For my birthday, I received 4 baking books - the two Baked cookbooks I mentioned previously and the third one is this book (I will write up the 4th when I try a recipe from it). It's really cute and has yummy-looking pictures inside. The only drawback is while it's billed as having "80" recipes, it's really 80 varieties of cookies with only a handful of master cookie recipes. As in, you make a base vanilla dough or a base chocolate dough and the recipes only change based on the add-ins you incorporate yet the book counts each different add-in mix as a different recipe of cookie. While it's not what most people expect from a cookbook, it's pretty much the reality of many bakeries and that's what this book is from. Still, we mustn't discount the yummy-looking pictures as that's half the appeal of any cookbook.
I chose the Vanilla Base Dough to try with the milk chocolate and caramel add-ins since those are two of my favorites when it comes to cookie-types. For the milk chocolate, I added a combination of milk chocolate chips and chopped up Hershey kisses. Kraft sells the caramel bits in 11-ounce bags which is nice as they're the perfect size for a cookie. When you mix it in and portion out the dough into balls, make sure the caramel bits are tucked inside the dough rather than clinging to the outside. Otherwise they'll not just melt during baking but also harden once they're baked and cooled. Which makes chewing a little more problematic.
I liked this cookie but I also had it warm, 10 minutes out of the oven, so it was hard not to like it when the edges were crisp and the middle was moist and chewy. I also loved the milk chocolate and caramel but the cookie was almost a trifle too sweet because of the add-ins. I didn't taste any when they had cooled completely so I don't know if the caramel bits tucked inside the cookie were too chewy or not. I gave the test cookies away to someone at work and she liked them so I guess they turned out well, even at room temperature (or she was being nice, lol).
Vanilla Base Dough
2 ½ cups (7 ½ ounces) old-fashioned rolled oats
2 cups (8 ounces) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 ½ cups (12 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup (7 ounces) granulated sugar
1 cup (7 ounces) light brown sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
½ tablespoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups (12 ounces) milk chocolate chips
2 cups (14 ounces) caramel bits (if you don’t have caramel bits, cut square caramel bandies into small pieces)
1. Preheat the oven to 350˚F.
2. Line two baking sheets with nonstick silicone baking mats or parchment paper. Set aside.
3. Put the oats in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade and process until finely ground. Transfer the ground oats to a mixing bowl. Stir in the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
4. Put the butter in the bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with the paddle. Begin beating on low speed to soften. Increase the speed to medium and beat for about 3 minutes, or until light and creamy.
5. With the motor running, gradually add the granulated sugar and then the brown sugar, beating until very light and creamy.
6. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat to incorporate, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula after each addition. Beat in the vanilla and when blended, slowly beat in the reserved dry mixture.
7. While the dough is still streaky, remove the bowl from the mixer and scrape the paddle clean.
8. Lightly flour a clean, flat work surface.
9. Scrape the dough onto the floured surface. Lightly flour your hands and finish mixing the dough by using a gentle kneading motion, working until the dough is just blended. Do not overwork the dough, you want to be certain that all of the ingredients are blended together.
10. Using a wooden spoon, stir in the chocolate chips and caramel bits, mixing until evenly distributed.
11. Using a tablespoon or small ice-cream scoop, make mounds of dough. Roll the dough into balls about 1 ½ inches in diameter. Place the balls, about 2 inches apart, on the prepared baking sheets. Using your palm, gently flatten each ball to make a puck-like shape about 2 inches in diameter.
12. When all of the cookies are formed, place in the oven and bake for about 15 minutes, or until lightly browned around the edges and set in the center. Do not overbake; you want some chewiness in the center.
13. Remove from the oven and, using a metal spatula, transfer the cookies to wire racks to cool.