Friday, August 28, 2015

Ginger Macaroons

 We went over to my parent’s house this weekend, as they were having some computer troubles. While I was there, I ended up looking at this new cookbook that they had, The Four Ingredient Cookbook. Interesting, it seems like most recipes call for many more ingredients. I took a look through the dessert section and there were a couple of cookies that looked good, so I took photos of a couple of things so I could give them a try. This cookbook was also British, and I’m always looking for a good British recipe.

One of the recipes I noted was this recipe for Ginger Macaroons. I love ginger, and as we are moving towards fall, I’ll be using ginger more and more. Macaroons can be a lot of different things; these don’t use coconut, but instead use ground almonds. You could probably use coconut if you wanted, or any other type of ground nut. This is really a flexible recipe. I used almonds since I had them, and I do like almond and ginger together. 

I found it a little hard to whip just one egg white, as my mixer is on the bigger side. I just let the mixer go to it until the egg white formed soft peaks. Add the brown sugar and keep mixing, and it does take a while. I find that the brown sugar meringue is fairly strong and I didn’t worry about deflating the mixture while folding in the almonds. I worried that the cookies would look like ugly mounds when they came out of the oven, but no, they were perfectly shaped flat cookies. The cookies are wonderfully crisp and have a great flavor. This was a simple recipe with few ingredients, but I was so pleased!

Ginger Macaroons
1 egg white
1/3 cup/75 grams packed brown sugar
1 cup/ 115 grams ground almonds
1 teaspoon ginger

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat.

Place the egg white into the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat with the whisk attachment, on medium-high to high, until soft peaks form. Gradually add the brown sugar and continue beating the mixture until stiff peaks form. Remove the bowl from the mixer. Sprinkle the ground almonds and ginger on top of the whipped egg whites. Fold the mixture together with a spatula. Do not over mix and deflate the egg.

Using a medium sized cookie scoop, scoop the meringue onto the baking sheet. Allow 2 inches between each macaroon, as they spread during baking.

Bake for 18-20 minutes, until lightly browned along the edges. Allow to cool on the baking sheet for several minutes before removing to a wire rack.

Recipe from The Four Ingredient Cookbook

Friday, August 21, 2015

S’mores Stuffed Cookies

This month’s What’s Baking theme is S’mores and I was so excited for this theme! As soon as the theme was announced I started looking. I have made two types of s’mores cookie bars (this one and that one), a pie and a cake, so this is a favorite of mine! This recipe sounded so good, cookies with graham crackers, milk chocolate and chocolate chips, stuffed with marshmallows. Baking with marshmallows is always a bit tricky, as they melt if you’re not careful, but it’s worth the risk.

It was cooler the day I made these, and my friend had come over for lunch and then to help with baking. I sure hope fall gets here soon as I’m pretty tired of the house being so warm. But once in a while we get a nice, cooler, day and it’s time to bake. These came together with little problem, but it does take a little patience to stuff the marshmallows into the cookie, but it was nice to have my friend help with that. It takes a delicate touch, but just be generous with the dough and it works out well.

One thing that I didn’t read carefully was that you’re supposed to shape the cookies and then refrigerate them overnight. Yeah, I missed that step. Since I wanted to bake them right away, I decided I would shape the cookies, put them in the freezer for 10 minutes, and then bake them. That seemed to work out. The marshmallows leaked out a little bit in a few cookies, but not bad at all. I really like these cookies, and the marshmallows melt into little pockets of sweetness. Great theme this month, and I am looking forward to the next What’s Baking theme.

S’mores Stuffed Cookies
2-1/2 cups flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon 
1 cup butter, room temperature
¾ cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
6 rectangular graham crackers, crushed (90 grams)
⅔ cup chocolate chips
½ cup roughly chopped milk chocolate
About 2 cups mini marshmallows

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

In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and cinnamon; set aside. In a large mixer bowl, cream the butter and brown sugar on medium until light. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing for a minute after each addition. Stir in the vanilla.

With the mixer running on low, gradually add the flour mixture. Mix just until the flour disappears into the dough. Add the crushed graham crackers, chocolate chips and milk chocolate. Turn the mixer on for a few seconds and then turn it off. Repeat until the mix-ins are distributed throughout the dough.

Scoop tablespoons of dough onto the prepared baking sheets. Take a ball of dough, flatten it with the palm of your hand and place 4 mini marshmallows into the center of the dough. Gently shape the dough up around the marshmallows, adding more dough if needed. Make sure that the marshmallows are well sealed in the dough. Place the stuffed cookies in the freezer 10 minutes to set.

Bake for 10-13 minutes, until lightly browned along the edges and the cookies are almost set. The cookies may seem soft when they come out of the oven; they will set as they cool. Allow to cool on the baking sheets for 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

Recipe from A Cookie Named Desire

Friday, August 14, 2015

Dark Chocolate Macadamia Butter Bars

My good friend goes on trips and sometimes brings me back ingredients to use in baking. One place she likes to visit is Hawaii, and she typically brings me back macadamia nuts from her travels to Hawaii. Normally, macadamias are expensive so recipes typically call for a fairly small amount. I had lots of macadamias, so I went searching for just the right recipe.

I found this recipe, which originally called for pistachios. You take the nuts, process them in the food processor until you have nut butter, then you use the nut butter in the bars. I figured this would work just fine with macadamias! I processed them up and the bars looked great. These bars are basically a nut butter shortbread, as the dough doesn’t contain eggs or leavening.

These bars are thick, and it’s a bit difficult to tell when they are baked through. I didn’t want them to be dry so I took them out of the oven when they were starting to brown along the edges. The firmed up while cooling, but they are on the crumbly side, which isn’t uncommon for shortbread. They are very rich, so I would cut them fairly small!

Dark Chocolate Macadamia Butter Bars
2 cups macadamia nuts
½ cup butter, room temperature
½ cup sugar
½ cup brown sugar
1¾ cup flour
½ teaspoon salt
12 ounces dark chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8” square baking dish with foil, then spray the foil with non-stick cooking spray.

Place the macadamia nuts into a food processor. Process for several minutes until smooth and creamy.

 In a large mixer bowl, beat the macadamia butter, butter, sugar and brown sugar on medium until light and fluffy. Add flour and salt and mix on low speed until incorporated. Stir in dark chocolate chips with a spatula. Press dough into the prepared pan.

Bake for 20-25 minutes until the bars start to brown along the edges. The bars may still seem soft in the center. Allow the bars to cool completely in the pan. Lift the bars from the pan and peel away the foil. Cut into small squares.  

Recipe from  Kevin and Amanda