Category Archives: Cookies

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*).

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(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.

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!

Milk and White Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

Have you heard of Magnolia Bakery in New York City (I’m hoping that’s rhetorical)? I’ve had the pleasure of going to the original and one of their newer sites, and man, it’s heaven. More specifically, their red velvet cheesecake is heavenly. It’s definitely on my list of things to recreate!

Anyway, I have one of the cookbooks from the creator, Allysa Torey. I found a recipe for oatmeal cookies with peanut butter chips, but the only problem was, I didn’t have any peanut butter chips on hand! So what’s a girl to do?! Improvise! I replaced the peanut butter chips with milk chocolate chips and white chocolate chips! The end result? Mmm…tasty.

Notes:

These are easy to whip up on a whim, as I did. If you want, you could follow the original recipe and use only peanut butter chips, but why not try this version?! It works!

Also, the cinnamon flavor is evident, so if you’re not a huge fan of this flavor profile, consider halving the amount.

Milk and White Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

Adapted from More from Magnolia by Allysa Torey

Makes about 3 dozen cookies

 

1 cup all-purpose flour

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon cinnamon

¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, softened

¾ cup firmly packed light brown sugar

½ cup granulated sugar

1 large egg, at room temperature

1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract

2 ½ cups quick-cooking oats (not regular, old-fashioned rolled oats)

½ cup milk chocolate chips (if you can’t find, semi-sweet will do)

½ cup white chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenehit.

In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream the butter with the sugars until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla, and beat well. Add the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly. Stir in the oats and peanut butter chips. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets, leaving several inches between for expansion. Bake for 11-13 minutes, until golden brown around the edges, and soft, but not too soft, in the center.

Cool the cookies on the sheets for 5 minutes, and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

My advice? Bake these. Then brag to all your friends that you have a little slice of the world famous Magnolia Bakery in your kitchen (and stomach!)!