Friday, January 29, 2010

Chewy Sugar Cookies

These were super easy and delicious. I've never seen cookies disappear so fast. I brought a container to my office and they were gone in half an hour. I sent about 20 to my husband's office and they were gone in a single afternoon. The recipe calls for nutmeg or lemon extract. I didn't have lemon extract (although I think that would be delicious) so I used nutmeg, which was a very interesting flavor for plain old sugar cookies. These cookies were rolled into sugar before baked so they came out of the oven sparkling like glitter. Phoebe (factor of 5) especially liked that part.
The Essential Chewy Sugar Cookie
3/4 cup (1 & 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg or 1/4 teaspoon lemon oil (optional)
1&1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
2 & 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1/4 cup coarse or granulated sugar, for coating

  • Preheat the oven to 375. Lightly grease (or line with parchment) two baking sheets. 
  • In a large mixing bowl, beat together the butter, granulated and brown sugars, corn syrup, vanilla, nutmeg, baking powder, baking soda, salt and egg. Stir in the flour.
  • Place the coarse sugar in a shallow dish. Drop the dough by the tablespoonful into the sugar, rolling the balls to coat them. Place them on the prepared cookie sheets.
  • Bake the cookies for 10 minutes, until the edges are just barely beginning to brown, they'll look soft. If you bake these cookies too long, they'll be crunchy, not chewy. Remove them from the oven and cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to a rack to cool completely.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Cookies I Don't Really Wanna Eat

Success! The latest batch of cookies turned out pretty much as expected: Soft Oatmeal with Raisins. They're round plops instead of flat cakes, crumbly and dry, and full of raisins. Blah. I have absolutely no desire to eat them. They have a Phoebe Factor of 8, and she's actually eaten more of these than me.
They've been in the cookie jar for almost a week now, and I do not find myself wanting to eat them for breakfast, lunch, snack and snack. They're not bad, I just don't like raisins in my cookies. But my husband likes them. I felt like I had to throw him a bone, because I made quite a few batches of delicious cookies that needed to be hustled of the house so they wouldn't all be consumed by yours truly. And consequently he got to eat about three of each.
The Essential Soft Oatmeal Cookie
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup brown sugar
1 large egg, beaten
6 tablespoons sour cream or yogurt (regular or lowfat, but NOT nonfat)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup raisins
2 cups rolled oats
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 & 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup chopped pecans
  • Preheat the oven to 350. Lightly grease (or line with parchment) two bakng sheets. 
  • In a large bowl, cream together the butter, oil and sugar. Add the egg, beating until fluffy, then beat in the sour cream and vanilla. Stir in the raisins and the oats.
  • In a separate bowl, mix together the baking soda, cinnamon, salt, and flour. Add this mixture, a cup at a time, to the oat mixture, beating well after each addition. Stir in the nuts. Let the dough rest for 15 to 30 minutes.
  • Using a tablespoon scoop, drop the dough onto the prepared baking sheets. Bake the cookies for 12 minutes, or until they're light brown.  Remove them from the oven and transfer to a rack to cool.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Crisp Oatmeal Cookie

The KAF has four basic oatmeal cookies recipes: Crunchy, Chewy, Crisp, and Soft. I'm not going to make all four recipes, and I already did Crunchy and Chewy for chocolate chip. I do not normally consider myself a fan of oatmeal cookies. After a week of peanut butter cookies that I couldn't keep my hands off of, I wanted to bake some cookies I would be able to resist. But I was not successful. I'll have to get some raisins for the next batch, hopefully that will make the Soft Oatmeal Cookies less desirable.
I made these cookies without raisins (which were optional) and with chopped pecans. They are full of warm spices like ground cloves and cinnamon and the house smells like a holiday party. They are indeed crispy and melt in your mouth. Even Phoebe has already eaten two (and she never finishes a whole cookie). Phoebe factor of 8 since she was very involved in this batch, even rolling the balls for the cookie sheets. She's usually checked out by that point. Wyatt also banged pots and pans on the floor to keep us company.

Here's the recipe:
The Essential Crisp Oatmeal Cookie
6 tablespoons vegetable shortening
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg (we used one from our chickens!)
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 cups rolled oats
1 & 1/4 cup unbleached all purpose flour
1 cup chopped pecans (or walnuts) (optional)
(the recipe also suggests 1 cup raisins, optional, but we didn't have any)

  • Preheat the oven to 350. Lightly grease (or line with parchment) two baking sheets.
  • In a large bowl, cream together shortening, butter, sugars, egg, water, extracts, spices, salt and baking soda. Stir in the oats, then the flour. Add the raisins and nuts last, and stir to combine.
  • Drop the dough by tablespoonful onto the prepared baking sheets. Bake the cookies for 14 minutes, or until they're a light golden brown. Remove them from the oven and transfer to a rack to cool. 

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Ooooo, Peanut Butter Chews!

These are definitely the best cookies I've made so far. Peanut Butter Chews!
I sent the first batch of Peanut Butter Cookies to work with Matt to share so Phoebe and I baked this second batch for his birthday cookies. This batch gets a Phoebe Factor of 2 because although she sat next to me while I mixed, her only contribution was licking batter off of the beaters and butter off of the wrappers.
These cookies are soft and chewy, so delicious I could eat them for breakfast lunch and dinner. According to the KAF it is the corn syrup that keeps them moist after baking. Also, don't overbake them, or they will get crunchy.  I am trying to control myself but really I'm not doing a very good job. Sorry Matt! I have to give them away or I will eat them all! Better get some while they're still around!

Peanut Butter Chews
2 sticks unsalted butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup dark corn syrup
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract (I used one - two seemed like overkill)
2 large eggs
2 cups creamy peanut butter (this time I compromised with Jif Natural)
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (again, I used white whole wheat and it was great)
  • Preheat oven to 325. Lightly grease or line with parchment two baking sheets. 
  • In a medium-sized bowl, cream together butter, sugars, corn syrup, baking soda, salt, and vanilla. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the peanut butter, beating until the mixture is light and fluffy. Stir in the flour.
  • Drop the dough by the tablespoonful onto prepared baking sheets. Bake the cookies for 15 minutes, or until they're a light golden brown around the edges. Don't overbake or they'll be crisp, not soft. Remove from the oven and transfer to a rack to cool.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Peanut Butter!

After that last disappointment, it was time for an easy crowd pleaser. It's my husband's birthday this week so I let him choose the next recipe. Apparently peanut butter cookies are his favorite. Who knew?
Although we are a tried and true hippie dippy organic fresh-ground peanut butter family, the KAF Cookie Companion  suggested that the store bought peanut butter is better. I guess there's just something about those emulsifiers and partially-hydrogenated fats. So I got me a big ol jar o Jif.
Here's a nifty tip from the KAF: spray your measuring cup with oil before trying to measure peanut butter (or other sticky ingredients). This makes it easier to scoop the peanut butter out. Or so they say. I read that tip AFTER I measured. . . .
Phoebe and I baked these before naptime this afternoon. They turned out great. I skipped lunch and ate about seven of them.

The Essential Peanut Butter Cookie
1 cup vegetable shortening (I used 2 sticks of butter)
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup creamy or crunchy peanut butter
3 cups unbleached white flour (I ran out of white flour after 2 cups so the last cup was white whole-wheat - and it turned out fine)

  • Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease (or line with parchment paper) two baking sheets.
  • In a medium-sized bowl, cream together the shortening, sugars, eggs, vanilla, baking soda, salt and peanut butter. Add flour, stirring to combine.
  • Drop the dough by the tablespoonful onto the prepared baking sheets. Press down each cookie with a fork to make a crisscross design. Bake the cookies for 10 minutes, or until they're lightly browned. Remove them from the oven and transfer to a rack to cool. 

Phoebe Factor of 5.

White Chocolate Cherry Almond

Sounds like it would be delish, no? They were not a big hit. Even Santa Claus only took one bite and left the rest.
I'm giving these a Phoebe Factor of 6, as she was intimately involved all the way up to the part where you put the dough on the cookie sheet, at which point I told her as soon as she started licking dough off of her fingers she was done . . .  and then she was done. This is the batch, in fact, referred to in the original Phoebe Factor post, with the ambiguous measurement of baking soda. Which could account for the asphalt-like texture of some of the cookies, although not for the fact that others were flat and undercooked. I'm not exactly sure why these didn't turn out as good as I expected. I used dried cherries that we picked from a friend's tree and dried ourselves, which were fantastic on their own. I chose to use the chewy chocolate chip cookie recipe, because I thought the cakey cookie would support all these ingredients. But I could only find the cheap Albertson's brand of white chocolate chips, and they were admittedly a little gross.
These were so unpopular, even with my husband (who will eat moldy leftovers), that two weeks after I baked them, three last pathetic cookies had been overlooked for so many nights I finally fed them to the dog.
Here's the recipe, maybe you can do a better job:

White Chocolate Cherry Almond Cookies  
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup slivered almonds, toasted
1 cup dried cherries
1 cup white chocolate chips or chunks
  • Prepare the cookie dough as for Essential Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies, substituting almond extract for vanilla. Substitute almonds, dried cherries, and white chocolate for the semisweet chips. Bake as directed in the Chewy Chocolate Chip recipe.