Tag Archives: Cookies and Bars

Mexican Butter Cookies

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It’s that time of year, isn’t it?  That rush-about-hustle-bustle-get-everything-done-on-time time of year, and it’s more that than it ever has been here.  A week ago, I was in bed recovering from knee surgery, and today, a week later, feeling pretty good about my physical therapy session today.  Christmas is in how many days?

Now that I think of it, we have few worries.  One of the perks of being an empty nester with three adult sons who aren’t married is having very little Christmas shopping to do.    We can actually think about strolling around this next weekend — maybe with one crutch in tow — enjoying ourselves, mulling over one choice for a present or another, taking advantage of the deals not available even a few weeks ago, and afterward treating ourselves to dinner somewhere with a crackling fire.  Yule Log on a flat screen would be more the reality around here, and I’d settle for that considering it’s supposed to rain this weekend.

On the other hand, I’ve been too leisurely about posting my second recipe for the Cookies We Love Challenge featuring sweets from Saveur’s “Smart Cookies:  Favorite Holiday Treats from Around the World.”

The first treat I made, Caramel Crumb Bars from New Zealand, disappeared fairly quickly, so they’ll be tough to top.  Because of my semi-ambulatory state, I settled for an easy to whip up recipe from Mexico next:  Galletas con Conchitos or Cookies with Sprinkles which could be made any time of the year, actually — especially if you are a busy person in desperate need of a tasty butter cookie, or someone with children who like to be involved in baking.

Mine were baked one evening, wrapped the next morning, and mailed to my son in San Francisco along with quite a few other holiday teeth rotting treats to share with his dorm buddies.  Or is it resident hall acquaintances?  No matter.  They won’t care if any of it is in one piece when it arrives, but I always ask.

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Ginger Sandwich Cookies with Lemon Cream Filling

Dear Nick Malgieri,

I saw your Ginger Sandwich Cookies filled with lemon cream in a recent issue of Food & Wine magazine and decided I’d give them a try.  Although gingersnaps have never been and will never be a cookie I find myself craving, the lemon filling did catch my attention and I thought that with the ginger, the flavor could be exceptional.

Although that did not disappoint, the molasses, on the other hand, gave me pause because the last time I made cookies that had molasses in them, the results were less than appealing until I bent them into submission after much trial and error.

Now I know I’m far from perfect on most days, but I have had a modest amount of experience cooking and baking with great success — thankfully more times than not.  I also use excellent equipment and so cannot blame poor result on either of those factors.

What I’m left with is a question, and I’m asking it of you since this is your recipe and the photograph chosen to illustrate the intended results looks far different than mine — especially my first batch.Ginglemoncook

  • When baking cookies with molasses, is there something I just don’t understand?  What causes them to spread so?  I know sugar in general causes that, and when using molasses, a smaller quantity is needed, as in this recipe which calls for only 1/4 cup.  Could it be the brand of molasses?  I use Grandma’s which is just about the only kind I’ve ever used, and the jar I used for this batch was opened recently.
  • Although keeping a very close eye on the Ginger Sandwich cookies during the required bake time, I realized I needed to remove them from the oven only half way through the expected 20-minute baking time, and even then, the cookies were far too done.  Actually, burnt.
  • I prefer to use convection settings for everything except for recipes with a high quantity of egg, so am used to reducing the heat and cooking time to compensate for that choice. However, because of the previous results, I chose not to use convection heat for this recipe.  On the second batch, again, with only 7 minutes of the baking time elapsed, I had to remove the cookies.

Mr. Malgieri, I know that often, baking is an adventure, and I accept that most of the time.  Because I’m used to reading recipes, I can usually spot one that I think could be problematic, and with this recipe, the cooking time did get my attention.  Cookies rarely bake that long.  Nevertheless, I proceeded like the trusting home cook I am.

I will say your ginger cookies are lovely tasting with a nice bite — chewy, with a pleasant tartness from the lemon cream which blends well with the overall sweetness.  Very, very nice.  I just wish I’d done them justice.  So I’m curious and would enjoy trying these again, but detest wasting food so need some direction.

Did Food & Wine misprint the recipe?  Or am I just someone who should step away from the molasses?

With the utmost respect,
Kelly

p.s.  They stack very well, though!

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Tuiles and Orange Yogurt Sabayon

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Thursday:  8:10 am

I swore I'd not be late on this month's Daring Baker's challenge.  I even mentioned to others I'd complete it two weeks into the month, but time has a way of passing so quickly these days and before I knew it, this week was upon me and bearing down hard.

Two days ago, I cut some forms for the tuiles we are to have made.  And even yesterday, I retrieved some egg whites from the freezer to thaw so I could begin work.  But did I?  No.  So here I am today just getting started.

I know what you're thinking.  What a slacker.  And you'd be right, but it's only a bit after 8am, and I've got plenty of time even with the refrigeration time that's required for the recipe.

I'm thinking that zabaglione or pots de creme should go with my tuiles.  But I'll let you know.  So come back later even though you've got hundreds of others to visit.  I'll be posting in stages.  This month's challenge is
brought to us by
Karen of Bake My Day and Zorra of 1x umruehren bitte
aka Kochtopf. They have chosen Tuiles from The Chocolate Book by
Angélique Schmeink and Nougatine and Chocolate Tuiles from Michel Roux.

11:12 am

The good news is that it's still Thursday.  Even better?  I'm done with the tuiles!  They're very easy to make, but do require a 30-minute refrigeration time before baking, and if you're me, then you forgot to turn on the oven and had to wait an addition period of time after the cookies were were already on the chilled baking sheets.  It never fails…

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Very few ingredients are needed to make tuiles:  only 1/4 c. softened butter, 1/2 c. sifted powdered sugar, 1/2 c. sifted all-purpose flour, 2 large egg whites, and a splash of vanilla.

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The soft butter and powdered sugar are mixed to a paste, the egg whites added gradually while stirring to bring the mixture together.

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The flour is added gradually as well, stirring, but not over-mixing until everything comes together.  A splash of vanilla is incorporated and then the whole mixture goes into the fridge for about 30 minutes.  Line the baking sheets with parchment or silicone and chill them as well.

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Use some cardboard to cut out the shape you'd like to use.  I used corregated cardboard and then pinched the inside edges before using an offset spatula to spread batter over the forms.

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If you'd like, add some of the cocoa powder to a small amount of the batter and mix well before spooning it into a decorators bag with a plain tip.  Make whatever decorations you'd like and then put the sheets into a 350 degrees F oven for about 7 minutes or until the edges of the tuiles are barely brown.

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Remove them immediately from the pan with a thin edged spatula and use wooden spoon handles or rolling pins to shape them.  But you really have to hurry, because if you don't, then yours will be as flat and crisp as mine, poor little cute things.

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Have some fun making other shapes, too, and maybe, just maybe, you'll be able to twist a few!

Okay, off to make the dessert they'll go in.

6:30 pm

Yes, it's late.  A lot later than I thought I'd be, but the goings on of a day tend to make some things take longer than I'd like.  Especially this dessert which, by comparison, is very easy.

Orange Sabayon

1 lg. egg

1 lg. egg yolk

1/3 c. sugar

zest of 1 orange

1/3 c. freshly squeezed orange juice

1 T lemon juice

For the dessert…

1 orange

0% fat Greek yogurt

Prepare an ice bath in a bowl large enough to set the top pan of a double boiler.

In the top of a double boiler pan, whisk the eggs until foamy.  Gradually mix in the sugar whisking until well combined.  Add the juices and the zest, mixing well.  Place the pan over a gently simmering pan of water and stir the citrus mixture constantly until the mixture thickens like a pudding.  Place the pan in the ice bath and continue to stir until it cools.

To create a light dessert, section an additional orange and place the segments in a wide-mouthed glass.  Make sure they're well drained or the juice will pool in the bottom of the glass.  In a small bowl mix 1/2 of the chilled sabayon and 1/4 c. of the yogurt.  To serve, mound the orange yogurt sabayon over the oranges.  Don't forget to include the tuiles!

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Notes:

  • The tuiles are surprisingly easy to make.  Unfortunately, I baked mine for 7 minutes instead of 5 while I was looking for the browned edges and then didn't move quite fast enough to get them positioned over the rolling pin and wooden spoon handles.  I did have a chance to try it with another batch, so know not to bake them quite so long.
  • The sabayon is also easy to put together.  If you wanted to fatten it up a bit, you could mix it with whipped cream and/or a bit of mascarpone.

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Chunky Chocolate and Walnut Cookies

Chunky Chocolate Walnut Cookies

I try not to post sweets two days in a row.  I know it’s not like there’s a rule somewhere that I should be following, so it must have happened without my realizing it.  In much the same way that sweets are savored when they’re available around here, I plan when they’ll be posted as well, hoping to break the stream of savory recipes I always have ready and waiting. Well, it sounds good, anyway.  In my next life, I’ll be Martha.  Okay, so maybe not.

It’s not like you can gain weight looking at photos, right? They show up on the computer screen and look great, but looking isn’t synonymous with ingesting or digesting. Jumping up to grab a snack bar, more of this or a little of that after drooling over aforementioned food on your computer screen does not count in this particular situation.

If you’re my youngest son, evidently, you don’t gain weight actually eating cookies, either, and I must confess; I’ve been trying to fatten him up. With half a year until his 17th birthday, he’s just over six feet and weighs in at a willowy 146. I know it’s all about HGH, and I had my opportunity to bask in the glow of eating and not gaining decades ago, but clearly that time has passed.


Evidently, he’s inherited both my husband’s and my skinny genes.  Goodness knows we’re no longer using them.  And that would be genes — not jeans — because he’s not one for skinny jeans.  Instead, when shopping for pants, we have to decide just how small the hip size can be to maintain some modicum of bagginess he prefers, and a belt takes care of the rest.

What does this have to do with food, you ask?  Cookies.  It’s about cookies.  And this week, Chunky Chocolate Walnut Cookies, to be specific.  Yes, it’s Week Three, and I’m still making cookies for my boy.  I think it’s because it’s a helluva lot easier than committing to exercise regularly even though I’ve been sort of trying to maybe think about possibly getting off my rump to do that, too.  I logged about 10 miles walking last week.  Not bad, right?

Does it count that when I got home from my 4-mile walk yesterday, the first thing I did was reach into the bag of cookies I’d made for my son last week?  I only had one.  Truly.  I did.

They’re rich, they’re chocolatey, and if you’re me, then your tastebuds sing when you bite into a piece of walnut, too. No pecans in these babies.  They’re light and soft and have given me pause about milk chocolate since I’m a devout fan of dark chocolate.  Did I mention the chunks are dark?

Mmmm….

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Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Chewies

 

I know.  You’ve already been to the Well Fed Network.  You’ve scanned the five contendahs in the Best Food Blog: Humor category and you immediately see me.  And then you think, “Wait.  What the heck is she doing there?” and I’d say, “Exactly.”

Because there’s a pretty famous person on that list.  Okay, so even he isn’t winning.  But still.

I’m thinking I can bribe you with cookies — especially because I’m behind on that semi-sort of kind of resolution thing I never really made but have found myself roped in to.  Just because you haven’t seen a cookie here in more than a week doesn’t mean I’ve given up. Oh no.  I’m ready and have cookies waiting in the wings.

I can tell you already, though, that making cookies for my son’s lunch isn’t saving me money.  The routine goes something like this:  It’s Sunday evening (which means last minute, right?) and I think about what ye ol’ larder holds, peruse the unruly contents, then flip open the big cookie book and desperately look for a recipe that doesn’t need butter.  I’m exaggerating a bit, but it has happened, and yes, there are cookie recipes that don’t include butter.  Can you even imagine?  Completely sacrilegious if you ask me.

If I choose the recipe first and then go to the store to shop for the ingredients, I come home with enough groceries to feed half the neighborhood.  This is not cheap. There will never be a day when I “run” to the store only for a pound of butter.  I mean, come on — the grocery store is a far too glittery place. So lunch cookies end up costing a bundle and I might as well get back to purchasing Little Debbies for his lunch.

So I bring you cookies today — cookies made without a trip to the grocery store.  Cookies that didn’t cost me an arm and a leg.  Cookies I’m willing to share to squeeze votes from you, your mailman, your UPS driver, and your distant relatives.

Deal?

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