Monday, December 31, 2018

Red Velvet Chocolate Chip Cookies

Red Velvet Chocolate Chip Cookies - made dough November 23, 2018 from Just So Tasty
I meant to post this recipe before Christmas but the time got away from me. So you might want to file this away for Valentine's Day for a color-appropriate treat,
The white chocolate makes a nice contrast to the red velvet cookie and provides some sweetness to what is essentially a chocolate cookie. I have a hard time baking it so that the white chocolate doesn't turn brown at the edges. You can see from the pictures that I was unsuccessful. But honestly, I took it out when they were just barely done and the white chocolate still browned.

As it was, white chocolate chunks aside, I thought the cookies themselves turned out perfectly baked, i.e. not too underdone but not overbaked either. They had a nice fudgy texture, exactly like how I like my cookies.

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/3 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
2-3 teaspoons red food coloring, liquid or gel
3/4 cup white chocolate chips or chunks
  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, cornstarch, baking soda and salt.
  2. In a separate large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy.
  3. Beat in the egg, vanilla extract and food coloring. 
  4. On low speed, beat in the dry ingredients in 2 additions, beating until just combined. Do not overbeat. Fold in white chocolate.
  5. Portion dough into golf-ball-size dough balls, cover and chill or freeze for several hours or overnight.
  6. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper and evenly space dough balls. Bake 7-9 minutes or until edges are set and middles no longer look raw. Let cool on baking sheets for 5 minutes before removing to wire racks to cool completely.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Homemade Nutella Oreos

Homemade Nutella Oreos - made dough November 3, 2018 from Crazy for Crust
I've mentioned before that one of the rare store-bought cookies I like are Oreos. (The other two are Tim Tams and Biscoff cookies for anyone keeping track.) I don't buy or eat them often but they're my guilty pleasure. So I'm always interested in any homemade version of them.

I have to admit though, I cheated on the filling. I listed it as originally found on Crazy for Crust in case anyone wants to make them as intended. Me? I used - what else - Nutella as the filling. An oft-used trick for the lazy or busy baker. It works, either way.
The cookies themselves turned out a little crunchy rather than soft, which surprised me at first but makes sense. Oreos are crisp in cookie texture. The homemade version shouldn't be soft or mushy and these weren't. Use a dark chocolate cocoa powder (another plug for Pernigotti cocoa) so the chocolate cookies will have a robust, dark, rich chocolate flavor. Also, make the cookie balls small and as uniform as possible. I also recommend flattening the little dough balls into discs so they'll bake to a uniform thickness. You don't want the individual cookies to be too thick or else the sandwich cookies will be too thick.
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup unsalted butter
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup Nutella
1 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
  1. Whisk flour, salt, baking soda and cocoa powder in medium-sized bowl;set aside.
  2. Cream butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar in bowl of electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Cream until smooth and combined, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Mix in egg and vanilla. Add dry ingredients and beat until just combined.
  3. Scoop into small 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 cookie dough balls. Bake for 8 - 10 minutes or until the edges are set and middles no longer look raw. Remove to wire racks and let cool completely.
  5. Filling: beat butter, salt and Nutella with electric mixer until smooth and combined. Slowly add powdered sugar, beating until mixture is smooth and thick. Add vanilla and 1 tablespoon heavy whipping cream. Beat for 30 seconds then add more cream as needed for consistency, up to 1 tablespoon.
  6. Pipe filling onto the bottom of half the cookies then sandwich with second cookie. Store in airtight container.

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Coconut Cream Cheese Cookies

Coconut Cream Cheese Cookies - made dough November 23, 2018 from Vanilla Kitchen
I don't like cream cheese and normally avoid making a lot of stuff with it. I don't like the tang of cream cheese and the calories aren't worth it to me to eat desserts like cheesecake and the like. Even cream cheese frosting, which has its place, preferably on coconut cake or red velvet cake, does not hold a place in my dessert-loving heart.
HOWEVER, run, don't walk, to use cream cheese in these cookies. For one thing, you can't taste that tang. It was successfully buried underneath the butter and sugar. Plus the coconut. This might just be one of my new favorite coconut cookies. I love the taste and the chewy texture. The edges are crisp and the middle is nicely chewy. And it's delicious to boot.
I toasted the coconut for a little texture and that worked out well. There are no eggs in this cookie. The fat primarily comes from the butter and cream cheese which gives it that moist interior and chewy texture. Plus it doesn't spread that much so it stays thick. For a more uniform appearance, make the dough balls the size of golf balls then flatten slightly into thick discs. These stack well so they would be good to include in holiday gift bags.

2 cups plus 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups coconut, toasted and cooled completely
  1. Whisk flour, baking soda and salt in medium bowl; set aside.
  2. In the large bowl of a freestanding mixer, combine butter and cream cheese; beat until smooth. Add sugars and beat until combined. Add vanilla and mix until just combined.
  3. Add dry ingredients and beat at low speed until just combined; do not overmix. Fold in cooled coconut. Portion dough into golf-ball-size dough balls and flatten slightly to thick discs. Cover and chill overnight or else place in freezer bags and freeze for several hours or overnight.
  4. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 325 degrees F and line baking sheets with parchment paper. Evenly space dough discs and bake for 12-14 minutes or until edges are set and bottoms are light brown; do not overbake. Cool cookies in baking sheets for 5 minutes then remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Cinnamon Sugar Cookies

Cinnamon Sugar Cookies - made dough November 21, 2018 from The Fearless Baker by Emily Luchetti
This is a very simple, straightforward cookie. One of those modest-looking gems that have good flavor and is deceptively easy to make, perfect to include in the madness of holiday baking or if you need a nice little filler cookie in a gift basket.
You make the dough, which is easy to handle, not too dry or crumbly or soft and sticky, and roll into logs. Refrigerate or freeze then when you're ready to bake, roll the logs in cinnamon sugar, slice and bake. Couldn't be simpler and you can fit into a busy schedule by making the cookie dough when you have 10 minutes (15 minutes if you're moving slowly) then baking them at a later time when you have 30 minutes or more for the baking and cooling times.

If you underbake, you get a nice, dense texture. If you bake fully (don't overbake), you'll get a slightly lighter, more airy texture. Either way, the flavor is pretty good. It's not quite a snickerdoodle, despite the cinnamon sugar coating, since it doesn't have the same taste or texture, but it's still a good cinnamon-sugar cookie.
8 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar, divided
1 large egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  1. Cream butter and 1/3 cup sugar until smooth. Mix in the egg yolk and vanilla just until combined. Add flour, salt and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon and mix until just combined.
  2. Divide dough in half, sprinkle with flour and roll each piece into a 6-inch log. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, about 45 minutes.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  4. Stir together remaining 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and 1 tablespoon sugar in a small bowl and sprinkle onto a piece of parchment paper. Roll the logs in the cinnamon sugar to coat evenly. Cut each log into 1/2-inch slices.
  5. Evenly space onto prepared baking sheets and bake until the cookies are golden brown, about 10-12 minutes. Cool.

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Basic, Great Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Basic, Great Chocolate Chunk Cookies - made dough November 21, 2018, modified slightly from Seven Spoons by Tara O'Brady

I love trying out new recipes for chocolate chip cookies. If there's any doubt, search for them on my blog and the search results will max out at 8 pages. But I probably have more than 8 pages' worth of chocolate chip cookie recipes. Some turn out, some don't. Needless to say, I love it when one turns out.

This is one of the ones I love. In fact, I liked this recipe so much ,I made it twice to give away to friends and family. I didn't sprinkle with the sea salt, mostly because I usually forget and just want to eat the cookie without pause. Try these cookies and you wouldn't be able to blame me for greed and gluttony.

1 cup (225 g) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons
3 1/4 cups (415 g) all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons medium-grain kosher salt
1 1/2 cups (320 g) packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup (100 g) granulated sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
12 ounces (340 g) milk chocolate, chopped into chunks
Flaky sea salt for sprinkling, optional
  1. In a medium saucepan over the lowest heat possible, melt the butter. Do not let boil. Stir until almost completely melted.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; set aside.
  3. Pour the melted butter into a large bowl and whisk in the sugars. Add the eggs, one at a time, whisking after each addition, until just combined. Stir in the vanilla.
  4. Using a wooden spoon, stir in the dry ingredients until just combined. Fold in the chocolate chunks. Cover tightly and refrigerate overnight. Once thoroughly chilled, portion into golf-ball-size dough balls. Cover and chill or freeze until ready to bake, several hours.
  5. Preheat oven to 360 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Evenly space dough balls and lightly sprinkle with flaky sea salt if desired. Bake until the tops are cracked and lightly golden yet the cookies are still soft in the center, 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool in pan for several minutes then remove cookies to wire racks to cool completely.

Friday, December 14, 2018

Sugar Cookies

Sugar Cookies - made dough November 24, 2018 from Two Sisters Crafting
I rarely make cutout cookies, mostly because they're often too much trouble and the flavor isn't great enough to go to the bother. What with the rolling, cookie cutting, trying to lift the cut dough without the cutout sticking and losing its shape and so on. Then the cleanup of your work surface with its sprinkling of flour to keep the dough from sticking. Honestly, you lost me at the rolling.
Fortunately, I found this recipe and it alleviates most of my angst about cutout cookies. The dough is easy to make and even easier to work with. It isn't sticky or dry and crumbly. It rolls out beautifully with minimal flour sprinkling and easy to use with cookie shapers. I rolled out to a thickness that made cutting out the shapes and transferring them to the baking sheet easy to do without altering the shape of the cutouts.
Lastly and perhaps more importantly to my taste buds, these were delicious. I didn't do anything fancy, i.e. I skipped the buttercream frosting but I did spruce them up - as much as I spruce up most things - with colored sprinkles suited to the Christmas holidays. Bingo - holiday cookies done.
2 cups unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 tablespoons vanilla
4 teaspoons baking powder
6 cups flour
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Cream butter and sugar together until combined and creamy. 
  3. Add vanilla and eggs; beat until incorporated.
  4. Add baking powder and mix.
  5. Add flour, 2 cups at a time, beating until just combined. Do not overmix.
  6. Roll dough into even layer, 3/8" thick. Cut shapes with cutter cutter and evenly space on prepared baking sheets. Bake for 6-8 minutes, depending on the size of the cookie. Do not overbake,

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Coconut Pound Cake

Coconut Pound Cake - made November 18, 2018 from Chef in Training
I've been doing a fair amount of baking, off and on, whenever I can. It comes and goes in spurts, whenever I have time. Which, at this time of the year, between work and the holidays, isn't that often so when I do have a few hours, I tend to whip up batches of cookie dough so I have something to bake for the holiday gatherings.
But I had just enough time one weekend to also make this coconut pound cake, a recipe for which I'd been eyeing for awhile since I love coconut and I've had good success with Chef in Training's recipes.

I did one deviation from the original recipe in that I substituted additional vanilla extract for the coconut extract called for in the recipe. I love coconut; I hate coconut extract. Too artificial tasting. So this might not be as coconut-ty as originally meant but I prefer the more natural flavor of the coconut in the recipe than the tinny taste of coconut extract.
The flavor on this was good and it's best served warm (personal preference) for optimal texture. It's not as firm as a typical pound cake but not as light as a cakey-cake either but is somewhere in between.
1 cup butter
1 3/4 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoons coconut extract (I used vanilla extract)
3 eggs
2 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 cup sweetened shredded coconut

Coconut glaze
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon coconut extract

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl, cream butter, sugar, vanilla extract and coconut extract for 3 to 5 minutes until well combined.
  3. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition until just combined.
  4. Whisk together flour, baking powder and salt in a separate bowl. Add dry ingredients to creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk, mixing after each addition until just combined. Do not overmix. Fold in coconut.
  5. Grease and flour 2 large bread pans or 3 small loaf pans. Pour batter into prepared pans, dividing evenly between bake. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center of each loaf comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs. Let loaves cool.
  6. Coconut glaze: Whisk powdered sugar, milk and extracts together until smooth glaze forms. Pour over each loaf.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies - made dough November 10, 2018 from Coco and Ash
I think I may have found my go-to recipe for oatmeal cookies. I'm not as indifferent to them as I am to peanut butter cookies but they don't light my fire like chocolate chip cookies, know what I mean?
Due to my friend Rick, who is inordinately fond of oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, I keep trying recipes in the hopes of finding the recipe. So I can be prepared the next time Rick reminds me "you haven't sent me oatmeal chocolate chip cookies in awhile." Subtlety not being Rick's long game, lol.

What's different about this recipe is the addition of vanilla pudding mix into the cookie dough. That adds to the chewiness and softness of the texture. It also helps with the moistness of the cookie.
As an added touch, I recommend portioning the dough into cookie dough balls, covering them with plastic wrap and letting them "age" in the refrigerator overnight. That chilling time will also let the oats absorb the moisture in the cookie dough for a more chewy texture. This has a good flavor, crisp edges and a nice chewy, moist interior. Sometimes oatmeal cookies can be dry or a bit too "hearty" but these had a nice chewy-soft texture without being too mushy or crumbly.
1 cup unsalted butter
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups quick-cook oats
1 1/2 cups flour
1 3.4-ounce package instant vanilla pudding
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups chocolate chips
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar until combined. Add eggs, one at a time, and vanilla, mixing briefly between additions until just combined.
  2. Whisk together oats, flour, vanilla pudding, baking soda and salt. Add to butter mixture in three additions, mixing after each addition until just combined. Do not overbeat,
  3. Fold in chocolate chips. Portion dough into golf-ball-size balls, cover and chill or freeze for several hours or overnight.
  4. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper and evenly space frozen dough balls. Bake for 10-11 minutes or until are golden and middles are no longer raw. Cool on baking sheet for five minutes then transfer cookies to wire rack to cool completely.

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Chocolate Dulce de Leche Cake

Chocolate Dulce de Leche Cake - made November 4, 2018 from I Wash You Dry
This is a surprisingly good cake. I say surprisingly because its base is a cake mix and you know how I feel about those. But, like all doctored cake mix recipes, this adds enough extra ingredients to mask that box-cake-mix taste. The texture of the cake was not quite as firm as a pound cake but not squishy like a chiffon. The taste held up as well.

The recipe makes a bit too much of each frosting but the frostings were pretty tasty. I made the same mistake I always seem to make with layered cakes that need to be frosted. The right way to frost two layers together - especially if there’s a filling that isn’t as firm as the frosting, like the dulce de leche in this recipe – is to pipe a line of frosting at the outer edge of one of the cake layers. Spread the filling evenly in the middle but inside the piped frosting line. Then sandwich the top layer over the bottom layer. The piped circle of frosting keeps the layers from sliding against each other and the filling from oozing out while you’re trying to frost the cake.

I know that’s what I should’ve done but I didn’t remember to do it until I was dealing with the difficulty of the layers sliding tipsily against each other when I was trying to frost the outside. Sigh. #fail.

As a result, my cake ended up a bit lopsided and the top layer threatened to slide off the bottom layer out of spite whenever my back was turned. Cutting it so the two layers didn’t separate was – haha – no piece of cake either. What can I say, I’m not about the fancy looks, but about the taste. And fortunately this tasted pretty good. I used a dulce de leche that my niece brought me back from Hawaii so you know it was the good stuff. But the dulce de leche frosting didn’t have a strong taste. I think the sugar overwhelmed the dulce de leche itself. 
An individual-size version of the cake

And like I said earlier, the frosting recipes made a little too much frosting for a non-frosting user like me so you may want to do a 2/3 recipe for the chocolate frosting and a half recipe for the dulce de leche frosting. Unless you plan to decorate a lot with the dulce de leche frosting or really slather on the chocolate frosting. But overall, thumbs up on this cake.

1 (15.25-ounce) Chocolate Fudge Cake Mix
1 (3.9-ounce) box instant chocolate pudding
4 large eggs
1 cup milk
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup oil
1 teaspoon vanilla

Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting
4 ounces cream cheese
1 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups powdered sugar
3/4 cup cocoa powder

Dulce de Leche Cream Cheese Frosting
4 ounces cream cheese, cold
1 cup butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
4-5 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup thick dulce de leche

Topping and filling
3/4 cup thick dulce de leche, divided
1/4 cup toffee bits
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease two 9-inch round cake pans and sprinkle each pan with 1 tablespoon flour, shaking to coat evenly.
  2. Combine cake mix, pudding mix, eggs, milk, sour cream, oil and vanilla and beat together for one minute. Do not overbeat.
  3. Divide batter evenly between prepared cake pans. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until toothpick inserted near the middle comes out clean. Let cool completely and refrigerate for 2 hours before frosting.
  4. Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting: Cream butter and cream cheese together until light and fluffy; add in vanilla. Whisk together cocoa powder and powdered sugar and add, 1/2 cup at a time, to mixture, mixing in gently until fully incorporated.
  5. Dulce de Leche Cream Cheese Frosting: Cream butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy; add in vanilla. Add the powdered sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, mixing between each addition then beat in 1/2 cup dulce de leche until fully combined.
  6. Assemble the cake: Once the cakes are chilled, frost the top of one cake with a layer of the dulce de leche frosting. Spread the other cake top with 1/2 cup of dulce de leche caramel and layer the cakes together so that the caramel and frosting are together between the cakes.
  7. Frost the outside and top of entire layered cake with chocolate frosting. Decorate with dulce de leche frosting. Drizzle top of cake with dulce de leche caramel and sprinkle with toffee bits.