Chocolate slice and bake cookies... cardamom and orange flavors are so warm and perfect for the holiday season! I made these cookies for #Choctoberfest with the help of our Gold Sponsor, Imperial Sugar!
Cookies, Desserts, Recipes

Welcome to #Choctoberfest with Imperial Sugar: Chocolate Orange-Cardamom Cookies

Chocolate slice and bake cookies… cardamom and orange flavors are so warm and perfect for the holiday season! I made these cookies for #Choctoberfest with the help of our Gold Sponsor, Imperial Sugar!

Chocolate slice and bake cookies... cardamom and orange flavors are so warm and perfect for the holiday season! I made these cookies for #Choctoberfest with the help of our Gold Sponsor, Imperial Sugar!

This is one of my favorite weeks of the year, because #Choctoberfest is finally here! From now until the end of the week, I am joining forces with over 100 other bloggers from around the world to post delicious chocolate recipes. Every day, #Choctoberfest bloggers will be celebrating all things chocolate – milk, dark, white, bittersweet, semi-sweet, and cocoa!

Welcome to #Choctoberfest 2017!

We are starting with a #Choctoberfest prize pack from our generous sponsors. Scroll down to learn how you can enter to win. One lucky winner will receive the following:

  • A 100-Piece Cake Decorating Kit from our blog sponsors The PinterTest Kitchen. This set includes a cake turntable, piping bags, piping tips, flower nozzles, scapers, and more.
  • An Instant Pot and a 40-Pound Case of Granulated Sugar from our gold sponsor Imperial Sugar. Imperial Sugar provides high-quality sugar and sweetener products and over 100 years of time-tested recipes. Sweet things happen when people come together in the kitchen, and that’s why Imperial Sugar has been at the heart of family traditions and celebrations for generations.
  • Coconut Oil and Chocolate Silk Greens from our silver sponsor Barlean’s, your trusted source for chocolatey goodness superfood nutrition. Barlean’s has a commitment to staying ahead of the innovation curve in providing the absolute highest quality product.
  • A Chocolate Gift Pack from our silver sponsor Forte Chocolates. You’ll receive 12 of their most popular chocolate bars. With Forte Chocolates, you can celebrate life through chocolate. They also have a line of chocolate developed specifically to use in savory recipes.
  • A Chocolate Gift Pack from our silver sponsor Divine Chocolate. You’ll receive one of each of their baking bars, a white chocolate bar, and their top 5 everyday bars. Divine Chocolate is the only Fairtrade chocolate company in the world that is owned by cocoa farmers. Their baking bars are also a delicious vegan option.
  • A Selection of Sprinkles from our silver sponsor Sprinkle Pop. Sprinkle Pop’s bespoke sprinkle creations are one of a kind, just like you! At Sprinkle Pop, you can also order a custom sprinkle mix; there isn’t a sprinkle mix that you can dream up that they can’t create.

That’s a prize pack worth over $400! Open worldwide, except where prohibited. Must be 18+ to enter (21+ in some locations). See terms and conditions for more details.

To enter, simply follow our sponsors using the widget below. You can gain additional entries by following me and the other participating bloggers. A winner will be drawn on October 21, 2018 and contacted via email. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Don’t forget to come back to my blog for more chocolatey goodness between now and October 20.

Check out our participating bloggers:

The PinterTest Kitchen 2 Cookin Mamas 27th and Olive A Day in the Life on the Farm A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures A Little Fish in the Kitchen addicted 2 recipes Amy’s Cooking Adventures An Affair from the Heart April GoLightly At the Table with R and R Baking Sense Blade & Barbell Blogghetti Body Rebooted Books n’ Cooks Bottom Left of the Mitten Canning and Cooking at Home Cheese Curd In Paradise Chef Sarah Elizabeth Cindy’s Recipes and Writings Coconut & Lime Cook With Renu Cook’s Hideout Cookaholic Wife Cookie Dough and Oven Mitt CopyKat.com Daily Dish Recipes Everyday Eileen Fairyburger Faith, Hope, Love, & Luck Survive Despite a Whiskered Accomplice Family Around the Table Fix Me a Little Lunch Frankly Entertaining Frugal & Fit Get the Good Stuff! Growing Up Gabel Hardly A Goddess Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks Home Sweet Homestead House of Nash Eats Intelligent Domestications jenniferbakes JoAnn’s Food Bites Join Us, Pull up a Chair Jolene’s Recipe Journal Jonesin’ For Taste Karen’s Kitchen Stories Kate’s Recipe Box Kelly Lynn’s Sweets and Treats LeMoine Family Kitchen Life on Food Life, Love, and Good Food Lisa’s Dinnertime Dish Little House Big Alaska Long Distance Baking Maria’s Mixing Bowl Moore or Less Cooking Must Love Home Norine’s Nest Our Good Life Our Sutton Place OVENTales Palatable Pastime Prettysweetblog Red Cottage Chronicles Restless Chipotle Reviews, Chews & How-Tos Sarah Cooks the Books Sarah’s Bake Studio Savory Moments Seasonal and Holiday Recipe Exchange Seasoned Sprinkles Seduction In The Kitchen Simple Family Crazy Life Simply Inspired Meals Snacks and Sips Soulfully Made Stephie The Happy Mom Sumptuous Spoonfuls Sweet Coralice Take Two Tapas Tampa Cake Girl That Recipe The Baking Fairy The Beard and The Baker The Food Hunter’s Guide to Cuisine The Gingered Whisk The Heritage Cook The Mad Scientist’s Kitchen The Olive Blogger The Pajama Chef The Redhead Baker The Saucy Fig The Spiffy Cookie The Weekday Gourmet This is How I Cook Trampling Rose Turnips 2 Tangerines Walking Fruitfully Wendy Polisi Wildflour’s Cottage Kitchen Zesty South Indian Kitchen

I know you guys will find great recipes on ALL of of those fabulous blogs this week. But first, before you go check them out… let’s chat about these YUMMY cookies! I made them with Imperial Sugar. In some ways, it seems like all sugar is the same. But since I began baking with Imperial Sugar, I have noticed a definite difference in the quality of my dishes. They’ve been in business for 175 years so they know what they’re doing!! I know that sounds like an ad, but I promise it isn’t. Their regular granulated sugar is not clumpy, their brown sugar is not dry (and the resealable bags are helpful!), and their powdered sugar is so soft and perfect for blending into frosting. If you’re looking for some fun Halloween recipes, look no further. Imperial Sugar has you covered!!

Chocolate slice and bake cookies... cardamom and orange flavors are so warm and perfect for the holiday season! I made these cookies for #Choctoberfest with the help of our Gold Sponsor, Imperial Sugar!

These Chocolate Orange-Cardamon Cookies were so easy to mix together during my son’s naptime. The whole house smelled great after I zested an orange and opened up a jar of cardamom. Then, later that afternoon, my son and I sliced the cookies together and placed them on the cookie sheet to bake. <— that was interesting with a two year old. I put them on the cookie sheet, and he moved them. Sometimes into his mouth. Hahaha! For some reason I never make slice and bake cookies, but I definitely should start doing that more often. One reason why I always say cookies are my least favorite thing to bake is that they seem so tedious to scoop out, but this method eliminates that excuse!

Chocolate slice and bake cookies... cardamom and orange flavors are so warm and perfect for the holiday season! I made these cookies for #Choctoberfest with the help of our Gold Sponsor, Imperial Sugar!

If I thought my house smelled good as the cookie dough was being mixed up, it smelled even BETTER once the cookies were baked. One taste and we all were hooked! The cardamom is perhaps a little unexpected in a cookie, but the more I eat, the more I enjoy them. I think they will be a great addition to a Christmas cookie plate, but also will fit right in with fall baking because what is fall without warm spices? 🙂 Plus they are pretty, so win win! I hope you enjoy these cookies as much as we do… and don’t forget to check out more recipes below and enter the giveaway above! I’ll be back later this week with more deliciousness. Happy Monday!

Please click here for the first day’s worth of CHOCOLATE recipes!!

one year ago: Healthier Poppy Seed Chicken Casserole
two years ago: Kale and Brown Rice Gratin
three years ago: Crockpot Barbacoa
four years ago: Baked Caramel Apple Mini Doughnuts
five years ago: Baked Strawberry French Toast with Strawberry Maple Syrup
six years ago: Maple Cornmeal Drop Biscuits
seven years ago: Pumpkin Spread
eight years ago: Pumpkin Pie Baked Oatmeal

Chocolate Orange-Cardamon Cookies

  • Servings: 3 dozen
  • Print

cut out from an old issue of Ladies Home Journal that I ended up with a random subscription to!

Ingredients:

  • 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup Imperial Granulated Sugar
  • 1/3 cup packed Imperial Brown Sugar
  • zest of one large orange, approximately 1 1/2 tablespoons
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • coarse sparkling sugar or sprinkles of choice

Directions:

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, salt, and cardamom.

In a separate large bowl (I used a stand mixer), beat butter, sugars, and orange zest together until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Mix in egg until just incorporated, and then beat in vanilla. Gently fold in flour and cocoa mixture, mixing only until combined.

Line a work surface with parchment paper, then roll the cookie dough into a 2 inch-diameter log. Roll tightly in parchment paper, then refrigerate for at least one hour. The recipe suggested rotating the log every 20 minutes to maintain shape, but I skipped that step because #momlife. Also, if you have kids helping with this recipe, you may want to divide the dough into two portions and roll into two logs, as one was a lot to handle when getting “help.” Two might be helpful for anyone, with or without kids. 

When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats. Sprinkle sanding sugar or sprinkles on a plate or rimmed baking sheet, then roll log in sprinkles until coated well. You can brush an egg white over the log before rolling if you aren’t suffering from #momlife distraction like I was, but my method worked just fine.

Slice the sprinkled log into 1/4 inch thick, then place on prepared baking sheet an inch apart.

Bake for 9-10 minutes. Cookies should be set and slightly firm when you press into them, but they will harden a little as they cool so don’t over bake. Cool completely on pans, then store in an airtight container for up to one week. If they last that long!!

Disclosure: I received free product from Imperial Sugar to use in this recipe for #Choctoberfest. I was not required to review them or provide positive feedback. All opinions are my own. You can learn more about Imperial Sugar and get great recipe ideas from them on Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

 

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Bars, Desserts, Recipes

Cranberry Crumb Bars

Tart, sweet cranberry crumb bars… they are amazingly delicious. What more can I say?

Tart, sweet cranberry crumb bars... they are amazingly delicious.

In the winter, my favorite flavor is cranberry. Between Halloween and Christmas, I buy up/hoard fresh cranberries in a ridiculous fashion–and then freeze a zillion bags for “emergencies.” Crazy, I know, but you DO NOT know when a cranberry craving will strike and have you ever had to look for cranberries in June? Impossible, I tell ya. And I’m sure I’ve told you that before. Ha! 🙂 I also like dried cranberries but fresh cranberries are much better for baking. And these Cranberry Crumb Bars are no exception!

These bar cookies are really really simple and definitely deserve a spot on your Christmas cookie tray this year. They’re rich, buttery little treats with a pop of fresh cranberry and orange in every single delicious bite.

Tart, sweet cranberry crumb bars... they are amazingly delicious.

Over the years I’ve seen lotsa recipes for cranberry cookie bars/crumbles of various sorts but so many of them require you to use “leftover cranberry sauce.” Who ever heard of such a thing? I inhale cranberry sauce so there’s never any left, much less enough for BAKING. And I’m the simple baker type, most of the time. I don’t want to take the time to dirty up the food processor or a saucepan to MAKE cranberry sauce before making dessert. Even though Ben does 90% of the dishes in our house [I’m a lucky girl!], I can’t justify that nonsense. But even so, I didn’t know if a recipe like this would work. Reading over it, I was a bit skeptical. A crust recipe that has you blend in an egg [even in the topping] and not pre-cook it? Sounds weird. A filling with, literally, just fresh cranberries and flavorings and a tiny bit of liquid? Was I going to be wasting a bunch of ingredients?

Tart, sweet cranberry crumb bars... they are amazingly delicious.

[Spoiler alert: NOPE!] These bars are absolutely magical, wonderful, and amazing. The winter dessert of my dreams… no lie. I am so happy I tried them and seriously wouldn’t change a thing about them. The original recipe suggests maybe a drizzle of white chocolate on top, and while that might make them prettier, I think–for me–that extra sweetness would take away from the perfect pairing of tart + sweet + butter. But you do you, and I’ll do me, and we’ll do these Cranberry Crumb Bars together, okay? Enjoy! 🙂

one year ago: Crockpot Minestrone Soup
two years ago: Baked Fish Tacos with Cranberry Salsa
three years ago: Cranberry Orange Pancakes with Cranberry Maple Syrup
four years ago: Baby Bella, Spinach, and Bacon Frittata
five years ago: Sweet Potato Soup

Cranberry Crumb Bars

  • Servings: 24
  • Print

from Bakerita

Ingredients:

for the crust:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup almond meal or whole wheat flour
  • zest of half an orange
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup cold, unsalted butter
  • 1 egg

for the filling

  • juice of 1/2 an orange [I just added a few tablespoons of orange juice]
  • zest of 1/2 an orange
  • 12 ounces fresh cranberries
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a 9×13 inch baking dish.

In a medium bowl, stir together sugar, baking powder, flours, orange zest, and cinnamon. Use a pastry blender or two forks to cut in the butter and egg. Dough will be crumbly — you can also use a food processor for this step.

Press half of the dough into the prepared pan, then mix up the filling.

In another medium bowl, combine orange juice, orange zest, cranberries, sugar, vanilla, and cornstarch. Stir until combined, then spread over crust. Evenly distribute remaining crust over cranberry mixture.

Bake for 45-55 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool completely in the refrigerator before cutting into squares. Store in the refrigerator. Leftovers freeze well. Enjoy!

Breakfast, Pancakes, Recipes

Ricotta Pancakes

Delicate, melt-in-your mouth pancakes are made fluffy and delicious with ricotta, orange, and cinnamon. These fancy pancakes shouldn’t be missed!

Ricotta Pancakes | thepajamachef.com #breakfastThere’s pancakes and there is pancakes. These pancakes are pancakes, if you know what I mean. They’re light and fluffy, but also doughy and satisfying at the same time. The secret ingredient that makes ’em that way is in the title–ricotta!

Ricotta Pancakes | thepajamachef.com #breakfastIt’s a rare occasion that I have leftover ricotta, but I just so happened to have a half cup or so left from a pasta recipe I tried and I didn’t want it to go to waste. That would be so sad! I wanted to try baking with ricotta, but breakfast sounded better… so pancakes it was! I’ve made greek yogurt pancakes and sour cream pancakes before and honestly, the texture is pretty similar. The batter is thick but the pancakes cook beautifully and aren’t tough at all. My recipe uses a liberal amount of orange zest/juice and a touch of cinnamon for a pop of flavor, but you really can flavor these however you’d like–another type of citrus, perhaps, or some fresh berries, or chocolate… Mmm! The possibilities are endless. If I were you, I’d try them out this weekend. 🙂 I would, but I’ll be busy moving. Wish me luck! 🙂

Ricotta Pancakes | thepajamachef.com #breakfast

one year ago: Blueberry Multigrain French Toast Bake
two years ago: Maple Berry Overnight Oats
three years ago: Cinnamon Carrot Muffins
four years ago: Springtime Linguine

Ricotta Pancakes

  • Servings: 2-3
  • Print

from Running to the Kitchen

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • zest of 1 orange
  • pinch of cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg
  • juice of 1/2 an orange
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted [or oil]
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • butter or oil, for cooking
  • maple syrup or powdered sugar, for serving

Directions:

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat.

In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, orange zest, cinnamon, and salt. In a smaller bowl, whisk together milk, ricotta, egg, orange juice, butter, maple syrup, and vanilla. Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in wet ingredients. Gently stir until just combined.

When skillet is hot, grease with oil or butter. Spoon batter in 1/4 cup increments on skillet, spreading if necessary. Cook for 1-2 minutes per side, until golden brown.

Serve with additional maple syrup or powdered sugar.

Cookies, Desserts, Recipes

SRC Cookie Carnival: Orange Spritz

Cute little crisp, buttery Spritz cookies are the perfect addition to your cookie plate this Christmas season! This version has an orange twist for a bit of freshness! 

Orange Spritz | thepajamachef.com

It’s always more fun to make cookies at Christmastime, don’t you think? This year for the Secret Recipe Club we are celebrating all things COOKIES by having a fun little cookie carnival.

2014 SRC Cookie Carnival | thepajamachef.com

 

For this event I was asked to make one of Marsha’s recipes from her blog, The Harried Cook. Marsha is a mom of two girls who loves Jesus too! She lives in India with her family and from glancing at her Twitter, I learned that she teaches cooking classes. How fun! 🙂

Orange Spritz | thepajamachef.com

Marsha’s girls love these Orange Spritz cookies–both the eating, and the making. I remember eating Spritz cookies every Christmas growing up… and truthfully, they weren’t my favorite cookies. But as an adult I have given them another chance. They’re so delicate and light, the perfect accompaniment to tea or coffee or even a richer cookie treat. I almost made Marsha’s Lime and Pepper Cookies because they sounded so interesting, so you might want to check that recipe out too!

Orange Spritz | thepajamachef.com

But back to these cookies. This was my first time making Spritz cookies on my own and it was kinda fun, once I got the hang of my cookie press. By “me getting the hang of it” I clearly mean me desperately calling for Ben to come help because I could NOT figure out the instructions. It didn’t help that I have an Italian cookie press and the [oddly] translated instructions are spread out over several pages. Cookie press problems aside, the results were awesome. Thanks, Marsha for the great recipe! Merry Christmas!

Orange Spritz | thepajamachef.com

four years ago: Cranberry Sauce Two Ways

Orange Spritz

  • Servings: about 2 dozen medium cookies
  • Print

from The Harried Cook

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • zest of 1/2 an orange
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment or a silpat.

With a mixer, cream together butter and sugar in a large bowl. Beat in salt and the egg yolk until just combined. Add vanilla and orange zest, then beat again. Stir in flour.

Fill your cookie press and press out according to the cookie press’ instructions, placing on baking sheets approximately 1 inch apart.

Bake for about 8-12 minutes, until edges are golden brown. The original recipe said baking time might be about 6 minutes, but mine was definitely about 12.

Cool on baking sheets for a few minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.


Check out other cookie recipes here:

Fruit, Recipes, Sides

Cranberry Mint Relish + What To Do With All That Mint

A refreshing take on a traditional cranberry relish!

Cranberry Mint Relish + Ideas for Preserving Fresh Mint | thepajamachef.com

My favorite part of any holiday meal is the cranberry sauce. I’m picky about it though–it can’t be canned, and it can’t have nuts. I used to be a purist and only liked the traditional cranberry orange relish. But these gingered cranberry-apricot sauce and cranberry-pineapple sauce have opened up the doors for some experimentation. So this weekend, when I had a bag of cranberries in one hand and a ginormously huge mint plant in the other that had to be used up before the weather goes whacko this week, I thought, what the heck, and threw some mint in the mix. And you know what? It was pretty awesome. Adding mint to traditional cranberry relish seems pretty novel [but I’m sure others have done it] and it lends a little pop to this sweet-tart side dish. You should totally try it this fall! And it only takes a few minutes to make so you’ve got nothing to lose. 🙂

Cranberry Mint Relish + Ideas for Preserving Fresh Mint | thepajamachef.comAs for all the rest of that mint plant… quite a bit went into that jar of mint sugar on the left and those jars of mint extract on the right. There are tons of tutorials online for both delicacies, but I just layered fresh mint with sugar in one jar and have been shaking it once a day since Sunday. In about a week it’s supposed to be ready to enjoy. I can’t wait! And to make the mint extract I added vodka [eeeekkkkk] to mint that had been gently mashed in a mason jar. There’s a technical term for “mashed” but it’s escaping me at the moment. 🙂 Easy easy! My husband looked at me like I was crazy when I told him I needed some cheap alcohol for cooking. Hahaha. COOKING not drinking, haha don’t worry. That’s how you do things in homemade-everything-land. We’ll see how they turn out. I’ll have to give you guys an update, k? In the meantime, this cranberry mint relish is FAB so don’t wait til Thanksgiving to enjoy. I can’t wait to taste it on turkey!

one year ago: Flourless Chocolate Cake with Strawberry Sauce
two years ago: Carnitas
three years ago: Best Pancakes Ever
four years ago: Pumpkin French Toast Sandwich

Cranberry Mint Relish

  • Servings: 6
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 12 ounces fresh cranberries, washed and dried
  • 1 orange, scrubbed clean and cut into eighths
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint
  • 1/4-1/2 cup sugar

Directions:

Place cranberries, orange, mint, and 1/4 cup sugar in food processor. Pulse until processed to desired consistency. Taste and add more sugar if necessary. Transfer to a bowl, cover, and refrigerate for at least an hour before serving to set flavors.