I’ve had a busy last couple of weeks, with back-to-back sets of houseguests to entertain, take care of and clean up after. It was fun, but I’m glad to be back to my regular routine…and that includes getting my Tuesday TWD post up.
Luckily, this week’s pick, courtesy of Clivia of Bubie’s Little Baker, couldn’t be easier. The world’s simplest cookie dough, made of just maple syrup, brown sugar, butter and flour, gets a quick-mix by hand. After a brief rest in the fridge, and only seven minutes in the oven, Translucent Maple Tuiles are ready! Tuiles are crispy, buttery, lacy-thin cookies. The coolest thing about a tuile is that, while still warm from the oven, it’s pliable. If you don’t want to cool your tuiles flat on a rack, you can gently curve them around a rolling pin, or roll them more tightly, like cannoli tubes.
I followed Clivia’s suggestion to use a “shave” less butter than the recipe called for. They come out of the oven a little greasy, so I was glad I did. R and I enjoyed our maple tuiles with a little bowl of ice cream.
As evidenced by the little bit of blur along the plate rim on the bottom left, I am apparently not quite grown up enough to have a set of unchipped plates. If I did act my age, though, I may not have appreciated these Peanuttiest Blondies as much as I did. With hunks of chocolate and peanuts, and lots of peanut butter, they tasted remarkably like a favorite candy bar of mine (which I ate way too many of on Sunday night, by the way). A nice crackly top and chewy on the inside gives them a homebaked feel. I think I’ll wrap one up and take it to the polls with me today.
For the recipe, see Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan, or read Bakeologie, as it was Nicole’s choice for TWD this week. Don’t forget to check out the TWD Blogroll! I’m interested to see if anyone else had this sinking middle (why? they were not underbaked–wacky, right?).
Sometimes I’ve wondered how I would function if I had to share living space with someone allergic to peanuts. My peanut butter addiction just might force me to move out. I can’t imagine not being able to have a PB&J for lunch or, say, these Peanut Butter Crisscrosses for a treat.
Peanut butter cookies are one of those childhood things that I’ve never tired of (one of many, I will admit!). These ones are soft and chewy, as a good peanut butter cookie should be, and the sugar sprinkled on top gives them just the right amount of crunch. The recipe was pretty clear about not using natural PB here, but that was what I had, so that was what I used. To make it a little more like the kiddie brands, I put in a squeeze of golden syrup. I also swapped a little AP with a little whole wheat flour. I don’t think anyone would be able to call me out on either of these changes.
Speaking of peanuts…has anyone noticed the peanut flour Trader Joe’s is now selling in with the baking stuff? Has anyone baked with it? I am curious…
Let me tell you right off the bat: these Espresso-Chocolate Shortbread Cookies that Donna of Life’s Too Short Not to Eat Dessert First picked for TWD…I love them! Maybe this has something to do with the fact that the first time I had one, it was made by Dorie herself. My friend Lauren and I braved a load of snow to visit Dorie’s pop-up CookieBar back in February, and I bought heaps of cookies. All were delicious, but the Espresso-Chocolate Shortbread was my clear favorite.
I’ve made them a handful of times since, and they’ve come out every bit as good as the ones Dorie made. Of course they taste like coffee and chocolate, which is reason enough to like them, and they have that crisp-yet-melt-in-your-mouth texture of great shortbread. I refuse to think about the winter holidays when it’s 90º outside, but if I were to think about packing up holiday cookies, these would be a great addition to the standards.
Natalia of gatti fili e farina chose Gingered Carrot Cookies for TWD– an overlooked recipe whose time I’m glad has come. These cookies are full of tasty bits and are just sweet enough. At first glance, the recipe looks like it might make carrot cake in cookie form. Shredded carrots and coconut, raisins, ginger and pecans…I was certainly surprised to see mine bake up as little hearty, lumpy-bumpy mounds instead. Dorie says these are scone-like, and she’s right (of course she is– it’s her recipe afterall). If I’d thought to scoop out a couple of triple-size ones, I bet they would have made a great breakfast!
I never make blondies (except for this batch, obviously). I don’t know why…they are like chocolate chip cookies on steroids, and who wouldn’t like that? Nicole of Cookies on Friday picked Chewy, Chunky Blondies for TWD, and they are certainly juiced up with chocolate chips, toffee (or butterscotch) chips, walnuts and coconut.
I love butterscotch, but I hate those fake-tasting chips…I still have toffee bits left in the freezer from the Caramel Crunch Bars (yeah, apparently they last forever), and I was happy to use those instead. With all that’s going on in these blondies, I wanted to tame the sweetness a little, so I cut back just a bit on the sugar and used unsweetend coconut flakes.
I wonder if, when Karen picked Brrrrr-ownies for this week’s TWD, she somehow knew we would have a heatwave on the East Coast, and that I’d want pretty much everything, including my sweets, on the rocks. Turns out chopped up YORK Peppermint Patties are just the thing to give brownies an A/C blast.
I don’t normally go for recipes that have candy added to them, but these were good. Some of the Patties’ white centers stayed in whole chunks, some bubbled up to the surface, and some melted in the insides, giving the brownies a nice gooeyness. (BTW, spray and line your baking pan with parchment.) Kinda crazy-looking though, and I had a mighty hard time getting a decent photo of them.
I was lucky enough to receive a gorgeous new book, The Perfect Finish: Special Desserts for Every Occasion by Bill Yosses and Melissa Clark. Bill Yosses is the Executive Pastry Chef at the White House. If the President’s Pastry Chef has something to say, I’m all ears (or eyes, as the case may be). I couldn’t wait to dive into this book. I had to start wih something chocolate, though…gosh, it’s been so long and I’ve been jonesing for it lately…Chocolate Peanut Crinkles sounded like a good place to start.
I like crinkle cookies. Not only are they chocolaty and tasty, but they are strikingly pretty and interesting-looking. Ground peanuts give this recipe a little somethin’ extra-special. And the raw dough tastes like a Mr. Goodbar…you should go discover that for yourself.
For maximum white-on-brown contrast, go heavy on the powdered sugar rolling, and do it just before you pop the cookies into the oven. Go lighter if you prefer more of a crisp sugar glaze. Bake them until they are nicely crinkled but still look moist inside the cracks, and they will be soft-centered and chewy.
P.S.: I’m in London for most of the week, and won’t be able to post TWD. I’ll catch up when I get back!
Chocolate Peanut Crinkles- makes about 3 dozen cookies
adapted from The Perfect Finish: Special Desserts for Every Occasion by Bill Yosses and Melissa Clark (reprinted with permission of WW Norton & Company)
Note: If you aren’t a peanut-eater, use another nut, like hazelnuts, walnuts, pecans or almonds.
2/3 c toasted, skinned unsalted peanuts
2 T granulated sugar
6 oz bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
2 3/4 c all-purpose flour
2 T Dutch-processed unsweetened cocoa powder
2 t baking soda
3/4 t salt
1 1/2 c light brown sugar
8 T unsalted butter, softened
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/4 c whole milk
1 t pure vanilla extract
3/4 c confectioners’ sugar
-In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment, finely chop the nuts with the granulated sugar. In the top of a double boiler or in a bowl set over (not in) a pot of simmering water, melt the chocolate.
-Sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt together in a large bowl. In the bowl of an electric mixer, or stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream the brown sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, until incorporated. Beat in the melted chocolate, stopping the mixer to scrape down the sides before beating again. Mix in the milk and vanilla. Add the flour mixture in three additions, and mix until just combined. Fold in the nuts.
-Form the dough into a ball and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Refrigerate the dough for 3 hours or overnight.
-When you are ready to bake, preheat oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper, or lightly butter them, and set aside.
-Place the confectioners’ sugar in a wide, shallow bowl. Scoop out a heaping tablespoon of dough and roll into a ball. Coat generously with sugar and transfer to a baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough and sugar.
-Bake the cookies, turning the sheets from back to front and swapping racks halfway through, until cracked but not completely firm, 12-15 minutes. Cool the cookies on the sheets for about 2 minutes, then use a spatula to transfer to wire racks to cool further. They may be stored airtight at room temperature for up to 2 days.
Ooph…getting this one up late today! Here, I present to you the tenth brownie recipe for this blog. I would say that I’ve exhausted this topic, but you can tell by looking at them that these are definitely not your run-of-the-mill brownie. Marthe of Culinary Delights chose these White Chocolate Brownies with raspberries for TWD this week.
The full recipe makes a BIG batch, and one that a lot of folks had some difficulty getting to cook through. Fearing enough brownies for a lifetime, I scaled it down to a quarter recipe and baked it in a loaf pan. The original version also calls for a baked meringue topping, which I skipped in lieu of a sprinkling of sliced almonds. My meringue-less little batch cooked nicely in about 30 minutes.
These were good…sweet, though. I found the texture to be less like a fudgy brownie and more like a tea cake with a little chew. For the recipe, see Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan, or read Culinary Delights. Don’t forget to check out the TWD Blogroll!
Mary of Popsicles and Sandy Feet decided on Chockablock Cookies for TWD this week. Why “chockablock?” Because they are loaded with good stuff– dark chocolate, dried fruit (I used cherries) and nuts (cashews here). Oops, I almost forgot to mention the oats, coconut and molasses. Don’t worry, the molasses doesn’t make then seem like spice cookies…it gives them a lovely chew and a brown sugary sweetness.
Usually extra cookie dough winds up in my deep-freeze, and is pulled out when I have nothing else prepped for dessert. But not this time…these guys were gone in a blink. Yeah, they are that good.