzling
Make sure oven is preheated to 350 degrees F. In a stand or electric mixer cream the butter and sugars until well combined. Beat in eggs and vanilla until combined. Place flour, baking soda and salt into a large bowl; mix to combine. Slowly add to wet ingredients along with chocolate chips. Spoon the dough evenly over peanut butter cookie dough but don’t press, just leave uneven. Bake for 35-45 minutes or until center of dough is cooked mostly through. Edges will be brown. I covered pan with foil during the last 15 minutes of baking.
Let cookies cool completely. Lift out of pan with edges of foil. Drizzle top with 1/2 Cup melted chocolate chips if desired. (optional)
NOTE: You can layer dough and refrigerate until ready to bake.
Thank you Jennifer!