Friday, March 27, 2020

Nancy Drew Blondies

When I am home, I can’t really think of much to do with my time other than, read, look at recipes, and bake. This isn’t all that bad though, as I end up making recipes that may be a little different. My husband often requests chocolate chip cookies, which I don’t make much as they aren’t too exciting to post on the blog. I came across a couple of recipes that are similar to chocolate chip cookies, and decided to try and make those.

These bars are called Nancy Drew Blondies, which was immediately compelling since I am a librarian. In reading the post, it seems like Nancy Drew is lost with the current generation, which is sad. I know that the books do change with the times, not always for the better, but there is something to be said for a strong female character. I do hope that some readers will get their hands on some Nancy Drew books and discover how great they can be.

These cookies are very, very simple. They do not contain butterscotch, but the brown sugar gives a similar flavor. I used pecans rather than walnuts, as those are the nuts that I prefer to use. It bakes in an 8-inch pan, so it doesn’t make very many, but that’s ok. I think it can be a little tricky knowing how long to bake them, so I baked them and kept adding 2 minutes to the timer until they looked golden around the edges. They aren’t quite chocolate chip cookies, as they also contain white chocolate, but they are a very tasty substitute!

Nancy Drew Blondies
6 tablespoons butter, cold
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 cup flour
1/2 cup semisweet chips or chunks
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
1/3 cup pecans, toasted and chopped

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8-inch square pan with foil and spray the foil with nonstick cooking spray.

In a small saucepan, melt the butter on low. Transfer the melted butter to a large mixing bowl and mix in the brown sugar, vanilla and salt. When smooth, stir in the egg. Stop the mixer and add the flour, semisweet and white chips, and the pecans. Mix all at once; when the mixture has come together, spread it evenly in the prepared pan.

Bake for 22-26 minutes, until golden along the edges and crinkly on top. Allow the blondies to cool completely in the pan before cutting.

To cut, remove the blondies from the pan by lifting the foil. Peel back the foil and cut into bars.

Recipe from Leite’s Culinaria

Friday, March 20, 2020

Pistachio Slice and Bake Cookies

I really like pistachios, and now that you can get them at the store already shelled, I am even more of a fan. The best pistachios that I ever had were from a friend who brought them from Persia. I’m not sure what they do differently there, but they were so good. While I don’t think I am going to be eating those very regularly, that’s ok. I will work with the shelled pistachios that I can get.

When I make slice and bake cookies, I often shy away from cookies that have nuts in them. Nuts or other chunks make slicing the cookies very difficult. This recipe called for soaking the pistachios first, which makes the nuts softer. It certainly worked as I had no trouble slicing these cookies. I’ll have to remember that for other recipes as well.

Slice and bake cookies are very convenient. Soaking the pistachios does take a little while, but other wise the dough comes together in 5 minutes. You can then store it in the refrigerator and bake them up whenever you want to. Since you halve the dough, you can bake up half of them and then save the others for later. They sliced easily, not always the case for nutty cookies. Since they are a shortbread base, they are more forgiving in the oven and don’t brown all that quickly. This is helpful when you set the timer for the wrong amount of time and remember about half-way through! To finish the cookies simply, I drizzled them with melted chocolate. These are such great cookies and are made even better with just a touch of chocolate.

Pistachio Slick and Bake Cookies
1 cup unsalted shelled pistachios
4 ounces butter, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1-1/2 cups flour
6 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
1 teaspoon vegetable shortening

Place the pistachios in a small bowl. Cover with water and allow to sit for 30 minutes. Drain the pistachios and place on paper towels to air dry.

In a large mixer bowl, beat the butter and sugar until light. Add the egg and beat to combine. With the mixer running on low, gradually add the flour. When the mixture has almost come together, add the pistachios and stir to combine.

Remove the dough from the bowl and divide in two halves. Shape each half into a log about 2 inches in diameter. Wrap each log in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least two hours, or up to several days.

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat. Slice the dough into 1/3” rounds and place on the prepared baking sheet.

Bake for about 12 minutes, until the cookies are golden around the edges. Cool on the baking sheet for 15 minutes before removing to a wire rack.

Once the cookies are completely cool, drizzle or dip in chocolate. In a small bowl, melt the dark chocolate and vegetable shortening in the microwave. Drizzle with melted chocolate or dip the cookies half-way into the chocolate. Allow to set completely before serving.

Recipe from Baker by Nature

Friday, March 13, 2020

Unicorn Sprinkle Cookies

I keep planning to make a certain bar cookie, but each week when it is time to bake, they just don’t seem right. I’ll make them eventually. Since I was bringing cookies to work on Thursday and I had a little less time, I wanted to make a drop cookie. The other day at the grocery store I picked up unicorn baking chips, which are basically pink and purple swirled chocolate chips. For something special like that, I will often look to the package for guidance. Instead, I looked online and this was the recipe that looked the best.

One of the things that intrigued me about this recipe is that they are gluten free. A friend at work can’t eat gluten, and she works Thursday, so I decided to try these. The only gluten free baking that I have done are with cookies that naturally do not contain flour. These do, and thankfully I had purchased some gluten free flour mixture recently, as I knew that I wanted to do some gluten free baking. I wasn’t sure how the cookies would do, as this was my first experience with gluten free baking.

These cookies call for sprinkles, and I looked through my large supply of sprinkles. Most were Christmasy, so I ended up using a rainbow sugar. I also accidentally added too much sugar, so these cookies are sweet. They also taste very buttery, even though they don’t contain all that much butter. These cookies did spread and refrigerating the dough after shaping the dough helped a little. They do taste good, so I am very pleased with my first venture into baking with gluten free flour.

Unicorn Sprinkle Cookies
1 ½ cups gluten-free flour mixture
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 ½ teaspoons cornstarch
½ cup butter, room temperature
¼ cup sugar
¾ cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups unicorn chocolate chips
1/4 cup colorful sprinkles

Heat the oven to 325 degrees. Line two baking sheets with silicone baking mats.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour mixture, baking soda, salt, and cornstarch; set aside. In a large mixer bowl, beat the butter, sugar, and brown sugar on medium until combined. Add the egg and vanilla and stir until incorporated. With the mixer running on low, gradually add the flour mixture and when almost combined, add the chocolate chips and sprinkles. (You many want to save some chips to top the cookies.)

Shape the dough into 1-inch balls and place on the prepared baking sheets. If you reserved extra chips for the topping, press the chips into the top of the unbaked cookies. Refrigerate the cookie sheets for 15 minutes before baking. 

Bake for 12-13 minutes, until lightly browned along the edges. The cookies will look soft but will set as they cool. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 15 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely. 

Recipe from Wheat by the Wayside