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.
So, I was standing in an aisle at the store, staring crossly at a $7 jar of DdL, wondering if these Dulce de Leche Duos, chosen by Jodie of Beansy Loves Cake for TWD, would be worth it. Then I suddenly remembered I had an opened can of condensed milk in the fridge. Score! I went home and put David Lebovitz’s oven-baked method to the test. It worked like a charm, and I think I will go with this technique (rather than boil-in-the-can) in the future.
With dulce de leche both in the cookie batter and acting as the filling, these cookies are sweet, to be sure. I imagine, though, that the chewy cookies could hold their own as-is, no sandwiching required. But gilding the lily a little doesn’t hurt either…these are tasty!
So here, thanks to Mike, I present you with my first batch of Thumbprints. OK, I’ve had two thumbprints all my life, but if those ones ever get me caught red-handed, these ones just might help me get out of trouble!
Not only are they cookies cuties, they are tasty too. They have a crumbly shortbread texture that melts in your mouth. Make them bite-sized and they won’t be messy. Only because I have a bag of almond flour in the fridge, I used ground almonds instead of hazelnuts. Some I filled with strawberry-raspberry jam and others with blueberry-cherry.
For the recipe, see Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan, or read Ugly Dude Food. In fact, check out Ugly Dude Food even if you don’t want the recipe…he’s one of our lone dude members, and deserves props just for playing along with all of us girls every week! Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll!
If you’re looking for a nice little tea biscuit to have with your cuppa, then you might want to give these Honey-Wheat Cookies, chosen by Michelle of Flourchild for TWD, a shot. They are soft and cakey in the center and crisp around the bottom egde…a really nicely textured cookie. And they taste like honey, lemons and wheat…just the right thing to nibble on while you destress with a cup of tea and a magazine.
Are you up in the air about buying a jar of wheat germ for this recipe? You can really do a lot of things with it, as long as you remember you have it (not gonna lie, I can be a total space-cadet sometimes)! I store mine in the fridge, and put a tablespoon into things like smoothies and pancake batter. Incorporating a little bit into muffins or crisp topping is nice, too.