Friday, April 30, 2010
We recently celebrated National Library Week in our library and one of the events we held to celebrate was a tea for the faculty at the college. We went all out and even had real teacups! We made a lot of the food ourselves, since the library doesn’t have a big budget. We’re quite the group and we can put together a pretty nice shindig. Since I made cookies for the library all the time, I was asked to bring cookies.
Figuring that it would be a fancy tea, I knew I would need to pick the right thing to make. I thought about making Madelines, but since I needed to bring these in the middle of the week, the timing didn’t really work to make those again. I came across this recipe and I figured they would be perfect: petite and dainty for a tea, plus I could make the dough in advance and then bake them up fresh for the tea. I also thought they would go well with the other cookies that I was making: Lemon Meltaways.
I really enjoyed these and they worked really well at the tea. I used dark cocoa powder so these were deep and rich. I didn’t think that the orange flavor was very strong, but that’s ok. One of my coworkers doesn’t like orange so that was just was well. The espresso flavor was great, and I suppose a bit of the contrast to the tea that was served, but no one complained! My cookies weren’t all that thin, and I liked that. You could cut them thinner if you wanted an even crispier cookie, but I was really pleased with how they turned out.
1-1/2 cups flour
½ cup cocoa powder
1-1/2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, at room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon orange zest
1 teaspoon vanilla
Coarse sanding sugar
In a small bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder, instant espresso powder and salt. Stir to combine and set aside. In a large mixer bowl, combine the butter, powdered sugar, orange zest and vanilla. Mix on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to medium low and gradually add the flour mixture until just combined.
Divide dough into two halves. Shape each half into a log, 1-1/2 inches in diameter. Wrap in parchment paper. Chill at least two hours or overnight.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with silicone baking mats. Cut logs into ¼ inch slices and place on prepared baking sheets. Brush the tops of the cookies with water and sprinkle with sanding sugar. Bake until set, 15-17 minutes.
Cool on the sheets before removing to wire racks to cool completely.
Recipe from Martha Stewart’s Cookies
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
This week’s Tuesday with Dorie recipe was selected by Mary of Popsicles and Sandy Feet. She picked the Chockablock Cookies. These start out kind of like a regular chocolate chip cookie, but they have a lot of different additions so they end up being quite unique. You can get the complete recipe for these cookies on Mary’s blog.
These cookies are kind of a “clean out your cupboard” cookie. They call for nuts, dried fruit, chocolate, oats, and coconut. You can decide what varieties of these items to include. I went with what I had on hand and used walnuts, dried cherries, and semisweet chocolate chips. The one thing that I thought odd was the addition of molasses to the batter. I wasn’t sure that I wanted that flavor with all of these other flavors. I ended up using part honey and part molasses. I’m glad I did because even with half the amount, the molasses is very prominent flavor.
These are really interesting, and they taste a lot different than expected. I guess I expected them to taste like chocolate chip cookies with some added goodies, and they didn’t. The flavor changes from bite to bite, depending on which elements you get. I love the chocolate and dried cherry combination. I’m not 100% sold on the molasses, sometimes it seems to strong, and at other times it’s ok. I have a feeling that they will mellow a bit with time, so I will see how they taste in a day or two (if they last that long). Cookies have a short shelf life in my household.
Recipe from Baking from My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan, page 86.
Friday, April 23, 2010
Anzac biscuits are a thing of pride in Australia and they are sticklers for authentic recipes. I have no idea if this is authentic or not, as I found the recipe from another blogger. Her recipe was close to a couple of other recipes that I came across, so I figured these would be good. I imagine the authentic recipe uses Golden Syrup rather than honey, but I used honey since I couldn’t find my container of Golden Syrup. These things happen when you clean out and rearrange the kitchen!
These are super fast to make, and I think from start to finish the cookies maybe only took 40 minutes. I took regular coconut and put it in the food processor to grind it. (Make sure you measure after grinding.) These have a very soft texture and the honey oat flavor is wonderful. They are just a touch oily, so perhaps you could cut back on the butter. The butter tastes so good though! These are quite addictive, so I’m glad that they are going to work and there won’t be too many around the house to devour!
1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup ground coconut
8 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons boiling water
1 teaspoon baking soda
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with silicone baking mats.
In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, oats and coconut. Set aside. In a small saucepan or microwaveable bowl, melt the butter and honey. Add in the salt, water and baking soda. The mixture will fizz a bit when the baking soda is added. Pour the melted butter mixture over the dry ingredients and stir to combine.
Form into teaspoon-sized balls and place on the lined baking sheets about an inch apart. Bake for 8-12 minutes or until golden. Let cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool further.
Recipe from http://spachethespatula.blogspot.com/2010/04/anzac-biscuits.html
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
This week’s Tuesdays with Dorie recipe was picked by Melissa of Love At First Bite. She chose Sweet Cream Biscuits and you can get the recipe on her blog. This was another very quick recipe and I enjoyed making something different. I make so many sweet things that it was good to make something savory for a change.
I don’t recall if I have made biscuits before, but my husband has made them before. The recipe he used was fairly complex and made a big mess of the kitchen. I don’t remember how those even turned out! This was a very different recipe; just a handful of ingredients and the only fat in the recipe was the heavy cream. The recipe that my husband had tried used a lot of butter and it was the butter that ended up being so messy for him. This mixed up in a matter of minutes in one bowl, and then pat out and cut into rounds. So simple that I had made them and put them in the oven to bake and my husband asked: “You made them already?” I love recipes like this.
These were easy to make but I could have taken a little more care in getting all of the ingredients combined. I didn’t want to over mix the dough, but I never got all of the flour incorporated. My dough was really crumbly. I only made a couple of biscuits so I wasn’t too worried. I used a 2” cutter but my biscuits were super tiny. They also didn’t rise too much, but they did taste good. They would be really good as the base for strawberry shortcake or you could serve them with a nice breakfast on the weekend. We just ate them with butter and they were good that way too!
Recipe from Baking from My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan, page 23
Friday, April 16, 2010
I have a lot of cookbooks in my collection, but I find that I tend to use the same ones over and over again. I was looking for a specific recipe recently (which I now I can’t remember what it was) and I took a look at Betty Crocker’s Ultimate Cookie Book. I’ve had this book for a long time, and I had originally bought it because I had borrowed a friend’s Betty Crocker Cookie Book and really liked it. Her book was from the late 1960s and I really liked it more than the one I bought, but there were some good recipes in this book too.
I had made plans to make these but I got home so late that I worried that I would not have enough time to finish them before it was time to go to bed. These look fairly complicated, but they aren’t too bad. It’s a little tedious pressing the dough into the pan, but that really only takes a couple of minutes. I thought the filling would melt down a bit in the oven, but that doesn’t happen. The filling looks about the same as it does when you put them in the oven, so if you want pretty cookies you might take a moment to make sure the filling doesn’t look messy.
These are very tasty little cookies. The filing lives up to its name and they are very fudgy. I don’t think that the coconut flavor is very strong, but it adds a nice texture to the fudgy center. The cookie cup has a very strong cocoa flavor, which I don’t like as much as a good chocolate flavor. I think the filling would work with a plain/vanilla cookie cup and there would be some really nice contrast. It’s the filling that makes it!
¼ cup butter, softened
3 ounces cream cheese, softened
¾ cup flour
¼ cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
½ teaspoon vanilla
2/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup coconut
1/3 cup cocoa powder
2 tablespoons butter, softened
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large mixer bowl, combine the ½ cup butter and cream cheese. Beat until smooth and stir in the flour, powdered sugar, cocoa power and vanilla. Pat about 1 teaspoon of dough in the bottom and sides of 24 ungreased mini muffin cups.
To make the filling, combine all ingredients and stir until smooth. Place 1 teaspoon filling in each of the cups. Bake 18-20 minutes, until filling is set. Cool before carefully removing from the pan.
Recipe from Betty Crocker’s Ultimate Cookie Book (1992)
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
This week’s Tuesdays with Dorie recipe was selected by Nancy of The Dogs Eat the Crumbs. She picked the Swedish Visiting Cake and you can get the entire recipe on her blog. I’d been looking at this recipe for a long time; it’s just one of those recipes that always catches your eye when you are thumbing through the cookbook. I was excited to make this one and I was not disappointed. This ranks near the top of my Tuesdays with Dorie favorites!
This cake is reminiscent of two other cakes that I really love. Both are single layer cakes with a topping of sliced almonds. One is the Arabian Honey Cake, which has a honey/almond topping and the other is an Orange Almond Cake, which has an orange juice/almond/sugar topping. I thought I had made the Orange Almond Cake for my blog but I guess I haven’t. I’ll have to make that the next time I need to celebrate an occasion! These two cakes are simple and taste wonderful. I’m happy to say that I have a third cake that I can add to my favorites. I just loved this cake.
I loved the simplicity and ease of this cake. I actually had the cake ready to go into the oven before the oven had reached temperature! It’s made in one bowl and mixed by hand. My only concern was that it didn’t include any leavening other than eggs, but I shouldn’t have worried because it rose beautifully. We did eat this hot out of the oven (my husband even grumbled about having to wait 5 minutes for it to cool) and I’m glad that we did. I loved the freshness and the soft texture of this hot-from-the-oven cake.
Recipe from Baking from My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan, page 197
Friday, April 9, 2010
After last week’s super rich peanut butter cup blondies, I wanted to make something a little simpler. The weather here in the Seattle area has been pretty strange, with freezing rain/slushy snow this week! I had spied a couple of fall-like recipes, but I didn’t end up having the right ingredients. I really need to get to the store to stock up.
A couple of weeks ago I made thumbprint cookies filled with raspberry chocolate orange preserves that I had picked up last summer at the farmer’s market. I still had some of the preserves left, and I’ve been trying to figure out what to do with it. I had thought about making some sort of raspberry cheesecake bars, but I couldn’t find quite the right recipe. I was thumbing through one of my cookie books and came across a recipe for raspberry cream sandwiches. The filling was made with raspberry and cream, which looked really great. I decided to make the cookies from that recipe and then just sandwich together with the wonderful preserves that I had on hand.
These cookies are about as simple as you can get. The do spread a lot, so I learned after the first batch to leave a lot of space between the cookies! Baking time is very touchy, too, with the cookies going from perfect to overbaked in about 20 seconds. The cookies are very thin, but I prefer that for sandwich cookies since thick cookies become too much when sandwiched together. The cookies have a crispy, buttery flavor. When first sandwiched together, the cookies remain crisp and the jam adds a nice sweetness. They soften after sitting a while, but retain their wonderful flavor. I put these together quickly, but I think they are a big hit.
1-3/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons butter, room temperature
1-1/2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
Jam, for filling
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with silicone baking mats.
In a small bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt. In a large mixer bowl, beat the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add egg and vanilla extract; mix until smooth. Reduce mixer speed to low and gradually add the flour mixture.
Drop dough onto prepared baking sheets, spacing two inches apart. Bake for 8-10 minutes until golden and just set. Let cookies cool on wire racks.
To assemble, spread about one teaspoon filling onto the bottom of one cookie and sandwich together with another.
Cookie recipe adapted from Martha Stewart’s Cookies
Tuesday, April 6, 2010
This week’s Tuesdays with Dorie recipe was chosen by Erin of When in Doubt…Leave it at 350. She picked Mocha-Walnut Marbled Bundt Cake, which I was thrilled with since I love Bundt cakes! I’m not the biggest fan of walnuts, but there weren’t that many in this recipe and I figured it would be ok. For the complete recipe, you can visit Erin’s blog. This was really good so I suggest you check it out!
I made this cake for Easter dinner, and it was very well received. It starts with a basic cake batter (lots of butter this week!) that includes ground walnuts. You split the batter and add chocolate, coffee and espresso powder to half the batter and then swirl in the pan. Dorie gives you some options for the swirl, but it’s been my experience that swirls do what swirls want to do and so I didn’t try to orchestrate it too much. I layered the batters, swirled it a touch and hoped for the best.
I liked this cake, but I can’t say that the mocha flavor was that strong and the walnuts were a subtle addition. I thought that the coffee flavor would be strong, since I used brewed espresso for the coffee and espresso powder. My husband tasted the batters and he said that the finished cake was much better than the separate batters. This cake when well with Easter dinner because it wasn’t too sweet. We’d all had plenty of sugar already! I’d be curious how this cake would taste with a stronger flavored nut, like a hazelnut or a pistachio. Maybe I’ll try that next time.
Recipe from Baking from My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan, pages 180 and 181
Friday, April 2, 2010
The week leading up to Easter often seems awash in way too many sugary sweets. Some years I have given up candy for Lent, but that wasn’t the case this year. (We gave up watching television on Saturdays, if you are curious.) It would probably be better for my waistline to give up candy, but we’ve really been enjoying our quiet Saturdays at home. I don’t think the cats understand the radio and were the sound comes from, but they’ll just have to adjust.
I saw these cookies on Tastespotting and I knew I had to make them. I thought these would fit in just perfectly with the pre-Easter cavalcade of sugar. I do love chocolate and peanut butter, and these looked so decadent. I also figured that stores would have Easter candy on sale and I could get the peanut butter cups at a good price. I do think about these things!
The original recipe was baking in an 8 inch square pan, but I decided to double the recipe, which is the recipe that I have given here. These are very rich and you really need to cut them small, so I probably would have been able to get away with making the smaller batch. Oh well, the ones that were left at home and not taken to work are long gone. They are so yummy. I’m not one to eat cookie dough typically, but the dough for these was awesome. Almost irresistible! You should make these, they are the best. And if you don’t want to eat too many, you’ll need to give them away!
2 cup flour
1/2 cup cake flour
1-1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup smooth peanut butter
2 sticks unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups chopped peanut butter cups
1-1/2 cups peanut butter chips
1/2 cup chocolate chips
Additional peanut butter cups (about 20)
Linea 9 x 13 inch pan with aluminum foil, allowing the foil to hang over the sides of the pan, and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Stir together the flours, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
In a sized mixer bowl, stir together the melted butter and peanut butter. Whisk in the brown sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Switching to a wooden spoon or a spatula, mix in the flour mixture. Stir in the chips and peanut butter cups. The dough will be thick and chunky.
Scrape the dough into the prepared pan and spread it in evenly. Bake for 30-35 minutes; the bars are done when the dough is set and golden. Immediately after removing the bars from the oven, press as many peanut butter cups as you want into the surface of the blondies. Let the pan and bars cool completely on a cooling rack. Lift the cookies from the pan remove the foil and cut into bars.
Recipe from one kitchen, two dogs and a girl