Archive for the ‘Cookies’ Category

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Macarons – October 2009 Daring Baker’s Challenge

October 27, 2009

The 2009 October Daring Bakers’ challenge was brought to us by Ami S. She chose macarons from Claudia Fleming’s The Last Course: The Desserts of Gramercy Tavern as the challenge recipe.

The recipe for this challenge calls for almond flour. Now I’m not a huge fan of almond flavor in anything but an actual almond so I was ecstatic to read that we could substitute any other nut we wanted! I immediately searched the internet for hazelnut flour and pecan flour. My two favorite nut baking flavors. While I found both I ultimately decided to go with pecan flour/meal that I found here.

I grew up eating fantastic pecan pie. My grandfather was from Alabama and he told stories about getting sent to the neighbor’s house, with a brown paper bag, to collect pecans then having to shell them for his momma’s pecan pie. He always used her recipe and no pecan pie has ever come close to the ones he used to make. Believe me, we’ve all tried.

Since no one can get it as good, I started making chocolate pecan pies. Very tasty and still sparks the memories without the ultimate disappointment of a lesser pie. And since chocolate pecan pie is my very favorite kind of pie now and when I think of fall I think of that pie I decided to do a chocolate pecan pie macaroon. Yum!

To make these I substituted pecan flour for the almond flour in the recipe below.

macaron half

Then I put a layer of dark chocolate on the bottom of each cookie. Everything’s better with dark chocolate, in my opinion!

chocolate

Last I made this recipe for pecan pie filling, added about a 1/2 a cup of chopped pecans and sandwiched it between two macaroons.

filling shot

Presto!

macaron close up

Chocolate Pecan Pie Macaroon! Yummo!

You gotta try one!

Original challenge recipe below!

Ingredients
2 1/4 cups Confectioners’ sugar
2 cups almond flour
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
5 egg whites, at room temperature

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 200°F. Combine the confectioners’ sugar and almond flour in a medium bowl. If grinding your own nuts, combine nuts and a cup of confectioners’ sugar in the bowl of a food processor and grind until nuts are very fine and powdery.
2. Beat the egg whites in the clean dry bowl of a stand mixer until they hold soft peaks. Slowly add the granulated sugar and beat until the mixture holds stiff peaks.
3. Sift a third of the almond flour mixture into the meringue and fold gently to combine. If you are planning on adding zest or other flavorings to the batter, now is the time. Sift in the remaining almond flour in two batches. Be gentle! Don’t overfold, but fully incorporate your ingredients.
4. Spoon the mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a plain half-inch tip (Ateco #806). You can also use a Ziploc bag with a corner cut off. It’s easiest to fill your bag if you stand it up in a tall glass and fold the top down before spooning in the batter.
5. Pipe one-inch-sized mounds of batter onto baking sheets lined with nonstick liners (or parchment paper).
6. Bake the macaroon for 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and raise the temperature to 375°F. Once the oven is up to temperature, put the pans back in the oven and bake for an additional 7 to 8 minutes, or lightly colored.
7. Cool on a rack before filling.

Yield: 10 dozen.

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S’mores Bars

September 6, 2009

S'mores Brownie top

I found this recipe on Peabody‘s blog the other day and thought it would be perfect to make on Saturday. You see on Saturday, some of my girlfriends and I got together for my friend Beth’s bachelorette. She wasn’t really interested in going out and wooping it up, so we had a Baking Bachelorette. Everyone came over, brought their pj’s, their favorite alcohol, and a recipe with fixings to bake. Whenever I think of a sleepover I think of Girl Scout camp at Bear Creek and S’mores, so this was the perfect recipe to stumble upon.

The bars are FANTASTIC!! They are sticky and gooey and just… mmm! Scrumdidiliumptious! Thanks Peabody for hooking me up with such a winning recipe!

S'mores Brownie side

S’mores Bars

Graham Cracker Crust

2 ¼ cups graham cracker crumbs (15-17 crackers)…I used 18
1/3  cup granulated sugar
¾ cup unsalted butter, melted
Fudge Brownie Filling:

6 ounce unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1 cup plus 2 TBSP unsalted butter, chopped into TBSP sized pieces
2 ½ cups granulated sugar
5 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour

1 ½ cups pecan halves, chopped
4 cups (packed) miniature marshmallows

Line a 10 x 15x 2 inch glass baking dish with foil, leaving a 1-inch over hang around the top edge of the pan. Smooth out any big wrinkles in the foils and then lightly coat the foil with nonstick cooking spray.

Preheat oven to 350F.

Combine the graham cracker crumbs and sugar in a small bowl. Gradually add the melted butter until the crumbs just hold together when squeezed in your palm. Press the mixture into an even ¼ inch layer on the bottom of th prepared pan. Run a smooth bottomed measuring cup over the crust to pack and level it.

Combine the chocolate and butter in a large bowl that fists a double boiler. Place the bowl over barely simmering water and stir as needed until the chocolate and butter are melted. Remove from the heat and whisk in the sugar, followed by the beaten eggs and vanilla extract. Stir in the flour, mixing until smooth. Pour the batter on top of the graham cracker crust and level with a small offset spatula.

Scatter chopped nuts evenly over the batter. Bake 30-35 minutes, or until cake tester inserted in brownie center comes out with dark, damp crumbs on it. Do not overbake. Set on a wire rack and cool completely in the pan.

Distribute the marshmallows evenly over the brownie top. Place the pan under the broiler in the top third of the oven for about 1 minute, or until he marshmallows are puffy and golden brown. Watch carefully and rotate the pan regularly, as the marshmallow can easily burn. Cool until the topping is firm and easily cut without sticking.

Remove the brownies from the pan in one block by gently pulling up on the foil overhang. Place directly on a cutting board. Remove all foil and cut into 2-inch squares. For the neatest cuts, use a sharp knife, wiped clean with a warm, damp cloth between slices.

Adapted from Cookie Swap by Julie M. Usher

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Mallows and Milans and DBer’s! Oh My! – July Daring Baker’s Challenge

July 27, 2009

The July Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Nicole at Sweet Tooth. She chose Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Cookies and Milan Cookies from pastry chef Gale Gand of the Food Network.

These were super fun to make!  Pic’s are on my friend’s camera, but I’ll add them as soon as he sends them to me!

*EDIT* Okay, between my hubby’s kidney stone and teething 5 month olds, I haven’t had a chance to update this post with more detail and pic’s. I’ll get it up soon! Keep checking!

Mallows(Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Cookies)
Recipe courtesy Gale Gand, from Food Network website

Prep Time: 10 min
Inactive Prep Time: 5 min
Cook Time: 10 min
Serves: about 2 dozen cookies

• 3 cups (375grams/13.23oz) all purpose flour
• 1/2 cup (112.5grams/3.97oz) white sugar
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
• 3/8 teaspoon baking soda
• 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 12 tablespoons (170grams/ 6 oz) unsalted butter
• 3 eggs, whisked together
• Homemade marshmallows, recipe follows
• Chocolate glaze, recipe follows

1. In a mixer with the paddle attachment, blend the dry ingredients.
2. On low speed, add the butter and mix until sandy.
3. Add the eggs and mix until combine.
4. Form the dough into a disk, wrap with clingfilm or parchment and refrigerate at least 1 hour and up to 3 days.
5. When ready to bake, grease a cookie sheet or line it with parchment paper or a silicon mat.
6. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
7. Roll out the dough to 1/8-inch thickness, on a lightly floured surface. Use a 1 to 1 1/2 inches cookie cutter to cut out small rounds of dough.
8. Transfer to the prepared pan and bake for 10 minutes or until light golden brown. Let cool to room temperature.
9. Pipe a “kiss” of marshmallow onto each cookie. Let set at room temperature for 2 hours.
10. Line a cookie sheet with parchment or silicon mat.
11. One at a time, gently drop the marshmallow-topped cookies into the hot chocolate glaze.
12. Lift out with a fork and let excess chocolate drip back into the bowl.
13. Place on the prepared pan and let set at room temperature until the coating is firm, about 1 to 2 hours.

Note: if you don’t want to make your own marshmallows, you can cut a large marshmallow in half and place on the cookie base. Heat in a preheated 350-degree oven to slump the marshmallow slightly, it will expand and brown a little. Let cool, then proceed with the chocolate dipping.

Homemade marshmallows:
• 1/4 cup water
• 1/4 cup light corn syrup
• 3/4 cup (168.76 grams/5.95oz) sugar
• 1 tablespoon powdered gelatin
• 2 tablespoons cold water
• 2 egg whites , room temperature
• 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1. In a saucepan, combine the water, corn syrup, and sugar, bring to a boil until “soft-ball” stage, or 235 degrees on a candy thermometer.
2. Sprinkle the gelatin over the cold water and let dissolve.
3. Remove the syrup from the heat, add the gelatin, and mix.
4. Whip the whites until soft peaks form and pour the syrup into the whites.
5. Add the vanilla and continue whipping until stiff.
6. Transfer to a pastry bag.

Chocolate glaze:
• 12 ounces semisweet chocolate
• 2 ounces cocoa butter or vegetable oil

1. Melt the 2 ingredients together in the top of a double boiler or a bowl set over barely simmering water.

Milan Cookies
Recipe courtesy Gale Gand, from Food Network website

Prep Time: 20 min
Inactive Prep Time: 0 min
Cook Time: 1 hr 0 min
Serves: about 3 dozen cookies

• 12 tablespoons (170grams/ 6 oz) unsalted butter, softened
• 2 1/2 cups (312.5 grams/ 11.02 oz) powdered sugar
• 7/8 cup egg whites (from about 6 eggs)
• 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
• 2 tablespoons lemon extract
• 1 1/2 cups (187.5grams/ 6.61 oz) all purpose flour
• Cookie filling, recipe follows

Cookie filling:
• 1/2 cup heavy cream
• 8 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
• 1 orange, zested

1. In a mixer with paddle attachment cream the butter and the sugar.
2. Add the egg whites gradually and then mix in the vanilla and lemon extracts.
3. Add the flour and mix until just well mixed.
4. With a small (1/4-inch) plain tip, pipe 1-inch sections of batter onto a parchment-lined sheet pan, spacing them 2 inches apart as they spread.
5. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 10 minutes or until light golden brown around the edges. Let cool on the pan.
6. While waiting for the cookies to cool, in a small saucepan over medium flame, scald cream.
7. Pour hot cream over chocolate in a bowl, whisk to melt chocolate, add zest and blend well.
8. Set aside to cool (the mixture will thicken as it cools).
9. Spread a thin amount of the filling onto the flat side of a cookie while the filling is still soft and press the flat side of a second cookie on top.
10. Repeat with the remainder of the cookies.

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Strawberry Shortcake Cookies

June 25, 2009

Well I finally managed to participate in a Cookie Carnival!  I’ve been getting recipes for almost a year but I never seem Strawberry Shortcake Cookieto get around to participating in time!

Not this time though!  I was determined!  Plus, it’s strawberry season and any excuse to eat a super-sweet-in-season strawberry I’ll go for it…

I got my strawberries at a local farm, Huber’s.  It’s become more of an attraction over the years, but it’s a great place to go pick your own fruit.  I picked strawberries this month and I want to go back in July for raspberries, blueberries and blackberries!

The recipe is super easy to put together and I highly recommend using a cookie scooper.  The dough is very loose (like strawberry shortcake should be) and the mess that would ensue were you to use your hands, I think, would be epic. Now, of course, being able to EAT the mess once you were finished would be a bonus… I may have to rethink my position 😉

The cookies don’t spread very much so you can put a large number on one cookie sheet. They are best still warm from the oven when they have a lovely crisp outside and a warm soft, slightly chewy inside.  I don’t recommend storing these covered as they lose all their crispness and they taste best the same day, so make them when you’re really hungry or have somewhere to take them.

Recipe!

STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE COOKIES

MARTHA STEWART

These tender cookies are made with cream and studded with sweet strawberries for a portable version of a classic dessert.

INGREDIENTS:

Makes about 3 dozen.

* 12 oz strawberries, hulled and cut into ¼-inch dice (2 cups)

* 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

* 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar

* 2 cups all-purpose flour

* 2 teaspoons baking powder

* 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt

* 3 oz (6 tbs) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

* 2/3 cup heavy cream

* Sanding sugar, for sprinkling

DIRECTIONS:

1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Combine strawberries, lemon juice, and 2 tablespoons granulated sugar. Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and remaining

7 tablespoons granulated sugar in a large bowl. Cut in the butter with a pastry cutter, or rub in with your fingers, until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in cream until dough starts to come together, then stir in strawberry mixture.

2. Using a 1 1/2-inch ice cream scoop or a tablespoon, drop dough onto baking sheets lined with parchment, spacing evenly apart. Sprinkle with sanding sugar, and bake until golden brown, 24 to 25 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack, and let cool. Cookies are best served immediately, but can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 day.

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Fig and Pistachio Biscotti

October 2, 2007

Fig and Pistachio cookies

Well, I was out perusing the flavorful land of FoodBlogs and came across this wonderful recipe from Cream Puffs in Venice (http://creampuffsinvenice.ca/2007/09/13/a-sweet-reminder/ ). They are, quite simply, scrumptious! It is one of the lighter biscottis i’ve eaten. And not nearly as hard! So I’m not sure if it’s really a “biscotti” or just a “cookie” as the recipe calls it.

Well…biscotti or cookie, they are darn tasty!

Fig and Pistachio Cookies
Adapted from Italian Baking Secrets by Father Giuseppe Orsini.

1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter, at room temperature
2 large eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. orange extract (if you don’t have orange extract, use 1 tbsp. grated orange zest)
1 cup shelled unsalted pistachios (don’t chop them up)
1 cup chopped dried figs
1-1/2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 tsp. baking powder
icing sugar for dusting

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Combine the flour and baking soda and set aside. Combine the sugar and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer and cream on high speed for 2 to 3 minutes.

Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl if necessary. Mix in the vanilla and orange extracts (or orange zest). Stir in the pistachios and figs.

Add the flour mixture and mix on low speed until just combined. Scrape the dough out onto a well-floured surface and gather into a ball. Divide the ball into three equal pieces. Roll the pieces into logs that are about an inch and a half to 2 inches thick and about 10 to 12 inches long. Carefully transfer the logs to the baking sheet.

Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes. The logs will be slightly golden and firm to the touch.

Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack for about 20 minutes. Carefully slice the logs into cookies (about an inch thick). Transfer the cookies back to the baking tray so that they are standing upright. Do not lay them on one side. Put the cookies back in the oven for 10 minutes.

Let cool completely and dust with icing sugar before serving.

Enjoy!

from http://creampuffsinvenice.ca

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Oatmeal Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies!

August 22, 2007

Oatmeal peanut butter chocolate cookies

phew! That’s a long title, but a darn tasty cookie! The cookies are very easy to make and you drop them on a pan like you would chocolate chip cookies. I found this recipe through Google. It came from a downloadable PDF file at http://base.google.com/base/a/1493989/D9449485058945114584. This PDF file has 604 different chocolate recipes! It was like looking through a treasure chest of tasty tidbits! I found several recipes I would like to try, but this one struck my fancy today.

Here’s the recipe:

Oatmeal, Peanut Butter, and Chocolate Chunk Cookies

3/4 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup peanut butter
1-1/4 cups packed brown sugar
1-1/4 cups granulated sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3 eggs
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla
2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2-2/3 cups rolled oats
1 10-ounce package miniature milk chocolate kisses

1. Beat butter and peanut butter in a large mixing bowl with an electric
mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add granulated sugar,
brown sugar, baking powder, and baking soda; beat until combined, scraping
sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in eggs and vanilla until combined. Beat in
flour. Stir in rolled oats with a wooden spoon. Stir in chocolate kisses.

2. Drop dough from a #50 or #60 scoop, or from a tablespoon, 3
inches apart into an ungreased cookie sheet. Slightly flatten dough with your hand,
if desired.

img_0353.jpg

Bake in a 375 degree F oven about 8 to 10 minutes or until
edges are lightly browned. Transfer to wire racks and cool.

Store in an airtight container or plastic bag at room temperature up to 3 days.

Makes 60 to 72 cookies.

Make-Ahead Tip: Cool cookies completely. In an airtight or freezer
container, arrange cookies in a single layer; cover with a sheet of
waxed paper. Repeat layers, leaving enough air space to close
container easily. Freeze up to 1 month.

I loved this recipe because the only thing I had to go out and buy for it was the mini chocolate chips! Of course, the recipe calls for mini chocolate kisses, but I misread that! I’m sure they are just as tasty with the mini chips though they are probably not “chunk” cookies anymore!

The house smelled of these wonderful cookies for hours after they were finished. The cookie is unusual, in my opinion, because you can actually taste the different components. Often in “busy” cookies with lots of stuff in them the individual flavors get lost, but in this cookie you could really taste the oatmeal, the peanut butter, and the chocolate. I will definitely be using this recipe for my next cookie exchange! Or at least recommending it. I don’t go to that many cookie exchanges. Maybe I’ll start one!

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Chocolate Biscotti

August 21, 2007

Biscotti (with coffee!)

Continuing the Peabody’s blog theme from Katie’s earlier post today, I made her chocolate biscotti from the same site. Here’s the recipe:

Chocolate Biscotti
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 TBSP instant espresso powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
3/4 stick unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup chopped nuts
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

White Chocolate for dipping

Preheat oven to 350F.

Sift together the flour, cocoa, espresso powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt.

Working together with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar together on medium speed until pale, about 2 minutes; the mixture may be crumbly. Scrape down the sides of the bowl , add the eggs and vanilla and beat for another 2 minutes; don’t worry if the mixture looks curdled. Reduce the mixer speed to low and mix in the dry ingredients in 3 additions, mixing only until dough forms. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Mix in the chopped nuts and chocolate, then turn the dough out onto a work surface and knead un any dry ingredients that might have escaped mixing.

Divide the dough in half. Working with one half at a time, roll the dough into a 12 inch long logs. Flatten both logs with the palm of your hand, so that they are 1/2 to 1 inch high, about 2 inches across and sort of rectangular, then carefully lift the logs onto the baking sheet. Sprinkle each log with a little sugar.

Bake the logs for about 25 minutes, or until they are just slightly firm. The logs will spread and crack-and that’s fine.

Remove the baking sheet from the oven, put it on a cooling rack and cool the logs for about 20 minutes.(Leave oven on)
Working with one log at a time, using a long serrated knife, cut each log into slices between 1/2 and 3/4 inch thick. Stand the slices up on the baking sheet-you’ll have an army of biscotti-and bake the cookies again, this time for just 10 minutes.

Transfer the biscotti to a rack to cool.

If you want you can melt some white chocolate in a double boiler. Pour it into a shallow baking dish. Take the biscotti and dip which ever part you would like to be covered in chocolate. Set on a rack to harden.

Source: Adapted from Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan, Houghton Mifflin Company, Nov 2006

The biscotti came out pretty well, although not as dry and crunchy as the ones from the store. Which was fine with me, as the ones from the store hurt my poor gums. I’m sure I just need to bake them longer or something, but I kinda like the way they came out.

Biscotti

They tasted mighty fine with my coffee this morning! The only change I made was to use pecans for the nut, as I am a lover of pecans and Katie apparently prefers them as well. I also, fairly obviously, used a darker chocolate for the dipping portion. Bittersweet, to be exact. It was highly recommended to eat them topped with the whipped cream from the spray bottle – I am not a fan of the whipped cream from a bottle, but it wasn’t half bad.

And, of course, we didn’t let any of the left-over melted chocolate go to waste:

Chocolate-covered strawberries