Cocoa Thumbprints

Mornin'!

I have to admit...I'm really getting tired of this pitch blackness at 6am. I know we have a long way to go before that changes but it makes me want to remain curled up under my big comforter and never come out.

On a more exciting note, I'm happy to announce the winner of the homemade goodies giveaway. I just used a random number generator to choose the winner:

And the winner is: Joanna! Congrats Joanna! Please email me at theavidappetite@gmail.com and I will get your package out to you first thing on Monday morning. Thank you to everyone who entered! I loved reading about your favorite cookies. It seems like chocolate chip was by far the winner of the bunch, and who could blame you? It's one of my favorites as well...but only when my Aunt Janet makes them because she is famous for her amazing chocolate chip cookies!

It was also fantastic to hear from new readers and commenters! You made my day :) I promise I have more giveaways coming up (like in January, to celebrate TAA's 2nd birthday!), so don't go far away :)

Meanwhile, I wanted to share the recipe for the cocoa thumbprints in case any of you would like to make them for the holiday! This was the first year that we added them to our repetoire, and I'm so happy that my cousin Veronica picked them out to make on our baking day.

They are soft, sugary and have an almost brownie-like texture. I also adore that they are simply beautiful! You can really fill them with whatever you'd like! I think the candied cherries are the prettiest, but sprinkles, mini M&M's, marshmallows, nuts, jam, peanut butter, Nutella or Biscoff spread (yum!) would all work beautifully as well! I can't wait to try some new variations before Christmas.

Cocoa Thumbprints
*Adapted from Food Network Magazine, December 2011
1 1/2 C all-purpose flour
1 1/4 C granulated sugar, divided
1/2 C unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
6 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 C confectioners' sugar
sprinkles, candied cherries, M&M's, nuts, jam, mini chocolate chips, or other filling of your choice

In a mixing bowl, whisk the flour, 3/4 C granulated sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. Add the melted butter and eggs, stirring until combined. Cover the dough and refrigerate, about 30 minutes.

Preheat the over to 325 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or a Silpat. Place 1/2 C of the granulated sugar in a small bowl, and the confectioners' sugar in another small bowl. Roll tablespoons of dough into balls, roll in the granulated sugar and then in the confectioners' sugar. Place the dough balls about 1 inch apart on the baking sheets and lightly flatten each ball with your fingers, making a small well in the center of each ball for the filling. Fill the dough with your filling of choice (note: if you are using chocolate chips, jam, pb or Nutella, you should fill the cookies AFTER baking and cooling).

Bake the cookies about 10 minutes until slightly cracked. Let them cool for 3 minutes on the baking sheets, then transfer to wire racks.

These are definitely going in our permanent collection! Such a fun change up from the traditional chocolate crinkle, and they would be a gorgeous addition to any cookie tray!

So there you have it...my new favorite holiday cookie! I hope you enjoy this recipe and please keep sharing yours with me! My cookie baking is definitely NOT over yet :) Have a great Thursday everyone! I have my office holiday party tonight and if last year is any indication...it should be a fun (and late night) one ;)

Questions of the Day:

Do you wake up in the morning while it's still dark out?

What goodies have you made for the season so far? What's still on your list? I still plan to make salted caramels, a white chocolate peppermint cheesecake and perhaps gingerbread cupcakes for this weekend!

Cookiepalooza 2011 + A Holiday Goodies Giveaway!

Happy Monday everyone! I am seriously struggling this morning! I had a fantastic weekend, starting with an 8 hour baking session at my parents' house on Saturday. I spent the day with my mom, sister Kimberly and cousin Veronica making a big ol' mess in my mom's kitchen and whipping up a quick 10 batches of holiday cookies (all different kinds, I might add).

Needless to say, I'm still a bit exhausted today but I can't wait to share all the gorgeous photos with you! And to celebrate the most wonderful time of the year, I'm giving away a whole box of homemade holiday goodies, made by yours truly :) I hope you will all enter!! Head to the bottom of this post for entry details. Meanwhile....feast your eyes on some serious cookie porn!

We always have our favorite holiday staples in the baking mix, but this year, we added a whole bunch of new ones as well. One of my favorites is the chocolate cherry kisses. I think they are so gorgeously pink and delicious to boot.

 

Other classics on the list included raspberry-filled thumbprints (my favorite...they scream Christmas time to me!) and eggnog snickerdoodles...

We also added a lot of new ones, like cherry cheesecake cookies...

...and black and white cookies (wowza!)

...and peanut butter blossoms, filled with a chocolatey Hershey's Kiss...

We also whipped up these gorgeous cocoa thumbprints (which I think turned out to be the prettiest of the bunch!

The versions not pictured include salted chocolate caramel shortbread, seven layer Italian rainbow cookies and our classic butter cookie cutouts! It was such a fun day and by the end, my mom's kitchen looked like this:

...and even this little lady was all tuckered out...

And now to the good part.

****The giveaway!****

How it Works:

What:

A box of homemade holiday goodies (and some other surprises), including a batch of the cocoa thumbprints, homemade marshmallows and more!

 

When:

The giveaway opens... right now! It will close on Wednesday 12/14 @ Midnight, Eastern Standard Time.

How to Win:

Simply leave me a comment below and tell me what your favorite cookie is! This giveaway is open to readers, bloggers, family and friends. Don't be shy! Even if you don't celebrate Christmas...who doesn't love cookies?!

The winner will be announced on Thursday 12/15 and the goodies will ship out to you via Priority Mail on Monday 12/19, so that you will have them in time for Christmas!

*Sorry, but this giveaway is only open to US residents.

So tell me...what's your favorite kind of cookie?!

Sweet Corn & Zucchini Hash + an Animal Lover's Giveaway!

I'm hosting a great giveaway today...scroll down to find out about it and enter!

I have arrived in Las Vegas! I'm blogging from my king-sized bed (which feels very empty without Shaun to share it with!) and my computer is reading 2:51AM Eastern Standard Time, though it's only 11:51PM here. But it feels like almost 3AM for sure! I landed around 3PM, checked into the MGM Grand and darted right out to meet my cousin Mona (who lives in Vegas!) for an early dinner at Border Grill (super duper yum!). Immediately following, I went to a cocktail party followed by another dinner at Strip Steak (I did more of a tasting off of other people's plates for this one). So far, a successful trip!

Meanwhile, I have a recipe to share with you. I threw this together so quickly on Friday evening from ingredients that were on the verge of going bad in my refrigerator. And I'm soooo happy that I did. It's so easy, so fast and so delicious. Seriously. 

I am definitely rocking a full-blown, four alarm fresh corn obsession right now. Causes of said obsession may include a) my craving for all things summer, b) its ease of use and abundance, and/or c) its simplistic deliciousness. It's probably all of the above. 

 

This is one of the easiest side dishes I've ever whipped up. I'm fairly positive that though this dish serves around 2-3 people, I could easily devour this entire thing on my own. And I just might have.
Sweet Corn & Zucchini Hash
3 ears of fresh corn, husked & kernels removed
1 zucchini, diced
2 tbsp parmesean cheese
1 tbsp olive oil
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat and add the zucchini. Season with salt and pepper and cook for about 3 minutes. 
Add the corn (with kernels cut off of the cob). Cook until the corn is tender and toasted, turning a bit brown from carmelization.
Mix in the parmesean cheese. Devour immediately.

 

The Giveaway!

Ok, now for the really fun part. I'm so psyched today because I love hosting giveaways on TAA. And what makes this one even more awesome is that it's sponsored by my talented artist cousin, Alyson! With a love for and specialty in animal art, Alyson has generously offered to giveaway a custom pet portrait to a very lucky TAA reader! And if you don't have a pet? Pick out a favorite animal or childhood pet! I absolutely love this idea, and I would be all over this if I had a pet of my own. Alyson has provided some samples here, but you can see her full gallery at Alyson's Animal Art.



Here's the rundown:
What your playing for: One custom 9x12 pet portrait in your choice of media (colored pencil, pencil, soft pastel, oil pastel or conti)

To enter: Simply leave a comment telling Alyson and me something fun about your pet/your family's pet or your favorite animal

When: It starts now!

Ends: Friday 6/17 at noon EST

Logistics: This giveaway is open to US and Canada residents only

For extra entries:

1) Follow me on Twitter (@theavidappetite) and Tweet this giveaway, leaving me a separate comment telling me that you did so.

2) Like The Avid Appetite on Facebook and leave me yet another separate comment telling me that you did so (or if you already do, leave a separate comment with that too!).


A winner will be selected at random and announced on Friday evening. Once a winner is selected, please email me at theavidappetite@gmail.com to discuss the logistics of your prize...be sure to have your favorite animal photo ready!

I hope you'll enter to win this one of a kind, custom prize!!