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Megans Cookin: October 2009

Friday, October 30, 2009

Recipe for World Peace!

 That would be a recipe for World Peace Cookies!

world peace cookies 031

But if everyone got together and made these cookies and shared, I’m sure they would bring world peace!


It’s The 12 Weeks of Christmas Cookies!

And I bring to you the most amazing cookie!

I don't often make the same cookie…


world peace cookies

my Harvest Sugar Cookie and this cookie would be the exception. We love these!

Easy to make, great dough to freeze, and an exceptional taste make this cookie a winner. It’s a nice cookie dough to have stashed (frozen) when you need something for the little elves that might stop by this holiday season!

world peace cookies

If you haven’t tried World Peace cookies,

world peace cookies

You really need to make these.

world peace cookies

They are our favorite and they really are that good!

world peace cookies


World Peace Cookies

By Dorie Greenspan

(Printable Recipe)

1 1/4 cups (175 grams) all-purpose flour
1/3 cup (30 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 stick plus 3 tablespoons (11 tablespoons or 150 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup (120 grams) (packed) light brown sugar
1/4 cup (50 grams) sugar
1/2 teaspoon fleur de sel or 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 ounces (150 grams) bittersweet chocolate, chopped into chips, or a generous 3/4 cup store-bought mini chocolate chips

Sift the flour, cocoa and baking soda together.

Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter on medium speed until soft and creamy. Add both sugars, the salt and vanilla extract and beat for 2 minutes more.

Turn off the mixer. Pour in the flour, drape a kitchen towel over the stand mixer to protect yourself and your kitchen from flying flour and pulse the mixer at low speed about 5 times, a second or two each time. Take a peek — if there is still a lot of flour on the surface of the dough, pulse a couple of times more; if not, remove the towel. Continuing at low speed, mix for about 30 seconds more, just until the flour disappears into the dough — for the best texture, work the dough as little as possible once the flour is added, and don’t be concerned if the dough looks a little crumbly. Toss in the chocolate pieces and mix only to incorporate.

Turn the dough out onto a work surface, gather it together and divide it in half. Working with one half at a time, shape the dough into logs that are 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Wrap the logs in plastic wrap and refrigerate them for at least 3 hours. (The dough can be refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 2 months. If you’ve frozen the dough, you needn’t defrost it before baking — just slice the logs into cookies and bake the cookies 1 minute longer.)

Getting ready to bake: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 325°F (160°C). Line two baking sheets with parchment or silicone mats.

Working with a sharp thin knife, slice the logs into rounds that are 1/2 inch thick. (The rounds are likely to crack as you’re cutting them — don’t be concerned, just squeeze the bits back onto each cookie.) Arrange the rounds on the baking sheets, leaving about one inch between them.

Bake the cookies one sheet at a time for 12 minutes — they won’t look done, nor will they be firm, but that’s just the way they should be. Transfer the baking sheet to a cooling rack and let the cookies rest until they are only just warm, at which point you can serve them or let them reach room temperature.

More Christmas Cookies!

Peanut Butter Blossoms

Chocolate and Vanilla Sugar Cookies

Christmas Orange and Cinnamon Cookies

Chambord Crisps

Cranberry Crumb Bars

I’m linking these cookies to Foodie Friday hosted by Designs by Gollum!


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Thursday, October 29, 2009

Halloween Cookie Recipe: Witches Fingers!


Frightfully Bloody Witches Fingers!

When I saw this recipe at Recipe Girl’s blog, I knew I would be making them for the potluck party at the YMCA.

Witches Fingers” would be perfect for the Halloween theme we had planned and the kids would love them!


An almond flavored shortbread type cookie, these are a tasty treat and a ton of fun to make.


    Want one my pretty?



Recipe from

(Printable Recipe)

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp almond extract
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
¾ cup whole blanched almonds (I used almond slices)
1 tube red decorator gel

1. In a large bowl, beat together butter, sugar, egg, almond and vanilla extracts.

2. Whisk together flour and salt in a medium bowl. Add to wet mixture and beat just until moistened. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

3. Preheat oven to 325°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper (or lightly grease them.)

4. Working with one quarter of the dough at a time and keeping the remainder refrigerated, roll heaping teaspoonful of dough into finger shape for each cookie. Press almond firmly into 1 end for nail. Squeeze in center to create “knuckle” shape. Using a small knife, make slashes in several places to complete the look of the knuckle. Lift up almond, squeeze red decorator gel onto nail bed and press almond back in place, so gel oozes out from underneath. (I returned my fingers to the refrigerator for about 20 minutes to chill)

5. Place on prepared baking sheets and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until pale golden. Let cool for 3 minutes.

6. Remove from baking sheets and let cool on racks

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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Daring Baker’s French Macaron Cookie


The 2009 October Daring Bakers’ challenge was brought to us by Ami S. She chose macarons from Claudia Fleming’s The Last Course: The Desserts of Gramercy Tavern as the challenge recipe.


It seems like such an easy cookie with few ingredients, but the French Macaron is an art! What makes it such an art is getting the infamous “feet” at the base of the cookie. My friend Barbara gave me a few tips that helped me achieve my success.

  1. Age your egg whites. Set them out on the counter, loosely covered for 3 days.
  2. Beat your egg whites till stiff and hold a peak.
  3. Sift your almond flour. ( I forgot to do this!)
  4. Weigh your ingredients.
  5. Use double pans stacked on each other. (I used airbake pans)
  6. Use this template

And I’ll add another tip.

   6. Use a Silpat liner so your cookies wont stick. I used one pan lined with wax paper, and every single cookie stuck to it. They came off the Silpat liner with no problem. I love my Silpat. :)

macarons 005

I must say, this is an addicting little cookie. With a lot of room for improvement, I cant wait to give it another try. The flavors could be endless. With a little love, patience, and practice, I think I could master this macaron!


        Look at those “Feet”!


French macaron

Confectioners’ (Icing) sugar: 2 ¼ cups (225 g, 8 oz.)
Almond flour: 2 cups (190 g, 6.7 oz.)
Granulated sugar: 2 tablespoons (25 g , .88 oz.)
Egg whites: 5 (Have at room temperature)


1. Preheat the oven to 200°F (93°C). Combine the confectioners’ sugar and almond flour in a medium bowl. If grinding your own nuts, combine nuts and a cup of confectioners’ sugar in the bowl of a food processor and grind until nuts are very fine and powdery.
2. Beat the egg whites in the clean dry bowl of a stand mixer until they hold soft peaks. Slowly add the granulated sugar and beat until the mixture holds stiff peaks.
3. Sift a third of the almond flour mixture into the meringue and fold gently to combine. If you are planning on adding zest or other flavorings to the batter, now is the time. Sift in the remaining almond flour in two batches. Be gentle! Don’t overfold, but fully incorporate your ingredients.
4. Spoon the mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a plain half-inch tip (Ateco #806). You can also use a Ziploc bag with a corner cut off. It’s easiest to fill your bag if you stand it up in a tall glass and fold the top down before spooning in the batter.
5. Pipe one-inch-sized (2.5 cm) mounds of batter onto baking sheets lined with nonstick liners (or parchment paper).
6. Bake the macaroon for 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and raise the temperature to 375°F (190°C). Once the oven is up to temperature, put the pans back in the oven and bake for an additional 7 to 8 minutes, or lightly colored.


These cookies were sandwiched with Nutella Hazelnut Spread. I also added 2 Tablespoons of cocoa to the cookie batter.

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Sunday, October 25, 2009

Foodbuzz 24, 24, 24: A Wine Pairing Dinner Celebrating The Flavors Of Fall!

Partnering up with Foodbuzz and Visa Signature, I was able to toast in the Autumn season with a Wine Pairing Dinner;

Celebrating The Flavors Of Fall!

I invited good friends,

Wine Pairing Dinner

Wine Pairing Dinner

opened good wine,

 Wine Pairing Dinner

Wine Pairing Dinner

and we gathered around a pretty table.

Wine Pairing Dinner

The Menu!

Wine pairing dinner

The appetizers and wine were served outside on the patio. I lined up the luminaries that I made and placed them on a cement edge next to the patio where they glowed bright. A few candles and a twinkling of orange light wrapped in my lemon tree made for a festive mood.

wine paiting dinner


Pear and Blue Cheese Crostini

Even the non blue cheese loving people liked these. Seasonal pears caramelize in butter with sage and blue cheese on top of a toasted baguette slice.

wine paiting dinner

Bacon Wrapped Dates

Always  a hit and one of the first appetizers to go. The salty bacon wrapped around a dried date stuffed with a whole almond baked to  a sweet/salty perfection.

wine paiting dinner

Chevre Cheesecake with Biscotti Crust

These are a family favorite and I love to have some of these on hand in the freezer. Perfect appetizer and it’s nice to be able to pull a few out when company stops by. These little cheesecakes got their picture taken before I had the chance to garnish them. The unexpected flavor of rosemary combined with a biscotti crust will surly tickle your taste buds.

wine paiting dinner

All appetizers were served with

Rustico Nino Franco Prosecco


First Course

Butternut Squash and Apple Soup

wine paiting dinner

The butternut squash was everything I was hoping for. It was a sweeter soup due to the apples, carrots and maple syrup. It was the perfect autumn soup and I served it in these fun fresh mini pumpkins! It made quite a statement!

wine paiting dinner

Served with Chateau Ste Michelle 2008 Riesling

Second Course

Salad au Chevre

Tender baby greens dressed with a balsamic vinaigrette and adorned with a thyme, lavender, walnut, and bread crumb coated goat cheese medallion heated till warm and gooey.

I forgot to take a picture but will insert one as soon as I make it tonight! ;-)

Served with Hop Kiln 2008 Thousand Flower

Third Course

Creamed Vegetable Vol-au-Vents

These were made from the homemade puff pastry I made for my Daring Baker’s Challenge. The creamed vegetables was the filling from a Vegetable Pot Pie recipe I made.  I had left-overs from the DB challenge that I froze and used for this dinner. It went perfect with our Autumn theme.

wine paiting dinner

Served with RRV Limited 2007 Pinot Noir


Forth Course

Fruit Stuffed Pork Loin w/ Fig Jam

wine paiting dinner

Smashed Apple Chedder  Potato Cakes

Smashed Yukon Gold potatoes with cheddar cheese and grated apples mixed in. Formed into cakes, breaded in Panko breadcrumbs and fried to a crisp on the outside, creamy on the inside,golden patties. It really doesn’t get much better then this!wine paiting dinner

Served with Renwood 2005 Old Vine Zinfandel

Before we moved on to the dessert courses, we took time to have a little fun. I bought English Crackers that are so popular at Christmas. In side each “cracker”, there is a small gift or toy, a joke and a paper hat. I waited till after 5 bottles of wine to open them, so everyone would be a little “loosened up”! That also explains the quality of these last few photos!  ;)

wine paiting dinner

wine paiting dinner

wine paiting dinner

Fifth Course

I knew I would forget something over the course of this dinner. As I’m typing up this post and uploading pictures, I realize I forgot the dried fruit for this platter. I also forgot to line the plate with a hydrangea leaf but if that’s the worse think I did, I did pretty darn good! Everyone was getting pretty full by this time so it wasn’t really a big deal. Few brownie points knocked off for presentation and missing ingredients! O-well!

Artesian Cheese Platter w/Dried Fruit

wine paiting dinner

Pictured is an Italian Truffle Cheese wedge with Truffle Honey, a Date and Orange Cheese, a piece of Torrone Italian Candy, a cube of Apple Smoked Garlic Cheddar and a Smokey Blue Cheese Truffle.

Served with HoneyMoon 2008 Viognier

Sixth Course

By the we got to this course, I became a little impaired. We were on our 7th bottle of wine, and this next course was served with a port! I forgot the chocolate sauce for these molten cakes and what’s with that mint spring. Apparently, the photographer was slipping.

It was served with a Chocolate Coated Vanilla Bean Ice Cream Pyramid.

Molten Spiced Chocolate Cabernet Cakes

wine paiting dinner

and a Pumpkin Pie Chocolate Truffle.

wine paiting dinner

Served with Trentadue 2006 Zinfandel Port wine paiting dinner

Butternut and Squash Soup

By 5 Star Foodie

(Printable Recipe)

2 tablespoons butter
4 cups butternut squash cubes
1 onion, chopped
2/3 cup baby carrots
1 cup apples, peeled, cut up in chunks
1/2 teaspoon allspice
3.5 cups chicken stock
Salt, Cayenne pepper to taste
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 cup cream
Directions: (6 servings)
In a large saucepan, melt butter. Add butternut squash, onion, and carrots and cook the vegetables for 5-8 minutes until the onions are translucent.
Add apples and allspice, mix well. Pour chicken stock over and season with salt to taste. Cook for about 20 minutes or until the vegetables are soft. Let the vegetable stand, covered for at least 30 minutes or until ready to serve.
Blend well using immersion blender (can also use food processor or a regular blender). Strain back into a saucepan. Add maple syrup and cream and mix with an immersion blender.
Heat until the soup just starts to boil and serve immediately. Swirl cayenne pepper into each individual bowl.


wine paiting dinner

Smashed Potatoes with Apple and Chedder

Found at Cinnamon, Spice, and Everything Nice

(semi-adapted from Guy Fieri)
About 2 pounds of potatoes, cubed
4 cloves garlic, whole, peeled
Sea salt and fresh pepper
3-4 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup milk
1 tablespoon Rosemary
12 ounces sharp cheddar, shredded
2 large, tart apples, shredded
To a large saucepan add the potato cubes and garlic. Fill with water to just above the potatoes. Add a teaspoon of salt. Bring to a boil and simmer about 20 minutes or until fork-tender.
Remove from heat and drain leaving a few tablespoon of water in the pan. Add the potatoes and garlic back to the pan with the butter, milk, rosemary and re-season with salt and pepper. Smash with a potato masher. Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed or milk if too thick. Mix in the cheese and apples. Cover with a lid and let sit for five minutes before serving.

Potato Pancakes

Panko Bread Crumbs
Butter for pan-frying
Mix mashed potatoes, egg, and bread crumbs together. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. The skillet has to be hot enough to quickly brown the outsides or the cakes will melt. Add a pat of butter and coat the bottom. Add a large spoon of the mashed potato mixture and shape it into a patty using the spoon. Dip in Panko to coat. Cook about five minutes on each side until crispy golden brown. Repeat adding butter to the pan until all your pancakes are cooked. Serve with sour cream.

wine paiting dinner

Molten Spiced Chocolate Cabernet Cakes
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
4 ounces semi-sweet baking chocolate
1/2 cup  (1 stick)  butter
1 tablespoon Cabernet Sauvignon or other red wine
1 teaspoon
Vanilla Extract
1 cup confectioners' sugar
2 eggs
1 egg yolk
6 tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon
Cinnamon, Saigon
1/4 teaspoon Ginger, Ground
1/8 teaspoon Cloves, Ground (optional)
1.  Preheat oven to 425°F.  Butter 4 (6-ounce) custard cups or soufflé dishes.  Place on baking sheet.

2.  Microwave chocolate and butter in large microwavable bowl on HIGH 1 minute or until butter is melted.  Whisk until chocolate is completely melted.  Stir in wine, vanilla and confectioners' sugar until well blended.  Whisk in eggs and yolk.  Stir in remaining ingredients.  Pour batter evenly into prepared custard cups.

3.  Bake 13 to 15 minutes or until sides are firm but centers are soft.  Let stand 1 minute.  Carefully loosen edges with small knife.  Invert cakes onto serving plates.  Sprinkle with additional confectioners' sugar.  Serve immediately.

Make Ahead:  The chocolate mixture can be prepared up to 10 hours ahead of time.  Pour the batter into prepared custard cups; cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.  Bring to room temperature for 30 minutes before baking.

wine paiting dinner

I hope you enjoyed our Wine Pairing Dinner Party,

Celebrating The Flavors Of Fall! We enjoyed having you visit!

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Friday, October 23, 2009

Buttermilk Cookies with Nutmeg and Sour Cream Frosting

12 Weeks of Christmas Cookies!

9 weeks left till Christmas.

I bet you don't want to hear that… but I’m excited. I love Christmas time. The smells, the lights, the food. We’ve scaled way back in the last few years, so it’s not the commercial hustle and bustle anymore but a sacred, slower, meaningful time that is shared with friends and family.

Buttermilk Cookies w/ Nutmeg

This week I bring you comfort and joy… I mean,… I bring you Buttermilk Cookies with Nutmeg and Sour Cream Frosting. These were like a glass of eggnog in a cookie. They make you all warm and cozy inside. So I guess maybe I am bringing you some comfort and joy!  :-)

Buttermilk Cookies w/ Nutmeg

A delicate tender cookie that would adapt to many flavors. I was thinking you could swap out cinnamon, cardamom, or even chai spice  for the nutmeg. Or how about a vanilla cookie with a maple frosting? This could be a fantastic base recipe with many possibilities .

Buttermilk Cookies w/ Nutmeg

The teen said, “ YUM! It taste like a sugar cookie.”

The Hubby said, It’s like a sugar cookie on steroids.”

I said, “Please pass the cookies and milk!”

Buttermilk Cookies w/ Nutmeg

Buttermilk Cookies With Nutmeg

(Printable Recipe)

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup Butter
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup + 2 TBSP buttermilk


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Butter a baking sheet and set aside.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together sugar and butter until well combined. Add eggs, mixing until incorporated.
  3. In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, nutmeg, and salt. With the mixer running, add flour, alternating with buttermilk and beginning and ending with flour; mix until well combined.
  4. Using a heaping teaspoon, drop dough onto prepared baking sheet and transfer to oven. Bake until edges are slightly brown, about 10 minutes or until set.
  5. Let cool completely. Frost with Sour Cream Frosting. If desired, sprinkle with additional nutmeg.

Sour Cream Frosting

  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 3 TBSP butter
  • 1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 vanilla extract

In a medium bowl. beat sour cream. butter, and vanilla with  an electric beater till smooth. Gradually add powdered sugar, beating on low until well incorporated and spreadable.

More Christmas Cookies!

Chewy Chocolate Cookies

Lime Meltaways

Lemon Luscious Snow Capped Cookies 

Brickle Cookies



I’m linking this to Foodie Friday hosted by Designs by Gollum. Please go check out the other Friday Foodies!

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Monday, October 19, 2009

Recipe for Pumpkin Pie Spiced Chocolate Truffles

Pumpkin Pie Spiced Chocolate Truffles

and Martha Monday’s Luminaries!


Pumpkin Pie Spiced Chocolate Truffles

I’ve made many truffles before, like my Cinnamon Chipotle Truffles, Eggnog Truffles, and Coconut Truffles, but I was looking for something a little different. So I tried some Pumpkin Pie Spiced Chocolate Truffles to serve at an upcoming dinner party that I’m throwing. I wanted something to serve with a red wine or a port, so I used dark chocolate for these gems.

 pumkin Pie Spiced Chocolate Truffles

 I used a  bar of 70% cocoa  Artesian dark chocolate  that I got in my goodie bag from Scharffen Berger when I went to the Blogher conference in Sanfrancisco. I can’t think of a nicer way to use this delicious chocolate.

pumkin Pie Spiced Chocolate Truffles

I added pumpkin pie spice to my ganache and I got a little bit of an oily residue. I just gave it a little stir a couple times as it was cooling, and it did just fine.

 pumkin Pie Spiced Chocolate Truffles

They scooped easily and then I put them in the refrigerator to chill.

 pumkin Pie Spiced Chocolate Truffles

These chocolate transfer sheets were my inspiration to make these truffles and I used them for the decorations. They turned out beautiful (in a homemade kind of way!), tasty, and perfect for sharing with a few friends. I cant wait to see what my people think of these.

truffles and pb bars 012 

Now for my Martha Monday Project!

Halloween Luminaries


These turned out so cute and were so easy!

Halloween Luminaries

 Brette from Martha and Me choose this weeks Martha Monday project. She gave us our choice between pot stickers and/or  Halloween Luminaries.

Halloween Luminaries

I picked Luminaries! But I cheated a little bit. I didn't make them according to the directions. I decided to use paper bags instead of cutting out Martha’s template. I cut out little windows in my bags and taped printed vellum sheets to the inside of the bags. Using both gold and white vellum sheets, I got the clip art from Martha Stewart. A small candle or a battery operated tea light makes them glow.

Halloween Luminaries

I’m going to line my deck with these for my party next weekend.

They will set the mood for truffles and red wine under the Harvest Moon! Enjoy!

Pumpkin Pie Spice Chocolate Truffles

(Printable Recipe)

Makes 16 truffles


  • 6 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream*
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 8 oz dipping chocolate wafers

Bring cream just to a boil. Turn off heat and chocolate. Let sit without stirring for 5 minutes. Stir till smooth. Add pumpkin pie spice. Let cool, stirring every 15 minutes till almost set. Scoop into balls. refrigerate till firm.

Melt chocolate wafers. Dip truffles in chocolate.

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