Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Soft Ginger Cookies

One of my favorite flavors is gingerbread, whether it’s found in a latte from Starbucks or a freshly baked treat.  For Thanksgiving this year I was tasked with bringing a dessert (surprise, surprise) so I wanted to find something that people would want to eat after stuffing themselves silly with turkey, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes….

Our cookie preference is always for chewy versus crispy, so I knew I didn’t want a traditional gingersnap but something that was softer.  Google to the rescue!  This recipe from All Recipes was exactly what I was looking for, not to mention that it provided enough cookies so I could leave some for my parents while we were able to hold onto a few ourselves.  I made a few changes to the original recipe, subbing in brown sugar for half of the white sugar and increasing the spices slightly to really bring out that gingerbread flavor.  I also rolled the cookies in turbinado sugar, which provided a nice contrast between the crunchiness of the sugar and the softness of the cookie.  I absolutely loved these cookies, enough that they’ll be added to the regular rotation.  Try them out!

Soft Ginger Cookies (adapted from All Recipes)

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 heaping teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 tablespoon water
1/4 cup molasses
1/4 cup turbinado sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sift together the flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream together the butter and white and brown sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg, then stir in the water and molasses. Gradually stir the sifted ingredients into the molasses mixture. Shape dough into walnut sized balls, and roll them in turbinado sugar. Place the cookies 2 inches apart onto an ungreased or Silpat covered cookie sheet, and flatten slightly.  Place the remainder of the dough in the refrigerator in between batches so it’s easier to handle. 

Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

Makes about 32 cookies.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Butterscotch-Chocolate Chip Rice Krispies Cookies

After making these last week I still had half a box of Rice Krispies left over.  I didn’t want to make Rice Krispie treats again so I went on a hunt for a cookie I could throw them into.  Success!  This recipe originally called for just butterscotch chips but I thought throwing in some chocolate chips would help cut the sweetness of the butterscotch.  These cookies do take a bit of time to make as they have to chill before baking.  But I just made sure I cleared a space in the fridge then threw the trays in there while I let the oven pre-heat.  I don’t think these are cookies you really want sitting around for a few days as the Rice Krispies lose some of their crunchiness and become chewier.  So if you make them just plan on sharing so you won’t have to worry about that. 

Butterscotch-Chocolate Chip Rice Krispies Cookies (adapted from Baking Blonde)
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoons baking powder
1/2  teaspoon salt
1/2  teaspoon baking soda
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons hot water
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/2 cups Rice Krispies
½ cup chocolate chips
½ cup butterscotch chips

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a large mixing bowl, beat together butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add egg, beating until combined. Mix in hot water and vanilla. Add flour mixture, in two batches, beating just until combined. Using a wooden spoon, fold in butterscotch chips and Rice Krispies. Cover and refrigerate for 30 min. or longer. 

Preheat oven to 375. Scoop out tablespoons of the dough and roll into balls. Place all balls on one baking sheet, and chill at least 30 min. Remove from fridge and place 12 balls on cookie sheet at a time. Bake until the middle looks just set and the edges begin to turn a light golden – about 8-12 minutes. Remove and let sit on the sheet for a minute. Move cookies to a wire rack and let cool completely.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


Snickerdoodles were not a cookie I grew up with.  But last year I tried my hand at Snickerdoodle Blondies and loved the cinnamon sugar combination.  So when I was looking for a treat to pull us out of our Halloween candy coma I thought something simple would be best.  These cookies come from The All American Cookie Book by Nancy Baggett, one of my favorite cookbooks to flip through. 

My first batch came out rather large – like giant cookies.  But for the other batches I put the dough in the fridge, letting it chill for a bit.  I also made my scoops a bit smaller and the cookies came out a bit thicker and spread less.  These were a big hit.  They had the perfect hint of cinnamon and sugar.  My co-workers gobbled them up, and my boss even named them one of his favorites.  I’m definitely adding these to the Christmas cookie rotation.

Best Ever Snickerdoodles (The All-American Cookie Book)

2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp cream of tarter
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, slightly softened
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 1/2 Tbs light corn syrup
2 large eggs
2 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 cup sugar combined with 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon for topping

Preheat oven to 375ยบ and line baking sheets with a silicone mat.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cream of tarter, baking soda, salt and nutmeg, set aside.  In another large bowl, beat the butter, sugar and corn syrup together until well blended and fluffy.  Add the eggs and vanilla, beating until well blended and smooth.  Beat in half of the flour mixture until evenly incorporated.  Stir in the remaining flour mixture just until combined.  Let the dough stand for 5-10 minutes.  Mix together the additional sugar and cinnamon in a bowl.

Roll portions of the dough into generous 1 1/2 inch balls with lightly greased hands (dough will be soft).  Roll each ball in the cinnamon sugar.  Place on the baking sheets, spacing about 2 3/4 inches apart. 

Bake the cookies 8-11 minutes, or just until light golden brown at the edges.  Transfer the baking sheets to a wire rack and let stand until the cookies firm up slightly, about 2 minutes.  Transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool. 

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Salted Brown Butter Crispy Bars

We had snow here last weekend.  In October!  No one was prepared for it.  We made it through unscathed (except for the boredom that hit on Saturday afternoon) but my parents lost power and had to head to a hotel.  Oh, and did I mention that my mom’s birthday was on Monday (Halloween)?  I’ll have to bake her something special when we see them for her belated birthday celebration.

You’d think that being stuck indoors for that long would have inspired me to try something time-consuming. Instead, I found myself looking for something comforting and simple, yet different.  It didn’t take me long before I came across the perfect recipe, thanks to Smitten Kitchen.  Her take on the classic Rice Krispie treat is so crazy good that I couldn’t wait to try it.  The first change she makes is to brown the butter, giving the treats a slight nutty flavor.  This was my first time browning butter and her directions were spot on.  As soon as the butter started to turn brown I took it off the heat, then threw the marshmallows in.  Once the marshmallows melted into the butter, making an ooey gooey mess that I was tempted to eat on its own, you add in the Rice Krispies and a touch of salt.  These are perfect for to satisfy a sweet/salty craving and couldn’t be easier to make.  They’re a great improvement on a classic childhood treat.

Salted Brown Butter Crispy Bars (from Smitten Kitchen)

Makes about 16 2-inch squares

4 ounces (1/4 pound or 1 stick) unsalted butter, plus extra for the pan
1 10-ounce bag marshmallows
Heaping 1/4 teaspoon coarse sea salt
6 cups Rice Krispies cereal

Butter (or coat with non-stick spray) a 9-inch square cake pan with 2-inch sides.

In a large pot, melt butter over medium-low heat. It will melt, then foam, then turn clear golden and finally start to turn brown and smell nutty. Stir frequently, scraping up any bits from the bottom as you do. Keep an eye on the butter, as it goes from browned to burned very quickly.

As soon as the butter takes on a nutty color, stir in the marshmallows and turn the heat to low.   

Remove the pot from the stove and stir in the salt and cereal together. Quickly spread into prepared pan. Press the bars down with waxed paper, sprayed with cooking spray.  Let cool, then cut and enjoy.