Sunday, May 30, 2010

Kitchen Sink Cookies

I love wedding season. I was fortunate enough to travel to Michigan and Ohio this weekend for a friend's awesome wedding. During my short trip I was able to grab brunch with two college friends. My one friend, Brigid...shout out to Brigid!!! Being the deep and philosophical thinker that she is, she asked me, "what exactly is a cookie?" I had never thought about what makes a cookie a cookie.

The word "cookie" is derived from the Dutch word. "koekje" which means "little cake". After a little research I realized that the difference lies more in the method then in the ingredients. Cakes also contain a larger liquid to dry ratio yielding a batter instead of a dough. I am sure there are many more differences, but my time is precious during these days leading up to my sister's wedding.

Below is one of my favorite go-to cookie recipes...I think I like this cookie, because just like me it is indecisive. : )

Kitchen Sink Cookies
from Martha Stewart
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed light-brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup coconut
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl beat butter, sugar and brown sugar together until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until well blended. Stir in vanilla.
  3. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Gradually stir into butter mixture until well blended. Add oats, chips, coconut, raisins, and walnuts, and stir until well blended.
  4. Drop batter by heaping tablespoons or with a 1 ounce ice-cream scoop about 2 inches apart. Press tops down with the bottom of a glass to flatten cookies evenly. Bake until golden, about 16 to 18 minutes. Cool on pan for 2 minutes. Remove from pan, and finish cooling completely on wire rack.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

THE Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Recipe

Alright people, I am going to be straight up honest with you. I love oats. If it was up to me I would secretly put oats into everything I ate. If Mr. Oats was running for president, I would endorse him. That being said I have the best recipe for oatmeal raisin cookies that has ever existed in the whole wide world! What makes this recipe far superior to all other recipes is the secret ingredient...molasses. The molasses helps keep the cookie uber moist and it adds a hint of that deep molasses flavor.
The Oatmeal Raisin Cookie
adapted from Carole Walter's cookbook, Great Cookies

Bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Pour over 1 cup raisins and let sit for a few minutes, then drain and set aside.

Cream together in medium bowl with mixer:
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2/3 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup granulated sugar

Once combined slowly add the following until smooth and combined:
1/4 cup molasses
2 eggs, room temperature
2 tsp vanilla

Sift together in medium bowl and then add to the wet ingredients:
2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

Then stir in:
1 cup of raisins that have been plumped
2 cup old fashioned oats

Bake in 325 degree oven 10-12 minutes. Rotate pan after 5 minutes.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

German Chocolate Cookies

I was pondering the meaning of cake the other day...what is so alluring about all things cake? When I tell people I am going to baking and pastry school they always automatically ask if I make cakes. When I tell people I work at a bakery, they always ask what kind of cakes we make. I just find it funny that "cake" is such a universal word instantly associated with "baking and pastry". Don't get me wrong, I like cake every once in a while; and I like how people always want a cake when they are celebrating something. I just feel like cake has had its day and maybe some of the other things in the baking/pastry world deserve a chance on top. Equal rights for all pastries...people, come on.

I usual. Anyways, I got to thinking how cool would it be if there was a line of cookies with cake flavors. Black forest, Carrot cake, red velvet, Italian cream cheese, and German chocolate. I know black and white cookies are cake like in texture, but I am talking about keeping the same consistency of a traditional chocolate chip cookie, but with cake inspired flavors. I am sure this is not a new idea, but I decided to start making up my own cake cookie recipes. My first attempt was a German chocolate cookie. I was pleased with the result, and that is why I am posting the recipe.

German Chocolate Cookies

1/3 cup + 2 TBS brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
1 cup room temp butter
1 TBS Honey
2 eggs room temp
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup cocoa
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
2 1/4 cups AP flour
2 cups milk chocolate chips
3/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Place chopped pecans on cookie sheet and toast 8-10 minutes until golden, turning once after five minutes. Cool.

Mix sugars together in bowl, add butter and mix until smooth. Scrape bowl and paddle on mixer down then slowly add honey, eggs, and vanilla until smooth and combined. In separate bowl sift together cocoa, salt, baking soda, and flour. Toss in chocolate chips and coconut. Add to the wet and mix until combined. Do not over mix. Scoop out cookies of desired size onto parchment lined cookie sheet. Top each cookie with a few chopped pecans. Bake 10-12 minutes, rotating pan after 6 minutes. Cool and enjoy!

FUN FACT: German chocolate cake did not come from Germany...someone in Dallas, TX invented it!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Turkey don't have to eat in November!

When I first graduated from college I was a nanny/errand runner/personal assistant/personal chef for this family in Pennsylvania. Besides learning every word to every wiggles song ever made, I also learned how to make these wicked yummy turkey burgers. When I moved on I often made these burgers then froze them into individual burgers for quick week night meals. You can also make these with ground chicken if that is what your little heart desires. I am a bunless person when it comes to these burgers, mostly because I don't want to waste my carbs on a bun when I could be eating a cookie instead. I usually serve them with a nice slice of uber sharp white cheddar cheese and a slice of fresh tomato.

Turkey Burgers

1 1/2 pounds ground turkey
1 egg

2 TBS onion flakes (optional...I usually don't put it in)
1 TBS chili powder

3/4 tsp ground cumin

1 garlic clove minced

1/2 tsp kosher or sea salt

Mix all ingredients together and from into patties. Grill or make in saute pan. Cook each side 3-4 minutes...depending upon how big you make the burgers. Make sure you don't push down on the burgers while you are cooking them because all the juices will be released and make your burger dry.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Caesar Dressing, and you don't have to be Roman to eat it.

Oh boy. The hot weather has officially arrived here in Texas. As I was sitting in traffic yesterday I was trying to be grateful and optimistic for the things I do have...but driving in a car with no AC in 102 degree weather...yeah...that optimism flew out the window real quick. I always crave fruits and vegetables in warm weather, and sugar and carbs in cold weather. I know there is probably a scientific explanation for that besides people just wanting to look better in their swim suits...but I have yet to learn what that is.

My mom does not cook a lot, but the few things she does make she makes well. Our family favorite is her Caesar dressing recipe, she usually only breaks it out for special occasions like the holidays, or when miraculous things one of her kids finally moving out of the house. : ) In her version she uses the Kraft Parmesan cheese in that green plastic bottle...but for the sake of keeping things "real" I make it with freshly grated Parmesan. Traditionally Caesar dressing is made with anchovies, I tried the darn little fishes in my dressing and was not pleased with the results.

FYI - This recipe calls for a raw egg, we have been eating it for years and still haven't keeled over, so eat at your own risk. : )

Mother Teresa's Caesar Dressing

1 whole egg
4 TBS olive oil
1 tsp Red wine vinegar

1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
2 TBS Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp diced garlic

4 TBS freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Mix together and serve over lettuce. Store leftovers in fridge for up to 4 days.