Cupcake Friday Project

A one-woman test kitchen meets nano-bakery

Category: cookies (page 2 of 8)

Finding the perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe: Round 2

Serious Eats Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

Photo courtesy of Taylor Fisher, since I forgot the photograph the cookies myself!

 In January, I tried Saveur’s chocolate chip cookie recipe and found that the dough prep process was more than I wanted to deal with. See, when I think of chocolate chip cookies, I think of simplicity. I think of a grandmother whipping up cookies with her grandkids.

That said, for this round of searching for the perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe, I still didn’t find the simplicity of process. But, in this case, Serious Eats’ chocolate chip cookie recipe marries science with process … and I’m a total nerd for science.

I made very few changes to Serious Eats’ recipe, though I skipped the addition of sea salt at the end and upped the chocolate from 8 oz to 16 oz (I like chocolate!). How did these cookies add up?

Pros
• Excellent flavor
•  Great texture … they maintained their chewiness for days

Cons
• This recipe is a bit process-intensive … melt the butter, brown the butter, whisk in an ice cube, etc. It might turn some people off.
•  Like the Saveur recipe, this cookie also lacked salt, which surprised me since it contains double the amount.

While these were pretty tasty cookies, they’re not what I would consider “ultimate” chocolate chip cookies. That said, I might go through the science of cookie article again and try to make some of my own tweaks.

Do you have a suggestion for a chocolate chip cookie recipe for me to try? Send it my way via emailFacebook, or in the comments!

Finding the perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe: Round 1

Saveur Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate chip cookies are near and dear to my heart because they’re one of the first things I remember learning how to bake. And, hello, they’re delicious?

I used to follow the recipe on the back of the chocolate chip morsels bag, but within the last 5 years, I started using a variation of the chocolate chip cookie recipe from New Best Recipe. I’ve been pretty happy with it, however, the last few times I baked the recipe my results were not up to par. The cookies had way too much crunch, and sometimes were dry. So I’ve decided to start the hunt again for the perfect chocolate chip cookie.

I tackled Saveur’s recently published chocolate chip cookie recipe after seeing another food blogger have good results. Here’s a breakdown, in pros in cons.

Pros
• Tasty
• Keep well
• I like the emphasis on bittersweet chocolate

Cons
• The process of dividing the dough, chilling it, layering it with the chocolate, then rolling it out again is needlessly fussy
• The process made more of a mess within my workspace
• The recipe was lacking salt … I don’t need my cookies to be a salt lick, but even after increasing the salt from 3/4 tsp to 1 tsp, they were still a little bland

I may try the recipe again, omitting the dough prep process, and upping the salt a little more (maybe even sprinkling some sea salt on the dough before I bake it). But for now, this is not my ultimate chocolate chip cookie recipe.

Do you have a suggestion for a chocolate chip cookie recipe for me to try? Send it my way via email, Facebook, or in the comments!

Carrot cake cookies with cream cheese drizzle

Carrot cake cookies

For some reason, the idea of a carrot cake cookie popped into my head a week or so ago. And when our friends Aaron and Diane invited us over for a New Year’s Day Hair of the Dog-style party, I knew it would be the perfect excuse to make some.

My recipe is adapted from Martha Stewart, and instead of making a thick cream cheese frosting to sandwich in-between the cookies, I opted for a lighter drizzle.

Guests really enjoyed the cookies, and polished off the 3 dozen I brought with us (the other 2 dozen got divided up so I could send some for friends—un-iced—and keep some for us). Definitely give these a try if you’re a carrot cake fan, and if you like walnuts and raisins, add those, too!

Carrot cake cookies with cream cheese drizzle

Yield: 5 dozen

Ingredients

Carrot Cake Cookie Ingredients
2 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp Chinese 5 spice
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp cloves
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp princess cake and cookie baker's emulsion (optional)
1 1/2 cups oats
1 cup finely shredded carrots

Cream Cheese Drizzle Ingredients
4 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup confectioners sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1 tbsp lemon juice
3 tbsp whole milk

Directions

Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, Chinese 5 spice, ginger and cloves in a bowl, whisking lightly to combine. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter for a minute, and then add the sugars. Beat on medium high for 3 minutes until the mixture is light and fluffy.

Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing in between each addition.

Add the vanilla extract and Princess Cake and Cookie bakers emulsion, mixing to combine.

Gradually add the dry ingredients, scraping down the bowl as necessary.

Add the oats, mixing to combine, then add the finely shredded carrots, mixing again until combine.

Chill the dough for at least and hour.

As the dough chills, make the cream cheese drizzle.

Beat the cream cheese in the mixer until it's light and fluffy. Add the salt and mix to combine.

Sift the confectioners sugar into a separate bowl, then slowly add it to the cream cheese mixture. Beat to combine.

Add the lemon juice, followed by the milk, and beat on medium for 3-5 minutes. Set aside.

Once the dough has chilled, heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line baking sheets with parchment paper or bakers' silicone.

Scoop the dough with a tablespoon-sized spoon or scoop, positioning the cookies so there is at least 1.5 inches between them. Bake for 12-15 minutes.

Once the cookies are golden, remove them from the oven and cool on the pans for 5 minutes, then remove them from the pans and finish cooling on a wire rack.

Once the cookies have cooled, apply the cream cheese drizzle with either a piping bag, spoon or fork. Do not stack, because this will smear the cream cheese.

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The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap 2013: Dark chocolate caramel corn delights

Dark chocolate caramel corn delights

After having such a great time participating in my first Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap, and having a successful one-woman bake sale to support Cookies for Kids’ Cancer back in September, it was a no brainer to sign up again for the 2013 cookie swap. I love baking cookies, I love raising money for excellent causes, and I love receiving cookies from other bakers.

The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap 2013

What’s funny is this year I played around with my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe (again!) and took some inspiration from Joy the Baker (again!). I had pinned Joy’s Buttered Popcorn Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe ages ago, but decided that since I’ve been having so much fun making caramel corn from scratch, why not use that instead of buttered popcorn? It was an excellent decision.

Now, as a heads up, this recipe will yield more caramel corn than you need (about 5-6 oz more). I sent along packets of it to the bloggers I was assigned to send to through the swap, and you can do the same if you gift the cookies—who wouldn’t want a little packet of caramel corn to go with their cookies? If you’re not gifting these, just pack the caramel corn into an air tight container and enjoy in 2-4 days.

I received some really lovely cookies, ranging from lemon-scented thumb print cookies filled with homemade jam from Emily of West of the Loop, hot cocoa cookies from Sara of Sensibly Sara and eggnog cookies from Melissa from Red, White and Blueberries. But most importantly, the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap raised a total of $13,778.40 for Cookies for Kids’ Cancer. We did something amazing.

Do you have a food blog and want to participate next year? Sign up here to receive notifications about when the 2014 swap will start to organize and do your part to share some cheer over the holidays and raise money to help some really wonderful kids. It’s good for the soul.

The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap 2013: Dark chocolate caramel corn delights

Yield: 48 cookies

Ingredients

Caramel Corn Ingredients
2 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup popcorn kernels
6 tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp molasses
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/8 tsp baking soda

Cookie Ingredients
2 cups plus 2 tbsp (10 5/8 oz) flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
12 tbsp (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled until just warm
1 cup (7 oz) light or dark brown sugar
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1 tsp vanilla
8.5 oz dark chocolate, chopped into chunks

Directions

Make the caramel corn first. Heat the oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large dutch oven, combine the olive oil and popcorn kernels over medium high heat. Put the lid on, and pop, shaking the pot from time to time. When the popping stops, remove the popcorn from the heat.

Sort through the popcorn, removing the unpopped kernels. Return the popcorn to the dutch oven, and set aside.

To make the caramel, melt the butter in a medium saucepan. Once melted, add the brown sugar and continue stirring until the sugar dissolves.

Add the molasses, then turn the heat up and boil the caramel for 2-3 minutes until a deep amber.

Stir in the salt and vanilla, then add the baking soda, stirring until dissolved (the mixture will bubble up and lighten in color).

Pour the caramel over the popcorn in the dutch oven and stir to coat.

Pour the caramel corn onto the parchment paper, spread out, and place in the oven.

Bake for approximately 45 minutes, stirring the popcorn every 15 minutes.

Once done baking, cool on a rack for 10-15 minutes before incorporating into the cookie dough.

Note: This will make about 8-9 oz of caramel corn. However, you only need 3 oz (about 2 heaping cups) for the cookies, so you will have extra.

For the cookie dough, heat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit and position the racks upper- and lower-middle positions. Line 2 large baking sheets with bakers silicone or parchment paper.

In a medium bowl combine flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment mix the butter and sugars until thoroughly blended. Beat in the egg, yolk and vanilla until smooth.

Add the dry ingredients gradually and beat at low speed just until combined. Stir in the chopped dark chocolate and 3 oz (about 2 heaping cups) of caramel corn. Be gentle ... you don't want beat up the caramel corn too much.

Form about 1 tbsp of the dough into a rough ball. Do not flatten; if anything, make the ball a little taller than it is wide.

Bake until the cookies for 8-9 minutes, then rotate the sheets front to back and top to bottom, baking for an additional 8-9 minutes. Let the cookies stand on the baking sheets for a minute or two, then transfer them to cooling racks.

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6 cookie recipes to celebrate National Cookie Day!

National Cookie Day

Who doesn’t love cookies, especially during the holidays? Well, since it seems that every food item has its very own day on the calendar, TODAY is National Cookie Day.

So, in doing my part to spread the cookie love, here are some of my favorite cookie recipes!

Chocolate chip cookies
Chocolate toffee chip cookies with almonds and smoked sea salt
Ethiopian Sidamo coffee sugar cookies
Pig-kissed chocolate chip cookies
Stegosaurus sugar cookies with root beer icing

And don’t forget, I’m hosting a Tipu’s Chai giveaway this week so you can make your very own Chai Sugar Cookies! To enter, leave me a comment on the recipe and giveaway post (at the top) on the Cupcake Friday Project Facebook Page. I’ll be drawing a winner on Friday.

Chai sugar cookies and a Tipu’s Chai giveaway!

Chai sugar cookies with Tipu's Chai Now

I firmly believe that a solid sugar cookie recipe can be adapted a number of ways to produce even more amazing cookies. By adding ingredients like coffee, matcha and spices, your sugar cookies take on a new life, all the way keeping things simple for you, the baker.

I’ve mentioned Tipu’s Chai in the past, and now I want to share a little more about it, as well as host a giveaway! See, what’s great about the chai is that you can add it to your baking ingredient arsenal, as well as sip it in the afternoon with a couple of cookies. Tipu’s Chai Now can be stirred right into your dry ingredients because it’s not a liquid concentrate, but it’s also not like some of those dry chai mixes, which in my personal experience, always end up as chalky messes at the bottom of my tea cup (if it doesn’t make a good, drinkable cup of chai, I don’t want to bake with it either).

Tipu's Chai Now Black

Tipu’s Chai Now “The Simple Life” is the company’s black chai, which is what I use and recommend for baking because there is no sweetner or milk product added (and if you choose to brew yourself a cup, you have complete control over how much of each of those you add). Another feather in Tipu’s cap is that the chai is certified Kosher, uses only organic spices, it’s chemical- and preservative-free, vegan and gluten free. No extra stuff you don’t need here!

I also find a little goes a long way. I was sent a 4 oz bag of Tipu’s Chai Now to try out in September, and since then I’ve had a few cups of the tea, and have used it in 2 cupcake recipes and now in these cookies, and I still have a lot left … enough to fill a 1/2 pint jar. According to the website, the 4 oz bag will make 30 8 oz servings of brewed chai … and by my guess, you could bake many, MANY cookies with it.

Okay, so enough nerding out about Tipu’s … let’s talk about the giveaway! Since National Cookie Day is on Wednesday, Dec. 4, I’ve teamed up with Tipu’s to giveaway a 4 oz bag of Tipu’s Chai Now “The Simple Life.” To enter, post a Facebook comment on the post with the same name as this blog post (not here on the blog!) about what you’d use Tipu’s Chai for. Entries close Friday, Dec. 6 at 9 PM EST, and I’ll announce the winner shortly thereafter.

Chai sugar cookies and a Tipu’s Chai giveaway!

Yield: 30-40 cookies, depending on the size of the cookie cutter

Ingredients

Ingredients
3 1/4 cups flour
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 1/2 to 3 1/2 tbsp Tipu's Chai Now black chai tea, depending how heavy you want the chai flavor to be
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Directions

Heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line cookie sheets with parchment paper or baking silicone.

Combine the flour, baking powder, salt and Tipu's Chai Now in a bowl. Set aside.

Using a standmixer, cream the cold butter and sugar into light and fluffy, about 5-7 minutes.

Add the egg to the butter and sugar and mix to combine.

Add the vanilla, mixing to combine.

Gradually add the dry ingredients, scraping down the bowl as necessary. The dough should be slightly tacky and a little crumbly. If it still feels wet, add more flour, 1 tsp at a time.

Scrape down the bowl one more time and place the dough in the fridge to chill for 30 minutes.

Once the dough has chilled, prepare your work surface to roll out the dough by scattering it with flour.

Roll the dough out to about 1/8-inch thick.

Use your cookie cutters to cut out shapes, placing them on the prepared cookie sheets. Once a sheet is full, place it in the fridge for 10 minutes.

Once the cut out cookies have had time to chill on the pans, take them out and bake for 10-12 minutes.

Cool on a wire rack before enjoying.

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