Posts Tagged ‘cookies’

Brown Butter Sugar Cookies

January 30, 2016

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Sugar cookies are always a delicious treat. From just plain ones dipped in milk, to ones dipped in chocolate, to ones frosted with all sorts of decorations, it is a very versatile cookie. As a kid I remember making my mom’s sugar cookies that were thick and buttery. The best part was the butter dipped glass pressed in a mixture of sugar and nutmeg, that you used to smash down the cookie before baking. My mom is a phenomenal baker, her pantry is always stocked with the best quality ingredients. Even if she is on a tight budget you won’t see anything but Ghirardelli chips in her chocolate chip cookies, she would never skimp on her cooking ingredients.

As the years went by she switched to a new favorite sugar cookie recipe, her brown butter sugar cookies. Anytime she made it for me we ate up the cookies in record time. But I never tried making them myself until recently. These brown butter sugar cookies are delectable. They are sweet and savory and the brown sugar adds a whole other level of flavor, with rich molasses and maple notes. I made them for a recent visit from our best friends to our new ranch, we recently relocated and that is why I have not posted in a bit. So if you are a sugar cookie fan and you want to try something new, you need to check these out!

Brown Butter Sugar Cookies

14 Tablespoons (1 3/4 sticks) unsalted butter

1/4 Cup granulated sugar

2 Cups packed dark brown sugar (fresh brown sugar is best, older sugar will make a drier cookie)

2 Cups plus 2 tablespoons unbleached all purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon table salt

1 large egg

1 large egg yolk

1 Tablespoon vanilla extract

  1. Heat 10 tablespoons of butter in a 10 inch skillet (if you use a dark non-stick skillet it will be hard to see when the butter browns) over medium-high heat until melted, about 2 minutes. Continue to cook, swirling pan constantly until butter is a dark golden brown color and has a nutty aroma, 1 to 3 minutes. This is an easy way to make the brown butter you see in many recipes. Remove skillet from heat and transfer browned butter to large heatproof bowl. Stir in remaining 4 tablespoons of butter into hot butter to melt; set aside for 15 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 large, 12×18, baking sheets with parchment paper. In a shallow baking dish or pie plate, mix granulated sugar and 1/4 cup packed brown sugar, rubbing between finders, until well combined, then set aside. Whisk flour, baking soda and baking powder together in a medium bowl; set aside.
  3. Add remaining 1 3/4 Cups brown sugar and salt to the bowl with the cooled butter; mix until no sugar lumps remain, about 30 seconds. Scrape down sides of bowl with rubber spatula; add egg, yolk, and vanilla and mix until fully incorporated, about 30 seconds. Scrape down bowl. Add flour mixture and mix just until combined, about 1 minute. Give dough final stir with rubber spatula to ensure no flour pockets remain and ingredients are evenly distributed.
  4. Divide dough into 24 portions, each about 2 Tablespoons, rolling between hands into balls about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Working in batches, toss balls in reserved sugar mixture to coat and set on prepared baking sheet, spacing them about 2 inches apart, 12 dough balls per sheet. (Smaller baking sheets can be uses but it will take 3 batches).
  5. Bake ONE sheet at a time until cookies are browned still puffy and the edges have begun o set but centers are still soft (cookies will look raw between cracks and seem underdone; see photo), 12-14 minutes (depends on oven, I did mine 10), rotating baking sheet halfway through baking. Do not overtake.
  6. Cool cookies on baking sheet for 5 minutes, use wide metal spatula to transfer cookie to wire rack to cool to room temperature. Then pour a big glass of milk and enjoy!

 

 

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Snickerdoodles are nothing to snicker at

April 13, 2014

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I have many go to cookie recipes I stick to but every now and then I try something new. Recently I saw a recipe for Snickerdoodles on my King Arthur bread flour bag. Yes folks, I typed that right, bread flour?! I have never thought of making cookies with bread flour but I was intrigued. In my baking endeavors I have found changing up the flour, using cake flour for example, can yield totally different results. This recipe was simple and I had everything in my cabinet and it was from one of my favorite recipe sites, so it was a go. I don’t think I have ever made snickerdoodles and honestly I wasn’t a huge fan of the grocery store version. These cookies came out delish, they were buttery, soft and moist and I could pronounce all the ingredients – bonus! So if you want to whip up an easy tasty treat that is sure to please your peeps, check this out:

Snickerdoodles

  • 1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/3 cups King Arthur Unbleached Bread Flour
  • *If you use unsalted butter, increase the salt to 1/2 teaspoon.

coating

  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, to taste

directions

1) Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly grease (or line with parchment) two baking sheets.

2) Beat together the butter and sugar until smooth.

3) Add the egg, beating until smooth.

4) Beat in the vanilla, salt, and baking powder.

5) Add the flour, mixing until totally incorporated.

6) To make the coating: Shake together the sugar and cinnamon in a medium-sized zip-top plastic bag.

7) Drop 1″ balls of dough into the bag; a teaspoon cookie scoop works well here. Roll/toss the cookies in the cinnamon-sugar until they’re completely coated.

8) Space the cookies at least 1 1/2″ apart on the prepared baking sheets. Use a flat-bottom glass to flatten them to about 3/8″ thick; they’ll be about 1 1/2″ in diameter.

9) Bake the cookies for 8 minutes (for soft cookies) to 10 minutes (for crunchier cookies). Remove them from the oven, and cool them on the pan until they’re firm enough to transfer to a rack to cool completely.

Yield: 3 1/2 dozen cookies.

Italian Rainbow Cookies

December 29, 2013

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There are many beautiful colors in the rainbow, but my favorite are red, white and green – the color of the Italian flag. I have been wanting to make this recipe for some time but did not have the specific ingredient (marzipan) or the time, as it takes a lot of steps. I went to the base commissary recently and saw they had marzipan on clearance and took it as a sign. Marzipan is an almond paste that is used in many dolce Italian treats. In Sicily they used it to make these gorgeous replicas of fruit that were hand painted and delicious. I knew of Marzipan before I lived in Sicily because my mom always sought out the marzipan chocolate in her belgian chocolate assortments, so I grew to love the flavor at a young age. My mom can be frugal at times but won’t blink when it comes to spending more on some great chocolate. But I digress…

Since I had the marzipan in my pantry I decided to go for it. This year I was also making my mom’s black and white cookies for Santa, they are such a yummy confection. The recipe I was using was by an Italian chef I really admire, Lidia Bastianich. She has some amazing recipes on her site and a popular PBS show called Lidia’s Italy. I would have to say it was not a hard recipe to complete but it did take a lot of steps and over a couple of days to complete. I would not have been able to do it without the help of my fabulous Italian sous chef, Gianna. The end result was a Italian rainbow bar of decadence and scrumptiousness. Even my husband who is not a huge fan of marzipan or almond extracts, loved the cookies. The only thing we modified was to use strawberry jam instead of apricot to appease the little people in my house. I think this was a good marriage – think chocolate covered strawberries – so that flavor married well with the chocolate and almond. Also I used three 9×12 rimmed cookie sheets and barely had enough batter to fill those, so you might not need the bigger pans in the recipe. If you want to make some special treats for a holiday or event, let yourself be inspired by the Italian flag in this recipe.

Lidia’s Italian Rainbow Cookies:

Ingredients:

8 ounces almond paste
1 cup sugar
2½ sticks unsalted butter, softened, cut into pieces, plus more for the pans
4 large eggs, separated
½ teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for the pans
1 teaspoon red food coloring, gel or paste preferred
1 teaspoon green food coloring, gel or paste preferred
Two 15-ounce jars smooth (not chunky) apricot jam
1½ pounds bittersweet chocolate, chopped

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour three 15-by-10-inch rimmed sheet pans (I used 9×12 ones) , and line the bottoms of the pans with parchment paper.

Combine the almond paste and all but 2 tablespoons of the sugar in an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed until you have fine crumbles. Add the butter, a few pieces at a time, and pulse until well mixed. Plop in the egg yolks, one at a time, and mix until the batter is smooth. Sprinkle in salt, and mix. Sift in flour, and mix until just combined.

Whisk egg whites in a bowl until foamy. While whisking, slowly add the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar, and whisk until firm peaks form. Fold about a third of the egg whites into the batter to lighten it, then gently fold in remaining egg whites.

Divide batter evenly into three bowls. Leave one bowl plain, without any coloring. Add red food coloring to one bowl, stirring to make a deep-salmon color. Add green food coloring to last bowl, stirring to make a medium-green color. Spread batter into each of the prepared pans with a spatula. Bake, rotating pans to opposite racks, until cakes are cooked through and just beginning to brown around the edges, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from oven, let cakes cool completely on wire racks, then remove from pans.

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Trim each of the layers to even out the thickness of the cakes. Put the green cake layer back, cut side up, into one of the lined pans. Spread one jar of jam over the cake, almost all of the way to the edges. Place the plain layer of cake on top of the jam. Spread the remaining jar of jam almost all the way to the edges of the plain layer. Place the red layer on top of the ham, cut side up. Wrap the entire cake in plastic, and top with another pan, weighted with cans. Chill in refrigerator 4 hours or overnight.

Melt chocolate in a double boiler. Unwrap the cake, and place on a wire rack over a rimmed baking sheet. Pour and spread the chocolate over the top the cake, using a spatula to guide the chocolate over the top and down the sides of the cake. If the kitchen is cool, let the chocolate harden that way; if it is warm, clear a space in the refrigerator to place the cake and let the chocolate harden. When the chocolate is about halfway set, gently rake the topping with the tines of a fork or a dough scraper with dentals, starting from the end of the chocolate covering all the way to the other end, slightly undulating the lines as you move along. Repeat until all of the chocolate has indented stripes. Let the chocolate set completely.

Using a serrated knife, cut the set and decorated layers into three dozen rectangles, using the outer sides to form perfectly cut rectangles.