“Nutella Dream Pocket Cookies”

Hi guys!

Today I’m live-baking these amazing looking things called “Nutella Dream Pocket Cookies,” a term which seems to be coined by this blogger: http://www.chocolatemoosey.com/2013/09/19/nutella-dream-pocket-cookies/

I came across Carla’s blog post on Pinterest of course, because as you guys know I find all of my projects on Pinterest. She was making these cookies as a tribute to her friend who passed away from Leukemia. I don’t have quite as noble a cause, but then again you don’t really need any sort of cause to make cookies, especially when Nutella is involved. Nutella is enough of a reason 🙂

Well, I think that I have this brilliant idea for how to make this recipe even easier than it already is. You see, Carla has her readers making the dough themselves, but I happen to have a box of pre-made puff pastry sheets in the freezer. I’ll make both kinds to see which one is better, because one is significantly easier and one is well, the right way.  

OH well considering the puff pastry needs 40 minutes to thaw, I guess I’ll start with the other kind. I guess I wasn’t supposed to try to unfold it yet…

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I think it should still be okay. The cookies shouldn’t be wider than that strip anyway. I set my oven timer for 40 minutes and set the puff pastry to the side so I could focus on the correct recipe.

For the right version, you need all this stuff: 

  • 6 tablespoons butter- you definitely need to soften it because the original recipe doesn’t say to, but then it tells you to mix it with both kinds of sugar and there’s no way that’ll work unless you soften it. I like, liquefied it, and I was worried it was too much, but it worked out fine. 
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar- try to break it up as much as possible
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon Nutella- I feel like that’s hardly anything. I might be a little bit more generous with my Nutella. 

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Okay, so I softened the butter and I mixed it in with the two sugars until (essentially) smooth. The next step is to add in the egg yolk and the vanilla. Remember when I separated an egg for the first time? I love when new skills come in handy! 

Now I’m running into a slight issue because my brown sugar was really hard and chunky when I put it in the mixture, so there are still little chunks in it even though the rest of the mixture is light and fluffy like the recipe says it should be. I think I’m going to ignore it and move on…

Now I’m gradually adding in the flour. It’s getting more dough-like, exactly as it should, and I just tasted it. It’s DELICIOUS. I don’t even think it needs Nutella, I would eat it just like this. I gathered all the dough into a ball and flattened it into a disk, and now it’s in the fridge for an hour to chill. That’s actually a little annoying because I didn’t realize I was going to have to do that, but it gives me some time to focus on the puff pastry version of the recipe, which is ready to get started now that it’s defrosted. 

I tried to put the broken piece back together, but I’m not sure that it worked very well. Either way, like I said, I’m not sure that it really matters.

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I’m using a wine glass to get my circle shape, because I’m very resourceful, but I suggest using the lid of a mason jar. It’s equally resourceful but I just have more wine glasses available than mason jars. Somewhat odd but also somewhat fitting. If you have a circle shaped cookie cutter then that’s obviously ideal, but less resourceful. Now, make two circles, like this:

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Then, spread some Nutella on one of them, and sandwich them together so they look like an Uncrustable. Use a fork to make the pretty edges like the picture. 

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EXCUSE ME?! You don’t know what an Uncrustable is?? What kind of sad childhood did you have? I had two of these every single day for lunch in middle school. I would rip off the “crust” and eat it, and then eat the sandwich part. Love those things. OMG I want one right now. 

Sorry, I’m back from memory lane. My oven is at 350, and my cookies are formed. I’m putting them in the oven for 12 minutes to start; it says 12-15. 

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Well. It’s been 12 minutes, and they’re definitely done -____-

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That little half one that I made popped right open and another one just fell apart. I guess they call it “puff” pastry for a reason, duh. Okay, so that wasn’t my most brilliant idea. But actually, if you squish them down a little, they don’t really look that bad. Definitely not ideal, possibly a little sick looking, but not inedible. 

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And they taste pretty delicious, too. It tastes like a chocolate croissant; like a fresh version of the one that they have at Starbucks. I consider this a modest success. 

Now, since the dough I made by hand has been chilling for about an hour, I’m gonna go back to the original recipe. I spread some flour all over a rolling pin, and rolled out the dough so it was preeeetty thin. I used the wine glass technique again to cut out circles, and then did the same thing that I did with the puff pastry version. Spread Nutella on half of the circles and then put the rest of the circles on top, then smooshed the edges down with a fork so they look like Uncrustables.

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Now the second batch is in the oven!

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And they’re done! I may have overcooked them a little bit, because they look a little dark around the edges, but they look pretty good to me!

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I actually like the taste of the first ones better, but I like the look of these better. These are great too, don’t get me wrong, but the taste of the cookie seriously overpowered the taste of the Nutella. They taste like sugar cookies with a hint of chocolate. For my next batch, I think I’ll be even more generous with the filling for my fellow Nutella-lovers 🙂

I hope you enjoyed this recipe! Let me know what you think of it. I always love getting messages and comments 🙂

Thanksgiving Dinner Cupcakes!

Guys. I’m dropping out of college and opening a bakery. Seriously.

Not seriously, but I feel like I could after this project.

This week, I was determined to make these Thanksgiving Dinner Cupcakes that I found on a pin that took me to this website: http://makebakecelebrate.com/thanksgiving-dinner-cupcakes/ . I made all of them except the sweet potatoes, because I didn’t have any marshmallows and no one would have understood that one if I just did it without them. Now that you’ve seen that picture, take a look at my slightly modified but still adorable version:

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Even though I’m obviously a master fondant sculptor, I guess I’ll go through them to make sure you get the full effect of the cuteness. Starting top left and going clockwise: mashed potatoes with gravy and a pat of butter, a turkey leg, stuffing, green beans and corn with butter!

So this endeavor started like, a week ago when I started trying to figure out how I was going to get a hold of all the ingredients I needed. This is definitely the biggest project I’ve taken on, and I hope it’s not bigger than you guys were expecting of me. I think you guys can do it though. It took a lot of time, but all of the steps are easy enough that I know you can do it. And it was a great Saturday afternoon project! If you’re ever bored on the weekend, this is a fun way to pass the time. Saturdays at my school are boring. I go to a suitcase school and all my friends are home. I, however, am two hours away so I need a lot of these time-passing projects.

… try doing homework? Yeah, let’s just move on…

Anyway, it took me forever to acquire all of the ingredients. I ended up getting the cupcake mix and vanilla frosting at Walmart, the eggs and butter at 7-11, and the fondant and icing colors at Michael’s. It was also one of the more expensive projects, but it shows in the result so I guess it’s worth it. You can get the fondant in the colors that you need, but that’ll give you WAY more than you need for this project, so I suggest getting these products. Not necessarily these brands or anything; this is just what I picked up.

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This way, you can buy one little box of fondant for like $7 and then icing colors to dye it whatever color you need. I only used half of the box of fondant for 15 cupcakes.

SO..the very first step is to bake the cupcakes. I did this in my laughably small and poorly equipped dorm kitchen. I forgot cupcake liners at Walmart, so I was praying that the kitchen would have them, and I ACTUALLY FOUND SOME but they were mini. Who in the world, may I ask, uses mini cupcake liners, and what in the world are they for? Regardless, I had to just butter the cupcake pan and do without liners, which worked just fine.

Also, it’s so funny when you’re baking in a dorm. Students just come by and look longingly inside at the food you’re making that didn’t come from the dining hall. So many people came by going “OH MY GOD IT SMELLS SO GOOD IN HERE!” and I was like yeah, that’s just me making the cutest cupcakes you’ve ever seen. Here’s a picture of the little guys while they were baking:

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After I baked as many as the batter would allow, (it was around 20 or so but I ate the ugly ones and some were sacrificed for the stuffing ones so there were 15 to work with) I brought them back to my room to finish the project there. I set up three stations, and by stations I mean paper plates. There was one place for frosting, one for yellow fondant and one for green. I thought that was the least messy way to do it. By the way, you’re about to get REALLY freaking messy.

Okay, at your frosting station you’ll need a paper plate, a bowl for mixing, and the brown icing color that came in the package from the picture. You’re gonna be using all vanilla frosting to make it easier, but you’ll be dying some of it brown. Your mashed potatoes, corn, green beans and stuffing all need to be iced white, so go ahead and do that. Now, in your mashed potato cupcake, take a spoon and dig a little hole in the center. Not too deep, but into the cake part. Now take a little dollop of brown icing and drop it in! There are your potatoes and gravy! In the original, the baker used caramel syrup, but this was easier, less messy for the eater, and just as cute in my opinion. We’ll do the butter soon. Next, pick out the one that you want to be your turkey leg, and ice that one in brown.

That’s all for the frosting station! Right now you should have five frosted cupcakes. Three completely white, one brown, and one white with some brown in it. You’ll also need one un-frosted one. I’m assuming that you’re only making one batch of these, even though that may not be the case. Now, we’ll move on to the yellow fondant station, where you’ll need a paper plate, a chunk of fondant (the size of the chunk depends on how many you’re making) and your yellow icing color. This is where you get messy, but it’s fun! Take a few drops of the yellow icing color and mix it into the fondant, kneading it with your hands until it’s all worked in. If you need more, feel free to use it until you get the shade of yellow you’re looking for, but the stuff is so concentrated you probably don’t need as much as you think you do.

Now you start shaping your little pieces! First, we can finish the mashed potatoes. All you need for this one is a thin square a little bit smaller than your gravy. It might be a little sticky, but I think that once the icing color dries a little bit it got easier to work with. Just place the square right on top of the gravy pool, and voila! Mashed potatoes with gravy and butter. I don’t actually put butter or gravy on my mashed potatoes but I’ll admit it looks much tastier in cupcake form.

Let’s do the corn next since it’s also yellow. Start rolling out long yellow pieces about the length of the cupcake.You’ll probably need 6-7 of those, and some need to be longer than others if they’re going across the middle vs. the sides. Now, flatten them out a little, but not completely, and then get a toothpick .Or, if you’re a very resourceful college student like myself, you’ll get a tooth flosser. Gotta do what ya gotta do. Now just make little indentations in the fondant to make it look like individual corn kernels, and lay them on top of one of the cupcakes with white frosting. I’m under the impression that frosting helps the fondant stick, but I could be wrong because the pat of butter for this cupcake sits on top of the fondant. By the way, make another pat of butter and sit it on top of the fondant. If you’re having trouble following, take a look at the picture at the top of this post to help you out.

And don’t worry about your hands! The icing colors wash right off, most of it without even using soap. Once you’re done making the mashed potato cupcakes and the corn cupcakes, you’ll be done with the yellow fondant, so you can go ahead and wash your hands. You’ll want to get that off before you start working with the white fondant again, because just touching it with dye on your hands will color it.

Now, we’re moving on to your green fondant station. Take another chunk of fondant, again the size depends on how many you’re making. The set of icing colors I bought was a set of primary colors, so mix the blue and yellow to make green, and then do the same thing you did to dye the fondant yellow. Wanna see what my hands looked like after this step?

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That’s how you know this was a fun project. I think my hands are permanently tinged green. Once you have the shade of green you’re looking for, start rolling them into what you find to be acceptable green bean shape. Once you have around 8-10 of those, find your toothpick and make lines down the middle of them, like you can see in the picture at the top of the post. Just place them on one of your two remaining white cupcakes however you like, and that completes your side of green beans!

The last thing you have to do with the fondant is for your main dish, the turkey leg. Cut off a decently thick slice of fondant, maybe about a quarter inch. Use your toothpick to draw out the shape of half a bone and then punch it out like you used a cookie cutter. If you have a tiny bone shaped cookie cutter, go you. I just used the toothpick kind of like a saw and did what was necessary to reshape it after it was out. Then, place it in your brown cupcake! I suggest putting it off to the side as opposed to right in the middle. There’s your turkey leg!

Finally, we’ll do the stuffing. I saved it for last not because it’s best, but because it doesn’t require fondant. In fact, it’s probably the worst in my opinion, in terms of looking like what it’s supposed to. Remember that plain, unfrosted cupcake I mentioned way back at the beginning? You need it now. I want you to just crumble it up, all over the top of the last white iced cupcake you have. All it is, is chunks of cake on top of the frosting! To make it look darker, like real stuffing, I took the most well done parts from the bottom of the plain cupcake and put it at the top. I think that people will at least be able to tell what it is in context with the rest of them.

So that was my biggest undertaking so far. It took me about four hours overall, not including travel time for the ingredients. It was less than $15, and I still have plenty of icing color and fondant left over for another project. I actually don’t know if I can save fondant, so that might be a waste but at least I have more dye for next time.

Anyway, I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving this week, and I hope that we can all remember the real meaning of this day. Honestly, take a minute to be thankful for what you have. I know everyone says that every year, and even sometimes not at this time of year, but how many times do you really sit down and do it? I know I don’t do it as much as I should. I’m thankful for my amazing, supportive family, my friends from home who still manage to keep in touch even though we’re all over the east coast, my friends at school for making me feel so at home, and I’m thankful that I have a passion and the inspiration to keep it going. After all, that’s what keeps this blog alive! 🙂

So, next Sunday is December 1st, and that could not be more perfect. Obviously, that’s the usual day that I post, but for the month of December, I’ll be posting a new craft or recipe EVERY DAY UNTIL CHRISTMAS. I told you you were gonna be overwhelmed by all the Christmas. You didn’t even know what you were in for. You still don’t even know what you’re in for. You won’t even know which things to try because there’ll be so much. Oh yeah, get ready.

See you in the Christmas season!

Love,

Nicole

PS- Gobble Gobble

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Bite Sized Apple Pies

Hello darlings!

I want to start by showing you my five favorite pins from this week. I think I’m going to start doing this with all of my posts, because it might inspire you! 🙂 These aren’t going to follow my pattern of easy things that I can show you how to make (or how NOT to make) but they’re still fun! I’ll do a food one, a clothing/accessory one, a home decor one, a wedding one (my very favorite even though I’m a good five years from acceptable marriage age) and maybe a random, like a cute puppy. Or Channing Tatum. We could all use some Channing Tatum in our lives.

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As we recover from the fainting that I’m sure we all just did, here are my top five pins this week 🙂

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Hotline in Nude by Chinese Laundry $70 pinned from Heels.com

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Glen Oaks pinned from Houzz.com

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Cilantro Lime Shrimp pinned from Lanascooking.com

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Elegant Sweetheart Ball Gown Wedding Dress $299 pinned from weddingdressbee.com

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Pinned from “Best Earth Pics” on Twitter

Those are the pins from this week that made my heart hurt I wanted them so badly. Yes, I even want the elephant. Better get rich quick. And move to Africa.

Anyway, the challenge this week was Bite Sized Apple Pies, as you may have deduced from the title of the post. I thought I would make a fall-themed dessert to celebrate the beginning of October 🙂 Each week this month, I’ll be taking on a Halloween or autumn themed pin. I have them all mapped out already and I’m so pumpedddd!

This week’s apple pie pin took me to this link: http://cookinupnorth.blogspot.com/2011/09/bite-size-apple-pies-from-taste-of-home.html and it’s a cute blog by a lady named Laurie who really REALLY enjoys her home “up north.” Now, care to venture a guess as which end result belongs to me and which belongs to Laurie?

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Honestly, even though they aren’t exactly pretty, they tasted pretty delicious. The most amazing part of the whole thing is that when I brought all of my ingredients down to the kitchen in my dorm building, I neglected to bring the recipe. And the dorm kitchen has the weirdest assortment of useless items that I’ve ever seen. There’s no peeler and no brush thingy to spread stuff, but you better believe there was a whole drawer dedicated to grill utensils. There’s no grill anywhere near my building. So, I had to spread my melted butter like this:

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and peel my apples like this:

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And the counter space that you see here is the only counter space in the whole kitchen. And I thought my room was small.

Anyway, let’s start at the beginning. Here’s the recipe Laurie used, with my edits.

  • ½ c sugar
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • If the grocery store happens to somehow be out of cinnamon, (what?!) just substitute cinnamon sugar. It eliminates a need for sugar, and you don’t have to mix them together so in the end it saves time.  
  • 1 pkg refrigerated pie crust (mine came with two 8-inch round crusts, worked perfectly)
  • 3 tbsp melted butter divided (Don’t know what “divided” means- didn’t bother with it)
  • 2 medium tart apples sliced into 8 wedges each (I got green apples because I heard they’re “tart” but Laurie used red ones)

If you do it my way, you can just unroll the pie crust on a lightly floured surface. What’s that? You didn’t get any flour because that wasn’t in the list of materials? Join the club. It’s okay though, it didn’t make a difference to me. Then, melt your butter and brush it all over the crust. Next, sprinkle the cinnamon sugar all over it, and slice it into 8 slices, about one inch thick. Now, you can set that aside.

BUT DON’T SET IT ASIDE ON THE STOVE BECAUSE THE OVEN SHOULD BE PREHEATING (at 425, by the way) AND THE STOVE WILL BE HOT ENOUGH TO MELT YOUR CRUST! Yeah, it’s a good thing the package came with two pie crusts. I only got to make half the recipe though, which meant that an apple went to waste.

Next, you need to deal with your apples. If you have a handy dandy apple slicer like I have at home, this should be a piece of cake. At school though, it was a little bit harder because I had to use an old dull knife to cut through the core of an apple. Since there was no peeler, I also had to use that same knife to peel the skin off. Laurie said that she kept the skin on because she liked the color, but I was worried it would make the texture a little tougher or something, so I peeled it off. Then, all you have to do is roll each little apple up in the slices of dough you just made, and brush the top with melted butter and sprinkle with some more cinnamon sugar. If you’re me though, and you’re brushless, you’ll find a slotted spoon and dip each pastry in a bowl of butter. I actually thought it was pretty clever of me.

Then you just pop them in the oven for 13 minutes! If everything had gone as planned, which it never does of course, this would have been done in under a half hour. Regardless, they were delicious and easy. Look at these cute little guys!IMG_1597

Well, I hope you enjoy your Bite Sized Apple Pies, and I hope you have an absolutely fabulous October! Keep track of how many days are left until Halloween with my nifty countdown in the sidebar 😉

Stay wonderful ♥

~Nicole