Tag Archives: cookie

Springtime

Yesterday was the official start of the season of spring, which means (at least according to recent TV commercials) it’s also the start of grilling season!

What? What do you mean our grill doesn’t look ready? What makes you say that? Is it the bit of snow that is still on that little tray? Or the grill scraper that is still partially buried? Oh. I see. It’s all the snow that is still piled up all over the deck and around the grill that makes it so we can’t even get to it, never mind use it. You know, you may have something there.

Ok, so moving on then, I bet that wonderful raspberry bush we have is looking wonderful and like it can’t wait to start sporting little red berries as the long, warm, sunny days arrive.

No?

Check out the snow build up on our neighbor’s little shed there too, pretty cool huh?

Alright, so while us Alaskans (at least my other foodie friends and I) cry a little every time the warm weather is mentioned in the lower 48 and every time we see something online, or on TV, or in the newspaper, or hear something on the radio about spring being here, that doesn’t mean we can’t begin our anticipation of warmer, brighter days ahead.

Although, we still want that record snow fall. Three more inches of snow, then spring. Like, spring instantaneously. Thanks.

Until then, just delve into these tasty Apricot-Oatmeal Cookies for a bit of a sunny and warm feeling.

Apricot-Oatmeal Cookies

8oz (2 sticks) butter
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 cups AP flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
3 cups old-fashioned oats
1 1/2 cups diced dried apricots

Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare two baking sheets with either parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
In medium bowl or stand mixer, cream butter and sugar together until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, and vanilla to butter and sugars.
In another medium bowl, combine oats, flour, baking soda, and salt.
Mix dry ingredients into the wet until just combined.
Add in diced dried apricots, mix until apricots are dispersed through dough.
Measure out dough by tablespoons onto prepared baking sheets. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until nicely browned on the bottom and edges.
Let cool on wire rack.

Makes about 4 doz smallish cookies.

Dig in and enjoy a hint of spring/summer!

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Hot Chocolate Cookies

Do you find yourself overloaded with tubs and bags of hot chocolate mix? Sure it hits the spot on the cold winter nights, especially near a roaring fire or with a hint of ‘holiday cheer’ aka ‘alcohol’. But have you found, much as my family has, that over years of hosting holiday parties or getting more mix because you thought you had run out (when in reality you hadn’t) you have got quite the stash of hot chocolate mixes together?

Have no fear, you needn’t drink all that Swiss Miss, instead make cookies! That’s right, these cookies are a sure hit with hot chocolate lovers everywhere. They are made with the hot chocolate mix that has been tucked away in your cabinet for the past who knows how many years and even have the classic marshmallow topping!

Now, I found this recipe and thought they sounded, and looked, fantastic. Yet, even after two batches of making the cookies exactly as the recipe called for, mine look MUCH different. They still taste good, like hot chocolate but as a cookie, and honestly I like mine better simply because they are sooooo cute!

Hot Chocolate Cookies with Marshmallows

2 sticks butter
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 1/4 cups flour
1/3 cup hot chocolate mix
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda2 cups mini marshmallows

Set oven at 350°f and prep cookie sheets with either parchment paper or silpats.
In a mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugars until fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla and mix until well incorporated.
In a separate bowl, stir together flour, hot chocolate mix, salt and baking soda.
Slow add the flour mixture to the sugar mixture. Mix until well blended.
Place by rounded teaspoon, or cookie scoop, onto parchment or silpat lined baking sheets.
Bakefor 10 minutes or until slightly firm.
As soon as you remove the cookies from the oven, begin topping with marshmallows.
After cooling for a few minutes on the baking sheet, move to wire wrack until completely cool.

Notes: I tried putting the marshmallows on just a bit before the cookies were done baking, hoping they would toast a little in the oven. They did, but it wasn’t the effect I was going for. I suggest trying it, though, just to see what you think. Kristen, whom I got the recipe from, used her kitchen torch to add a little crisp to the fluffy bits of goodness and she highly recommends doing so.

Recipe Adapted from: http://dineanddish.net/2011/03/spring-optimisim-recipe-hot-chocolate-cookies-with-marshmallows/

Happy First Blogiversary!

That’s right! Today’s the day!

It’s officially the one year anniversary of my blog!

I’ve been posting about food, art, writing, and whatever else pops into my head for an entire year now. What better way to celebrate than with cupcakes?!

I brought these to my staff who promptly devoured them with gusto. I used a recipe from a cookbook I got as a Christmas present: Favorite Brand Name’s 100 Best Cupcake Recipes, but for a twist I added the popular idea of putting half an Oreo on the bottom of the cupcake! Unfortunately for me, the Oreo half stuck to the paper of the cupcake liner. Someone suggested putting a bit of cooking spray in the liners to allow everything to release easily, but part of me wonders if they where simply in the oven a bit too long. I guess this means I’ll just have to make them again!

Cookies and Cream Cupcakes

Cupcakes:
24 Oreo halves with cream attached
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 2/3 cups sugar
1 cup milk
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 egg whites
1 cup crushed Oreo cookies (about 10) plus additional for garnish

Cream Cheese Frosting
8 oz cream cheese
1/4 cup butter
2 teaspoons vanilla
Powdered Sugar (until reach wanted consistency)
Chocolate sprinkles or Oreo crumbs (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease 24 standard muffin cups or line with paper baking cups.
2. Put half an Oreo cookie with cream centers attached in each muffin cup.
3. Sift flour, baking powder and salt into large bowl; stir in sugar. Add milk, butter and vanilla; beat with electric mixer at low speed 30 seconds. Beat at medium speed 2 minutes. Add egg whites; beat 2 minutes. Stir in 1 cup crushed cookies. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups, filling two-thirds full.
4. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Cool cupcakes in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes. Remove from pans; cool completely on wire racks.
5. Put cream cheese and butter in a bowl and mix with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add vanilla and mix until incorporated. Add powdered sugar and mix (carefully!), add more powdered sugar to create thicker frosting if wanted. When at desired consistency, add sprinkles or Oreo crumbs and mix in.
6. Pipe frosting onto cupcakes, top with left over Oreo crumbs, enjoy!

Adapted from: Favorite Brand Name’s 100 Best Cupcake Recipes

Better biscotti or bust

As mentioned earlier, I recently attempted to make chocolate-pistachio biscotti. I have always been a fan of biscotti since my friends and I would go to our local hot-spot and sip coffee and munch biscotti during high school (remember Bell’s that I mentioned earlier?), and this summer I finally tried my hand at making it. So far everything has been a success. I posted about the lemon-anise biscotti, but forgot to snap pictures of and mention the cherry-hazelnut I also made. It got to the point where the biscotti was delicious, but need a little extra something. What does one do when the usual baked goods need a pick me up? Add chocolate of course.

I searched for a good (erm, actually a ‘quick and easy’ and with ingredients that I had around the house) recipe and finally found one for chocolate-pistachio biscotti. I read other blogs as people raved about the combination of salty nuts and sweet chocolate and couldn’t wait to start my own batch. So I grabbed the recipe and headed to the kitchen.

The dough came together quickly and easily enough, but something was off. It was extremely dry. While I toyed with the idea of adding more liquid to it, I finally settled on this idea: “Kiwi, it’s a Martha Stewart recipe. Let’s trust her this once and make these exactly to her instructions.”

And so I took the very dry dough, made the log to bake for the first go round and pressed all the escaped pistachios into the dough, and there were quite a few. Then baked according to instruction, about 20-25 minutes. Now, for those of you who have made biscotti before you probably know that when the biscotti are baked for the first time they need to be rather firm all the way through so that cutting them into the usual diagonal biscotti shape is easier and the cookies don’t crumble as you cut them. Well, these were way too soft after the first baking, and I knew it, but once again that voice inside my head said “Trust in Martha”. Why, oh, why did I listen?

Oh sure, they look harmless enough, and they do taste rather good, but they are so wrong on so many levels. Notice how insanely thick they are? Yeah, that’s cause they were too soft after the first baking so when I tried to cut them they fell apart. The only way to try to keep them intact? Make them massive. Notice the holes on top where the pistachios fell off because the little buggers didn’t want to stay on? Too many nuts, not enough dough. Then, after the second baking and the cleaning of the crumbly mess in my kitchen from cutting these, the suckers (oh wait, biscotti, not suckers…the…confused cookies?) still were not done in the middle enough. I mean, they were done, it’s not like they were raw, don’t get me wrong, but they were way too soft to be biscotti. So I told the voice in my head to shut up and baked them for longer. But to no real avail. Alas: dry, giant, falling apart, but tasty none-the-less, biscotti.

Smidget attempted to console me as I was rather enraged disappointed at these biscotti, and Martha, for turning out so poorly. She said the wise words of “I’ve tried at least one of her cookie recipes myself, and I found it wasn’t that good.” So all in all, I just have to say, Martha-please take another look at your cookie recipes and make sure everything is set the way it should be.

That being said, I won’t post the recipe until I can find (and or tweak and make my own) recipe that makes the most amazing chocolate-pistachio biscotti around. Although, I’m sure you could find the recipe pretty easily, it is, after all, Martha Stewart’s chocolate-pistachio biscotti. But what to do with the recipe? I’m actually thinking this may make a good tart crust dough. Ya know, chocolate cookie crust with a layer of pistachios and chocolate ganache?

What’s the worst recipe you’ve ever followed? Or, how have your Martha experiences been?