Friday, June 23, 2017

Nutella Stuffed Cookies

When I first started using Pinterest to keep track of recipes, a cookie very similar to this one was one of the first things that I pinned. Some of those older pins no longer work, with dead links and URLs that change and that sort of thing. I added a new friend on Facebook who posts a lot of recipes, and this came up. I figured I should make them before the link no longer works.

This is a simple recipe, but takes a little extra planning. You have to make the Nutella centers that become the cookie filling. Scoop out teaspoons of Nutella and freeze. Make sure that your centers aren’t too big, or you will have giant cookies. The original recipe suggested freezing the Nutella for 30 minutes, I did for an hour and the centers were easy to work with. The dough needs some time in the refrigerator also, as it’s quite sticky.

This recipe only makes about a dozen cookies, but they are good substantial cookies. I hedged my bets and made 13 Nutella centers, and I ended up having enough cookie dough for probably 15 cookies. But having only 13 centers, that is what I made! My cookies baked nicely, with no escaped filling on any of the cookies! They do look rather plain, but the center really makes these wonderful. Yes, they are better when they are gooey and warm, but they are still very tasty once cooled.

Nutella Stuffed Cookies
12 teaspoons Nutella
½ cup butter, room temperature
¼ cup sugar
½ cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup flour
½ cup cocoa powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon Instant coffee

Line a small baking sheet with parchment paper. Scoop 12 teaspoons of Nutella onto the lined baking sheet, creating 12 mounds that will become the center of your cookies. Freezer until firm, at least 30 minutes.
In a large mixer bowl, combine the butter, sugar, and brown sugar. Beat on medium until combined. Add the egg and vanilla and beat again on medium until smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl to ensure that the mixture is smooth. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt, and instant coffee. With the mixer running on low, gradually add the flour mixture, beating just until the dough comes together. Refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with silicone baking mats.
Remove the Nutella from the freezer. Working with a heaping tablespoon of cookie dough at a time, flatten the dough in the palm of your hand, place one Nutella mound in the center of the dough and mold the cookie around the Nutella center. Roll into a ball, ensuring that the Nutella is fully encased in cookie dough. Place on the prepared baking sheets, leaving room between each cookie.
Bake for about 12 minutes, the cookies will look slightly cracked. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack. Cookies are best when served warm.
Recipe from Tip Hero

Friday, June 16, 2017

Oreo Chunk Cookies

It’s the last week of school and it’s been very busy! I had failed to plan which cookies I was going to bake. The other night I had to run a late evening errand and I asked my husband to pick some cookies to make for this week. He didn’t disappoint, and by the time I got back he had sent me four different cookies. I ended up making this one, as I had already pinned a recipe that was very similar. We were certainly on the same wavelength!

I really like Oreos, and it is one of the few store-bought cookies that we buy occasionally. This recipe uses both Oreo cookie crumbs and chopped up Oreos, added into a brown sugar cookie dough. When I read the recipe, I noticed that the yield of the recipe was only 24 cookies. I should have investigated further and looked at the quantity of flour and butter in the recipe, which I think gives a better indication of how many cookies it will make. Cookies vary so much in size; one person’s cookie might make two cookies for another.

I ended up making 1 & 1/2 times the recipe, which was a mistake! It made an enormous amount of dough. I made my normal sized cookies, and I made five dozen cookies and still had dough left. I refrigerated the rest of the dough, to bake another day. Don’t skip the refrigeration of the dough, as these cookies spread even with refrigeration. These cookies have the great flavor of Oreos, in a crispy, buttery and brown sugary cookie. Just make the recipe as I’ve written it here, otherwise you will have a ton of cookies.

Oreo Chunk Cookies
10 Oreos
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 eggs
14 Oreos, quartered

In a food processor, process the 10 Oreos until you have fine crumbs. In a medium bowl, whisk together the Oreo crumbs, flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

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. Stir in the vanilla. With the mixer running on low, gradually add the flour mixture, stirring just until mixed. Stir in the quartered Oreos with a spatula.

Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.

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

Shape the dough into 1-1/4” balls and place on the baking sheets. Leave a couple of inches of space around each cookie as the dough will spread while baking.

Bake for 12-15 minutes, until done along the edges. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheets for 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack.

Recipe from Dinner then Dessert

Friday, June 9, 2017

Strawberry Almond Bars

One of the many ingredients that seem to collect in our house are different types of jams and preserves. The British store that we like to visit has a wide variety of jams, lots of marmalade and we pick up items that seem new and interesting. At the grocery store that applies too. Anything new will often peak our interest. For this recipe, I used strawberry honey preserves, which is a traditional preserve just made with honey. I also considered using rhubarb ginger preserves, but perhaps that would have been too much.

This recipe calls for sliced almonds, which are used as the topping but can also be used for the ground almonds. Sliced almonds grind up very nicely in the food processor. Right now, I have some almond flour on hand as I did some gluten free baking, so I used that. Either would work. You could even substitute plain flour, but then the bars would lose some of its almond flavor.

This bottom crust is very thin. When I started pressing the dough into the pan, it looked like an impossibly small amount to dough to cover the entire pan. It worked though, you must be patient and take your time. You top the bars with a cream cheese icing/topping before baking, which is quite different. These bars are thin and some are very delicate. I like the strawberry combined with almond. I think I can taste the honey in the preserves, which I like, but it makes the strawberry flavor just a little less prominent.

Strawberry Almond Bars
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 cup flour
1/2 cup ground almonds/almond flour
3/4 cup strawberry preserves

4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 tsp almond extract
1/4 cup sliced almonds

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine the melted butter with flour, powdered sugar, and ground almonds. Stir until the mixture is crumbly. Press into the bottom of 9” x 13” baking dish. Spread the preserves onto the bottom crust, making sure that the preserves don’t touch the sides of the pan.

Make the topping: in a mixer bowl beat the cream cheese, powdered sugar, and almond extract on medium speed until smooth. Pipe the topping in diagonal lines on top of the preserves. Sprinkle with sliced almonds.

Bake for 20-24 minutes, until the crust is lightly browned. Cool completely before cutting into bars.

Recipe from Shugary Sweets