Chocolate Crinkle Cookies, by Jasper

(Jasper is 7. He loves to bake. He wanted to write a guest blog post. Here it is)

I made chocolate crinkle cookies today.

Once I make the batter I roll them up into a ball and then put them in powdered sugar then I put them on the baking sheet.

When they were finished getting cooked I tasted them and I think I made them very well.

They taste chocolatey. Their texture is soft. When I eat them they make me feel very happy. I like them very much. And you should make them too.

I got this recipe in a book called Kids Baking. It was a Christmas present. It was written by Abby Dodge, my Mom’s friend.Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 2/3 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  1. Preheat the oven to 350.
  2. Put the powdered sugar in a bowl.
  3. Mix the flour, cocoa, baking powder , and salt together in another bowl.
  4. Beat the butter and sugar together with a mixer for about 3 minutes, until creamy. Turn off the mixer and scrape down the sides.
  5. Add 1 egg and beat until blended. Add the other egg and the vanilla and beat until blended.
  6. Mix in the flour mixture until just blended.
  7. Using a tablespoon, scoop up rounded spoonfuls of dough and roll them into balls.
  8. Roll the balls in the powdered sugar and place them on a parchment lined baking sheet 2 inches apart.
  9. Bake 10-12 minutes, until crackled and puffed.

French Silk Bars

French Silk BarsI made these bars for the first time last year, and immediately fell in love with them. The original recipe is from a Better Homes and Garden’s cookie publication, but I have adapted it fairly liberally.

I made them this year as a straight up chocolate cookie, but the flavoring options are endless. After you make the filling, you stir 3 tablespoons of liqueur into it. If you want to stick with chocolate, use creme de cacao. If you feel like mixing things up a bit try creme de menthe, or Kahlua, or Bailey’s, or even framboise. The choice is yours.

These cookies also go exceptionally well with whipped cream, should you find yourself in search of any serving suggestions.

French Silk Bars

  • 2 cups chocolate cookie crumbs
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 6 oz. bittersweet chocolate
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 3 T. creme de cacao (or other liqueur) or heavy cream
  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Line a 13×9 inch pan with foil.
  3. Mix the cookie crumbs with the melted chocolate and press the mixture evenly over the bottom of the pan.
  4. Bake for 10 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, combine the cream, chocolate, sugar and butter in a saucepan. Cook and stir over low heat until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is homogenous.
  6. Remove from heat and gradually whisk 1/2 of the chocolate mixture into the egg yolks.
  7. Whisk the yolk mixture back into the remaining chocolate mixture in the pot and return it to the heat.
  8. Cook and stir over medium-low heat until the mixture starts to steam.
  9. Remove from heat, stir in the liqueur, and pour into the prepared crust.
  10. Refrigerate until set and cut into bars.

Chocolate Macadamia <3

Chocolate PhantomsThe official name for these cookies is Lora Brody’s Chocolate Phantoms. They are called phantoms because they tend to disappear quickly. You can find the original recipe in Rose’s Christmas Cookies by Rose Levy Beranbaum.

They are deep and rich and chewy an chocolatey, and packed with crunchy, buttery macadamia nuts. You will not be able to eat just one. If you are the kind of person who needs chocolate in your cookies, these are the cookies for you.

Use the best quality chocolate you can find. It makes a difference. In my case, I used a 70% single origin Cuban chocolate from Cacao Barry, which I think has the perfect flavor profile for these cookies, but then again I am kind of obsessive about chocolate.

Chocolate Phantoms (adapted from Rose’s Christmas Cookies)

  • 9 oz.  whole macadamia nuts
  • 16 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped into small pieces (use the best you can find)
  • 2 T. butter
  • 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  1. Preheat the oven to 350.
  2. Melt the butter with 8 oz. of the chocolate. Set aside.
  3. Beat the eggs, sugar, and vanilla together, until well blended.
  4. Beat in the chocolate mixture.
  5. Stir in the flour and the baking powder.
  6. Stir in the macadamia nuts and remaining 8 oz. of chocolate.
  7. Drop by heaping teaspoonful onto a parchment lined cookie sheet (these cookies are fairly small). Using your fingers,  mound each one as high as you can.
  8. Bake 10 minutes, or until the tops look dry.
  9. Let them cool in the pan for a few minutes before removing to a cooling rack.

 

 

Yes, they are Magic Cookie Bars

So you don’t consider yourself much of a baker, yet you’ve gotten yourself into the position of having to provide something for your child’s class/a pot luck/coffee hour. You need something fool proof, and oh, also fast because you just haven’t got the time for this.

Magic cookie bars will save you. They are fast, they are ridiculously easy, and unless you leave them in the oven for an hour and accidentally burn them to a crisp, they are foolproof. Also, everybody loves them.

I made a batch today, with some red and green candied chocolate chips sprinkles on top to make them extra festive. You can throw together a batch in the time it takes you to read this post.

Magic Cookie Bars

Magic Cookie Bars

  • 4 oz. butter
  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 can condensed milk
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 1/3 cups coconut
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped nuts (I use pecans, but any nut will do)
  1. Preheat the oven to 350.
  2. Line a 13×9 inch pan with foil.
  3. Put the butter in the pan and the pan in the preheating oven.
  4. When the butter is melted, remove the pan and sprinkle the graham cracker crumbs over the butter.
  5. Mix the two together and press the crumbs evenly over the bottom of the pan.
  6. Drizzle the condensed milk evenly over the crumb crust.
  7. Top with remaining ingredients then press down on them firmly.
  8. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until browned around the edges.
  9. Cool thoroughly before cutting. (I flip the whole thing upside down on a cutting board, peel off the foil, and cut it into squares while it is still upside down. I find it easier to work with this way).

Auntie Mary’s

Aunty Mary'sI don’t know whose aunt Mary is responsible for this cookie. It’s certainly not mine. I don’t even have an aunt Mary. Whoever she is, though, she makes a fine cookie.

The first time I made these, I tasted one, thought it was OK, and walked away to do other things. Within 10 minutes I was back, just to try one more, and later one more, and just one more. I couldn’t stop nibbling on them.

They are made from a brown sugar cream cheese dough and filled with chocolate and walnuts. You can skip the walnuts if you don’t like them. It’s still worth making these.

The dough is rolled out, filled with the chocolate, then rolled up into a log and baked. They are cut into cookies only after they are cooled.

Technically, they are supposed to be covered with a blanket of powdered sugar after cutting, but I always skip that part.

 

Auntie Mary’s

  • 1/2 c. butter
  • 3 oz. cream cheese
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1/2 c. brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 c. flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 recipe chocolate filling (below)
  1. Cream the butter, cream cheese and sugars until light and fluffy.
  2. Beat in the egg, vanilla, baking powder, and salt.
  3. Stir in the flour until just blended.
  4. Divide dough into 4ths, wrap each piece in plastic, and refrigerate at least 2 hours.
  5. Preheat oven to 350.
  6. Roll each dough packet into a 10×6 inch rectangle.
  7. Spread 1/4 of the filling lengthwise down the middle of each rectangle.
  8. Fold the dough in thirds over the filling and place the logs on a parchment lined baking sheet, with the seam side down.
  9. Bake 20 minutes.
  10. When cool, trim the ends off each log, and slice it into 12 pieces.

Chocolate Filling

  • 2/3 c. condensed milk
  • 4 oz. bittersweet chocolate
  • 1/2 c. chopped walnuts
  1. Combine the condensed milk with the chocolate in a saucepan, and heat, stirring constantly, until the chocolate is melted.
  2. Stir in the walnuts.
  3. Cool to room temperature.

Chocolate Covered Cherry Cookies

Day 7 of the Christmas Cookie Countdown, and I feel I have not included nearly enough chocolate yet, therefore, I give you chocolate covered cherry cookies.

Chocolate Covered Cherry Cookies

This is a toothsome, brownie-like cookie, topped with an amarena cherry, and covered in a baked on fudge frosting. And if that doesn’t have you dying to make these, nothing will. You are unreachable.

Chocolate Covered Cherry Cookies

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 10 oz. jar  amarena cherries, if you can find them, and you should try. Substitute a jar of sour cherries if you can’t.
  • 1/2 c. butter
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla (Tahitian if you can get it)
  • 6 oz. bittersweet chocolate
  • 1/2 c. condensed milk
  1. Preheat the oven to 350
  2. Drain the cherries, reserving the syrup.
  3. Cream the butter with the sugar.
  4. Beat in the salt, baking powder, baking soda, and vanilla.
  5. Beat in the egg.
  6. Add the cocoa powder and flour and stir until just blended. Set dough asie while you prepare the frosting.
  7. Warm the chocolate with the condensed milk over low heat, stirring constantly, until the chocolate is melted.
  8. Stir 4 tsp. of the cherry syrup into the chocolate mixture. Set aside.
  9. Roll the cookie dough into balls, using about a tablespoonful of dough for each ball, and place them on a parchment lined cookie sheet.
  10. Press your thumb into the center of each ball to make an indentation for the cherry.
  11. Add one cherry to each cookie, then carefully spread about a teaspoonful of the chocolate mixture on top, sealing the cherry completely inside.
  12. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the edges of the cookies are firm. Let them cool slightly on the baking sheet before removing them.

These cookies freeze well, if you can avoid eating them all first.

Chocolate Caramel Cracker Smackdown

Day 4 of the Christmas Cookie Countdown is dedicated to all the people who complained that the best cookies of all time absolutely had to contain chocolate.

It is also a battle, a fight to the last crumb, between two versions of one of the easiest yet most delicious cookies ever made: Chocolate Caramel Crack(ers).

They work like this: you line a jelly roll pan with foil and parchment, cover it in a layer of crackers, pour a mixture of butter and brown sugar over it, bake it, and top it with chocolate and toasted sliced almonds. The butter/brown sugar mixture soaks into the crackers and creates an addictively buttery-crunchy cookie-like cracker.

The battle is over what kind of cracker to use. The original recipe specifies matzoh. It can also be made with saltines. The friend who introduced me to these, however, uses wasa crisp bread.

After sampling her version, and nearly passing out from the deliciousness, I decided to make them for myself, and to try them two ways: with matzoh and with wasa, to see which I liked best.Chocoalte Caramel Crackers two ways

I lined half my pan with wasa and half with matzoh. I took a nibble of each. The wasa crackers were darker and richer and crunchier. The matzoh ones lighter and more delicate, with a milder crunch. I decided I liked the wasa crackers better. Then I decided I preferred the matzoh ones. Then I had to taste them again to be sure…

In the end I concluded that they are both excellent and addictive, but for my taste the wasa version is slightly better. Also, I have a stomach ache from eating too many of them. Yet I strangely still want more.

You can find the recipe for chocolate caramel crackers at Smitten Kitchen. Here is a link to it. This is the version that I used.

Post-Apocalyptic, Post-Halloween, Comfort Food Post

Now that all the excess Halloween candy has been safely consumed by my students and co-workers, hurricane Sandy has come and gone, and spared my East-coast family her wrath, and we have braved two (two!) ice storms and two (two!) snow storms here in Southern Alberta, it’s time for some comfort food, the kind of thing I’m inclined to whip up when I have half an hour to spare and I need to be in the kitchen, because being in the kitchen relaxes me.

And because I’m primarily a baker, comfort food usually means bread, or chocolate chip cookies, or, perhaps my favourite of all, Abby Dodge’s Prescription Strength Fudge Brownies, from the Weekend Baker. This is my go to recipe. It’s made with cocoa powder instead of chocolate, which gives them a richer, deeper chocolate flavor, and a wonderful chewy texture.

Here is Abby’s recipe, with my modifications:

  • 6 oz. butter
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  •  1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Tahitian vanilla (technically any vanilla will do, but I love pairing Tahitian with chocolate)
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 6 oz. semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup M&M’s
  1. Preheat the oven to 350.
  2. Line an 8×8 inch pan with foil. You don’t need to bother greasing it. Brownies have a lot of fat in them. They will not stick.
  3. Melt the butter. Stir in the cocoa powder, then the sugar and salt.
  4. Beat in the eggs and vanilla until just blended.
  5. Stir in the flour, followed by the chocolate chips.
  6. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle the M&M’s on top.
  7. Bake until the center is no longer liquid, but still moist. This takes exactly 35 minutes in my oven.
  8. Let cool completely before lifting the brownies out of the pan by the foil, slicing, and eating them.
  9. Write to Abby and tell her how much you love her brownies.

September #baketogether Remix

I loved the dough from Abby’s brown butter apple hand tarts so much, I had to make it again. Partly so I could stand in my kitchen and eat pinches of raw brown butter pastry, and partly because I had this crazy idea that if I switched out the white flour for whole wheat, it would make awesome graham crackers.

So that’s what I did, made Abby’s dough recipe, as written,  but with whole wheat flour. Then, when it came time to roll them I cut and baked them like cookies.

I happened to have had a bit of chocolate truffle frosting left over from a birthday cake I made that same day (see previous blog post). On a whim I used it as a cookie filling and made brown butter graham cracker sandwiches.

Yum. Very much yum.

 

Candy Bar Pie

When I was in NY a few weeks ago, I stopped into Momofuku Milk Bar and sampled their candy bar pie. I cannot get this pie out of my mind. It was so very delicious. I decided to try to recreate it at home.

There is a Milk Bar cookbook with the recipe printed in it, but that would take the fun out things. I prefer to work things out on my own. So I did. Here is what I came up with. If anyone has the cookbook do a comparison and let me know how close I got.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the candy bar pie, it’s a chocolate cookie crumb crust filled with a layer of caramel, peanut butter nougat, and chocolate glaze, topped off by pretzel decorations. I think there is some sort of praline stirred into the nougat, which does add a lovely crunch, but I elected to skip this part, and substituted chopped dry roasted peanuts instead.

The results of my attempt are pretty close to the original, though a bit too sweet for my taste. I think I will try again, upping the amount of peanut butter in the nougat, and dramatically increasing the amount of dry roasted peanuts.

Candy Bar Pie (a Milk Bar replication)

Crust:

  • 1 cup chocolate cookie crumbs
  • 3 T. melted butter
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Mix crumbs with butter and pat into a pie pan so that it covers the bottom and comes halfway up the sides.
  3. Bake crust 10 minutes.

Caramel:

  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 c. + 2 T.  heavy cream
  • 6 T.  golden syrup
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  1. Heat the cream with the vanilla. Set aside on low heat to keep warm.
  2. Heat the syrup with the sugar, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is mostly dissolved and it starts to boil. Stop stirring and brush down the sides of the pot with water to dissolve any sugar crystals.
  3. Boil to 305 F.
  4. Stir in the butter and salt, then slowly stir in he cream. The mixture will boil furiously and foam, and the temperature will drop.
  5. Continue stirring until the temperature has climbed back up to 245.
  6. Immediately pour caramel into the prepared cookie crust. DO NOT scrape the pot, or you will wind up with weird crunchy bits in your caramel. If it sticks to the pot it stays in the pot.

Peanut Butter Nougat:

(this makes way more nougat than you will need. Pour the rest into a buttered waxed paper lined 8-inch square pan and if you’re feeling adventurous, cut it into squares and dip it in chocolate, or just snack on it as is.)

  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 1 cup golden syrup
  • 1/3 c. water
  • 1 egg white
  • punch of cream of tartar
  • 1 1/2 cups all-natural peanut butter, salted
  • 2 cups dry roasted peanuts, roughly chopped
  1. Cook the sugar, syrup, and water until sugar is dissolved, stirring constantly.
  2. Stop stirring, brush down the sides of the pan with water to remove any clinging sugar crystals.
  3. Clip a candy thermometer in the pot and increase the heat. Begin whipping the egg white.
  4. When the egg white is foamy, add the cream of tartar and keep beating until it holds firm peaks.
  5. When the sugar reaches 245, remove it from the heat, and slowly pour it into the egg white, beating constantly. Continue beating until the mixture thickens and becomes firm. Switch to low speed (and use a paddle beater if you’re using a stand mixer) and blend in the peanut butter and peanuts.
  6. Scoop 2 cups of the nougat on top of the caramel, and pat it out with your hands to make an even layer. Periodically running your hands under the faucet to make them damp will keep them from getting too sticky.

Chocolate Glaze:

  • 4 oz. bittersweet chocolate
  • 1 T. golden syrup
  • 2 T. butter
  1. Melt ingredients together over very low heat, stirring constantly.
  2. Pour glaze over the nougat.

Finishing touch:

(the original pie has the pretzels underneath the glaze. If you prefer it this way add them, then pour it over.)

  1. Arrange pretzels over the still warm glaze, as many as will fit.
  2. Allow pie to cool completely at room temperature. Slice thinly and serve.