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Earl Grey Chocolate Chip Cookies

14 Apr

Stress baking is a real thing. Every time something comes up that I should be spending my time on, I spend it on baking instead. Term papers, washing the car, midterms, packing to move, finals, wedding planning… My friends/roommates/coworkers love this. I love this. Trader Joe’s probably loves this. (I feel like I am there every day for butter or milk or chocolate.) Seriously though, baking is my de-stress. How can you be anxious, nervous, or stressed when soft centers, melty chocolate, and lightly crunchy edges of fresh warm cookies are coming out of the oven to comfort you?

These cookies are even better than plain chocolate chip cookies. They taste like a delicious cookie with a warm mug of tea wrapped up inside. Perfection. I may try them again using chai tea and spices. Or maybe turn to tropical coconut oolong tea with white chocolate chips… Sky’s the limit guys…

Finally using my new 'baking superpower' mat!

Finally using my new ‘baking superpower’ cookie mat!

Earl Grey Chocolate Chip Cookies

(verrrry slightly tweaked from here, a blog I love)

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon loose leaf earl grey tea
4 tablespoons milk, hot
2 ¼ cups flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
pinch of cardamom
pinch of nutmeg
½ cup butter (1 stick), room temp
¾ cup granulated sugar
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
1 egg
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
⅔ cup chocolate chips (dark or bittersweet are best, but semi-sweet is fine)

Steep 1 teaspoon of the earl grey in a small mug of the hot milk for 15 minutes. While the milk is steeping, grind the remaining tablespoon of tea in a clean coffee grinder until powdered. Or a mortar and pestle if you still live in the stone ages like me… Set both aside.

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, ground tea, salt, cardamom, and nutmeg until combined. Set aside.

Beat together the butter and sugars until smooth. Add the egg, vanilla extract, and the milk (strained) and mix until combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl. Gradually add the flour mixture, mixing until a smooth dough forms. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Scoop heaping tablespoon of dough and place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or foil, leaving about 2 inches of space between each. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until lightly golden around the edges. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes on the pan before moving cookies on a wire rack to cool completely.

Makes about 3 dozen cookies.

♥k

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Happy Jewish Holiday!

2 Dec

In honor of my Jewish friends over the week of Thanksgiving, I made challah.

Also because I saw the recipe posted on the blog of King Arthur Flour.  I could not resist!

I quietly mentioned it to the bf. His ears perked up. And we were off on an adventure to get delicious honey and eggs. It was a hard choice, but we went with a local wildflower honey over the orange blossom. Though I wouldn’t put it against us to make this amazing bread again with the orange blossom honey just to taste the differences.

Image

So here is my (slightly sped up) version of classic challah… Still takes around 3-4 hours.

1/2 cup warm water
6 Tbsp vegetable oil
1/4 cup honey
2 large eggs
4 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp yeast
*plus one egg for the glaze

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl until mixed and knead until dough is soft and smooth. Cover and let rise 1 hour in front of the fire (or two hours) until doubled in size.

Gently deflate the dough and shape into 4 6-inch logs on a lightly greased cookie sheet. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes.

Roll each dough log to 18-inches long. Cover and let rest 10 minutes.

Pinch ends together and braid as desired. Tuck the ends under and transfer to a greased cookie sheet. Cover and let rise 45 minutes in front of the fire (or 90 minutes) until very puffy. Preheat oven to 375°F.

Whisk together the last egg and 1 Tbsp cold water. Gently brush glaze over entire loaf. Place that cookie sheet on top of another to insulate the bottom. (This will prevent over-browning.) Put in the oven for 20 minutes. Tent the loaf with foil and bake another 20 to 25 minutes until the loaf is golden brown. Cool on a rack for as long as you can til enjoying it slathered with butter and more honey if you can stand it.

♥ k

Wild Turkey

23 Nov

I honestly didn’t think of this being festive until I typed it. Wild Turkey Bourbon = turkeys at Thanksgiving. Totally laughed out loud. But for reals this leads to a delicious recipe.

Wild Turkey Bourbon

While perusing the imterwebs a twin stumbled upon this recipe. Then there was a coupon and a sale resulting in the purchase of bourbon. And to top it off we are all fans of chocolate and bourbon. Here is my rendition. Happy baking!

Bittersweet Chocolate Bourbon Crinkles

3/4 cup Flour
1/2 tsp  Baking Powder
1/4 tsp Sea Salt
8 oz Bittersweet Chocolate Chips
3 Tbsp Unsalted Butter
2 Tbsp Bourbon
2 Eggs (room temp)
1/3 cup Granulated Sugar
1/2 cup milk chocolate chips

Extra Granulated Sugar and Powdered Sugar (for coating cookies)

Mix 'um up

Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt until well combined. Set aside.
Melt and combine the bittersweet chocolate, butter, and bourbon in a double boiler, stirring frequently. Remove from heat.
Whisk together the eggs and sugar for about 5 minutes.  Gently whisk in the melted chocolate mixture until combined.
Stir in the flour mixture until just combined. Cover and refrigerate until firm (1-2 hours).

Bake my lovelies

Preheat oven to 325°F. Line cookie sheets with foil or parchment.
Pour the granulated sugar and confectioners sugar into two separate small bowls. Form the chocolate cookies into 2-inch balls. Roll the balls in the regular sugar, and then roll in the confectioners sugar to coat.  Place on the baking sheets spaced about 1-inch apart.
Bake for 8 minutes then rotate the cookies sheets and bake for another 5-7 minutes. Cookies should still be slightly firm on the edges and fairly soft in the centers. Don’t overbake.
Let the cookies cool on the sheet pan until firm enough to handle then transfer to a cooling rack.

Delicious!

These cookies were taken to brighten the evening of musicians stuck in rehearsal and friends-of-friends working the night shift at our favorite pizza joint. Huge hit. And the ones left out for roommates vanished right away. Cannot wait to make these again!

♥ k

Apricot Tart

21 Jun

I went apricot picking with my father. I was down in Southern California to visit with my people after GRADUATING FROM UCD(!). We must have picked a ton! Bags of golden fruit were delivered to all the church people that could stand having so many apricots in their house.

Then…my people scattered. Parents to the East Coast, Twin 2 lives a few blocks away, and the little bro was out adventuring. (He just graduated from high school. So Proud!)

So I rode off to the library on my shiny silver bike to hunt down some recipes. I decided on Apricot Jam and this Apricot Tart. Enjoy!

Crust

5 tbsp butter, room temp
1⅓ cups  flour
1 tbsp sugar
1 egg
3-5 tbsp cold water

Filling
⅓ cup sugar
⅔ cup almond meal
4 tbsp butter, room temp
1 egg
¼ tsp vanilla extract
¼ tsp almond extract
1 tbsp flour
1½ pounds fresh apricots, pitted and quartered
Confectioners’ sugar for garnish

Combine the butter, flour and sugar  with a pastry blender until crumbly. Mix in egg. Add water a tablespoon at a time and mix until you can gather the dough into a ball (but not too mushy.) Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 45 minutes.

Pitt and quarter the apricots, set aside. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Cream the butter, almond meal, and sugar until smooth, add egg, almond and vanilla extracts. Continue beating and add the flour.
Once chilled, roll out the dough and press into a greased tart pan. Pour the almond mixture (frangipane) into the tart shell, using a spatula to smooth. Press the apricots into the frangipane. (I suggest working in a circle from outside to inside (I went inside to outside and it looks a little funny.)
Apricot Tart
Bake for 30-40 minutes, until the crust is crispy and slightly browned, and the apricots are wrinkled. Cool for 10 minutes, then sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar before serving.

Sour Cream Pancakes

22 May

So I had some sour cream languishing in the back of the fridge (starting to think about growing legs and finding someone to eat it) when I remembered hearing about a recipe for sour cream pancakes. Some quick research led to this recipe. A few tweaks and the rest is delicious history.

1 cup sour cream
7 Tbsp flour
2 Tbsp sugar
1 tspbaking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla

In a medium bowl, stir together the sour cream with the dry ingredients until just combined. Whisk in the egg and vanilla until just combined.

Heat a pan over medium-low heat and melt some butter in the pan. Drop scoops of batter (about 1/4 cup) into the pan. Cook on the first side until bubbles start to form on the surface and edges are starting to brown. Flip to the other side and cook for another minute. (Pancakes will be a little soft.)

Slather butter and drown in maple syrup to enjoy perfection.

(These keep well in the fridge for a few days. Just pop in the toaster to revive.)

♥k

Sorry for no pictures! They were so tasty that none stayed around to be photographed fresh.)

Almond Sand-dollar Cookies

11 May

So my baker friend and I have been on an almond kick for…a while to say the least. These cookies made it worse! Such a great texture and amazing almond flavor. And they look super cute. We made them for a party and got at least three marriage proposals…the boys love almond just as much as we do.

Almond sand-dollars

3/4 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup powdered sugar
4  1/2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons almond extract
1  1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
Slivered almonds and cinnamon-sugar to decorate

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in extract.
Combine the flour and salt and add to creamed mixture, mix well.
Drop tablespoons of dough into the cinnamon-sugar to coat. Set out on a lined cookie sheet. Press flat with a glass and press slivered almonds on top to make them look like sand-dollars.
Refrigerate for 1/2 an hour.
Bake at 325°F for 12-16 minutes or until edges turn golden. Cool for 2 minutes before removing to wire racks.

*slightly adapted from this recipe.

♥ k

Best Shortbread Cookies

3 May

So there has been a mad rush of Senior Recitals as the SSU semester comes to a close. And of course I have been there right along with all my friends baking tasty treats! The favorite (and most requested) has been these shortbread cookies. Some have been dipped in chocolate, some artfully striped. Some stars, some music notes, and of course dinosaurs! Here it is, with some slight tweaks from this recipe from This Homemade Life blog.

*picture of striped dinosaurs goes here but I forgot to photograph them!*

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter

3/4 cup powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups  flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 ounces semisweet chocolate chips

Shortbread Stars

Shortbread Stars

Preheat oven to 300°F.

Cream butter, sugar, and vanilla until combined, works best in a stand mixer. On slow speed, beat in flour and salt until combined. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill at least 2 hours, or overnight.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut with any cookie cutter. (Number of cookies depends on size of cutter) Bake until just pale golden around the edges, about 18 minutes.

In the top of a double boiler or heat-proof bowl set over simmering water, melt the chocolate, stirring occasionally. Dip half of each cookie into melted chocolate. Transfer cookies to a  piece of parchment paper to set.

Enjoy with coffee, tea, or alone.

(Cookies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for about 5 days, if they last that long.)

♥ k

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