Archive for the 'cookies' Category

28
Jan
11

Triple Chocolate Threats

Evil temptress chocolate treat

 

Sometimes I question which is it that I am most addicted to, the consumption of sugary

goodness or the creation of such treats?  I enjoy both, but if I had to choose but one, I’m

pretty sure that creation would win.  Oh, don’t get me wrong, I would have a really hard

time shaking the sugar monkey off my back.  He’s been with me for deep.  But, I know I could

do it.  I’m just not ready yet.

Now, the thought of never baking another cake, cookie or pie strikes fear into my very soul.

Severe depression would be inevitable if I could never bake again.  Ya’ know, let’s just

not go down that path.

Many posts ago I shared a recipe and pictures of Lemon Coconut Pixies.  The recipe came from

the Hershey Company.  I have a recipe tin that was given to me as a birthday gift in 2009

and it sat on our kitchen counter for 10 months  before I ever made anything from it.  That

post was 13 months ago, so it’s time for another recipe from the tin.

HERSHEY’S Triple Chocolate Cookies

48 Hershey’s Kisses Milk chocolate or Milk Chocolate with Almonds (that’s what I used)
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine, softened (I used butter, of course)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 tablespoon milk
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup Hershey’s cocoa (I used cocoa powder form that bulk bins at WinCo)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup Hershey’s Semi-Sweet Chocolate chips ( I used Safeway brand)

1.  Heat oven to 350 degrees F. 

What else was I going to do with all this candy left over from Christmas? I did play poker with it the night before I baked the cookies!

 

Mmmmm.......chocolate!

Remove wrappers from chocolates.
2.  Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla with an electric mixer on medium

speed in a large bowl until well blended.  Add eggs and milk; beat well.
3.  Stir together flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt; gradually beat into butter mixture,

beating until well blended.  Stir in chocolate chips. 

Make all the comments you want, it still tastes good

 Shape dough into 1 inch balls. 

Oven bound

Place on ungreased cookie sheet.

Fresh out of the oven and hot

4.  Bake 10 – 11 minutes or until set. 

Press kisses into the center of each cookie while still hot

 Gently press a chocolate into center of each cookie.  Remove to wire rack and cool completely.

VARIATION:  For vanilla cookies, omit cocoa powder and add an additional 1/3 cup all-purpose flour.

I made the recipe verbatim, but I wanted to see how they would look with a little added sparkle.  I rolled the dough balls in granulated sugar before I baked another round.  Here is what that looked like.

Roll in granulated sugar for added sparkle

Both versions taste great. 

So good when they're still warm. The chocolate kiss in the center and the chocolate chips are all soft and gooey.

I can clearly state, with authority, that these are delicious.   After all, chocolate, chocolate AND chocolate?  How could they not be tasty?  These beauties will be added to my chorus line of confection.

Oh, great!  One more sweet memory to send packing with that monkey.

03
Jan
11

Cookiepalooza

It seems like everyone makes cookies at Christmas time and I didn’t want to bore my audience

with a post about cookies.  But then I thought, Hey!  This is what I do.  I bake and I cook

and I blog about it, sometimes.  And maybe my cookies will be different from the cookies

others bake and blog about.

I started making cookie dough in November.  And then stocking my freezer full of it.  That

way, I could bake-off what I needed and still have plenty to see us through Christmas time.

Freezerful of cookie dough balls ready for the holiday baking frenzy

Here's a closer look

What started off to be a plan that sounded something like this “I’m going to make a platter

for Katie’s work mates and some bags for a few select, special people.  That’s it, no big

deal.”  So, it started off simple enough.  One afternoon I baked off about 6 kinds of

cookies and made some toffee. 

Some Snickerdoodles cooling

English Toffee cooling and hardening - this stuff is way addicting, right Cat?

You know how I like my close up shots

 I made a lovely large platter for Katie to carry off to work the next day. 

A platter for Katie's workmates

I had cookies and toffee left over, of course, so I put some little gift bags

together and brought them to my work.  Everytime I saw someone who I felt a special

fondness for, I would give them a bag of treats.  It felt really good to do that.  Since I

enjoy feeling good, I started baking more cookies off every few days and kept carrying bags

of goodies to work.

Color coded bags of treats, red contained vegan, blue were caramel corn and white had regular cookies and toffee

Some  treats were especially geared toward certain folks.  The Parmesan Black Pepper

Biscotti went to those few who are not sweet tooths.  I can’t imagine not being a sweet

tooth, being highly addicted to the stuff myself, but, oh well.  Let me tell you, HUGE HIT

is an understatement.  They loved it.

Savory Biscotti - who knew? Apparently these went really well with red wine

I work with quite a few vegan people.  I didn’t want to leave them out, as it sucks to feel

like the odd man out because of dietary differences.  My vegan goodie bags contained vegan

English Toffee, Orange Almond Biscotti and Ginger Molasses cookies.  I have never seen so

many pleased vegans!  Many told me I should market the vegan biscotti and the toffee as they

had never seen any, anywhere.  One friend told me that if it weren’t for the goodies bag

from me, he would not have had any treats on Christmas day, as he spent the day with his

family and he is the lone vegan.  He also said it had been years since he had toffee and he

was so grateful.

I pulled out my text books from culinary school, found a recipe for peanut brittle and whipped up a batch

I don’t even know how many bags of treats I gave out.  Actually, the very first person to

get a small platter of cookies was Dr. Alice C., our chiropractor.  She is pregnant and very

protective of her food.  She said she might eat them all herself, but later confessed to

letting her hubby have a cookie or two.  Not only did co-workers get the cute little bags,

but our mail carrier, Ken, who looks forward to his annual sugar fest, and the smart alec

cashier at Rite Aid, Gary, scored.    Our favorite waitress at Sam’s Billiard’s, Stephanie,

was presented with a large platter to take home to share with her family.  The following

week we were greeted with lots of ohhhhs and ahhhs over the sweets.  Although, she is way

sweeter than those treats.  I even made caramel corn closer to Christmas and the

ladies at our optometrist’s office practically wet themselves when they dove into the bag I

presented to them.

How about a closer look at that toffee and peanut brittle

Chocolate Peppermint Cookies and Cherry Chocolate Chip Biscotti dipped in white chocolate - yum!

So, long story short, I made tons of cookies and lots of people happy (and maybe a little

tubby!)  I for one am glad to see an end to the holidays and am truly ready for a new and

exciting year.

25
Oct
10

A few of my favorite things

 
 

When the dog bites,
 When the bee stings,
When I’m feeling sad,
I simply remember a few of my favorite things,
And then I don’t feel so bad

 

 And that is why we don’t have a dog or keep bees.  But I am prone to the occasional bout of sadness.  Thankfully those episodes do not last long and I do have a few favorite things to comfort me.  Wearing pajamas all weekend and watching silly movies helps.  Meditating with Katie and writing gratitude lists can lift my spirits.  Reverting to my girlhood and playing with my Barbies in my room is a therapy unto its own.  And I am sure it will come as no surprise to you that I have some special comfort foods that sooth me in my time of need. 

 
 

I know, right?

Next time you have the morning blues, I highly suggest these Blueberry Pancakes.  This has been a rough emotional week for Katie and me and I really wanted blueberry pancakes for breakfast this morning.  Alas, we had no blueberries, fresh nor frozen.  My brilliant spouse suggested I go next door and bribe Snowie with some butternut squash spice cake, a butternut squash from our garden and a bag of fabulous fresh dates.  It worked.  I returned with a quart of frozen blueberries  from our wonderful neighbors garden!

  

Blueberry Pancakes

1 cup all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup milk or soy milk

1 egg

2 tablespoons canola oil

blueberries

Mix dry ingredients together in a bowl.  In another bowl or measuring cup, combine liquids.   Pour liquids into the center of the dry ingredients and stir well to combine.  Heat griddle until a few drops of water dances across the surface.  Oil the surface and ladle the batter onto the griddle.  At this point, sprinkle a few berries over the cakes. 

yeah, like that

When the edges are slightly dry and little bubbles are popping, flip ‘em.

 

That's what I'm talkin' about

Ok, that takes care of the morning blahs.  But what if I’m just not feelin’ it later in the day?  Well, a big bowl of Katie’s spicy popcorn and that silly movie I mentioned is good for starters.  A good veggie BLT or Reuben sandwich also works wonders when the blues hit.  But what if you are a major sugar junkie, like me?  I love candy, cake and pie, but nothing makes me happier than a freshly baked cookie.  Or 3 or 4 cookies…….

 

Grab a cup of coffee, tea or a cold glass of (soy) milk!

When people discover that I bake for a living, the question that is put to me most often is “What’s your favorite thing to bake?”  That’s always a stumper.  But if they were to query  “what’s your favorite cookie?”; that’s a snap!  Ginger Molasses cookies are my absolute favorite.  Not as hard as a ginger snap, but certainly spicy and flavourful.  They also make a great gifts as they are easy to stack and hold up well to travel.

 

Ginger Molasses Cookies

adapted from “More of  Magnolia” 

by Allysa Torey

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon cinnamon

2 teaspoon ginger

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup canola oil

1 cup sugar plus more for rolling

1 large egg

1/2 cup molasses

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

In a small bowl, combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, and salt.   Set aside.

In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, beat together the oil and sugar for 2 – 3 minutes.  Add the egg and molasses, and beat well.  Add the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly.  Put a small amount of sugar in a small bowl. Using a small disher or teaspoon, scoop dough and drop into the sugar bowl.  Roll into a ball and place on an ungreased cookie sheet.  I always use a Silpat, but the instructions in the book call for an ungreased sheet. It’s your call.  Leave several inches between cookies to allow for expansion.  Bake for 10 minutes.  Once again, the recipe in the book says 12 minutes, but you know your own oven.  12 minutes will yield a crispier cookie.  I prefer crisp edges and chewy center.

 

True confession: I just ate two of these as I was writing this post

I don’t know about you, but I am feeling much better now.  That’s not to say that I won’t be stealing back to the kitchen later for a few more of those cookies, just to make sure I’m good and happy for the rest of the evening.  Life is good!

03
Mar
10

Remnant Cookies

Remnant Cookies

I bake – a lot!  If you are a regular reader of this blog, this is not news.  Cookies are one of my favorite sweet treats.  Oh, sure, I make a lot of cakes, mostly for other people.  And the pies are usually for an occasion.  But cookies are a staple.  We don’t always have them in a cookie jar like I did when I was growing up.  But I’m pretty sure we always have a batch or two in the freezer. 

Ready for the freezer

I line a dinner plate with plastic wrap, use a disher to portion the dough out and then pop the plate into the freezer.  Once the dough balls are frozen, I date and label a plastic freezer bag, fill it with cookie balls and back they go into the freezer.  They’re best if used within 3 months of freezing.

Prepped and ready for freezer storage

Now, whenever we have that burning desire for a fresh warm from the oven cookie, I just grab a few dough balls out, set them on a prepared baking sheet, let them thaw and then bake.  It doesn’t take that long for them to thaw, about 15 minutes.

Here’s a basic cookie recipe that I like to use:

Remnant Cookies 

1 cup (1/2 lb) butter, softened

1 cup each granulated and brown sugar

2 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla

2 ½ cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

Remnants

 In large bowl of an electric mixer cream butter and both sugars.  Beat in eggs and vanilla.  In another bowl, stir together flour, baking soda and salt.  Gradually add to butter mixture, blending thoroughly.   Add any remnants of your choosing.

 Using a 2 tablespoon disher, (or use a spoon but, really, get a disher!) scoop dough onto parchment or Silpat lined baking sheet.  Bake in a pre-heated 350° oven for about 10 minutes or until lightly browned.

I call these Remnant Cookies because that’s what the bits are.  The cookies featured here contain bits of peppermint bark, hazelnut praline, coconut, pecans and chocolate chips.  Just stuff I had in little containers in my pantry.  You can use what ever your heart desires or those annoying little bits of left over things in your cupboard.  Some things I like to use are:

nuts

chips of all kinds, chocolate, peanut butter, butterscotch, etc.

dried fruit

coconut

oatmeal

granola

cereal

candy

dry dog food

That was a joke, I just wanted to see if your were paying attention.

Anyway, you get the idea.  Have fun making your cookies.  Better yet, have fun eating  your cookies!

29
Oct
09

Lemon Coconut Pixies

Last year I received a Hershey’s Recipe Box as a birthday gift from a friend.  “I hope you don’t already have this,” she said, wringing her hands and furrowing her brow.   She worries too much.  I was delighted to receive a gift; even better when it is food related.  At first I thought that it was just a tin box with old fashioned Hershey’s pictures on it.

I haven't owned a recipe box in years!

On closer inspection, I was delighted to see that it was filled with recipe cards, complete with photos of the finished products.

Lots of yummy ideas in here!

So, fast forward to one and three quarters years into  the future (present time).  I finally made a recipe from the Hershey’s Box!  And guess what?  No chocolate involved!  Don’t get me wrong, I love chocolate!  But I was curious what kind of cookies old Hershey came up with that did not include their signature chocolate.  Since I had coconut and fresh lemon in my kitchen and since we love both of these flavors, I decided on the Lemon Coconut Pixies.

They turned out great!

I brought a few to my friend, Mark, at work the day after I made them.  He went nuts!  “These are so professional!  It’s like something I would get at a fancy bakery!  They melt in your mouth!”  Mark is easy to please.  I will tell you that they are better the following day and the day after that, as the flavors become more distinct.  And paired with a hot cup of tea, delicious!

These would be great for a wedding or a baby or bridal shower.  Really nice for an afternoon tea party.  Or good when you are sitting at your computer, hammering out your latest blog entry, as I am doing right now.  I hope the powdered sugar doesn’t muck up my keyboard too much……

LEMON COCONUT PIXIES

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, softened

1 cup granulated sugar

2 eggs

1 1/2 tsp freshly grated lemon peel

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1 cup MOUNDS Sweetened Coconut flakes*

Powdered sugar

Beat butter, granulated sugar, eggs and lemon peel in a large bowl until well blended.  Stir together flour, baking powder and salt; gradually add to lemon mixture, beating until blended.  Stir in coconut.  Cover; refrigerate dough about 1 hour or until firm enough to handle.  Shape into 1 inch balls; roll in powdered sugar.  Place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake in a preheated 300 degree oven for 15 to 18 minutes or until edges are set.  Cool completely.  Store in a tightly covered container in a cool, dry place.

*  I did not use MOUNDS coconut.  I used what I had on hand.  I put that in this entry because that is what made it a Hershey’s recipe.  I’m sure my coconut came from a bulk bin at Winco!  But it still did the job and tasted yummy.

Here, take a closer look.

02
Aug
09

Brookies

Thats one pretty Brookie!  I used Cherry Granola Cookie Dough in this batch of Brookies.

That's one pretty Brookie! I used Cherry Granola Cookie Dough in this batch of Brookies.

A random thought popped into my head one day while meditating.  Why not pop cookie dough into a pan of brownies, bake it and see what you get.  Brookies!  Brilliant.

I posted a couple pictures of the Brookies on my Facebook account and have received a few requests for the recipe.  This is a simple straight forward recipe.  Without further ado, I give you the Brookie Recipe.

Brownies

¾ cup sugar

½ cup butter

2 tablespoons water, coffee or liquor (pick only 1 of these liquids)

2 cups bittersweet chocolate chips, divided

1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla

1 ½ cups all purpose flour

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

2 large eggs

 

Preheat oven to 350° F.  Grease 9 inch square baking pan; set aside.

Combine sugar, butter and liquid in large saucepan.  Heat over med heat stirring gently until butter and sugar are melted.  Add 1 cup of bittersweet chips; stir until melted and blended.  Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.

Place flour, baking soda and salt in a small bowl; stir to combine.

Beat eggs into the chocolate mixture, 1 at a time, with a mixing spoon.  Add flour mixture and mix well.  Stir in 1 cup bittersweet chips.  Spread evenly into prepared pan.

Basic Cookie

½ pound butter

1 cup each sugar and brown sugar

2 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla

2 ½ cups all purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

 

In bowl of electric mixer, beat butter and sugars until light and creamy.  Add eggs, one at a time and vanilla.  In another bowl stir together flour, baking soda and salt.  Gradually add to creamed mixture, blending thoroughly.  At this point you can add what ever you choose.  Some suggestions are:

chocolate chips

 granola

 dried fruit (cherries, blueberries, apricots, raisins, dates, etc.)

nuts

 rolled oats

coconut

Have fun and play with your food!

 Whatever your little heart desires!

Using a disher or ice cream scoop, shape cookies and drop on cookie sheet or cutting board.  Press shaped cookie dough into the brownie batter, spacing evenly and allow a small amount of room for expansion.

Bake in preheated oven for approximately 23 -25 minutes.  Do not overbake!

You will have a lot of cookie dough left over.  You can either cut the recipe in half OR do what I do.  I like to always have cookie dough balls in my freezer.  Portion the dough out, place on a foil lined cookie sheet or plate (whatever fits in your freezer) and freeze until the dough is hard.  Place frozen dough balls in freezer bags and store for up to 4 months.  If you have a food saver, even better and will last longer in the freezer.  Thaw dough out on greased, parchment or Silpat lined cookie sheets and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 10 – 14 minutes, depending on dough ball size and your oven.

You can even split the dough up and add different things to each portion of dough to always have a variety of cookies on hand.  Trust me, people will be impressed if you just whip out several kinds of cookies when they have dropped in on you unexpectedly.

 

Dishers - the large one is 1/4 cup,  the small one is 2 tablespoons

Dishers - the large one is 1/4 cup, the small one is 2 tablespoons

 

Brownie batter with cookie dough pressed in - I used the 1/4 cup disher for the cookie dough

Brownie batter with cookie dough pressed in - I used the 1/4 cup disher for the cookie dough

 

The finished product - I wish there were scratch n sniff screens because this smells heavenly!

The finished product - I wish there were scratch n' sniff screens because this smells heavenly!




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