May 31, 2010 § 4 Comments
The weather here has become absolutely gorgeous, sunny and blazingly hot. The only downside is that turning on the oven now seems like an advanced form of torture, so my weekend baking plans have all been abandoned. These cookies predate the sudden onset of summer though, back to a near forgotten time when I would huddle near my stove for warmth and dream of moving to California, land of eternal sunshine and ripe avocados. At least that’s how I imagine it – I’m visiting San Diego in the fall and am firmly expecting avocados on every corner.
I made these a couple weeks ago, when a friend requested his favourite cookie. White chocolate macadamia nut cookies are a classic bakery item, but surprisingly none of my cookbooks had a recipe for it, so I scoured the internet. It took me literally a day to decide which recipe to use (they’re all so different! what if I pick a bad one?), but finally settled on this recipe, which is much like the classic chocolate chip cookie, but with different mix-ins. These cookies are soft and chewy and have a great balance of salty and sweet. Two important points: make sure you use real white chocolate (it’s probably best to chop up a bar), and use roasted and salted nuts. Then you too can experience the salty sweet perfection! And if it’s too hot out to bake, just eat the dough. It’s pretty good too.
White Chocolate Chip Macadamia Nut Cookies – adapted from Whipped
Yield: about 3 dozen cookies.
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoons baking soda
10 ounces white chocolate, roughly chopped
1 cup macadamia nuts, toasted and salted, chopped into chunks
Preheat oven to 375 F.
In large bowl, beat butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar with electric mixer until creamy. Add eggs and vanilla, beat well.
In a medium bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, and salt. Gradually add dry ingredients to butter mixture, beating until well blended. Stir in white chocolate chips and macadamia nuts.
Drop spoonfuls of dough onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until edges are golden brown, and centre is set. Let cool slightly, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
April 3, 2010 § 1 Comment
Luckily, the burglars were not tempted by my large, clumsy, multi-bladed kitchen equipment (although apparently our laptops were more enticing). I celebrated by using it immediately! Which in my world means several days later. Sliced almonds were toasted until golden and aromatic, and then blitzed with flour and sugar. The resulting cookie dough was stuffed with dark chocolate chips and then baked until adorable.
I’m not usually a huge fan of almond desserts, but it works beautifully in these cookies and I think it’s largely because they’re freshly toasted and it’s not too sweet. The cookies are chewy and flavourful, and they’re cute enough to make a good gift. Mine were a little, um, authentic looking, as I am no Martha Stewart, but the originals, baked at Smitten Kitchen, are prettier partly because she uses large baking discs. I couldn’t really justify buying yet another kind of chocolate, so made it with chocolate chips. I tried a few different kinds and would recommend either bittersweet or semisweet chips, because the milk chocolate ones obstinately refused to melt and just kind of looked weird. You could also top them with mini chocolate eggs, just in time for Easter!
Chocolate Almond Thumbprint Cookies – adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Yield: 2 dozen cookies
- 3/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted and cooled
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Chocolate chips (I recommend bittersweet or semisweet)
Pulse hazelnuts, sugar, flour, and salt in a food processor until finely ground. (Be careful not to grind to a paste.) Transfer to a bowl and stir in butter, egg, and extract until combined well. Chill dough, covered, until firm, about 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
Drop level tablespoons of dough 1 inch apart onto baking sheets. Roll dough into balls, then chill until slightly firm, about 10 minutes.
Press 2 or 3 chocolate chips firmly into the top of each ball of cookie dough and bake, 1 sheet at a time, until tops are pale golden and undersides are golden, 10 to 12 minutes. Be careful not to overbake. Transfer cookies to a rack and cool completely.
January 2, 2010 § 12 Comments
Am I supposed to stop posting cookie recipes after Christmas? Unfortunately I’m terribly disorganized, and many pre-holiday photos are still lingering sadly in the tunneling clutter of my file system. But today the last cookie recipe sees the light of day! Although I suspect there will be more to come. I mean, what occasion are cookies not appropriate for?
These cookies are another recipe that’s naturally gluten-free, and impossibly easy. Plus no butter, which would normally be sacrilege but in meringue recipes is actually acceptable (especially when there’s a large quantity of chocolate). Egg whites are beaten with sugar into a thick cream, and then you add cocoa powder and chocolate for intense chocolate flavour. A roll in powdered sugar makes the cookies all pretty and snowy-looking, which I’m a sucker for, and it turns out many others are too!
I sort of expected a recipe based on meringue to turn out airy and light, but these cookies are seriously rich, dense, and fudgy. If you’re anything like me, you will love them. The only thing I minded was they were a tiny bit too sweet for my tastes. I thought about skipping the sugar roll at the end, but it makes them so pretty that I don’t think I can leave it out. Instead I might try reducing the sugar in the dry ingredient mix by half a cup or so.
Dark Chocolate Cookies – from Epicurious
- 1 1/2 cups bittersweet chocolate chips (about 9 ounces), divided
- 3 large egg whites, room temperature
- 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar, divided (next time I might use 1/4 or 1/2 cup less)
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 400°F. Butter 2 large baking sheets or line with parchment.
Gently melt 1 cup chocolate chips in glass bowl in microwave, stirring twice, about 2 minutes. Cool slightly.
Using electric mixer, beat whites in large bowl to soft peaks. Gradually beat in 1 cup sugar. Continue beating until mixture resembles soft marshmallow creme. Whisk 1 cup sugar, cocoa, cornstarch, and salt in medium bowl to blend. On low speed, beat dry ingredients into meringue. Stir in lukewarm chocolate and 1/2 cup chocolate chips (dough will become very stiff).
Place 1/2 cup sugar in bowl. Roll 1 rounded tablespoon dough into ball; roll in sugar, coating thickly. Place on prepared sheet. Repeat with remaining dough, spacing 2 inches apart. Bake until puffed and tops crack, about 10 minutes. Cool on sheets on rack 10 minutes. Transfer to rack; let cool.
December 21, 2009 § 3 Comments
The media lied to me! Despite my massive consumption of their much-touted ‘superfoods’ – mainly in the form of cheap sushi (fish oils!) and things with cranberries baked into them (antioxidants!) – I have somehow come down with a sniffly nose, scratchy throat, and a case of flu denial. Sure, I didn’t get the flu shot, but I reasoned that I am tough and such. This is clearly just a minor cold and will be gone by tomorrow.
Anyhow, even though the cookies I’m about to talk about didn’t save me from this cold, they are still definitely worth making. They’re an awesome oatmeal cookie packed with three kinds of chocolate chips and fresh cranberries, and then drizzled with more chocolate to top it all off. They tasted wonderful. They had that great sweet-tart combination you get with cranberries, and they were sooo crispy and delicious right out of the oven. I was worried that they would get hard overnight, but they actually stayed soft for quite a few days. Also, they’re really pretty! Much fancier than a typical chocolate chip cookie, but just as easy and delicious. They’re an excellent addition to your holiday baking, and a great gift as well. I gave some to a friend and he liked them so much that he ate five for breakfast. Although he did regret that.
Triple-Chocolate Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies – from Epicurious
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup old-fashioned oats
- 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh or frozen cranberries
- 2 ounces white chocolate, chopped (for drizzling)
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.
Whisk flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt in medium bowl to blend. Using electric mixer, beat butter and both sugars in large bowl until smooth. Beat in egg and vanilla. Add flour mixture and oats and stir until blended. Stir in all chocolate chips and cranberries.
Drop batter by rounded tablespoonfuls onto prepared sheets, 2 inches apart. Bake cookies, 1 sheet at a time, until edges are light brown, about 16 minutes. Cool on sheets 5 minutes. Transfer to rack; cool completely.
Gently microwave chocolate until melted and smooth. Using small spoon, drizzle melted chocolate over cookies . Let stand until chocolate sets, about 1-2 hours. (Can be made 2 days ahead. Store in airtight container at room temperature.)
December 3, 2009 § 9 Comments
Oh flour, how I love thee, let me count the ways! 1: cake. 2: cookies. 3: warm bread. And so on, I think you get the idea.
But in fact, flour is very unkind to a small segment of the population. Specifically, it creates much unpleasantness for those people with Celiac disease, which comes with pretty tricky food restrictions. The gluten-free diet rules out anything with flour, as well as several other foods (beer! ack!), but it would be unacceptably tragic not to be able to eat baked goods. And so, after a few discussions with a friend who has Celiac, I set my sights on baking something delicious and gluten-free. Then it took me at least a month to get around to it.
The main obstacle was that every recipe seemed to require four different flours which I didn’t yet own, and were pretty expensive. In the end, I went in completely the opposite direction: flourless! Highly delicious and definitely no gluten. My nearly flourless chocolate cake would have been easy to adapt, but I wanted something portable that I could take to share with others. The answer, then, was flourless peanut butter cookies: I didn’t know they existed, but I’m so glad I do now.
I can’t pretend that these are exactly the same as regular peanut butter cookies: the lack of flour makes them a bit prone to falling apart, and the texture is different. But they’re still soft and peanut buttery and full of flavour – my friend said this was the best peanut butter cookie she’d had since her diagnosis. So I pronounce my first attempt at gluten-free a success, and might even go buy some fancy flours soon. Those who know me won’t be surprised that I didn’t take much convincing.
Peanut butter cookies: from Joy the baker
- 1 cup peanut butter (if you use a natural brand, you should probably add salt)
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
Preheat oven to 350.
With hand mixer, beat peanut butter with sugars until well combined, about 2 minutes. Add egg and baking soda and beat for another 2 minutes. Roll dough into walnut-sized balls (it’ll be crumbly, just squeeze it lots), place on baking sheet and press down with fork. Bake until lightly browned, about 10 minutes.