Quick and Easy Irish Soda Bread

Soft, hearty, and moist Irish Soda Bread with the perfect sweet and crunchy crust.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! This year St. Patrick’s Day is going to be a little different with the pandemic, but that can’t stop me from eating my special Irish Soda Bread! I do have to admit that Irish Soda Bread is a year-round bread for me though, I just love it so much! I can literally eat a whole loaf on my own in a single sitting!

Growing up, my mom used to get Irish Soda Bread from a bunch of different places near our house around St. Patty’s. I’ve always been super picky with my Irish Soda Breads. No store bought or any bakery had the Irish Soda Bread that I really really loved. If I had to choose, my favorite was from Shoprite, but it had to be freshly made or the crust wouldn’t have that characteristic crunch to it. Some loaves were too dry, some used caraway seeds, and some were flavorless. And more importantly, they all had raisins, and I am not a huge fan of them. I would sit down at the counter, unwittingly preparing myself to eat the whole loaf, but I would spend more time picking out every single raisin than actually eating the bread (which is a good and bad thing)! I knew I could make a better loaf, plus, I could choose if I wanted to add raisins or not!

Irish soda bread is traditionally made with four ingredients: flour, salt, baking soda, and sour milk (what we know as buttermilk). Traditional yeast was not always available, so when baking soda was introduced in Ireland, they used this to make their bread. The combination of baking soda and buttermilk creates little air bubbles in the oven which will enable the bread to rise. It is important to have the buttermilk in this recipe as its acidic properties will enable the baking soda to do its job as a leavener.

After years of trying to create the perfect recipe, I have finally got it down, and it finally satisfies all the criteria I have for the perfect Irish Soda Bread. It is flavorful, moist, hearty, and has an amazing sweet crunch to the crust. It is also a huge hit with my family especially as an appetizer at our family gathering (before COVID-19, of course). This recipe is super easy to make too! There’s nothing not to love about it! The most important thing to remember while making the bread is to not over mix. If you over mix by even just a little, the bread will be dry and tough.

Begin by mixing all of the dry ingredients together. Using a pastry blender or two sharp knives, cut in a stick of cold butter into the dry ingredients until very small pieces of butter are evenly distributed throughout. This will make the bread have a flakier crust and texture. Next, add in the raisins, if desired, and for my chocolate lovers, you can add chocolate chips instead! Mix until well combined. Then, whisk the buttermilk and eggs together in a small bowl. Pour the wet ingredients into the rest of the ingredients. Mix with a wooden spoon until a shaggy dough forms and everything is just combined. Do not over mix! Divide the dough in two, and place each half into two-8-inch greased cake pans. Using a sharp knife, cut a 1/4-inch deep cross across the top of each loaf. Sprinkle with a little granulated sugar for a sweet crunchy crust. Bake until golden for 60 minutes.

This bread also freezes very well. Once completely cooled, cut the bread into desired size. Wrap well with aluminum foil, and place in a large zip lock bag to freeze. Now, whenever you want a warm and delicious slice of Irish Soda Bread, you can always toast one up! I love to bring back a loaf (of two) from home to freeze when I am at college because warm Irish Soda Bread is the best late-night studying snack there is. I would make a loaf with raisins to leave at home for my family to enjoy, and I would bring the plain loaf back to school with me. It’s the best of both worlds!

I would love to see you make my favorite and delicious Irish Soda Bread! Tag me in your pictures on Instagram @beyondbakingwithamandajane and use the #beyondbakingwithamandajane! I can’t wait to see your creations!

Quick and Easy Irish Soda Bread

  • Rating: ★★★★★
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Ingredients

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, cold
  • 1 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup raisins (optional)
  • 1 cup chocolate chips (optional)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and grease 2-8in cake pans.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  3. Cut in cold butter until small pieces with a pastry blender, or two sharp knives.
  4. Add raisins or chocolate chips, if desired.
  5. In a small bowl, whisk together buttermilk and eggs. Add to the dry ingredients, and mix with wooden spoon until just combined.
  6. Divide the dough in two. Using a sharp knife, cut a 1/4-inch cross across the top of the dough balls. Sprinkle sugar on top.
  7. Bake for 1 hour. Let cool in pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack.

Taste tested with love by friends and family.

The Best and Richest Chocolate Lava Cake

Decadent gooey, warm, and rich chocolate lava cake, perfect to share on Valentine’s Day.

T-11 days until Valentine’s Day! If you’re struggling to decide what dessert to make, here you go! This is the best lava cake recipe I have ever made, better than any you could get from a restaurant! It is so rich in chocolate with a sweet and gooey center that just melts in your mouth. It is the perfect dessert for any day, especially Valentine’s Day!

Chocolate lava cake was actually accidentally created. The first-ever chocolate lava cake was just a chocolate cake that was taken out of the oven too early which caused the ooey-gooey center we all know and love. As for who made the first-ever lava cake, it’s heavily disputed between Jacques Torres and Jean-Georges Vongerichten. They both claim to be the creator, but it is unclear who truly made it first. Speaking of Jacques Torres, have you checked out my Fabulous Famous Jacques Torres Chocolate Chip Cookies? They’d go perfectly with these cakes!

This recipe is perfect for a small batch to share with a loved one on Valentine’s Day, and they are incredibly easy to make!

The main source of flavor comes from the chocolate, so it is important to get good quality dark chocolate. I like to use Ghirardelli or Trader Joe’s chocolate. Additionally, you will see that there is minimal flour in this recipe which contributes to the decadent, fudgy, rich cake.

Begin by melting the chocolate and butter in a double boiler. While the butter and chocolate are melting, whisk the whole eggs, sugar, salt, and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer until very pale and thick. The idea is to get as much air as possible in the batter in this step to create a slightly lighter cake. This should take about 4-5 minutes.

Then, fold in the flour and chocolate into the egg mixture until just combined. Divide into 4-7-ounce greased ramekins and bake for 6-8 minutes, or until the edges are just set and the center is still very soft. It took 6 minutes and 30 seconds for mine to be perfectly done. Do not over bake the cakes or there will be no fudgy center and you will be left with essentially a brownie. Let cool on a wire rack for 1 minute. Cover with an inverted plate and flip everything over. Let sit for 15 seconds and then unmold. Serve while hot with ice cream, and enjoy!

This dessert is meant to be served hot out of the oven, but they can also be baked and then warmed up in the oven when it is time to eat them. Warm up in the oven upside down, out of the ramekin. Be sure to keep a close eye on the cake to prevent the lava from baking through otherwise, you will not have any lava left! You can also let the batter sit in the refrigerator for several hours (in prepared ramekins), just let the batter come to room temperature fully before baking. Again, keep a close eye on the cakes when baking to make sure you have lava when you bite into it.

I hope you give his recipe a try! I’d love to see your chocolatey lava cake creations! Tag me on Instagram @beyondbakingwithamandajane so I can show you my support!

The Best and Richest Chocolate Lava Cake

  • Rating: ★★★★★
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Ingredients

  • 1 stick butter
  • 6 oz bittersweet chocolate
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 4 oz. sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons flour

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F and grease 4-7 oz, 20 mL ramekins.
  2. In a double boiler, melt the butter and chocolate. Whisk occasionally until smooth.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whisk the eggs, egg yolks, sugar, and vanilla until very pale and thick. About 4-5 minutes.
  4. Gently and quickly fold the chocolate mixture and flour into the egg mixture.
  5. Distribute the batter between the 4 ramekins and bake for 6-8 minutes, or until the edges are set and the center is still soft. Timing will depend on your oven and ramekin size, check often.
  6. Let cool on a wire rack for 1 minute. Cover ramekin with an inverted serving plate and flip everything over. Let stand for 15 seconds, then remove the ramekin. Serve hot. Garnish with powder sugar, berries, and/or hot caramel, if desired.

Tasted tested with love by friends and family.

Sour Cream Coffee Crumb Cake

Rich pound cake filled with a sweet and nutty cinnamon swirl topped with soft crumbs.

Sour Cream Coffee Cake has been a family favorite for as long as I can remember. It reminds me of the Drake’s coffee cake that my mom used to buy for after school snack but WAY better. I remember thinking the cake was made with coffee and there was no way I would ever like or try it, but my mom assured me there was absolutely no trace of coffee and it was only called coffee cake because some people like to have it with a cup of coffee. Sure enough, the first time (and second and third and fourth…), I ended up eating like three slices, and my parents had to stop me from eating more! You just can’t not eat it!

I’ve added my own twist to my mom’s recipe by adding a buttery crumb topping. The cake is so rich and moist which goes perfectly with the cinnamon sugar pecan filling. Then, it’s topped off with a beautiful crunch from the yummy crumbs. If you’re not much of a coffee drinker like me, this cake is even better with vanilla ice cream.

This coffee cake is so easy to make, and it is even more delicious. The cake itself is like a pound cake with the sour cream making the cake very moist and velvety. Begin by making the filling in a medium bowl, making sure you use a food processor to chop up the nuts, set aside. Make the crumbs next. In a medium bowl, mix the flour, sugars, cinnamon, and salt together. Place the room temperature butter in the bowl and combine with a pastry blender until crumbs form, set aside.

To make the cake, first and foremost, be sure to not over mix, otherwise, the cake will be dry. Begin by creaming the butter and sugar until very fluffy, about 3 minutes. Then, add in the rest of the ingredients and mix until just combined. Again, do not over mix.

To assemble the cake for baking. Put half the batter on the bottom of a prepared 9-inch Bundt pan. This will be about 425 grams of batter, but I’d advise you to weigh out your own batter when assembling for the best results. *Note: If you rather eye-ball half the batter, err on the side of putting less batter on the bottom. I always think I divide the batter in half perfectly, but I have way too much at the bottom in the end.

Once you have the batter at the bottom, traditionally, you would put half the cinnamon pecan mixture in the middle of the cake then the other half on top, but I have found that the cinnamon sugar pecan mixture always falls off the top when you cut into the cake. Therefore, I suggest you put most of the cinnamon pecan mixture inside the cake rather than splitting it between the center and top of the cake so the yummy mixture doesn’t go to waste. And with my change to my mom’s recipe, the buttery crumb topping is a perfectly delicious replacement that won’t fall off.

Then, pour the rest of the batter over the filling, and sprinkle the rest of the filling mixture on top. Place the buttery crumb mixture on top. When doing so, first create large crumbs in your fist and push them about 1/8 an inch in the batter to give more texture. Sprinkle the remaining crumbs on top, gently pushing them into the batter.

When baked and cooled, dust the top with powder sugar to create a beautiful presentation. Serve warm or at room temperature for dessert or brunch. It is best with vanilla ice cream and whip cream, in my opinion, but it is also great with coffee (so my family says)!

I hope you try out this recipe. I would love to see your Sour Cream Coffee Crumb Cakes, tag me in your pictures on Instagram @beyondbakingwithamandajane!

Traditional Sour Cream Coffee Cake

  • Servings: 10-12
  • Rating: ★★★★★
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Ingredients

    For the filling
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • For the crumb topping
  • 1/2 cup + 1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tablespoons + 2 teaspoons packed light brown sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons + 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • For the cake
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup (8 oz) sour cream
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 9-inch Bundt pan.
  2. In a small bowl, make the filling. Combine the coarsely chopped nuts, cinnamon, and sugar. Set aside.
  3. In another bowl, make the crumbs. Stir together the flour, sugars, cinnamon, and salt.
  4. Cut in the butter to make crumbs, and set aside.
  5. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. About 3 minutes.
  6. Add the rest of the ingredients and beat until just combined. Do not over mix.
  7. Evenly spread half of the batter in the prepared Bundt pan (about 425 grams of batter) and sprinkle 3/4 of the filling. Then, spread the rest of the batter on top. Sprinkle the remaining mixture on top.
  8. Using your hands, press together 5 large crumbs and gently push them into the batter. Then, sprinkle the rest of the crumbs on top, gently pushing them down.
  9. Bake for 50-65 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool on a wire rack.
  10. To remove the cake from the pan, run a knife between the cake and the pan and remove the cake. Serve with vanilla ice cream or coffee and enjoy!

Taste tested by friends and family with love.

Paul Hollywood’s Chocolate Hazelnut Babka

Melt-in the mouth and flakey crust with a moist and buttery bread, filled with a rich chocolate hazelnut crunch filling.

Happy New Year’s Eve! To celebrate, I am making a Chocolate Babka! Over the past couple of months on Instagram, I have seen many baking bloggers making babka. The intricate twisting pattern caught my eye, and I wanted to learn how to do it! I did not expect this twist to be so simple! Babkas are an Eastern European Jewish Bread/Cake that is made from a buttery and eggy dough, and is traditionally filled with cinnamon or jam. However, the chocolate lover in me wanted to try the chocolate version.

Little did I know, making babka is a pretty intensive process. I began by making the filling because it is important for the chocolate filling to completely cool before rolling it into the bread dough. If the filling is not completely cooled, the picture perfect babka twist will not turn out and the chocolate will smear all over the bread dough. The filling is made by melting together the butter, sugar, and chocolate in a double boiler. Then, you remove the chocolate from the heat and stir in the cocoa powder. Transfer into a separate bowl to cool. While I was waiting for the chocolate mixture to melt, I toasted hazelnuts in the oven until golden and then I coarsely chopped them. This will add a nice crunch to the final product.

While the chocolate filling is cooling, make the bread dough. This is the typical process for making very buttery, flakey bread, like brioche. Make the sponge with instant yeast, sugar, and milk (at about 110 degrees F) and set aside until frothy. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, mix the flour and salt together. Add the eggs and sponge to the stand mixer and mix on slow speed for 2-3 minutes. The dough will be very firm at this point. Increase the speed to medium and slowly add the softened butter a tablespoon at a time. Between each tablespoon, mix well. It may take some time for the butter to incorporate fully. This long process of incorporating the butter is what creates the flakiness of the bread. Once the butter is all incorporated, continue to knead until the dough is very smooth and can pass the window pane test.

Roll the freshly kneaded dough into a 12 x 16 inch rectangle on a lightly floured surface (make sure the long edge is closest to you). Spread the cooled chocolate fudge filling over top, leaving about a 1 cm boarder. Work quickly because the chocolate sauce will be more difficult to spread once poured out. Sprinkle the chopped hazelnuts on the top. As you would with cinnamon rolls, tightly roll the dough starting from the long edge closest to you making sure you are not stretching the dough any bigger than 12 x 16 inches. If stretched, the bread will not fit into the bread tin. Trim about an inch off each end to create clean ends.

To form the twist, rotate the spiral of dough 90 degrees so that the short end is closest to you. Using a large sharp knife, slice lengthways down through the middle of the dough, cutting it into 2 long pieces. Face each half upwards and gently seal the tops of each half. Begin crossing the right half over the left, then the left over the right, repeating until the ends touch to seal. Again, be careful not to pull and stretch the halves while twisting, or the bread will not fit in the bread pan. Carefully lift the twist into a greased and parchment lined bread pan and cover with plastic wrap. Proof until doubled in size, about 2 hours. Once proofed, bake at 375 degrees F for 15 minutes, then 325 for 25-30 minutes. Be sure to keep a close eye on the bread to make sure it isn’t getting too brown. I had to cover my babka with foil during the baking process to prevent it from getting too dark on top. The bread will be done when a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.

While the babka is baking, make the syrup. Over low heat in a small sized sauce pan, boil sugar and water for 5 minutes. Let cool and brush over the babka immediately after it comes out of the oven. Serve warm or at room temperature and enjoy!

I’d love to see your beautiful babkas! Take pictures and tag me on Instagram @beyondbakingwithamandajane and use the #beyondbakingwithamandajane!

Paul Hollywood's Chocolate Hazelnut Babka

  • Servings: 1 loaf
  • Rating: ★★★★★
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Ingredients

    For the filling:
  • 65g blanched hazelnuts
  • 100g unsalted butter
  • 150g granulated sugar
  • 80g 70% dark chocolate, chopped
  • 40g cocoa powder
  • For the dough:
  • 275g all-purpose flour
  • 5g instant yeast
  • 25g granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 50mL whole milk
  • 80g unsalted butter, cubed and softened
  • For the syrup:
  • 100g granulated sugar
  • 100mL water

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and roast hazelnuts for 4-5 minutes on a baking tray until golden and then coarsely chop. Let cool.
  2. In a double boiler, melt the butter, sugar, and chocolate until very smooth. Remove from heat and stir in the cocoa powder. Pour into a bowl and let cool and thicken.
  3. Make the sponge. Mix the instant yeast, sugar, and warm milk (about 110 degrees F) together and let sit until frothy.
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, mix the flour and salt together. Add the eggs and sponge to the stand mixer and mix on slow speed for 2-3 minutes. *Note: the dough will be very firm at this point.
  5. Increase the speed to medium and slowly add the softened butter a tablespoon at a time, mixing well after each addition.
  6. Continue to knead the dough with the dough hook until smooth and the dough passes the window pane test.
  7. Lightly flour a work surface and roll out the dough to a 12 x 16 inch rectangle, with the long edge closest to you.
  8. Spread the cooled chocolate mixture over the dough, leaving a 1 cm border all around. Sprinkle all the toasted hazelnuts over the top.
  9. Starting from the long edge closest to you, roll up the dough into a tight spiral, with the seam underneath. Be sure to not stretch the dough too much.
  10. Trim an inch off each end to neaten, and turn the roll 90 degrees so the short end is closest to you. Using a large knife, slice lengthways down the middle of the dough cutting it into 2 long pieces.
  11. Flip each half upwards and gently seal the tops of each half. Begin crossing the right half over the left, then the left over the right, repeating until the ends touch to seal (be careful not to pull and stretch the halves while twisting, or the bread will not fit in the bread pan)
  12. Carefully lift the twist into a greased and parchment lined bread pan and cover with plastic wrap. Proof until doubled in size, about 2 hours.
  13. Once proofed, preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Bake for 15 minutes.
  14. Decrease the oven temperature to 325 degrees F. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Cover with foil if the bread gets too brown.
  15. While the bread is baking, make the syrup. In a small sized sauce pan, boil sugar and water for 5 minutes. Let cool.
  16. Brush over the babka immediately after it comes out of the oven.

Tate tested by friends and family with love.

Fabulous Famous Jacques Torres Chocolate Chip Cookies

Crunchy on the outside, gooey in the inside, sweet and salty chocolate chip cookies.

Every week until Christmas, I will be posting a new cookie recipe to celebrate! Today, I am sharing Jacques Torres’ famous chocolate chip cookie recipe that my mom found in the New York Times. So far this month, I have shared Greek Sesame Twist Cookies, Perfect Peanut Butter Blossoms, Super Simple Nutella Lover’s Chocolate Cookies, and Chocolate Dipped Coconut Macaroons. Follow my blog and my Instagram so you don’t miss another recipe!

Over the years, I have been trying to find the perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe. Although chocolate chip cookies are the most basic cookie, a good recipe is so hard to find. I was so excited to give this New York Times recipe a try! I like my chocolate chip cookies crunchy on the edges and gooey and slightly cakey in the center with a strong chocolatey flavor throughout the whole cookie. These cookies check off all the boxes! The edges have a nice, crunchy caramelized exterior with a sweet, buttery, and chocolatey center that melts in your mouth.

I added my own little spin on this recipe. I have discovered that the key to making the best chocolate chip cookie is to use chopped chocolate (especially Jacques’ good chocolate). It could be a chocolate bar that you chop up into small pieces or chocolate chips that you chop. It is important to cut whatever chocolate you use because it will create small flakes of chocolate that will get distributed throughout the dough. This will give the cookie a chocolatey flavor in every bite!

This cookie also requires cake flour and bread flour as opposed to all-purpose flour. The combination of these flours provides the perfect chewiness and tenderness that makes the cookie so unique and perfect. It is crucial to let the dough rest in the fridge for at least 24 hours to let the gluten rest and the butter to chill. During this time, the flavors will develop and get richer. This dough freezes well too, so if you freeze them, you can always have a fresh baked cookie (or cookies) whenever you are craving it! Before baking, sprinkle some coarse salt on top of the cookie to elevate the flavor and make a sweet and salty treat. I like to use pink salt. Then, bake until slightly golden on the edges.

Although it is some extra work to chop the chocolate and use a mix of flours, it is well worth it in end. These cookies from the famous Chocolatier, Jacques Torres are exceptionally delicious. I would love to see your chocolate chip cookies! Tag me in your creations @beyondbakingwithamandajane on Instagram.

Fabulous Famous Jacques Torres Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • Servings: 7-8 dozen
  • Rating: ★★★★★
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Ingredients

  • 2 cups minus 2 Tablespoons cake flour
  • 1 2/3 cups bread flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 1/4 cups unsalted butter (2 1/2 sticks), room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons ganulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 pounds chopped chocolate
  • Sea salt to sprinkle

Directions

  1. Line cookie tray with a silicon mat or parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, stir together the flours, baking soda, bakign powder, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugars until very light, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla.
  5. Add the dry ingredients until just combined. Do not over mix.
  6. Fold in chopped chocolate.
  7. Scoop the dough using a 1-inch cookie scoop and place each dough ball next to each other on a lined cookie tray to chill for 24-72 hours. *note: you can also place in a container with parchment paper and freeze.
  8. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place dough 2 inches apart on lined cookie trays. Sprinkle the top with sea salt.
  9. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the edges are slightly golden.

Taste tested with love by friends and family.

Chocolate Dipped Coconut Macaroons

Light, chewy, and moist coconut macaroons dipped in chocolate.

9 more days till Christmas! We’re celebrating with coconut macaroons! Don’t get them confused with the French macaron though. Coconut macaroons are a mixture of coconut and egg whites that form a sweet and chewy cookie. French macarons are whipped egg whites that get folded in with almond flour and sandwiched with various fillings.

Every week until Christmas, I will be posting some of my favorite Christmas cookie recipes! So far this month, I have made Greek Sesame Twist Cookies, Perfect Peanut Butter Blossoms, and Super Simple Nutella Lover’s Chocolate Cookies. Follow my blog and my Instagram so you don’t miss a recipe!

These cookies are definitely for the Coconut lovers, and they are super easy to make. I like to add a little bit of cake flour to my cookies, which is not necessarily traditional. I like to add the cake flour because it makes the cookies a little more tender and soft. I also like to dip my macaroons in chocolate because, in this house, we love chocolate!

To make these cookies, begin by pulsing the coconut flakes in a food processor to make smaller flakes. I like to pulse the shredded coconut because it looks smoother and less messy in the final product. In a heat safe bowl over a pot of simmering water, heat the egg whites, sugar, and salt until warm to the touch. Remove from heat and add the extracts, baking powder, flour and coconut. Freeze for 25 minutes or refrigerate for 2 hours. Once chilled, use a 1-inch cookie scoop, and scoop the dough and place 2 inches apart on a prepared cookie sheet. Bake until just golden.

Dipping the macaroons in chocolate makes these cookies even better than they already are, but it is totally optional! After baking, you can put the macaroons into the fridge and chill for an hour. Then, dip the macaroons in melted chocolate. I just used Nestle chocolate chips and melted about 1/2 a cup of chocolate chips in a double boiler. Let the chocolate set in the fridge again. Enjoy!

I would love to see you try out my coconut macaroons! Tag me in your pictures on Instagram @beyondbakingwithamandajane!

Chocolate Dipped Coconut Macaroons

  • Servings: 12 cookies
  • Rating: ★★★★★
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Ingredients

    For the cookie:
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened)
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 cup cake flour
  • For the chocolate (optional):
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate

Directions

  1. In a food processor, pulse the coconut into small flakes.
  2. On medium heat, bring a pot of water to a simmer for a double boiler.
  3. In the top of the double boiler, add the egg whites, sugar, and salt. Whisk continuously until warm to the touch.
  4. Remove from heat, add in the vanilla, almond, baking powder, salt, flour, and shredded coconut. Mix until well combined. Freeze for 25 minutes or refrigerate for 2 hours.
  5. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Using a 1-inch cookie scoop, place balls 2 inches apart on a prepared cookie sheet. Bake for 18-22 minutes, or until just golden. Remove from oven and let cool.
  6. If you want to dip in chocolate, refrigerate until chilled. Melt chocolate in a double boiler and dip in chocolate. Let the chocolate set in the refrigerator.

Taste tested with love by friends and family.

Super Simple Nutella Lover’s Chocolate Cookie

Chewy and fudgy chocolate hazelnut cookies for all Nutella and chocolate lovers.

Ever since elementary school when I started eating Nutella sandwiches I was obsessed. I remember coming home from school with my grandma, and as part of my after-school snack, she would give me a big spoonful of Nutella and tell me to not tell my mom. I loved it, it made me so happy. To this day, Nutella is my favorite spread. I love to use it as a cake fillings, pretzel dip, eat it plain, or in a Kinder Egg. I had yet to make Nutella cookies until coming across this recipe from Ambitious Kitchen.

These cookies are so easy, chewy, fudgy and only 5 ingredients! I was skeptical of this recipe because there was no butter, minimal sugar, and no leavener. I was so wrong! These cookies are so yummy AND they are the easiest cookies I have ever made. They are chewy and full of Nutella galore, and they are even more addictive than just plain Nutella.

This recipe only requires one bowl. Mix all the ingredients together in the bowl of a stand mixer. Then, using a 1-inch cookie scoop, roll the dough into a smooth ball. Place the dough balls on a tray and freeze for 10 minutes before baking. If you want to add even more chocolate to these cookies, you can press a few chocolate chips into the dough ball before baking. Then, bake for 8-10 minutes, or until the top of the cookie does not feel raw.

The Nutella lover in me loves this cookie recipe! I like the chew these cookies have along with the fudginess of the Nutella. Also, this cookie is so good with a nice glass of milk (or almond milk). I hope you give this recipe a try!

I would love to see your recreation of these Nutella cookies from Ambitious Kitchen! Tag me on Instagram @beyondbakingwithamandajane! Enjoy!

Super Simple Nutella Lover's Chocolate Cookie

  • Servings: 20 cookies
  • Rating: ★★★★★
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Ingredients

  • 1 cup Nutella
  • 2 Tablespoons packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup flour + 1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • Sea salt for sprinkling

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line 2 cookie trays with parchment paper.
  2. In a bowl of a stand mixer, combine the Nutella, brown sugar, egg, and flour until well combined.
  3. Using a cookie scoop, roll 1-inch dough balls. Freeze dough balls for 10 minutes.
  4. Place dough balls 2-inches apart on prepared cookie tray. Bake for 8-10 minutes.

Taste tested by friends and family with love.

Perfect Peanut Butter Blossoms

Soft and airy peanut butter cookie with a warm, gooey Hershey’s Kiss on top.

15 more days until Christmas! This week I am sharing a more recent recipe that I have added to my cookie recipe binder. These are my Perfect Peanut Butter Blossoms from Hershey Chocolate! Every week until Christmas, I will be posting a Christmas Cookie recipe, so follow along on my blog and on my social media so you don’t miss a recipe! Last week I shared a family classic, Greek Sesame Twist Cookies, if you missed it, don’t forget to check it out!

These Perfect Peanut Butter Blossoms take me straight back to junior year, high school varsity gymnastics. The captain’s mom would make these cookies for all of our psych parties, hang outs, and county and sectional meets. It was a staple for our team. These cookies might as well have been our team mascot. When the captain graduated, the recipe got passed down to me to make for all of the team events, and when I graduated, I passed down the recipe to the future captains.

Once I got the recipe, I not only made them almost every week for my team, but I also started to make them as part of my Christmas cookie spread. This was the first time my family had tried these cookies and they were gone before dinner was even served! They are the perfect cookie because it satisfies the candy lovers and the cookie lovers with the Hershey’s kiss on top of the cookie.

These cookies are very airy. Even when you make the dough, you will realize that the dough seems almost whipped which is surprising because peanut butter is pretty dense. This is my favorite quality of the cookie, the lightness prevents the peanut butter from overpowering the chocolate kiss on top. I also like to roll the dough balls in granulated sugar before they get baked so there is a little bit of extra sweetness and texture. As with most baked goods, the best time to eat these are when they are still warm from the oven because the chocolate kiss will still be gooey, but they are also delicious when they are all completely cooled.

When making the cookies, it is just like your typical cookie dough. Cream the butter, peanut butter, and sugars together until it is fluffy and pale in color. Add the eggs, milk, and vanilla. Then, add the dry ingredients. I used a one inch cookie scoop to make evenly sized cookies. I then rolled the dough in granulated sugar until it was generously covered.

Then, bake the cookies for 8 minutes for softer cookies or 10 minutes for crunchier cookies. While the cookies are baking unwrap the same number of Hershey’s Kisses as number of cookies you have. You should have about 40.

Once the cookies come out of the oven quickly and gently push one kiss into the center of the cookie. The edges will crinkle a little bit, but be sure to not push the kiss down all the way or the cookie may break. You can also spice up your cookie with different variations of Hershey’s kisses! Wait 5 minutes for the chocolate kiss to get gooey and warm, and enjoy!

Perfect Peanut Butter Blossoms

  • Servings: 40 Cookies
  • Rating: ★★★★★
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Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup creamy peanut butter (do not use chunky)
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 Tablespoons milk
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup granulated sugar for rolling (optional)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and line 3 cookies sheets with parchment paper or a silicone mat.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the softened butter, peanut butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar until pale and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes.
  3. Add the egg, milk, and vanilla. Mix until combined.
  4. Add the flour, baking soda, and salt. Mix until just combined.
  5. Scoop 1 1/2 inch dough balls and roll them in granulated sugar. Place on a prepared cookie sheet about 2 inches apart.
  6. Bake for 8-10 minutes. While the cookies are baking, unwrap the same number of kisses as cookie dough balls you have.
  7. Remove the cookies from the oven and gently push one Hershey’s Kiss into the center of the cookie. Let sit for 5 minutes for the chocolate to warm.

Taste tested by friends and family with love.

Mini Pecan Pie Tarts

Flakey and buttery crust with a sweet, gooey, and nutty pecan filling.

It’s the holiday season! Thanksgiving is right around the corner! That means it is time to get baking! Today, I want to share these mini pecan pie tarts! This recipe comes from my mom’s coworker’s mom. Every year around Thanksgiving, my mom’s coworker would bring them into the office to share, and my mom would bring some home for me in a little paper coffee cup. After many years of looking forward to these mini tarts around Thanksgiving, we finally got the recipe!

The tarts have a cream cheese, flakey and buttery crust that perfectly complements the gooey pecan center. Before this recipe, I would not have thought to use cream cheese for a pie crust. It sounded a bit weird to me, but the cream cheese actually adds a nice mild tang to the flakey crust. This sets the perfect base for the nutty filling and a perfect bite of pie for this year’s Thanksgiving!

These mini pecan pies are so cute and simple to make! Begin by cutting 48 strips of parchment paper about 6×0.25-inch to place in each mini-cupcake tin before pressing the pie crust in. This will make your life so much easier when you are ready to remove each pie after baking. Then, make the dough and roll about 3/4 Tablespoon of dough into a ball and place in each cupcake slot. Next, using your fingers, press the dough around the edges of the cupcake tin. Place about 2 teaspoons chopped pecans in each cup and set aside. Adding the pecans now, before the syrup mixture, will prevent drips and spillage when filling the pies with the syrup mixture. Next, fill each pie with the syrup until about 3/4 full. Bake and enjoy!

I would love to see these mini pecan pies on your dessert tables this Thanksgiving (or year-round)! Use #beyondbakingwithamandajane and tag me @beyondbakingwithamandajane on Instagram, so I can see your incredible pies! Have a safe and relaxing Thanksgiving!

This recipe is originally from Darlene at My Burning Kitchen.

Mini Pecan Tarts

  • Servings: 48 mini pies
  • Rating: ★★★★★
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Ingredients

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
  • 6 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
  • 4 Tablespoons melted butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and place 6×0.25 inch rectangle strips of parchment paper in 48 mini cupcake tins.
  2. Cream butter and cream cheese together. Add flour and mix well.
  3. Form into 48 equal balls and place one ball in each cup of the cupcake tin. Use your fingers evenly spread the dough into the pan. Sprinkle some pecans into each complete mold.
  4. In a medium bowl, beat eggs with a whisk until frothy.
  5. Add the sugar, melted butter, salt, and vanilla. Mix well. Fill each tart 3/4 of the way full.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes or until lightly brown.

Taste tested by friends and family with love.

John’s Classic New York Style Cheesecake

Creamy, smooth, and delicious New York Style Cheesecake with a sweet, buttery graham cracker crust.

When I was younger, I had always thought cheesecake was only an adult dessert. So, it was never my “Go-To” dessert when the dessert menu came around at restaurants. However, whenever my mom made this cheesecake, I would have seconds and thirds. This is the best cheesecake I have ever had! Like my Dad’s Apple Pecan Crumb Bread recipe, this is another recipe that my Dad had given my mom when they were dating. This recipe was given to my Dad and his family a long time ago from their old Italian neighbor when they were growing up in New York’s Little Italy.

Since I was young, this cheesecake has been a huge hit at every party we brought it to. There are normally little to no left overs because people keep going back for more! This cheesecake is so creamy and smooth with the perfect amount of sweetness. It is very light and rich with flavor. Not only is the filling absolutely delicious, but the graham cracker crust perfectly ties the cake together with its texture and sweet and buttery flavor.

Making this cheesecake is very straight forward. Begin by crushing the graham crackers into small crumbs. When I was younger, my mom liked to put the graham crackers into a heavy duty zip lock bag and let me pound on the bag to crush up the crackers. This was always so fun to me and I felt like I was being a big help! Now that I am older, it is easier and faster for me to just put the crackers in a food processor to make crumbs. Then, mix in the brown sugar and cinnamon. Once mixed in, add the butter and combine all the ingredients together for the crust and pour it out into a 9-inch spring form pan. Use the bottom of a glass to compress the crust evenly throughout the bottom of the pan. Don’t forget to reserve a tablespoon or two of crust so you can do a little taste test ;)! Next, make the batter. Begin by whipping the cream cheese. It is very important to whip the cream cheese to make the batter lighter. Then, add the sugar, and then eggs one at a time. Make sure to beat well after the addition of each egg. Next, add everything else and beat well. Pour all the batter on top of the crust and put the cheesecake in the refrigerator while the oven is pre-heating.

Baking the cake is a little different. It is very important to set up a water bath for the cake to bake in to prevent the cheesecake from cracking. The water should be about a 1/4-inch high. Bake for 60 minutes. The cheesecake will not change much in color, but 60 minutes will be long enough for the cake to bake. After the hour, do not open the oven door! Turn off the oven and let the cake sit in the oven for another hour. This is when the top of the cheesecake will become a nice golden brown.

I like to refrigerate the cake and serve it cold, but it can also be served at room temperature. This cheesecake is perfect to eat as is or with fresh berries! Enjoy!

I would love to see your cheesecakes! Tag me in your creations on Instagram @beyondbakingwithamandajane and use the #beyondbakingwithamandajane !

John's Classic New York Style Cheesecake

  • Servings: 1- 9-inch Cheesecake
  • Rating: ★★★★★
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Ingredients

    For the crust:
  • 1 1/2 c. graham cracker crumbs (about 15 crackers)
  • 3 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 6 Tablespoons butter, softened
  • For the Filling:

  • 3 8-oz packages cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 1/4 c. granulated sugar
  • 4 eggs, room temperature
  • 2 c. sour cream
  • 1 c. heavy cream
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

  1. For the crust, mix graham cracker crumbs with brown sugar and cinnamon. Blend in the softened butter.
  2. Using the bottom of a glass or your hands, press the crust over the bottom of the buttered 9-inch spring form pan. Set aside.
  3. For the filling, place softened cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer. Whip the cream cheese for 3-4 minutes. Beat in the sugar. Then beat in eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  4. Add the sour cream, heavy cream, lemon juice, and vanilla. Beat well.
  5. Pour the batter overtop the crust and place in the refrigerator while the oven is preheating.
  6. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  7. When the oven is preheated, place the spring form pan into a water bath (about 1/4 inch of water). Bake on the middle rack for 60 minutes.
  8. After 60 minutes, turn off the oven and leave in the oven for 1 hour, do not open the oven door.

Taste tested with love by friends and family.