Chocolate Roll-Out Cookies

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Wanting to make something easy to bring to the office for Valentine’s Day, I decided to finally give this recipe from Smitten Kitchen a whirl. Not needing any special ingredients, I made the dough the day before, whipped up a batch of the cream filling I used for the Homemade Oreos, sandwiched the cookies together, and expected to fall in love.

Chocolate Roll-Out Cookies

But I didn’t, I was disappointed.*** (Sorry Deb’s mom.) And well, I likened these cookies to online dating; stay with me for a sec. They’re like the picture where the guy looks friendly and happy then you meet him in person and he’s silently pining over his ex and you kick yourself for wasting your time having drinks when you could have been home in your PJs watching Teen Mom 2. (Don’t lie, you watch it too.) These cookies are cute and nice looking then you try them and you wish you hadn’t wasted your calories. Get it?

Anyway, I found the dough difficult to gather together and roll out–it kept cracking and was really dry. I thought the cookies were a little bland and not very sweet; if I were to make these again I’d sprinkle the cookies with sanding sugar or something to sweeten them up a bit. Of course, I’m curious to see what my coworkers say tomorrow, as they sometimes love things that I’m not very fond of.

***Update: These were a hit at the office. Maybe I just had a bad tasting day or something.

p.s. Happy Valentine’s Day from Nosh With Me!

Cookie Ingredients
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa

Cookie Preparation
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk dry flour, salt and baking powder in bowl and set aside. Mix butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla and cocoa in mixer. Gradually add flour mixture, and mix until smooth. Wrap in plastic and chill for at least one hour.

Roll out cookie dough on floured counter. Cut into desired shapes, brushing extra deposits of flour off the top. Bake on a parchment-lined baking sheet for 8 to 11 minutes (the former for 1/8-inch thick cookies, the latter for 1/4-inch cookies) until the edges are firm and the centers are slightly soft and puffed.

Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Vanilla-Cream Filling Ingredients
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) room-temperature, unsalted butter
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Filling Preparation
Place butter and shortening in a mixing bowl, and at low speed, gradually beat in the sugar and vanilla. Turn the mixer on high and beat for 2-3 minutes until filling is light and fluffy.

Cookie recipe from Smitten Kitchen.

Bake a Difference for Kids’ Cancer (& Giveaway)

Two years ago I lost my friend Patti (my age–only in her 30s) to cancer. Watching her go through treatments, try different medications, and see her in pain was one of the absolute worst things I have ever witnessed and I can’t imagine a child going through what Patti went through. So, when I heard that one of my favorite brands, OXO, was donating up to $100,000 to Cookies for Kids’ Cancer to support research for new and improved therapies, I knew I had to participate.

Background: Cookies for Kids’ Cancer was founded by two OXO employees whose own son was battling pediatric cancer. When the couple learned that the main reason over 25% of kids diagnosed with cancer do not survive was because of a lack of effective therapies, the organization was started. For more information, visit OXO’s Cookies for Kids’ Cancer.

How you can help bake a difference: Purchase a limited edition cookie spatula! For every spatula sold, OXO will donate 50% of the profits (up to $100,000) to benefit pediatric cancer awareness. These spatulas can be found at Bed Bath & Beyond and Amazon, as well as other retailers.

Read more

Half Chocolate Chip and Half Chocolate With White Chip Cookies

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Half and Half CookiesThe incredibly kind people over at The Harvard Common Press must have known I was on a self imposed cookbook purchasing hiatus because they offered to send me four cookbooks, all part of the “Baker’s Field Guide” series. They even have a pull quote from David Lebovitz on the covers. I was sold.

Side note: I’ll be giving away a set of these cookbooks soon, so stay tuned for a chance to win!

One of the books was all chocolate chip cookie recipes, and my eyes immediately went to the “half and half cookies,” perfect for those of us who have trouble making up our minds when it comes to cookie flavors! The cookie is half chocolate chip, half rich chocolate with white chocolate chips and is chewy and absolutely delicious. My coworkers ate them up in no time, and everyone keep saying how good they are. They’re definitely worth the extra time it took to roll all the dough balls.

2 cups plus 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 cup semisweet chocolate morsels
3 tablespoons Dutch-processed unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
1 cup white chocolate morsels

Photos of the process here.

Whisk 2 cups of the flour, the baking soda, and salt together in a medium-size bowl.

In a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter until creamy, about 2 minutes. Add granulated sugar and brown sugar gradually, beating until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes, and scraping down bowl once or twice. Beat in vanilla, then eggs, one at a time, scraping down bowl. Add about one-third of flour mixture and mix on low speed. Gradually add remaining flour mixture, mixing just until blended.

Divide mixture in half. To one half, beat in remaining 3 tablespoons flour and the semisweet chocolate morsels. To the other half, beat in sifted cocoa and white chocolate morsels. Cover with plastic wrap and chill doughs separately at least 2 hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 375 F. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Take rounded teaspoons of each type of chilled dough and roll it into a ball. (My dough was a little sticky so I measured out the first dough one teaspoon at a time, made balls from it, put the dough balls back in the fridge, then measured out the second dough the same way.)

Press the balls together, side by side, so you can see both colored doughs. Gently form this cookie into a ball. Place on prepared cookie sheets 2 inches apart so that doughs remain side by side. Bake until edges and tops just begin to turn light golden brown, about 12 minutes. Place sheets on racks to cool for 5 minutes, then remove cookies from sheets and place directly on racks to cool completely.

Yields 52 cookies. (Or more, if you make them smaller like I did.)

Recipe from A Baker’s Field Guide to Chocolate Chip Cookies by Dede Wilson.

Peanut Butter Filled Chocolate Cookies

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Peanut Butter Filled Chocolate Cookies One of the first food blogs I ever read was Culinary in the Desert (now called Culinary in the Country) who regularly shares amazing recipes and photos. This recipe is no exception. Fans of chocolate and peanut butter, pay attention!

Imagine: A soft, rich, chocolate cookie filled with a peanut butter filling similar to that of a Reese’s peanut butter cup. Plus, tiny specks of sugar on top. Chocolate and peanut butter–the perfect combination. Go make these now.

Photos of the process here.

p.s. Giveaway coming soon: The super nice folks at Trudeau sent me a huge box of amazing baking supplies. (My favorite are the silicone pinch prep bowls.) Stay tuned for your chance to win!

Dough Ingredients
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (1/2 cup or 1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup peanut butter
1 large egg
1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

Filling Ingredients
3/4 cup sifted confectioners’ sugar
1/2 cup peanut butter
pinch salt
2 tablespoons granulated sugar

Dough Preparation
Preheat oven to 350. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt.

In a large mixing bowl, beat together butter, sugars and peanut butter until smooth and creamy. Mix in egg, milk and vanilla, beating until well combined. Add dry ingredients and mix just until combined. Form the dough into 32 balls.

Filling Preparation
In a medium bowl, mix together confectioners’ sugar, peanut butter and salt until smooth. Form into 32 balls.

Working on a silpat or piece of parchment, gently flatten each chocolate ball. Top each round with a peanut butter ball, then carefully fold chocolate dough over the peanut butter ball and seal the edges. Roll dough into a ball.

Place balls on a parchment or silpat-lined baking sheet. Lightly flatten with the bottom of a glass dipped in the remaining 2 tablespoons granulated sugar.

Place pans into the oven and bake until the surface of the cookies begins to slightly crack, about 8 minutes. Remove and allow cookies to cool for 1 minute on the baking sheet. Transfer cookies to a wire rack and allow to cool completely.

Makes 32 cookies.

Recipe from Culinary in the Country.

Compost Cookie Bars (AKA Break Up Cookies)

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Compost Cookie Bars Note: This post contains a very brief story of my recent breakup as well as what I did and did not eat while in NYC. If you’re only interested in the recipe, skip to here.

I found out on a Thursday that I would be going to NYC for a conference and to see clients the following Monday, so I quickly made a list of restaurants and bakeries I wanted to visit while I was there. On my list was of course Momofuku, home of the Crack Pie I made a while back. I’ve been curious to try their compost cookies which I had heard contain potato chips, pretzels, and much, much more. Seeing as how I’ve enjoyed Ben & Jerry’s Late Night Snack which has chocolate covered potato chips in it, I figured the compost cookies would be a no brainer.

Unfortunately, things then turned south. The day before I was to leave, my boyfriend/guinea pig and I broke up quite unexpectedly, and my body decided to go on a break up diet. The one where you can’t eat, not the one where you eat everything in sight. This did not bode well with my plans to eat my way through New York.

So. What I did not eat: Anything from Momofuku, soft pretzels, warm nuts, black and white cookies, macarons, cupcakes, good pizza. What I did eat bites of: Pizza from the food court at the Javits Center (blech), a lobster sandwich and french fries from The Mermaid Inn (apparently I do like lobster), a bunch of different things including salad, pita and spreads, and chicken from a Greek place called Kefi. Then just when I got hungry enough to eat a full meal, I realized my hotel was literally a foot away from Shake Shack, a place Nicole of Cake & Heels and I had just been talking about the week before. I had the best chicken hot dog (I don’t eat red meat) of my life and the shack sauce I got with the fries was insanely addictive. It’s seriously like crack for french fries.

Disappointed I didn’t get to visit Momofuku, and in phase two (wine, sweet, and salty) of the break up diet, I decided to make the compost cookies myself when I got back in town. After reading dozens of blog posts about flat cookies that spread, I figured I’d give them a shot baking them in a pan and slicing them into bars.

My attempt was a success! I brought these cookies to a get together on Saturday and they were gobbled up in no time. The cookie itself is chewy, salty, sweet, and the pretzels gave it a nice crunch. I think the potato chips were a little lost with all of the peanut butter, but the pretzels definitely added some wow factor.

1 cup unsalted butter
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1 Tbsp corn syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp Kosher salt
1 1/2 cups your favorite baking ingredients (I used peanut butter cups, peanut butter chips, and chocolate chips)
1 1/2 cups your favorite snack foods (I used potato chips and pretzels)

In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream butter, sugars and corn syrup on medium high for two to three minutes until fluffy and pale yellow in color. Scrape down the sides with a spatula.

On a lower speed, add eggs and vanilla to incorporate. Increase mixing speed to medium-high and start a timer for 10 minutes. During this time the sugar granules will fully dissolve, the mixture will become an almost pale white color and your creamed mixture will double in size.

When time is up, on a lower speed, add the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix 45 – 60 seconds just until your dough comes together and all remnants of dry ingredients have incorporated. Do not walk away from your mixer during this time or you will risk over mixing the dough. Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl with a spatula.

On the same low speed, add in the hodgepodge of your favorite baking ingredients and mix for 30 – 45 seconds until they evenly mix into the dough. Add in your favorite snack foods last, paddling again on low speed until they are just incorporated.

Spread batter into 9×13 pan. (I lined my pan with non-stick foil and used an offset spatula to spread.) Bake at 350 and check after 30 minutes. (I can’t remember if mine took 30 or 35 minutes to bake through, sorry!) Let cool then cut into bars.

Recipe adapted from The Amateur Gourmet.

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