Ginormous Toaster Pastry

Two 8-ounce tubes refrigerated seamless crescent dough sheets (see Cook’s Note)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Watch how to make this recipe.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment.

Unroll one tube of dough onto one of the prepared baking sheets into a rectangle. Repeat with the other dough and other baking sheet. Refrigerate both while you make the filling.

Combine the butter, brown sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Mix together with your hands or a rubber spatula until completely combined.

Spread the filling on one of the dough rectangles, leaving a 1-inch border. Pick up the other dough rectangle, keeping it on the parchment (it will stick to the parchment, making it easier to transfer). Arrange it parchment-side up on top of the other dough piece to sandwich them together, lining them up as evenly as possible. Peel away the top piece of parchment. Brush the dough with the beaten egg and use a fork to crimp the edges.

Bake until golden brown and crispy, 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes before icing.

Put the confectioners’ sugar in a bowl. Stir the milk and vanilla together in a separate bowl, then slowly whisk the milk mixture into the sugar until thick but pourable.

Drizzle the icing over the top of the pastry in a zigzag pattern. Cut into squares and serve warm.

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 sticks butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 large eggs, beaten
1 tablespoon vanilla
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
2 cups chocolate chips, 2 Hershey’s chocolate bars, chopped or M&M’S
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional).

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a bowl stir together flour, salt, and baking soda. In another large bowl stir together butter, both sugars, eggs, vanilla and cocoa. Gradually stir flour mixture into butter mixture and mix until combined. Stir chocolate chips and walnuts, if using, and stir to distribute evenly.

For cookies: Drop dough by tablespoonfuls onto greased baking sheets and bake about 10 minutes. Cool on a baking rack.

For bars: Pat dough into a greased 9 inch square baking pan and bake 20 to 25 minutes. Cut into squares when cooled

Coconut Cake

Coconut cake:

5 eggs, separated
8 tablespoons butter, room temperature
1/2 cup shortening
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup buttermilk, shaken
1 cup unsweetened coconut
1 cup pecans, finely chopped
Coconut Frosting:
8 ounces cream cheese
1/2 cup butter, softened
3 cups confectioners’ sugar
Milk, to thin as needed
1 cup unsweetened coconut plus 1/4 cup unsweetened coconut, toasted for garnish
1 cup pecans, chopped, plus 1/4 cup pecans, toasted, for garnish
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Special equipment: 3 (8-inch) round cake pans, or 2 (9-inch) round cake pans, floured and greased

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

To make the cake, whip the egg whites until stiff, but not dry in an electric mixer. Set the whites aside.

Switch to the paddle attachment. In a clean bowl cream the butter with the shortening, and sugar until fluffy. Add the yolks, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla.

Sift the flour and baking soda together. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture, alternating with the buttermilk, starting and ending with the dry ingredients. Beat in the coconut and pecans. Gently fold in the whipped egg whites. Do not overmix.

Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake until toothpick comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Do not overbake or cake will become too dry. Remove the cakes from the oven and cool in pans for 10 minutes. Turn the cakes out onto a rack. Cool completely.

To make the frosting: Cream the cream cheese with the butter in an electric mixer. Gradually beat in confectioners’ sugar. To achieve the spreading consistency you desire, add milk to thin, as needed. Add the vanilla and beat in 1 cup of coconut and the chopped nuts. Frost the cake and sprinkle the toasted coconut and pecans.

Peanut Butter Layer Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting

1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for greasing the pans
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon fine salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup packed light brown sugar
2/3 cup smooth peanut butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup milk
Buttercream and Filling:
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
5 large egg whites
Pinch fine salt
1 1/4 cups smooth peanut butter
4 sticks (1 pound) unsalted butter, cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Crushed peanut brittle, for decorating

Special equipment: Two 9-inch round cake pans

For the cake: Position an oven rack in the center of the oven, and preheat to 350 degrees F. Butter two 9-inch round cake pans, and line the bottom of each with a round piece of parchment. Sift the flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda together onto a piece of parchment or into a large bowl.

Beat the butter, brown sugar, peanut butter and granulated sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until the mixture is light and creamy, about 5 minutes. Scrape down the side of the bowl as needed. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Continue beating until the mixture is light and creamy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the vanilla. Reduce the mixer speed to medium-low, and add the flour mixture in 3 additions and the milk in 2 additions, beginning and ending with the flour. Beat until just combined.

Evenly divide the batter among the prepared cake pans. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes. Let the cakes cool in the pans for a few minutes, then transfer them to a cooling rack to cool completely. Invert each onto a cooling rack, and remove the parchment. (The cakes can be stored at room temperature, wrapped in plastic wrap, for 1 day.)

For the buttercream: Bring a few inches of water to a boil in a saucepan large enough to hold the heatproof bowl of a stand mixer above the water.

Whisk together the granulated sugar, egg whites and salt in the stand mixer bowl. Set the bowl above the boiling water, and whisk until the mixture is warm to the touch and the sugar has completely dissolved. Transfer the bowl to the stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, and beat at medium-high speed until cool and the whites hold stiff peaks, about 5 minutes. Beat in 3/4 cup of the peanut butter until smooth. Beat in a couple of chunks of butter at a time, making sure the pieces are incorporated before adding more. Continue beating on medium-high speed until the buttercream thickens into stiff peaks. (The mixture at some point may appear to be very liquidy, but continue to beat.) Beat in the vanilla.

To assemble: Slice each cake in half, for a total of 4 cake rounds. Spread the remaining 1/2 cup peanut butter on 3 of the rounds, dividing evenly. Put 1 round, peanut butter-side up, on a cake stand or serving platter, and spread about 3/4 cup of the buttercream on top, leaving about a 1/2-inch border all around. Repeat with 2 more layers of peanut-buttered cake and buttercream. Place the last cake round (without the peanut butter) on top. Frost the outside of the cake with the remaining buttercream. Refrigerate the cake until it sets up (this makes it possible to cut neat slices), at least 4 hours up to overnight. Sprinkle the top with peanut brittle before serving. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

Peanut Butter Bars with Salted Chocolate Ganache

Nonstick cooking spray, for baking dish
1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 cup creamy peanut butter
Kosher salt
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted
8 ounces semisweet baking chocolate, chopped into small pieces
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon flaky sea salt, optional

Watch how to make this recipe.

Coat the bottom and sides of an 8-by-8-inch baking dish with nonstick spray.

In a large bowl, stir to combine the confectioners’ sugar, graham cracker crumbs, peanut butter, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and melted butter. Press the mixture into the prepared baking dish and set aside.

Place the chocolate and 1/8 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl. Heat the cream in a small saucepan until bubbles start to form around the edges. Pour the cream over the chocolate, let sit for 1 minute and then whisk until completely melted and smooth.

Pour the ganache over the peanut butter mixture and refrigerate until the chocolate is cooled and set, at least 45 minutes and up to overnight.

Sprinkle evenly with the flaky sea salt. Cut into squares to serve.