Dessert Inspiration: Mini Treats & Hand-Held Sweets
I have to be honest - cookies are a big thing around here. Making them makes me happy - and makes everyone else happy, too! And so I was especially pleased to receive a review copy of Abby Dodge's new cookbook, Mini Treats & Hand-Held Sweets. You will remember Abby from her awesome cookbooks we've reviewed, including Desserts 4 Today and The Around the World Cookbook. Abby's cookbooks are amazing - full of deliciousness, global recipes, and inspiration. And, her recipes Always Turn Out. Which is no small thing.
The first recipe we made (the day the book came!) was the double peanut butter sandwiches. But really, they never made it to the sandwiches part because we were so happy frosting each cookie and popping them into our mouths. Delicious! I took the book to a family gathering, and 5 people (yes, 5) ordered it via amazon that day. It's that good! While I love the lemon lavender shortbread, we also have been making (over and over again) the 3x ginger sparklers. But of course, there are more recipes, begging to be made.
We caught up with Abby to get the backstory to her new book, inspiration, small cookies, and more. Here's what she had to say - and LOOK for the peanut butter recipe at the end of the article!
Please tell us about your new cookbook, Mini Treats & Hand-Held Sweets...
The main idea behind Mini Treats was to take BIG desserts and pare them down into bite-sized versions. The end result creates a cocktail party atmosphere except at this party, the hors d'oeurves are mini desserts! The recipes are perfect for tailgates, showers, dinner parties, hostess/teacher gifts and anytime you want a mini treat!
Instant Yellow Strawberry Cupcakes
How did you come up with these delicious recipes?
In many cases, the recipes were inspired by their full-sized counterparts. For instance, Classic Lemon Meringue Pie became Lemon Meringue Pie Poppers (cookies). From there, I made sure that the desserts and treats covered all the popular categories and included all flavors and textures.
What inspired the peanut butter cookies?
I love this recipe! I'm a big fan of strong flavors and peanut butter is at or near the top of the list. I also wanted to add in easy-to-make recipes plus some gluten free cookies. These gems hit all the right notes. And I included TWO fillings because I just couldn't chose between them.
There's something fun about small cookies - was it difficult to not eat them all?
I have a confession.. I have a huge sweet tooth and testing and tasting these recipes truly tested my discipline. Luckily, I have good friends, neighbors, and family who are always eager for samples so, after I have a sample and save a few to see how long they can keep, I quickly pass them off.
What is your favorite cookie, in the book?
It's always hard to chose a favorite but, if I must, I'll say the Toasted Coconut Macadamia Squares are pretty sensational. I've already made them for my annual food blogger cookie swap and they are on deck for hostess gifts and our holiday party.
Is there anything else you'd like to share with us?
I want everyone to have fun with the recipes and play around with the flavorings. I included "Twists" with each recipe for those times that you don't have or don't care for a ingredient or you just feel like changing things up. Lastly, please let me know if you have questions ~ I'm always here to help!
Triple threat chocolate squares
Double Peanut Butter Sandwiches (gluten free!)
1 1/4 cups smooth peanut butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 large egg, at room temp
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
for the filling:
1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
1/3 cup smooth peanut butter, at room temp
4 T unsalted butter, at room temp
Make the cookies
1. Position an oven rack in the center of the oven, and heat the oven to 350°F. Line two (or more if you have them) cookie sheets with parchment or nonstick baking liners.
2. In a large mixing bowl, put the peanut butter, brown sugar, and baking soda. Beat with an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on medium speed until well blended and smooth, about 2 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla and mix on low speed until just blended. Don't overmix.
3. Using a 1-tablespoon mini scoop, shape into balls and arrange about 1 1/2 inches apart on the prepared cookie sheets. Do Not press down. Bake, one sheet at a time, until the cookies are puffed and crackled but still moist looking, about 11 minutes. Transfer the cookie sheet to a rack to cool for about 5 minutes. Using a spatula, lift the cookies from the sheet and onto a rack until completely cooled.
Make the filling and assemble the sandwiches
1. Put the confectioner's sugar, peanut butter, and butter in a small bowl. Mix with an electric mixer (hand held is fine) until well blended and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
2. Turn half of the cooled cookies over so they are flat side up. Spoon 1 Tablespoon of the filling onto the center of each cookie. Top with the remaining cookies, flat side down. Press gently on each cookie to spread the filling almost to the edge.
NOTE: We used homemade semi-chunky peanut butter, and the texture is just delightful.
To learn more, please see: http://www.abbydodge.com/
Photos and recipe courtesy and copyright Abby Dodge.