Posts tagged ‘Cookies’

September 1, 2014

Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookies!

Happy Labor Day! I have been on a healthy kick of late, but everyone needs a treat now and again, especially on a holiday! If you have a cheat day coming up (or just want an amazing treat!), put these on your list. (BF and I actually ended up just splitting one cookie and sharing the rest with our co-workers just to satisfy the craving). I think it is hard to beat the original Nestle Tollhouse recipe but these take chocolate chip cookies to a whole new level! Start with disks of Valrhona Dark Chocolate, add it to perfect dough, then use a unique technique to get a cookie soft in the middle and crunchy on the edges…can you say YUM?! These cookies are generous in size, so you may only get a dozen or so out of a batch. We have been searching for this recipe for over a year. The idea came from a mix that has now been discontinued. Be prepared to be patient and prep the dough ahead to allow to cool. These really are worth the wait!

Kelly

 

Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 cups minus 2 Tablespoons of cake flour

1 2/3 cups bread flour

1 ½ teaspoons baking powder

1 ¼ teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon coarse salt (we used kosher)

2 ½ sticks softened butter

2 eggs

1 ¼ cups packed brown sugar

1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar

2 Tablespoons heavy cream or milk

2 Tablespoons pure vanilla extract

Pinch of pink salt

~2 cups dark chocolate disks (we found ours at Whole Foods and used 60% dark and 64% Valrhona disks)

 

  1. Sift together both kinds of flour, baking soda, and baking powder into a small bowl. Stir in coarse salt.
  2. In a large bowl, cream the butter and both kinds of sugar until fluffy.
  3. Blend in eggs, cream and vanilla. Fold in dry ingredients.
  4. Break up some of the chips in a food processor. You will end up with a variety of sizes with lots of whole disks. Think about what you like, but those disks will give you pockets of chocolate and some pretty decoration on the top! It will look like A LOT of chocolate, but ends up being just right.

  5. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let chill in the refrigerator for 1-24 hours. Yes, 24 hours! We actually rushed it by putting this in the freezer for half an hour, but I think it is worth waiting the full 24.
  6. Preheat oven to 375°. Line two cookie sheets with a silpat or parchment paper.

  7. Scoop dough and form into disks (about 2-3″ in diameter). Stack a smaller disk on top of the bottom disk like you are building a snowman…the yummiest snowman ever! This is what really gives you the soft, gooey center with a crispy edge.
  8. Sprinkle each cookie lightly with pink salt. Chill another 10 minutes on the pan before baking.

  9. Bake one sheet at a time on the lowest rack for 13 minutes rotate 180° after 6 minutes.

  10. Look for a light blonde center with brown edges. (See the salt? That might be the biggest key to these!)

Grab a cold glass of milk and enjoy!

March 24, 2012

Last Minute Dinner Party

After getting back from a week away, a friend we hadn’t seen in a long time came into town. That developed into a small dinner party for six. I had to work all day, so here’s how it evolved. Dad went to the store and got some chicken and lettuce. When I got home from work, I took a look at it and sighed. Then got in gear. Took a look in the cupboard. Orzo. That doesn’t take too long.

We had some leftover Jerk sauce and some herbs, so half the chicken went jerk and half went in garlic, olive oil, herb puree to marinade. Set some of the herb mixture aside for the orzo.

Put our guest to work chopping salad (with a glass of wine of course). Kelly made some dressing.

Dessert? Chopped some strawberries, and while we were eating, Kelly put in some of our famous frozen cookie dough. There you have it.

Except for the cookies this all took about 40 minutes to prepare. It went well and I think our guests felt taken care of…anyway we tried.

Mary

March 3, 2012

Mediterranean Party Recipes

As promised, here are some of the recipes from the Mediterranean Party from last weekend. Here is a quick overview:

I am not a huge fan of sangria in general, because I like wine and prefer other sweet drinks. This one however is so fun! How can you go wrong with champagne? I will absolutely use this again, especially on a hot summer day…or for a bridal shower perhaps? I have to say, the favorite had to be the dates. They are rich and sweet and salty and a little spicy and just perfect. The gazpacho tastes like a garden in a glass. Such a great way to add a healthy element and would also be a wonderful first course, especially in the summer. Paella is something you can find a basic recipe for and add your own flare. Use the seafood and veggies you like and it will be lovely. The one thing I do recommend is to use something as your focal point if you are looking to impress. We used a fan of asparagus and scallops in ours, but muscles or lobster on top create a lovely effect as well. The ice cream is like nothing else you have had. It has a wonderful texture and the nuts give it a toasty richness. With the ginger cookies (my staple), a few berries, and a sprinkling of toasted nuts, it was a lovely finish. I can’t wait to hear what you think!

Kelly

 

Citrus Champagne Sangria

Combine grapefruit juice, ginger ale, simple syrup (if you like sweetness) with thinly sliced blood oranges, tangerines, and apples overnight. Add half a glass of champagne or white wine to fancy glassware and top with the citrus mixture for fabulous presentation. Make sure some of the fruit makes it to the glass. J

Gazpacho Shooters – Adapted from
Marge Cirinelli’s Twisted Gazpacho

2 cans (11.5 ounces each) tomato juice

Juice from 1 lemon

1 cup fennel, fine dice

1 cup cucumber (1 medium), seeded and peeled, fine dice

2 large carrots, fine dice

1/2 cup red onion (1 small), fine dice

1/2 cup celery (2 stalks), fine dice

1/2 orange bell pepper, fine dice

1 pint sweet 100 or other small cherry tomatoes, stemmed and quartered

2 tablespoons italian parsley, fine chop

3 tablespoons sherry vinegar

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon garlic, minced

2-3 tablespoons jalapeño pepper, seeded, fine mince

1/2 cup dry white wine

salt and pepper to taste

splash of tequila

In a bowl, combine tomato juice, lemon juice, fennel, cucumber, red onion, celery, tomatoes, parsley, basil and sherry vinegar. Add olive oil to a small sauté pan along with minced garlic over medium heat, stirring until lightly browned. Add minced jalapeño and cook, stirring for 15 seconds. Add wine and cook until reduced by half. Stir mixture into the gazpacho and chill for 1-2 hours or overnight. Add a splash of tequila. Spoon mixture into shot glasses or small martini glasses.

Note: If you are serving them as shooters, you can use a hand held blender to smooth out the texture a bit, but if you use a fine enough dice, it will work anyway.

 

Chorizo-Filled Dates

Yield: Makes 12 dates

4 ounces fresh Mexican chorizo, coarsely crumbled

Salt and Pepper

1 tablespoon chopped Italian parsley

12 large Medjool dates

6 slices applewood-smoked bacon, cut crosswise in half

Cook chorizo in heavy small skillet over medium heat until browned and cooked through, stirring frequently and breaking up lumps with spoon, about 5 minutes. Drain off fat; transfer sausage to small bowl. Add parsley; stir to combine. Cool.

Working with one date at a time, cut slit along top of date. Gently pry open date and remove pit, leaving pocket. Stuff pocket with 1 scant tablespoon chorizo mixture. Wrap 1 bacon piece around each date, overlapping ends slightly; fasten ends with toothpick. Place wrapped dates on a baking sheet and place in a preheated 375° oven. Bake the dates for about 20 minutes or until bacon is brown. Remove toothpicks. Serve warm.

Note: I have also made these stuffed with a chunk of parmesan cheese in place of the chorizo and they were also amazing. A combination of the two might be gracing my next party.
J

 

Dulce de Leche Ice CreamGourmet, May 2007

Yield: Makes about 1 1/2 quarts

2 cups whole milk

1 cup heavy cream

1 pound dulce de leche (about 1 2/3 cups; preferably La Salamandra brand)

1/8 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

3/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (2 1/2 to 3 oz), toasted

 

Bring milk and cream just to a boil in a 3-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat, then remove from heat and whisk in dulce de leche until dissolved. Whisk in vanilla and transfer to a metal bowl. Quick-chill by putting bowl in a larger bowl of ice and cold water and stirring occasionally until cold, 15 to 20 minutes. Freeze mixture in ice cream maker until almost firm, then fold in pecans. Transfer ice cream to an airtight container and put in freezer to harden, at least 1 hour.

Note: We found that it works best if all the ingredients are cold when you add them, so freeze the nuts for a while before adding them.

 

Ginger Cookies


Courtesy of ‘The SONO Baking Company Cookbook’ by John Barricelli

**Makes about 60 cookies

 

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 t. baking soda

¼ t. coarse salt

1 t. ground cinnamon

1 t. ground cloves

1 t. ground ginger

1 cup sugar, plus ¾ cup for rolling

¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 large egg, at room temperature

¼ cup unsulfured molasses

 

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves, and ginger; set aside. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the sugar and butter on medium speed until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl halfway through. Beat in the egg and molasses until combined. Reduce the mixer speed to low and gradually add the flour mixture beating until combined. Transfer the dough to a clean bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until well chilled, about an hour (and up to 24 hours).

Arrange the oven rack in the middle position. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or nonstick silicone baking mats; set aside. Place the extra sugar for rolling on a plate; set aside. Use a 1 ½-inch ice cream scoop to scoop out the dough, and roll balls in the sugar to coat, and place about 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Bake one sheet at a time, rotating the sheet two-thirds of the way through the baking time, until the cookies are deep golden brown and the centers are firm, 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer the sheet to a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes. Use a spatula to transfer the cookies to the rack and let cool completely. Continue to roll and bake the remaining cookies in the same way.

Note: I like to keep these in the freezer. To do so, scoop into balls and roll in sugar then place on a baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap and freeze for several hours. Once the dough is frozen, place the dough in a freezer bag. Bake as usual using the frozen dough, no need to defrost. These will keep for several months in the freezer and are a great thing to have on hand for unexpected guests or late night cravings! Also, if you want to get really fancy make them into ice cream sandwiches…yum!

December 12, 2011

Christmas Cookie Extravaganza

Do you have a Christmas cookie making tradition? A recipe you can’t live without? While we have favorite cookie recipes throughout the year, we do not usually do the traditional cookie baking day at Christmastime. This year however, our friend Lisa got inspired to make cookies and invited us along to make a day of it. What we thought might take a few hours ended up as a full day of flour, butter and sugar…lots of sugar! We made 8 kinds of cookies covering all shapes and sizes; some traditional, some experiments and some personal favorites. We think we ended up with about 450 cookies! We kept making plates for people and it didn’t seem to make a dent. We divied up the stash and will be sharing some with friends and family and some with some US Marines who are looking out for us this holiday season. After we finished, we took some notes for next year over a glass of wine and decided we are on a cookie baking break. I have to say, this is a great way to spend a day getting into the holiday spirit with some good friends. Stay tuned for our favorite recipes this week!

While we each had some people who were interested in joining our extravaganza, we decided to try it out before including others in our craziness. We cook together a lot and managed to find a good rhythm and system. If you find yourself making LOTS of cookies, here are some things that helped:

  • Gathered all of our combined baking supplies and laid them out to survey and plan
  • Made a photo copy of each recipe (this is a REALLY good idea to simplify)
  • Pulled out butter out to soften ahead of time
  • Laid out the mise en place for each recipe individually, putting each on a sheet pan for easy transport
  • Created separate work spaces for separate tasks
  • Each found a task that suited us and worked on multiple recipes
  • We were lucky to have two ovens and several kitchen timers
  • We all pitched in on the clean up!

P.S. We all knew in advance that clean up help is a given in our group, but if it isn’t in yours, our suggestion is to confirm that part of the deal in advance. It is not so bad if you all pitch in!

P.P.S. Check out our photo montage below! Thanks to Lisa for hosting and for the photography!!

Kelly & Mary


 


 

August 28, 2011

Ginger Cookie Ice Cream Sandwiches

I love homemade cookies, it is definitely a weakness. There is something about them that can’t be substituted. I don’t care how good your mass produced cookies are, they can’t beat a homemade one. Ever. They can transform your kitchen just with the smell. Plus, there is something about taking the time to make cookies for someone that shows them some love. Now, this is not something you can make every day if you strive to be healthy, but a treat every once in a while is just fine. My standard cookie is chocolate chip; classic goodness. However, I decided to mix it up a bit with ginger cookies which are a favorite of my dad’s. These are hands down the best ginger cookies I have ever had. They are not overwhelming and are just the right texture. They are awesome right out of the oven, a day or two later, and a huge hit stuffed with ice cream! Seriously, your guests will love this sweet treat to end a meal.

Kelly

Ginger Cookies

Courtesy of ‘The SONO Baking Company Cookbook’ by John Barricelli

**Makes about 60 cookies

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 t. baking soda

¼ t. coarse salt

1 t. ground cinnamon

1 t. ground cloves

1 t. ground ginger

1 cup sugar, plus ¾ cup for rolling

¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 large egg, at room temperature

¼ cup unsulfured molasses

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves, and ginger; set aside.

  2. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the sugar and butter on medium speed until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl halfway through. Beat in the egg and molasses until combined. Reduce the mixer speed to low and gradually add the flour mixture beating until combined. Transfer the dough to a clean bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until well chilled, about an hour (and up to 24 hours).
  3. Arrange the oven rack in the middle position. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or nonstick silicone baking mats; set aside. Place the extra sugar for rolling on a plate; set aside.
  4. Use a 1 ½-inch ice cream scoop to scoop out the dough, and roll balls in the sugar to coat, and place about 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets.

  5. Bake one sheet at a time, rotating the sheet two-thirds of the way through the baking time, until the cookies are deep golden brown and the centers are firm, 15 to 20 minutes.
  6. Transfer the sheet to a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes. Use a spatula to transfer the cookies to the rack and let cool completely. Continue to roll and bake the remaining cookies in the same way.

Ice Cream Sandwiches

Now comes the fun part of assembling the ice cream sandwiches! Yummy!

To make the sandwiches, get some good ice cream to complement the flavor in the cookies. I used vanilla and coffee and made half of each. Allow the ice cream to soften for a few minutes. Lay your cookies out on a baking sheet, face down. Place one standard sized scoop of ice cream (or three small scoops) in the center of each cookie. Carefully place a cookie on top of each scoop, gently pressing down until you just see the ice cream around the edges of the cookie. You can use the back of a spoon to even the edges if you like. Work quickly so they don’t melt too much. Cover and place in the freezer until ready to serve. Remove from freezer and place on a plate. Serve immediately!

I didn’t even manage to get a final picture before these were gone! Enjoy!!

August 26, 2011

Friday Cookies

Hooray! We are at the beginning of another fabulous weekend. I am making cookies for my friend’s mom who just had surgery. Homemade cookies seem to make everything better. I will share the recipe with you later this weekend. If you are like many of my friends on the East Coast, you are probably battening down the hatches and settling in. Stay safe everyone!

Kelly

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