Saturday, June 25, 2022

Jumbo Chocolate Cookies

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1 egg, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chocolate chips
  1. In a mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt; set aside.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar until well combined and fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Add egg and vanilla extract, beating until just combined. Add dry ingredients in 2 additions, beating until just combined after each addition. Fold in chocolate chips.
  3. Portion dough into golf-ball-size or larger dough balls. Cover and chill or freeze for several hours or overnight.
  4. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper and evenly space dough balls. Bake 12-15 minutes or until edges are set and middles no longer look raw; do not overbake. Remove from oven and let rest on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing cookies to wire rack to cool completely.
I'm slowly, slowly getting back into my baking groove again. It's very slow going because I'm in a much smaller kitchen in my new house than the old one and some of my stuff is still packed and what I have unpacked, I have no idea where I put it. Yeah, I know, my First World problems are seriously inconvenient.
The good news is my Kitchen Aid mixer occupies one of the few prime counter spots in the new kitchen and I do know where my measuring cups and measuring spoons are. So all is not lost. However, I have no idea where any one of my 4 cookie dough scoops of varying sizes are, So I went with two spoons and my eyeballs to portion out cookie dough balls of (roughly) the same size. Turns out I don't need 4 cookie dough scoops of varying sizes after all, just two spoons.
This dough was easy to work with, not too soft or too sticky, despite the fact that I was making this in triple digit heat (let's hear it for air conditioning and electric fans). I only made one dough ball as "jumbo-size" so I could test out how it was originally supposed to be. The rest of the dough I made into normal-people-sized cookies since they were all earmarked to go out in care packages and presumably not everyone has my (extremely high) tolerance for chocolate and sugar.
I like to wait until a chocolate chocolate cookie has fully cooled before I eat it as I prefer the texture that way - fudgy but not too mushy. This was still slightly lukewarm when I ate (a piece of) it as it was getting late and I didn't think I needed a sugar high before going to bed. This was pretty good. I used the high end cocoa (formerly known as Pernigotti) which makes all the difference in getting that deep, rich chocolate flavor. It wasn't overwhelmingly rich, although that may have been I just ate a small piece, but it still had superb chocolate flavor.

Monday, June 20, 2022

Crumbl Cookies review #21 - Caramel Shortbread featuring Twix

Crumbl Cookies review #21 - Caramel Shortbread featuring Twix, June 13, 2022
Caramel Shortbread featuring Twix
Just one cookie to review this time as I wasn't interested in any of the other flavors on offer last week: Peanut Butter Cup (not big on peanut butter), M&M cookie (not special enough), Peach Sugar (I only like the real thing when it comes to peaches) and Classic Krispy Bar (I love Rice Krispie treats but for the cost of 1 Crumbl cookie, I can make a pan of them).
I even thought of skipping this lineup entirely since it seemed like the Twix would be good but predictable. But since I had tried a copycat recipe of the Twix cookie, I decided I wanted to try the Crumbl original as well.
I'm glad I did. The shortbread base was fine (predictable as I had, well, predicted) but I absolutely loved the caramel on this cookie. I don't know if they made it from scratch or bought it already pre-made but it was excellent. Just the right amount of "chewiness" and not cloyingly sweet. It complemented the chocolate layer and the shortbread cookie perfectly.

If I had a bone to pick with Crumbl about this cookie, it's with the topping. They advertised it as supposedly having "chunks" of Twix bars sprinkled over the chocolate. Um, how about crumbs? I've seen worse with other people's cookies that literally just have Twix dust. I get that Twix dust would be inevitable when chopping up mini Twix bars but I wish the employees had been a bit more diligent of making sure each cookie had at least a few chunks mixed in with the Twix dust. Otherwise, this was a good cookie. Not super spectacular and I think the copycat recipe would suffice but still a good cookie and I'm glad I tried it.

Friday, June 17, 2022

Crumbl Cookies review #20 - Snickerdoodle Cupcake, Orange Creamsicle and Buttermilk Pancake

Crumbl Cookies review #20 - Snickerdoodle Cupcake, Orange Creamsicle and Pancake, June 6 and 10, 2022

I'm almost caught up on my Crumbl reviews, depending on when I can publish this post. The week of June 6 was an eventful one for me as, a few days earlier, I had finished packing up my house and moved more than 400 miles, unpacked (sort of), went right back to work without missing a beat (except for my unfortunate new internet deciding to throw me off my zoom meetings multiple times a day). Oh and did I mention I was also recovering from Covid at the time?
So, yeah, the first two pictures above weren't taken until almost the end of the week, more than 5 days after I tested negative and could be around people again. 
Snickerdoodle Cupcake
But when I first arrived in the new digs, although I wasn't contagious anymore according to the CDC, I was still feeling a bit lousy and wasn't leaving the house for a few more days, just to be on the safe side. I'm vaccinated and boostered and Covid still kicked my ass so it definitely isn't something I would want anyone to catch, particularly from me.
Enter my niece's boyfriend. I had texted my niece the week's lineup of flavors and asked what she wanted "in case" I went out later in the week and got a 4-pack (you know I was planning on it). To my surprise, she texted back and said her boyfriend was going to bring me Crumbl and asked which flavor I wanted.
Whut?? What a nice gesture! The old, healthy, raised-Asian me would've said "oh you don't have to, I'll get you guys some when I go out later." The new, sickie me still trying to settle in texted back "snickerdoodle cupcake please, thanks!" 
Later that day, her boyfriend dropped off not one but TWO snickerdoodle cupcake cookies. Would it have been presumptuous if, along with my heartfelt thank you, I would've texted her, "hang onto this one, mmkay?" Probably, so I didn't. Instead I thanked them both and settled for telling her he's my favorite of all her boyfriends so far, lol. Yeah, I'm not that subtle and only a little presumptuous. 
To my sickie self, the cookies hit the spot. I can't eat a whole one in one sitting (usually) so I did my usual cutting into 4 pieces, wrapping each piece and putting what I wasn't eating that day into the freezer. Two pieces a day got me through the rest of the work week. The snickerdoodle cupcake was amazing. I loved the cookie base, maybe even more than the plain snickerdoodle from a few months back. Somehow it was more snickerdoodle-y, if that makes sense. There was still too much frosting for me though but once I scraped off some of it, the cookie was perfect. A little frosting goes a long way but the cookie was delicious. Still not quite as good as the churro but fecking amazing nonetheless.

Orange Creamsicle
Fortunately I did feel well enough a few days later to make my own Crumbl run. My new house is even closer to a Crumbl than my last house (yay, oh no, eek = all my emotions about that) and in the same strip mall as a grocery store so on my grocery run to pick up a few necessities, I had to make a Crumbl stop.
Since I'd already had the snickerdoodle thanks to my niece's boyfriend, I got the remaining two flavors this week that I wanted to try: the Orange Creamsicle and the Buttermilk Pancake.
I liked the Orange Creamsicle. It wasn't as "fluffy" in texture as the snickerdoodle but still a solid cookie base. The frosting wasn't as thick (thank you, Crumbl) which also worked well. Some people thought the orange was artificial tasting and I can see where they're coming from. It's likely from orange extract which can impart that artificial taste. But as someone who grew up on Tang, I didn't mind it and I still liked the cookie. I didn't eat it chilled as I don't like chilled cookies but I thought it was good at room temperature.

Buttermilk Pancake

Last but not least is the Buttermilk Pancake cookie. I had missed out on the Waffle Cookie they had previously as (once again), I was out of town and out of reach of a Crumbl during that week. I don't know how the waffle cookie compares to the pancake cookie but I thought the pancake was pretty good. I don't see it as a substitute for an actual pancake or even as a cutesy attempt to capture a pancake in cookie form (sorry but if I want a pancake, I'll make a pancake). However, this was a good sugar-cookie-based "buttermilk" cookie. The nod to the pancake theme was in the maple glaze along with a scoop of butter buttercream made to look like a round dollop of butter.
This was supposed to be eaten warm but I wasn't hungry enough to down 200ish calories in 1/4 of a cookie so I ate it later at room temp. Loved the texture, as always, on a Crumbl cookie. The glaze plus buttercream dollop was a little overwhelming for my non-frosting taste buds but the flavor was still good. I'd get this again if there was no other flavor on the menu that I wanted but needed a Crumbl fix.
All in all, another good week with 3 of the flavors I wanted to try. They also had the Iced Oatmeal but since I'd already had it before, I skipped it. Plus I really like the copycat version from Lifestyle of a Foodie so I know I can always make it for myself if I really wanted it again.

Sunday, June 12, 2022

Crumbl Cookies review #19 - Kentucky Butter Cake, Nilla Bean, Caramel Coconut Fudge and Lemon Crinkle

Crumbl Cookies review #19 - Kentucky Butter Cake, Nilla Bean, Caramel Coconut Fudge and Lemon Crinkle - May 30, 2022
I'm behind on my Crumbl reviews (just the reviews, not the eating, mind you). I was actually out of town and nowhere near a Crumbl the week of May 23 when the Kentucky Butter Cake, Nilla Bean and Caramel Coconut Fudge came out.
Fortunately, I'm on to Crumbl's ways and went there Monday morning the following week to see if they had any of them left. They did. The only other flavor I wanted out of the current week was the Lemon Crinkle so I ended up getting a 4-pack. Yes, I've decided to stop pretending I can't consume a 4-pack on my own. I did cut each cookie into 4 pieces though, wrapped each piece and placed them in the freezer, doling out 2 pieces a day to enjoy throughout the week. 
Kentucky Butter Cake

Although on that important first day, not gonna lie, I taste-tested 3 of the 4 cookie (pieces). Because, why not. People online were raving about the Kentucky Butter Cake so I'm glad I finally got to try it for myself. I liked it because it had everything I like about a Crumbl cookie in terms of thickness, texture and flavor. Plus, butter.... It might seem a little plain but as a non-frosting person, I don't mind that so much. Mine didn't have a real thick glaze (was it supposed to?) and mine had incorporated well into the cookie and solidified over it. But I still liked it. Not sure it qualifies as "I gotta rave about this one" status but still a good, solid cookie. 

Nilla Bean
Next up is the Nilla Bean. I love Crumbl's vanilla sugar cookies (not the pink sugar) and this was no exception. Also great texture and I love the pure simplicity of good quality vanilla. The only issue I had with this cookie is it had too much frosting. Easy enough to scrape off a good amount as the frosting makes the cookie a little cloyingly sweet but the cookie base was fabulous.

Caramel Coconut Fudge

One of the first Crumbl cookies I ever tried was the Samoa. It was a couple of years ago and I don't remember it that clearly but on the surface, I don't see how it really differs from the Caramel Coconut Fudge. 
Both were good, had a soft sugar cookie base and I will always, always love the caramel, coconut and fudge combination. I liked this cookie and I'm glad I tried it. I'd get it again if there was nothing else on the week's menu I wanted but I could easily interchange this with the Samoa cookie.

Lemon Crinkle

I enjoyed the lemon as well but, like the Kentucky Butter Cake, that's because it too had all the elements of why I like Crumbl in the first place: thick cookie, good texture (chewy, moist, soft, not dry or brittle) and good lemon flavor. 
Although, in all honesty, I could make something similar and actually have. Remember the copycat recipe of this from Lifestyle of a Foodie that I had tried before I had the real thing? That was also quite good and now that I've had the original Crumbl version, I'm still good with the copycat and wouldn't need to get this one again. But overall, this was a good week of cookies, albeit I "cheated" with getting 3 from the previous week's lineup. 

Thursday, June 2, 2022

Graham Cracker Cookies

Graham Cracker Cookies - made dough May 8, 2022 from Buns in My Oven 
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla 
1 large egg
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
3/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and brown sugar until creamy and well combined, scraping down sides and bottom of bowl to keep mixture even textured.
  3. Beat in the vanilla and egg until combined.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk together the graham cracker crumbs, flour, baking soda and salt. Add to the butter mixture in two additions, mixing after each addition until just combined. Stir in chocolate chips.
  5. Portion into golf-ball-sized dough balls (or smaller if you prefer smaller cookies) and evenly space on baking sheets. Bake 7-10 minutes or until edges are set and middles no longer look raw. Do not overbake.
  6. Let rest on baking sheets for several minutes before transferring to wire rack to cool completely.
I was diligently working on clearing out ingredients in my pantry, including 2 cans of sweetened condensed milk, a package of sweetened flaked coconut and half a box of graham cracker crumbs. Enter Nutella Magic Cookie bars which not only uses those ingredients but are easy and ideal to ship in military care packages. However, as it typically turns out, I ran short of graham cracker crumbs and had to buy a new box to use up the sweetened condensed milk and the coconut. Which kinda defeats the purpose of clearing out my pantry.
Rather than be in a continuous cycle of buying more cans of sweetened condensed milk and coconut, enter the Graham Cracker Cookies. Magically I had just enough left in the new box to make these cookies. I was so glad to almost exactly have 1 1/2 cups of graham cracker crumbs left that I missed that I had actually made this exact same recipe already, 6 years ago.
Turns out I had two separate pins on pinterest, one from 2016 and one from who knows how long ago before I made them. Both are from different blogs, which is why I missed they were the same. 
But that's okay as they turned out pretty well both times. I vaguely recall these were more graham cracker-y when I first made them back then whereas these were like regular chocolate chip cookies with a little more texture to them.
Regardless, they were still good. I made them a small enough size that a full recipe produced enough cookies to add to 2 care packages, supplemented by brownies and Nutella Magic Cookie Bars.  And now I'm all out of graham cracker crumbs. Mission accomplished.