Tag Archives: Cookies

World Peace Chocolate Chip Cookies

World Peace Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ever had the strongest urge to eat something sweet and chocolatey, and absolutely nothing in the pantry or refrigerator fit the bill?

It would have been a LOT worse had there not been a bag of chocolate chips leftover from the holidays.  And a vacuum sealed bag of cocoa powder that hasn’t seen the light of day in over a year.

That also speaks of the cobwebs and dust piling up around here…

It’s not like the days magically grew an extra hour or two to accommodate the growing demands of the day job, running practice, the house and all the other curveballs life throws.

But you know, those cravings… they cover all the things we love and want to do, not just eat.  Sometimes you just have to plug in the stand mixer and start measuring. And sit down in front of the laptop, and let it flow out. Whatever it is.

World Peace Chocolate Chip Cookies

World Peace Cookies – a Dorie Greenspan classic – is a dark chocolate shortbread cookie laced with semisweet chocolate chips and sea salt.  As a group, we baked a version included in Around My French Table – the cocoa sablés.  After quickly flipping through my friend Liz’s blog – which hosts many incredible chocolate recipes – I realized this was not time to try a full new recipe.  My favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe got a quick makeover with cocoa powder and a smidge extra salt. Voilá: World Peace chocolate chip cookies!

World Peace Chocolate Chip Cookies

The original cookie recipe uses 1 1/4 cup of all purpose flour.  I swapped 1/4 cup for the cocoa powder and added an extra tablespoon of flour to the dry ingredients. On a whim, a teaspoon of powdered peanut butter made its way to the dough. It probably brought out the saltier notes in the cookie.  If you don’t have any powdered peanut butter, it’s not a big deal.  The cookies turn out crunchy after resting for an hour on a cooling rack.

World Peace Chocolate Chip Cookies

Tuesdays with Dorie: The Rugelach that Won Over France

Rugelach that Won over France

Today’s Tuesdays with Dorie: Baking Chez Moi recipe, the Rugelach that Won over France, is a soft cookie filled with a mixture of nuts, cherries, and semi sweet chocolate.  While the main ingredient in Dorie’s original recipe is coconut, I had plenty of nuts that needed to be used.  My version combines the chocolate and cherries with  walnuts, pecans, and a bit of coconut oil for a nuttier version. Read More…

Tuesdays with Dorie: Palets de Dames Lille Style

Palets de Dames Lille Style

I am officially stepping out of my comfort zone.

I love cooking and I am confident in the skills I have built since I was a college junior with an actual kitchen. A baker? Not so much. There are plenty of exhibits I can pull out for your reference, worthy of the #PinterestFail label.  Some of them have even made it to the blog.

Read More…

French Fridays with Dorie – Cocoa Sablés

Cocoa Sables

I haven’t baked a cookie since the holidays.  After preparing so many batches right before Christmas, I developed bakers’ fatigue, a made up condition that involves ignoring all recipes that require  the combination of a sifter, stand mixer, and oven.  This week’s recipe for French Fridays with Dorie, cocoa sablés, was simple enough to ease me out of bakers’ fatigue.  I had all the ingredients on hand, including the optional bittersweet chocolate.  I prepared the dough quickly, rolled it out, and left it to rest until this morning. Read More…

Saints Playoffs 2012 Cookies and New Orleans Recipe Roundup

I could not help myself.  Geaux Saints!

Fleur de Lis Shaped Sugar Cookies

For the holidays, I made four batches of Dorie Greenspan’s sugar cookies (Grandma’s All-Occasion Sugar Cookies), and froze a couple of rolled sheets for whenever I felt like enjoying a few.  I got a fleur-de-lis cutter at Sur La Table while on vacation in Miami and was itching to  use it.  What better time to enjoy some saintsational cookies than today before kick-off? Read More…

Catching Up with Dorie – Speculoos

I skipped this week’s French Fridays with Dorie recipe, cinnamon-crunch chicken, because I could not find the suggested spice cookies the recipe called for.  The LU selection at my everyday supermarket is limited to the chocolate Panky wafers – a childhood favorite!  I also thought about cinnamon graham crackers, but those didn’t seem buttery enough per the description from the recipe.  Instead I chose to play catch up with Dorie Greenspan’s speculoos recipe, baked and blogged about by the FFwD crowd during December 2010.  The recipe appeared in Dorie’s blog during the days Around My French Table was first available to the public. Read More…

French Fridays with Dorie – Salted Butter Break-Ups

“Don’t play with your food” – countless mothers throughout the world.

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Sorry Mama, but these cookies were made for playing. Like most games, however, there are rules that should be followed.  Think of these as your back of the box instructions. Read More…

Cardamom Macarons with Guava Filling

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Recipe courtesy of Helen Dujardin, via Desserts Magazine

One of my biggest regrets related to my trip to France was that I did not bring back with me a box of macarons, the pretty almond meringue sandwich cookies that come in as many colors and flavors as you could think of.  Over the holidays, while my best friend was here in Puerto Rico, I bonded with Binbin, her SIL, over our love for baking and how we should tackle this elusive treat.  Unlike Binbin, though, I am not one of those people with the talent for making dainty, pretty things. I mix, drop, bake, and eat.  I was still curious as to whether I could pull off the macarons, and combed through the Internet for every tip and hint I could. Luckily, I found what seems to be the definite source for macarons as to recipe and methodology.  Tartelette’s Helen Dujardin walks through the process with such detail in her article Demystifying Macarons that I knew I could do it. I had the hardware (mixer, food processor, food scale)!

The basic French meringue macaron consists of:

The Meringue – beaten to a point where the whites are glossy and you can turn the mixer bowl over and everything stays in place
  • 100 grams of day-old egg whites. Letting them rest in the fridge for at least a day helps break down the proteins.
  • 50 grams of granulated sugar
The Almond Meal – ground almonds or almond flour mixed with confectioners’ sugar.
  • 110 grams of ground almonds
  • 200 grams powdered sugar

To the almond meal, I added a 1/4 teaspoon of ground cardamom for flavor.  I really like the warmth it imparts, which creates a nice contrast with the tart guava jam I was going to use for filling. 

The two components are then mixed by hand in about fifty quick strokes, until the mixture is well incorporated.  With a pastry bag, using a plain tip, pipe in circles of 1.5 inches in diameter on a parchment or silplat lined cookie sheet.  This part of the process was where I struggled – the pastry bag I have is a cheap one and it didn’t come with any plain tips.  I also overfilled the bag and the mixture was being squeezed out of the bottom and top part.  Don’t overfill your bags!    At the end I was so exasperated by the pastry bag and took out my small cookie drop!  The recipe made enough macarons for two cookie sheets.  I baked the first sheet for 11 minutes, and the second one for 12.  

After the macs cooled down, I spread some guava jam I had purchased at the farmers’ market and voila!  It wasn’t as difficult as I thought, but then again, I had some casualties in both batches in the form of cracked tops and undercooked meringue.  I’ll definitely try these again – but not before I buy a decent pastry bag!

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Macarons

More Cookies out of “One Basic Dough…”

Today I got out a cheap cookie press I bought last year but never got around using, and played a little with the vanilla dough I had in my fridge and the tree stencil/press.  It totally brought me back to the days of my ‘Snack Shop’ Play-Doh sets! 

‘Healthified’ Everychip Cookies

For the last two years, my every-chip cookies have been one of those things my co-workers expect come mid-December.  I found a great chocolate chip cookie recipe in Allrecipes.com that I usually halve and change the mix-ins to include dried cranberries, pecans and pistachios in addition to semi-sweet and white chocolate chips. This year, I have been reworking my recipe using whole wheat pastry flour in order to sneak in more whole grains and fiber.

When I prepared the first batch, I substituted the 1 ¼ cups of all purpose flour the recipe calls for the same amount of whole wheat pastry flour.  After combining the ingredients in my stand mixer per the directions, I noticed that the dough was not as cohesive as it would have been had I used the regular A/P flour, so I added an extra quarter cup of the whole wheat pastry flour.  It seemed to do the trick; the cookies from that first batch turned up chewy, and moist.  I took them to a party, and they disappeared off the tin fairly quickly, with enough compliments for me to decide to keep working with the ‘healthified’ version (in quotes, because – who are we kidding here – it’s still one cup of sugar and a stick of butter).

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They don’t look that healthy, but I’d like to pretend otherwise.

This weekend, I prepared a batch of dough and baked half of it, omitting the decisive ¼ cup of whole wheat pastry flour and using the suggested amounts of chips instead of going crazy and throwing in chocolate and nuts without restraint.  The mix this time around did not seem as thin/runny as it had the week before, so I just went with it ‘as is’.  The cookies turned out flatter, but not necessarily crisper.  This time around, DH asked if they had coconut in them, which led me to believe that the nuttiness of the whole grains, paired with the white chocolate, brought out that flavor.  I still have cookie dough in my freezer from this recipe and really need to see if these are acceptable enough for gifts or if I should attempt to add extra flour to get something closer to the original cookies.

And that’s where my objective taste-testers come in.

I work with engineers, and two of them are probably the most vocal fans of my cookies.  Girl engineer suggested I baked mice shaped cookies when we adopted a kitten.  Boy engineer always asks for cookies for his birthday.  Given that they love the original version, and yet can appreciate anything I put in front of them, I gave each two cookies and a photocopy of this very scientific poll:

Cookie_survey

Poor use of office supplies?

The jury was split on texture, with Girl Engineer stating that the cookie had structural defects (what?!) because it was very crumbly/brittle.  Girl engineer also thought that the prior versions of the cookie had more chips and cranberries going in.  Boy engineer found the texture and chip/stuff ratio adequate, and both of them thought they were good, but not as tasty as their predecessors.  They were even called too sweet, which leads me to believe the semi-sweet chocolate plays off the sweetness of the cookie and white chips.  A third impromptu/non-survey taking participant issued a ‘who cares, they are good’ opinion and agreed with DH as to the coconut aftertaste. 

Given that these are holiday treats and not everyday – heck – every month indulgences, the general consensus is to keep the less healthy incarnation of the recipe with all-purpose flour.  The minute they become a recurring obsession, I would revert to the whole wheat flour and try to find the right proportion of agave nectar to substitute the processed white sugar. In the meantime, I’ll sneak in an extra half cup of chips/cranberries/nuts to the half batch in my fridge and will increase the baking time to get a thinner but crunchier cookie.

Marbled ‘Mantecaditos’ (Thumbprint Cookies)

Recipe courtesy of the December 2010 issue of Martha Stewart Living.

I haven’t bought a Martha magazine since I was done with wedding planning well over three years ago, but I found myself picking up a copy of this issue to check any potential new ideas for December entertaining, potlucking, etc.  One of the stories that caught my eye was ‘One Basic Dough, 30 Kinds of Cookies’.   The premise is that a basic vanilla butter cookie recipe can be modified to at minimum these three additional flavors (spice, chocolate, and citrus), that if you omit baking powder you can use the dough for thumbprints, ball or spritz cookies.

One of the cookies from every kid’s childhood here in PR (and the Spanish Caribbean, from what the Internet tells me) is mantecaditos.  I even remember making them in my sixth grade home-ec class as one of our first cooking projects.  Mantecaditos are thumbprint cookies (sometimes filled with cherry halves or guava, but mostly plain), made out of flour, shortening, sugar, and almond extract.  They are easy to make, but have become even more ubiquitous in parties thanks to the local warehouse clubs’ tubs of the Carla’s Sweets ones.  I’m not that fond of baking with shortening (have done it to accommodate lactose intolerance) because I love butter and the flavor it imparts.  When I read the recipe and looked at the picture, I knew I had to take a stab at it.

This is the basic recipe for the vanilla cookies (for rolled/sheet cookies, add 3/4 teaspoon of baking powder):

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Normally, I try to divide recipes by the lowest undivisable item (usually eggs) because we are a two-person household.  I didn’t want to make two full batches of dough, so silly me broke the egg and fork-beated it with the vanilla extract and split it as evenly as I could for each half batch.  The cocoa dough requires swapping 1/3 cup of flour for 1/3 cup of unsweetened Dutch processed cocoa powder and I did the split just taking my measuring cup and filling it halfway and a little more with cocoa powder and adding the rest of the flour.

As with most cookie recipes: cream the butter and sugar with a mixer, when fluffy add the eggs and vanilla, and then incorporate the dry ingredients for each flavor batch.  Form the thumbprint cookies by pinching a little of each mix, rolling it into 1-inch balls and pressing a well with your finger or with the back of a 1/4 teaspoon round measuring spoon.  Chill the cookies for half an hour while preheating the oven.  Bake for 7 minutes, retouch the indentation with the measuring spoon, and then bake for an extra 7-9 minutes.

To honor the mantecaditos of my childhood, I had these plain, but Martha suggests filling them with raspberry preserves or chocolate ganache.  I bet caramel would be great as well.

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