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Entries in Cookies (172)

Wednesday
Jul092014

Waste Not Want Not: Compost Cookies Recipe

CakeSpy note: this is a guest post from Stefanie Ellis. When she's not busy masquerading as a giant Thin Mint, Stefanie writes about food and relationships. She is a former restaurant critic and food writer for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and St. Louis magazine, and is the PR director for Girl Scouts of Western Washington. You can reach her via email here.

I have a confession to make: I don’t really like cookies. I’ve tried really hard to like them. I was even sprawled out on a settee while some handsome man fed some to me, and that STILL didn’t work. Crazy? Maybe. But I’m more of a cake kind of girl. I would ditch a handsome man if it meant I could spend an evening on my settee with a devil’s food cake slathered in bittersweet chocolate ganache. For me, cake takes the cake.

However, there have been a handful of experiences in my life where cookies have actually competed with my love for cake, and left a rather remarkable impression.

Like when I was little, and my mom would serve me chocolate chip cookies warm from the oven when I came home from school. I never knew when these magical, melty kitchen table sessions would happen, so it made it even more exciting. The chocolate would get all over my face, and we’d laugh and talk about our days. I can’t imagine anything more wonderful than that feeling, or that perfect marriage of sugar, butter and chocolate. My local grocery, Metropolitan Market, started making giant chocolate chip cookies with several types of chocolate. They make them every five minutes, so when you walk into the store, there’s always a fat, gooey cookie waiting for you. Instantly, I am catapulted back to my kitchen table, laughing with mom. Sometimes I eat one while I walk through the store, only to realize I had chocolate all over my face the whole time.


When I went to college, my grandmother would send me care packages filled with oatmeal cookies with apricots and pecans. I don’t like oatmeal cookies, but hers were saucer-sized orbs of the softest, silkiest, cinnamon-kissed dough I’ve ever tasted. The apricots paired beautifully with the cinnamon, and she ground the oatmeal so fine you didn’t even know it was in the recipe. These are the only oatmeal cookies I could ever imagine eating every day for the rest of my life.

 

When I went to pastry school, I made my first macarons. They were pink. But more than that, they were so crisp and delicate, it seemed as though they might shatter if you laughed within close proximity. The insides were tender and ethereal, like a pillow made of cotton candy. When I melded the fragile shells together with homemade raspberry jam, it felt like I was painting the inside of a princess castle.

And let’s not forget Girl Scout Cookies. I’m not just saying this because I work for Girl Scouts. I couldn’t, even if I wanted. Girl Scout honor. I’ve had a love affair with Girl Scout Cookies ever since I can remember. To me, Samoas and Thin Mints are right up there with Nutella eaten straight out of the jar. They’re a luxury, and I don’t eat them year-round, as many people believe (people also think our office has stairs made of Do-Si-Dos). When I do eat them, I’m transported back to the sweetest moments in my childhood, when my biggest stressor was whether or not to play freeze tag, jump rope or eat the blackberries from my neighbor’s yard.

Each one of these cookie memories has been completely different – sort of like a bunch of different experiences were dumped into my brain and mixed around, creating a sweet feeling of joy in my heart.

I realize they’ve created the perfect base for these Crazy-Sexy Compost Cookies, my new favorite. Yes, that means I kind of like cookies now. I guess I can thank Christina Tosi for that. I’ve been hearing of her compost cookies from Momofuku Milk Bar for years, and love that her recipe uses coffee grounds. I’m a big compost geek. I have my master composter’s certification, and have even been known to take my compostables on planes from time to time.

I always have random bits of ingredients in my pantry that can never really be used for a single recipe, and that’s why I love these cookies so much. Have just a few ingredients that don’t go together at all? No problem! You might even find, as I have, that cookies are even better when you start adding in wacky ingredients. Goldfish crackers or Almond Roca, anyone?


Tosi’s recipe calls for butterscotch, pretzels, graham cracker crust and oats, and I have eliminated those ingredients, replacing the oats with maple pecan granola, and adding in banana chips and crystallized ginger. I also use almond flour in place of some of the regular flour, which makes for a wonderful texture. All in all, this cookie has really challenged my perception of what a cookie can or should be. Not to mention it has done a nice job in helping me remember that cookies, like memories, are much better when you throw a bunch of different things together and mix them around to create a sweet feeling of joy in your heart – and in your stomach.

Crazy-Sexy Compost Cookies

Note: Compost cookies are trademarked by Momofuku. These cookies were not made for resale.

YIELD: Approximately 25 cookies

INGREDIENTS

1½ sticks butter, room temperature (12 T)

3/4 cup raw sugar

¼ cup coconut sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste

1 cup unbleached flour

1/4 cup ground almonds

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 T maple agave syrup or maple syrup

1 cup dark chocolate chips

1/2 cup banana chips, crushed

2T candied ginger, finely chopped

1/2 cup granola, such as Trader Joe’s Maple Pecan

1 cup potato chips, crushed

Procedure

 

  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Combine the butter and sugars in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and cream together on medium-high for 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the egg and vanilla, and beat until well blended. Reduce the speed to low and add the flour, almond meal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix just until dough comes together, about 30 seconds. Do not over mix. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula.
  3. With a spatula, add the chocolate chips, banana chips, granola, maple agave syrup, ginger and potato chips. You’ll want to crush the ingredients a bit to make sure there aren’t large chunks, but do so judiciously, not incessantly.
  4. Refrigerate dough for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
  5. Arrange the chilled dough 4 inches apart on parchment or silicone baking mat-lined sheet pans. Bake for 15 minutes, or until the cookies are golden brown.

 

Cool the cookies completely before transferring to a plate or container for storage. At room temperature, cookies will keep fresh for 5 days; in the freezer, they will keep for 1 month.

Monday
Jul072014

Pastissets: A Party-Perfect Cookie Recipe from Spain

Pastissets

Last week, I was invited to a party. This was an exciting prospect, because typically at parties there is cake. Or as Julia Child once smartly and aptly put it, "a party without cake is just a meeting."

It was a potluck party, so naturally I decided to bring something sweet. Since these were new friends, I also wanted to kiss up a little bit. So in knowing that they had lived in Barcelona for a while (showoffs), I decided to find a recipe from Spain. Maybe a cake?

Well, almost: a cookie. In my brief research, I discovered a little something called pastissets. In looking at the recipe, which relied on lard for a tender texture and confectioners' sugar for a snowy coating, it struck me that these cookies seem very much like the love child of New Mexican biscochitos and Mexican wedding cakes (or snowballs, or whatever you want to call them). No nuts, but still that melt-in-your mouth texture. 

Pastissets

Apparently, in Spain sometimes pastissets are more like a sweet mini empanada cookie; it is in particular in Amposta that they're created in this way, sometimes with olive oil, sometimes with lard. The fact that some versions are made with anisette makes them only more similar to biscochitos!

I made mine with butter because I wasn't sure if any vegetarians would be in the house, and they went over quite well. I left some for my sweetie, who had to work, and he left me this note: 

Pastissets

So I would say they are a success.

Just to review: melt in your mouth. Nice and tender. Like Snowballs or Russian teacakes or Mexican wedding cakes but without the nuts!

I give them an A+. I hope you do too.

Pastissets

Makes about 24

  • 1 cup unsalted butter (original recipe called for 2/3 cup lard and 1/3 cup butter)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon peel, grated
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • confectioners' sugar, sifted ( for dusting)

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl, cream the butter until smooth.
  3. Incorporate the sugar, egg yolk and lemon peel. Stir in the vanilla.
  4. In a separate bowl, combine the cinnamon, flour, and salt; work into the buttery mixture with your hands to form a smooth dough.
  5. Roll the cookies into 
  6. Pastissets
  7. Arrange cookies on a greased or parchment lined cookie sheet and bake for about 10 minutes, or until golden.
  8. Allow to cool briefly on the cookie sheet as they are delicate when warm. If one looks like it's trying to hide, eat that one first. 
  9. Pastissets
  10. Coat with confectioners' sugar twice: once after they've cooled for a few minutes, and again before serving. 
  11. Pastissets
Wednesday
Jul022014

American Flag Shortbread Recipe

When the settlers came over from Europe, they didn't just bring a will for freedom and revolution: they brought over their shortbread recipes. 

Shortbread is perhaps one of the world's most perfect, and most simple, foods. Consisting primarily of flour, butter, sugar, and salt, it can be prettied up in any number of ways, but is in its essence a humble food. 

American Flag shortbread

This recipe takes but one liberty: the addition of cornstarch to mimic the lower-protein flours which might have been used in old-school Europe; but otherwise it is fairly straightforward.

American Flag shortbread

To make it a bit more festive, I reserved about 1/8 of the dough, which tinted red. I then made the majority of the dough into a rectangle, removing a portion from the left hand corner to make the blue portion of the flag. I tinted it after I cut it out; this was how I ensured I had enough dough.

Now, I should tell you that decorating with tinted shortbread is tough because you can't really roll or shape it. So I gathered crumbles and kind of pressed them into stripes, and simply shaped and placed the blue portion where I had removed it initially. I used the leftover bits to form ugly multicolored balls of shortbread. They still tasted good. 

American Flag shortbread

It baked up pretty sweet, don't you think? Here's the recipe for shortbread--it's a keeper. 

How to make perfect shortbread

as seen on Craftsy

Ingredients:

  • 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour (about 6 ounces)
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened (4 ounces)
  • ½ cup granulated sugar (about 2 ounces)
  • ¼ cup cornstarch (about 1 ounce)
  • Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Procedure

  1. Cut the butter into pieces. Using a wooden spoon, mix the butter and sugar by hand until pale and creamy.
  2. Sift the flour, cornstarch and salt into the bowl of creamed butter and sugar, and mix well, continuing to use your wooden spoon. It will begin to come together in a somewhat crumbly dough, but it should very easily clump together if you gather it with your hand. If baking as a large round or as small cutout cookies, transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet.
  3. Lightly flour a work surface. Place the dough on top. Roll out the dough until it is about ¼-inch thick.
  4. Decide what shape you’d like the shortbread in (follow the steps above, to flag-ify it). If you’d like it to be a round, shape it into a circle by hand. If you’d like it to bake in a pan, press it into a greased 8″ by 8″ pan. Or, simply cut the rolled dough using a lightly floured cutter. Score the dough if it will be sliced after baking, and lightly prick all over with the tines of a fork.
  5. Bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes, or until the sides and bottoms are lightly browned but the top is just set. Step 7: Let cool on the pan for about 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Don’t get greedy, or you might burn your mouth.

Happy 4th of July! Don't forget to make some pop rocks cookies, too.

Monday
Jun302014

Millionaire's Shortbread Cookie Cups Filled with Milk

Milk filled cookie shooters

Cronuts. Brookies. Donnolis. S'moreos. The world of mash-up desserts, or the "hybrid trend", as it has been called by food consultants and PR peeps, has pretty much gotten out of control. But as annoyed as you may want to be with the trend, the fact is...if some is good, more has the potential to be amazing. And so we continue to--excuse the pun--eat it all up.

A recent dessert hybrid dreamed up by cronut creator Dominique Ansel was the chocolate chip cookie "milk shot"--a cup made of chocolate chip cookie, enforced so that it could hold milk long enough to take it as a "shot" and then eat the vessel from whence it came.

It never hit as big as the cronut, but I still think it's a pretty nifty idea, because how many desserts can actually allow you to utter the words "I'm gonna get milk and cookie CRUNK right now!"...? Seriously. No other dessert I can think of.

And an easy-to-make version hit my radar recently with an email from Pillsbury featuring several of their easy mash-ups (cannoli doughnuts, crescent bagels, etc). Their version included chocolate chip cookie dough baked in cupcake tins, then lined with chocolate, then filled with milk. Here's their version:

 

Milk Filled Chocolate Chip Cookie Cup

Looks yum, right?

But of course, I didn't want to do EXACTLY what they told me to, so I thought "why don't I do a Millionaire's shortbread spin?".

It was quite easy to do: I used sugar cookie dough instead of chocolate chip, then added a layer of caramel (since I think I'm pretty cool sometimes, I made my own) atop which I added a layer of chocolate. These fat cookie confections held the milk perfectly, and after a minute or two it begins to soak in to the rest of the cookie and soften the caramel. Milk filled cookie shooters You can either drink the milk then eat the cookie, or break it apart and then let the pieces "soak" in the spilled milk for a while longer.

Milk filled cookie shooters

No matter how you decide to eat it, the unrefutable truth is that these things are delicious. I mean, sugar cookie dough, caramel, chocolate, a touch of salt, and milk too? There is no part of this equation that is wrong or bad. The taste is classic, but the method of presentation and the mode of eating is fun. And isn't that what dessert is about, joy and fun?

Here's the recipe. 

Millionaire's Shortbread Cookie Cups Filled with Milk (printable version here)

You need: a cupcake tin (jumbo or regular, but not mini), parchment paper, spoons and spatulas

Ingredients

  • 1 box Pillsbury sugar cookie dough (or one batch of your favorite type), dough prepared per the package instructions but not baked
  • 1 bag chocolate morsels (12 ounces)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • Milk

Procedure

  1. Preheat the oven to 375. Generously grease the cupcake tin, sprinkle each cup with confectioners' sugar, and place a sheet of parchment along the bottom (for easy removal later). Why not just use cupcake cups? I didn't want the ridges on the sides. You can use the cups if you don't mind the ridges, though. No judgment. 
  2. Milk filled cookie shooters
  3. Grab big fistfulls of dough and press them into each of the cupcake cups. Milk filled cookie shooters Press a dent in the center. You want the cups to be about half full of dough. My entire batch was sufficient to fill a 6 cup "texas sized" cupcake pan. This is to say, these cups were no mere shot glasses. They were fatties. 
  4. Milk filled cookie shooters
  5. Now, bake the cookie cups. Since mine were so thick, they baked for about 25 minutes--longer than the time you'd bake the dough if you were making mere cookies. My advice? Keep an eye on their progress around the suggested cookie bake time, but then keep them in the oven until they are puffy and golden.
  6. Milk filled cookie shooters
  7. Once puffy and golden, remove from the oven. They will start to deflate in a matter of minutes. This is actually a good thing for you. 
  8. Milk filled cookie shooters
  9. After 5 minutes or so, approach with a spoon and knife. Milk filled cookie shootersFirst, use the knife to loosen the edges of each cookie cup to ensure easy removal later. But keep them in the cupcake tin. Now, use the spoon (or go ahead and use your impeccably clean hands) and press the cookies into a more pronounced cup shape. 
  10. Milk filled cookie shooters
  11. Let the cookies cool for about 30 minutes in the cups.
  12. Now, make your caramel. Simply put the sugar in a dry saucepan, and put it over medium-high heat. Caramelize it per the instructions in this tutorial. Once liquid, pour a little into each cookie cup and spread using a spoon to ensure even coverage inside of the cup. Milk filled cookie shooters Let the caramel set for about 30 minutes before proceeding.
  13. Now, melt the chocolate in the top of a double boiler. Once melted, pour some on top of the caramel layer in each cup and spread so it covers the inner cup evenly. Don't make it too thick or you won't have anywhere to put your milk.
  14. Milk filled cookie shooters
  15. Let the cookie cups set again, this time for 2 hours or so, until the chocolate has become firm. 
  16. Milk filled cookie shooters
  17. Once the chocolate is firm, you're ready to serve! Remove the cups from the cupcake tin. Place each serving in a shallow bowl (just nicer in case the milk seeps out). Fill each cup with milk--pour it right in. And serve!
  18. Milk filled cookie shooters
  19. It's nicest to let the milk sit for a minute or two before drinking and devouring--this will soften the caramel and chocolate and make it, in my opinion, a more enjoyable experience. Milk filled cookie shootersBut you follow your bliss. 

Enjoy!

Tuesday
Jun032014

Best Health Food Ever: Millet Cookies

Millet cookies

I realize that I have something of a reputation for riding unicorns, wearing sparkles, and subsisting on a diet of mainly pink frosted treats. But the fact is this: I love a good hippie cookie every now and again. Whether it's the "Shazaam!" from my home base in New Jersey or a Power Cookie from Whole Foods, I enjoy these cookies with dessert-worthy delight. Something about the nuts, hearty hippie ingredients like nut or whole wheat flour, and a plethora of trail mix-esque mix ins just does it for me. 

So the other day when I found a bunch of millet in my cabinet, I decided to see if I could make it into a tasty cookie creation. I'll tell you right now, so you don't stress about it, that the cookies tasted delicious.

Millet cookies

I found a recipe for oatmeal millet cookies on Grateful Table, which I proceeded to so completely change that I wouldn't even feel comfortable saying I adapted it...more like used it as a springboard. Still, I do want to give the website a shout-out because these cookies also look highly delicious.

While I toasted some cashews and millet, I evaluated my ingredients. I realized I wanted to soften the butter which was totally cold, so I did something so forbidden: once the millet and nuts came out of the oven, I laid the cold butter on top of the millet. I turned the side every minute or so. Believe it or not, because it really seems like it shouldn't have worked, it did. 

Millet cookies

But I digress. Back to the cookies.

Toasty millet gives a fantastic crunch to the cookies, as well as a pleasingly nutty flavor that works in harmony with the flavor of the actual nuts and wheat flour. Perhaps because of all of the other ingredients, the wheat flour isn't as assertive tasting as it is in some recipes, and they maintain the identity of a cookie which happens to have healthy ingredients, rather than tasting like health food. 

Of course, the chocolate morsels don't hurt. Don't even think about skipping them. 

Millet cookies

Nice and crispy on the outside, hearty and full flavored and slightly chewy on the inside. They may not be actual health food, but these cookies are awfully good.

Millet cookies

Millet cookies (not actually health food) - Printable version here

Makes about 30 cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup millet
  • 1 cup cashews, coarsely chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup chocolate morsels

Procedure

  1. First, preheat the oven to 350. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Now, toast the nuts and millet on a baking sheet while the oven preheats. Because they toast at different rates, what I did was scatter the cashews on half of the tray and let them toast for about 5 minutes, then I took the sheet out, added the millet to the other side, then let the whole tray toast for five more minutes
  3. Millet cookies
  4. Remove the tray from the oven and put it somewhere so it can cool, so not on top of the oven (you don't want your mix-ins to be hot). Proceed with the rest of the steps as they cool.
  5. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set to the side.
  6. Cream the butter in a stand mixer until nice and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the brown sugar and continue to mix until it becomes fluffy again, 3 to 5 more minutes. 
  7. Stop the mixer. Add the eggs one at a time, briefly mixing after each addition until incorporated. Stir in the vanilla. 
  8. Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture, mixing as minimally as possible until everything is incorporated into a chocolate chip cookie-esque dough. 
  9. Now, add the toasted millet and cashews and the chocolate morsels. Fold gently into the dough until evenly incorporated. 
  10. Millet cookies
  11. Place the cookie dough with an inch or two of space around on all sides on the cookie sheet. Millet cookiesI made pretty fat cookies, a heaping tablespoon, but you make them however big you want them. 
  12. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until toasty on the edges and set in the center. Remove from the oven. Let cool on the baking sheet for a minute or so before transferring to wire racks to cool completely. 

Millet cookies

Enjoy!

Sunday
Dec152013

Tubular: Easy Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies Using Refrigerated Sugar Cookie Dough

Cookie tree

Somehow, it's happened: you find yourself in need of a batch of homemade cookies, STAT. It might be for the cookie swap you thought was tomorrow, not today, or the school party you totally forgot, or maybe you just want to whip up something sweet in record time.

Green cookies

As these cookies prove, a time crunch need not mean that you sacrifice all the fun of baking--they are actually made from "doctored" refrigerated sugar cookie dough. They're assembled in less than five minutes and baked in about 10 minutes--even with cooling time, the process of going from mere ingredients to "let's party" all happens in about 30 minutes. 

ALL YOU NEED:

Green cookies

All you have to do? Mix that dough with mint and chocolate chips (they're easily found in the baking aisle this time of year), a teaspoon of peppermint extract and maybe a few drops of green food coloring. Roll into balls and bake as specified on the package. They bake up like a minty, buttery, sweet Christmas miracle!

Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies Using Refrigerated Sugar Cookie Dough

Makes about 24

  • 1 tube refrigerated sugar cookie dough
  • 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 1 cup mint and chocolate chips, mixed together
  • 4-5 drops green food coloring

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, break up the refrigerated cookie dough by hand. Add the food coloring and peppermint extract. Combine well.

Make them green

Add the morsels, mixing by hand to knead them evenly but gently throughout the dough.

Green cookies

Divide the dough into 24 equal parts. (First divide in two, then those two pieces into two to make four, then break each of those parts into three pieces, then divide those in two. You'll have 24. Don't get confused.)

Roll each piece into a ball and place on the baking sheet, well spaced. Green cookies

Bake for 8-11 minutes, or until soft in the center but lightly browned on the edges. I don't know how to say it other than this, but the middles might not look 100 percent set. They will bake a touch more when you remove the cookies, though, so it's ok.

Green cookies

Note: At this point, instead of baking, you can freeze the dough balls on the sheets if you prefer not to bake right now (if you want to do it in the morning, say). Just don't forget to turn off the oven and remember to preheat it again before you bake. 

Let the cookies cool on the sheets for 6 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Use a spatula for the transfer; if the cookies seem too soft, wait another minute or two before transferring.

Saturday
Oct122013

The Bake-Off is Coming: Lemon Pistachio Blackberry Thumbprints Recipe

Lemon cookies

CakeSpy Note: OMG! The 46th Annual Pillsbury Bake-Off is coming! Since I so deeply loved attending the 45th Bake-Off, I thought I would get you excited early by sharing some of the finalists' recipes. Narrowed down from zillions of entries, I'll profile some of the 100 finalists--but of course, based on the subject matter of this site, I will focus on sweets! You can follow them by clicking the bakeoff tag below the post to see which ones have been posted so far. Enjoy! 

I appreciate the power of a promise. And these cookies, designed by Joan Cossette of Colbert, WA offer a delectable one: "Each bite of these sugar cookies promises a bit of sweet jam and a drizzle of sweet icing." Oh, yum.

Lemon Pistachio Blackberry Thumbprints

Prep Time: 25 Min Total Time: 35 Min Makes: 36 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 roll Pillsbury refrigerated sugar cookie dough
  • 1/2 cup shelled salted roasted pistachios, chopped
  • 1/3 cup All Purpose Flour
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
  • 1/2 cup Blackberry Jam
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon honey

Procedure

  1. Heat oven to 325°F. Line large cookie sheets with parchment paper. Let cookie dough stand at room temperature 10 minutes to soften.
  2. In large bowl, break up cookie dough. Add pistachios, flour and lemon peel. Mix with wooden spoon or knead with hands until well blended.
  3. Shape dough into 1-inch balls.
  4. Place 2 inches apart on cookie sheets. With thumb or handle of wooden spoon, make indentation 3/4 inch wide in center of each cookie. Spoon about 1/2 teaspoon jam into each indentation.
  5. Bake 10 to 13 minutes or until set but not browned. Remove to cooling racks. Cool 3 minutes.
  6. In small bowl, mix powdered sugar, honey and 1 tablespoon water until smooth. If necessary, stir in water, 1 teaspoon at a time, until of drizzling consistency. Drizzle honey glaze over warm cookies. Store in covered container.
Wednesday
Aug212013

Chocolate Cookies With Real Pieces of Cookie Monster

Cookie monster cookies

As Aunts go, I am probably the worst and most evil one in the world. I realize that you probably think I am joking, but allow me to illustrate this statement with an example.

So. My young nephew, Dylan (code names: Dilly, Dil, Dillybar), age three, just loves a flavor of ice cream from Hoffman's Ice Cream called Cookie Monster. It's a blue ice cream with all sorts of cookies mashed into it. The last time I took him for ice cream, I asked if he knew why it was blue. He indicated that he did not in fact know, so I revealed "that's because it's made with real pieces of the Cookie Monster!".

Now, I'll tell you what happened then. Dylan stopped eating ice cream, and his lower lip kind of started trembling. I'll tell you the truth--he was closer to crying than not.

"Oh my god! I mean, gosh!" I said. " Aunt Jessie was just kidding. It's blue because it's cookie monster's favorite flavor!".

Thankfully, this weak save was sufficient and the happy ice cream twinkle came back into his eye and he continued eating. I did notice, however, that the next time we went to Hoffman's he ordered Mint Chocolate Chip. 

Now, don't tell my sister (Dylan's mother) because I'm sure that she will agree that this is proof that I am the absolute worst Aunt ever, not only because I scared her son but because I took him out for ice cream at a non-approved snack time. 

Chocolate Cookies

But since I apparently cannot learn my lesson, I made these chocolate cookies recently and couldn't resist adding some blue candy melts. You know, to give the look of real pieces of cookie monster melted into the batter. I'm dedicating them to young Dylan, and can't wait to tell him that they're made with real pieces of cookie monster.

Joking aside, these cookies are fantastic. They are surprisingly light in texture for their extreme chocolate to other ingredients ratio, but very flavorful. I added a dash of dark coffee to the mix to heighten the chocolate flavor, I trick I learned from the BAKED brownie recipe. It worked well.

This is a great cookie to have in your jar. And they taste great without the candy melts, too.

Chocolate Cookies

Chocolate Cookies With Optional Real Pieces of Cookie Monster

Makes about 24 - printable version here

  • 1 2/3 cups (10-oz. pkg.) Dark Chocolate Morsels
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon strong brewed coffee (optional)
  • 1 healthy handful light blue candy melts

Procedure

  1. Preheat oven to 325° F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Melt the morsels in in a saucepan or in the microwave. If on the stovetop, stir frequently to prevent scorching. Set aside.
  3. Sift the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt into a medium bowl.
  4. Cream the  butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar until smooth and light, 3 to 5 minutes.
  5. Add melted chocolate and mix well. Add egg and vanilla extract, mixing until well blended, about 1 minute. Add flour mixture, mixing just until blended. If you want, press a couple of blue candy melts into the cookies.
  6. Chocolate Cookies
  7. Shape into balls and place them on to your prepared baking sheets.
  8. Bake for 16 to 18 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out with moist crumbs and the tops have a cracked appearance.
  9. Chocolate Cookies
  10. Cool on baking sheets for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

 

Sunday
May262013

Sweet Discovery: The Shazaam Cookie, Nature's Corner, Spring Lake NJ

I'm going to tell you the truth, here. Had I read the sign carefully, I might not have went for this cookie. After all, it is advertised as being "high fiber" and boasts its content of rice protein powder to satisfy appetite. Those selling points make the cookie sound suspiciously like health food.

It does make sense, of course--they are sold at a health food store in New Jersey. They're called the "Shazaam Cookie" and they're baked on site at Spring Lake Heights' Nature's Corner store (where health nuts and stoners from my neck of the woods have bought their hippie food since I was in high school). They're chock-full of whole grains, organic hemp seeds, organic rice protein powder, and organic coconut oil. As I learned on their website, the cookies "also have flavorless vegetable fiber to help regulate your digestive system. Yummy chocolate chips add just the right amount of sweetness."

Perhaps they sense that they might lose some people with this description, so they finish "Of course,  These cookies are fantastically popular, and we love making them fresh in store daily. Stop in today and give them a try!"

Now. I am going to tell you that even if health food scares you, you really must give this cookie a try. Because somehow, the little elves at Nature's Corner manage to make a healthy treat that is a seriously delectable sweet. It is soft and lightly crumbly--not like it will crumble apart, but like it will yield in your mouth. But then little pop-crunches from the hemp seeds. Nice texture. And then you get the chocolate chips, little bursts of deep chocolate flavor surrounded by a nutty, grain-y flavor that is a wonderful complement. They sort of remind me of the Urban Legend cookies from my new book, but like, their healthier cousin.

I found this cookie a wonderul surprise, and was so delighted to learn that they are baked on site. I can most certainly see how they've begun to garner a cult following, and they can certainly count me as one of their fans from now until forever. 

Nature's Corner,  2407 Route 71, Spring Lake Heights, NJ; online here. 

Saturday
Apr062013

Sweet Treats: Semolina Sesame Cookies

Have I ever told you that one of my favorite bakeries, not only in Seattle, but in the world, is Macrina Bakery? From their biscuits to their morning rolls to their cookies, I can't get enough of their sweet treats. Every month they share a recipe via their newsletter, and I in turn enjoy to share with you. 

This month it's Semolina Sesame Cookies. As the headnote says, "These cookies are inspired by acclaimed baker Carol Field, who gathered a collection of wonderful regional recipes from bakers, grandmothers, and chefs on her travels through Italy. The essence of this recipe came from one of her books (I have them all!), and is so typically Italian. The semolina, a coarsely ground wheat flour used widely for making pasta, lends a beautiful crisp texture, and the sesame seeds make them a classic accompaniment to a sweetened shot of espresso. Buttery annd not too sweet, they'll totally satisfy the 4 p.m. nosh need!"

Makes 18 3-inch cookies

  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon semolina flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 7 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds

Procedure

  1. Position 2 racks in the center of the oven and preheat to 325°F. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. Sift together the flours and salt in a medium bowl.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large bowl using an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar. Start on low speed and increase to medium for a total of 5 to 8 minutes, stopping to scrape down the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. The mixture will be light, fluffy, and pale. Add the egg and mix on low speed until fully incorporated, then scrape the bowl down again. Gradually add the dry ingredients mixing until they're just incorporated and the dough is smooth, about 1 minute. Be careful not to overmix: the cookies may become tough.
  4. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Divide it into 4 equal pieces, then roll each piece into a 1/2-inch-wide rope. Use a ruler to measure and then cut the rope into 5-inch segments. Each segment will become a cookie. If the dough is too soft, chill for 10 minutes to make it easier to handle.
  5. Lay each rope in an S shape, 1 inch apart, on the prepared baking sheets. Tuck the ends under and compress slightly. Chill the sheets in the freezer for 20 minutes to help the cookies hold their shape while baking. (You may also freeze the cookies at this point, covered tightly, for up to 1 week. Let them thaw for about 20 minutes before baking.)
  6. Brush each cookie with a little bit of water and top with the sesame seeds. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until the cookies are light golden brown. Cool on the sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Stored in an airtight container at room temperature, these cookies keep their great flavor for at least 1 week. 
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