Saturday, December 20, 2014

Sweet on Trader Joe's Saturday: Dark Chocolate Triple Ginger Cookies

Ho, ho, ho! It's time for another seasonal dessert review! 

trader joe's dark chocolate triple ginger cookies review

This week, we review Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Triple Ginger Cookies. This is a seasonal item at Trader Joe's and comes in a pretty little box for giving.

Trader Joe's describes these as "a kicked up chocolate lover's version of our best selling ginger cookie." A 6-ounce box (about 15 cookies) costs $2.99.

trader joe's dark chocolate triple ginger cookies review
A mom's (my) take:  I'm a big fan of chocolate and ginger together. I wanted to love these, I tried to love didn't happen. The dark chocolate really overpowers the ginger cookie. They're not a bad cookie, just not as good as I wanted them to be.
Overall rating: 3 of 5 stars

A teenager's (kiddo's) take: I think a more fitting name for these would be "Triple Dark Chocolate Ginger Cookies". Yes, the chocolate definitely outdoes the ginger by a mile. That's not a bad thing, though. If you're really looking for ginger, you won't find much but a hint of it. However, if you're going for taste, you'll absolutely love the flavor.
Overall rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

trader joe's dark chocolate triple ginger cookies review
Sweet on Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Triple Ginger Cookies: chocolate with a hint of ginger. 

Read all of our Sweet on Trader Joe's dessert review posts

Thursday, December 18, 2014

On Dasher, On Dancer...

reindeer face decorated cookie tutorial
I'm not a blogger who has Christmas recipes made and posts scheduled in October. Usually, if you see it on the blog, I was stuffing it in my face the day before. ;)

These little reindeer, though, I made back in August. AUGUST! A magazine (!!!) that I really like asked if they could interview me about cookie parties and also if would I create a Christmas cookie for their holiday issue.

I was on Cloud 9. (I'm not sure if Cloud 9 is capitalized, but it seems like a proper noun to me.) Anyhoo...I was on Cloud 9 because not only do I love this magazine, but I love pretty much ALL THE MAGAZINES!!!

reindeer face decorated cookie tutorial
One of my favorite things about being a flight attendant was that sometimes people would finish a magazine and LEAVE IT IN THE SEAT POCKET!!! Those were the best days ever. (I always make sure to do this now.)  When I get a pedicure, I look forward to flipping the pages of People almost as much as getting pretty toes. In other words, I love glossy pages, quizzes, perfume samples, and tables of content that you can't find until you get past the ads on page 30.

So, December 1st rolled around, and I hightailed it to Barnes and Noble to find my magazine. I spied the magazine...and looked for that table of contents. cookies mentioned.  Let me look in the recipes section. No. Hmm...let me look in the editor's picks section. Nope. OK, now I need to sit on the bench to flip through ALL of the pages.

No cookies. 

I stop by Godiva to eat my feelings, then head home. I did some emailing, and it turns out, they didn't have enough space to include them. I get it, but MAN, soul crusher for a few minutes there.

reindeer face decorated cookie tutorial
You know what, though?  That means I get to share the cookie tutorial here, so...
(Unless they are ACTUALLY on the floor, then you can cry...or dust them off and eat them.)

reindeer face decorated cookie tutorial
To make these reindeer face cookies, you'll need: 

Divide the royal icing and tint: dark brown, light brown, white, red, green, and black.  Divide the white icing into two bowls. Cover each bowl by pressing a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the icing to prevent crusting.

reindeer face decorated cookie tutorial
Spoon the dark brown icing into a piping bag fitted with a #2 tip. Outline the face of the reindeer and pipe the antlers.

Thin the light brown and one bowl of white icing with water, a little at a time, until it is the consistency of a thick syrup.  You’ll look for a ribbon of icing dropped back into the bowl to disappear in a count of one-thousand-one, one-thousand-two.

Cover the thinned icings with a damp dish towel and let sit for a few minutes. Stir gently with a silicone spatula and pour into squeeze bottles.

Working 6-8 cookies at a time, fill in the outline with the light brown icing. Use a toothpick to guide the icing to edges and to pop and large air bubbles that have risen to the surface.

reindeer face decorated cookie tutorial
Starting with the first cookie filled, drop dots of the thinned white icing onto the top of the reindeer face (on top of the wet brown icing.)  Let the cookies sit for at least one hour.

reindeer face decorated cookie tutorial
Spoon the remaining white icing into a piping bag fitted with a #3 tip.  Pipe eyes onto the reindeer.

reindeer face decorated cookie tutorial
Spoon the black icing into a piping bag fitted with a #1 tip. Pipe pupils onto the eyes.  For the girl reindeer, add eyelashes.

Switch the tip on the back icing to a #4 and pipe a nose on the girl reindeer.
reindeer face decorated cookie tutorial
Repeat for the noses on the boy reindeer using the red icing.

reindeer face decorated cookie tutorial
Thin the green icing as above, but stopping when the ribbon of icing disappears in a count of 20, rather than one-thousand-one, one-thousand-two. Pour this icing into an icing bag fitted with a #2 tip. Add a bow to the girl reindeer, using this icing.

Let the cookies dry uncovered, 6-8 hours or overnight.

reindeer face decorated cookie tutorial
Christmas is next week and I have about a million more cookies I want to make. And, I kinda want to make these little guys again. Could we have another week, please???

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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Chocolate Orange Pinwheels

For the longest time, I thought I didn't like chocolate and orange together.
You know who I blame?  This guy.  

I remember being a little girl and biting into a piece of that chocolate orange. It was horrible. Maybe I was thinking it was like a giant, round, Hershey's Kiss...I don't know, but it stuck with me.

chocolate orange pinwheel cookies |
Apparently, I must have spread the gospel of "chocolate and orange should not be mixed" because as I was telling my sister about these pinwheel cookies yesterday, she said, "I thought you didn't like chocolate and orange together!"

chocolate orange pinwheel cookies |
Well, I have been converted.  It started a few years ago when I made cannoli filling.  Then, there were chocolate sandwiches. You get the point. I'm a chocolate + orange lover now...even though I'm never eating one of those "oranges" again.

chocolate orange pinwheel cookies |
These pinwheels!  Oh my gosh.  I love them.  I love the swirl, I love the flavor combo, I love making them! 

You'll start with just one dough which gets divided.  Then, you'll make one half chocolate, and one half orange.  You can see the little bits of zest in the orange pretty.

Roll it all up, chill it,'s slice and bake time.

chocolate orange pinwheel cookies |
If you don't eat these all by yourself, they look really pretty on a holiday cookie platter.

I'm sharing the recipe and the how-to over on Imperial Sugar today.

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