Friday, April 28, 2017

Molasses Cinnamon Chocolate Bars



I had planned another cookie for today, but I just wasn’t feeling that this week when it was time to bake. As I was leaving work, I asked my friend if she had any cookie requests. She said something molasses/cinnamon. I didn’t think that was very springy, but I guess that’s where we are with the weather this year. I swear it was sunny all day and then as soon as it was time to go home it was raining. Thinking about it more, a molasses/cinnamon cookie sounded great. Yes, those are fall/winter flavors, but still some of my favorites.

These bar cookies have those flavors, cinnamon and cinnamon chips, as well as chocolate. I don’t normally bake cookies in an 8” pan, as it doesn’t make very many and I always take my cookies to work. I had recently purchased a lovely deep 8” square pan with a removeable bottom, so I was excited to use it. I’m glad I had this particular pan, as these bars are quite thick and a shallower pan may have made for an oven disaster.

These bars are super easy to mix up. The dough is very thick and I found that patting the dough into the pan with damp hands worked the best. Baking these was tricky, knowing when they are baked through. Honestly, as thick as they are I doubt you could get them baked completely. This type of cookie should be a little gooey, which they certainly were when I cut them, still slightly warm. The have a great spice flavor, and the molasses comes in subtle at the end. Springy, no, but I’m still waiting for spring to arrive.


Molasses Cinnamon Chocolate Bars

¾ cup butter, room temperature
½ cup sugar
½ cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tablespoons molasses
2¼ cups flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1½ teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon ginger
½ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon cloves
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup cinnamon chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8” square 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, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs and molasses and beat again on medium until incorporated. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves. With the mixer running on low, gradually add the flour mixture. When the flour is almost mixed into the dough, stop the mixer, add the chocolate and cinnamon chips, and stir on low until the dough comes together. Press the dough into the prepared pan.

Bake for 25-35 minutes, until a knife inserted in the center of the bars comes out almost clean. Allow the pan to cool before cutting into bars.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Bourbon Soaked Cherry Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies



I was looking for cake recipes the other day, and as sometimes happens, my husband goes looking and sends me a list of links for recipes. He usually picks some good things, even if they are not what I am looking for at that point in time. Along with a couple of cake recipes, he included some cookies recipes, as I am always looking for new cookie recipes. In this case, one of the cookie recipes he sent was for these bourbon-cherry-oat-chocolate-chip cookies.

Looking at this recipe, which at times feels like it contains everything but the kitchen sink, it really is a fall recipe. Bourbon, maple syrup, cinnamon, and molasses scream fall. Oatmeal cookies are hearty and comforting and perfect for a crisp fall day. While it is spring, it’s been super rainy here, so somehow a fall recipe doesn’t feel so out of place.

I decided to make these cookies dairy free, so that my friend at work (who is a big bourbon fan) could enjoy these. I used shortening and made sure to use dairy free chocolate chips. It’s easy to forget that dairy is found in many other ingredients so I must be careful. I also left out the coconut, as with all the other ingredients it was not needed. These cookies made the house smell fantastic! The bourbon flavor is very pleasant, but you don’t get the bite of the alcohol. I really liked these, the hearty oatmeal cookie with the flavor of bourbon and the sweetness of the chocolate and dried cherries.

Bourbon Soaked Cherry Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 cup dried cherries
1/3 cup bourbon
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup shortening or butter, room temperature
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons molasses
1 egg
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup chocolate chips

In a small bowl, combine the dried cherries and bourbon. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to sit overnight.

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

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt; set aside. In a large mixer bowl, beat the shortening and brown sugar on medium until light. Add the maple syrup and molasses and beat on medium to combine. Add the egg and vanilla and stir on low until combined.

Add half of the flour, mix on low, and add the remaining flour, mixing on low just until combined. Add the oats, dried cherries (and any liquid), and the chocolate chips. Stir to incorporate; you may need to finish mixing by hand.

Scoop the dough onto the baking sheet, using about 1-1/2 tablespoons dough for each cookie.

Bake for 12-14 minutes, until set and barely golden along the edges. Do not over bake, the cookies will firm up as they cool.  

Recipe from How Sweet It Is

Friday, April 14, 2017

Toasted Coconut White Chocolate Macadamia Bars



I go through spurts where I bake a lot with macadamia nuts, then go a long time without using them. My great friend often travels to Hawaii and brings me back macadamias! She has just returned from a trip and I had these bars set aside for when I had some macadamias on hand. They are just perfect for our local weather, too. They are springy, as it is spring, and they are also comforting. Great with the super rainy weather we’ve had all winter and spring.

Some folks don’t like white chocolate, but I find it to be particularly good with macadamias. The sweetness of the white chocolate pairs well with the buttery flavor of macadamias. Throw some toasted coconut into the mix and it makes for a very buttery, nutty bar. Sometimes when recipes call for coconut to be toasted, I don’t bother. Don’t skip it in these bars, it really adds a lot.

These are a quick and easy bar cookie, although toasting the coconut and chopping the nuts takes a couple of extra minutes. The original recipe called for melted butter and I used room temperature butter, which worked very well. The white chocolate chips that melt and make the “frosting” is just a thin layer. Too much more and it would be too sweet. I baked these a day ahead and then cut them the next, and that worked great. They seem to stay fresh, although as I’ve said before, that’s not usually a problem that I have to worry about!

Toasted Coconut White Chocolate Macadamia Bars
1 ½ cups shredded coconut
1½ cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
¾ cup butter, room temperature
1 ½ cups packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 cup macadamia nuts, roughly chopped   
1 cup white chocolate chips

1 cup white chocolate chips
⅓ cup macadamia nuts, roughly chopped

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9” x 13” baking pan with foil and spray the foil with nonstick cooking spray.

Place the coconut on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for about 6 minutes, stirring occasionally.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside. In a large mixer bowl combine the butter and brown sugar. Mix on medium until smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time, and vanilla and mix on medium until incorporated. With the mixer running on low, gradually add the flour mixture. Stir in the toasted coconut, 1 cup macadamia nuts and 1 cup of white chocolate chips. Mix just until incorporated. Spread the dough into the prepared pan. 

Bake for 25-30 minutes, until lightly browned and a thin knife inserted in the center of the bars comes out clean.

As soon as the bars come out of the oven, sprinkle 1 cup of white chocolate chips on the bars. Allow to set 5 minutes and then spread the chocolate in a smooth layer. Sprinkle with the 1/3 macadamia nuts. Allow to cool completely before cutting into bars.

Recipe from Food, Folks, and Fun