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Ultra Thin Chocolate Chip Cookies

13 Nov

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I’d like to ignore the fact that I’ve been away for a while and talk to you about luxuries.

I’m not talking silk robes, Egyptian cotton sheets, fancy cars and butlers. My definition of a luxury is most likely what you all consider the banality of your daily life.

I’m talking a full size fridge, a full size oven with actual buttons and accurate temperatures listed on a screen, a kitchen counter, natural sunlight, storage space…and that’s only in the kitchen! Hot water in the bathroom, a living room that fits more than a love seat, and a bedroom that has room for more than a bed; these are a few other luxuries I have recently come to enjoy.

So, returning to the fact that I’ve been away for a while, I will tell you that I have been busy living in kitchen squalor! In an unforgivingly small kitchen with nothing but the worst of everything. Uninspired and frustrated, I did not feel like baking any deliciousness, even though I truly wanted to. I have now been blessed with a new kitchen and place of residence that makes me feel like I’m living in a castle…for real. I feel very lucky. You should feel lucky too, because now I’m back to baking frenzies on the regular….and it’s going to get pretty sweet up in here.

First up, I’ve been drooling at pictures of these cookies for a while. They’re your average chocolate chip cookie, except they’re large and in charge and caramel crisp! Perfect for dunking in a hot beverage, and perfect for when you want a chocolate chip cookie taste with a satisfying crunch. Very simple to make, as long as you have a little patience to let the dough rest.

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These will not disappoint: only render you uncontrollably addicted, but let’s worry about fat pants later.

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Ultra Thin Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 1/3 cups (6 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, melted

1/2 cup (1.5 ounces) quick rolled oats

1/2 cup (3.5 ounces) granulated sugar

1/4 cup (1.75 ounces) packed dark brown sugar

2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon (2 ounces) light corn syrup

2 tablespoons whole milk

1/2 teaspoon salt

7 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped into chunks, or 1 generous cup chocolate chips or chunks

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven.

Combine the flour and baking soda in a small bowl and mix together thoroughly with a whisk or fork.

In a large bowl, whisk together the melted butter, oats, sugars, corn syrup, milk, and salt. Mix in the flour mixture. If the batter is warm from the butter, let it cool before adding the chocolate. Stir in the chocolate chunks.

If possible, let the dough rest for at least several hours at room temperature or (better still) overnight in the fridge. The rest makes for an especially crisp and extra-flavorful cookie!

Divide the dough into 15 equal pieces. Lay out 3 sheets of aluminum foil, cut to fit your cookie sheets, on the counter. Arrange 5 pieces of dough (4 in a square and 1 in the center) well apart on each sheet of foil, remembering that the cookies will spread to 5 inches. Flatten each piece of dough until it is about 3 1/2 inches in diameter. Slide two of the sheets onto baking sheets.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the cookies are thin and very brown. If they are too pale, they will not be crisp. Rotate the pans from top to bottom and front to back halfway through the baking time to ensure even baking. Slide the foil with cookies onto racks to cool completely before removing the cookies from the foil. Repeat with the third batch—you can even slide the next foil and cookie dough onto a hot baking sheet as long as you put the pan in the oven immediately. Cool the cookies completely before stacking or storing. May be kept in an airtight container for at least 3 days.

Popcorn Cookies

22 Jan

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I had one of those moments…

The ones where you realize you’re one of billions on this earth.

I learned that my original idea is definitely not original at all (so stop strutting around with that smug look on your face because you’re not a baking genius).

Yeah, one of those moments…

I was walking along one day, and happened to think it would be the weirdest and greatest thing to replace the chocolate in chocolate chip cookies with buttered popcorn. I made a mental note and went about my business as usual.

The other day I borrowed a cookbook from the library and what do you think I saw? Popcorn cookies.

Well I never!

After I got over myself, I decided it was a wonderful thing that someone had already perfected a recipe and here it was right in front of me waiting to be created and consumed.

So they happened. The cookies became a reality.

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Do you know that time in the Simpsons where Homer buys a pack of “Nuts and Gum?” Their slogan is “Together at last.” I think that appropriately describes these cookies: You’d think they’d be weird, but they work and they are addictive and brilliantly delicious.

So I may not be the first to think of these, but hey….there are over 6 billion people in this world…

Buttered Popcorn Cookies
From The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook, by Deb Perelman
Ingredients:
2 tablespoons vegetable oil or canola oil
1/3 cup popcorn kernels
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1 tablespoon melted butter
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Directions:
To make the popcorn: Heat oil over medium-high heat in a large saucepan until hot. Add the kernels, and cover, shaking the pan to make sure all the kernels are in contact with the bottom of the pan.  As soon as you hear the first few kernels pop, shimmy the pan until all of the kernels pop (5 minutes or so).  Remove from heat, add melted butter and salt, and transfer to bowl.

Dough: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  In a large bowl, beat together butter, sugars, egg and vanilla until smooth. Whisk flour and baking soda together.  Stir flour mixture into butter-sugar mixture, until combined.  Fold in popcorn, making sure to get dough well distributed.  It’s okay if the popcorn breaks as you’re mixing, and don’t worry if it seems like there’s too much popcorn for the amount of dough.  It all works out in the end. 

Bake: Roll dough into mounds the size of a golf ball or slightly bigger.  Place on a parchment lined baking sheet, making sure to leave a 2 inch gap between cookies.  Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until edges are golden brown.  Let cool for a minute or so on the baking sheet before transferring to a rack to finish cooling.

Makes about 24 cookies

Healthier Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

27 Feb

Chocolate chip cookies aren’t good for your health.

That’s not what their purpose in life is.

But then again….cookies make you happy. They warm your soul and feed more than just your belly. And those things are good for your health. Soooo….cookies are good for your health.

I’m not a fan of low fat chocolate chip cookies. I don’t like the fact that people try to make them without butter, or with fake sugar. It’s just not right.

Now here’s the part where I go against everything I just said and tell you I’m clearly a hypocrite. I made chocolate chip cookies without butter. I made them with healthy-er sugar! I made them with whole wheat flour, spelt flour and flax meal!

I was SUCH a skeptic.

I didn’t believe.

And then I ate one.

My world was flipped upside down.

This recipe calls for making your OWN chocolate chips.

That must have something to do with it. There’s maple syrup and coconut sugar in here. Oh, and brace yourselves: no butter. So crazy! So out of control vegan. So not what usually constitutes a quality chocolate chip cookie.

These are really really good. I would never say that about a chocolate chip cookie unless it was true. Trust.

Healthier Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

1/2 Cup Icing Sugar

1/4 Cup Cocoa Powder

1 Tablespoon Spelt Flour

1 Teaspoon Almond Milk

1 Tablespoon coconut oil

Cookie

1/4 Cup Plus 2 Tablespoons Whole Wheat Flour

1/4 Cup Plus 2 Tablespoons Spelt

2 Tablespoons Flaxmeal

1/4 Cup Coconut Sugar

1/4 Teaspoon Salt

1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda

1 Teaspoon Baking Powder

1 Teaspoon Vanilla

2 Tablespoons Coconut Oil

5 Tablespoons Maple Syrup
To make the chocolate chips:

      In a small mixing bowl stir together icing sugar, cocoa powder and flour. Then in a coffee cup, mix together oil and almond milk. Pour wet ingredients into dry and stir with a fork until becomes firm and like a chocolate “play dough”. Split the dough in half. Sprinkle working surface with a little cocoa powder and roll one of the halves with your hand until it forms a rod about a quarter of an inch thick. Slice the rod into morsels. Do the second half of dough the same way. Let them freeze for atleast 4 hours. This is so they become good and sturdy so they keep their shape when you mix them into the cookie dough and also to help them keep their shape when baked.

To complete the cookies:

      In a mixing bowl combine ingredients for cookie base. Take chocolate chips out of freezer and mix them into the cookie dough gingerly. We don’t want to damage the chocolate chips.

On a greased cookie sheet pan drop tablespoon mounds 1 -1/2 inches apart. Place cookie sheet in a 350 degree preheated oven and cook until lightly brown on bottom. After baked let cool for 15 minutes before touching them with a spatula.

Coconut-Cocoa Nib Shortbread Rounds

21 Feb

So Valentines Day has come and gone. This day has never been a day that I look forward to, but I have never dreaded it either. My favourite Valentine’s days were back in elementary school where everyone got cards and candies because it was practically mandatory. Lots of giggling was involved if you got one from someone you liked….even though he just wrote the same thing he did on the same card he gave to everyone else in the class. No big deal. A girl can dream…

So much hype about this day….

I’ve always chosen to keep it simple, whether or not there was a boy.

This year I chose to celebrate the fact that on this day you can bake something and give it to those you love. I extended that to the people I work with and my friends….

I bought a cheap box of Dr. Seuss valentines and baked some cookies. It’s that simple.

Oh, and I got taken out to a hockey game on Valentine’s Day by a boy….ahem….man…but that’s also….no biggie. :-)

These cookies, by the way, are simple but effective. Shortbread rounds with a crunch of cocoa nib and a sprinkle of toasted coconut for good measure. It can’t get better than that. Not unless I had drizzled the top with chocolate icing, but alas there was no time. Feel free to do so if you make these cookies. Take it up a notch and show my cookies up. They won’t mind. They’re pretty cool like that.

Coconut-Cocoa Nib Shortbread Rounds


adapted from here

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt

1 cup unsalted butter

1/2 cup powdered sugar

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 cup toasted coconut flakes

1/4 cup cocoa nibs

Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl and set aside.

In a mixing bowl beat the butter until light and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar and beat again, scraping down the sides of the mixing bowl once or twice as you are mixing. Beat in the vanilla extract. Add the flour mixture in two additions then add in the extras. Stir until everything comes together into a thick dough.

Turn the dough out onto a countertop and divide into two pieces, there is quite a bit of dough, so cutting it into two pieces just makes it easier to roll out later on. Press each piece of dough out into a flat patty an inch thick. Wrap each piece in plastic and chill completely in the refrigerator – about thirty minutes. When the dough is chilled, use a rolling pin to roll the dough out 1/4-1/2-inch thick. Cut the dough into desired shapes using cookie cutters.

Bake for 7 to 10 minutes, or until the bottoms of the cookies are barely golden.

Makes about 2 dozen cookies.

Mini Gingerbread Men

24 Dec

For someone that doesn’t have a lot of time on my hands….wow I seem to have a lot of time on my hands.

Why did I think it was a good idea to buy the world’s smallest cookie cutter?

Why did I think it was the best idea to cut out a million mini gingerbread men?

Why did I think it was a perfectly logical idea to put buttons on said gingerbread men?

Who the heck knows….but what I do know is that they’re probably the cutest ever. They’re pretty tasty too.

They take a fraction of the time it took to make them…. to eat them.

I’m ok with this.

Some things are just worth all that effort.

Well that’s what I think anyway.

You might not agree with me and you may never make these. I’m ok with this too.

But you have to at least appreciate the fact that they’re adorable and scrumptious looking. Festive. Fun.

The end.

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Pretzel-Studded Peanut Butter Cookies

1 Dec

The running track at the YMCA is really nice. It has good floors and some nice big windows to look out of.

However…it is usually still dark outside when I’m there and there’s not much to see at first….until the sun rises…

The elderly tend to hog the lanes and ignore the signs about the passing lane…

There are some really annoying folk who think that they can catch up to you and strike up a conversation at 6am while you try to listen to the final chapter of your Sherlock Holmes audiobook. (Don’t judge me)

It tends to get a little boring. I’d rather the running track than the treadmill but I still get pretty bored. Sometimes I listen to my iPod. That helps. But my mind wanders!

Come back mind!!! Hey where are you going? No no….don’t go there….DON’T! I haven’t eaten breakfast yet! Ohhh you jerk. You went there: food fantasies.

These cookies were developed while my poor calves pushed through the pain for the last 10 minutes of my workout.

Everyone likes pretzels, right? Salty, goodness. Everyone HAS to like chocolate covered pretzels….right? One of my many weaknesses. Now. What happens when you put them in cookies? Peanut butter cookies. Peanut butter and chocolate go together right? And pretzels and peanut butter could definitely be friends. In cookie form, this new group of friends is probably killer.

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Sunflower Seed Butter Cookies

18 Nov

Caution: These cookies are healthy.

No…like, they’re REALLY healthy.

These are not the kind of cookies that you bake for people who want butter-laden disks of brown sugar and chocolate heaven. I am also one of these people, I’ll admit, but unfortunately yours truly is in the middle of a “six pack challenge” and unfortunately I do not mean the beer. I can’t eat anything good….basically. Why am I doing this? Just to be able to say that at some point in my life I had a six pack. Am I a little bit wacko for doing this? No….not a little bit. I’m a lot wacko. I must, however, finish what I started.

So here we are. Craving cookies. Baking these healthy cookies to see us through this challenging time.

On the plus side, I would totally eat these cookies even if I were not on a six pack challenge. Would you like to know why?

They’re devastatingly delicious, that’s why.

I should sell these.

I ate one. Ya. I totally ate a cookie. I’d do it again too! Because I can!

I’m currently addicted to sunflower seed butter, therefore I altered the recipe and used it instead of peanut butter. You can opt for peanut butter if you wish, but I highly recommend the sunflower seed butter. It’s good. I wouldn’t lie.

These don’t even require an electric mixer. You just mix all the ingredients together, scoop onto a baking sheet and toss them into the oven.

They are really good, trust me. Good for you too. It’s a win win cookie situation here folks. Take advantage.

Sunflower Seed Butter Cookies

1/2 cup Whole Wheat Flour

1/4 cup Ground Flax Seed

1/2 cup quinoa flakes (or quick oatmeal)

1/2 cup coconut sugar

1 tsp Baking Powder

1/2 tsp Baking Soda

1/4 tsp Salt

1 tsp Vanilla

2 tbsp Coconut oil

1 tbsp Applesauce

1/4 Cup Maple Syrup

1/4 Cup sunflower seed butter
Dump ingredients into a mixing bowl and stir. You will really need to work at getting the ingredients mixed well. Knead a little with your hands if need be. Drop 1 tablespoon size mounds onto a cookie sheet about 1 1/2 inches apart. Smash them down slightly with a fork. Sprinkle with coarse sugar if you like. Place in 325F oven and bake 10 to 12 minutes or until bottoms are lightly golden. After they are baked let them cool for 15 minutes before you dig in. They will be soft out of the oven and crisp up as they cool.