Showing posts with label Cookies. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Cookies. Show all posts

Monday, February 7, 2011

Pumpkin Whoopie PIes


Hey everyone, I'm back with a dose of something sweet. The Whoopie Pie. Whoopie pies appear to be a bit of regional specialty (at least I never saw them in California) but I see them branching out from the world of the Amish farm stand these days. The outer layer of the whoopie pie, for those unfamiliar to this treat, is like a cake-cookie hybrid: soft and pillowy, but with a bit more integrity so that you can pick it up and eat it with your hands. Pumpkin and its ubiquitous spice mates cinnamon, ginger and clove add a tiny bit of nutrition and a whole lot of warm comfort. Cream cheese frosting is spiced up with cinnamon and a teensy bit of spiced rum for complexity. The best part? Whoopie pies are only minor-ly more complicated then cookies but don't require fussy decorating skills to make 'em pretty.

Pumpin Whoopie PIes (adapted from Martha Stewart and Baked: new frontiers in baking)

Makes 12 whoopie pies

FOR THE PUMPKIN WHOOPIE COOKIES
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
2 cups firmly packed dark-brown sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
3 cups pumpkin puree, chilled
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

FOR THE CREAM-CHEESE FILLING
3 cups confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Cinnamon and spiced dark rum ( I like Sailor Jerry's) to taste. This will require more cinnamon then you expect.

Directions

Make the cookies: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat; set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves; set aside. In another large bowl, whisk together brown sugar and oil until well combined. Add pumpkin puree and whisk until combined. Add eggs and vanilla and whisk until well combined. Sprinkle flour mixture over pumpkin mixture and whisk until fully incorporated.
Using a small ice cream scoop with a release mechanism, drop heaping tablespoons of dough onto prepared baking sheets, about 1 inch apart. Transfer to oven and bake until cookies are just starting to crack on top and a toothpick inserted into the center of each cookie comes out clean, about 15 minutes. Let cool completely on pan.

Make the filling: Sift confectioner' sugar into a medium bowl; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter until smooth. Add cream cheese and beat until well combined. Add confectioners' sugar and vanilla, cinnamon and rum, beat just until smooth. (Filling can be made up to a day in advance. Cover and refrigerate; let stand at room temperature to soften before using.)

Assemble the whoopie pies: Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Transfer filling to a disposable pastry bag and snip the end. When cookies have cooled completely, pipe a large dollop of filling on the flat side of half of the cookies. Sandwich with remaining cookies, pressing down slightly so that the filling spreads to the edge of the cookies. Transfer to prepared baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate cookies at least 30 minutes before serving and up to 3 days.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas Cookie Time: Mexican Wedding Cakes



This is, hands down, my favorite christmas cookie. I remember when I was little, my grandma (who lived in New York) would send our family (in California) a tin of her cookies, and this cookie was always in it. I can remember rummaging around in the tin looking for one of these little guys. The insides are sandy and crumbly, but, because they are rolled in powdered sugar while still hot, there is a smooth, almost cooling sweetness to the coating on the outside. Made from butter, nuts, sugar and flour, they are pretty simple to make en masse.

Cookie baker's tip: let the hot cookies cool a tiny bit before tossing in the powdered sugar. If they're too hot, they'll fall apart and you'll have to eat the busted ones yourself.

Mexican Wedding Cakes (From Joy of Cooking)

1 cup coarsely chopped pecans

1/2 lb butter, softened

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 c powdered sugar

2 tsp vanilla

2 c all purpose flour

1/3 cup powdered sugar, for rolling

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) and place rack in center of oven.

Toast Nuts: Place nuts on a baking sheet and bake for about 8 minutes, or until lightly brown and fragrant. Cool. Once the nuts have cooled completely place them, along with 2 tablespoons (25 grams) of the flour from the recipe, into your food processor, fitted with a metal blade, and process until they are finely ground (but not a paste).

In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the butter and 1/2 c sugar until light and fluffy (about 2 minutes). Beat in the vanilla extract. Add the remaining flour and salt and beat until combined. Stir in the nuts. Cover and refrigerate the dough for about one hour or until firm.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Form the chilled dough into 1 inch (2.5 cm) balls and place them 2 inches (5 cm) apart on the prepared baking sheets. Bake for about 12 - 15 minutes, or until the edges of the cookies start to brown. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool for about 5 minutes.

Roll the cookies in powdered sugar until coated.


Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas Cookie Time: Calginetti

Everyone's heard of pizzelle and biscotti, but I'm betting that these intriguing little fried pastries are new to even some die-hard Italian cookie aficionados. As a kid, I remember them popping up at my grandmom's house around the Christmas season, and I can't say they were always my favorite – the combination of cinnamon and citrus zest flavors with chocolate, along with the somewhat unusual texture of the filling (and the fact that there were chick peas - in a cookie?), was a bit of a challenge to my young palate. But as time went on, I gained an appreciation for these crunchy morsels, not just because they tasted good, but because they represented a who-knows-how-old tradition.

Calginetti ready to be fried

So it was a little bit heartwarming, a little bit fun, and a fair amount of work when my mom showed up to join Lauren and me in making these Christmas treats, pronounced cahl-jin-EETS (or at least that's how we say it in the South Philly Italian-American dialect). For a sense of historical perspective, here's the original recipe card upon which my grandmother passed down the instructions for making these. Like a lot of old recipes, this one doesn't tell the whole story, because when we followed it we ended up with WAY more filling than dough to wrap it in, so you may want to either half the filling portion or double the dough recipe to start out with. I'm also going to attempt to streamline the process versus what you'll find in the above-linked original recipe.

Calginetti (Mrs. Curcio)
Filling
1 (small) can chick peas/garbanzos/ceci
Zest of one tangerine, grated
1 8 oz. semisweet chocolate bar, chopped
1-1 1/2 C chopped walnuts or almonds
3/4 C cocoa
2 tbs cinnamon
Honey (about 3/4 of a bear's worth)

Rinse and drain the chick peas. Skin them by squeezing or rubbing with a towel. Place in the bowl of a food processor along with all of the ingredients aside from the honey. Process until mixture is finely chopped, then add honey until it has a firm consistency. Place in refrigerator while preparing the dough.

Dough
1/2 C rosé wine
1/2 C water
1/2 C vegetable oil
Flour (about 2-3 C)

Combine wine, water and oil, then mix in enough flour to make a dough that is thick enough to be rolled out. Divide dough into manageable portions and roll out to about 1/8" thick. Cut circles out of the dough with a three-inch diameter glass, biscuit cutter or ring mold. Place about a scant teaspoon of filling in each dough circle, then moisten the edges with water, fold over, press to seal and crimp with a fork (similar to making ravioli).


Deep-fry in hot vegetable oil (a deep fryer at 375° is best) in small batches, turning once, until golden brown all around. Drain and remove to a rack to complete draining and cooling. When cool, sprinkle with confectioner's sugar. Store in an air-tight container once totally cool and sprinkle with more confectioner's sugar before serving.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Christmas Cookie Time: Chocolate Espresso Snowcaps

Paul loves these crackley cookies, so I make sure to make them every year. They have a dark cake-y center and sweet crunchy outside that makes for a delicious combination. These have the added depth of espresso powder, but we have made them without coffee, and they are just as delicious. The dough freezes well, which helps those of us who bake in quantity and have to plan ahead.

Cookie Baker's Tip: These would be delicious with other flavorings that complement chocolate. I'm thinking orange? raspberry? rum?

Chocolate Espresso Snowcaps

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
4 teaspoons instant espresso
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2/3 cup packed light-brown sugar
1 large egg
4 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled
1 tablespoon milk
Confectioners' sugar, for coating

In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cocoa, espresso, baking powder, and salt. With an electric mixer, cream butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg until well combined; mix in cooled chocolate. With mixer on low, gradually add flour mixture; beat in milk until just combined.

Flatten dough into a disk; wrap in plastic. Freeze until firm, about 45 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Pour confectioners' sugar (about 1/2 cup) into a medium bowl; working in batches, roll balls in sugar two times, letting them sit in sugar between coatings.

Place on prepared baking sheets, 2 inches apart. Bake until cookies have spread and coating is cracked, 12 to 14 minutes; cookies will still be soft to the touch. Cool cookies on a wire rack.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Christmas Cookie Time: Pecan Tassies


This recipe is from Paul's family, from his father's side. Apparently, tassies are popular cookies that can feature a variety of fillings, but I had never had them before moving to Pennsylvania. These are like mini pecan pies. What is not to love about mini pecan pies?? really, people.

Pecan Tassies (with thanks to Grace Cozzubbo)

Preheat oven to 350

Crust:
cream together:
6 ox cream cheese
1/2 lb bitter
2 c flour

Roll dough into 48 balls and press in the bottom of small tins (I have a "tassie pan" which is essentially a mini muffin pan), making an indentation into each- they should be like small cups of dough.

Filling:
3 eggs
2cups light brown sugar
pinch of salt
3 Tbs melted butter
1 tsp vanilla
crushed nuts (I use pecans)

Beat eggs, add other ingredients except nuts. Pour this mixture into the indentations in the dough. Sprinkle with crushed nuts. Bake 12-15 minutes.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Christmas Cookie Time: Linzer Cookies


These cookies, an addition from Tuesdays with Dorie, found a comfortable home in my holiday repertoire due to my love of nut-based cookies and any excuse to use jam. They're only a teensy bit more complicated than a sugar cookie, and the finished product has a great sandy, crumbly texture. These cookies look elegant, too, thanks to the snow-like dusting of confectioner's sugar at the finish.

Cookie Baker's Tip: using a small star, christmas tree, or candy cane cutter for the center cut out would make these cookies super-festive.

You can find the recipe here, straight from Dorie's book, Baking, From My Home to Yours.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Christmas Cookie Time: Almond Spice Wafers


I tried these cookies, from Martha Stewart, last year because their picture looked irresistible. They have a delicate, almost melt in your mouth flavor, and remind me of the incredibly thin, crispy ginger cookies you can buy at ikea, but jazzed up with nuts (call me lame but I am a sucker for all things ikea).

Again, I only have pictures of the rejects (when baking 13 types of christmas cookies one forgets about the important things, like saving some for your "beauty shots").

Cookie Baker's Tip: slicing the dough while still somewhat frozen helps you get ultra thin slices.

Almond Spice Wafers
from Martha Stewart's Cookies

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups packed dark-brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 cup sliced blanched almonds

Line 2 mini loaf pans with plastic wrap.

Whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt. Beat butter and sugar with a mixer on medium speed for 4 minutes. Reduce speed to low. Add eggs and spices. Beat in flour mixture in 3 additions.

Press cookie dough into pans, and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Freeze for 1 1/2 hours (or up to 1 month).Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Remove dough from 1 pan. Let soften slightly. Cut eight 1/8-inch-thick slices with a sharp knife. Cover remaining dough, and freeze in pan until ready to slice and bake.

Place slices 1 1/2 inches apart on a cookie sheet lined with a nonstick baking mat. Top each with 2 to 3 almond slices. Freeze until firm, 5 minutes. Bake until dark golden brown, 10 minutes. Let cool on sheet on a wire rack. Repeat.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Christmas Cookie Time: Seven-Layer Cookies

I saw these cookies last year on Smitten Kitchen and it brought up instant memories of boxes full of italian bakery cookies.

The recipe is a bit more complicated and labor intensive then your usual christmas cookie, but it's well worth the extra effort. They were by far the crowd favorite amongst the many cookies I baked and distributed last year. This pic is of one of the rejects, so I apologize in advance for it's super wonkiness.

Cookie baker's tip: Change up the color of the layers as you wish to suit the occasion - I'm thinking red and green stripes for this year's batch.

Seven-Layer Cookies
Gourmet, December 2005

Makes about 5 dozen cookies (or more, if you cut them as small as I did)

4 large eggs, separated
1 cup sugar
1 (8-oz) can almond paste
2 1/2 sticks (1 1/4 cups) unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
25 drops red food coloring
25 drops green food coloring
1 (12-oz) jar apricot preserves, heated and strained
7 oz fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened), chopped

Special equipment: a small offset spatula, a heavy-duty stand mixer if you have one; a hand-mixer should work as well

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Butter a 13- by 9-inch baking pan and line bottom with wax paper, leaving a 2-inch overhang on 2 ends, then butter paper.

Beat whites in mixer fitted with whisk attachment at medium-high speed until they just hold stiff peaks. Add 1/4 cup sugar a little at a time, beating at high speed until whites hold stiff, slightly glossy peaks. Transfer to another bowl.

Switch to paddle attachment, then beat together almond paste and remaining 3/4 cup sugar until well blended, about 3 minutes. Add butter and beat until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add yolks and almond extract and beat until combined well, about 2 minutes. Reduce speed to low, then add flour and salt and mix until just combined.

Fold half of egg white mixture into almond mixture to lighten, then fold in remaining whites gently but thoroughly.

Divide batter among 3 bowls. Stir red food coloring into one and green food coloring into another, leaving the third batch plain. Set white batter aside. Chill green batter, covered. Pour red batter into prepared pan and spread evenly with offset spatula (layer will be about 1/4 inch thick).

Bake red layer 8 to 10 minutes, until just set. (It is important to undercook. They’ll look like they’re not done, but a tester does come out clean.)

Using paper overhang, transfer layer to a rack to cool, about 15 minutes. Clean pan, then line with parchment or wax paper and butter paper in same manner as above. Bake white layer in prepared pan until just set. As white layer bakes, bring green batter to room temperature. Transfer white layer to a rack. Prepare pan as above, then bake green layer in same manner as before. Transfer to a rack to cool.

When all layers are cool, invert green onto a parchment or wax-paper-lined large baking sheet. Discard paper from layer and spread with half of preserves. Invert white on top of green layer, discarding paper. Spread with remaining preserves. Invert red layer on top of white layer and discard wax or parchment paper.

Cover with plastic wrap and weight with a large baking pan. Chill at least 8 hours.

Remove weight and plastic wrap. Bring layers to room temperature. Melt chocolate in a double boiler or a metal bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat. Keep chocolate over water.

Trim edges of assembled layers with a long serrated knife. Quickly spread half of chocolate in a thin layer on top of cake. Chill, uncovered, until chocolate is firm, about 15 minutes. Cover with another sheet of wax paper and place another baking sheet on top, then invert cake onto sheet and remove paper. Quickly spread with remaining chocolate. Chill until firm, about 30 minutes.

Cut lengthwise into 4 strips (I cut them into more, because I wanted them 1 to 1 1/2 inches wide, as I remember them). Cut strips crosswise into 3/4-inch-wide cookies.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Christmas Cookie Time: World Peace Cookies


The instant I saw the recipe for these cookies in Dorie Greenspan's book Baking, from my home to yours, I knew they were a must try: crunchy, crumbly thins with a deep cocoa flavor flecked with salt. The perfect match for my sweet/salty obsession. Their name, world peace cookies, make them the perfect gift this time of year, (or really any, since we really could do with a little world peace.)

Cookie baker's tip: Making the dough ahead of time and freezing it in empty paper towel tubes makes for a perfectly round cookie when you are ready to bake.


World Peace Cookies (adapted from Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan)

Ingredients:

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 stick plus 3 tablespoons (11 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature

2/3 cup (packed) light brown sugar

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped into chips, or a generous 3/4 cup store-bought mini chocolate chips

Directions:

1. Sift the flour, cocoa and baking soda together. Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter on medium speed until soft and creamy. Add both sugars, the salt and vanilla extract and beat for 2 minutes more.

2. Turn off the mixer. Pour in the dry ingredients, drape a kitchen towel over the stand mixer to protect yourself and your kitchen from flying flour and pulse the mixer at low speed about 5 times, a second or two each time. If there is still a lot of flour on the surface of the dough, pulse a couple of times more; if not, remove the towel. Continuing at low speed, mix for about 30 seconds more, just until the flour disappears into the dough. For the best texture, work the dough as little as possible once the flour is added, and don’t be concerned if the dough looks a little crumbly. Toss in the chocolate pieces and mix only to incorporate.

3. Turn the dough out onto a work surface, gather it together and divide it in half. Working with one half at a time, shape the dough into logs that are 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Wrap the logs in plastic wrap and refrigerate them for at least 3 hours. (The dough can be refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 2 months. If you’ve frozen the dough, you needn’t defrost it before baking — just slice the logs into cookies and bake the cookies 1 minute longer.)

4. Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment or silicone mats.

5. Using a sharp thin knife, slice the logs into rounds that are 1/2 inch thick. (The rounds are likely to crack as you’re cutting them — don’t be concerned, just squeeze the bits back onto each cookie.) Arrange the rounds on the baking sheets, leaving about 1 inch between them.

6. Bake the cookies one sheet at a time for 12 minutes — they won’t look done, nor will they be firm, but that’s just the way they should be. Transfer the baking sheet to a cooling rack and let the cookies rest until they are only just warm, at which point you can serve them or let them reach room temperature.



Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Chocolate Pretzel Chunk Cookies


A week or so back, I was sitting at my desk eating pretzels and m and m's so I could get hit of that perfect combo of sweet and salty that is the chocolate covered pretzel. As I was munching away I had a brainstorm that this would be perfect as a cookie, so I ran home to whip some up. My mom was visiting me and I asked her to get me some pretzels while she was out and about- she brought back the unsalted kind. (just an aside- what is the point of unsalted pretzels? I mean really people). I had to thank her but point out that in these cookies you want the crunch of the pretzel, but you also need the salt- it's absolutely crucial to capturing the "essence" of pretzel in this cookie. We headed out to the corner deli to procure the salted pretzels, and were back on track. I didn't break the pretzels up too much, I was worried that the kitchen aid would pulverize them, but they maintained their shape well. If you try these, be sure to break them up to your liking before adding them to the batter.


Chocolate Pretzel Chunk Cookies

adapted from Martha Stewart


1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt with a whisk; set aside. 2. With an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugars until well combined; add the eggs and vanilla extract, and mix until well combined. Add the dry ingredients, 1/2 cup at a time, and mix until just incorporated. Do not overmix. Fold in the chocolate and pretzels with a wooden spoon. 3. With a small ice-cream scoop, place 1/4-cup balls of dough on a baking sheet lined with a baking mat or parchment paper. Arrange dough in rows of two lightly pressed balls to allow for spreading. Bake 8 to 10 minutes, until puffed and cracked. Allow to cool on a baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire cooling rack.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Daring Bakers: Macarons


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.


If you've been to a fancy schmancy bakery, especially one in Europe, you've seen macarons of every size, color, and flavor. They have an easily adaptable recipe that, despite it simplicity, requires exacting technique to get it just right. I've made macarons once before, and they turned out relatively successful. This time I hoped to perfect my technique and get creative . . . or not. I had some leftover salted caramel that I wanted to use in the filling, so I decided to make chocolate macarons. In adding the cocoa powder to make them "chocolatey" I must have messed up the chemistry of the cookie, so my end result, while tasty, was not really what you would call a true macaron.

Macarons (when done right) have a signature "foot" at the base of the cookie, topped with a light, slightly crunchy dome of sweet, airy cookie. Mine puffed up a bit, but failed to get the "foot" and were overall too cakey. I filled mine with a ganache made with cream and some gianduja chocolate from caillebaut that I scored on a trip to chelsea market- basically homemade nutella. Despite my best efforts, the salted caramel was too oozy to be a good filling for these cookies.


Since, as I've mentioned, these are finicky cookies, check out the following links below for some assistance.


Ingredients
Confectioners’ (Icing) sugar: 2 ¼ cups (225 g, 8 oz.)
Almond flour: 2 cups (190 g, 6.7 oz.)
Granulated sugar: 2 tablespoons (25 g , .88 oz.)
Egg whites: 5 (Have at room temperature)

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 200°F (93°C). 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 (2.5 cm) 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 (190°C). 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.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

CEiMB: Breakfast Cookies

Despite the name "breakfast cookies" you may find yourself eating these cookies at any time of day. For breakfast, yes. For an afternoon snack. And for dessert. They should be renamed "any time cookies." Works for me.

I love how Ellie Kreiger designed this recipe- to contain tons of whole grains, healthy fats, and a ton of flavor. I had been thinking about cooking with baby food for a while- i mean, it's only pureed fruit, and it's great as a fat replacer in baking. I had some sweet potato baby food left over from a baby shower, so I used that. Toss in a little flaxseed, a little toasted coconut, and you're good to go.

These are definitely on my make-again list.

Breakfast Cookies
Ellie Kreiger

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup (1 small jar) strained carrot baby food
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup bran cereal flakes
  • 1/3 cup raisins
  • 1/3 cup walnut pieces, lightly toasted in a dry skillet for 2 minutes, until fragrant and chopped

Directions

Place rack in center of oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Whisk together flours, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in a medium-sized bowl. Combine butter, oil and sugars in the bowl of a stand mixer and mix on high speed, scraping down sides if necessary, until sugars have dissolved and mixture is light in color, about 1 minute. Add egg, carrot puree and vanilla and beat an additional 30 seconds. Add flour mixture and beat an additional 30 seconds. Add oats, flakes, raisins and walnuts and mix over low speed just until incorporated. Dough will be slightly sticky and less cohesive than traditional cookie dough. Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper. Using between 3 to 4 tablespoons of batter, form a ball and place on cookie sheet. Repeat with remaining batter, leaving about 3 inches between cookies. Wet hands and use palm of hand to flatten cookies until about 1/4-inch thick. Bake for 12 minutes, until cookies are fragrant but still soft. Let cookies cool slightly, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.



Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Bakesale: An apple for the teacher


This kind of apple isn't a healthy one - it's a sweeter kind, made for Teacher Appreciation Week (which was last week).  
I'm adding to the bake sale goodies by thanking the teacher who I work with daily and who spend so much time helping children in many ways- academic and otherwise. 

I used Alton Brown's sugar cookie dough, which rolls and cuts easily, as long as you keep it cold. You can use your favorite sugar cookie recipe- I'm sure we all have one.   I used 2 consistencies of royal icing  to frost them- I piped medium royal icing around the sides, then flooded the centers with thin.  I bit of melted dark chocolate completed the stem.  

Just a note- it is very hard to replicate a true red color.  I have found this too many times when coloring icing that i get a disappointing pink. I picked up a new red today "christmas red" but I'm just not that hopeful.


These are my second entry for the Blogiversary Bake Sale I'm holding between now and 5/22 to benefit the World Food Program.  Check out our page on Firstgiving, and "buy" a cookie if you like!


Tuesday, March 31, 2009

TWD: Coconut Butter Thins


I tried with this recipe.  I really did.  I have to admit, it had some strange directions.  "put dough in a gallon size plastic bag, roll 1/4 inch thick, chill in bag."  I know there are many TWD-ers out there who loved the way these cookies tasted, and got some beautiful results.  I, however, am not one of them.   My cookies filled the bag all the way and still, apparently, were not thin enough. And they just didn't look pretty. The taste was okay, just not as buttery and delicate as I expected.  Oh well, you live and you learn.

This week's recipe was chose by Jayne of The Barefoot Kitchen Witch.  Head on over to check out the recipe.  

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Coconut Balls

Last week, when this cookie hit our inboxes from Martha Stewart's Cookie of the Day email, my co-worker and fellow blogger (Abby of Big East Baker) and I turned to each other and nearly simultaneously said "these look so good!" Let me tell you friends, they are better then they look.  These are little puffs of sweet coconutty perfection with a bit of chewy depth from the coconut flakes that caramelize on the outside during baking.  They are reminiscent of Mexican Wedding Cakes, my favorite christmas cookie, in that they are also coated with powdered sugar while hot.  These balls of goodness don't contain nut flour, so they have a much fluffier texture.  

The recipe is simple: cream butter and confectionsers sugar, add flour, salt, and shredded sweetened coconut.  When incorporating the flour, the dough will seem too dry, but adding the coconut will make it moist and rollable.  

I read a comment on the website that these are good with chocolate- I added mini chocolate chips to half the batter- it really does taste a lot like an almond joy!

Make these.  Make them now. 

Coconut Balls
from Martha Stewart

Ingredients
Makes 36
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup confectioner's sugar, plus more for dusting
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups sweetened flaked coconut
Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream butter with 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar until fluffy. Mix in flour and salt until they're just combined. Stir in coconut.
Roll dough into 1-inch balls; place 2 inches apart on a baking sheet. Bake until just starting to brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Roll the warm cookies in confectioners' sugar; let cool completely.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Snickerdoodles


These cookies are a favorite of one of my co-workers.  I realized I had never made and perhaps never even eaten a snickerdoodle, and decided that this needed to be remedied right away. These are big chewy cookies with just a little bit of spice.  Simple like a sugar cookie, but with way more character.

Snickerdoodles
from Cookies by Martha Stewart
Makes 4 dozen

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup pure vegetable shortening
1 3/4 cups sugar, plus more if needed
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon, plus more if needed
2 large eggs
Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, with one rack in top third and one rack in bottom third of oven. Line baking sheets with Silpat baking mats or parchment paper; set aside.
Sift together flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine butter, shortening, and 1 1/2 cups sugar. Beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down sides of bowl. Add eggs, and beat to combine. Add dry ingredients, and beat to combine.
In a small bowl, combine remaining 1/4 cup sugar and the ground cinnamon. Use a small (1 1/4-ounce) ice-cream scoop to form balls of the dough, and roll in cinnamon sugar. Place about 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Bake until the cookies are set in center and begin to crack (they will not brown), about 10 minutes, rotating the baking sheets after 5 minutes. Transfer the sheets to a wire rack to cool about 5 minutes before transferring the cookies to the rack. Store in an airtight container up to 1 week.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

TWD: World Peace Cookies


This week, the Tuesdays with Dorie Bakers made World Peace Cookies.  I wanted to make these cookies immediately once I saw them in the book, so I added them to my christmas cookies list last year.  I mean really, world peace?  perfect for the holiday season! (or a beauty pageant). They are delicious- deeply chocolaty, a little salty, with tiny chocolate chips in them.  The best tip ever is to refrigerate or freeze the dough in paper towel rolls for perfect cylinders. 

This week's recipe was chosen by Jessica of cookbookhabit.  Check out the recipe on her blog.  Check out the other tuesdays with Dorie bakers here

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Daring Bakers: Tuiles


This month's challenge is brought to us by Karen of Bake My Day and Zorra of 1x umruehren bitte aka Kochtopf. They have chosen Tuiles from The Chocolate Book by Angélique Schmeink and Nougatine and Chocolate Tuiles from Michel Roux.


Our hosts tell us: "traditionally, tuiles are thin, crisp almond cookies that are gently molded over a rolling pin or arched form while they are still warm. Once set, their shape resembles the curved French roofing tiles for which they're named. In Holland traditionally this batter was used to bake flat round cookies on 31st December, representing the year unfold. On New Years day however, the same batter was used but this day they were presented to well-wishers shaped as cigars and filled with whipped cream, symbolizing the New Year that's about to roll on. "

I made the regular tuiles, and served them up with my Zesty Pomegranate Sorbet to celebrate the engagement of my friends Amanda and Steve.

They turned out pretty well, after a few practice tuiles went in my mouth.  You really can only make a few at a time, since they need to be moved immediately to be shaped (I used a glass).  I found a nonstick cookie sheet sprayed with PAM worked better then parchment. 



Following is a recipe taken from a book called “The Chocolate Book”, written by female Dutch Master chef Angélique Schmeinck.

Recipe:
Yields: 20 small butterflies/6 large (butterflies are just an example)
Preparation time batter 10 minutes, waiting time 30 minutes, baking time: 5-10 minutes per batch

65 grams / ¼ cup / 2.3 ounces softened butter (not melted but soft)
60 grams / ½ cup / 2.1 ounces sifted confectioner’s sugar
1 sachet vanilla sugar (7 grams or substitute with a dash of vanilla extract)
2 large egg whites (slightly whisked with a fork)
65 grams / 1/2 cup / 2.3 ounces sifted all purpose flour
1 table spoon cocoa powder/or food coloring of choice
Butter/spray to grease baking sheet

Oven: 180C / 350F

Using a hand whisk or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle (low speed) and cream butter, sugar and vanilla to a paste. Keep stirring while you gradually add the egg whites. Continue to add the flour in small batches and stir to achieve a homogeneous and smooth batter/paste. Be careful to not overmix.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to firm up. (This batter will keep in the fridge for up to a week, take it out 30 minutes before you plan to use it).

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or grease with either butter/spray and chill in the fridge for at least 15 minutes. This will help spread the batter more easily if using a stencil/cardboard template such as the butterfly. Press the stencil on the bakingsheet and use an off sided spatula to spread batter. Leave some room in between your shapes. Mix a small part of the batter with the cocoa and a few drops of warm water until evenly colored. Use this colored batter in a paper piping bag and proceed to pipe decorations on the wings and body of the butterfly.

Bake butterflies in a preheated oven (180C/350F) for about 5-10 minutes or until the edges turn golden brown. Immediately release from bakingsheet and proceed to shape/bend the cookies in the desired shape. These cookies have to be shaped when still warm, you might want to bake a small amount at a time or maybe put them in the oven to warm them up again. (Haven’t tried that). Or: place a bakingsheet toward the front of the warm oven, leaving the door half open. The warmth will keep the cookies malleable.

If you don’t want to do stencil shapes, you might want to transfer the batter into a piping bag fitted with a small plain tip. Pipe the desired shapes and bake. Shape immediately after baking using for instance a rolling pin, a broom handle, cups, cones….