Posts Tagged ‘Cookies’

American Style Vanilla Biscotti

March 8, 2011

Vanilla Biscotti

A few days ago I mentioned that I had come across two wonderful biscotti recipes. Today I’m writing about the second of those two recipes. Before I start talking about this particular biscotti I want to say that biscotti are no more difficult to make than drop cookies, and in some ways they’re easier because you can do more multi-tasking during their longer bake cycles.

These cookies aren’t the classic super hard biscotti. They’re crispy and great for dunking… or eating straight up if you don’t like to dunk.  I’ve made them with and without add ins, but I have to say that I’ve decided I like them best with no more than the flavor of vanilla. That said, I haven’t tried them with anise, and I think these might be a really good place for anise.

Tea time!

The recipe comes from the King Arthur Flour website. If you’re a novice biscotti baker you might want to check out the blog where PJ Hamel wrote about them. There are step by step photos that you might find helpful. One of the tips I like best is where you spray the baked log lightly with room temperature water before slicing the log into cookies.  This really seems to help in the quest for nice clean cuts.

The recipe with tips and variations can be found here. One more tip I’d like to share with you is that if you have vanilla bean paste this is a great place to use it in place of the regular vanilla. There’s something wonderful about those vanilla bean specks. I used Nielsen-Massey Pure Vanilla Bean Paste, which I ordered from King Arthur Flour.

If you love vanilla bean paste, here’s another good recipe where it really shines. Vanilla Ice Cream

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Gingerbread Biscotti

March 5, 2011

I have recently stumbled upon a couple of really great biscotti recipes and today I’m sharing the bolder one of the two. This is the cookie I wish I could keep on hand at all times, and I could if my husband and I could only keep our hands out of the cookie jar. It has a satisfying crunch and a mouthful of flavor. It’s firm but not too hard, and has chunks of crystallized ginger. You can dunk it in your afternoon tea or coffee if you’d like, but you’ll enjoy it even if you’re not a dunker. With no eggs or butter you can even keep it vegan to share with your vegan friends if you use a non-dairy milk like almond milk. The recipe appears several places on the Internet. It was of course brought to my attention at Cookie Madness. You can see Anna’s post and the recipe here.

The first time I made them I used regular dairy milk, but next time I’m going to try almond milk.

Gingerbread biscotti

These are excellent and I won’t be limiting them to fall or holiday baking. I love ginger and think it’s a flavor to be enjoyed year round.

Mexican Wedding Cakes

December 17, 2010

Mexican Wedding Cakes

It has been years since I’ve made these cookies. They go by a lot of names. Russian Tea Cakes, and Snowballs are two other names that immediately come to mind. I can’t imagine why so many years have passed since I last made these. Maybe it’s because I love them so much that I can’t keep my hand out of the cookie jar!

This year I made them entirely in the food processor. It was super easy! The only drawback is that I really dislike washing the food processor, but the speed with which these came together was a good trade off. You can just as easily make them with a mixer or by hand, but you will need to grate or grind the nuts to a fine powder first.

I recommend rolling the cookies twice in the powdered sugar mixture and then sprinkling them with just a little more of the powdered sugar just before serving. They’re super pretty that way.

Mexican Wedding Cakes

1/2 c. toasted pecan halves
1 c. powdered sugar
pinch of salt
1 c. unsalted butter
1/2 t. vanilla extract
1 3/4 c. unbleached all purpose flour

Topping:
1 1/2 c. powdered sugar
1/8 t. cinnamon

Using the metal blade of the food processor process the toasted nuts with the sugar and salt until the pecans are very finely ground. With the motor running add the butter a little at a time until smooth and creamy. Scrape the bowl and add the vanilla. Pulse in the flour until the dough starts to cling together.
Form the dough into a ball and wrap in plastic. Chill the dough in the refrigeratorfor an hour.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Form the dough into 1 inch balls. Bake for 15 – 20 minutes. Cool the cookies on the baking sheets for a couple of minutes and then roll them in the powdered sugar mixture. When you’ve rolled them all once repeat the process. Save the excess powdered sugar mixture, and sprinkle it over the cookies just before serving.

Gigantic Chocolate Chip Cookies

June 21, 2010

Gigantic Chocolate Chip Cookies

I’ve come out of food blogger hiding to share the above photo with you and a link to the recipe. Anna from the Cookie Madness blog whipped  them together after a recent trip to Disney World where she enjoyed something similar in Minnie’s Bakeshop.

These are the biggest cookies I’ve ever made! Not only is the circumference huge, but they are also very thick. Almost an inch! They have a unique texture that is difficult to describe. The closest I can come is that the inside is similar to the texture of  a bar cookie, while the outside has a crispy cookie edge.

I’m glad to have successfully made some gigantic cookies. They taste very good, but I think that for the most part I like thinner, smaller cookies better.

On a different note. I’ve been on the fence for months now about whether or not I should continue to blog. Any thoughts?

One year anniversary!

December 6, 2009

Basically Baked turns one year old today! I’ve enjoyed connecting with those of you who take the time to leave a comment and I enjoy visiting the blogs of those of you who author them.

To celebrate the anniversary I made the Chocolate Bon Bon Drops that Mary Jane Robbins recently blogged about on the King Arthur Baker’s Banter Blog. They’re very easy to make, very tasty and have a festive look to them. You’ll find the recipe here.

The only change I made to the cookies is to garnish them with Holiday M&M’s instead of the pretty chocolate pearls from King Arthur Flour. I don’t own a tiny teaspoon cookie scoop so when I was done mixing the dough I divided the dough into two equal portions, flattened each portion into a 4 x 3 inch rectangle and then wrapped each rectangle in it’s own piece of waxed paper and refrigerated it for about an hour. Then I cut each rectangle into twelve pieces and formed the pieces into balls and baked according to the directions.

The cookies are sort of a chocolate shortbread. I made my glaze with half and half instead of cream and I would have to agree with Mary Jane that the half and half yielded a thinner glaze than might have been desirable. I also thought the glaze was very good but it was very sweet. The cookies are good enough that I don’t think they need the glaze except for the decorative effect. I think some decorative stencils and powdered sugar might yield a pretty cookie and keep the focus on the cookie. By the way… those flecks you see in the glaze are from vanilla bean paste. Good stuff!!

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

December 2, 2009

About a week ago I was so hungry for a chocolate chip cookie. I’d been wanting to make them for days, but it’s so hard to justify such indulgences when it’s just the two of us here to eat them. I was headed to a meeting out of town with four other friends and our departure time was too early for dinner, but not eating before the meeting meant we were going to have to eat very late. Being the baking fiend that I am I decided this was the perfect excuse to make some chocolate chip cookies to carry us until dinner. In order to make it so they weren’t totally devoid of good nutrition, I conceded and made an oatmeal chocolate chip version. The cookies were appreciated by all, and everyone asked for the recipe so either everyone was really hungry or they’re really good, or both. I froze what my friends didn’t eat and shared them with the kids when they were home for Thanksgiving. I think they were sad when they were gone.

The recipe for these cookies can be found here on the old Baking Sheets blog, and you can read about Anna’s experience with them here where she compares three different oatmeal chocolate chip cookie recipes back to back.

Back in the kitchen

November 3, 2009

October was as much of a whirlwind as I expected it to be. I believe I was out of town more days than I was home. All that traveling and eating out made me want to come home and eat basics. Oatmeal, fresh fruit, toast. I’m just now getting around to wanting some time in the kitchen.

An interesting recipe that I didn’t blog about but is worth sharing is this recipe for Southwestern Stuffed Acorn Squash from Eating Well. I love that the recipe delivers a lot of flavor without the fat and sugar from the way I usually make it. I subbed Monterery Jack for the Swiss, but otherwise pretty much followed the recipe. It’s also worth noting that it reheats well.

Today I’m going to talk about biscotti. This is not at all what I had in mind when I set out to make biscotti, but I had these ingredients and didn’t want to run to the grocery store to get other things. The Biscotti di Prato I blogged about back in January were better than these in my opinion, but I would make these again to satisfy a need for a bit of sweet, with a bit of tang, in a good crunchy satisfying cookie.

Cranberry, Chocolate Chip Biscotti with Pecans

The original recipe is from Cooking Light. I made a few modifications. I really wanted to add pecans, and I intentionally added more oil. I’m glad I did because I don’t think I would have gotten these to come together without it. Even with the added oil I had to work at it to get them to come together enough to shape into logs. I also felt they would be a little blah without something more in the way of flavoring so I added some cinnamon. My original plan was to drizzle these with white chocolate but I decided they didn’t need it, and I’m saving the white chocolate for another recipe another day.

Cranberry Chocolate Chip Biscotti with Pecans (adapted by Sue)
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 large eggs
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup toasted, chopped pecans

Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with non stick baking parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In the large bowl of an electric mixer whisk together the dry ingredients. In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, vanilla, and eggs. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix on low speed until the dry ingredients are thoroughly wet. The mixture will be crumbly. Add the cranberries, chocolate chips, and pecans and mix until evenly distributed.
Turn the mixture out onto a lightly floured surface and mix the ingredients with your hands until bigger chunks start to cling together. Divide the dough in half and make two rolls each about 8 inches in length. Transfer the rolls to the parchment paper and press the logs into pieces that are about 1 inch thick.
Bake for 35 minutes at 350 degrees.
Remove the logs from the oven and allow them to cool on a rack for 10 minutes.
Cut the logs at 1/2 inch intervals and stand the cookies up on the unlined baking sheet. Bake for another 10 minutes at 350 degrees. Remove the cookies from the baking sheet and allow to cool completely.

Yield: 26 cookies

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

August 28, 2009

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

As soon as I tasted these cookies I was pretty sure I had already tried a very similar recipe. Closer inspection revealed that my taste bud memory was accurate.

These are very good peanut cookies. That said I have a few other thoughts about them. I don’t think the chocolate chips added a lot. Yes, you know they’re there but these cookies are all about the peanut butter. The roll in the sugar is sort of pretty and adds a bit of crunch but omitting the milk yields a slightly firmer cookie and a bit more crunch without sacrificing too much to texture.

I would make these again if asked, but left to my own devices I would either make the One Bowl Criss Cross Peanut Butter cookies from Cookie Madness, or my old standby peanut butter cookie recipe that came with my Kitchen Aid mixer years ago.

Today’s recipe came from Smitten Kitchen. Compare them to this recipe from Cookie Madness and you’ll see the similarities.

At stack of cookies

At stack of cookies

Snickerdoodles

August 5, 2009

It’s a funny name, but a good basic cookie that I haven’t made in the past 25 years. Once I started making Mrs. Field’s Cinnamon Sugar Butter Cookies there really wasn’t a need for another cinnamon, sugar cookie in the repertoire.  But, the slight twang from the cream of tartar and the crispiness of a snickerdoodle are unique so I decided to revisit them and I’m not sorry I did.

It took me two attempts to make these cookies so that I was happy with them. My first batch tasted great and had crispy edges but once they were completely cooled the crispy edges disappeared. I baked those on my air bake cookie sheets. In case you’re wondering I bake almost all of my cookies on air bake cookie sheets. While these had good flavor I was disappointed in the texture once completely cooled and might not have made them for another 25 years, except that I got a request for “something tasty”, and since I had all of the ingredients for these I decided to try again.

This time I used my flat cookie sheets and made sure to bake them completely. Success!! This time they are crispy with a nice chew and they retained their crispiness and chewiness even after storage in Tupperware.

Another difference between my first attempt and the second is that I didn’t chill the dough the dough the first time, but I did the second time. The last dozen were chilled for about 36 hours and they were the best of all.

Snickerdoodle Cookies

Snickerdoodles

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

Cream together the following:

1/4 cup (48 grams) shortening

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter (170 grams)

1 1/2 c. (300 grams) sugar

Add the following to the creamed mixture and combine completely:

2 large eggs

Sift together: (you don’t really have to sift this, but do be sure to rid the cream of tartar of any lumps)

2 1/4 c. flour (318 grams)

2 t. cream of tartar

1 t. baking soda

1/2 t. salt

Combine the creamed ingredients and the dry ingredients. Divide the dough equally into three portions, wrap in waxed paper and thoroughly chill the dough.

When the dough is thoroughly chilled divide each third into 12 pieces of dough and form into balls.

Topping:

Stir together 3 Tablespoons sugar and  1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon.

Roll each ball in the cinnamon sugar topping and place on the parchment lined cookie sheet. Bake in the center of the oven for 10 minutes. The cookies should puff up and then deflate while in the oven. Cool the cookies on the cookie sheet for 2-3 minutes and then transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.

Yield: 36 cookies

Tex Mex Chocolate Cookies

June 9, 2009

Tex Mex Chocolate Cookies 004Try these cookies! They’re like drinking a fine wine. There is a complex layer of tastes. A first taste, a mouth taste, and a lingering after taste. They might even pair well with a good red wine, but I didn’t have any around to try out that notion.  The recipe comes from Anna at Cookie Madness. I’m a devoted reader of her blog, and I don’t know why I waited so long to try these.

There is a surprise ingredient and it’s fun to let people guess what it is. Out of twelve friends only one came close when she guessed chili powder. The surprise ingredient is chipotle powder so she was very close!

I took these cookies on a retreat and everyone loved them. I also left some at home for my husband and his reaction was sort of humorous. His comment was that he wasn’t sure he liked them but he enjoyed every last one of them while trying to decide. He says I’ll have to make more! Too funny!!

I live in central Minnesota and chipotle powder was not to be found at any of the local grocery stores, so I got mine at Penzey’s in Minneapolis. If you can’t find it where you live you might consider ordering it from Penzey’s.

The recipe can be found here. I didn’t make any changes. When you look at Anna’s photo you’ll notice that she didn’t chop her nuts as finely as I did. Next time I’ll leave mine a little bigger too.