Monday, February 08, 2016

Soft & Chewy Red Velvet Cookies

Valentine's Day is next Sunday so I decided to go with that as my theme for this week's Cookie Monday. I have a bunch of boxed cake mixes that my coworkers gave me, including a red velvet mix, so I took to Pinterest to find a good cake-mix-cookie recipe. I didn't want to use the basic cake mix recipe - I wanted something better. This recipe is great because it incorporates the cake mix but adds it into a slightly more complicated cookie recipe. Plus! It's a soft-batch cookie! And those are my favorite.

The cake mix wasn't red enough once it was mixed so I did have to add some extra red food coloring. The cookies were great and I think people liked them a lot. I have a few left over so I'm going to add some ice cream and make some little sandwiches. Yes!

cookies

Soft & Chewy Red Velvet Cookies
The Domestic Rebel

3/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 egg
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
1 & 1/4 cups red velvet cake mix (the dry mix)
1 & 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 & 1/2 cups white chocolate chips, divided

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter, brown sugar and white sugar with the paddle attachment for about 2 minutes, or until creamy and smooth. Beat in the egg and the vanilla to combine. Last, add in the red velvet cake mix, flour, and baking soda until a soft dough has formed. Stir in ONE cup of the white chocolate chips.

Chill the mixture in the fridge for AT LEAST two hours, or overnight if possible. Chilling is MANDATORY as it prevents the cookies from spreading into thin, globby saucers during baking.

Once dough has chilled, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with silicone liners or spray them lightly with cooking spray. Drop rounded Tablespoon-sized balls of dough onto each cookie sheet, keeping about 2" apart from one another. Bake for approx. 9-11 minutes, rotating pans halfway through baking time to ensure even cooking. Cookies may appear slightly undone but do NOT overbake as they will continue to set up as they cool.

Place a couple more white chocolate chips onto the tops of the freshly-baked cookies for an extra bit of sweetness or to make them prettier, if you'd like. Allow them to cool on the pans before serving.

Yield: I got about 4 dozen

Quick-Pickled Cauliflower and Swiss on Rye

I'm not sure what drew me to this sandwich. I think I just had all the ingredients available. You also know by now that I like weird grilled-cheese sandwiches. And this definitely is weird. I'm not sure why it's called "quick-pickled" because you are not pickling it at all, just kind of soaking it in a liquid. It calls for sparkling apple cider but I used apple cider vinegar instead - partially because that's what I had available, and partially because that at least makes it more of a pickle. Except it didn't. What I ended up with was mostly just cauliflower coated in honey-mustard.

Anyway, beyond that, this sandwich was also not as grilled-cheesy as I wanted. I had to take a photo of it in the pan because every time I flipped it or lifted it, it fell apart. The cauliflower coating makes the bread really soggy, really quickly. I have no idea how this could be avoided. And! The cheese doesn't bind it together very well. So I'd flip it but nothing would be stuck together and the bread would break apart.

The redemption here is that the sandwich was pretty good. The apple and mustard and caraway and rye go really well together. It was hard to eat since it kept falling apart, so I wouldn't make it again. But I do feel like you need to know that at least it was delicious.

cheese

Quick-Pickled Cauliflower and Swiss on Rye
Vegetarian Times, Jan/Feb 2016

1/4 cup sparkling apple cider
3 Tbs. finely chopped chives
2 Tbs. whole-grain mustard
1 Tbs. honey
1 tsp. ground caraway
1/2 lb. cauliflower florets, cut in 1/2-inch pieces (2 cups)
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, and finely chopped (1 cup)
4 oz. shredded Swiss cheese (1 cup)
8 slices dark or marbled rye bread
2 Tbs. butter, melted

Whisk together cider, chives, mustard, honey, and caraway in medium bowl. Add cauliflower and apple, and stir to combine. Let sit at room temperature 10 minutes.

Stir in shredded cheese.

Preheat panini or sandwich press to medium heat.

Scoop heaping 3/4 cup cauliflower mixture onto each of 4 bread slices. Top each with another bread slice, and gently press down.

Brush both sides of panini press each with 1/2 Tbs. melted butter. Press 2 sandwiches 3 to 5 minutes, or until bread is browned and crisp on outside, and filling is heated through. Repeat with remaining 2 sandwiches.

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Brownie Roll-Out Cookies (Now With Dinosaurs)

It is a known fact that I like dinosaurs. I am a 31 year old with the whimsical interests of a 7 year old - dinosaurs, narwhals, unicorns. I'm kind of lame.

But my friends appreciate my lameness, and for Christmas my workwife Janet bought me this rolling pin, embossed with dinosaur print. After rolling out cookie dough, I can roll over it with this and print the entire dough with little dinosaurs. SO COOL. So then I had to find a recipe to use it.

Because I'm still getting the hang of it and not very good at rolling out dough (I'm too short so I don't have as much leverage to apply pressure), I picked a chocolate dough. This allowed me to make jokes about people pretending they are searching the mud for dinosaur tracks. Most of them turned out pretty good! And the chocolate cookie dough was yummy. Not too sweet. I will strongly compare it to the crust of a chocolate poptart (which I happen to love). I would definitely make this cookie dough again, and I will try the dinosaurs again in the near future with a different recipe.

dinosaur

Brownie Roll-Out Cookies
Smitten Kitchen

3 cups all-purpose flour (375 grams)
1/2 teaspoon salt (3 grams)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup lightly salted butter (225 grams) softened
1 1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (5 ml)
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa

Preheat oven at 350 degrees. Whisk dry flour, salt and baking powder in bowl and set aside. Mix butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla and cocoa in mixer. Gradually add flour mixture, and mix until smooth. Wrap in plastic and chill for at least one hour.

Roll out cookie dough on floured counter. Cut into desired shapes, brushing extra deposits of flour off the top. (It does disappear once baked, though, so don't overly fret if they go into the oven looking white.) Bake on a parchment-lined baking sheet for 8 to 11 minutes (the former for 1/8-inch thick cookies, the latter for 1/4-inch cookies) until the edges are firm and the centers are slightly soft and puffed .

Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Yield: I used a 2" round cookie cutter and ended up with about 40 cookies.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Kale Salad with Sauteed Apples

Another thing I made this weekend was this very fibrous salad. It's kind of more autumn-y than wintry, but that's fine. It was super fast. I didn't love it. It was just ok. Maybe if I had sauteed the kale a little bit. The textural difference between the kale and apples was bothering me, though the shallots were nice. I did like the dressing. I didn't have pepitas. Would that have made a difference? I don't think so. I probably wouldn't make this again.

kale

Kale Salad with Sauteed Apples
Brooklyn Supper

1 large bunch kale, any kind, cut into thin ribbons
zest of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 clove garlic, smashed and minced
sea salt to taste
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for cooking
1 shallot, peeled and sliced
4 crisp apples, cored and cut into 1/2 inch slices
1/2 cup raw, hulled pepitas

Prep the kale, set in a large bowl, and toss with lemon zest. To make the vinaigrette, use a fork to whisk the garlic into the lemon juice. Add a generous pinch of sea salt. Drizzle in 3 tablespoons olive oil, whisking until emulsified.

Drizzle half the dressing over the kale leaves and massage with fingers. Rough the kale up a bit. Set aside while you prep the toppings.

Set a large cast iron skillet over medium/medium-high heat. Add a drizzle of olive oil and the shallots. Sauté, stirring occasionally, until shallots have browned, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, slice apples, toss in the skillet, and cook just until apples are warm and have lost their bite, 5 - 7 minutes. Remove shallots and apples from heat, add another drizzle of oil, and toast the pepitas, cooking just until they pop, about 1 - 2 minutes. Toss warm pepitas with sea salt.

Fold the warm apples, shallots, and pepitas into the prepared kale leaves. Taste for salt levels and adjust if needed. Serve immediately, or cover and refrigerate for up to a day.

Baked Eggs on Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

We had a blizzard this weekend (YOU MAY HAVE HEARD) so mostly I just wanted to eat Kraft Mac & Cheese and tater tots. Last night, I did throw together a quick dinner. It required minimal effort and was very yummy. [Note: I did not make cookies. I was too sore from shoveling.] The eggs didn't bake quite the way I wanted them to, but it was still okay. I've made other baked egg recipes I liked better so I probably wouldn't make this again. Oh well!

tomato

tomato

Baked Eggs on Roasted Cherry Tomatoes
Cookie & Kate

3 cups sweet cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes (about 16 ounces) halved
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon chopped fresh basil leaves
1 garlic clove, pressed or minced (optional)
Sea salt, preferably of the flaky variety (like Maldon)
Freshly ground black pepper
4 eggs, at room temperature

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Arrange the halved tomatoes in an even layer in a medium-sized baking dish or oven-proof skillet. Bake the tomatoes for 12 minutes, then remove the dish.

Top the tomatoes with all of the Parmesan, drizzle on the olive oil, sprinkle with 2 tablespoons basil and season with salt and pepper. Stir the garlic into the mixture, if using. Gently crack an egg over the tomatoes, keeping the yolk intact. Repeat with the remaining eggs, dispersing them somewhat evenly over the dish.

Return the dish to the oven and bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Check at 8 minutes-you're done when the egg whites have set but the yolks are still soft. They should still jiggle in the centers when you shimmy the pan. (They'll continue cooking after you pull the dish out of the oven.) Sprinkle the cooked eggs with salt, pepper and the remaining 1 teaspoon basil.

Serve right away in shallow bowls with toast.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Coffee Cake Cookies

I printed this recipe out a few weeks ago but have put off making it. I didn't think it would make enough cookies (I was wrong) and I really didn't want to use shortening (which I normally don't, but I DID - SORRY EVERYONE) but they were just so intriguing. So, I ended up making them for Cookie Monday.

These were SUPER popular. A lot of people asked for the recipe. I did have a few left over at the end of the day because I forgot to hand them out after lunch, but several people did take seconds. I made the cookies smaller than the recipe instructed, and I ended up with about 4 dozen cookies. The baking time was the same - about 9 minutes per batch. As usual, I slightly underbaked.

The big problem was that the recipe makes WAY WAY WAY too much crumble. It's a huge waste of ingredients. I had read about that in the comments on the original blog post, but I was doubtful. I shouldn't have been - seriously, after making 4 dozen cookies, I still had this much topping left over:

crumble

So, if you decide to make them, please reduce the amount of topping you make. By at least half, if not more. But you really should definitely make them. Even with the shortening.

Coffee Cake Cookies
Cookies & Cups

Topping:
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1 2/3 cup flour

Cookies:
10 Tbsp butter
1/3 cup shortening
1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
3 1/3 cup flour
optional ~ 1/2 cup powdered sugar for dusting

Preheat oven to 350°

Line cookie sheet with parchment paper or silicone liner. Set aside.

Mix all the crumb ingredients together in a medium bowl and cut together with a pastry cutter or a fork until evenly mixed. Refrigerate while making cookie dough.

Mix together butter, shortening and both sugars for 1-2 minutes on medium speed, until combined and smooth.

Add in cinnamon, eggs and vanilla and continue mixing until evenly combined.

Turn mixer to low and mix in baking powder, salt and flour, mixing until dough comes together evenly.

Scoop cookies out, using a cookie scoop or spoon (about 3 Tablespoons) and place on lined cookie sheet. If using a spoon, form the dough into rounded balls.

Make an indentation in the center of the cookie dough.

Scoop at least 1 Tablespoon of Crumb Topping into the center of the dough pressing lightly to stick.

Bake cookies for 9-10 minutes, or until edges start to get golden.

Remove from oven and allow to cool for 3 minutes on cookie sheet, then transferring to a wire rack to finish cooling.

Dust with powdered sugar if desired.

Yield: 2-4 dozen depending on size of cookie

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Salted Vanilla Chip Oatmeal Cookies

OK, so, I hated these. I made them, and I hated them. I'm not sure why. The white chocolate? Normally it's hard to screw up an oatmeal cookie, and the addition of some flaky sea salt on top was nice. So I guess I just hated the white chocolate chips. I did post a disclaimer on Facebook telling people that I hated the cookies. The concensus was that I should bring them in anyway, because, "Have you seen our office? We'll eat anything." OK.

Anyway, I forgot to bring them to work on Monday. And then I brought them to work today instead, but then I forgot them in my office until noonish. Then I remembered and gave them to my coworkers.

They apparently did not hate them as much as I did. They actually ate them. I think they weren't as popular as previous weeks, for sure. But it wasn't so bad. I guess it's just me. I didn't know I hate white chocolate in salted oatmeal cookies. Oh well, live & learn.

oatmeal

Salted Vanilla Chip Oatmeal Cookies
Bake or Break

3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 & 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter (12 tbsp) softened
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
8 ounces white chocolate, chopped
coarse salt, for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 350°. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone liners.

Whisk together oats, flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat butter and vanilla until creamy. Add brown sugar and sugar, beating until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.

Reduce mixer speed to low and gradually add oat mixture. Stir in white chocolate.

Scoop batter by tablespoonfuls onto prepared pans. Sprinkle each with coarse salt. Bake 12-14 minutes, or until edges are browned but centers are slightly soft.

Cool cookies on pans for a few minutes. Then, transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

Yield: 5 dozen

Tuesday, January 05, 2016

Mocha Almond Fudge Cookies

I almost made something different for Cookie Monday, but I'm glad I didn't. These were super simple chocolate cookies with the addition of cinnamon-toasted almonds. I slightly underbaked them for a fudgy, soft cookie. The feedback I received all day yesterday was the following: "These are the best cookies you've ever made."

Well, OK. That's a heavy claim, but it's not wrong. This is a really, really great cookie. I bet they'd make good ice cream sandwiches, or chopped up in some homemade ice cream. Or just eaten in mass quantities while you're making more. Yum!

cookie

Mocha Almond Fudge Cookies
How Sweet Eats

1 cup butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
2 tablespoons instant coffee powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
2/3 cup chopped almonds
1 cup chocolate chips

Add chopped almonds and cinnamon to a saucepan and toast over low-medium heat. Watch them the entire time and occasionally shake the pan to move them around. This takes less than 10 minutes.

Cream butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla until fluffy. Add flour, cocoa powder, coffee powder, baking soda and salt and mix until combined.

Fold in chocolate chips and almonds. Refrigerate dough for 2-4 hours.

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees, roll into balls and set on baking sheet.

Bake for 8-10 minutes. {I baked for 9.}

Yield: It's supposed to make 30 cookies but I got 55. Unsure how, but I did!

Saturday, January 02, 2016

No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars

I haven't posted in almost a month! This is what happens when I take a cookie hiatus for the holidays. Geez. Sorry, guys. I did do a little bit of baking though.

For Christmas, my mom usually makes Christmas tree-shaped spritz cookies with the cookie press. This year she was very stressed out so I whipped up a batch of her recipe. My family can be harsh critics, but they agreed the cookies tasted just like my mom's. Hooray!
trees

I also made a batch of Old-Fashioned Peanut Butter Cookies for dinner at a friend's house. They were best the day they were made, but still good a couple days later. Some people added ice cream and that's a great idea.

And then I made these no-bake cookies because I found a bunch on Pinterest and thought they looked interesting. I didn't take a picture because I forgot. They're bar cookies. Go to the original website to see a photo. So, these actually turned out kind of terrible. The peanut butter flavor wasn't strong enough, but I couldn't add more or it would screw up the texture. Instead, it tasted like buttery graham cracker. Not terrible but not even a little bit how I'd pictured. I won't make these again.

No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars
Sally's Baking Addiction

1/2 cup salted butter, melted
1 cup graham cracker crumbs (about 8 full sheets)
1 cup confectioners' sugar
3/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons (215g) creamy peanut butter (not natural style)
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Line a 8x8 or 9x9 square baking pan with aluminum foil. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, mix the melted butter, graham cracker crumbs, and powdered sugar together until combined. Stir in 3/4 cup of peanut butter. Spread into prepared baking pan.

In a small bowl, microwave 2 Tablespoons of peanut butter with the chocolate chips until melted. Stir until smooth. Spread over peanut butter layer.

Chill until completely firm, at least 3 hours. Allow to sit at room temperature for 10 minutes before cutting. Bars stay fresh stored in the refrigerator. Serve chilled. (Setting them out for a few hours at room temperature for serving is OK.) Bars may be frozen up to 2 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.