Showing posts with label cookies. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cookies. Show all posts

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Girl Scout Pie, er, Cookie Chart

Photo Credit: Celine Grouard

Just read this in Wired Magazine. According to Girl Scout Cookie sales data, here's how the cookie crumbles. Most popular cookie is Thin Mint, followed by Samoas. BUT! If you combine the Peanut Butter Sandwich and Peanut Butter Patties, peanut butter cookies are very well represented, in fact inching out Samoas. Go PB! I hope I've gotten you in the mood; it's almost Girl Scout Cookie Season. This concludes today's cookie report.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Oreo Kit Kat Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate chip cookies are the new kitchen sink cookie. Or maybe it's not new but I'm just late to discover this. You can pretty much take any chocolate chip cookie recipe and then toss in additional ingredients you have on hand. I can't vouch for the results each time, since what you add in might be extremely weird or even gross, but I can say it's a lot of fun to experiment, and a great way to get rid of leftover candy bits.

So recently I decided to take a traditional chocolate chip cookie recipe, and add in chopped Oreo cookies and Kit Kat pieces. An Oreo cookie in a chocolate chip cookie is very meta, very redundant, and that is a very good thing. The Kit Kat pieces add some crunch because of the wafer, and they remain intact after baking.

Put on your lab coat and experiment with chocolate chip cookie mix-ins!

Oreo Kit Kat Chocolate Chip Cookies
Adapted from a recipe in Southern Living Best Loved Cookies
Makes approximately 5 dozen cookies

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 (12-oz.) package semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped or crushed Oreo cookies (the quantity here is flexible)
1 cup chopped Kit Kat bars (feel free to use slightly more or slightly less)

Using an electric mixer, beat together the butter and the sugars until creamy. Add the eggs, one at a time, then the vanilla.

Combine the dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, and salt) in a small bowl, then gradually add to the creamed butter mixture. Finally, stir in the chocolate chips, Oreo cookies, and Kit Kat bars.

Chill the dough in the fridge for an hour or shape into logs, wrap in plastic wrap, and freeze in plastic storage bags in the freezer for ready-to-go slice-and-bake cookies (just be sure to write the baking time and oven temperature on the bag as a reminder for later).

Drop tablespoonfuls of dough onto an ungreased cookie sheet, or slice 1/2-inch discs of dough from the thawed out dough logs that were in the freezer.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 7 to 12 minutes. I prefer soft, chewy, slightly underdone cookies so I bake on the shorter end of the time range. Remove the cookies from the oven and cool on cookie sheet for 10 minutes, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

Step-by-Step in Pictures
Beat the butter and sugars until creamy...

Add the eggs and vanilla and beat until incorporated...
Beat in the dry ingredients...

Stir in the chocolate chips, Oreo cookies, and Kit Kat bars...

Chill the dough in the fridge for an hour...
Or shape the dough into logs, wrap in plastic wrap, and freeze in bags until ready to use...
Place tablespoonfuls of dough evenly apart on a baking sheet...

Bake at 350 degrees F for 7 to 12 minutes, then allow to cool, and enjoy!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Oatmeal M&M Cookies, Where M&M Stands for Mmmmmmm

M&Ms are one of my favorite things to put in cookies. And the M&M cookie at Diddy Riese near UCLA is one of my all-time favorites!

M&Ms are also great eaten straight out of the bag. (Stating the obvious.) But I was feeling like baking, and I view candy as a baking ingredient as much as it is a treat on its own. I'm funny like that. You'd be surprised to see my liquor cabinet. It's pretty extensive. I mean, for someone who is not a big drinker, my liquor cabinet is impressive and actually shocking. People come over and see my booze and jump to ALLLLLL the wrong conclusions. That stuff is 99% for baking! Ok, and maybe on occasion I'll have a shot while I'm in the kitchen.

When I'm browsing at the grocery store, I often look at ingredients as "baking potential" as opposed to stand-alone stuff. You should try that method of thinking sometime. Go to your local grocer and view everything with a different eye - a baker's hat, if you will. You'll be surprised the sort of fun things you'll discover. Pinenuts in biscotti? Sure! Crushed potato chips in chocolate chip cookies? Yes, please! Thinking with your "baking potential" brain on means entertaining DIY projects. Brilliant ideas. Delicious baked goods-in-the-making.

But back to M&Ms. It is no surprise to anyone that M&Ms lend themselves well to baking. So today, I stuck them in oatmeal cookies from my new Williams-Sonoma Baking Book.

Oatmeal M&M Cookies
Adapted from a recipe in The Williams-Sonoma Baking Book
Makes about 3 dozen cookies

1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1/3 cup finely chopped walnuts
Approximately 1 cup M&Ms (or more...or less...whatever you want!)

In a saucepan over low heat, melt the butter. Remove from the heat and stir in the granulated sugar and brown sugar (I used a big wooden spoon). Then add the egg and vanilla and stir until fully incorporated.

Over a sheet of wax paper, sift together the dry ingredients: flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Carefully pour the sifted ingredients into a bowl and stir to blend. Add the dry ingredients into the egg mixture, and stir to combine, then stir in the oats, walnuts, and M&Ms. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill in fridge for 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Generously grease 2 baking sheets.

Use a cookie scoop or tablespoon to drop tablespoon-size balls of dough onto the cookie sheets, spaced evenly apart (about 2 inches because the dough will spread). Use a metal spatula or the bottom of a glass to flatten each ball of dough to about 1/3-inch thick disk.

Bake the cookies for about 11-15 minutes, until golden brown. Err on the side of underbaking, especially if you want a chewy cookie. Remove from oven and let cool on the cookie sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer the cookies to wire racks to finish cooling.

Step-by-Step in Pictures
Melt the butter in a saucepan, remove from heat, and stir in the granulated and brown sugars...

Stir in the vanilla and egg...

Sift the dry ingredients together and stir to blend...

Add the dry ingredients into the butter-sugar-egg mixture...

Stir in the oats and walnuts...

Stir in the M&Ms...
Cover the bowl and chill in the fridge for an hour...

Shape the dough into balls...

Place evenly apart on the baking sheet and press the tops down with the back of a glass or a metal spatula...

Bake at 350 degrees F for about 11 minutes...


Monday, July 4, 2011

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Truffles

GASP! SHOCK! AWE! BEHOLD! A cookie dough truffle! Why haven't I heard of this before?! And for all you raw-egg-freaker-outers, there are no eggs in this cookie dough so don't get your panties in a bunch. Instead of eggs to bind the dough together, you use sweetened condensed milk!

Go crazy with topping choices. I opted for brightly-colored star sprinkles and some white chocolate that I melted and placed into a piping bag for a few more designs. The effect is so cool! For the 4th of July (Happy Independence Day to you!), try red, white, and blue candies, sprinkles, or dyed white chocolate. These would be festive and perfect to celebrate the holiday.

The truffles set up in a short time and then look really elegant and fun. And one of the best ways to customize this is, if you already have a favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe, feel free to use that dough instead of this one. Just replace egg with sweetened condensed milk. Voila.

Cookie Dough Truffles
Adapted from a recipe on that was featured on Paula's Best Dishes, Episode: Sweet Somethings
Makes 5 dozen truffles

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup semisweet mini chocolate chips (it's important they are mini!)
Semisweet chocolate for melting (I used a LOT, maybe 18 ounces or more?)

In a large bowl using an electric mixer on medium speed, cream together the butter and brown sugar. Add vanilla. Gradually beat in flour on low-medium speed (unless you want flour in your face). Then add the can of sweetened condensed milk. Add mini chocolate chips and mix until well combined. Chill the dough, covered, in the fridge for about an hour. Shape into 1-inch balls. It helps to use a cookie dough scoop to get evenly sized balls. Place on wax paper-lined baking sheet; chill 2 hours. You want the balls really firm before you roll them in the melted chocolate.

Melt chocolate in a glass bowl and place the bowl over a hot water bath so the chocolate stays liquidy and melty. Otherwise, you'll find yourself constantly microwaving the bowl of chocolate and huffing and puffing. Drop a cookie dough ball into the melted chocolate, turn to coat completely with a spoon. Lift up using a fork, thin spatula (such as metal offset spatula), or specialty dipping tool, shaking any excess chocolate off. Place on a wax paper-lined baking sheet. While the chocolate is still setting, top with desired sprinkles so they'll stick. If you want to pipe melted white chocolate on top instead of sprinkles, it's not as critical that you decorate right away because the white chocolate will stick no matter what. Once the baking sheet is filled, place in the fridge to chill and completely set the truffles. This takes about an hour. Then they're ready to serve!

Step-by-Step in Pictures
Cream together the butter and brown sugar...

Add the vanilla...
Add the flour...
Add the sweetened condensed milk...

Stir in the mini chocolate chips, then chill in fridge...
Shape into 1-inch balls of dough and return to fridge to chill...
Dip the balls in melted chocolate, then top with sprinkles...

Or decorate with melted white chocolate in a piping bag...

Chill the truffles in the fridge to set the chocolate completely, then enjoy!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars, Best Served in a Metal Lunch Box

This'll bring you back to your childhood. Though when I offered it to coworkers and asked them if they felt nostalgic, they responded that peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are still a very real part of their lives...and no, they're not parents yet. I guess I haven't been paying close enough attention to what my coworkers have been eating for lunch!

These bars are really simple to prepare because the bottom layer is the same as the top layer, just that the bottom is pressed together and the top is crumbled and sprinkled over the jelly layer. I used raspberry preserves as my jelly ingredient and it had the perfect consistency - not overly liquidy like a fruit sauce, but not so solid that it doesn't spread easily. With the raspberry preserves' rich red hue, the cross section of these bars is beautiful. In fact, you should celebrate the fact that some of the jelly oozes out the sides. Way more visual drama! And tossing salted peanuts on top adds both crunch and a salty-sweet flavor.

I made a lot of people really happy with this treat. I guess that makes it a keeper! Maybe next time I'll feed a batch to kids and see if I get as good a reaction. :)

Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars
Adapted from a recipe on Page 99 in the March 2011 Bon Appetit magazine

1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup smooth peanut butter
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup grape, strawberry, or raspberry jelly
2/3 cup coarsely chopped salted dry-roasted peanuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8x8x2-inch metal baking pan with foil, leaving an overhang for lifting up out of the pan later. Spray the bottom and sides of the foil lining with nonstick cooking spray.

Whisk the dry ingredients together in a small bowl: flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In a stand mixer or bowl with electric hand mixer, beat the peanut butter, brown sugar, and butter until smooth. Add in the egg and vanilla and beat on low speed until well incorporated. Beat in the dry ingredients on low speed just until blended (and not a moment more!).

Divide dough in half. Wrap half of the dough in plastic wrap and freeze for 10 minutes. Place the remaining half in the foil lined pan and press down to cover the bottom.

Pour jelly or preserves on top of the dough layer in the pan and spread evenly to cover.

Remove the dough from the freezer, break it up into pieces the size of grapes, and scatter on top of the jelly layer. Finally, sprinkle the salted peanuts on top.

Bake the bars until the top is golden brown, about 28-30 minutes. Cool completely in the pan on a wire rack. Then lift the foil overhang up and place the bars on a cutting board. Cut into 16 squares, or make smaller pieces (which I prefer doing so you can feel like you can have more than one). Store in an airtight container at room temperature. Note: You can make these 3 days ahead. They keep really well!

Step-by-Step in Pictures
Whisk together the dry ingredients; set aside...

Beat together the butter, brown sugar, and peanut butter...
Beat in the egg and vanilla...

Add in the dry ingredients...

Divide dough in half...
Press half the dough into the bottom of the pan, chill the other half of the dough in the freezer for 10 minutes...

Spread the jelly over the dough in the pan...

Cover the dough layer completely with the jelly...

Break the chilled dough into grape-size pieces and sprinkle them on top of the jelly...

Sprinkle the salted peanuts on top and bake at 350 degrees F for about 30 minutes...

Cool completely before cutting into squares and serving. Enjoy!
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