Saturday, December 31, 2022

Danish Butter Cookies by The Gardening Foodie

Danish Butter Cookies - made December 21, 2022 from The Gardening Foodie 
1/2 cup butter, room temperature (remove butter from refrigerator at least an hour before)
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup cake flour or all-purpose flour
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter, powdered sugar and vanilla extract until light and fluffy, 5-8 minutes.
  2. Scrape down sides of mixing bowl, add flour in 3 additions, 1/3 cup at a time, mixing after each addition until combined.
  3. Transfer for the dough to a sheet of plastic wrap and roll into a log. Cut a hole in one end of the plastic wrap and place into a piping bag fitted with a star tip (I used Wilton 1M).
  4. Pipe the dough onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  5. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Sprinkle coarse sugar over chilled piped cookies before placing in oven. Bake for 15 minutes or until edges of cookies turn a light golden color. Remove from oven and let rest on baking sheets for 5 minutes before transferring to wire rack to cool completely.
dough after mixing original recipe ingredients

dough after several tablespoons of milk and a little extract vanilla added

I hate to end the year on a down note but let's just consider it an honest one. Every so often, I have a baking fail. I don't count the last few months when tried and true recipes made the way I've always made them, with fresh ingredients, baked from frozen dough, oven temp is verified, etc, have been coming out flat (butter, you're the problem). I'm talking epic fail. Okay, maybe not as epic as the time I tried to make fudge the old-fashioned way without the help of marshmallow fluff or sweetened condensed milk.

I'm not sure where I went wrong with this recipe. I followed the instructions exactly, even to the point where I left the butter out to soften longer than the recipe prescribed and it still wasn't that soft but it wasn't that hard either and was fairly easy to beat in my stand mixer. I beat the butter, powdered sugar and vanilla extract for 7 minutes but it was still stiff and not light and fluffy. Nevertheless I forged on and added the powdered sugar and cake flour (not all-purpose) as the original blogger said they always use cake flour.
Result? A stiff dough I could've probably rolled out and cut out with cookie cutters or stamped. That wouldn't be so bad except this dough was supposed to be soft and malleable enough to pipe. Um, no. So I added several splashes of whole milk and mixed again. Added more vanilla extract and kept on mixing. Still no. I finally gave up since I didn't want to change the composition of how the cookie was supposed to bake or taste and decided I could live with stamped cookies instead of piped cookies. I rolled the dough into small balls and stamped them. Then I froze them before baking to make sure the impressions held.
The baked result was disappointing. I think part of that was my fault in that I didn't bake the first batch long enough. The cookies were dense and powdery. Not even that butter flavored. I baked the second batch longer. Better but still blah. No crisp texture, very little butter flavor. It just tasted powdery. So, again, not sure where I went wrong but this cookie isn't for me.

Friday, December 30, 2022

Chocolate Nutella Fudge from Midget Momma

Chocolate Nutella Fudge - made December 15, 2022 from Midget Momma
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
8 ounces high quality bittersweet chocolate, 60% cacao
1 cup Nutella
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons
1 cup whole almonds, lightly toasted
  1. Line an 8 x 8-inch pan with foil and lightly butter.
  2. In the top half of a double boiler set over hot water, combine sweetened condensed milk, vanilla, chocolate chips, Nutella and butter.
  3. Stir until mixture is melted and combined. Stir in toasted almonds.
  4. Pour mixture into an even layer into prepared pan. Refrigerate until fudge is firm, at least 2 hours.
  5. Lift chilled fudge out of pan using foil overhang. Run a knife through hot water to make clean cuts and cut fudge into small squares.
Easy fudge recipe alert - melt the first 5 ingredients together, add the toasted almonds (optional), spread, chill, cut and eat.
This has a smooth texture and is easy to work with. I know true fudge aficionados might prefer the boiling sugar and chocolate together to get to soft boil stage and so on but I tried that once and was a complete failure at it so now I just do fudge the easy way. 
I like this version than the ones that use marshmallow fluff as I find it less cloyingly sweet. Plus sweetened condensed milk is easier to work with than marshmallow fluff so that was an added bonus. This is still plenty sweet though which is why I always add the toasted almonds to cut through some of that sweetness. You can use any nuts of your choice but I recommend toasting them lightly first before adding to the fudge to bring out their flavor.

Thursday, December 29, 2022

Soft and Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies from Sally's Baking Addiction

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup (200 grams) brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon molasses
1 1/2 cups (188 grams) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups old-fashioned whole rolled oats
1 cup raisins
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar on medium speed until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes.
  2. Add eggs and mix until combined, about 1 minute. Scrape down the bottom and sides of bowl to keep mixture even textured. Add vanilla and molasses; mix until combined.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Add to the butter mixture and mix on low speed until just combined. Beat in the oats and raisins. Dough will be thick yet sticky. Cover and chill dough in refrigerator for 30-60 minutes.
  4. Portion into golf-ball-sized dough balls, cover and chill or freeze for several hours or overnight.
  5. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper and evenly space dough balls, 2 inches apart.
  6. Bake for 12-14 minutes or until edges are lightly browned and middles no longer look raw. Remove from oven and let rest on baking sheets for 5 minutes before removing to wire rack to cool completely.
Anyone who knows me knows how I feel about raisins in oatmeal cookies. Or any other kind of cookies for that matter. The only time I ever put raisins in oatmeal cookies is when I make them for my nephew-in-law, Zack. In fact, I decided to try this recipe in case it was something I wanted to make for Zack next time I saw him and my niece.

Plus, to be honest, I still had a container of raisins from the last time I made oatmeal raisin cookies for Zack and I didn't want to waste them (I'm a first generation immigrant; we don't throw food away). So I put them in this recipe from Sally's Baking Addiction instead of doing my usual substitution of chocolate chips.
With the exception being the taste test cookie, of course. When I made the oatmeal cookie dough and before I added the raisins, I portioned off a cookie-size portion of dough and studded it with milk chocolate chunks instead. That was my taste test cookie. I used up the rest of the raisins with the remaining dough.
Let me tell you, the taste test cookie was fabulous. Crisp edges, chewy middle, delicious caramelized brown sugar flavor and great texture from the oats. In fact, I'm not exaggerating when I say this was so good that I don't think I'll be testing new oatmeal cookie recipes for awhile. This one is good enough to be my go-to recipe for oatmeal cookies, at least for the foreseeable future. 

And in case you wondered what I did with the rest of the batch with raisins in it, since Zack wasn't around, I shipped them off in military care packages for Soldiers Angels. Hopefully there are military service members who won't mind raisins in their oatmeal cookies when the packages arrive at their destinations.

Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Cinnamon Crinkle Cookies from Mama Needs Cake

Cinnamon Crinkle Cookies - made dough December 18, 2022 from Mama Needs Cake 
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt

For rolling
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together butter and shortening until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes.
  3. Beat in the granulated sugar and brown sugar until well combined, 1-2 minutes.
  4. Beat in egg and vanilla extract until just combined.
  5. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, baking soda, cream of tartar, nutmeg, cloves and salt.
  6. Add dry ingredients to butter mixture in 3 additions, mixing on low speed until just combined after each addition.
  7. In a shallow bowl, mix together granulated sugar and cinnamon. Form dough into balls and roll in cinnamon sugar mixture. Evenly space on prepared baking sheets.
  8. Bake 12-14 minutes or until edges are set and middles no longer look raw. Remove from oven and let cookies rest on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to wire rack to cool completely.
This is not quite a snickerdoodle (despite the cream of tartar and cinnamon-sugar coating) and not quite a ginger molasses cookie (no ginger or molasses) but if both got together and had a cookie offspring, it seems like this would be it.
I think it's because of the spices, particularly the nutmeg and cloves. This has a crisp-chewy texture with an airy lightness that leans more towards the crisp without being hard or difficult to eat. If you're not one for spices in your cookies, this may not be for you. It's also not "just" a cinnamon cookie, despite the title, since the nutmeg and cloves do add to the flavor.

Surprisingly, I think I liked this cookie. I'm not one for nutmeg or cloves but the flavors worked well with the cinnamon and made for a good cookie. So if you want something a little different than the standard snickerdoodle and want a more crisp version of a soft ginger molasses cookie, this is a good one to try.

Tuesday, December 27, 2022

Caramel Crunch-Chocolate Chunklet Cookies by Dorie Greenspan

Caramel Crunch-Chocolate Chunklet Cookies - made December 20, 2022 from Baking with Dorie by Dorie Greenspan
2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into chunks
1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
1/2 cup (60 grams) confectioners' sugar
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups (272 grams) all-purpose flour
3 ounces dark or milk chocolate, chopped into small chunks (I recommend mini chocolate chips)
1/2 cup (60 grams) walnuts, coarsely chopped, toasted, optional (substitute more chocolate chunks if not using)
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together butter, granulated sugar, confectioners' sugar and salt until light and creamy, 1-2 minutes. Beat in vanilla.
  2. On low speed, mix in flour, beating until just combined. Add in chocolate and nuts, if using.
  3. Turn dough onto clean workspace and knead to bring it together. Divide dough in half and roll into 6-inch logs, slightly less than 2 inches in diameter. Wrap both logs and refrigerate for at least two hours.
  4. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees F and butter two 12-cavity muffin tins. Cut each log into 1/2-inch thick rounds and place each round in a muffin cavity. Bake 20-22 minutes or until tops are golden brown at the edges and tops are softly set. Let cool for 3 minutes then remove gently with small spatula.
I thought these would be like caramelized brown-sugar chocolate chip cookies but they were more like chocolate chip shortbread. Really good chocolate chip shortbread. I advise doing as Dorie Greenspan suggests and baking these in muffin tins. That's what allows for the browning and caramelization of the cookies and gives them flavor and a little crunch.
For once, I don't advocate underbaking. The above shows what the bottom of the cookie should look like. It won't really spread in the muffin cavity but the darker muffin tin browned the bottoms of the cookies nicely. If you don't bake them long enough, you will only get a pale, anemic version of the cookie. It tastes better when it's baked to the golden brown color on the bottoms.
I omitted the nuts in this (of course) but increased the amount of mini chocolate chips. The dough was firm enough that I only chilled it in the refrigerator and didn't freeze it. That made slicing easier before baking. I really liked these and they look dainty and pretty. Cut them thickly as they're not meant to be thin snappy cookies but, when properly browned on the bottom, you'll still get a nice crunch but also some chewiness.

Monday, December 26, 2022

Stamped (Brownie) Cookies #26 from Apt 2B Baking Co

Stamped Brownie Cookies #26 - made dough December 22, 2022 from Apt 2B Baking Co
3 cups (284 grams) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (50 grams) dutch-process cocoa powder
1/2 cup (50 grams) black cocoa powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, optional 
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups (330 grams) light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup confectioners sugar
3 tablespoons cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
1 teaspoon peppermint or vanilla extract (I used vanilla)
pinch salt
  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, both cocoas, baking powder and salt.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing after each addition until combined. Add vanilla and mix to combine.
  3. Add dry ingredients and mix on low speed until combined, scraping down sides and bottom of bowl to keep mixture even textured.
  4. Turn dough onto piece of plastic wrap and form into thick disc. Wrap tightly and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 2 days.
  5. Once dough is chilled, roll out between two large sheets of parchment paper to desired thickness (usually 1/4" - 3/8"). Using a mixture of equal parts flour and black cocoa powder, lightly dust top of rolled out dough and cookie stamps to prevent sticking. Cut or stamp out cookies. Arrange in single layers on flat containers, cover and chill or freeze an additional 30-60 minutes or overnight.
  6. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line baking sheets with parchment paper. Evenly space cookies on prepared sheets, leaving 1 inch apart. Bake 7-10 minutes, until cookies are just firm to the touch and puffed.
  7. Prepare glaze while cookies are baking: whisk all glaze ingredients in a small bowl. Once cookies have been out of the oven for 5 minutes, brush or dab glaze with a pastry brush to lightly coat cookies.
I am thrilled to say I found another stamped cookie recipe that holds impressions really well in baking. Even better, these come out soft, not hard like some of the stamped butter cookie recipes I've tried. And best of all, they're chocolate and taste amazing.

This is not like a snappy-crisp chocolate cookie. Instead, these really do taste like brownies in cookie form.
And look how faithfully they kept the impressions! I haven't tried it with more finely detailed stamps but I think they'll work well with those too. The dough came together easily and was the perfect consistency for stamping, not too dry or crumbly and not sticky and too soft.

Although the original directions say to roll out the dough for stamping and cutting or using an embossed rolling pin, I prefer to make the dough into balls, roll the balls in granulated sugar and press a cookie stamp over each dough ball. Then I cut the stamped cookie with a round cookie cutter to make neat edges. 

It's much easier and faster for me to stamp cookies this way and you don't have to handle the dough too much like you do with rolling and re-rolling the leftover dough.
The original recipe includes a glaze but I only made a tiny amount and only glazed the taste test cookie. Since I was mailing these out for Soldiers Angels' care packages, I didn't want to risk a glaze with cream in it in case it didn't hold up well in mailing, even if the cookies are vacuum sealed.

Sunday, December 25, 2022

White Chocolate Chip Cookie Butter Cookies from 5 Boys Baker

White Chocolate Chip Cookie Butter Cookies - made dough December 1, 2022 from 5 Boys Baker
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups cake flour
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cornstarch
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups white chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups Biscoff cookies, coarsely broken
1 jar Biscoff cookie butter, chilled
  1. Preheat oven to 410 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar until well combined, about 2-3 minutes.
  3. Add vanilla and eggs, one at a time, mixing until combined after each addition.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk together cake flour, all-purpose four, cornstarch, baking soda and salt. Add to butter mixture in two additions, mixing until just combined after each addition.
  5. Fold in cookie pieces and white chocolate chips.
  6. Portion dough into eight 6-ounce balls. Break each ball in half, press an indent in one half and spoon a generous tablespoon of cookie butter in the indent. Cover with other half and roll into a ball, making sure cookie butter is sealed inside. 
  7. Evenly space dough balls and bake cookies 9 - 11 minutes. Remove from oven and let rest on baking sheets for 15 minutes before removing to wire rack to cool completely.
Merry Christmas! Today I give you this virtual gift of another great recipe I tried out from 5 Boys Baker. This is another cookie butter white chocolate chip cookie recipe but a super delicious one that is all about the cookie butter. It helps that you "stuff" the cookie butter inside which adds to the flavor. It's especially good if you eat this warm (not hot) and the cookie butter is still rather flowy.
It also has chunks of Biscoff cookies in the cookie itself which adds a nice crunch to go with the caramelized flavor of the cookie itself and the sweetness from the white chocolate. The texture is on point as well, especially if you like a traditional chewy-crispness of a good chocolate chip cookie.

If you want the cookie butter to be lava-esque, be generous with the dollop you put in the middle of the cookie dough. Just make sure the edges are sealed and pinched so no cookie butter leaks out during baking.

This one is definitely a keeper and going into my regular care packages.