Good morning everyone! I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and splendid plans for the New Year, ranging from ordering Chinese food and cuddling up on the couch, or indulging in ~adult~ beverages with friends, or a combination of the two. I fly back to school very early on Saturday morning, and classes begin on Monday morning. I can’t say I’m ready to go back to school quite yet, as I’ve been enjoying my leisurely lifestyle of baking, sleeping, and watching TV as my only responsibilities.
One thing that I love about being at home is the variety of ingredients that are available to me. These range from ingredients that have no labels in english to specialty flours, such as the chestnut flour that I found in our cabinet. It can be difficult to find recipes that use these ingredients, but I’ve found that if a recipe already calls for a specialty or unusual type of flour, I can replace it with a similar item- like in these cookies. The original recipe called for buckwheat flour, but I loved the slightly sweeter edge the chestnut flour added, especially since the jelly I used to fill them was not as sweet.
These have to be up there as one of my favorite holiday cookie recipes. Around this time of year when there are thousands of different recipes circulating around the internet, I found these to be a welcome change. The dough almost acts as a shortbread- it is crumbly and buttery, but stays together well enough to act as a cookie. I like to emphasize the thumbprint by taking the cookies out when they are about halfway done and press them again (with a teaspoon or another similar item). Happy holidays everyone!
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Like two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
Mix together the flours and salt in a large bowl. In an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and the sugar. Add the egg yolks and the vanilla extract until just combined. Stir in the dry ingredients in two additions. Do not overmix!
Using a small ice cream scoop or tablespoon, scoop the dough onto the lined cookie sheets. Using a teaspoon (or tablespoon), make a deep indentation into the cookie.
Place in the oven for 10 minutes, then remove and repress the indentations. Fill with the preserves, then bake for 5-7 minutes longer, until the cookies are brown around the edges. Cool for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire cooling rack.
I hope you had a Merry Christmas, everyone! I wish that all of you were able to spend lots of time with family and friends, and of course enjoyed lots of delicious food. I have had a very relaxing break so far, mostly involving sleep and organizing myself before I have to go back to the hectic schedule I have once school starts up again.
One thing that I have been very grateful to be able to do over these past few weeks is really explore what New York has to offer in terms of classical music, namely going to lots of concerts. Some of my favorite things that I’ve seen this year include Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte, and most recently, the New York Philharmonic’s performance of Handel’s Messiah. It’s hard to find time mainly because I’m the only one in my family that thinks it’s really fun to watch an opera for 3 and a half hours, but between birthdays and the holiday season, I’ve made it work.
While I don’t get sucked up into the holiday cookie craze too much (this is when gymnastics season starts, after all), I still love to make a nice treat for my family and others to enjoy this time of year, and one of my favorites is biscotti. Between the endless thumbprint cookies, crinkle cookies, gingerbread, etc., I like to make something that isn’t cloyingly sweet and is easy to enjoy in the morning, afternoon, or as a sweet treat after dinner that won’t give you more calories than you can count.
1.83 ounces (1/2 cup + 2 teaspoons) unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon instant coffee powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon
1 3/4 cups toasted walnut pieces
4.59 ounces (3/4 cup) semisweet chocolate chips
1 large egg for egg wash
Position one rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line the cookie sheet with parchment paper.
In the bowl with an electric mixer, cream the butter with the sugar for 1 minute or until a sandy mixture forms. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix until fluffy and lighter in color, about 1 minute more.
In a medium mixing bowl, add the flour, cocoa powder, coffee powder, baking soda, and cinnamon and whisk together. Add to the butter and egg mixture in 2 additions, and mix only until combined.
Fold the walnuts and the chocolate chips into the dough, and mix until evenly distributed. The dough will be thick and hard to stir. If it is too sticky, chill briefly.
Divide the dough into 2 equal pieces, about 16 oz. each. On a lightly floured surface, roll each piece of dough into a log about 2 inches wide by 14 inches long by 1 1/2 inches high. Place the logs on the prepared sheet pan with several inches between them.
In a small bowl, mix 1 egg with 1 teaspoon of water to make an egg wash. Brush each log with egg wash, coating them evenly on the top and sides.
Bake for 27 minutes, rotating the cookie sheet from front to back halfway through baking, until very lightly browned and somewhat firm. Remove from the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 300 degrees.
Cool the logs for 20 minutes, then place them onto a cutting board. With a serrated knife, slice each log on a slight angle into 3/4-inch thick pieces, keeping them in a row. Slide the row of biscotti together, lift and place back onto the cookie sheet, then separate the slices, leaving 1/2 inch of space between each one.
Bake again for 9-12 minutes, rotating once during baking until the biscotti feel slightly firm.
I don’t think it’s possible for me to be more exhausted. While some people say this time of year is the holiday season, I consider it the concert season. Over the past few weeks, I’ve had about 4 recitals, and these coming weeks are only bringing more along. Something I’m excited for in the middle of the madness is the concert that I’m playing this Saturday. It’s not your typical setting, because instead of my chamber group performing by itself, we get the opportunity to accompany a local ballet studio in their upcoming production. They don’t do the Nutcracker like most studios, but instead perform a piece called “La Boutique Fantastique.” It’s a different experience trying to match to dancers, and it’s a nice change of pace from the usual quartet setting.
Although I haven’t talked about it much on RTTC, I’m still going to gymnastics as much as I can between seemingly endless amounts of chamber group rehearsals. I’m competing level 8 again this year because I wanted this year to be fun, not filled with competition stress. And, since I typically can’t stay for a full practice because of rehearsals, it’s better for me mentally that I don’t have to worry about lots of new skills. Anyway, our first meet is next weekend and I’m pretty excited. I wouldn’t have been able to stay in the sport for all of these years unless I loved it, and the adrenaline and excitement that comes from competing is something I can’t get anywhere else.
Now that I’ve bored you enough talking about my various life adventures, let’s get to the real reason why you came here- cookies. As much as I love reading copious amounts of food blogs and finding interesting recipes to try, I can’t help but get creative in the kitchen. I had originally wanted to whip up something quick, simple, and delicious: a peanut butter cookie. But, after looking in my cabinet and seeing cashew butter shining in the front row, I knew that I couldn’t go back to plain ol’ peanut butter. Then, as I was making the dough, I thought, why not add some texture to these? I couldn’t find the cashews, so the next logical solution was clearly to go for the good-for-you, whole grain goodness that is Grapenuts. They add such a nice heartiness and crunch to these cookies that I just love. Besides, it’s an excuse to eat cookies for breakfast- obviously something I have never done before. 🙂
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease (or line with parchment) two baking sheets.
Beat together the butter, sugars, egg, vanilla, and cashew butter until smooth.
Add the flour, baking soda, and salt to the cashew-butter mixture, beating gently until everything is well combined. It may take awhile for this rather dry dough to come together; and when it does, it’ll be quite stiff. Only if necessary, drizzle in enough water to make the dough cohesive. Mix in grape nuts until just combined.
Drop the cookie dough by tablepoonfuls onto the prepared baking sheets (a tablespoon cookie scoop works well here), leaving 2″ between them.
Happy Memorial Day! I hope you all get a chance to enjoy your day off and spend some time with friends and family. The weather went from 40 degrees and rainy to sunny and warm, so I’m excited for some delicious grilling and time in the sun. Obviously, I’m going for the food first.
All of the chaos has finally started to die down! AP tests are over, my jury is over, so I finally have some time to get back to baking! I’ve missed being in the kitchen, but I wanted to be sure you weren’t left dessert-less for Memorial Day! If you don’t already know, my mom has started her own web-zine called The Weiser Kitchen, so I’ve been helping her out by baking. It clearly took a lot of coercing. These cookies were one of the recipes, and when they turn out this well, I’m more than happy to help!
As you can probably tell, I love cookies. But, because I make so many cookies, I’m always looking for cookies that have something special about them, and the texture in these immediately stood out to me. I love cornbread and the rough, course texture that cornmeal has, so I was interested to see how it would fair in a cookie. It was a great investment! The course cornmeal paired with the pop of fruit from the current was just great. Cornmeal comes from corn, so these cookies are even a vegetable! Okay, maybe not. You should still make them!
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and prepare 2 cookie sheets.
In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt. In an electric mixer, cream the butter and the sugar until fluffy. Add in the egg and the vanilla extract. Mix in the dry ingredients until just combined. Stir in the currants.
Using a tablespoon or small ice cream scoop, evenly drop the dough onto the cookie sheets. Bake for 8-12 minutes, or until the bottom is golden brown.
Happy Friday everyone! Sorry for the gigantic break between postings, but sometimes finishing all of my homework and getting in some viola practice is a tad more important. I can’t tell you how long I’ve waited for this Saturday to come. Last week, we were supposed to get the results from my seating auditions for orchestra back, but unfortunately my conductor was sick, so we were not able to get our seatings back. I’ve been patiently waiting this entire week for the results to come tomorrow, and I hope they lead to a good outcome!
Gymnastics is starting to pick up again too. The compulsory season starts this weekend for our girls levels 4-6, which means there’s only about 3 months until I take the competition floor again, hopefully as a level 9! I’ve been working on getting my beam series but with more and more numbers in I’m sure I’ll get more confident and everything will turn out great. 🙂
But with all of that chaos, I can always depend on cookies. While I typically make coconut desserts for my aunt, my sister came up to me one night and requested that I make something with coconut for her. How can I deny a request to bake cookies? These were quick and easy to whip up and yielded a fantastically delicious result.
2 tablespoons white chocolate chips or peanut butter chips, optional
Preheat oven to 350F. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine the butter and sugars and stir (I did this by hand because this is a small batch of cookies, but use a mixer if you prefer). Crack one egg in a small bowl, beat it, and add half the egg to the butter and sugar mixture. Discard the other half or save for another use. Stir in the egg and beat the mixture until creamy. Add the vanilla, baking soda, coconut, flour, oats, and stir. Add the toffee bits and baking chips and fold to incorporate. Scoop one-inch sized balls on cookie sheets, at least 2 inches apart and do not crowd them (no more than 9 cookies per cookie sheet).
Bake cookies for 11 to 14 minutes, or until they are barely browned; watch them closely because coconut burns easily. The cookies will continue to firm up as they cool out of the oven. Allow the baked cookies to remain on the cookie sheets for a few minutes to cool before attempting to move them to racks or eat them.
Hey there! I hope everyone’s weekend is going well. Yesterday, I had my seating auditions for orchestra. The way that seating auditions work is you are assigned a few excerpts to play from the pieces that we are doing and during orchestra rehearsal, you leave and go to a room where you do a blind audition. There is a black curtain between you and the judges so they don’t know how old you are, if you’re a boy or a girl, or anything else. All they care about is how well you play. Although it’s a very fair system, I sure was nervous! Results come out next week, so wish me luck!
I know I know, these don’t seem like the type of cookie recipe that I would post on here. They’re too typical for me. I like cookies that grab my attention, whether it be they have almond flour, stuffed with other cookies, or have unusual ingredients stuck in them. Chocolate chip cookies don’t do that. However, whenever someone finds out that I bake, the question I most frequently get asked is “Can you make me chocolate chip cookies?” So I finally gave in and made some plain chocolate chip cookies from Martha Stewart. I know everyone has their preferences for how they like them- chewy, soft, crisp, etc., but these are crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, which is my ideal combination. A great cookie to make your weekend even better!
Chocolate Chip Cookies- Makes 3 Dozen Cookies
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and baking soda; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter with both sugars; beat on medium speed until light and fluffy. Reduce speed to low; add the vanilla and eggs. Beat until well mixed, about 1 minute. Add flour mixture; mix until just combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.
Drop heaping tablespoon-size balls of dough about 2 inches apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper.
Bake until cookies are golden around the edges, but still soft in the center, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from oven, and let cool on baking sheet 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack, and let cool completely. Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature up to 1 week.
Just a great chocolate chip cookie. What’s not to love?
(P.S. I love the way these pictures turned out. Opinions? Thoughts?)
Happy Sunday everyone! Nothing too extraordinary has been going on this weekend, but there is some news happening later in the week. It’s my birthday! I’ll be turning 16 and am eligible to get my learner’s permit. I’ve been reading the driving manual at night and doing all sorts of practice tests in order to prepare for this. Although I’m a little nervous to get on the roads, I’m sure I’ll get the hang of it!
These coconut cookies are so good, it’s dangerous. I had made them for my aunt who lovescoconut and was able to stop by for a visit one weekend. These are not your conventional cookie recipe. Instead of creaming the butter and the sugar, add the eggs, etc., these can be made entirely in a food processor. Cool, right? It gave the cookies some chewiness, similar to a coconut macaroon. Plus, you probably have all of the ingredients sitting in your pantry right now! Delicious cookies that come together quickly? Count me in!
1/2 cup (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, (spooned and leveled)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Set aside 2 loosely packed cups of coconut on a plate. Place remaining coconut in a food processor along with sugar, and baking powder; process until finely ground. Add butter, and process just until no lumps remain. Add egg and vanilla; process just until smooth. Add flour; pulse until a crumbly dough begins to form, scraping sides of bowl as needed (do not overmix).
Forming 5 or 6 at a time, scoop level tablespoons of dough, and place in reserved coconut. Roll into balls, coating with coconut.
Arrange balls, about 2 inches apart, on baking sheets. Bake until lightly golden, 23 to 25 minutes. Cool on baking sheets 1 to 2 minutes; transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Well it’s official, I’m a junior in high school! School started yesterday, and we had a modified schedule so I would be able to meet all of my teachers. I’m not stranded without any of my friends in any class, so I think I’ll be alright! Also, while I’m getting adjusted to my new schedule in school, I head back to the gym this week after taking our annual week-long break. It’s a strange schedule, but next week, things should start to settle in.
I put blueberries in a cookie. Not dried blueberries- fresh, plump, juicy blueberries. In a cookie. And it was delicious. These irresistible delights from Sweet Pea’s Kitchen are like a perfectly puffy cloud cookie, and once you get a squirt of the fresh summer berries, these are irresistible. They would make a perfect, light ending to your Labor day barbecues, a perfect breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack, midnight snack…the possibilities are endless! 🙂
Brown Sugar Blueberry Cookies
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1 stick butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon milk
3/4 cup fresh blueberries
1/2 cup granulated sugar, for rolling dough
Preheat the oven to 370 degrees and prepare 2 baking sheets. In a stand mixer, cream together the butter and the brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add in the egg and vanilla extract until fully incorporated. Add in the milk until it just comes together.
In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg. Slowly add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, being careful not to overmix (or else you’ll get hockey puck cookies-ew)! Fold the blueberries in gently, taking extra caution not to pop them.
Take a medium sized bowl and add the 1/2 cup granulated sugar. Using a tablespoon or an ice cream scooper (or your hands), make balls of dough and roll them in the granulated sugar, then place them on a tray.
Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until the cookie centers are set and the tops are lightly colored.
I can’t believe the end of August is drawing nearer and nearer. Although this summer has not been the most exciting in the sense that I didn’t travel any marvelous places or do anything extraordinary, it was fantastic. At the Mark O’Connor Alternative Strings Camp up at the Berklee College of Music, I made some awesome friends who have immense amounts of talent in June and then I was at home for a solid 5 weeks of gymnastics. Despite the lack of air conditioning, I got some pretty cool new skills that involved a cartwheel-tuck full off of the high beam and a front layout with a full twist on the floor! The summer came to a close with the Chamber Music Institute for Young Musicians, where I got to play some fantastic chamber music with some of my closest friends. Now, I’m just doing summer work and preparing for the big junior year to begin, and I couldn’t be more excited.
However, the star of the show should be this shortbread from Tartine. This has to be one of the best things that I have ever tested, and surely one of the best things that I have ever made. They are buttery but not so dense and heavy and leave your mouth with the wonderful smooth coat that only shortbread can give you. With only 4 ingredients, there is no excuse for you to not make these, especially considering that you probably have every ingredient sitting in your kitchen. What are you waiting for? Get baking!
Makes one 6×10″ pan, or about 60 2×0.5″ bars
9 ounces (1 cup + 2 tbsp) unsalted butter, very soft
9 ounces (1 3/4 cup + 2 tbsp) all purpose flour
2 2/3 ounces (1/2 cup + 2 tbsp) cornstarch
2 1/2 ounce (1/3 cup) granulated sugar
1/4 cup superfine/granulated sugar for topping (optional)
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and prepare a 6X10 baking dish. Sift together the flour and the cornstarch. In an electric mixer, cream the very soft butter and the granulated sugar until just combined. Add the flour mixture and mix just until a smooth dough forms.
Pat the dough evenly into the prepared baking dish- it should not be more than 2/3 inch deep. Bake until the top and bottom are lightly browned, about 30 minutes. The middle of the shortbread should remain light. Let cool until warm to the touch before cutting. Sprinkle with the superfine sugar.
I’m drooling just thinking about them.
(Not in love with these pictures, but it’s the best I could get :/)
Hi again! Sorry for the long break, these past two weeks I have been working my butt off at chamber music camp, which runs for 7 hours per day. So as you can imagine, I’m slightly exhausted when I get home and all I really want to do is sprawl out on the couch and watch some television. My final concert is tomorrow afternoon and then I only have one more week left of summer! I can’t believe how quickly it went by, and I’m (almost) prepared for school to start up again. I better enjoy the time that I have left!
You might be wondering why I made such a simple recipe for my blog. After all, I’m the one who stuck brown butter in blondies and bacon in scones, so there would be no reason for me to just make a plain sugar cookie. The problem was that no matter how much I love getting super creative and putting atypical ingredients into standard baked goods, not all of my eaters appreciate that. I aim to please, so I made a standard sugar cookie. This tasty cookie from King Arthur’s Flour is amazing. It has just the right amount of chewiness and are reminiscent of the giant ones you find in a bakery. Go make yourself a batch to brighten up your weekday desserts. 🙂
Makes 8.5 dozen cookies (2″)
1 cup unsalted butter
6 ounces powdered sugar (confectioners sugar)
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
10.5 ounces unbleached all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cream of tartar (optional)
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg (optional)
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and line 2 baking pans.
In a large bowl, cream the butter and the sugar until fluffy. Beat the egg until smooth then add in the vanilla and almond extracts. In a separate bowl whisk together the dry ingredients and add to the butter mixture until the dough is smooth. Refrigerate 2-3 hours or overnight.
Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and roll until 1/4 inch thick. Cut out the shapes with whatever shape you would like and transfer them to the baking sheets.
Bake for 8 minutes or until they are slightly colored around the edges. Let them cool on the tray for 2 minutes and then transfer to a rack to cool completely.
What a great way to end the summer. 🙂
(I tried taking the pictures from different angles, what do you think?)