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Archive for the ‘Cookies’ Category

 

To say that I love chocolate would be an understatement. My feelings towards chocolate are beyond admiration, appreciation, or even adoration–they approach full-out obsession, but not in a sad, “I’d rather die than give up chocolate!” sort of way. My chocolate obsession is much more of an elitist sort of thing–it’s the kind of obsession that points out the flaws of all sweets non-chocolate and exposes them for being overly sweet, lacking in complexity, and, well, vanilla

Thus, it is rare I find a baked good that has enough chocolate to satisfy my chocolate needs–especially when it comes to cookies. Attempts to make flat yet substantial, chewy but not puffy chocolate cookies all ended in disappointment. It helped–and I all but danced a happy chocolate jig–when I discovered Hershey’s had started making dark cocoa powder, but I still lacked the right recipe to make the crisp-yet-fudgy, deep, dark chocolate cookies I salived over in my dreams. Well, I recently found that perfect recipe–and, as often happens, I have Ina Garten to thank for that. 

These double chocolate cookies are incredible. They almost taste like a complex Oreo with a soft fudge-like middle and crispy, crunchy edges. The white chocolate chips pop, both in flavor and color, against the deep, barely sweet chocolate cookie. The original recipe calls for almond extract, which I omitted, but I’m sure it’s fantastic when produced as written as well. Almond addition or not, these cookies will become a staple in your repertoire (and your cookie jar) in no time at all. 

 

The recipe for these wonderful cookies can be found here. Happy baking!

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If there’s one food I could eat for the rest of my life (besides pizza or bread, but let’s not go there), it would be chocolate chip cookies. If there’s one way to make chocolate chip cookies even better, it’s adding chocolate covered caramels to the mix.

 I first made these for this past Valentine’s Day. They got rave reviews, but I didn’t think to make them again until just last week, when I was looking for a way to step up my normal chocolate chips for a special occasion. It may have been the best choice I made all week. The combination of the soft and chewy caramel-esq brown sugar base with the caramels and the smooth dark chocolate chips is positively addicting. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

 

Chocolate Caramel Chip Cookies 

(Originally adapted from the classic Nestle Tollhouse recipe) 

  • 1 C butter, softened
  • 1 C brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 C granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3 C all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 box milk chocolate covered caramels, cut into bite-sized pieces (like Junior Caramels, Rolos, or Milk Duds)
  • 1 1/2 C dark or semi-sweet chocolate chips (I sprung for the Ghiardelli 60% cocoa chips this time–I’d highly recommend it)
  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Cream butter and sugars. Stir in eggs and vanilla.
  3. Combine dry ingredients and slowly add into butter/sugar/egg/vanilla mixture. Stir in chocolate chips and candies.
  4. Let mixture chill for at least 10 minutes. Roll into balls roughly the size of golf balls and bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes, or until centers are set and edges are brown. 

 

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 My grandmother (who just turned 89!) was born on the 4th of July. For my entire childhood, my grandparents lived in north Jersey, as did my mother’s sister and her family, who happened to live on a lake that had some pretty fantastic fireworks. Nearly every year, we would go to my aunt’s house for fireworks and the ubiquitous, yet delicious, berry and Cool Whip covered American flag pound cake. You know the one I mean.

 In recent years, we have been switching things up a bit more. A few years ago my mom asked me to make a giant patriotic cupcake cake (red velvet with cream cheese frosting and a fondant “wrapper”), which turned out really great. The common theme for Grandma’s birthday sweets, however, is the red, white, & blue that is an inseparable part of the holiday. 

This year, we returned to the flag cake, both for nostalgia’s sake and because it’s just plain delicious. However, my mom also asked me to make some patriotic decorated sugar cookies. Itching to play with the sparkling sugar, I happily obliged. They turned out exactly as I had imagined. The colors darkened properly and the sparkling sugar was a great effect. And, taste-wise, I would say that these were one of my better batches of sugar cookies ever. An all-around success! 

I’ve posted my standard sugar cookie recipe below. I suppose I must have found the bare bones of the recipe somewhere, but I’ve played with many different recipes and tweaked them so much that I feel I can rightfully call this one my own by now. I hope it works as well for you as it does for me.   

  

Happy birthday, Grandma!

Rolled Sugar Cookies 

  • 1 C butter, softened
  • 2 C sugar
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 3-3 3/4 C all-purpose flour
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Cream butter and sugar (I do this by hand, but you can use your mixer if you like). Add eggs and vanilla and stir until well combined.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine salt, baking soda, and 3 cups of the flour. Stir into the wet ingredients.
  4. Add remaining flour gradually–you may not need it all. You are looking to achieve a very firm consistency that will lift after rolled and cut with minimal distortion. If you have added all the flour and dough is still soft, chill for 15 minutes or until desired consistency is achieved.
  5. Roll dough in three batches, combining the scraps to re-roll. Cookies that are re-rolled will have a less delicate texture, but they will still taste delicious. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until cookies are set and just barely developing color on the bottom. Let cool and decorate with the glaze or frosting of your choice.

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