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Entries in Cookies (172)

Saturday
Apr162011

Sweet Soutine: Cookies and More from Soutine Bakery, NYC

If you haven't heard of Soutine Bakery in NYC, you're not alone. But I'd like you to discover it now, please and thank you.

Soutine is just off of the main drag, on a residental townhome sidestreet. It is tiny—I think of it as a dollhouse bakery. And this appeals to my love of all things tiny and cute.

But it's a double threat, because while their bakery case is small, there is no lack of delicious treats. They have frenchie treats like milles fueilles, sweet gateaux and other American standards (brownies, cookies, etc), but on this trip I zeroed in on the cookies.

The Soutine Chocolate Chip cookie is a crunchy affair, sort of along the lines of Tate's Bakeshop. Generally your dear spy's personal tastes lean toward soft and gooey when it comes to cookies, but, you know, it's never a good policy to eliminate the possibility of a delicious cookie experience solely because the cookie is crunchy. And ultimately the Soutine cookie was a sweet reward: light and crispy but still very buttery and rich in brown sugar flavor. I'd bet they taste even better warm, with a nice contrast between the crispy cookie and some gooey chocolate, but I wouldn't turn these cookies away any day.

I brought a bag to share with my buddies at the Serious Eats headquarters, and they approved, too.

Soutine Bakery, 149 W. 70th Street, NYC; online at soutine.com.

Tuesday
Apr122011

It's All About the Cookie: Chocolate Chip Cookies from Levain Bakery, NYC

So, if you've never been to Levain Bakery (you've probably heard of them, they're totally famous--the New York Times called them"Possibly the largest, most divine chocolate chip cookies in Manhattan," and they have been featured on the Food Network), I feel kind of bad for you. Here's why:

  1. You don't need detailed directions to get there--once you're within a block of it, you will smell the aroma of chocolate chip cookies, and it will draw you ever closer, not unlike little cartoon scent-swirls.
  2. Actually walking down the few steps required to walk into the bakery is kind of like walking into a big chocolate chip cookie (or perhaps heaven)--it is warm, and it smells like butter, sugar, and chocolate. And bread.
  3. The employees are nice. Every time I have been there, they have been sweet as pie to me.
  4. Your screen does not deceive you--the cookie pictured above does not only appear ginormous, it actually IS ginormous. Their cookies weigh roughly 6 ounces each, which, last time I checked, is pretty close to half a pound. 
  5. In case you glazed over that last one: HALF A POUND OF COOKIE!
  6. But these cookies are not merely large in size--they are big in flavor, too. Buttery, lightly crispy on the outside, and chewy and gooey on the inside. I like the ones with walnuts, because they have a nice little flavor and texture contrast from nubbly little shards of nuts.

...and, dear friends, I will confess, I can eat one all by myself. In fact I have, just the other day, while doing an extensive CakeWalk of the Upper West Side of Manhattan (more on that later). True, eating a half-pound of cookie without also walking about 13 miles is probably not very healthy, but I assure you, it is still very delicious.

Summary: if you are in New York, go there. If you are not, buy the cookies online. 

Levain Bakery, 167 W. 74th Street; shop online here.

Sunday
Apr032011

Sweet Spot: Oatmeal Raisinet Cookies Recipe by Cake Gumshoe Christine

CakeSpy Note: This is a guest post from Cake Gumshoe Christine Mullen, a photographer and food blogger from Ottawa, Ontario. She enjoys experimenting in the kitchen and photographing the results but ultimately hates doing the dishes. She blogs at Munchin With Munchkin.

I have the biggest weak spot for chocolate covered raisins. Every time I bite into one it brings me back to my earliest childhood memory.

I remember the specific moment I was hooked for life. It was December of 1989. My mother was on Christmas holidays and she decided to take me to see my first movie. We drove to Britannia which had both an indoor theatre and a drive in.

When we entered the theatre I was mesmerized by the speckled carpet, the sparkling ceiling and the overwhelming smell of popcorn. As we stood in line my eyes focused on a glass display case at the front
counter filled with colourful boxes of candy.

When we finally got to the front of the line my mother purchased our tickets and asked me if I wanted a treat. In my 3 years of life I rarely had candy so I knew this was a special occasion. As I peered through the glass my options were overwhelming. Without the ability to read my decision was determined solely by the colour of the box. I came to the conclusion that the purple box would contain the best treat and mother happily agreed.

With large purple box in hand we walked to our theatre and chose seats
close to the front. My memories of the movie are vague but I remember
sharing that box of raisinets and thinking my mother was the coolest
person in the whole world.

My mother is coming to visit me this week so in preparation I made these oatmeal raisinet cookies to share with her. They are incredibly soft and chewy and the chocolate covered raisins add that taste of childhood every great cookie should have.

Oatmeal Raisinet Cookies

Makes about two dozen cookies

 

  • 1 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 Tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ cups all purpose flour
  • 1 Tsp. baking soda
  • ½  Tsp. salt
  • 3 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1 ½ cups chocolate covered raisins

Procedure

  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. In a large bowl cream the butter and sugars.
  3. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix until fully combined.
  4. Stir in the baking soda, salt, and flour and mix until just combined, being careful not to over mix. Briefly mix in the oats. Add the chocolate covered raisins and stir until just combined.
  5. Scoop 1 tablespoon of cookie dough onto un-greased cookie sheets about half an inch apart.
  6. Bake for 10 – 12 minutes until the cookies are golden brown along the edges.

 

Wednesday
Mar302011

Maple Madness: Vermont Maple Cookies with Maple Buttercream and Canadian Bacon Recipe

Fact: Vermont Maple cookies are pretty awesome.

But, you know, that's not to say that they can't be made better with the addition of two things that make pretty much everything better: frosting and bacon. When paired with the fact that this enables you to eat two cookies, at once, with frosting and bacon, pretty much puts us all at the point of awesome overload. Here's how you do it.

Vermont Maple Cookies with Maple Buttercream and Canadian Bacon

For the cookies

For the frosting and garnish (frosting adapted from this recipe)

  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1 cup pure maple syrup, best quality
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, cold, cut into small pieces
  • To garnish: 3-4 slices Canadian bacon, glazed with 1 tablespoon of maple syrup and baked until very crispy, and crumbled

Procedure

  1. Bake cookies and let cool.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg yolkson high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes; set aside. In a small saucepan set over medium-high heat, bring the maple syrup to a boil, and cook until it registers 240 on a candy thermometer, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat.With the mixer running, slowly pour syrup down the side of the bowl in a slow, steady stream, until completely incorporated, about 1 minute.
  3. Continue beating until bowl is just slightly warm to the touch, 4 to 5 minutes. Add butter, one piece at a time, until thoroughly incorporated and the frosting is fluffy, about 4 minutes more.
  4. Turn over one of your cookies and place a healthy dollop on the bottom. Sandwich a second cookie, bottom-side down, on top. Sprinkle the exposed frosting sides with crumbled bacon. Enjoy.
Wednesday
Mar302011

Maple Madness: Vermont Maple Cookies Recipe for Serious Eats

When it comes to baking with maple, Grade C (or sometimes Grade B; see note, below) is anything but average.

It's is the deepest, darkest, most assertively maple-flavored grade of syrup you can get; while it can be a bit strong for, say, topping your pancakes (that's Grade A territory), the higher-octane stuff lends a rich, almost caramel-like maple flavor to baked goods. These simple drop cookies, adapted from a recipe I discovered in a vintage Vermont baking pamphlet at the Maple Museum of New England, are an ideal recipe to let the maple flavor shine.

They're great on their own, or if you want to double your pleasure, sandwich two with a smear of buttercream.

Note: As I learned on this website, Grade C Maple Syrup is no longer used by USDA. Grade C Maple Syrup is now designated USDA Grade B Maple Syrup. However, while in Vermont last week, I still saw a lot of maple labeled Grade C. If you can't locate Grade C maple syrup, simply choose the darkest Grade B variety you can find.

For the full entry and recipe, visit Serious Eats!

Tuesday
Mar152011

Scouting Sweetness: Girl Scout Cookie Sandwiches

It's true: more often than not, no matter what you're talking about, frosting will make it better.

But cookies in particular benefit highly from adding frosting--because then they become a cookie sandwich, which as we all know is basically society's way of granting us permission to eat two cookies, at once, with frosting, and not be judged.

And as cookies go, it is my learned and esteemed opinion that every type of Girl Scout Cookie is improved by being served in sandwich form--even the Lemon Chalet Creme cookies, which, if you want to get technical about it, are kind of already sandwich cookies.

Here's a simple recipe for Girl Scout Cookie Sandwiches--you can use whatever type of Girl Scout Cookies, and whatever type of frosting you'd like, with a pretty certain guarantee of sweet success.

Girl Scout Cookie Sandwiches

Makes 1 sandwich (easily duplicated)

  • 2 Girl Scout Cookies
  • 2 teaspoons (or more, or less, to taste) frosting

Suggested pairings: Peppermint frosting with Thin Mints; Vanilla buttercream with just about any variety; cream cheese frosting with Lemon Chalet Cremes or Samoas; Peanut butter frosting with Tagalongs or Do-Si-Dos; caramel or chocolate frosting with the classic shortbread cookies.

  1. Place a dollop of frosting on top of one cookie (if it's a type that has a defined top and bottom side, such as Thin Mints, apply to the overturned bottom side).
  2. Place the other cookie, bottom-side down, on top of the frosted half to form a sandwich.
  3. Repeat with as many cookies as you'd like to make into sandwiches. Enjoy.
Wednesday
Mar092011

Berry Delicious: Cranzac Cookies Recipe a la David Lebovitz

Cookies are just so cute when they pretend to be health food. Case in point: the ANZAC biscuit (ANZAC stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps, and both places share ownership of the cookie). On the surface, its oaty, nubbly appearance looks rather virtuous--but one bite will tell you the butter, sugar, and golden syrup-filled truth.

David Lebovitz makes them even better in his brilliant (and beautiful) book Ready for Dessert: My Best Recipes by adding cranberries to the mix, which add a pleasing little zing of flavor; I made them better still with the addition of a dollop of buttercream on top. Don't worry, they still have oats, so they're still totally healthy. You're welcome.

CakeSpy Note: I made these for a David Lebovitz-themed meeting of my cookbook club--to check out what other people made, check out Kairu's flickr stream!

Cranzac Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup golden syrup (or honey)

To top: About 1 cup vanilla buttercream frosting or cream cheese frosting of your choosing

Procedure 

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, toss together oats, brown sugar, flour, coconut, cranberries, baking soda, and salt. Stir in the water, melted butter, and syrup or honey until the dough is cohesive and moist.
  3. Using your hands, shape the dough into 1 1/4 inch balls. Place the balls on the prepared baking sheets and lightly flatten them with your hand. They should have about 1 inch of space on all sides to allow for light spreading.
  4. Bake, rotating the tray halfway through baking, until the cookies are golden brown, about 12 minutes.
  5. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets til firm, then use a spatula to transfer them to a wire rack.
  6. Once cool, top each with a dollop of frosting, and if you'd like, a cranberry piece on top for added cuteness.
Tuesday
Mar012011

Awesome Overload: Homemade Samoas With Peanut Butter

I know, I know. You probably went into the sweetest sort of sugar shock when I posted those Homemade Samoas Girl Scout Cookies.

But I want to know that there's a way to make them even awesomer.

It's true. And it involves peanut butter.

While appointing my Samoas with chocolate on top, out of the corner of my eye a jar of peanut butter caught my eye, and a little lightbulb went off in my head.

And I'm happy to report that yes, adding a dollop of peanut butter to the coconut-topped Samoas, and then finishing it off with a Hershey's kiss or big dollop of chocolate topping is extremely delicious.

Want to try it yourself? Simply follow the recipe I posted on Serious Eats, but after topping the cookies with your coconut mixture, add a teaspoon of peanut butter and then top with either hershey's kisses or a dollop of the chocolate topping called for in the recipe. Easy as pie! I mean, cookie?

Saturday
Feb262011

When Life Gives You Lemons: Very Lemon Drop Cookies Recipe

Some sweet recipes dumb down lemon flavor, overcompensating with sugar to make up for the tartness of the lemon. Not these cookies. Sure, they're plenty sweet, but by using lemon juice, rind, liqueur, candies, and even lemon curd to top them, they've got so much lemon that non-lemon lovers need not apply. But if you do love lemon, then pucker up and get ready to chow down on these sweet-tart treats. Get bonus sweet-sour points by garnishing with pixie stix powder, but it's not necessary; pearl sugar is pretty too.

Lemon Drop Cookies

20 to 24 cookies, depending on size

  • 2 cups flour, sifted
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon rind
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons lemon liqueur
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 3/4 cup tart lemon candies
  • Optional: lemon curd, pixie stix, or pearl sugar for topping

Procedure

  1. Preheat oven to 375. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the lemon rind, butter, and sugar, beating until light and fluffy.
  4. Add the egg and mix until incorporated.
  5. Add the lemon juice, lemon liqueur, and water; beat well.
  6. Add the dry ingredients, and beat until incorporated, using a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Gently fold in the lemon candies.
  7. Using a tablespoon or ice cream scoop, drop mounds of dough onto parchment-lined cookie sheets. Be sure to leave 2 inches around each cookie, for spreading.
  8. Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until just golden on the edges. Let cool, and if desired, top each cookie with about 1 teaspoon of lemon curd. 

 

Monday
Feb212011

Scouting Sweetness: Homemade Tagalong Girl Scout Cookies for Serious Eats

Once upon a time, Girl Scout Cookies were made by hand, by actual Girl Scouts. They were then sold door to door to teach the girls lessons about marketing and goal-setting.

These days, while the aim is still true—the proceeds go to a good cause—the Tagalongs*, Thin Mints, and Samoas are made commercially, making for confections that arguably fall into "don't confuse the experience with the product" territory.

The solution? Do buy cookies from those earnest young Scouts. But also make a batch of your own for a delicious home-baked treat. Start with these Tagalongs: slightly fatter and more substantial than the Scout version, you'll enjoy each chocolatey, peanut buttery, shortbready bite.

Not into Tagalongs? More of a Thin Mints fan? Make Thin Mints instead »

* In some regions, Tagalongs are packaged under the name "Peanut Butter Patty." Different licensed bakeries that supply the Girl Scouts call the same cookies different names. Wiki up on it here.

For more lore, and the recipe, visit Serious Eats!

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