Cookie 3: Chocolate chewie with toffee

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I wanted to bake and give away a variety of cookies to please everyone.  The chocolate chewie cookies has toffee which I love!  But, I think I will leave them out next time since the batter was a gooey mess!  It was a thin liquid batter and was difficult to scoop out prior to baking.  You really have to chill this dough.  They were more of a brownie cookies which would be great with milk!  Maybe I should leave these out for Santa instead of our usual chocolate chip cookies.  Hey, who wants to mess up with tradition.  Either choice would still be delicious.  I can speak on Santa’s behalf!

Other cookies we made included another new cookie recipe that I may not want to repeat: chai snickerdoodle.  I saw the winning recipe from this year Star telegram cookie contest and thought I would give it a try.  However, it did not do anything for me.  I guess I better keep searching for that snickerdoodle that is soft and chewy rather than puffy and crunchy.

Chocolate Chewie Cookie

Total time: 40 minutes, plus 1 hour chilling time for the batter
Servings: 1 1/2 dozen
1/4 pound (4 ounces) unsweetened chocolate
4 tablespoons ( 1/2 stick) butter
3 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon molasses or corn syrup
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup flour
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 bag (12oz) of semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped nuts
1/2 cup sweetened coconut flakes (optional)
1. In a bowl set over a pot of simmering water, melt the unsweetened chocolate and butter.
Remove from the heat and cool slightly.
2. In the bowl of a mixer with a paddle attachment, or in a large bowl using a fork, combine the
eggs, vanilla, molasses or corn syrup and sugar. Mix just until incorporated and set aside.
3. Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt into a medium bowl. Set aside.
4. Add the melted chocolate to the egg mixture and mix just until combined. Stir in the sifted dry
ingredients and mix just until combined, then stir in the chocolate chips, nuts and coconut flakes
if using.
5. Cover the batter with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour to chill thoroughly. Heat
the oven to 350 degrees.
6. Divide the dough into 18 portions. Grease your hands (to prevent the dough from sticking) and
shape the portions into balls. Place the balls on a greased, parchment-lined sheet pan, leaving 2
to 3 inches between each.
7. Bake until the edges of the cookies are just set and the center is still soft, 10 to 12 minutes

 

 


Christmas Cookie 2: Gingerbread boys cookies

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“It’s starting to look a lot like Christmas” is one of my favorite lyrics as far as Christmas songs go.  I have decided to try making gingerbread boys( with my kiddos or (a.k.a elves) this year.  Although I do not like the taste of ginger, these cookies are not overwhelm with too much spices.  It has a touch of ginger, a dash of cinnamon, etc, all of the goodness that makes up the holiday. After all, the smell of the fresh pine trees and wreaths makes these cookies festive for the holidays.  Next year, I may hang these boys as edible ornaments on my tree.

Gingerbread cookies (source: Joy of Cooking)

Directions:

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves until well blended.
  2. In a large bowl (KitchenAid’s great for this) beat butter, brown sugar, and egg on medium speed until well blended.
  3. Add molasses, vanilla, and lemon zest and continue to mix until well blended.
  4. Gradually stir in dry ingredients until blended and smooth.
  5. Divide dough in half and wrap each half in plastic and let stand at room temperature for at least 2 hours or up to 8 hours.
  6. (Dough can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 4 days, but in this case it should be refrigerated. Return to room temp before using.) Preheat oven to 375°.
  7. Grease or line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  8. Place 1 portion of the dough on a lightly floured surface.
  9. Sprinkle flour over dough and rolling pin.
  10. Roll dough to a scant 1/4-inch thick.
  11. Use additional flour to avoid sticking.
  12. Cut out cookies with desired cutter– the ginger bread man is our favorite of course.
  13. Space cookies 1 1/2-inches apart
  14. Bake 1 sheet at a time for 7-10 minutes (the lower time will give you softer cookies– very good!).
  15. Remove cookie sheet from oven and allow the cookies to stand until the cookies are firm enough to move to a wire rack.
  16. After cookies are cool you may decorate them any way you like.
  17. I usually brush them with a powdered sugar glaze when I am in a hurry, but they look wonderful decorated with Royal icing.

Cookie 1: White chocolate chip with macadamias and dried cherries

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The holidays are just around the corner and I usually baked some cookies to give away as gifts to my family and friends.  I will be making 6 cookies this year and mailing them to my family or giving them to my friends near and far.

I usually am not a fan of white chocolate since it does not contain any cacao but mainly cocoa butter.  But somehow, the combination of the white chocolate with the salty macadamias was quite satisfying.  Also, the dried cherries offset the sweetness of the white chocolate.

Plus, these are really soft so it it may not packaged very well so you may not consider this one if mailing your baked goods.  I have made 6 different cookies and a brownies for my holiday gifts.    The holiday is a fun time in the kitchen for me and my littles elves.  So stay tune to see what we have been whipping up in our holiday bakeshop this year!

Make these cookies and leave it for Santa along with a glass of milk (I usually eat them on his behalf).  These cookies with dried cherries are the red cherry on top of a great dessert


Perfect yellow cake with chocolate buttercream frosting

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I had a birthday request from my little guy for a vanilla cupcake.  I knew I wanted a nice texture cake that is buttery and not too sweet.  I compared both this recipe from cheftalk which has some characteristic of a pound cake.  So, this is not a sponge like cake at all.  That type of cake requires more eggs which was not what I was looking for.  I thought this cake has a nice crumb and taste.  However, it was a little more dense than I thought but I did made a mistake in putting one less eggs.  Hey, my daughter wanted to crack the eggs and we only used two intead of three.  So, that could be  why it was not lighter.  I wonder what would the results be if I used cake flour next time or use buttermilk instead of milk?

Next time, I may try Cooks Illustrated fluffy yellow cake since that has similar ingredients of a sponge cake with the exceptions of more ingredients such as butter and either milk or buttermilk.

As for the frosting, I convinced him to pair the yellow cupcake with classic chocolate buttercream frosting.  Doesn’t remind you of cafeteria or afternoon snack with milk?  I remember all I wanted to that smooth chocolately frosting.  I did not use the entire amount of powder sugar as in the recipe.  I wanted just the right amount of sweetness without losing the volume.

Yellow Cake (source: cheftalk)

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (do not sift the flour)
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1-teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups milk
Vegetable oil
1 stick butter (not margarine), softened
1-tablespoon vanilla extract
3 large eggs

Preheat oven to 350°

Cut wax paper to fit the bottom of (3) 9 x 1 1/2-inch round pans. Spray the pans with cooking spray, place the wax paper in the pans and spray the paper.

In a large mixing bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt, mixing well.

Measure the 1-1/4 cups of milk in a 2 cup measuring cup….then add enough vegetable oil to bring the liquid up to 1-1/3 cups.

Add the milk/vegetable oil mixture, butter and vanilla to the flour mixture and beat with an electric mixer on medium to medium-high speed for 2 minutes, scraping sides of bowl as needed.

Add the eggs and continue beating an additional 2 minutes. Pour batter into prepared pans.

Bake at 350° for 20 to 25 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted near center of cake comes out clean, or until cake springs back when touched lightly in the center.

Cool cakes on wire racks for 15 minutes; remove from pans and cool completely.  Frost as desired.

Basic Chocolate Buttercream

  • 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks or 1/2 pound), softened (but not melted!)
  • 3 1/2 cups confectioners (powdered) sugar
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract or 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 4 tablespoons milk or heavy cream
Instructions
  1. Cream butter for a few minutes in a mixer with the paddle attachment on medium speed. Turn off the mixer. Sift 3 cups powdered sugar and cocoa into the mixing bowl. Turn your mixer on the lowest speed (so the dry ingredients do not blow everywhere) until the sugar and cocoa are absorbed by the butter. Increase mixer speed to medium and add vanilla extract, salt, and milk/cream and beat for 3 minutes. If your frosting needs a more stiff consistency, add a little more sugar. If your frosting needs to be thinned out, add additional milk 1 tablespoon at a time.