Friday, February 24, 2017

Peanut Brownie Sables

When I choose which cookies to bake each week, I typically look online for ideas, or look at recipes that I have pinned. I have a lot of great cookbooks, but I just don’t think to pick cookies out of there for some reason. Last year for my birthday I got Dorie’s Cookies, and I have only made two recipes out of there! It’s a shame since there are so many good recipes to try. This week I decided that I was going to pick something out of the book and stick with it and bake it!

I chose these Peanut Brownie Sables, which is a combination of two very different things. Sables are a very refined elegant French cookie. Chocolate and peanut is a very American combination. This recipe resembles that dichotomy as well, as you make a sable dough, then a brownie dough, and mix them together. It seems like there would be a way to make this all at once, but I decided to just roll with it. You don’t have to clean the mixing bowl between making the two doughs, so that helps.

The original recipe called for natural peanut butter, but since it was only 2 tablespoons I figured that the Jif I had on hand would do. (It did.) I used dark chocolate chunks for the bittersweet chocolate. My chunks weren’t exactly “finely chopped” but again, it worked just fine. Your mixer will get a bit of a workout mixing the two doughs together! This recipe made about 3 dozen smallish cookies. They aren’t the prettiest things, but they are very fudgy! Perhaps they could have baked another minute, but I think I like them a little bit gooey.

Peanut Brownie Sables
1 cup flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
7 tablespoons butter, room temperature
2 tablespoons peanut butter
½ cup sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
2 egg yolks, room temperature
¾ cup salted peanuts

2/3 cup flour
¼ cup cocoa powder
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup packed brown sugar
4 tablespoons butter, cold, cut into 16 pieces
1 egg, beaten
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with silicone baking mats.

Sable dough: In a small bowl, combine the flour and baking powder. In a large mixer bowl, beat the butter and peanut butter on medium until smooth. Add the sugar and salt and beat again on medium for 2 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, making sure that each yolk is incorporated before adding another. Add the flour mixture and turn the mixer on and off a few times to begin mixing. Mix on low until the dough comes together. Add the peanuts and stir on low to combine. Transfer this dough to a piece of parchment paper.

Brownie dough: in the same mixer bowl, no need to wash it, combine the flour, cocoa powder, and salt. Stir on low to combine. Add the brown sugar and mix on low to combine. Add the butter pieces and mix on low until the mixture is crumbly. Add in the beaten egg and mix on low until the dough comes together. Add the chopped chocolate and stir to incorporate.

Add the sable dough to the brownie dough and stir until the dough is uniform.

Scoop the dough onto the prepared baking sheets with a medium-sized cookie scoop. Flatten the dough slightly with a drinking glass or the palm of your hand.

Bake for 10 minutes. The cookies will be set but soft in the middle, and dull. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack.

Recipe from Dorie’s Cookies by Dorie Greenspan

Friday, February 17, 2017

Oatmeal Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

I have been looking at a lot of different recipes today, trying to find a recipe with no dairy. My friend at work can’t have dairy, so she never gets to try the cookies that I bake. I never get upset if people don’t eat my cookies, for whatever reason. I bake because I want to share with people, and it’s up to them if they want to try it. I was at Whole Foods and I picked up some dairy free chocolate chips, so that was the first step.

Most recipes contain dairy in the form of butter, and you could just use margarine, shortening, or coconut oil, and sometimes that works and sometimes it doesn’t. I found this recipe that uses almond butter in place of butter or an alternative. Additionally, these don’t contain any flour, so they are gluten free. The texture of the dough is very different from most cookies I make, but they bake up just fine.

This dough is super, super sticky! I was not sure that they would turn out. I baked up a batch, and figured that I could add some flour if needed. (No one at work is gluten free.) I felt like they were just fine. They don’t really brown like most cookies (no butter), but they are set when they come out of the oven. The cookies do maintain a bit of stickiness even when baked, but not too bad. They have a very nice chocolate chip cookie flavor. While the texture of the cookies is a little different, they taste really good!

Oatmeal Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
2/3 cup old fashioned oats
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup almond butter
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
2/3 cup chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with silicone baking mats.

In a small bowl, combine the oats, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. In a large mixer bowl, combine the almond butter, brown sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Mix on medium for 2 minutes. With the mixer running on low, gradually add the oat mixture. Stir in the chocolate chips. The dough will be sticky.

Scoop the dough onto the prepared baking sheets. Bake for 9-10 minutes. The cookies will be puffy and look slightly under baked, but will set as they cool. Cool on the baking sheets for 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

Recipe from Meaningful Eats

Friday, February 10, 2017

Strawberry Sugar Cookies

I often see recipes for strawberry cookies, and they inevitably use a strawberry cake mix to impart the strawberry flavor. While I don’t mind using a cake mix occasionally, I prefer not to. How hard should a strawberry cookie be? I guess it is harder than I thought! Fresh strawberries can be used in a bar cookie, but they have so much moisture in them that they can be tricky. I came across this recipe, and thought they looked and sounded great.

The original recipe uses strawberry powder, which isn’t something that you can find easily at the store. I could order it online, but it was expensive and I wasn’t sure what else I would do with strawberry powder. We were at Trader Joe’s and I found freeze dried strawberries. I was hopeful that they would pulverize and would work in this recipe. They processed up beautifully, which was great.

The dough has a lovely pink hue, which fades slightly after baking. I suppose you could add food color to make these a brighter pink, but I like the pale blush of these cookies. The strawberry flavor is subtle, although my husband says that the dough has a stronger strawberry flavor. This cookie has the nicest texture, soft and chewy. In a way, they remind me of a non-cinnamon sugar snickerdoodle, which is a favorite cookie of mine!

Strawberry Sugar Cookies
3 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, room temperature
1 ½ cups sugar
2 ½ tablespoons strawberry powder*
2 eggs
Additional sugar or sanding sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with silicone baking mats.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cream of tartar and salt; set aside. In a large mixer bowl, combine the butter and sugar. Beat on medium until light, about 4 minutes. Add the strawberry powder and mix to combine. Add the eggs and beat on medium for two minutes. Scrape down the bowl. With the mixer running on low, gradually add the flour mixture, stirring just until combined.

Using a medium cookie scoop, scoop the dough into the prepared baking sheets, then rolling into balls about 1-1/4” in diameter. Roll the balls in sugar.

Bake for 9-11 minutes, until cracked on the top. They will be soft, but will firm up as they cool. Cool on the baking sheets for 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

*Strawberry powder is sold on Amazon , but I bought freeze-dried strawberries at Trader Joe’s and pulverized them in the food processor.

Recipe from Chris from The Café Sucré Farine, via Melanie Makes