Tag Archives: cookie

Bon Appetit’s Tahini Cookies

5 Sep

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In case you haven’t heard, everything everywhere is all about the seeds, and these black sesame seeds are at the top of the hot list. Seeds add texture and appeal to baked goods, and they are pretty darn good for us, too.

These cookies have sesame paste (aka tahini) on the inside and black sesame on the outside. Continue reading

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Dark Chocolate, Pistachio and SMOKED SEA SALT Cookies ~*Recipe ReDux*~

22 Jan

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Oh, what a pinch of salt can do for a dessert. A pinch of salt can enhance the flavor of chocolate, perk up a lemon curd and make a pie crust pop.

What about SMOKED SALT?! I recently acquired a shaker of smoked sea salt, and I think it has great potential in desserts, if used sparingly, mostly with chocolate or nuts (sorry lemon bars and lemon tarts, I do not think smoked sea salt is your friend). Imagine a light sprinkle of smoked sea salt atop an intense chocolate brownie, a milk chocolate pudding or a pecan pie. Woah.

This month’s Recipe ReDux challenge is all about turning up the heat with smoke and spiciness.

“From boldly flavored smoked salts to actual smoking techniques, subtly smoked food is on-trend. The same can be said for spice as we savor heat from harissa, sriracha and smoked paprika. Show us the healthy dish you’re heating up with smoke and/or spiciness.”

I figured that most of the Recipe ReDuxers would be coming up with savory creations, so I decided to keep things sweet and smokey over here. Continue reading

White Chocolate Pineapple Macadamia Cookies

23 Jan

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The white chocolate macadamia nut cookie got a little fancier today.

Partially whole wheat, with big chunks of chopped white chocolate (Callebaut brand), roasted macadamia nuts, dried pineapple chunks. You could use chips, but if possible, I recommend buying a block of good quality chocolate and chopping it yourself. It looks nicer, especially when using white chocolate, to have those uneven blobs of chocolate all melted and shining. Tastes better, too, what with the oozing chocolate hugging the slightly salty macadamias and pineapple bits.

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Browned butter adds an extra rich, nutty element to the cookies. Using browned butter makes things easier since you don’t have to wait for butter to soften…which can take hours in the cold weather temperatures.

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Macadamia nuts, eaten in moderation, are rich in the minerals calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, and zinc. Alright alright, so we are about to chow down on some cookies, but…at least we can get a little pumped about the macadamias…

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White Chocolate Pineapple Macadamia Cookies

adapted from Joy the Baker

yields about 30-36 smallish cookies

1/2 cup (1 stick or 4 oz) butter

1 cup (200 grams) light or dark brown sugar

2 tablespoons milk (I used 1% milk)

1 egg (if possible, try to use an organic egg; even better, purchase your eggs locally at the farmer’s market or another reliable source…)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 3/4 cup flour (I used 1 cup ap flour + 3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour)

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup roughly chopped macadamia nuts

1/2 cup roughly chopped dried pineapple chunks

1 cup roughly chopped good quality white chocolate (a serrated knife works well for chopping chocolate)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Brown the butter: in a medium saucepan, melt the butter, swirling and stirring until nice browned bits appear in the bottom of the pan. This may take 5-7 minutes. Once the butter is browned, remove from heat and set aside to cool a bit while you measure out the dry ingredients.

In a bowl of a stand mixer, add the brown sugar and slightly cooled browned butter. Beat on medium speed for about 2 minutes. Add the egg and beat for another minute. Add the milk and vanilla and beat until incorporated.

Turn the mixer off, scrape down the sides, and add flour, baking soda, and salt all at once. With either the stand mixer on low or by hand with a spatula, incorporate the dry ingredients until just mixed in. Fold in the chopped nuts, pineapple chunks, and white chocolate.

Scoop two teaspoon size balls onto a parchment lined baking sheet (this should use two baking sheets). Bake for 9-11 minutes, rotating once through baking, until the cookies are soft and golden. Remove from the oven and cool completely on a wire rack.

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Smitten Kitchen’s Cranberry Crumb Bars

21 Dec

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Well tickle me pink, these crumb bars are beauts. They taste like pie, but in cookie form. Perfectly balanced tart berry and buttery crumb. I don’t know why I didn’t eat these bars with vanilla ice cream heaping over the top. I did, however, manage to eat every last crumb that happened to “fall off” the top of the cookies. Good heavens!

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I finally found an excuse to do something with the half-full quart container of cranberries that I had been keeping in my freezer for a year. The cranberries held up in perfect condition throughout their year in stasis, and now they’ve had the chance to shine (I tend to put things in my freezer and forget about them until a year later…not the smartest thing to do…but these cookie bars were just a sweet treat to eat at home so the only harm done would be done to me…and I gladly took the risk for these buttery babies!).

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To get a nice, clean cut, it is best to refrigerate the cookie bars for an hour or a few hours and cut them when they are cold. I got too greedy and went right in for the bars when they were still slightly warm and at my disposal. Sigh…I think I need some company to keep my self-control in check.

In other news, I’m totally Smitten with the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook. I feel like almost half of the recipes on my blog are “adapted from” Deb Perelman’s beautiful blog, and now I get to cook my way through her beautiful book. Three cheers for Deb!

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Smitten Kitchen’s Cranberry Crumb Bars

adapted from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook

makes an 8×8 inch pan of bars

Crumb:

1 stick of butter, cubed and chilled

1 1/2 cups (188 grams) all-purpose flour

1/2 cup (100 grams) sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon cloves

1 egg

Filling:

1/2 teaspoon freshly grated orange zest

1 tablespoon orange juice

2 cups fresh cranberries

1/4 cup (50 grams) sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line the bottom of an 8×8 inch baking pan with parchment paper, and butter the sides and the parchment. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and spices. Work the chilled butter and egg into the flour mixture until it resembles a course meal. You can use your hands (my preferred method), a fork, or a pastry blender. Pat half of the crumb base into the bottom of your prepared pan. It will be thin.

In the bowl of a food processor or a blender, briefly pulse the filling ingredients until the berries are coarsely chopped but not pureed. Spread the filling over the crumb base. Sprinkle the remaining crumbs evenly over the cranberry mixture.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until lightly brown on top. Cool completely before cutting into squares. It helps to refrigerate the bars once cool and then cut them when cold.

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Cinnamon “Toast” Biscotti

1 Feb


Before I get to biscotti, I have two important drinks to discuss:


1. Kombucha. After about 5 or so bouts of trying this mushroom-bacteria-fermented drink, I still cannot get myself to enjoy it. I liked the snazzy beer-looking bottle and I was intrigued by the idea of the pineapple ginger combo; however the taste was just a no-can-do. One sip was all it took to make me cringe. I apologize, but I just don’t think I can become a Kombucha drinker, something about floating cultures in my beverage irks me.


2. Milk. I can definitely dig milk. Lately I can drink a LOT of milk. I especially like to put a tablespoon of chocolate sorbet in my milk and stir until dissolved. The result? A glass of refreshing chocolate milk. These days I’m also into dunking cinnamon “toast” biscotti in my milk. Moo.

These biscotti taste like cinnamon toast but in cookie-form. Crunchy cookie form that turns into sweet, milk-absorbing (also tea/coffee/hot chocolate-absorbing) cookie form. Cinnamon sugar heaven.

Oh, and if you are on a biscotti kick, these lemon cornmeal biscotti with cranberries and walnuts really hit the spot, too.

Cinnamon “Toast” Biscotti

from Joy the Baker, my hero
recipe found on epicuriuos.com
makes about 24 cookies

2 cups flour

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup granulated sugar

6 Tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 egg

1 egg yolk

1 teaspoon vanilla

 

For Topping:

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 beaten egg (for brushing biscotti before baking)

 

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F and arrange two baking racks in the upper portion of the oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

Also whisk together the cinnamon and sugar for the topping and set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, fit with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Scrape down the down and beat in the egg followed by the egg yolk. Beat in the vanilla extract.

Add the dry ingredients to the creamed butter all at once. With the mixer or just with a spatula, bring all of the ingredients together until a somewhat stiff dough is formed.

Divide the dough in two on the two making sheets. Shape each half of dough into a 9-inch long and 1 1/2-inch wide log. Brush with the beaten egg and sprinkle very generously with cinnamon sugar. Bake the two sheets on two different racks in the oven for 20 minutes. Rotate the cookie sheets for even baking and bake for 20-25 more minutes until golden and firm to the touch.

Remove from the oven but keep the oven on. Let biscotti cool until able to handle. Using a serrated knife, cut logs into 1/2-inch wide diagonal slices. Place biscotti cut side down on baking sheet and sprinkle with more cinnamon sugar. Bake again until pale golden, about 10-15 minutes.

Store in an airtight container for up to one week.

Nonfat Gingersnaps

14 Sep


I absolutely love ginger molasses cookies with little bits of candied gummy ginger mixed into the batter. My favorite ginger cookie is from Bakesale Betty, an infamous bakery and sandwich shop in Oakland, CA.

I saw this recipe for nonfat gingersnaps in David Lebovitz’s newest cookbook and was curious to see if they were actually going to taste good without butter or egg yolks. Well, they definitely do not taste like the rich, melt-in-your-mouth cookies from Bakesale Betty. They are different, but I like that.

I made these cookies twice now. The first time I was a bit disappointed and so I made a lemon-creme filling (pretty much had butter, powdered sugar, and lemon juice + zest). I just craved the fat. But now, after making them a second time, I like the cookies the way they are. No fussing with lemon-creme filling. I made criss-cross patterns using a fork before baking the cookies, and I really like the way they came out.


And for all you health nuts out there, these cookies have no fat but they do offer tons of sass, or shall I say spice? And my favorite thing about them is the candied ginger bits. These cookies are real thick and chewy. I have been enjoying them with some ultra smooth, silky Straus yogurt (plain, non-fat yogurt) as a mid-afternoon and evening dessert.


Nonfat Gingersnaps

from David Lebovitz’s Ready for Dessert

makes about 20+ cookies

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/3 cup mild molasses
2 large egg whites, at room temperature
1/2 cup finely chopped Candied Ginger (I purchased mine from Whole Foods)

1/2 cup granulated ginger
big pinch cinnamon

Into a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, 2 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon, the ginger, cloves, and pepper.

In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat together the brown sugar, applesauce, and molasses on medium speed for 5 minutes. Stop the mixer and scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl. Add the egg whites and beat 1 minute. With the mixer running on the lowest speed, add the dry ingredients and mix until completely incorporated, then increase the speed to medium and continue mixing for 1 minute more. Stir in the candied ginger. Cover and refrigerate dough until firm, at least 1 hour.

Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven; preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. In a small bowl, stir together the granulated sugar and big pinch of cinnamon.

Using 2 spoons, a small spring-loaded ice cream scoop, or your hands, drop balls of dough a few at a time into the sugar-cinnamon mixture, coating heavily with the cinnamon sugar. They will be sticky, which is normal, and don’t worry if they are not perfectly round. Place the balls at least 3 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets (I actually took a fork and flattened them criss-cross pattern like a peanut butter cookie).

Bake, rotating the baking sheets midway during baking, until the cookies feel just barely set in the center, about 12 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

**STORAGE: The dough can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 1 week or frozen for 2 months. The cookies can be kept in an airtight container for about 3 days.

Hamentaschen for Purim

8 Mar
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“Hamentaschen, Hamentaschen,
You’re my favorite Purim treat,
One filled with prunes and
Two filled with cherries
Three filled with poppy seeds
I will eat, I will eat, I will eat”
I used to sing this song every year in elementary school. We would also host a big carnival on the Jewish holiday, Purim. Dunk tank, goldfish, snacks, spin art, the whole shebang…
So, what exactly is the story of Purim? It involves kings and queens, good guys and bad guys, banquets and drinking, and, well, drinking. Purim celebrates Queen Esther of Persia foiling the evil vizier Haman’s plot to destroy the Jews. This holiday is very joyous and celebratory, and possibly akin to a Jewish Mardi Gras. You get to dress up, drink, party, and just have fun.On Purim, it is traditional to make these triangle cookies filled with either jam or chocolate or poppy seeds etc. Hamentaschen are named for Haman, the villan of Purim. Some call these cookies Oznei Haman or “Haman’s ears.” Haman was also known for his triangular hat, and thus we now make triangular cookies to uh…eat the bad guy? The name “Hamentaschen” could also be a corruption of the Yiddish word montashn or the German word mohntaschen, both meaning poppyseed-filled pouches (from Wikipedia).

The pouches that I made this year did not have poppy seeds in them. Instead I filled some with homemade lime curd, some with homemade (by my buddy Tim) ginger and pear jam, and some with Nutella. Pretty freaking delicious if I say so myself.

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So this year I made two versions: one was vegan and one was not vegan. I liked them both so much, in fact I could not decide which I liked better. I guess I will just have one of each. Enjoy and Happy Belated Purim!

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The vegan Hamentaschen, with ginger and pear jam
Vegan Hamentaschen Dough
Recipe from Emily Weingarten

I really enjoyed the subtle flavor of the brown sugar in this dough. Really great vegan recipe!

2 cups unbleached flour
1 ½ tsp. baking powder
½ cup non-hydrogenated vegetable oil spread (such as Earth Balance)
¾ cup brown sugar
¼ cup soymilk

Your choice of filling. Suggestions include: any flavor fruit preserves or butter, chocolate, poppyseed filling…

  1. Mix together the flour and baking powder in a medium bowl and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, cream the vegetable oil spread, brown sugar and soymilk. Mix in the dry ingredients. Chill dough for 6 hours or overnight (I just chilled for a few hours and my dough was A-okay).
  3. On a floured surface, roll dough ¼ inch thick. Use a 3-inch cookie cutter or drinking glass to cut circles in the dough. Place a small amount of filling in the center of each circle. Pinch three corners of the dough to form a triangular-shaped cookie with a small hole in the center.
  4. Bake on a lightly oiled cookie sheet at 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on wire racks.

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Jean’s Award-Winning Hamentaschen Dough Recipe

Recipe adapted from Jean, a family friend/winner of the synagogue’s Hamentaschen baking challenge

1 stick of butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
a pinch of salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 cups all purpose flour

Filling of your choice

1. Beat together butter and sugar. Add the egg. Add the lemon juice and vanilla.
2. Combine salt, baking powder, and flour. Add this to the butter mixture.
3. Wrap the dough in plastic and chill for at least an hour.
4. Roll out your dough, cut into circles, fill the circles, pinch your edges to look like a triangle (make sure you pinch your ends together tightly otherwise they will open in the oven).
5. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes.