Tag Archives: cookie

Can’t Believe They’re Whole Grain Cookies

Our friend Shawn just had a birthday.  Unfortunately, it coincided with a major breakdown in his bracket, his NCAA basketball tournament bracket, that is.  This breakdown also meant that he owed several people steak dinners.  I thought it was a shame to lose a bet on your birthday, so I wanted to cheer him up.

Hmmm…what to do.  Cookies!  That always works for me, especially if they have chocolate.  Wait, I know he and his girlfriend try to watch what they eat…I’ll use whole wheat flour!  That should relieve some the guilt.  Don’t worry…I didn’t skimp on the butter.  Or the chocolate chips.

Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies
Makes 2 dozen

Modified from Good to the Grain

3 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white granulated sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
12 oz chocolate chips

Place two racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat it to 350 degrees F.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Sift the dry ingredients into a large bowl.  You can add any bits of grain that remain in the sifter.

Add the butters and sugars into the bowl of your mixer and on low speed, mix just until blended.

Add the eggs one at a time, mixing until each is combined.  Mix in the vanilla.

Add the flour mixture to the bowl and blend on low speed until just combined.  Scrape the sides of the bowl, if necessary.

Add the chocolate chips and mix on low speed until combined.  The dough will be very thick.  You may need to use your hands to finish incorporating all the ingredients.

I used my hands to scoop out the dough, 3 to 4 Tbsp worth, placing them 6 to a baking sheet.

Bake the cookies for 18 to 20 minutes, rotating the baking sheets for each shelf halfway, until the cookies are evenly browned.  Cool the cookies on a cooling rack and repeat with the remaining dough.


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A Cookie for Those Cravings

Sometimes nothing will do but a homemade cookie.  I was having one of those cravings and decided to whip up a batch of chocolate cookies.  Normally I would add chocolate chips or peanut butter chips (or both) to the batter, but this time I added butterscotch chips.  Delicious, and I even made enough to share.

Chocolate Butterscotch Chip Cookies
Makes about 4 dozen

1 cup butter (or margarine, if you’re off the dairy)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp chocolate extract
2 eggs
2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cocoa
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups butterscotch chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Beat butter, sugars, and chocolate extract on medium speed until creamy.  Add eggs, beat well.

Gradually add flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt, beating well until blended.

Stir in butterscotch chips

Drop by rounded spoonful onto ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until set.  The cookies puff up while baking, and then deflate slightly when removed from oven.
Let the cookies cool for a few minutes before removing from baking sheet, then cool completely on wire rack.

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Memories of Anise Seed

>My husband and I both have memories of anise seed cookies at the holidays and throughout winter, but I had never baked them myself.  I must admit that I didn’t like the flavor of anise as a kid, but now I think it is a nice change of pace.  I found a recipe from my great-aunt, but it seemed to be missing a few steps and it required wooden cookie molds which I do not have.  I decided to try a recipe from Maida Heatter instead.  Plus, it gave me a reason to use my new mortar and pestle!

Anise seed is a spice with a licorice flavor.  You should be able to find it in the baking aisle of your grocery store.  The seeds are oval shaped and gray-brown in color.  It is a very aromatic spice and will make your kitchen smell lovely.  I really like these cookies with coffee.

Anise Seed Cookies
Makes about 45 cookies
Modified from Maida Heatter’s New Book of Great Desserts

1/2 cup blanched whole almonds
1 tsp anise seeds (not ground)
1/2 cup butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1/4 tsp salt
3 eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 egg white
sprinkle of granulated sugar for cookie tops

If your almonds aren’t already blanched, it is easy to do yourself.  Just put the whole almonds in boiling water for no more than a minute, drain well, and rinse with cold water.

Once they are cool enough to handle you can easily slip off the skins.  Pat dry.

Put the skinned almonds on a rimmed cookie sheet and put them in a preheated 250 degree oven.  Shake or stir occasionally until the nuts are slightly colored.
Crush the anise seeds in a mortar and pestle.  They do not have to be finely ground or strained.  Set aside.
Beat the butter until soft and smooth.  

Add the vanilla and sugar and then beat until well mixed.

Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition until incorporated.

Add the anise seeds, and on low speed, gradually add the flour, scraping the bowl and beating only until mixed.

The dough will be quite soft and sticky.  Transfer to plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least half an hour or until it is firm enough to be rolled.  Resting the cookie dough in the refrigerator evens out the moisture level, relaxes gluten, and firms the fat, which produces neater edges to your cookies.

Adjust the racks of the oven to split the oven into thirds and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Line two cookie sheets with foil.

Work with half the dough at a time, leaving the rest in the refrigerator.  On a floured surface and with a floured rolling pin, roll out the dough until about 1/2-inch thick.

Using a round cookie cutter or biscuit cutter, cut rounds of dough and place them about an inch apart on the cookie sheets.
Press the scraps of dough together, rechill, and re-roll.

There should be enough almonds to place one on each cookie, or if you want to leave some without nuts (as I did for my mother-in-law), you can use more than one almond on a cookie.

Beat the egg white until foamy.  With a pastry brush, brush the egg white over the tops of the cookies.  Sprinkle generously with sugar.

Bake for 20 to 22 minutes, switching the place of the cookie sheets to ensure even browning.  The cookies will be slightly colored and will feel semi-firm to the touch.  Try not to overbake or they will get too hard.

Transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool.  They can be frozen, but they keep very well in an airtight container for several days.



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Sensing a Theme Yet?

Surprise, surprise…yet another chocolate and peanut butter recipe coming your way.  This time I made some cookies for my husband to take into his office here in Fort Worth.  His colleagues have been so kind to us, and even read this blog!  They definitely deserve some cookies!

You are right, he’s already been in the office for more than 2 weeks now, but we were without a working oven.  No oven = no cookies.  I was on the verge of DTs and jonesin’ for bakin’, but sweet relief came last night.  The oven is fixed and I can start to bake my way to happiness again.
Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
Made 2 to 2 1/2 dozen cookies
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
12 oz bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  
Cream butter and sugars.  Add peanut butter, egg, and vanilla.  Blend well.
Stir in baking soda and baking powder.  Add flour 1/2 cup at a time, in between blending well.
Stir in chocolate chips.
Drop by rounded spoonful onto an ungreased baking sheet.  
Bake for 9 or 10 minutes until edges are set, but centers are still a bit soft.  Once you remove from the oven, let the cookies cool slightly for 4 or 5 minutes on the baking sheets so they can firm up a bit.  Let them finish cooling on a wire rack.

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Chocolate Butterfinger Cookies

I made some cookies for my husband to take to the office when he decided to take the temporary position in Fort Worth.  We thought his colleagues in DC would appreciate something special before he left.

It took me a while to decide what kind of cookies to make.  I’d read a few online posts about folks making Butterfinger cookies based on a recipe from Food and Wine.  They looked good, but that wasn’t enough chocolate for my taste, though.  So, more chocolate…my standard chocolate cookie is a recipe modified from Hershey’s.  Add crushed Butterfinger and we’ve got a deal.
These cookies are soft and chewy.  It is a great texture paired with the crunchy candy pieces.
Chocolate Butterfinger Cookies
Makes about 4 dozen cookies
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup cocoa
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups butter, softened
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla 
2 Butterfinger bars, crushed
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Stir together flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt.  Set aside.
Beat butter and sugar until fluffy.  
Add eggs and vanilla and beat well.  
Gradually add cocoa mixture, beating well. 
Gently stir in crushed Butterfinger pieces.  
Drop by rounded spoonful onto ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake 9 minutes.  Cookies will be soft.  They will puff while baking and deflate or flatten while cooling.  Let them cool slightly on the pan, then move to a wire rack to finish cooling completely.
His new co-workers in Fort Worth can expect some cookies, too, once we have a working oven.

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Chocolate Caramel Slice of Yummy

So, I used to work in an office with co-workers who didn’t have four legs and a tail.  They could also use their opposable thumbs for composing e-mail and online shopping.  Now, I work at home and hang out with my pets and loud neighbors all day and I don’t have to participate in conference call meetings.

In my office days, I made it a tradition to bake something special for each colleague’s birthday.  I’d listen to them describe their favorite dishes or I’d just out right ask them to tell me about their favorite flavor.  Then I’d try to create something that I thought they’d enjoy.

One of the birthday treats I count among my successes is the chocolate caramel slice bar cookie I made for Perrin’s birthday.  Perrin said her favorite flavor was caramel.  My favorite flavor is chocolate.  What a match we make!  I got to see Perrin last night and it just so happens her birthday is this week.  I decided to surprise her with a reminder of our fun office days together and make another batch of bar cookies.

Chocolate Caramel Slice (modified from Bon Appetit)
Makes at least 24 bar cookies

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup light brown sugar
2 tsp cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) chilled, unsalted butter, diced
1 Tbsp ice water
1 large egg yolk

1 14-oz can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup light brown sugar
6 Tbsp (3/4 stick) chilled, unsalted butter, diced
2 Tbsp golden syrup (Lyle’s Golden Syrup) or dark corn syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
6 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
3 Tbsp whipping cream
Flaked sea salt (Maldon)

For crust: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Butter a 9 x 13 baking pan.  You can also use a jellyroll pan.

I used a food processor, but you could use a pastry cutter.  Blend flour, 1/4 cup brown sugar, cornstarch, and salt.  Add butter and pulse until coarse meal forms.

Add the tablespoon of water and the egg yolk.

Blend again until moist clumps form.

Turn out into prepared baking pan and press down dough to form crust along bottom of entire pan.  Pierce all over with a fork, this will help keep it flat.  Bake until golden, about 20 minutes.  If the crust bubbles up, you can pierce that section with a fork.  Cool completely.

For toppings:  Whisk condensed milk, brown sugar, butter, syrup, and vanilla in a medium saucepan over medium  heat until sugar dissolves, butter melts, and mixture comes to a boil.

Attach a candy thermometer to side of pan.  Continue to boil gently until caramel is thick and temperature registers 225 degrees F, whisking constantly.  It will probably take around 5 minutes.

Pour caramel evenly over crust; allow to set and cool for about 15 minutes.

Melt chocolate and cream in microwave or double boiler, stirring ocassionally.  Take care not to scorch the chocolate by getting it to hot.  Spread chocolate over caramel; sprinkle with sea salt.

Refrigerate until chocolate is set, at least 1 hour, but likely longer.  Keep it covered in the refrigerator.  It can be made 2 to 3 days ahead.  Cut the dessert into bars or squares to serve.


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