Friday, February 5, 2016

Nutella Chocolate Chip Cookies

I try to make different types of cookies from week to week, and I realized that I hadn’t made a good chocolate cookie in a while. I went searching and came across these cookies. These won my search on two accounts. First, these contain Nutella and I love the chocolate/hazelnut combination. Second, they are chocolate chip cookies and my husband loves chocolate chip cookies. He complains that I never make them for him. I do, it’s just never a plain chocolate chip cookie.

I decided to double the recipe given here, as I wanted to make these a little bigger than some of the cookies I typically make. It made 4-1/2 dozen, but since my husband was a big fan of these, it was ok that it was a big batch. I refrigerated the dough for just over two hours, and that seemed to work just fine. These are not hard to make and they are just fantastic. Crispy on the edges, soft in the middle, with the great flavor of Nutella. These can’t be beat!

Nutella Chocolate Chip Cookies
½ cup butter, room temperature
1/3 cup Nutella
¼ cup sugar
½ cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 ¾ cups flour
teaspoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup chocolate chips

In a large mixer bowl, combine the butter, Nutella, sugar, brown sugar, egg, and vanilla. Mix on medium until well combined. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, cornstarch, baking soda and salt. With the mixer running on low, gradually add the flour mixture. Just before all of the flour is incorporated, add the chocolate chips and again mix on low until the dough comes together.

Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with silicone baking mats.

Shape the dough into 1-1/4” balls and place on the prepared baking sheets. Bake for 11-13 minutes, until the cookies are set. They may look slightly under baked, but they will continue to cook on the baking sheet. Cool for 5 minutes and then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Cherry Chocolate Almond Blondies

I really love bar cookies, and I hadn’t made any in a while. They’re so easy to make but you can really do a lot of interesting things with a fairly simple bar cookie. They’re quick, too, as long as you have some time to let the bars cool before cutting! 

These bars were posted on Facebook and the combination sounded so good. But I love blondies, so how bad could they be? The original combination of flavors was dried cherries, milk chocolate chips, and salted cashews. But this type of cookie is ripe for improvisation, and I used what I had. I did use dried cherries, and for the chips I used a combination of semi-sweet chocolate chips and a chopped up chocolate almond bar. I didn’t have any cashews, so I toasted whole almonds and used those instead.

The dough for these is quite sticky, and I worried that I hadn’t used enough flour but they were fine. It wasn’t the easiest to spread them in the pan, but if you’re patient it can work. I baked these a little longer than the original recipe stated, and they don’t brown very much so it was tricky to tell when they were done. They are a soft cookie, so I just went by the browned edges and they did set up some as they cooled. The flavors in these go together so well, but I bet they might be even better with cashews!

Cherry Chocolate Almond Blondies
¾ cup butter, room temperature
½ cup sugar
½ cup packed brown sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup almonds, toasted and chopped
1 ½ cups milk or semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup dried cherries, chopped

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a 9” x 13” baking pan with foil and spray the foil with nonstick cooking spray.
In a large mixer bowl, beat the butter, sugar, and brown sugar on medium until light. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Scrape down the bowl as needed. Add the vanilla and stir to combine.

With the mixer running on low, gradually add the flour and salt. Stir just until the dough almost comes together. Add the almonds, chocolate and cherries and stir on low until the dough comes together. The dough will be fairly sticky. Spread the dough evenly in the prepared pan.

Bake for 30-40 minutes, until the bars a lightly browned along the edges and a thin knife inserted in the center of the bars comes out clean. Allow to cool.

Lift the bars from the pan and peel away the foil. Cut into squares.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Honey Coins

I like to bake with honey a lot. I feel like it is an under used ingredient. The flavor can be subtle, but in a nice simple recipe, the flavor shines through. I came across this cookie and it seemed so different, so simple but good. I have made similar slice and bake cookies that you roll in powdered sugar, but those are usually flavored with citrus. 

This recipe makes a fairly small batch, and the cookies are petite. Refrigerator cookies like these can be made in advance, but these firmed up rather quickly, so I was able to make the dough when I got home from work and baked them up later in the evening. The dough was fairly sticky, so rolling into a log was a bit messy. I was able to bake these up all at once, so in the end they were quick to make. The honey flavor is lovely, and these are the perfect tea cookie.

Honey Coins
¾ cup butter, room temperature
1/3 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 ¾ cups flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
½ teaspoon salt
Additional powdered sugar

In a large mixer bowl beat butter on medium until smooth. Add the powdered sugar, honey, water, and vanilla and mix on medium until incorporated. With the mixer running on low, gradually beat in the flour, cornstarch, and salt. Stir just until combined.

Divide dough in half. Shape each half into a 10-inch log and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours.

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

Cut rolls into 1/4-inch slices and place on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 13 to 15 minutes, just until bottoms are golden. Cool on cookie sheet for 5 minutes. While the cookies are still warm, roll the cookies in additional powdered sugar. Cool completely on a wire rack.