February 25th, 2012

Chocolate White Chocolate Chip Cookies

When I changed jobs recently, I also had to change gyms. I’m now using the airforce base gym by work, a perk of working for the government. I like having to show an ID at the checkpoint on my way in (I feel like an agent or something) and I really like that it’s free. The drawback is that everyone there is super strong and intense. I feel like a loser lifting dinky little weights.

On Thursday, I tried to toughen up and get a hard workout in. By the time I made it home, I had worked up quite an appetite. After shoveling in dinner, I decided cookies would also be needed. You know, t help me recover. I started with a Cook’s Illustrated recipe, halving it and tightening up the directions a bit for ease. To the chocolate base, I added white chocolate chunks leftover from the TWD tarts. These hit the spot.

After eating a few, now I need to head back to the gym.

Xx spike

Chocolate White Chocolate Chip Cookies
Makes 1 1/2 dozen 

1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup dutch-processed cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
8 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
5 tbs unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
2 oz white chocolate, roughly chopped

Whisk together flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt in medium bowl; set aside. Melt chocolate in medium heatproof bowl set over pan of almost-simmering water, stirring once or twice, until smooth; remove from heat (or use the microwave). Beat eggs and vanilla lightly with fork, set aside.

In bowl of standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment (or with hand mixer), beat butter at medium speed until smooth and creamy, about 5 seconds (15 seconds with hand mixer). Beat in sugars until combined, about 45 seconds (1 1/2 minutes with hand mixer); mixture will look granular. Reduce speed to low and gradually beat in egg mixture until incorporated, about 45 seconds (1 1/2 minutes with hand mixer). Add chocolate in steady stream and beat until combined, about 40 seconds (1 minute with hand mixer). Scrape bottom and sides of bowl with rubber spatula. With mixer at low speed, add flour mixture and mix until combined, about 40 seconds (1 minute with hand mixer). Drop in the white chocolate to distribute. Do not overbeat. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature until consistency is scoopable and fudgelike, about 30 minutes. Note, this dough is difficult to work with after refrigerated, I’d advise against freezing unless you o=portion the dough out while still at room temp.

Meanwhile, adjust oven racks to upper- and lower-middle positions and heat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper. Leaving about 1 1/2-inches between each ball, scoop dough onto parchment-lined cookie sheets with 1 3/4-inch diameter ice cream scoop.

Bake cookies until edges have just begun to set but centers are still very soft, about 10 minutes, turning cookie sheets from front to back and switching from top to bottom racks halfway through baking.

Cool cookies on sheets about 10 minutes, slide parchment with cookies onto wire rack and cool to room temperature; remove with wide metal spatula.

February 5th, 2012

Peanut Butter Brownie Crispies

I’m a little late with superbowl recipes, but at least there are still a few hours before kick off.  This recipe goes well beyond just football, but the combo of peanut butter cups, peanuts, chocolate, brownies and rice krispies sounded pretty pig out pig skin to me.  To keep things easy, just use your favorite brownie recipe for the base (I used my go to recipe with lots of bittersweet chocolate).  In the last few minutes of baking, spread a bunch of chopped up peanut butter cups and salted peanuts and let those melt.  Finally, top with rice krispies mixed with melted chocolate and peanut butter.

Tom Brady helped me make them.  

xx

spike

Peanut Butter Brownie Crispies

based on a recipe from How Sweet Eats 

1 batch brownies 
1/2 cup salted peanuts 
1 1/4 cup chopped Reese’s peanut butter cups
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1 tablespoon butter
1 1/2 cups Rice Krispies Cereal

Mix brownies according to directions, and bake in a 9 x 13 baking dish. About 5 minutes before the brownies are done baking, remove from the oven and top with peanuts and peanut butter cups. Return to the oven.

While they are finishing baking, melt chocolate chips, peanut butter and butter. Stir in cereal. Remove brownies from oven and evenly pour chocolate mixture over top.
Refrigerate for 2 hours before serving. Makes about 20 bars.

January 29th, 2012

Malted Chocolate Chip Cookies

Just a slight twist on regular old chocolate chip cookies.  I saw these on the pioneer woman (sidebar- I’m still not sure about her show. She’s just a little too rich and I’m a little too jealous).  Anywho, she made these cookies super flat.  I like flat cookies but I think they’re not as good after 1 or 2 days.  So instead I gave these the NYT treatment- a little fridge time- and then baked them cold.  Still pretty flat but nice and chewy.  They bake really well straight from frozen too- just add a few extra minutes to the baking time. The malt flavor is a light change but a nice one.

xx

Spike

Malted Chocolate Chip Cookies

Adapted from the Pioneer Woman

1 cup (2 Sticks) Unsalted Butter, Softened
3/4 cups Brown Sugar
3/4 cups Sugar
2 whole Eggs
2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
2 cups All-purpose Flour
1-1/4 teaspoon Baking Soda
3/4 teaspoon Salt
1/2 cup (rounded) Malted Milk Powder
1 bag (12 Ounce) Semi sweet or bittersweet Chocolate Chips

Cream butter, then add both sugars and cream until fluffy. Add eggs and beat slightly, then add vanilla and beat until combined. Add malted milk powder and beat until combined.

Mix together flour, baking soda, and salt. Add to butter mixture, beating gently until just combined.

Add chocolate chips and stir in gently. Wrap up the bowl and leave it in the fridge over night (or scoop out and freeze).  When you are ready to bake, scoop the dough by heaping tablespoons onto a lined sheet pan. Leave an inch and a half between the mounds of dough. 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Cool slightly on the pan and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. 

January 26th, 2012

Blondies

I’ve tried several different blondie recipes over the last few years and wasn’t satisfied with any of them. I like a nice thick blondie, slightly under done in the middle. Every recipe I’ve tried was thin and not quite soft enough. No perfect bars to be found.

Ed actually made a dessert request for blondies, which is rare because he’s not a baked good guy. So, instead of enduring another disappointing bar, I made some changes. I doubled the recipe and used the same size tin. It was that easy. Perfect blondies were mine (ours) at last!

ps- I brought these for a visit at someone’s house so I made the above single serving with a bit of the dough.

xx

Spike

Blondies

makes 16 bars

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt 
2 stick unsalted butter
2 cups packed brown sugar
2 large eggs, at room temp
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup chocolate chips (I like bittersweet chips)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8 inch square baking pan with heavy duty aluminum foil, making sure the foil is tucked into all corners and that there is at least 1 inch overhang around the top of the pan on all sides. Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl. Melt the butter in the microwave on low, I like to cut it up into tbs pieces first. In a stand mixer (or by hand) beat the melted butter and brown sugar until sugar dissolves. Beat in the eggs one at a time and then the vanilla. Slowly add the flour mixture until just incorporated. Stir in the chocolate chips.

 

Pour batter into the prepared baking pan. Bake until they are just set in the center, about 45 minutes. Let them cool completely on a wire rack. Grasping the overhanging foil, remove the blondies and place on a cutting board. Cut into 16 squares. They will keep at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

December 27th, 2011

Kid’s Thumbprints

First, the cookies: Peanut buttery dough filled with jam or chocolate (chocolate was an easy choice for me).  The dough is rolled in chopped peanuts for some crunchy goodness.  I made them extra big so I could use my bigger than kid sized thumbs to make the imprint.  So good, even after a week filled with treats.  As fitting with my typical M.O., I ate one for breakfast. Dorie has the recipe posted on her blog.

And with that, our little baking group has finished every recipe in Baking from My Home to Yours.  I missed a week here and there, but I’d say I have most of the book completed.  And many of recipes are now go to recipes.  I’ve made the tall and creamy cheesecake 4 times in the last year alone (including for Christmas eve), the carrot cake is requested for many birthdays, the rhubarb crisp is my summery favorite…  There are too many to mention.  In addition to honing some baking skills and getting pretty comfortable putting my own twist on a recipe, this group has provided great friendship more than anything. I even found that one of the bakers lived less than a mile down the street from me (Hi Jennifer!) The internet and good people can make some pretty good stuff happen. 

The other week, bakers were emailing me their photos so we could get a gift for Dorie, Laurie, and Jules together and it was so great to see the pictures as they came in.  I loved seeing everyone with their much loved books. Thank you to the bakers for sharing your successes and screw ups every week, and for providing sweet encouraging comments.  Thanks to Laurie and Jules for keeping us going- no easy task.  And thanks for Dorie for writing a recipe full of the best recipes- definitely worthy of four years of baking! Love you all so much!

xx

Spike/Elizabeth

December 24th, 2011

Thomas Keller’s Oreos

I had such big plans for holiday baking.  Then I decided it would be a good idea to double the number of spinning classes I taught this week and announce that I was leaving my full time job for a new position. That, and we were out of eggs.  Once I finally hit the grocery store last night, I got to baking. 

These homemade oreos were on the list for dinner with friends and there daughters last night. They are a familiar enough treat, but the recipe elevates them to something much more special.  Deeply chocolate cookies and creamy white chocolate filling.  The filling was a little thin, even after I added some confectioners sugar, so it dripped out of the sides.  Didn’t seem to bother anyone much.

now, back to the kitchen.  cheesecakes, chocolate cakes and candies to come! Must finish up before the Pats game.  Hope you all have a nice Christmas.

xx

spike

Thomas Keller’s Oreos
from The Essence of Chocolate, by Robert Steinberg and John Scharffenberger

3/4 cup sugar
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa plus 1 tablespoon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
15 tablespoons (7 1/2 oz) unsalted butter, cut into 3/4-inch cubes, at room temperature

Filling
1/2 cup heavy cream
8 oz white chocolate, finely chopped

To make the filling: In a small saucepan, bring the cream to a boil over medium heat.  Remove the pan from the heat and add the white chocolate, making sure it is all immersed in the cream.  Let stand for 1 minute then whisk to completely melt the chocolate and incorporate it.

Transfer the filling to a small bowl and let it stand for 6 hours, or until it thickens enough to spread.  If the filling hardens too much, it can be rewarmed in the microwave.

To make the cookies: Preheat oven to 350 F with racks in the upper and lower thirds.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt on low speed until combined.  With the mixer still on low speed, add the butter a few pieces at a time until it is all in the bowl.  The dough will be sandy at first, but it will eventually begin to come together.  When it does, stop the mixer.

Transfer the dough to a work surface and form it into a block about 5 by 7 inches.  Cut the block into 2 pieces.  Working with one half at a time, roll the dough on a lightly floured work surface until it is 1/8-inch thick.  Using a 2-inch round cookie cutter, cut rounds from the dough and place them 1/2 to 1 inch apart on the prepared baking sheets.  You can reroll the scraps of dough once to cut more cookies.  I stuck the cookies in the freezer for 5-10 minutes before baking to prevent spreading. 

Bake for 12-14 minutes, rotating the baking sheets halfway through.    Remove the baking sheets from the oven and let the cookies cool on them for 4-5 minutes.  (The cookies will be very soft and fragile when they come out of the oven so you won’t be able to remove them successfully unless you wait a few minutes.)  Transfer to a wire rack and let the cookies cool completely.

To assemble the cookies: Turn half of the cookies over so the side that was down on the baking sheet faces up.  Whisk the filling briefly to fluff it up.  Transfer the filling to a disposable pastry bag and cut a small hole in the tip of the bag.  Pipe about 1 1/2 teaspoons of the filling in the center of each cookie you flipped over.  Top with another cookie, and gently press the cookies together until the filling spreads evenly to the edge.  The cookies keep in an airtight container for 3 days.

Makes about 24 sandwich cookies

December 20th, 2011

Snickery Squares

I missed this TWD recipe the first go around but I had to go back and make it before the group wraps up.  Why? Chocolate, caramel, peanut, shortbread.  Satisfies the hunger inside you.  Have one for breakfast and it will be your best morning ever.

The base is shortbread, and it was supposed to be pricked with a fork and baked. It was a little fussy with me so I gave it 15 minutes in the freezer first and that did the trick.  I substituted honey roasted peanuts to skip a step.  With that and some store bought dulce de leche, these were super simple.  Alas, not simple to cut and make pretty.  I’m pretty sure the folks at work will enjoy them none the less. 

The original recipe was selected by Erin.  I’ve made some adaptations reflected below.

xx

Spike

Snickery Squares
Recipe adapted from Dorie Greenspan 

For the Crust:

1 cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup sugar
2 TBSP powdered sugar
¼ tsp salt
1 stick unsalted butter, cut into small pieces and chilled
1 large egg yolk, lightly beaten

For the Filling:
1 1/4 cups honey roasted peanuts
About 1 ½ cups store-bought dulce de leche

For the Topping:

7 ounces bittersweet, coarsely chopped
½ stick unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces, at room temperature

Getting Ready:

Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8 inch square pan with tin foil, grease it, and put it on a baking sheet.

To Make the Crust:

Toss the flour, sugar, powdered sugar and salt into a food processor and pulse a few times to combine. Toss in the pieces of cold butter and pulse about 12 times, until the mixture looks like coarse meal. Pour the yolk over the ingredients and pulse until the dough forms clumps and curds-stop before the dough comes together in a ball.
Turn the dough into the buttered pan and gently press it evenly across the bottom of the pan. Put the crust in the freezer for 10-15 minutes.  Prick the dough with a fork and slide the sheet into the oven.
Bake the crust for 15-20 minutes, or until it takes on just a little color around the edges. Transfer the pan to a rack and cool to room temperature before filling. The crust can be made a day ahead.

To Make the Filling:

Divide the nuts in half. Keep half of the nuts whole or in biggish pieces for the filling, and finely chop the other half for the topping.
Spread the dulce de leche over the shortbread base and sprinkle over the whole nuts.

To Make the Topping:

Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water. Remove chocolate from the heat and gently stir in the butter, stirring until it is fully blended into the chocolate.
Pour the chocolate over the dulce de leche, smoothing it with a long metal icing spatula, then sprinkle over the rest of the peanuts. Slide the pan into the fridge to set the topping, about 20 minutes; if you’d like to serve the squares cold, keep them refrigerated for at least 3 hours before cutting.

Cut into 16 bars.

December 18th, 2011

Chocolate Peppermint Bark Cookies

Tracey did a great run down of holiday baking options and these cookies caught my eye.  Chocolate peppermint bark on a base of shortbread.  So easy and they look so great. 

This is one of those recipes that I didn’t read all the way through before making it.  I baked the shortbread, took it out of the oven and headed off to the dog park with my boy. 

Came back to read that I should have but the chocolate on while warm to melt and spread.  Oh well.  Melted it in a double boiler and spread it on top. NBD. These cookies are making the rounds a two christmas parties and one dinner this weekend.  Now I just have to finalize the rest of the holiday baking for the week ahead…too many options!

xx

spike

Chocolate Peppermint Bark Cookies
from Bon Appetit, December 2009 (Epicurious)

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg yolk
6 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate (I like a mix), chopped
1/2 cup finely chopped red-and-white striped hard peppermint candies or candy canes
2 ounces high-quality white chocolate

Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray 13 x 9 x 2-inch metal baking pan with nonstick spray. Line the bottom of pan with parchment paper or tinfoil, leaving an overhang on both short sides of the pan.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and salt. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter until creamy, about 2 minutes. Gradually add sugar, beating until the mixture is light and fluffy, stopping occasionally to scrape down sides of bowl, about 3 minutes. Beat in vanilla, then egg yolk. Gradually add flour mixture, beating on low speed just to blend.

Drop dough by tablespoonfuls into prepared baking pan, spacing evenly. Using moistened fingertips, press dough to form even layer over bottom of pan. Pierce dough all over with fork.

Bake cookie base until light golden brown and slightly puffed and edges begin to come away from sides of pan, about 30 minutes. Place pan on rack; immediately sprinkle bittersweet chocolate over the top. Let stand until chocolate softens, about 3 minutes. Using small offset spatula, spread bittersweet chocolate over top of cookie in thin even layer. Immediately sprinkle chopped peppermint candies/candy canes over.

Stir white chocolate in medium metal bowl set over saucepan of simmering water until melted and smooth. (Alternatively, melt the chocolate in the microwave on 50% power for 30 second bursts, stirring after each burst.) Transfer the chocolate to a resealable plastic bag, snip a corner and drizzle the chocolate over the cookies. Chill until the white chocolate is set, about 30 minutes.

Using the parchment overhang, lift the cookies from pan and transfer to work surface. Using a large knife, cut the cookies into irregular pieces (I like triangles!).

December 4th, 2011

World Peace & Peppermint Cookies

After a day spent trimming the tree, I baked up a few of these cookies and headed into Boston with friends.  I snuck a few in my purse for us to enjoy while watching the new twilight movie (so bad, but so so good). 

I started with Dorie Greenspan’s World Peace Cookies and added a few crushed up candy canes.  The cookies were pretty perfect for the holidays.  Deeply chocolate with a sweet peppermint crunch every once in awhile.  Not too sweet so you can eat more than one. 

I baked these as part of Di’s virtual cookie exchange.  So fun! Can’t wait to see what everyone baked.

xx

Spike

World Peace & Peppermint Cookies

Based on a Dorie Greenspan recipe

1 1/4 cups all purpose flour

1/3 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

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

2/3 cup (packed) brown sugar

1/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

5 ounces extra-bittersweet chocolate (do not exceed 85% cacao), chopped (no pieces bigger than 1/3 inch)

2 Candy Canes, crushed into small pieces

Sift flour, cocoa, and baking soda into medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat butter in large bowl until smooth but not fluffy. Add both sugars, vanilla, and sea salt; beat until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add flour mixture; beat just until blended (mixture may be crumbly). Add chopped chocolate and candy canes; mix just to distribute (if dough doesn’t come together, knead lightly in bowl to form ball). Divide dough in half. Place each half on sheet of plastic wrap. Form each into 1 1/2-inch-diameter log. Wrap each in plastic; chill until firm, about 3 hours. DO AHEAD: Can be made 3 days ahead. Keep chilled.

Preheat oven to 325°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Using thin sharp knife, cut logs crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick rounds. Space 1 inch apart on prepared sheets. Bake 1 sheet at a time until cookies appear dry (cookies will not be firm or golden at edges), 11 to 12 minutes. Transfer to rack; cool. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.

December 1st, 2011

Cornflake Cookies

Momofuku! This cookie recipe is from the Momofuku cookbook and I used that name in place of swear words several times in the making of these cookies.  When I tasted the dough (holy momofuku it was good!)  When I baked the first round at the wrong temperature (momofuku!)  Each round there after trying to get the cookies right (momfuku!)  This is a tough recipe to bake.  The dough needs to be cold, the oven temp has to be perfect, and you have to watch them so carefully. 

However, the finished cookies are really unique and fun.  Crispy cornflake crunchies, gooey marshmallows, and globs of chocolate.  I’ll make them again, if only to eat the cookie dough and not mess with the fussy baking. 

xx

Spike

ps- left over cornflake crunchies are perfect on top of ice cream sundaes

Recipe found on the daily candy website

Cornflake Chocolate Chip Marshmallow Cookies

Makes fifteen to twenty

16 tbsp. (2 sticks) room-temperature butter
1¼ c. granulated sugar
2/3 c. light brown sugar, tightly packed
1 egg
½ tsp. vanilla extract
1½ c. flour
½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
1½ tsp. kosher salt
3 c. Cornflake Crunch
2/3 c. mini chocolate chips (regular size works fine too)
1¼ c. mini marshmallows

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine butter and sugars; cream together on medium-high 2-3 minutes. With a spatula, scrape down sides of bowl, then add egg and vanilla and beat 7-8 minutes.

Reduce speed to low; add flour, baking powder and soda, and salt. Mix just until dough comes together, no longer than 1 minute. (Do not walk away from the machine during this step or risk overmixing.) Scrape down sides of bowl.

Still on low speed, paddle in cornflakes and chips until just incorporated, about 30-45 seconds. Paddle in marshmallows.

Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Using a 2-oz. ice cream scoop, portion 1/3 c. dough at a time onto pan. Pat tops of dough domes flat. Wrap pan tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 1 week. (Do not bake room-temperature disks — they will not hold their shape.) Spike’s notes: 1 hour isn’t long enough, I’d leave them for at least 4 hours before attempting to bake.

Heat oven to 375°. On a parchment- or Silpat-lined sheet pan, arrange chilled disks a minimum of 4 inches apart. Bake 18 minutes, until cookies are browned on edges and just beginning to brown toward the center. Cookies will puff, crackle, and spread. Leave them in oven for another minute or so if they still seem pale and doughy on the surface. Spike’s notes: Start checking around 12 minutes, cookies get thin and lacey and start to burn quickly at the edges.

Cool cookies completely on pan before moving them to a plate or an airtight container for storage. Spike’s notes: It is important to let them cool on the pan, if you try to move them while still warm, they will fall apart.  Use a thin metal spatula to move when they are cool.  At room temperature, cookies will keep fresh for 5 days; in the freezer, they will keep for 1 month.