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Archive for the ‘Cookies’ Category

oatmealraisin

Oatmeal raisin cookies are my FAVORITE. Seriously…if I could only eat one kind of cookie for the rest of my life it would be oatmeal raisin. I love them thick and chewy on the inside and a little crisp around the edges. I tried this recipe from Smitten Kitchen a few months ago and I  think it’s great and have made it several times since.

Most recently, I made them for Round 8 of Operation Baking Gals. This is a great organization where you join a team to bake for our troops overseas. I participated in Round 6 over Christmas and found it very rewarding. Here is my post explaining the organization and what I baked last time.

The soldier that we baked for this time was stationed in Iraq and has a wife and new baby at home. My package had oatmeal raisin cookies, peanut butter cookies and lots of other goodies (granola bars, mac and cheese, magazines, etc) .

If you’d like to do something for our troops overseas, I highly recommend joining a baking team at Operation Baking Gals!

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
(Recipe source Smitten Kitchen)

Ingredients:

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 cups rolled oats
1 1/2 cup raisins
1 cup walnuts or pecans, toasted and chopped (optional)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Set aside.

Fit a stand mixer with the paddle attachment. On medium speed, cream together butter and sugar until fluffy and lightened in color (1-2 minutes). Add eggs one at a time and vanilla until smooth.

Reduce mixer speed to medium-low and slowly mix in flour mixture. Stir in the oats, raisins and nuts.

Chill the dough for at least 30 minutes before scooping onto a cookie sheet. Make sure they’re about two inches apart. Bake for 9-11 minutes. Take them out when they’re beginning to get golden around the edges and look a little undercooked in the middle.

Let cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Yield: 4 dozen cookies

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chocbiscotti

I made this Chocolate Biscotti along with some Strawberry Scones to send to my grandmother for her birthday last month. The biscotti holds up well when shipped and has a longer shelf life than regular cookies. My grandmother told me she stuck them in the freezer and takes one out when she wants a snack.

This was my first time making biscotti. It was fairly easy and I think it makes a great gift. It’s pretty versatile and can be enjoyed as a snack, dessert or even breakfast (hey, some people like it with coffee!). My husband would be one of those in the “Chocolate is okay for breakfast” camp.

I’ll definitely be making this and other biscotti recipes in the future.

Chocolate Biscotti
(Recipe source Proceed With Caution, originally from Dorie Greenspan, Baking: From My Home to Yours)

Ingredients:

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tablespoons instant espresso powder (followed recommendation to replace with cocoa powder since I didn’t have espresso powder)
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chopped almonds, blanched or unblanched (or about 4 ounces white chocolate, chopped)
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped or 3/4 cups bittersweet chocolate chips
Sugar, for dusting

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat.

Sift together the flour, cocoa, espresso powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

Fit a stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Beat butter and sugar on medium speed until lightened in color, about 2 minutes. Mixture may still be crumbly. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. On low speed, add eggs one at a time, incorporating well after each addition. Add vanilla and beat for 2 minutes at medium speed. Return mixer to low speed and mix in the dry ingredients in three additions. Mix only until dough comes together.

Mix in the chopped nuts and chocolate and turn dough out onto a work surface. Divide dough in half. Working with one half at a time, roll dough into 12-inch-long logs. Flatten both logs with the palm of your hand so that they are 1/2 to 1 inch high and about 2 inches across and sort of rectangular. Carefully lift the logs onto the baking sheet and sprinkle with a little sugar.

Bake for about 25 minutes or until they are just slightly firm. The logs will have spread and cracked a little. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and place on a cooling rack for about 20 minutes. Leave oven on for second baking.

Use a serrated knife to cut each log into slices between 1/2 and 3/4 inch thick. Stand slices up on the baking sheet (like the picture at the top of the post) and return to the oven. Bake for 10 minutes.

Transfer biscotti to a wire rack. Cool completely.

Yield: Around 25 bicotti

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Jamwich Cookies

vdaycookies

I wanted to take Valentine’s treats to work last Friday. I decided to make two types of cookies – one tried and true standby and something new and Valentine’s themed. For my tried and true I went with The Chewy – who doesn’t like chocolate chip cookies? I decided to go with the Sweetheart Jamwich for my Valentine’s-themed cookie. The combination of pie crust, sweetened cream cheese, jam and white chocolate sounded great.

These cookies were fun to make and a big hit in the treat bags! They are easily adaptable for other holidays and occasions by using a different shape cookie cutter.

Sweetheart Jamwiches
(Recipe source Southern Living)

Ingredients:

1  (15-oz) package refrigerated piecrusts (or homemade)
1  egg white, lightly beaten
2  tbsp  granulated sugar
1  (3-oz) package cream cheese, softened
1/4  cup  powdered sugar
2  tbsp  butter, softened
1/2  tsp  almond extract
1/2  (10-oz) jar seedless raspberry preserves or strawberry jam
1/2  cup  white chocolate morsels
1  tablespoon  butter
Red sparkling sugar (optional)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Unfold piecrusts on a lightly floured surface and roll to press out fold lines. Cut with a 2-inch heart-shaped cookie cutter. Reroll remaining dough, and repeat procedure. (There should be a total of 46 pastry hearts.) Place pastry hearts on 2 ungreased baking sheets. Brush 1 side of each pastry heart with egg white, and sprinkle evenly with granulated sugar.

Bake for 7 to 8 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove hearts to wire racks, and let cool.

Stir together cream cheese, powdered sugar, 2 tablespoons butter, and almond extract until blended.

Spread cream cheese mixture evenly on unsugared sides of half the hearts; spread about 1/2 teaspoon preserves over mixture. Top with remaining hearts, unsugared sides down.

Microwave white chocolate morsels and 1 tablespoon butter in a glass bowl at HIGH 1 minute or until melted. Stir until smooth. Place mixture in a small heavy-duty zip-top bag; seal bag. Snip a tiny hole in 1 corner of bag, and drizzle over tarts. Sprinkle with red sparkling sugar, if desired.

Yield: 23 cookies

vdaycookiesingle

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altonbrownchewy

It’s official – we have a new favorite Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe. I was looking to try a recipe other than my old Tollhouse standby. I ended up going with Alton Brown’s “The Chewy” because of the great reviews. Brandon and I loved these cookies and he requested that this become our new go-to chocolate chip cookie recipe.

I love how fast chocolate chip cookies come together – you can whip up a batch in no time. The only time consuming part is preparing and baking the batches. I see no reason to buy cookies when you can make something this delicious at home!

The recipe calls for bread flour and melting the butter – both different from your average chocolate chip cookie recipe. I followed the directions with no modifications and suggest you do too. Whatever you do, be SURE to chill the dough for at least 30 minutes before baking. Also, watch the baking time. I like my cookies soft and usually undercook them by a few minutes (they will not look done when you take them out).

Try these now! And let me know what you think. Better than Tollhouse???

The Chewy
(Recipe source Alton Brown)

Ingredients:

2 sticks unsalted butter
2 1/4 cups bread flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/4 cups brown sugar
1 egg
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Directions:

Melt the butter in a heavy-bottom medium saucepan over low heat. Sift together the flour, salt, and baking soda and set aside.

Pour the melted butter in the mixer’s work bowl. Add the sugar and brown sugar. Cream the butter and sugars on medium speed. Add the egg, yolk, 2 tablespoons milk and vanilla extract and mix until well combined. Slowly incorporate the flour mixture until thoroughly combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Chill the dough for at least 30 minutes.

Heat oven to 375 degrees. (My oven is hot and I had to turn it down to 350 after the first batch)

Scoop onto baking sheets, 6 cookies per sheet (pretty decent sized scoops). Bake for 14 minutes or until golden brown, checking the cookies after 5 minutes. Rotate the baking sheet for even browning. They may be done in 10-12 minutes – watch them!!! Cool completely on racks before storing in an airtight container.

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Operation Baking Gals

baking_gals

Over the holidays I heard about a great organization called Operation Baking Gals. Here’s an overview from their site on the organization:

“Baking GALS (GALS stands for Give A Little Support) is a group of volunteer bakers who bake and ship homemade goodies to our heroic troops that are currently deployed.  Each soldier is “Hosted” by a blogger, and potential bakers are “recruited” from the bloggers own site as well as the GALS site.  Each Host recruits between 20-25 bakers, meaning LOTS of goodies get delivered to our soldier…so many, in fact that he or she has plenty to share with their fellow troops!”

I responded to a call for bakers from Beth at Someone’s in the Kitchen with Brina. I joined the “Go Team Terps” team. We baked for Spc. Brett Dibbern. He’s 22 years old and from Wood River, Nebraska. Brett attended the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and was in the ROTC program there.  He joined the Army Reserve right out of high school and completed basic training at Fort Jackson.

I can’t imagine how hard it must be to be deployed overseas – especially during the holidays. As soon as I heard the call for bakers for Brett, I knew I had to participate.

bakinggals

We were instructed to bake and ship anytime between December 5-19. I decided to bake Eggnog Cookies (for a seasonal treat!), Chocolate, Chocolate Chip Cookies and Apple Spice Bars. I really enjoyed spending a day in the kitchen baking for our troops. I followed all the packaging instructions carefully to insure that everything made it over safely and in one piece and also threw a lot of extra goodies in the box as well.

Here’s a picture of my box all ready to go.

bakinggalsbox

I was really excited a couple weeks later to receive an email from Brett thanking me for the package. I’m definitely planning on joining another Baking Gals team in the future.

And for the recipes…

Eggnog Cookies
(Recipe Source: Mrs. Fields Best Ever Cookie Book)

Ingredients:

2 1/4 cups all-purpose four
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 1/4 cups grandulated sugar
1 1/2 sticks (3/4 c.) salted butter, softened
1/2 cup eggnog
1 tsp vanilla
2 large egg yolks
1 tbsp ground nutmeg

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon and 1/2 tsp nutmeg. Mix well with a whisk and set aside.

In a large bowl, cream sugar and butter. Add eggnog, vanilla and egg yolks, beating at medium speed until smooth. Add the flour mixture a little at a time, beating at a low speed until combined. Do not overmix.

Drop by rounded teaspoons onto ungreased cookie sheets, one inch apart. (I had to chill my dough before I could shape it into teaspoons – it was too sticky.)  Sprinkle lightly with nutmeg. Bake 23-25 minutes or until bottoms are light brown. (I only baked mine for around 18-20 minutes.) Transfer immediately to a rack to cool.

Chocolate, Chocolate Chip Cookies
(Recipe Source: allrecipes.com)

These were really, really good. I will be making these again for sure.

Ingredients:

1 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In large bowl, beat butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla until light and fluffy. Combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt; stir into the butter mixture until well blended. Mix in the chocolate chips and walnuts. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets.

Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, or just until set. (I always go towards the lesser side of baking time for cookies. I like mine super soft.)  Cool slightly on the cookie sheets before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.

Apple Spice Cookie Bars
(Recipe Source: Good Things Catered)

Ingredients:

2 c. plus 2 Tbsp all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp allspice
small pinch ground cloves (I omitted, I did not have any cloves)
1/2 c. butter, melted
1 c. packed brown sugar
1 c. white sugar
2 eggs
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
2 apples, cored and diced (a little less than 2 c.)
cinnamon sugar for sprinkling

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line 9×13 pan with foil and baking spray.

In medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and cloves. Whisk to combine well and set aside.

In bowl of stand mixer, combine sugars and butter and beat on medium high until light and fluffy, about 1 minute. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well to combine. Add vanilla extract and beat to combine. Turn mixer on slow and fold in flour mixture a little at a time until just combined. Fold in apples.

Spread mixture evenly into prepared pan and sprinkle top generously with cinnamon sugar. Place in oven and bake until cooked through, when top slightly bounces back to the touch, about 30 minutes.

Remove from oven and let cool completely before removing from pan, cutting and serving. (Bars will be very soft.)

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