Friday, January 29, 2010
After last week’s chocolate overload, I decided on something less extravagant this week. I try to rotate between bar cookies, shaped and drop cookie, and also between chocolate, citrus, nut, and other flavors. Sometimes time is a concern as well, as I don’t always have a lot of time to bake! I had a lot of work this week that had to be finished so I ended up baking sheets of cookies between getting extra bits of work done. Hopefully next week won’t be so busy!
I had purchased macadamia nuts a couple of weeks ago for another recipe. I couldn’t find that recipe when I was looking for what to make (although I did find that recipe just a moment ago!) but these use the same amount of nuts so I thought it would be perfect. I had thought about making a lemon/orange macadamia cookie, but this worked out just as well. White chocolate and macadamias are often paired together. The sweetness of the white chocolate balances the richness of the macadamias.
These are really addicting! They are chewy on the bottom but because of the sugar-coated top, they are light and crispy on the top. I really like the extra texture that dipping them in sugar adds. They are very buttery, a combination of the butter and the macadamias I think. They do tend to spread a bit so go ahead and make them small; they won’t seem so small after baking. This batch makes about 4-1/2 dozen, which will get eaten very quickly if you aren’t careful. Make a double batch!
½ cup butter, softened
½ cup sugar
½ cup brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup white chocolate chunks
½ cup coarsely chopped macadamia nuts
In a large mixer bowl, beat the butter, shortening, and sugars until light and fluffy. Stir in the egg and the vanilla. In a separate bowl, mix the flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt. Gradually add this mixture to the creamed mixture and mix well. Stir in the white chocolate chunks and the macadamias. Form into a ball and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for one hour or until easy to handle.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line two baking sheets with silicone baking mats. Shape the dough into one inch balls. Dip the top half of the ball in water and then in sugar. Place the cookies, sugar side up, on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely on a wire rack.
Recipe from Taste of Home Best Loved Cookies & Bars
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
This week’s Tuesdays with Dorie recipe was selected by Steph of Obsessed with Baking. She chose Cocoa-Nana Bread, which is chocolate banana bread. There was quite a bit of discussion about this one! Does banana go with chocolate? Can you substitute something else for the banana? Do you think chocolate and banana go together? If you do, check out Steph’s blog for the complete recipe. You can also check out the other Tuesdays with Dorie bloggers and see how they fared with this week’s recipe.
Now, I don’t like bananas at all, but I do like banana bread, so I was quite intrigued by this recipe. I think that chocolate and banana does go together; think of chocolate fondue or a banana split! The bananas that I used weren’t very ripe, so you can’t taste the banana much at all. I’m ok with that, but maybe the chocolate is too overpowering. It uses an entire cup of cocoa powder, which is quite a lot.
This bread doesn’t have the moist texture that I am used to with banana bread; it’s quite dry. It seems more like a pound cake or something like that. If you think that it will be like banana bread, then you will be disappointed since it is so different. If you think it’s a cake, then you are in business. Overall, this was pretty good, a lot different than expected but I am glad I tried it.
Recipe from Baking from My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan, page 46.
Friday, January 22, 2010
I spotted these cookies on Tastespotting and I moved them right to the top of my “cookies to make” list. I’m on quite a chocolate kick this week, making the Tuesdays with Dorie cookies plus another decadent cake for a birthday celebration at work. I’ll post that cake soon. So I figured I would continue the trend and make a chocolate cookie. It’s hard to go wrong with a chocolate and peanut butter cookie!
I love cookies that use basic ingredients that you have in the cupboard. I did end up using up the last bits of sugar in the house, so I need to restock. I didn’t have any peanut butter chips, which I was surprised since I swear I have about 12 different bags of chips in there: mint, butterscotch, cinnamon, chocolate raspberry swirl, but no peanut butter.
These came together in about 10 minutes, and then take 10 minutes to bake. They don’t look fancy, but they are tasty. My husband thought that the unbaked dough was excellent, but he’s an unbaked cookie dough type of guy. I prefer my cookies baked! From talking with my friends, I guess I am the odd one out that I don’t eat the dough. These are best hot from the oven, when everything is still soft and gooey, but they are still pretty tasty later, too. They have a good balance of flavors, chocolaty without being too heavy, with a nice peanut butter flavor.
1 cup butter
½ cup peanut butter (I used creamy)
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups flour
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups peanut butter chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two cookie sheets with silicone baking mats and set aside.
In a large mixer bowl, cream together the butter, peanut butter, and sugar. Once the mixture is combined, stir in the eggs and vanilla. Combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt, stir into the creamed mixture. Finally, stir in the peanut butter chips.
Drop cookies by heaping teaspoonfuls onto the prepared cookie sheets. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until set. Cool on wire racks.
Recipe from My Baking Addiction, who adapted the recipe from All Recipes.
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
This week’s Tuesdays with Dorie recipe was selected by Lillian of Confectiona’s Realm. She picked the Chocolate Oatmeal Almost-Candy Bars, which are just my kind of cookie: rich, multi-layered, and decadent! These would be the sort of thing that I would choose! To see the complete recipe, visit Lillian’s blog. This is a good one so you’ll certainly want to get the recipe.
This cookie starts with an oat, brown sugar, and peanut base. You use half of that for the base of the cookie and the other half for the top. In between is a layer of chocolate, sweetened condensed milk, peanuts and raisins. The raisins are a bit different, and I used dried cranberries instead. They are a very substantial cookie, and the pan is really heavy when you get everything together.
There are a little messy to assemble, but they are worth it! After you take them out of the oven it is critical that you let them cool completely. I let them cool for about 3 hours and they were still too soft. I cut the pan into 8 big pieces, removed them from the pan and then stuck them in the refrigerator for a couple hours. They were easy to cut at that point. So I recommend putting the bars in the refrigerator before attempting to cut these.
I like these a lot, but I’m not surprised since they are exactly the kind of cookie that I like making. I’m not 100% sold on the raisins/dried cranberries in the middle layer. They add an unexpected texture to the mix. I had thought about substituting something else, but I couldn’t think of anything to add that wasn’t already there! These make a lot of cookies since I cut them small, so I am sending the leftovers to work with my husband. I hope they like them as much as I did.
Recipe from Baking from My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan, pages 114 and 115
Monday, January 18, 2010
I suppose this recipe is more for Christmas, but I really like eggnog and it seemed a shame to give it up just because the holiday is over. Eggnog lasts a long time so this is a great recipe if you still have some eggnog and you want to have one last holiday hurrah.
I’ve made an eggnog cherry cake before, long ago when I was in grad school. My friend had come over and I had seen an eggnog cherry cake recipe in a magazine and we decided to make it. She was so excited since she loved eggnog. That cake called for cherry pie filling I believe. I made the cake and put it in the pan. It smelled so good when baking. But it never cooked all the way through. No matter how much I baked it, it still wouldn’t set up. I guess I must have been distracted, but I realized later that I had used was too much cherry filling! No wonder it hadn’t ever set up. My friend didn’t mind one bit and ate it anyway. She said it was yummy but maybe she was just being nice.
So I was hopeful that this would turn out better than that experience, and these loaves did. My husband had given my mini loaf pans for Christmas so I used those here. The pans look so small, and it seemed like I filled the pans awfully full, but it was ok. I substituted maraschino cherries for candied cherries and I omitted the ½ cup pecans from the recipe. The loaves turned out very nicely and they have a good eggnog flavor. The cherries add a nice sweetness. These would be wonderful as hostess gifts for the holidays next year!
2-1/2 cups flour
¾ cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1-1/4 cups eggnog
6 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ cup coarsely chopped maraschino cherries
Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease three 5-1/2X3-inch mini-loaf pans.
Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and nutmeg in large bowl. Combine eggnog, melted butter, eggs and vanilla in medium bowl; stir until well blended. Add eggnog mixture to flour mixture. Mix just until all ingredients are moistened. Stir in pecans and cherries. Spoon into prepared pans.
Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until wooden toothpick inserted into centers comes out clean. Cool in pans 15 minutes. Remove from pans; cool completely on wire racks. Store tightly wrapped in plastic wrap at room temperature
Recipe from http://recipes.howstuffworks.com/cherry-eggnog-quick-bread-recipe.htm
Friday, January 15, 2010
When I first started baking many years ago, I made a lot of Pillsbury Bake-Off recipes. I like that they usually have an unusual twist or just have something unique about them. I guess if they weren’t a little bit special then they would never make it to the competition. One thing I don’t like is that so many recipes depend on premade cookie dough, cake or bread mixes, or other packaged things. I understand that they are trying to sell their product, but I prefer to make things from scratch. (I do use packaged pie crust from time to time, so it’s not all bad.)
I saw this recipe in an old Bake-Off cookbook that I had sitting on the bookshelf, and I thought that the orange and hazelnut combination would be good. The base of this cookie was originally refrigerated sugar cookie dough. I decided to make my own sugar cookie dough, and they worked just fine. I don’t know if the amount of dough I used was equal to the 18 ounce package of sugar cookie dough or no, but it seemed to be about the same amount. I did bake them at the longer end of the time ranges, but other than that I didn’t notice any difference.
These come together very quickly, even though I made my own cookie dough. These are more cakelike than you might expect from a bar cookie. They are also not very sweet, the perfect sort of cookie to serve with coffee or tea. The orange flavor isn’t very strong, more of a subtle sweetness. After weeks of rich, sweet treats from the holidays, these are a nice change of pace.
1-1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 cup butter, softened
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 egg 2-1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 cup chopped hazelnuts, divided
½ cup sugar
5 teaspoons flour
1/3 cup light corn syrup
1 tablespoon orange zest
¼ cup orange juice
1 tablespoon butter, melted
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large mixer bowl, cream powdered sugar, butter, vanilla and egg. Stir in the flour, baking soda and cream of tartar. Mix until combined. Press the dough into the bottom of an ungreased 9” x 13” pan. Sprinkle the dough with ½ cup chopped hazelnuts; press the nuts into the dough. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until dough is puffed. Remove the pan from the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees.
While the cookies are baking, in a small bowl combine the sugar, flour, corn syrup, orange zest, orange juice, butter, egg, and remaining ½ cup of hazelnuts. Carefully pour the corn syrup mixture over the partially baked cookies. Bake for 18-23 minutes or until edges are golden brown and filling is set. Cool ten minutes and then sprinkle with powdered sugar. Cool completely before cutting into bars.
Recipe adapted from the 38th Pillsbury Bake-Off Cookbook. Cookie recipe from the Betty Crocker Cookbook
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
This week’s Tuesdays with Dorie recipe was selected by Teanna of Spork or Foon? She selected Mrs. Vogel’s Scherben, which is a fried cookie. Very different! If you’d like the complete recipe (which is very simple), check out Teanna’s blog. I was very afraid to make this cookie, and didn’t make them exactly as the recipe specified.
The last time I made something that I fried, it turned out to be a big huge mess. I don’t really have the right pan and I just don’t have very much oil in the house. Plus, how do you keep the oil the right temperature? The last thing I made the oil got really hot and then really cold. It was a big fail. I had made rosettes before, which are fried, but that was a long time ago and a very different type of cookie. Those seemed fairly foolproof, but these looked like they were going to be trouble.
I was reading the Q & A for this recipe on the Tuesdays with Dorie site and one blogger said she was going to brush the dough with oil and bake them instead of frying. I thought I would give that a try and it worked out quite well. I rolled the dough as thin as I could and they did get fairly crispy in the oven. I’m sure it wasn’t the same as frying, but I was pleased with the easy of the alternative method. I think I would cut them smaller, as mine seem really big. Maybe they shrink up some when you fry them. I shook them in a bag of powdered sugar when they were warm and they are pretty tasty! They are kind of like baked tortillas or leftover baked pastry. Overall, they were a very different type of cookie and I’m glad that I tried them.
Recipe from Baking from My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan, pages 157-159
Friday, January 8, 2010
I normally don’t like thumbprint cookies. I’m not sure why, but they usually are just kind of plain and a bit soggy sometimes. Lately I have seen a couple of different thumbprint cookie recipes that have looked intriguing. I saw these in one of the holiday baking magazines that I bought, and then Peabody made them for her blog, Culinary Concoctions by Peabody. That pushed me over the edge and I just had to give these a try. I figured they had enough special touches that they certainly wouldn’t be plain.
These cookies came together quickly. They are a little messy when you roll them in the egg white and it’s a little tricky to get the cashews the stick, but not too bad. I ended up making the thumbprints with the back of a ½ teaspoon measuring spoon, and I did remake the impressions after baking. I had more caramel than I needed, since you really don’t use all that much with each cookie. Be careful melting the white chocolate, since it scorches so easily. I usually microwave it for about 30 seconds, stir, and then heat for 10 or so more seconds as needed. These turned out picture perfect and I like them a lot. I would like the nuts to be a little crunchier, but other than that they were great. I’m encouraged to try a few more thumbprint recipes since these were so good.
½ cup butter, softened
2/3 cup brown sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla
¼ teaspoon salt
1-1/3 cups flour
1 egg white
1 teaspoon water
1-1/2 cups chopped roasted salted cashews
16 caramels, unwrapped
3 tablespoons heavy cream
3 ounces white chocolate
1 teaspoon shortening
In a mixer bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg, vanilla, and salt; beat on low until blended. Add flour and beat until combined. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill for one hour.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line two baking sheets with silicone baking mats. Beat the egg white and water with a fork; set aside. Shape the dough into 1 inch balls. Roll the dough balls in the egg white mixture and then in the chopped cashews. Place the cookies on the baking sheets and make an indention in each cookie with your thumb. Bake cookies until the edges are set, about 12-13 minutes. You may need to remake the indentations while the cookies are still warm.
In a small saucepan, heat the caramels and heavy cream over low heat. Stir until the caramel melts and then remove from the heat. Spoon the warm caramel filling into the indentations. Allow to cool completely.
Heat the white chocolate and shortening in the microwave until the chocolate melts. Drizzle chocolate over cookies and refrigerate until set.
Recipe from Cuisine at Home Holiday Baking
Tuesday, January 5, 2010
It’s the second anniversary of the Tuesdays with Dorie group, so the group founder Laurie picked this week’s recipes. Being such a great group leader, Laurie put the question out to the members to vote on what we should make in honor of the anniversary. In the end, two recipes were selected: Cocoa-Buttermilk Birthday Cake and Tarte Tatin. We could make one or the other, or both! I decided to make Tarte Tatin since this is a recipe that I have wanted to try for some time. You can find the recipe on Laurie’s blog.
Tarte Tatin is exceptionally simple: just pastry, apples, sugar and butter. I used regular piecrust pastry, but you could also use puff pastry if you have that available. The recipe called for 8 apples, but apples in Washington state must be huge since I only used 4-1/2 apples in my 10-inch pan. They were all snugly nestled in the pan, so I wasn’t worried that I had used too few apples.
You start by melting lots of butter and then adding sugar, topping with apples, and then cooking until the butter/sugar mixture caramelizes. Dorie says that this will take about 15 minutes, but it took mine a good 30 minutes to turn a “deep caramel color.” I topped it with pastry and then baked it in the oven for 30 minutes.
It looked really great when it came out of the oven. It was really hot though and we didn’t really wait 10 minutes before eating, which is probably a good idea if you don’t want to burn your mouth. I really loved the simplicity of this tart. It is a lot sweeter than I expected, and next time I would serve it with vanilla ice cream. I have no idea if it keeps well since we basically ate it in one sitting. Just trying to maintain that post-Christmas sugar high! Overall, this is a simple dessert that looks very impressive. I’m excited to make this one again.
Recipe from Baking from My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan, page 312
Friday, January 1, 2010
I came across these cookies on Tastespotting from the Two Peas and their Pod blog and I thought that they would be great for Christmas. I do like to make family favorites this time of year, but I usually try a couple of new recipes too. I also had some crushed peppermint candy to use up, so I figured that these would do perfectly.
I have to say that my cookies look a lot different from the ones posted on Tastespotting. There are a couple of differences in these cookies compared to other cookies that I make. This uses vegetable oil rather than butter. Also, they call for two teaspoons of baking powder, which is a lot for a cookie. I wondered if this was a mistake in the recipe, but figured I would give it a shot and see how they turned out. Mine are a lot puffier than the ones I saw first, so maybe I should have decreased the baking powder.
I rolled the cookie balls entirely in the crushed peppermint candies, but I think I would just dip the tops of the cookies in the peppermint candies. The candies melt around the edges and stick to the baking mats that I use, so they were a little tricky to handle once they came out of the oven. Although they look a little different than I had expected, they taste really great. These were a big hit with the people I gave them to this holiday season. I think I will make them a regular in my holiday repertoire.
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup vegetable oil
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
5 candy canes-crushed up
Combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside. In a large mixer bowl, combine the oil, chocolate and granulated sugar and blend on medium speed. Add the eggs, one at a time, followed by the vanilla, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary. Add the dry ingredients and mix on low speed, stopping once to scrape down the sides. Mix until just incorporated, 2 to 3 minutes. The dough will be sticky.
Gather the dough into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours or overnight.
Preheat to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with silicone baking mats.
Pour the crushed candy canes onto a plate or into a shallow bowl. Roll the dough into 1-inch balls and roll each ball into the candy cane pieces, so that all sides are covered. Place 2 inches apart on the prepared sheets.
Bake for 10 minutes for soft, chewy cookies, or 12 minutes for crisp cookies, rotating the pans halfway through baking. The cookies do set up, so if you want them soft, take them out at 10 minutes. Let cool completely on cooling racks.
Recipe from Two Peas and their Pod