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Posts tagged ‘cookies’

Chocolate Chip Cookies, Not Re-Inventing The Wheel And A Garden

 

IMG_0910Chocolate chip cookies are iconic, delicious and probably the most made cookie in the US. There are probably as many recipes as there are cookies made, well maybe not but close. I have a couple of recipes that I like to use and they always produce a great cookie. The other day I got an email from King Arthur flour, The Bakers Catalog disecting, demystifying and decoding the chocolate chip cookie.

It is actually a great article with suggestions for different types of cookies from chewy and soft to crisp and crunchy. I decided that I would make her favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe and see what all the hype is about. I was a little put off that it contains some shortening, mind you I have nothing against vegetable shortening but really like my cookies made using only butter for the most part. This uses butter and shortening. The method is also very different,creaming the butter straight from the fridge (love not having to bring to room temp) with shortening, vinegar, baking soda, sugars and vanilla.

The cookies are really fantastic crispy edges with a soft middle. You know that the butter is there but using some shortening gives the cookies a wonderful texture. All in all a really good recipe that I will add to my favorites and will be making again.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Recipe by PJ Hamel for King Arthur Flour

2/3 cup light brown sugar packed

2/3 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup, 1 stick, 8 tbs or 4 oz butter straight from the refrigerator

1/2 cup vegetable shortening

3/4 tsp salt or 1/2 tsp if you used salted butter

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp apple cider or white vinegar

1 large egg

2 cups all purpose flour

2 cups chocolate chunks or chips (I mixed milk and dark chocolate)

In stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment mix the butter, sugars, shortening, salt, vanilla. baking soda, and vinegar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and contine mixing until combined.  Add the flour and mix gently only until the flour is incorporated into the wet ingredients. Remove bowl from stand and mix in chocolate by hand. Refrigerate dough for 1 hour before baking. Pre heat oven to 375 degree’s while dough chills and line baking sheet with parchment or silpat.

Scoop onto baking sheet using a 1 1/4 inch scoop placing each ball about 2 inches apart. Bake for 11-12 minutes edges will be golden brown.

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In closing I wanted to share photo’s of the garden which right now is in full bloom. The flowers are just beautiful and I have hundreds of beautiful fragrant roses, peonies and the annuals that I bought. I am also very excited that my tomato plants are doing well and already have those yellow blossoms.

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Crinkle Cookies, Decorating And More Stuff

I have no idea where time is going, it’s already the end of the week, Christmas is a week from today. I haven’t really done anything except make a few gift baskets, I still have so much to do, I am way behind schedule.  Honestly, this year is very hard, I am trying, but my heart is not in it. I did sign up for Secret Santa/Wino on a wine blog I follow, The Drunken Cycalist and got a lovely gift.  Jeff organzes this every year and this time I decided to participate. It was fun and I get to try some great wine. Thank you to Allison who sent me this wonderful gift. I have not opened the wine yet, waiting to make the right meal to pair with. That prickly pear jelly is so good, must find it.

Secret Santa gift

Secret Santa gift, wine, sausage, candy, jelly

I have been baking, I made some gift baskets, have a few more to make, had our block association Holiday party and baked for that also. Last year I made fruit cakes and loved the recipe so I made them again this year, I really soaked them with the reserved cognac syrup. So delicious.

fruit cakes

fruit cakes

Made some thumbprints, again same recipe as last year. They are delicious.

Chocolate thumbprint

Chocolate thumbprint

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I am adding some cookies to my holiday repertoire I mentioned the biscotti in a previous post along with Pecan Chewiess and Vanilice. I also decided to make chocolate crinkle cookies. I think they look so beautiful and I love anything chocolate. They turned out so good, it’s another recipe from Fida at Sweet and Savory Pursuits. The cookies are as light as a feather and so delicious, I have linked to the site so you can try the recipe, It’s wonderful. I also made my cardamom, orange and chocolate ribbon cookies.

Packing the cookies

Packing the cookies

Last but not least I started to decorate, I dragged multiple boxes of decorations upstairs and started unpacking and one of the first things I came across were Izzy and Nando’s Holiday Stockings. It made me so sad,  I hung them on the mantle like I do every year. My sweet little dogs will always be with me in spirit.

decorated mantle

decorated mantle.

I hope you all have a great weekend and get all of your holiday shopping, baking and decorating done.  Are you the very definition of organization and efficiency? Have you done all of your shopping and decorating or do you make a mad rush to finish it all just in the knick of time?

Holiday Gift Baskets And Some Biscotti For Fiesta Friday #98

cranberry pistachio biscotti

cranberry pistachio biscotti

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, the first line and title of Andy Williams great Holiday song. It’s also the busiest time of the year. As a general rule I don’t really buy gifts for most friends or relatives, I am not a grinch really I just prefer to make my gifts at least for the adults, clients and friends.

I make the same cookies pretty much every year along with mini loaves of banana or other fruit loaves, including fruit cake. I always add a new cookie recipe or two to the line up, last year was a chocolate thumbprint with a hershey’s white striped kiss on it. This year I am adding biscotti, a wonderful recipe from Fida and her lovely blog  Sweet and Savory Pursuits. I love biscotti, they are crunchy and I am a sucker for anything that can be dipped.

Ready for 2nd bake

Ready for 2nd bake

Gift boxes for clients

Gift baskets for clients

Since I am in the throes of Holiday baking I decided to bring some biscotti to Fiesta Friday this week. Angie decked the halls making for a beautiful and festive party. We have two brand new co-hosts this week  Sadhna @ Herbs, Spices, and Traditions and Natalie @ Kitchen, uncorked

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Chocolate Chip Granola Cookies For Just Another Cookie Monday

 

Chocolate Chip Granola Cookies

Chocolate Chip Granola Cookies

Just Another Cookie Monday, what is that you might ask well it’s the brainchild of Prudy@Butter,Basil and Breadcrumbs. When I got an email asking me to participate in this cookie extravaganza I didn’t even hesitate to say YES, of course I would love to. First of all anything for Prudy, one of my absolute Fave bloggers and a real sweetheart, secondly, who doesn’t love cookies and anything to spread the cookie love is a very good thing. I hope you all enjoy my recipe.

The season of giving (cookies) is almost upon us and I am starting to make my cookie dough in preparation for the gift boxes, Secret Santa and Holiday Parties that are planned. The other day I made a  lot of granola. Granola is one of my favorite things, and homemade is what I really like best. I was feeling creative and used my recipe for chocolate chip cookies and changed and adapted to include some granola. My homemade granola is full of really good stuff, almond meal (left after making almond milk) coconut, brown sugar, maple syrup, honey, pecans and I toast until really crisp. The resulting cookies are really nice, chewy and crisp at the same time, a little salty (in a good way) and chocolatey.  They will make a really nice addition to my gift boxes. Head over to Prudy’s now for the recipe and see all the totally dreamy recipes she has for you.

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Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate Chip

Chocolate Chip

I wanted to make some cookies to give to some workmen who will be doing some work in my apt tomorrow, they are so nice and don’t price gouge, besides paying them I wanted them to have a treat. I thought I would give the cookie recipe in my old Betty Crocker cook book a go. It’s so simple and I must say the cookies are really good. I used dark and milk chocolate chunks and dark brown sugar, the recipe didn’t specify. They came together quickly and baked up soft on the inside a little crisp on the outside and really good!

I’ve owned this cookbook for years and rarely use it, but I think I am going to start experimenting with some of the recipes. I really liked this one.

Betty Crockers Chocolate Chip Cookies

Made 27 cookies for me (recipe said it makes 4 dozen)

1 cup (2 sticks) room temperature unsalted butter

3/4 cup granulated sugar

3/4 cup dark brown sugar

1 egg room temperature

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla extract

Chocolate chips (I use dark and milk chocolate and never measure)

Nuts are optional but I like hazelnuts or pecans in mine

Pre heat oven to 375 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment or silpat. Cream butter and sugar using paddle attachment until creamy and smooth, add the egg and vanilla and continue beating until incorporated. Sift the flour, baking soda and salt and add to the creamed mixture and mx just until its combined. Don’t over mix. You can make your cookies right away if you like but I like to refrigerate over night and bring to room temperature before baking. I like to use a 1 1/2 tbs scoop and place a heaping mound on the baking sheet, baking a dozen cookies at a time. You can sprinkle a few flakes of sea salt on top of the cookies before they bake if you like, it’s delicious!

Bake for 10-12 minutes rotating pan halfway through baking. Remove to cooling rack and enjoy!

Yum!

Yum!

 

August Bakin Friends

I just started participating in a  great and very fun endeavor called Bakin Friends. A group of cooks are given an ingredient and are paired with another cook who participates, we make something that uses the ingredient and send it to each other, kind of a Food Pen Pal of sorts. I was paired with Jeanette from Houston, Texas  and the ingredient was pretzels. I sent Jeannette some cookies, everything I wanted to send sounded great until I thought about how hot it is in Texas and the thought of chocolate melting while waiting to be delivered didn’t sound appealing. So I decided to do cookies and also went out on a limb and did some white chocolate covered pretzels. I used my chocolate chip cookie recipe and went a little wacky, adding crushed pretzels and chopped snickers, I also threw in some nice dark chocolate. I think they turned out pretty nicely and I got a lovely note from Jeanette saying that she really liked them.

pretzel,snickers Cookies

pretzel,snickers Cookies

White Chocolate Pretzels

White Chocolate Pretzels

Packaged and ready for their trip to Texas

Packaged and ready for their trip to Texas

Now that is what I sent, here is what I received from Alex, totally delicious blondies that had pretzels and peanut M&M’s in them. They were moist and delicious and I loved them. Thank you so much Alex for baking those fantastic blondies, along with the super cute Kitty card and hand written recipe. I really enjoyed them as did a few of my close friends.

Blondies

Blondies

If you are interested in participating in Bakin Friends click on the link above that will take you to  Stephanie’s site for more information. It’s fun and a great way to meet other bloggers and taste their delicious baked goods.  You can send an email to stephanie; stephsbitebybite@gmail.com with Bakin Friends in the subject line and let her know you would like to participate.  On the 6th of every month you will be paired with another cook/baker and you will find out what the secret ingredient is. Your packages should be mailed by the 16th of the month. It’s a lot of fun to participate!

Bakin Friends

Bakin Friends

Cooks Spotlight:Peanut Butter-Chocolate Kiss Cookies

Photo by Susan Pridmore

Photo by Susan-The Wimpy Vegetarian

I saw this recipe on one of my favorite blogs The Wimpy Vegetarian, I have known Susan for quite some time, we first met on Food52 and I admire her delicious recipes, sound nutritional advice and beautiful writing style. Most of her recipes are vegetarian, she uses healthful ingredients and manages to whip up dishes that make you swoon, and believe me they are loaded with flavor and are truly satisfying. These cookies had me drooling, I love peanut butter and chocolate and fully planned on making them for this post but held myself back, I have been on a diet and am making headway with my weight loss and I knew if I made them I would eat them all so I am reserving this recipe (along with a few others) as a treat for when I reach my goal weight, 9 lbs to go!!  Just because I am on a diet that wont stop me from sharing what I believe is an amazing recipe. Look at these : Roasted Tomato Grilled Cheese Sandwich With Harissa Mayonaise or Roasted Strawberries And Honey Ricotta On Crackers. Each recipe is delicious and nutritions and beautifully written, you will feel like you are sitting at the kitchen table chatting with a good friend. Please visit Susan’s beautiful blog, i know you will love it as much as I do, there is a wealth of great recipes, sound advice and wonderful stories.

INGREDIENTS

  • 6 ounces unsalted butter, room temp
  • 3 ounces peanut butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2.8 ounces confectioners sugar, sifted, plus some for sifting over the baked cookies at the end
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons coconut sugar
  • 1.5 ounces unsweetened cacao (chocolate) powder
  • 1 egg
  • 5 ounces all-purpose flour

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat oven to 350F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat. Fit a pastry bag with a tip for the shape you wish to pipe. Bigger is better here, as the cookie dough can be a little stiff. If you don’t plan to pipe the cookies, they can be spooned out onto the prepared baking sheet too.

Beat the softened butter and peanut butter with a paddle attachment until lighter in color and creamy (about 2 -3 minutes). The color changes due to the air being whipped into it, which translates into a fluffy base for the cookie.

Add the vanilla extract and salt. When fully incorporated, add the sugars and beat again until fully incorporated, starting on low speed.

Add the cocoa powder and egg and mix until fully incorporated.

Sift in the flour in thirds and mix in using a rubber spatula until flour is just incorporated before adding the next 1/3. Do not overmix as this will result in a tougher cookie.

If you’re piping the cookies, spoon ½ cookie dough into the pastry bag and pipe cookies onto the parchment paper or silpat, 1 1/2 to 2 inches apart from each other. I pipe mine about 1 1/2″ in diameter at their base. They will spread a bit in the oven from the butter, and the tops will sink a bit, but the overall shape should hold fine.

Bake for 8 minutes or until just starting to set up. Do not cook until they become hard or browned.

Cool on a cooling rack. For larger cookies, you may want to let them cool on the cookie sheet for 1 minute before removing to a cooking rack.

Sift with a little confectioners sugar just before serving.

Day 7 Of 7 Days Of Holiday Cookies- Gingerbread People

Gingerbread People

Gingerbread People

I am finally getting around to posting the last day of my 7 Days of Holiday cookies. I decided to make gingerbread people (not men or ladies) they are androgynous I guess. My piping and decorating skills are less than stellar as evidenced by the sad smiles and the one with a sparkling sugar vest but I’m going to work on it. I made only a few to test the recipe and hone my piping skills.

This recipe is delicious, next time I make it I am going to roll the dough a little thicker than 1/4 inch so they are even plumper. The kids will love these and I hope that after my test run they will look more polished. Because these are for children I didn’t make a royal icing, I didn’t have powdered egg whites and did not want the kids to have raw egg white, so I just mixed confectioners sugar with some water and  a few drops of clear corn syrup. It’s a little sticky and not as easy to work with but safer, I didn’t measure anthing just mixed until I felt the consistency was right. This is adapted from a recipe I found on Martha Stewarts website.

Makes approximately 36 (depending on the size of your cookie cutter)

Ingredients:

  •  3 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  •  1 stick unsalted butter room temperature
  •  1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
  •  2 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  •  3/4 tsp course salt
  •  1 egg
  •  1/2 cup molasses (unsulfured)
  • Royal Icing or icing of your choice
  • Fine sanding sugar, for sprinkling
  1. Sift together flour, baking soda, and baking powder into a large bowl. Set aside.
  2. Put butter and brown sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; mix on medium speed until fluffy. Mix in spices and salt, then eggs and molasses. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture; mix until just combined. Divide dough into two discs; wrap each in plastic. Refrigerate until cold, about 1 hour.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roll out dough on a lightly floured work surface to 1/4-inch thick. Space 2 inches apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper or silpat, and refrigerate until firm, about 15 minutes.
  4. Bake for 8-10 minutes, remove to wire rack to cool

Ginger Spiced Molasses Sugar Cookies-Day 3 Of 7 Days Of Holiday Cookies

Ginger Spiced Molasses Sugar Cookie

Ginger Spiced Molasses Sugar Cookie

This cookie is a relatively new entry into my gift boxes, last year was the first time I made it, and one bite and I knew it was a keeper. I saw the recipe on Food52 and wanted to give it a try. The cook who penned this amazing recipe is, Lynda whose cooks name is Taste Food, she has  a blog right here on wordpress appropriately named Taste Food.

This cookies is beautifully spiced, chewy  and utterly delicious! It’s very easy to make and the dough freezes well. I will be tripling the recipe this year, the cookie was such a hit with everyone who tasted it. I just love the warm spices, molasses and crunchy sugar coating.Heavenly really! The only change I made is a matter of personal preference, I omitted the cloves (cannot stand cloves) and I didn’t add the candied ginger. If you are looking for another cookie recipe for the Holidays I highly recommend you give these a try!!

Makes 24 cookies

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour

2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon  ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon  allspice

1/2 teaspoon  salt

1/4 teaspoo ground cloves

3/4 cups unsalted butter, room temperature

3/4 cups packed dark brown sugar

1 large egg

1/2 cup unsulfured molasses

1/3 cup finely diced candied ginger (optional)

granulated sugar for rolling

  1. Combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ground ginger, allspice, salt and cloves in a bowl and mix well.
  2. Beat butter and sugar together in bowl of electric mixer until light and fluffy, 3 minutes.
  3. Add egg and molasses. Mix to combine well. Stir in dry ingredients. Stir in candied ginger if using. Refrigerate batter 1 hour.
  4. Preheat oven to 375 F. Roll dough into 1 1/2″ balls. Roll balls in granulated sugar. Arrange on baking sheets lined with parchment paper and gently flatten. Bake in oven until set and crinkled on top, about 12 minutes. Remove and cool.

Cardamom,Orange And Chocolate Ribbon Cookies-Day 2 of 7 Days of Holiday Cookies

Ribbon Cookies

Ribbon Cookies

These cookies are always included in my gift boxes for the holidays. They pack and travel well and are delicious. This is a vintage recipe from a magazine, I can’t really remember how old the recipe is for sure, or what magazine it came from. The original recipe is just chocolate and vanilla with rum flavoring, I made some additions that I think make this cookie unique and more interesting, To the chocolate dough I add orange zest and the vanilla dough has cardamom. The flavors are subtle yet you know they are there.

I love how easy these cookies are to make, nothing complicated and they are so pretty and in my opinion very festive. The dough freezes well and I think it tastes even better after sitting in the freezer for a while. One very important thing to note is that these cookies are best when baked for EXACTLY the amount of time specified. If baked too long they become a bit too hard. I bake them for exactly 11 minutes and they are perfect.

Makes Approximately 36 cookies

1/2 cup unsalted butter at room temperature

1/2 cup good quality shortening at room temperature (I like spectrum)

1 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon  salt

1 large egg at room temperature

2 tablespoons whole milk or half and half

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 cups all purpose flour

zest of one orange

1/3 cup (1.5 oz)semi sweet chocolate melted (use the microwave method it’s great)

1/4 teaspoon cardamom

1/2 cup toasted walnuts chopped finely

  1. In mixing bowl beat butter and shortening with an electric mixer or stand mixer with paddle attachment for approximately 30 seconds. Add sugar, baking soda and salt and beat until combined. Beat in the egg, milk, and vanilla. Add flour and mix to combine with spoon. Melt the chocolate in the microwave at 30 second intervals stirring in between. It took me 60 seconds.
  2. Divide dough in half. Knead the melted chocolate and walnuts into half of the dough and then the cardamom and orange zest into the other half. Line a 9x5x3 loaf pan with plastic wrap. Divide chocolate dough in half and press into the bottom of the loaf pan, now divide the vanilla dough in half and press on top of chocolate layer, now another chocolate layer and finish with the vanilla layer. Cover with the plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes. If you plan on freezing the dough after the initial 30 minutes in the refrigerator invert, wrap the dough well in plastic wrap and place in ziplock bag ( I like to double wrap anything going in the freezer).  Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees
  3. Remove from refrigerator, invert onto cutting board and remove plastic wrap. Divide into 3 equal pieces (each is 3 inches) and cut each third into 12 equal pieces that are about 1/4 inch thick. Place on baking sheet with either parchment or silpat and bake for 10-12 minutes turning baking sheet around halfway through baking (5 minutes) CAREFUL NOT TO OVERBAKE remove from oven when edges start to turn a light brown. If you leave them in longer than the prescribed baking time they become over done and are really crunchy. I took out my batch of cookies at 11 minutes. They were just right. Its almost counterintuitive but it’s important for this recipe to adhere to the bake time.
Photo by Nicole Franzen for Food52

Photo by Nicole Franzen for Food52