Tag Archives: Sugar

Salted Caramel Banana Macarons

Salted.

Caramel.

Banana.

Macarons.

Can you say “yum?”

In all seriousness, these are yum.

But, I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s go back to the beginning. The very beginning.

A little over a year ago, I had the pleasure of going on a trip to London and France (Paris and Arles in the south). And let me tell you…all those things you’ve heard about French pastries being the best things in the world…those aren’t lies. Those of you who have gone to France, am I right? *Insert everyone nodding their heads yes!*

(photo taken by me)

Breakfast every morning was divine (I even became a local at this one cafe!)…freshly baked bread and a croissant, with the choice of spreading on jellies and/or butter. There is literally no way to describe how good this was. And if you thought butter was good in America, you’d be wildly impressed with French butter – it’s that much better!

Besides indulging in breakfast (and lunch, and dinner), I also made many stops to little patisseries. Of course, I had to go to Ladurée, famous in particular for their macarons. Being the dessert-lover I am, I not only indulged in many macarons, but also a heavenly pastry with rose water and raspberries. Yep, be jealous. This was a food lover’s dream!

Yep, that's the rose water and raspberry dessert. (photo taken by me)

And on a complete side note, some of you may be wondering how much weight I gained after all of this eating. Well, prepare to get even more jealous: the answer? None. Yep, I gained no weight. I think it had to do with how walkable a city Paris is…I mean, you just want to walk everywhere.

But back to the main story: So, I guess you could say I became officially in love with macarons during this trip. But really…how could you not? Macarons are adorable and tasty, and I was in Paris – the place where undoubtedly you’ll get the world’s best macarons.

Ever since returning from that trip, I wanted to make my own macarons. But then I heard all those horror stories about them, which I’m sure you’ve heard:

“Macarons are impossible!”

“Macarons are so finicky!”

“Macarons never turn out!”

“Don’t try making macarons – you’ll never get them right!”

Naturally, I was scared away from the task, although the curiosity and obsession with macarons never left me.

And then, over a year later, one fateful day (dramatic!), there I was: watching Anne Thornton’s Dessert First on the Food Network. And what was she making?! Macarons!

I thought to myself, “If a TV show geared at the home baker is encouraging you to make macarons, you make macarons!” Right? Right!

That very next day I got the few ingredients I was missing that I needed to make them. And then, I made them.

And guess what?! They turned out perfectly!

They were not impossible.

They were not finicky.

They did turn out.

And, boy, did they turn out well!

I don’t know if it was a good recipe, luck, or what it was, but they turned out. And I loved them.

Moral of the story? Don’t let myths keep you from trying something you really want to make.

Or, maybe you just need to find a really good recipe.

Or, maybe you just need pure luck.

But try these for me.

You won’t regret it.

(I should note that the recipe does not make a ton….but that’s fine, as long as that’s what you expect.)

Salted Caramel Banana Macarons

adapted from Anne Thornton’s Dessert First

1 ¼ cup almond meal

1 ¾ cup powdered sugar

3 large older egg whites* (i.e. not freshly bought – preferably older than 4 days)

3 tablespoons meringue powder

fleur de sel, enough to sprinkle

½ cup granulated sugar

¾ tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature

3 teaspoons heavy cream

¾ teaspoons fleur de sel

1 ripe (not overripe) banana

*Preparation: Separate the egg whites when the eggs are cold – just out of the refrigerator. However, before moving on, allow to come to room temperature.

Make the cookies: Preheat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Line baking sheets with parchment paper

Sift together the almond meal and powdered sugar. Set aside.

Using a mixer, beat the egg whites on low speed until foamy. Begin sprinkling in the meringue powder as you beat. Increase the speed to medium speed and beat until soft peaks form. From here, keep beating cautiously until you have firm glossy peaks – do not beat until you have stiff peaks (i.e. meringue should not stand up straight when a whisk is lifted from the mixture).

Gently fold in about 1/3 of the almond meal mixture. Once combined, add the remaining almond meal mixture in 2 more batches. Being gentle is key. Incorporate the ingredients fully, but do not over-fold.

Put a pastry bag with about a ½ inch tip (or plastic bag with a tip cut off) in a glass or cup. Fold the top of the bag over the lip of the glass/cup. Fill the pastry bag with the mixture.

Pipe 1-inch circular mounds of batter onto the prepared pans. If the mounds do not smooth out on their own, using a wet fingertip, tap the mounds gently to create a smooth top. Another option would be to tap the pan on the counter…but I’d recommend the finger-tip option. Let the cookies sit for about 30 minutes.

Sprinkle each cookie with fleur de sel. Allow the cookies to rest 30-60 minutes more, depending on the humidity.

Bake the cookies for about 15 minutes, 1 sheet at a time. They should not be browned, but they shouldn’t look too underdone either. Let the cookies cool.

Make the filling:

In a saucepan set over medium-high heat, combine the granulated sugar and 2 tablespoons water. Let the sugar melt and turn into a caramel – but do not stir the mixture, and do not rush this process. Carefully, as steam will be released, add the butter and heavy cream. Stir until incorporated, and then add the fleur de sel. Let cool.

In a small bowl, mash the ripe banana with a fork (don’t worry about the texture seeming strange…it’ll work in the end!). Add the cooled caramel to the mashed banana.

Spread the filling on the flat side of a cookie. Make a sandwich by sandwiching the flat side of another cookie against the filling. Continue this process for the rest of the sandwiches.

Place in the refrigerator and allow to mature for at least 24 hours…but honestly, you’ll want one before, and I found that there wasn’t a huge difference in taste between the more freshly finished and 24-hour matured versions. So, go ahead. Enjoy them now! (And think of Paris….*sigh*).

Dreamy Cookie Dough Cream Pie

Yes, you read correctly. Cookie Dough Cream Pie! What…you don’t believe such goodness exists? I’ll prove it:

Hmmm…let me back up a bit. I should probably show you the pie before I cut into it.

 

Tell me that doesn’t look good already! Now, for some more pictures of the sliced pie.

Want me to break down all of these luscious layers for you? Observe:

From the bottom up:

  • chocolate cookie crust
  • real cookie dough (eggless, to be safe!)
  • cream filling
  • homemade whipped cream
  • homemade mini cookies to garnish

If you don’t want to take a bite of this by now, I don’t know what to tell you. I mean, how can this not look divine?! And let me tell you something: it is divine! Heavenly! Dreamy! Luscious! Perfect! Cookie dough bliss!

So it goes without saying that I encourage you to make this. It’s goooooood.

Dreamy Cookie Dough Cream Pie

from Love & Olive Oil

For pie crust:
7 ounces chocolate wafer cookies (not the wafer cookies with the frosting)
6 tablespoons butter, melted

For cookie dough:
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
3/8 cup granulated sugar
3/8 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/2 tablespoons whole milk

1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

For cream filling:
3/4 cups light brown sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups whole milk
3 egg yolks
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For whipped cream topping:
1 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees fahreneheit. In a food processor, make the cookies into fine crumbs. Add the melted butter and combine (still in the food processor). Firmly press the mixture into a 9″ pie pan (cover the sides and bottom of pan). Bake for 8 minutes and remove from heat. Set aside and allow to cool completely. Don’t turn the oven off.

For the cookie dough: beat butter and sugars in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add milk and vanilla. Add flour, baking soda and salt and mix on low speed until just incorporated. Mix in chocolate chips (try not to overmix, but make sure everything is efficiently combined). Using some of the dough, make 8-10 small, 1/2″ in diameter, balls (make however many cookies as you want servings of pie). Place on a non-stick baking sheet or a baking sheet lined with parchment. Bake for 7-9 minutes or until edges are lightly golden. Allow to cool for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. These will be used to top the pie. Reserve remaining dough.

In a large saucepan, mix sugar, flour and salt. Stir in 1 cup of the milk, mixing until smooth, and then bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Continue to stir until smooth and thickened, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat.

Beat the egg yolks with the remaining cup of milk. Add a teeny-tiny amount of this mixture to the mixture you heated previously. Mix to combine. Again, add a teeny-tiny amount of the egg mixture to the thickened mixture. Mix to combine. Repeat this a few more times, and then add the remaining egg mixture, mixing well to combine. The purpose of doing all of this is to make sure the cold egg mixture doesn’t “cook” upon touching the hot, thickened mixture. Be patient with this!

Return the saucepan to the heat and bring to a boil again, stirring constantly. Lower heat and simmer until mixture is the consistency of thick pudding (if it doesn’t seem to be reaching this consistency, but you’ve had it on the heat for awhile, you may still remove it from the heat…it should firm up more in the fridge later). Remove from the heat and quickly stir in butter and vanilla. Set aside.

While filling is cooling, break off pieces of cookie dough and press them into the cooled pie crust. You want an even layer of dough approximately 1/2″ thick (if you want the cookie dough to really be tasted in the finished pie, go for this full 1/2”, or maybe even thicker). You may have left over dough…eat it! It’s eggless, after all!

Pour in the cooled filling on top of the dough layer, leveling the top with a rubber spatula. Filling should come up about 1/2″ from the top of the crust. Refrigerate until completely cooled.

Whip cream until it begins to form soft peaks. Add sugar and vanilla, and beat until cream holds stiff peaks. Gently spread over the cooled pie, smoothing top into a slight dome. Garnish with the mini cookies, made earlier, setting them evenly around the circumference. One cookie per piece of pie is a great way to go!

Enjoy this luscious treat!

 *Note: Although I was happy with the end result, when I make this again I might experiment with a couple of things: one) I might add more cookie dough (I indicated this in the recipe); two) I might try a vanilla wafer crust…just because I think it might be good. But really, following the recipe exactly as I have it now insures a luxurious treat you’ll love. So what are you waiting for? Go make it!

Fine print: I reposted this recipe and several of the corresponding pictures at my other blog, The Style Connoisseur.

Nutella Scones

I gave you a sneak peak of these babies the other day. Now have a longer look. You’ll want to.

 And guess what?! These are breakfast food! Yes, that’s right, you can eat them for breakfast without guilt! They really are not too sweet at all either…rather, they’re perfect. Yum. I’m craving them now.

Make these, please. You won’t regret it. And if you haven’t given in to me yet, please buy at least one of the Baked cookbooks!

Nutella Scones

from Baked: Explorations

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

¼ cup granulated sugar

¼ cup dark unsweetened cocoa powder (like Valrhona)

1 tablespoon baking powder (yes, one tablespoon!)

½ teaspoon salt

6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into chunks

1 large egg

 ½ cup heavy cream

¾ cup toasted hazelnuts, coarsely chopped

½ cup Nutella (divided in recipe)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the rack in the middle of the oven.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In large bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, and salt until combined (you really want a large bowl because you’ll be adding the wet ingredients to it later).

Add the butter to the dry ingredients. Use your fingertips to work it into the flour until the butter is pea size and the mixture is coarse. You want the butter to stay cold for the best possible texture of the scones once baked.

In a separate bowl, whisk the egg and cream together. Slowly pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, stirring until the dough just comes together. Gently and briefly knead the dough with your hands. Please do not over-knead! Please!

Add the hazelnuts and knead gently to incorporate.

Flatten the dough into a rectangle about 6 by 12 inches (don’t worry about being precise). Spread ¼ cup of the Nutella on top in a crisscross pattern (try to cover most of the surface). Roll the dough up to make a cylinder about 6 inches long (the Nutella will be in the inside). Then, turn it on its end (so it’s standing tall), and gently flatten it into a disk about 1 ¾ inches high. Again, please don’t overwork the dough!

Cut the dough into 6 or more evenly sized wedges and place them on the prepared baking sheet. Bake them for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, rotating the baking sheet halfway through. Do not overbake!

Transfer the scones to a wire rack to cool completely.

Heat the remaining ¼ cup Nutella in a microwave until pourable, about 10 seconds or so. *Drizzle the warm Nutella over the cooled scones in a zigzag pattern. Then, transfer the scones to the fridge for about 5 minutes to set. Serve immediately.

Scones are usually best on their first day, but these will taste good the next day as well. Just be sure to wrap them tightly and store them at room temperature if you intend to do so!

*You may use a fork to pierce the top of the scones a few times before drizzling. This is designed to let some of the Nutella to seep into the scone. I didn’t do this…it’s up to you whether you want to try this. I don’t know if it’ll work, and it will make the scones a tad less pretty, but the end results might be worth it?!

(Literally!) Melt-In-Your-Mouth Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies

I’ve got another Baked recipe to share with you today! On a side note, before I get to today’s actual topic, I should mention among the other items I’ve made from the Baked cookbooks, I’ve made the Grasshopper Bars. Holy. Moly. Those things were divine. I brought them to a party, and they were quickly decided to be the favorite thing there. I was asked for the recipe countless times. Seriously…they were amazing. And as if I haven’t already pushed you enough to do so, I want need you to get these Baked cookbooks! Think of me not sharing the Grasshopper Bars recipe as an extra nudge to do so! :)

But you came today for Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies, didn’t you? If you look in either of the Baked cookbooks, you actually won’t find such a recipe. These are a slight adaptation of one of the recipes, created not because I had little faith in the original recipe, but rather due to the ingredients I had on hand. You see, these were originally supposed to be Peanut Butter Cookies with Milk Chocolate Chunks (not semi-sweet…milk chocolate, the recipe description clearly states!) But who doesn’t love a good Peanut Butter Kiss Cookie?!

These were great. Like, really, really, really, really, really great. Melt in your mouth great. No, seriously, they literally melt in your mouth!

The description in the cookbook says that they’re “the type of cookie you will have to hide or lock down if you want [them] to remain in your cookie jar for more than a few hours” (Baked: New Frontiers in Baking, page 140). Sadly for your waistline, I’m here to report that this is only too true. These cookies will disappear faster than you can believe.

And now, I encourage you to make these delightful cookies. Then, I dare you to control yourself by not eating more than one at a time. Sorry, but you won’t be able to do that. They’re just that good!

(Literally!) Melt-In-Your-Mouth Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies

Adapted from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking

1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup unsalted butter, softened, cut into 1-inch cubes (softened=out and cut up in cubes for about   

15 minutes)

1 cup granulated sugar, plus more for sprinkling

1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup creamy peanut butter

*chocolate kisses (one per cookie)

Whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl. Set aside.

Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugars until fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the eggs, one at a time. Beat well after each until incorporated. Add the vanilla and peanut butter, beating just until incorporated.

Add half of the flour mixture and mix for 15 seconds. Add the remaining flour and mix until just incorporated; you don’t want to overmix.

Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 3 hours (in a pinch, you can refrigerate for less time, or freeze for some of the time…I did a bit of both so I could get the cookies in the oven and into my tummy faster!).

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

Roll the dough into equal balls. Place on prepared sheets, leaving at least 2 inches around each dough ball. Very gently press each cookie dough slightly, but do not press too hard, and do not press it flat! Sprinkle the tops lightly with granulated sugar. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the tops of the cookies just begin to brown.

Remove the pan from the oven and immediately place a chocolate kiss in the center of each cookie. Let cool on the pans for about 5 minutes or so, and then transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely (well, you can eat them before that point if you wish!).

Enjoy!

*If you wish to make cookies as in the cookbook, instead of putting chocolate kisses on top, fold in 6 ounces good quality milk (not semi-sweet!) chocolate, coarsely chopped, into the cookie dough before you chill it.

Baked: Mississippi Mud Cake (i.e. a treat you MUST make)

Ever since I told you about my latest obsession, Baked, I haven’t been able to get either of the cookbooks off of my mind. Naturally, I’ve already made four recipes, and plan on making two more this weekend alone. And trust me, I really wish I could have documented what I’ve baked so far better, but the items have been just too good to not gobble up before getting a good photo. Luckily for you, I did manage to photograph one treat, and boy is it a good one. Actually, it probably just so happens to be the favorite thing I’ve made from the cookbooks so far…although, really, I truly have adored them all.

And what have I made so far? The very first day I bought the books, I made the Sweet & Salty Brownies (i.e. fudgy brownie, thin drizzle of decadent, scrumptious, heavenly caramel, then more fudgy brownie layered on, with fleur de sel sprinkled on top). Then, I made the Cowboy Cookies, which are a divine play on chocolate chip cookies: chocolate chunks and pieces of pretzels. These were gone. in. a. flash. And the dough? Don’t even get me started. Next, I made a vanilla cake with a white chocolate frosting. It was so airy and moist, and I kid you not: it can convert hard-core chocoholics to being white chocolate fans.

So while I’m going to share this next recipe with you, and I’ll probably share more with you in the future, I really want need you to get at least one of the two cookbooks, although I highly recommend both.

Okay, seriously, these pictures do not do justice to this masterpiece. Let me talk you through it: Oreo cookie crust, then flourless chocolate cake, then homemade chocolate pudding, and finally, a homemade whipped cream layer. Yes, it’s absolute heaven. And while it may seem like it would be a really heavy dessert, it’s actually really light and airy.

A few quick notes about the process:

  • This may seem like a daunting recipe with its many components. Truth be told, it does take a bit of time to prepare. If you want you can split up the work into different days. I did, however, make it in one day (a weekend, mind you). My suggestion for making it in one day: make the crust and while it’s cooling, mix up the cake; while cake is baking, make the pudding; then, refrigerate the baked cake and pudding (separately, not combined yet!) for at least 3 hours; after chilling, put the pudding on top of the cake, and while that’s chilling for 30 minutes, make the whipped cream. After you top it with whipped cream, you can serve it immediately, or chill it (you store the cake in the fridge).
  • If you taste the cake batter, you may find it has a strong coffee flavor. Don’t let this worry you though (if you’re not a coffee fan), because the flavor will mellow out a lot during baking, and as the cake sits in the fridge for a day or so.
  • The cake calls for espresso powder…if you get either of the Baked cookbooks, this is a worthy ingredient to invest in, as it’s used quite often. It may be a bit tricky to find, but trust me, it’s worth it. (Fleur de Sel is another investment ingredient if you buy the books, although it’s not used in this recipe).
  • If you wanted, the flourless chocolate cake and pudding would both be divine on their own. Seriously, I might make them separately sometime too!

And now, for the recipe:

Mississippi Mud Cake

from Baked: Explorations

Chocolate Cookie Crust:

16 ounces chocolate sandwich cookies (about 35-40 Oreos…just enough in one package to leave a few over for munching on!)

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Flourless Chocolate Cake:

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

6 ounces good-quality dark chocolate (60-70%), chopped

2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder

¼ cup strong coffee, at room temperature

¼ teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

6 large eggs, separated, at room temperature

1 cup sugar

Chocolate Pudding:

¾ cup  sugar

½ cup dark unsweetened cocoa powder (use the good stuff…something like Valrhona!)

¼ cup cornstarch

¼ teaspoon salt

4 large egg yolks

2 ½ cups whole milk

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

3 ounces good-quality dark chocolate (60-70%), chopped

Whipped Cream:

1 ¼ cups heavy cream

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

For the crust:

Preheat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray at 9-inch springform pan with cooking spray. Line the bottom with a cut out round piece of parchment paper and spray the parchment paper and sides of pan again (lightly spray, of course!).

Grind the cookies in a food processor. Put the crumbs in a bowl and pour in the melted butter. Mix, and then turn the crumb mixture into the prepared pan, pressing into the bottom and up the sides (leave about ½ inch between the top of the crust and the top of the pan). Make sure the crust is spread out evenly, and then put the pan in the freezer for about 10 minutes.

Bake the crust until it is dry to the touch, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool.

For the cake:

Increase oven temperature to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Using a double boiler, melt the butter and chocolate together. Set aside to cool.

In a small bowl, whisk together the espresso powder, coffee, salt, and vanilla. Set aside.

In a bowl, beat the egg yolks with ½ cup of the sugar until the mixture is light and has pretty much doubled in volume, about 5 minutes. Add the chocolate mixture and beat until combined. Scrape down the sides, and then beat for 5 seconds. Add the coffee mixture and eat until combined. Scrape down the sides and beat for 5 more seconds.

In a clean bowl, whisk the egg whites until foamy. Increase the speed to high and add the remaining ½ cup sugar. Beat until soft peaks form.

Scoop 1 cup fo the egg whites into the chocolate mixture, and using a rubber spatula, fold gently in. After about 30 seconds, add the remaining egg white and continue folding until almost completely combined. Do not rush the process, and work gently. You don’t want to overmix.

Pour the batter into the cooled crust and bake for 38-42 minutes, un til the cake is set but jiggles slightly. It might not appear to be completely cooked, but that’s okay.

Transfer to a wire rack and cool completely. The center will deflate, but don’t worry – that’s just the way it works, and in the end, you won’t be able to tell!

Tightly wrap the cake and refrigerate it for at least 3 hours, but possibly overnight.

For the pudding:

In a saucepan, whisk the sugar, cocoa, cornstarch, and salt. Add the egg yolks, whisking until combined. The mixture will appear to be a thick paste. Slowly then pour in the milk, constantly whisking.

Over medium heat, bring the mixture to a boil, constantly whisking. You don’t want any burning on the bottom. Boil for about 30 seconds, and then transfer to a medium bowl. You will think that the mixture isn’t thickening, but then, almost like magic, it will thicken!

Transfer the contents to a medium bowl and add the butter, vanilla, and chocolate. Whisk until combined, and whisk for a few more minutes to cool the mixture slightly. Let the pudding stand for 15 minutes at room temperature, and then press a piece of plastic wrap on the surface to prevent a skin from forming as you chill it for at least 3 hours.

For the whipped cream:

Pour the cream into a chilled metal bowl and beat with chilled beaters  until soft peaks form. Sprinkle sugar on, and beat until stiff peaks form.

To assemble:

Pour the pudding on cake, but don’t let it go over the crust. Spread it evenly on. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes. Spread the whipped cream on, unmold the cake, and enjoy this delicacy!

My final advice: Make this cake! Buy the books (head on over to a Borders, where you can get a discount, or to Amazon, where you can buy both books for a discounted price as well!)

Super-Duper Yummy Conversion-Worthy Double Chocolate Chip Cookies

I know I’ve mentioned before how I’m just not a big chocolate person. I know, GASP! I guess I shouldn’t mention then how I’m also not a big frosting person (DOUBLE GASP!). But before you lose total faith in me, can I tell you something that will soothe your pain?

I think I’m being converted.

I mean, I’m still not a chocoholic, and I’m even less a frosting person (although cream cheese frosting is. the. best.), but baby steps, right?

And these cookies certainly are helping with the chocolate conversion. They’re not one bit light on the chocolate flavor, but man, I kind of love them.

Tell me they don’t look delicious. I dare you. Okay, admittedly maybe they aren’t going to win a prize for world’s most appealing cookie, but can you still admit they look superb?! And they taste divine. Bonus!

What was that? You want even more incentive to make these? How about the fact that they’re pretty darn easy. Don’t you love cookies because of that?!

Go! Make these for the people in your life who you’re trying to convert to chocoholics. And when you, yourself, gobble them up, I won’t tell anyone. ‘Cause really, they’re that good.

Super-Duper Yummy Conversion-Worthy Double Chocolate Chip Cookies

makes about 20 cookies…so you’ll probably want to double it!

(recipe highly altered from Picky Palette)

Cookies:

½ cup butter
½ cup white sugar
3/8 cup brown sugar
1 eggs
½ teaspoon vanilla
5/8 cups all-purpose flour

2/8 cups bread flour*
5/8 cups cocoa powder (I had a special extra dark on hand, but any kind will do!)
1 tsp. baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
3/4 cups chocolate chips

sea salt for sprinkling

Drizzle Topping (optional, but highly encouraged):

¼ cup chocolate chips (doesn’t have to be exact)

about ¼-½ teaspoon vegetable oil

In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Slowly add egg and vanilla and mix until well combined.

In another, small bowl, combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Carefully add to the wet ingredients. Stir in chips.

Roll the dough into balls and place on cookie sheets. Sprinkle the tops with a bit of sea salt (don’t overdo it!). Bake in 350 degree (Fahrenheit) oven for about 10 minutes, until cookies look firm, but not overdone.

As soon as the cookies come out of the oven, put chocolate chips and oil in small, microwave-proof bowl. Melt in microwave until chocolate is just melted.

Using a fork, drizzle the chocolate over the cookies. Make it as artistic as you wish!

Transfer cookies to wire rack to cool completely, and then enjoy the chocolate bliss of these cookies!

*If you don’t have bread flour, don’t sweat it…just substitute by using entirely all-purpose (so 7/8 cup flour total).

Dare-I-Say-Genius-Chocolate-Chip-Cookies-With-Cookie-Dough-Cream-Cheese-Filling

I’d like to give myself a little pat on the back for this one….because I can take credit, can’t I? Afterall, I came up with the idea to mesh two great recipes into one.

Buuuut…back to the title. Genius? Wanna see the proof that I’m not lying? People, these MAY be genius material!

Yep. Maybe you’re not convinced yet. Well, let me show the math it takes to get to the end result. Maybe that’ll help you.

TWO (2) of Alton’s chocolate chip cookies

+

a slathering of cookie dough cream cheese filling

=

ONE (1) perfect Dare-I-Say-Genius-Chocolate-Chip-Cookie-With-Cookie-Dough-Cream-Cheese-Filling (and let me answer the question posed in its name…yes, it’s genius!)

Still not convinced? Maybe some more pictures will do the trick.

Still not convinced? Well, I do have an answer for you. It’s one word – therapist! Seriously, if you aren’t convinced, I don’t know what’s wrong with you (with all due respect!)!

I made these lovely creations for a party Rachel was attending. When she tasted the finished product, she said I had out-down myself. Now that’s a compliment. When Rob tasted them, his eyes nearly rolled back…they were that good! But now I ask you, how could they not be?! I mean, cookie dough lovers rejoice…this recipe is for you!

*As a note, if you really wanted to, you could just make these cookies (if so, don’t freeze-roll-freeze-slice-bake, but rather freeze-scoop-bake). I’d venture to say they’re better than the (Supposedly) Perfect Browned Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies. Actually, I’d say they are. And of course, you could also just make this filling and use it as a dip, as it was originally created to be used for. And if you did either of these options, I’d still respect you. Because they’re perfectly good on their own, of course. But why would you do that when you can combine them?!!?!?!?!? Really, it’s not even a choice, if you ask me. But do as you please (but really?!?!?!?!?!).

Dare-I-Say-Genius-Chocolate-Chip-Cookies-With-Cookie-Dough-Cream-Cheese-Filling

Adapted from Food Network and How Sweet It Is

 

For the cookies:

2 sticks unsalted butter

2 1/4 cups bread flour

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 cup sugar

1 1/4 cups brown sugar

1 egg

1 egg yolk

1 tablespoon milk

1 tablespoon heavy cream

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

For the filling:

½ cup butter

1/3 cup brown sugar

8-oz cream cheese, softened

½ cup powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

¾ cups chocolate chips

Make the cookies: Melt the butter in a heavy-bottom medium saucepan over low heat, swirl the butter to make sure it doesn’t burn. You don’t want to overcook it. Remove from heat. While butter is melting, sift together the flour, salt, and baking soda and set aside.

Pour the melted butter in your main mixing bowl. Add the sugar and brown sugar. Cream the butter and sugars on medium speed. Let sit for a couple of minutes to let the flavors blend. Mix again. Let sit another minute. Add the egg, yolk, milk, heavy cream, and vanilla extract and mix until well combined. Slowly incorporate the flour mixture until thoroughly combined. Mix in the chocolate chips.

Chill the dough in the freezer for about 20 minutes. Take out of the freezer, and using waxed paper to wrap the dough in, form about 1.5 inch logs out of the dough (you will have several logs). Chill in freezer for 15 more minutes. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit, meanwhile.

Slice off evenly cut rounds of dough from the logs (if you aren’t using a log, keep it in the freezer). Place on baking sheets and bake until just golden brown (4.5 minutes in convection oven was perfect). Let cool on sheets for several minutes and then transfer to wire racks. Before placing more dough on sheets, let the sheets cool (place in fridge, if you want).

Make filling: Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add brown sugar and whisk until sugar dissolves and mixture starts to bubble. Remove from heat, add vanilla, and let cool a bit.

Cream together cream cheese and powdered sugar until combined. With mixer on low speed, add in brown sugar and butter mixture. Mix until combined.

In food processor, crush chocolate chips slightly (the chips, for the most part, will still hold their shape). Beat crushed chocolate chips into cream cheese mixture.

When cookies are completely cooled (you may refrigerate them to speed up the process), take one cookie and slather on some filling (the amount, my friend, is up to you!). Top with another cookie. Repeat with remaining cookies to make the rest of the sandwiches.

*For the cookies: If you don’t have bread flour, use all-purpose. You can also use 2 tablespoons milk in place of the combination of 1 tablespoon milk and 1 tablespoon heavy cream if need be.

Enjoy these genius cookie creations!

Nutella Chocolate Chip Cookies

Mmm….Nutella. How can you not love it?! So, in a desire to whip up some cookies for a friend’s birthday, I googled “Nutella cookies.” To a bit of my surprise, I was given tons of choices! I don’t know why it took so long for me to search for a Nutella cookie recipe…I mean, really! But anyway, I settled on a recipe, and made the cookies.

And, uh, I should mention these are by no means the world’s best photos. I was just trying to quickly snap a few pictures, and admittedly, I didn’t have the best lighting. Oops. Sorry.

The Details:

The Process: Not difficult…pretty much just an average process for making cookies.

The Verdict: Well, to be honest, it’s hard to give a final verdict. I definitely stole quite a few tastes of the dough, and man, it was good! However, I only had a taste of half of a finished cookie (Rob had the other half), because I wanted to give as many as  I could to the friend whose birthday it was. So, yes, I’d say the finished product was good. But….not amazing. Also, these, interestingly enough, have cinnamon.  I would perhaps scale back the amount – or even eliminate it all together in the future. Again though, it’s hard to say whether these feelings about the cookies can be fully trusted considering I did only have half a cookie. The friend, for the record, said they were good. But who knows if she was only being polite!

The idea of Nutella cookies still intrigues me, so it’s something I’ll probably play around with a bit more in the future. I’ll be sure to let you know about it if I do!

You want to try out the recipe for yourself? Please tell me what you think if you do make ‘em…I would love to hear!

Nutella Chocolate Chip Cookies

From Lovin’ From the Oven

8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), at room temperature

2/3 cup granulated sugar

1/3 cup light brown sugar

2/3 cup Nutella (chocolate hazelnut spread)

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 large egg

1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Mix together flour, cocoa, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside dry ingredients.

Cream together butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in Nutella and vanilla extract. Mix in egg.

Add flour mixture and mix until just incorporated. Add chocolate chips. Chill for at least 1 hour.

Drop tablespoons of dough 2 inches apart onto parchment lined baking sheets. Bake at 350 for about 11 minutes until the edges look set. Cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes then carefully remove to cooling racks.

*Note: I didn’t chill for the full hour, because I was pressed for time. I also didn’t have quite the full amount of Nutella.

(Supposedly) Perfect Browned Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

I know, I know. You’re saying, “Another chocolate chip cookie recipe?!” Yes, it’s true – there are so many chocolate chip cookie recipes out there, for such a seemingly simple cookie. But this is probably unlike any you’ve made before. You see, you brown the butter! Intimidated? Don’t be! In fact, the aroma you get while mixing up these cookies might just be better than the actual cookie. Might. Oh, and did you know so have claimed these to be the perfect cookie?! True fact.

Notes:

These are a bit more time consuming than your average chocolate chip cookie, but didn’t I mention the aroma given off while making these?! It makes it  totally worth the extra time!

Rob, Madison, and I all enjoyed these. Are they the most perfect cookie we’ve ever eaten? Are they the best cookies we’ve ever eaten? Debatable. Probably not. But worth you giving them a try? Yes. Definitely.

 

(Supposedly) Perfect Browned Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated “Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie”

Makes about 32 medium-large cookies

1¾ cups all purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
14 tablespoons (1¾ sticks) unsalted butter
½ cup granulated sugar
¾ cup dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon table salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
¾ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

½ cup milk chocolate chips (if you want, use all semi-sweet instead)

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Whisk flour and baking soda together in medium bowl; set aside.

Heat 10 tablespoons butter in 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat until melted, about 2 minutes. Continue cooking, swirling pan constantly until butter is dark golden brown and has nutty aroma, 1 to 3 minutes (this may easily take longer, but don’t rush it, and watch it carefully!). Remove skillet from heat and transfer browned butter to large heatproof bowl. Stir remaining 4 tablespoons butter (cut into pieces) into hot butter until completely melted.

Add both sugars, salt and vanilla to bowl with butter and whisk until fully incorporated. Add egg and yolk and whisk until mixture is smooth, about 30 seconds. Let mixture stand for 3 minutes, then whisk for 30 seconds. Repeat process of resting and whisking 2 more times until mixture is thick, smooth and shiny. Using rubber spatula or wooden spoon, stir in flour mixture until just combined, about 1 minute. Stir in chocolate chips, giving dough final stir to ensure no flour pockets remain.

Drop dough onto cookie sheets, using about 2 tablespoons of the dough per cookie (increase this if you want really large cookies!). Allow quite a bit of room for expansion.

Bake cookies 1 tray at a time until cookies are golden brown and still puffy, and edges have begun to set but centers are still soft, 10-14 minutes, rotating baking sheet halfway through baking. Transfer baking sheet to wire rack; cool cookies completely before serving.

Final advice? Make these! Give them a try! Who knows…they may turn out to be your perfect cookie!

Pecan Pie Bars

It’s November…getting close to Thanksgiving. Doesn’t that call for some sort of pecan pie?! I sure thought so! Instead of making a traditional pecan pie though, I recalled seeing a recipe on Delightful Bitefuls for pecan pie bars. Mmm….these sounded like heaven, and I knew I had to try them. And so, I did!

Notes:

These were quite simple to prepare!

The verdict? Mmmmm! These did not disappoint! Madison and Rob also liked them. Actually, “like” might be an understatement for Rob…he loved them. In fact, because I made a scaled down recipe of these (these were made during my baking bonanza), Rob begged me to make more as soon as possible. I’ll have to follow through with that!

Pecan Pie Bars
From Delightful Bitefuls

3/4 cup butter
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 eggs
2 cups coarsely chopped pecans
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven  to 350° F. For crust, beat butter in large bowl with electric mixer at medium speed until smooth. Add powdered sugar; beat until well blended. Add flour gradually, beating at low speed after each addition. (Mixture will be crumbly but presses together easily).

Press dough evenly into ungreased 13 x 9 inch baking pan. Press mixture slightly up sides of pan (less than 1/4 inch) to form lip to hold filling.

Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Meanwhile, for filling, beat eggs lightly in medium bowl with fork. Add pecans, granulated sugar, corn syrup, melted butter and vanilla; mix well. Pour filling over partially baked crust. Return to oven; bake 35 to 40 minutes or until filling is set.

Loosen edges with knife. Cool completely on wire rack before cutting into squares. Cover and refrigerate until 10 to 15 minutes before serving time. Do not freeze.