Tag : cookies
Tag : cookies
When I was in my last year in college, I bought a full bottle of Jim Bean bourbon for myself, even though I had only had bourbon, whiskey, and scotch once each. I wanted to see if I could make myself develop a taste for it.
2016 holiday cookies: cranberry orange cookies
2015 holiday cookies: vegan snickerdoodles and vegan peanut butter cookies
2014 holiday cookies: cardamom molasses cookies
Fortunately, I could, or else I would have wasted a whole bottle of bourbon (I found some really good recipes for winter bourbon cocktails, all of which have since gotten lost in the sands of the internet.)
This year, I bought as much anise and fennel as I could get my hands on, to see if I could learn to appreciate those flavors. It took more than a year for me to finally be able to tolerate either flavor, but keep the licorice to yourself, please, and if you wouldn’t mind, keep it out of my sight, as well.
In light of my feelings towards anise and fennel, one might wonder why I have an anise star tatted on my back. The answer would be that cardamom pods have a less distinctive look and cardamom is what I really wanted, but I also wanted people to be able to recognize what the tattoo was.
Last December, I started becoming really interested in German and Scandinavian food (I vowed to find bakeries in my area that make kugelhof and stollen and never even made the attempt), and I tried pepper nuts for the first time. I bought a box from Trader Joe’s, snuck them into my bedroom so my parents wouldn’t steal them, poured myself a glass of CabSauv, and took a bite…and I wasn’t into it. Those ones were heavily anise-d and fennel-ed and I was just about completely turned off from the first bite. Cut to eleven months later and I find them at Harris Teeter (my standards are low and I’m not ashamed): I scurry on home, hide away in plain sight in the dining room because at this point who cares if my parents want some, pour myself a glass of Chardonnay that tastes like Gorgonzola (does all Chardonnay taste like Gorgonzola or is it just me?), and take a bite.
Molasses cookies. That’s it.
Of course, I should be using a real German bakery as my standard, but by now I have an idea of what these are meant to be: a little crispy on the outside, coated in powdered sugar, soft on the inside, and just lightly spiced. They’re like snack cookies.
At first I wanted to see if I could do them gluten-free for my uncle and for some coworkers, but that was an utter failure (I may never nail down this gluten-free thing), so after countless frustrating attempts, I decided just to go with the gluten-y recipes, and I found myself – *gasp* – craving fennel and anise.
Never mind that all I could find at the grocery store were anise seeds. I infused those into the butter for the pepper nuts, and for the first time in a year and a half, I finally began to appreciate the spicy star permanently inked onto my shoulderblade (nestled among Italian basil leaves, Persian limes, and a scattering of whole cloves because all of those things make complete sense together.)
On the one hand, there is pepper in these cookies, at least in most recipes. By default, though, there are no nuts. I ended up not putting any nuts in mine at all. The name, however, refers to the way they look: like nuts. Some recipes use almond flour, and some actually put pieces of nuts in the dough, while others use citrus peel. I keep mine simple with no add-ins.
Obviously, they’re vastly similar to my cardamom molasses cookies, but those cookies are heavy on the ginger, cardamom, and sugar, while these are soft, subtle, and, the way I make them, heavy on the anise.
Oh, and they’re coated with powdered sugar. They’re like delightful little bon-bons.
german pfeffernüsse with anise
makes 2 dozen small cookies
adapted from The Perfect Cookie, by America’s Test Kitchen
4 Tbsp (2 oz) unsalted butter
1 tsp ground cardamom
1 tsp anise seeds or ground anise
1 tsp fennel seeds
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/3 c (4 oz) molasses
1/4 c (1.75 oz) dark brown sugar
2 c (8.5 oz) all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 large egg
1/2 c powdered sugar
Melt the butter in a small sauce pan over medium-low heat. Don’t let it brown or bubble too much.
Once the butter is melted, add the cardamom, anise, fennel, cinnamon, allspice, and black pepper, and whisk until smooth. cook for another couple of seconds, until fragrant. Remove from heat and set aside.
In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.
Transfer the butter-spice mix to a large bowl and whisk in the molasses and brown sugar. Add the egg and whisk until smooth.
Using a wooden spoon or electric mixer with paddle attachments (like the whip/beater but with fewer loops), mix the dry ingredients into the wet until it forms a homogenous dough with no lumps of flour remaining. It may be a little bit sticky, but after you chill the dough, it’ll be easy to handle.
Form a rectangle with the dough and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill for at least an hour.
While the dough is chilling, preheat the oven to 350 F/175 C and line 1-2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
Cut the dough rectangle in half and keep one half chilled while working with the other.
Cut the other half into 12 equal pieces, roll the pieces into spheres, and place on the baking sheets about 1-2 inches apart. Put the first sheet in the oven while preparing the other half of the cookies.
Repeat the previous step with the other half of the dough, baking each batch for 10 – 12 minutes until the tops are completely dry and the cookies are slightly lighter in color, but still a little soft.
Let the cookies cool on the pan for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely (about 15 minutes or more) before tossing in the powdered sugar.
Once fully cooled, add the powdered sugar to a bowl and toss the cookies a few at a time to coat completely.
Auf Wiedersehen und Frohe Weihnachten!
St. Nicholas 😉
vegan peanut butter cookies || vegan snickerdoodles|| lemon sugar cookies || lemon white chocolate biscotti || loaded brown sugar cookies || ginger turmeric sugar cookies || basic sugar cookies || cardamom shortbread || salted, spiced double chocolate cookies || chocolate chip cookies || cardamom molasses cookies || black tea butter cookies
The holidays seemed so far off in January, and yet here they are, looming over us menacingly. Maybe not menacingly. I love winter.
This winter feels different, though, because I started back in school in August and am still working part time. Next winter may be the same, or it may be better. The winter after that, who knows? And someday I’ll have a full time job again, and I’ll be just a little bit older than I am now (probably), so the winters will zoom on by, impatient and clumsy.
I love winter.
Originally, I was going to reveal some macaron recipes, the first macaron recipes of the Kitchen Klutz Blog, but those stubborn bastards were frustrating me so much, I gave up. I still have at least a dozen egg whites aging in the fridge and freezer, but I dread those little meringue shells and creamy centers so. This year I went with something I never would have done in the past.
It all started with the vegan chocolate muffins of November. I’ve never been much of a fan of chocolate muffins, and yet I posted two chocolate muffin recipes in a row. Those two muffins opened a kind of floodgate inside me, and I decided I wanted to do something with white chocolate. As little as I have liked chocolate muffins, I have always liked white chocolate less, and yet here we are, experimenting with white chocolate.
Spoiler: I ended up deciding not to make white chocolate anything this winter, but what’s important is that I was inspired to try.
Instead, I made cranberry orange cookies. Orange isn’t something I bake with a lot, and cranberries even more so, but after making a cranberry sage pie from Four and Twenty Blackbirds for Thanksgiving, I wanted to do more with those tart, red pimples.
These cookies are based on a snickerdoodle recipe, because of all the sugar cookies I’ve ever had, snickerdoodles have the best texture and flavor: tart, lively, and chewy. Instead of cinnamon and vanilla, I used Cointreau, orange zest, dried cranberries, and diced fresh cranberries, and instead of rolling them in a cinnamon-sugar, I topped them with homemade candied orange peel.
One thing I (re-)learned the hard way when making these and other cookies is that how successfully you cream the butter determines how much dough you end up producing. I rarely see a qualitative difference when I cream the butter superbly versus when I only beat it a little bit, but if you beat the butter, sugar, and liquids for a combined total of at least 7-ish minutes, you could end up with 9 extra cookies.
cranberry orange cookies with candied orange peel
makes four dozen small (2 tsp) cookies, or one dozen large (3 Tbsp) cookies
candied orange peel (for one large orange)
335 g water
300 g granulated sugar, plus an extra half cup of sugar for coating
peel of one large orange, including pith
350 g all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp baking soda
1 c butter, softened and at room temperature
300 g granulated sugar
2 eggs (~104 g total)
zest of 1/2 of a large orange
1 tsp Cointreau or Grand Marnier
candied orange peel, cut into 12 – 48 small pieces
Do-ahead: Make the candied orange peels. They dry overnight and can be kept for up to 10 days in a container after dried.
Make the candied orange peel
Combine the sugar and water in a medium sauce pan and bring to a boil.
Peel the orange and cut the rind into strips, about half an inch or a centimeter wide.
Add the orange peel to the boiling syrup and reduce the heat to a simmer.
Let simmer for about 10 – 15 minutes, until the peel is tender.
Drain the peel and toss with extra sugar on a cookie sheet. Let cool and dry on a sheet of aluminum foil, uncovered, overnight.
Keep candied peel in an airtight container at room temperature.
Make the cookies
Preheat oven to 350 F/190 C and line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
In a small bowl, combine the flour, salt, cream of tartar, and baking soda.
In a large bowl or stand mixer, cream the butter and granulated sugar until pale and fluffy, about 5 minutes, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl as necessary.
Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat for about 2-3 minutes after each until well combined. After both eggs are added, keep beating for a few minutes until fluffy.
Beat in the zest and liqueur.
In 2-3 batches, beat in the flour mixture.
Finally, fold in the dried and diced fresh cranberries, and beat until dough is uniform.
Using a small (2 tsp) or large (3 Tbsp) cookie scoop, or a spoon, scoop the dough onto the baking sheets, and space the cookies about 2-3 inches apart. You’ll have one dozen small cookies on each sheet.
Top the cookies with candied orange peel and sprinkle with sugar. Alternately, when scooping the dough, drop it into a bowl of sugar and press down lightly on the back with your pointer and middle fingers to form a disc coated in sugar on the bottom, then lift the dough out and place on the cookie sheet, sugared side facing up. Press a piece of the candied orange into the center.
If you have extra dough after 2 cookie sheets are full, loosely cover it in plastic wrap and let chill in the refrigerator until ready to use.
Bake for 12 – 15 minutes, until just beginning to turn golden or bronze on the edges.
Remove from the oven, let cool in the cookie sheets for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling, and continue baking the rest of the dough.
Happy merry, to you and your kinfolks,
The Endlessly Humble Saint Nick-Claus
I’m coming down from a summer cooking/baking/working/traveling/prepping-for-school high and feeling autumn all throughout my bones. I even attempted to make pumpkin spice latte syrup the other day (it was semi-successful and definitely something I will keep working on.) It’s not even October yet and I’m already thinking of what I’ll make for Thanksgiving dessert, which cookie recipes to develop for the holidays, and which Starbucks is closest to my house (I want a PSL, y’all.)
I’m sure I’m not the first person to think of either loaded cookies or brown sugar cookies, but I came to this somewhat organically. And by somewhat, I mean I was inspired by my friend’s Cottage Food Organization, Beurre Pastry Shop, a bakery she runs out of her house in the Bay Area. She makes loaded cookie bars and they just look mouthwatering-ly brilliant. I didn’t want to copy her entirely…and I’m still hurting from My Year of Pretending to Be Julie Powell and Julia Child and Making a F***ton of Bars…so I decided on cookies instead.
The first batch were pretty damn good. The second batch were…so-so. Apparently my note-taking skills are still rusty (it’s been 3 years since I’ve been a student, okay?) and I left out half of the butter. By the third and fourth batches (just making small tweaks to get the recipe perfect), I figured everyone in my house and my stomach were stuffed, so I settled on the recipe below. At first, I thought I would incorporate about three or four flavors, but I ended up with seven: coconut, white chocolate, peanut butter, vanilla, almond, pecan, and dark chocolate. (That’s seven if you don’t count the base of brown sugar.)
They’re like little block parties in the mouth.
loaded brown sugar cookies
makes 4 dozen small (2 tsp) or 1 dozen large (3 Tbsp/8-9 tsp)
The chilling before scooping is really just a precaution that can be helpful with most cookies. When you soften the butter, then beat it constantly with the other ingredients, it gets closer and closer to melting, so chilling the dough gives the oven a headstart before the butter (the dough) melts too much. You can bake the dough as soon as you assemble it, too.
240 g all-purpose flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder
dash of salt
1 c unsalted butter, softened and at room temperature
200 g dark brown sugar
2 large egg yolks (0.6 ounces/17 g each)
1 tsp almond extract
1 tsp vanilla extract
add-ins: chopped dark chocolate, peanut butter chips, white chocolate chips, pecans, walnuts, shredded coconut (20 – 50 g each)
2~3 Tbsp raw, turbinado, or demerara sugar for finishing
In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.
In a large bowl or electric stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes with the paddle attachment.
With the mixer running, beat in the egg yolks and extracts. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula and beat until smooth and fluffy.
Beat in the flour mixture in 2-3 additions, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. When the dough is almost totally combined, toss in the add-ins all at once and keep beating until they’re mixed in and the dough is uniform.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350 F/175 C. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
Using a small (2 teaspoon) scoop (or a large, 4-tsp scoop if you want larger cookies), scoop the dough onto the baking sheets, spacing each cookie about 2-4 inches apart. Sprinkle a pinch of raw/turbinado/demerara sugar on top, and bake 10 – 15 minutes until just starting to brown around the edges.
Remove from the oven and let cool in the pan for a few minutes, then transfer the cookies to a wire rack to finish cooling.
I like them best chilled and eaten straight from the fridge, but warm and gooey is good, too!
It’s party time, y’all
Buongiorno, le mie belle!
Oggi, noi facciamo i biscotti!
Punxutawny Phil must not have seen much last month, because it feels like we’re bypassing spring and hurdling straight towards summer. I don’t mind, though. After a strange and indecisive winter, the ability to expose my legs again is welcomed with open arms and open-toed shoes (flip flops.)
It’s also time for lemon everything: lemonade, lemon poppyseed muffins, lemon deodorant.
As the first signs of spring were approaching a few weeks ago, I felt an overwhelming urge to buy bags upon bags upon bags of lemons and make anything I could think of. I started with biscotti and muffins, and am thinking of expanding into curds, cupcakes, and carnivals. And I mean selling. I want to sell my lemon things at carnivals.
But I joke.
Though biscotti were originally meant for dipping in coffee or wine, I wouldn’t recommend dipping these in a Cabernet Sauvignon, per se. Coffee, on the other hand, Dio mio! Whenever I don’t feel like committing to a breakfast food, which is every morning even though I love breakfast foods but can’t be bothered to make any, I grab the Biscotti Box, an aluminum box that I have unofficially designated for biscotti, a bowl of coffee, and have at it.
I have no regrets, until I get to the end of the bowl of coffee and all the soaked cookie crumbs are spread out as if to tell me I have a bleak future waiting for me.
I used to think that biscotti should be as hard and crispy as possible, because they were going to be soaked in liquid crack…I mean…coffee. While I was working through a few different biscotti recipes, I kept trying to get the perfect amount of crispiness without too much browning, and during a springtime event at work, while one of the chef instructors was carrying around a plate of apricot biscotti, I realized that the perfect amount of browning is…no browning.
Biscotti are like a game being played between the temperature of the oven and the amount of moisture in the dough: lower temperatures mean slower baking, but less browning. If the temperature is too high, the loaf burns before it’s dry enough to slice well, resulting either in burnt cookies or burnt and squished cookies. If the temperature is too low, you’ll probably have kicked the bucket before the dough is ready to slice.
Keep the oven temperature anywhere from 275 F to 300 F. The loaf, which dries out and firms up as it cools down, should be nearly non-squishy (like 90% non-squishy) when you press down lightly with a finger. You don’t want to see any brown, except perhaps on the bottom where the dough touches the pan. Softer dough means your cookies won’t keep their shape when you slice, and too-dry dough means the cookies crumble when you cut.
Biscotti take time, but they’re not difficult or daunting, and once you’ve sliced the loaf into cookies, the rest is all downhill. Make these the night before, and enjoy them the next morning. And the best part is, they’re basically stale cookies to begin with, so they last a hell of a long time, unless acted upon by outside forces (my mouth. The outside forces are my mouth.)
lemon white chocolate biscotti
adapted from Cooking Light
makes approximately 2 dozen
240 – 270 g AP flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
dash of salt
180 g sugar
2 – 4 ounces chopped white chocolate
zest and juice of a large (~75-gram) lemon or 2 (~38-gram) baby lemons OR 1/2 tsp lemon oil OR 2 tsp lemon extract
extra lemon juice, if needed (if using lemon oil, adding some lemon juice is suggested)
Preheat the oven to 275 – 300 F (135 – 150 C), put the oven racks in the center of the oven, and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a small bowl, whisk together flour, salt, and baking soda.
In a large bowl or stand mixer, beat sugar, eggs, and flavorings until uniform. Mix in dry ingredients.
If the dough dry and crumbly, add lemon juice until it comes together into one cohesive mass. If the dough is more batter-y, add a little more flour so it firms up, until it’s only a little bit sticky*.
Use your hands, wet or floured, or a bowl scraper to transfer the dough to the baking sheets, and divide into 2 – 4 loaves. If the dough sticks a lot, flour your hands or wet them with water, and mold the loaves into long, thin, flat rectangles. Longer and thinner means more even and faster baking, and easier cutting. The logs will puff up and round out a little bit in the oven.
*I generally prefer to use the least amount of flour I can without compromising the integrity of the pastry. More flour means drier, less flavor, and less pleasant mouthfeel. 270 grams is a good amount for making dough that you can handle without having to add too much liquid, or knead the dough.
Bake the logs for 30 – 50 minutes, until barely soft anymore when pressed lightly with a finger. If they start browning around the edges before that point, turn the oven temperature down.
Remove from the oven, transfer immediately to a wire rack, and let cool until you can handle them, 10 – 15 minutes.
Using a serrated knife, slice the logs about 1-2 centimeters thick, and place the cookies, cut side down, back onto the cookie sheets.
Bake 10 – 15 minutes, flip, and bake again another 10 – 15 minutes, until mostly firm when squeezed. The cookies will harden and crisp up as they cool on the wire rack.
Remove and transfer immediately to a wire rack again.
past holiday cookies:
ginger turmeric sugar cookies | | basic sugar cookies | | cardamom shortbread | | salted, spiced double chocolate cookies | | chocolate chip cookies | | cardamom molasses cookies | | black tea butter cookies
Christmas is just around the corner, which means cookies galore. I like to do a cookie round-up every December, featuring some new holiday cookie recipes and bringing back some old ones. Perhaps someday I’ll have enough to write a book dedicated to holiday cookies (and by “perhaps,” I mean “certainly.”) It’s the time of year for spicy chocolate, rich ginger and molasses, decorate-able sugar cookies, and exploring all manner of exotic recipes, ancient recipes, and European recipes.
Last year, I went on a spicy cookie binge, introducing salted and spiced double chocolate cookies and cardamom molasses cookies. Over the past year, though, I’ve been trying my hand at some vegan and gluten-free pastries (vegan banana nut muffins, gluten-free brownies, gluten-free muffins), so our special 2015 guests are of the vegan variety.
I spent a month trying to come up with a “healthy” vegan cookie, with whole wheat, oatmeal, apples, and more, so that I could have my cake and gain a six-pack, too. I don’t normally diet, and in fact I hate the word, but I’m thinking it’s time to become more aware of my health and what I’m eating (my tummy will go away but chocolate chip cookies are forever.) Long story short, those cookies were disastrous and disgusting, consistently. They were mushy and soggy, even when I dried out the apple bits in the oven before adding them to the batter, and they tasted less than pleasant. My grandiose idea of The Healthy Vegan Apple Oatmeal Cookie would have to say hello to the trashcan for good. I figured I could try scones instead, but I still wanted some cookies for Saint Nick (I am Saint Nick. I wanted the cookies for my own mouth.) The scones will have to wait until 2016 (but expect a load of vegan and GF scone recipes next year.)
A friend of mine suggested that I do peanut butter cookies. They’re essentially only three ingredients: peanut butter, flour, and sugar. However, as I discovered through a lot of trial and error, three ingredients just doesn’t cut it. Adding some oil and liquid helps.
When thinking of what types of cookies I could make vegan, and what types of cookies I didn’t already have on the blog, the obvious top choice was snickerdoodles, named after me (actually, as you can read in the about me, my parents called me snickerdoodle when I was younger…meaning until last week.)
So here we have it: our 2015 holiday cookies are vegan snickerdoodles and vegan peanut butter!
With the snickerdoodles, I found it’s really important to have a combination of apple sauce, vegetable oil, and maple syrup. No maple syrup and the cookies won’t be very sweet. Too much apple sauce and they taste metallic (apple sauce has ascorbic acid, and the most important ingredient in snickerdoodles is tartaric acid, so in all it’s just too much acid.) The apple sauce helps the texture: it makes the cookies puff up more and end up softer when they cool. Otherwise, you end up with snickerdoodle chips. The maple syrup helps sweeten the cookies and thin out the dough a little bit. If the dough is too dry, the coating doesn’t stick and it’s harder to work with.
makes 2 dozen small (2 teaspoons) or 1 dozen medium (4 tsp)
10 g granulated sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
dash of salt
60 g canola oil*
25 g unsweetened apple sauce
60 g maple syrup*
110 g granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
185 g all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Preheat the oven to 375 F/190 C. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a small shallow bowl, or on a plate, mix the coating ingredients. Set aside.
In a small mixing bowl, combine flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and cream of tartar.
In a larger mixing bowl, beat the wet ingredients (oil, apple sauce, syrup, sugar, and vanilla), then beat in dry mixture until fully combined. The dough might be dry and crumbly, but it should clump together when you squeeze it.
Form small balls about 2 centimeters across, use a small (2-teaspoon) cookie scoop, or a regular spoon. Lightly press dough spheres into the bowl/plate of cinnamon sugar, to coat one side and form a small disc, then arrange the cookies (sugared side up) on the baking sheet.
Bake for 10 – 12 minutes, until the tops are crispy and crackle-y. Remove, cool, and enjoy.
I made the peanut butter cookies a few different ways: as simple as possible (no added liquids), with a little bit of added liquid (soy milk), with a ton of apple sauce for volume, and then with a mix of oil and milk. The last way ended up being the best all around: they thinned out and puffed up, retained the peanut butter taste but weren’t too dense, and were easy to work with. Too much soy milk and the flavor gets diluted. Too little and the cookies are dense. I ended up not even needing apple sauce. You’re welcome to add some, but I found it didn’t make a difference, and because I like to simplify my recipes as much as possible, if I don’t need it, I don’t use it. I also took out the vanilla extract because the flavor comes from the peanut butter and the sweetness from the sugars.
I tried these with factory peanut butter (Skippy) and organic (Justin’s), and they turned out the same either way. The non-factory peanut butter is thicker and less sweet, though there’s plenty of oil in it, but the cookies are still amazing. If you think the dough is too thick or dry, mix in some oil or milk.
NOTE: Because these cookies use canola oil as the fat (as opposed to something that would be solid at room temperature, like butter or coconut oil), they won’t melt down or spread at all. The snickerdoodles do spread because of the apple sauce (and perhaps the syrup), but for the peanut butter cookies, you’ll need to flatten them yourself. You can make them really really flat and thin, or a little bit flat like a hockey puck, or you could even just make vegan peanut butter cookie balls. Every option is equally scrumptious.
vegan peanut butter cookies
160 g peanut butter
80 g granulated sugar
80 g brown sugar
32 g canola oil
32 g soy milk (or other non-dairy milk)
95 g all-purpose flour
dash of salt
1 tsp baking powder
Preheat the oven to 350 F/ C and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, beat the wet ingredients (peanut butter, sugars, milk, and oil) and in a separate small bowl, whisk together flour, salt, and baking powder.
Beat ingredients together until the dough is fully mixed.
Using a small ice cream scoop (~2 teaspoons or one spoonful), scoop dough onto the baking sheet and press down with a fork.
Bake for 10 – 15 minutes until the cookies start to darken slightly around the edges. Remove and cool.
Happy holidays, y’all
A cold, rainy Sunday morning in December. No alarms going off, no work, and no plans. You roll around in bed, waiting to come to life, and waiting for your comforter to stop being so damned comfortable. Eventually, you get up, rip a massive yawn, brush your teeth, and start some coffee brewing in your moka pot, or drip brewer, or french press, what have you. Whole wheat english muffins with dill mayo and smoked ham, vanilla bean coffee, and black tea butter cookies for breakfast, accompanied by a gander at the news (which turns into reading Buzzfeed articles because really, who wants to ruin their day reading about politics?)
Sounds perfect to me.
I wanted to find/create a recipe for a cookie to go with tea, like a tea cookie. Something small, light, and easy to make, to add some sweetness to the morning joe. I found a recipe for chai tea cookies somewhere and played around with it until I had spiced black tea butter cookies (basically shortbread.) You assemble everything in a food processor, squeeze it together, wrap it, and chill until you’re ready to bake, then you slice them and pop ’em in the oven!
They’re delicate, butter-y, sweet, and spicy, and they go well with a cup of coffee or English breakfast tea.
black tea butter cookies
adapted from Chai Tea Cookies, on The Kitchn
makes one dozen
70 g all-purpose flour
30 g granulated sugar
dash of salt
2 bags of black tea, cut open, or 2 tsp loose black tea (Earl Grey, English Breakfast, etc.)
1/4 tsp cardamom
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp ginger
2 ounces (4 Tbsp) unsalted butter, softened
Assemble everything in a food processor and pulse until dough forms a large clump.
Dump dough out onto a sheet of parchment paper and squeeze together lightly, so there are no loose or dry bits falling off.
Mold into a log, whatever width you like (I do about 3-4 centimeters), and roll up in the parchment paper, rolling into a cylinder and flattening the ends as you go.
Chill, wrapped in parchment, in the refrigerator until ready to bake.
When ready to bake, pre-heat oven to 375 F/190 C, and slice log into 1-centimeter-thick rounds with a serrated or chef’s knife (be careful not to push down too hard, or the dough will squish or crumble.) Arrange the discs on a baking sheet and bake 10 – 15 minutes, until just starting to brown on the edges. Remove, cool, and enjoy.
Enjoy your weekend, y’all
I just really want to learn everything. Especially all of the food things. I generally have trouble taking it slow and letting myself go step by step, but I also generally have trouble actually succeeding at learning the things I attempt. I’ve come up with a sizable list of things I would like to work on once I move home, and I won’t promise anyone that I’ll finish a certain number of them by a certain date. If you’ve read my About Me or the book Julie and Julia (or the movie made from the book, trailer here), then you should know how that would turn out. I’ll take my time going through as many as I can, and practicing each recipe many, many times, even posting some stories and recipes on the blog! I’ll keep the list somewhere handy to remind myself and even add onto it as I cross items off of it.
Here we go!
1. how to use a rice cooker (I’ve lived in Japan for 2.5 years and have never learned how)
2. how to use a grill (gotta get back in touch with my ‘Merican heritage)
3. how to make jam
4. Early Grey tea bread
5. French sables
6. madeleines (bought a mini-madeleine pan and still haven’t tried these)
7. mayonnaise (probably going to be the first thing I attempt. American mayonnaise is…blegh. But Japanese mayo, lord help me.)
8. rendang (Indonesian coconut milk marinade for meats)
9. peanut butter (planning on attempting first thing in August), and other nut butters, depending on the price of the nuts
10. sambal (Indonesian chili sauce/relish)
11. white wine and red wine reductions
12. gado-gado (Indonesian peanut sauce)
13. American gravy, sausage gravy
14. fried chicken
15. pulled pork
16. rice bread
17. whole wheat bread
19. jambalaya (my aunt’s from new orleans so I’ll have to pester her, hint hint if you’re reading this)
20. pickles (American and Japanese)
21. how to can/jar foods
22. almond paste, marzipan
23. soy clam chowder (because I’m lactose intolerant)
24. fudge, from scratch
25. roux sauces (Hollandaise, bechamel, etc.)
26. curry from scratch
27. coconut whipped cream
28. coconut milk ice cream
29. how to use a slow cooker
30. slow cooker meat recipes
31. French baguettes
34. gluten-free pizza
36. how to use quinoa
37. how to use chia seeds
If I can learn/practice 2 things a month (adjusting for price of ingredients), then I think I can get most of these in the next year. I’d also like to start keeping track of the prices of things I buy at the grocery store so I can become better at comparing prices and budgeting.
Wish me all of your luck. Every last drop of it.
I’ve recently discovered the miracle that is plagiarizing one’s own recipes, instead of plagiarizing other people’s recipes! It all started in Kuta, Bali, when I went to the morning market for a cooking class. The first thing our instructor pointed out to us was the ginger and turmeric. I have a notoriously delicate stomach, and as ginger is a stomach aid, I am absolutely in love with the stuff. My lifetime cure-all is Gingerale, even if I’m not having stomach issues. While Mister I-Forgot-His-Name-Immediately was explaining the difference between the various types of gingers, galangal, and turmeric, I was thinking of cookies.
I am usually thinking of cookies. In fact, a great deal of my grocery planning involves thinking of what type of cookies to buy for my mid-morning snack/lunch #1 at work, and I inevitably always go with the chocolate and coffee shortbread (they’re crack, I swear.)
Looking at the stubby little gingers and turmeric in the baskets, I wondered, “if I can add lemon to a sugar cookie and make a lemon cookie…can I add ginger to a sugar cookie and make crack?” The answer is, “duh.” (Yes.)
I took the lemon sugar cookie recipe, made a few changes, and added some grated ginger, ground ginger, and turmeric (for color, so I wouldn’t confuse them with other sugar cookies and so you the viewer could tell that obviously I had done something different.) I wanted to make something ginger-y but simpler and lighter than molasses cookies. Don’t get me wrong, I am all about molasses and brown sugar and…rum…but I had an urge to see if I could do something else.
And they were a success! They’re light like the lemon cookies, but with an obvious ginger flavor and no bitterness from the turmeric. The dough is much lighter and softer than the lemon cookie dough, but I didn’t need to use any more flour than it says in the recipe.
ginger turmeric cookies, with homemade crystallized ginger
based loosely on the lemon sugar cookies
makes approximately 2 dozen cookies
a piece of fresh ginger (any size, depending on how much you want)
Peel the ginger and slice it paper thin.
Put it in a pot and cover with water. Put on the stove and turn the heat on to high. bring it to a boil.
Boil the ginger for 30 – 60 minutes, until it becomes darker and a little bit rubbery. Drain, but save some of the ginger water.
Weigh the ginger and measure out the same amount of granulated sugar.
Add sugar, ginger, and some ginger water (30 – 60 ml) back to the pot and put over high heat.
Bring to a rolling boil, then reduce to a simmer over low heat. Let it simmer, stirring often, for ~20 minutes, or until syrup crystallizes, but don’t let it turn brown.
Drain the ginger (you can keep the syrup if you want.)
Fill a cookie sheet or baking pan with a thin layer of granulated sugar. Toss the ginger in the the sugar, separating any pieces that are stuck together. Let it cool, and save the crystallized ginger any way you want.
ginger turmeric cookies
113 g unsalted butter, softened
120 g granulated sugar, plus a little extra for coating the dough
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg, at room temperature
2 T grated fresh ginger
240 g all-purpose flour, plus a little extra for shaping the dough
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
crystallized ginger pieces, cut to desired size, for topping
If using a conventional oven, preheat to 350 F/175 C.
Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
[Edit 06/2016] In a small bowl, combine flour, ground ginger, ground turmeric, baking powder, and salt.
In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until fluffy and pale. Beat in vanilla extract.
Beat in egg and mix until pale and fluffy, about 1-2 minutes.
Beat in grated ginger in 3-4 additions, beating well after each addition.
Slowly beat in flour mixture, in about 8 additions, and beat on high after each addition. The dough should feel like frosting but not stick to your hands. You should be able to roll it gently into a ball.
Put extra granulated sugar into a shallow bowl.
Scooping dough out with a spoon, roll it into balls about 3 centimeters in diameter. Flour your hands occasionally if needed.
Roll the balls in the bowl of sugar, then place on cookie sheet about 3 centimeters apart. Top with a piece of crystallized ginger.
Bake for 10 minutes, until they puff up and look dry. If they look wet, shiny, or dark in the middle, bake for an extra minute. If using a toaster oven, toast at 740 W for 10 minutes.
Let cool in the pan for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.
Having the time-eric of my life,
High on sugar cookies from my last baking endeavor, and surrounded by spring, spring everywhere, I wanted to make more sugar cookies, but I wanted to do something exciting…and fresh.
I love lemons almost as much as I love cheese or orange juice. Lemonade brings back childhood memories of cul-de-sac parties and dangerous neighborhood fireworks displays on July 4th. It also brings back memories of a failed lemon meringue pie that tasted like feet.
Lemons are an all-year-round fruit but lemon things are best in the summer. I made these cookies for the first time a few years ago, my last year in college, during my last semester. I only made them once but they were unbelievable the first time. The original recipe called for lemon frosting, an orgasmic addition to an already orgasmic cookie, but I wanted to make them my own this time…and I just didn’t have the energy to make any frosting. I played with the recipe a few times (approximately five times), and once I had settled on something…a few more times (approximately a hundred more times.) I don’t remember them being this addictive three years ago.
Unlike the previous recipe (basic sugar cookies), these are simple and forgiving. The dough doesn’t have a lot of flour and it’s very light. You don’t have to fight to make it cooperate, and because you roll and bake (rather than rolling, cutting, and baking), you can use up all the dough immediately (or save some for a midnight snack.) But be careful you don’t go crazy with the lemon. They are pretty intense cookies, and I love all the lemon, but one batch collapsed before I added the flour because I was little…overzealous…with the lemon juice.
And if you intend to share them with friends, make two batches: one for you, one for everyone else to deal with. Or hide the first batch from yourself, because they’re seriously addictive like the cheese and olives at my grandma’s house. Make sure, though, that you can find them again when it’s time to share.
There’s something special about lemon, I discovered while making these cookies. It tingles all over your mouth but especially along the sides and the back, making you salivate. It’s addictive. I tried making these without the sugar coating and, while they’re still amazing and addictive, the extra sugar on top makes the difference. It’s a clean, refreshing contrast to the texture of the cookie, and adds a sweet balance to the tart lemon. It’s like salt on the rim of a margarita glass, a precursor to something sensational.
lemon sugar cookies
makes 30 ~ 36 cookies
226 g unsalted butter, softened
240 g granulated sugar, plus a few tablespoons for coating
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs, at room temperature
2 T lemon zest (zest of 1 lemon)
480 g all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
milk and lemon juice, if needed
If using a conventional oven, preheat to 350 F/175 C. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy, about 1-3 minutes. Beat in the vanilla extract.
Add the eggs one at a time, and beat until consistent and fully mixed in, 2-3 minutes.
Add the lemon zest a little at a time (~4 additions) and beat.
In a separate smaller bowl, combine salt, flour and baking powder.
Beat the flour mixture into the batter slowly, at least 8 additions and combining fully each time. The dough should be light and fluffy, almost like frosting, but not stick to your hands too much. If it’s too stiff or dry, add a little bit of milk or lemon juice until it’s a good consistency.
Fill a small, shallow bowl with the extra granulated sugar, and another with some flour (a few tablespoons.) Using a spoon or small cookie scoop, scoop the dough and roll between your hands so it forms a ball. Flour your hands if you need to. Then, roll the dough balls in the sugar. Place on the baking sheet a few centimeters apart, and bake for 10 minutes, until they’re dry on top. Don’t let them brown too much except on the bottom, or they’ll burn. They’re best taken out a little early, and they’ll firm up as they cool.
If using a toaster oven, toast at 740 W for the same length of time.
Let cool in the pan for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and finish cooling, and prepare yourself for Heaven.
Lemon Love Y’all
I wanted to make Snickerdoodles. I wanted to make them so bad. My nickname is “snickerdoodle,” so of course I need to make them, my namesake cookies.
But I also wanted to learn, once and for all, just what exactly a Snickerdoodle is. It seems they’re not just sugar cookies rolled in cinnamon. There was some healthy debate over this on the Internets. The consensus, and one that I don’t want to disrespect, is that Snickerdoodles have some acid added in (cream of tartar, the dried acid from grape skins), and baking soda (if using baking soda, must use acid, as well.) I have been deceived my entire life. I’d been led to believe that it doesn’t matter what’s inside Snickerdoodle as long as Snickerdoodle is happy with his life choices.
I don’t know where to find cream of tartar in this country or what it’s called in Japanese, and I saw baking soda for the first time in Japan today. So let’s try something different. But I really wanted sugar cookies…so I made sugar cookies.
I made a lot of sugar cookies. A really really lot of sugar cookies. And then I ate the other half of the dough raw.
basic sugar cookies
makes 12 – 16 large cookies
I’ve included imperial and metric measurements because Japanese cups and measuring spoons are not the same size as American. With baking, it’s always better to go by metric measurements, though. If you’re in the U.S. and using American tools, you might have to use more of each ingredient than the recipe calls for. For the teaspoons and tablespoons, the difference is negligible, but with any recipe and any measurements, amounts will differ per brand, oven type, location, tools, etc.
You can either roll the dough into balls and coat with sugar or roll it out flat and cut out shapes. If you do the former, flatten the balls a little with your palm before baking and beware that they don’t spread as much as you’d expect. Rolling out and cutting the dough works better for this recipe, and that’s easier if you’ve chilled the dough for >2 hours first.
113 g (1/2 c) unsalted butter, softened
120 g (1/2 c) granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla
240 g (1 1/4) all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
sugar for coating
If you’re baking immediately, preheat a conventional oven to ()…(If using a toaster oven, set it to 740 W.) Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
Beat the butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy, then add the sugar in 3-4 additions and beat well. When the volume increases and the mixture becomes fluffier, beat in the egg and vanilla. Beat for about a minute or more, until the batter becomes fluffy again.
In a smaller bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt.
Beat the flour mixture into the batter in 5 – 7 additions, beating fully after each one. When the dough starts to stiffen, turn up the speed on the mixer to soften it a little.
The dough is ready when it doesn’t stick to your fingers any more. If you add too much extra flour, the cookies will be dry.
If making balls of dough, use a tablespoon to scoop the dough, roll lightly in between your hands, then coat in granulated sugar. Arrange on a baking sheet a few inches apart and press down lightly to flatten. Bake for 6 – 10 minutes.
If rolling the dough out, form the dough into a ball and lay it on top of a long sheet of cling wrap (with ~1/4 of the wrap to one side and ~3/4 to the other side.) Press the dough out until it almost reaches the sides of the wrap (and is ~1 inch thick), then fold the cling wrap in half, sandwiching the dough. Seal the wrap and transfer the dough to the refrigerator. When you’re ready to bake, roll out the dough until it’s 1 cm or 1/2 inch thick, then cut the shapes out and arrange on a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Form the excess dough into a ball, roll out, and chill again for >2 hours.
Baking: In a conventional oven preheated to (), bake for 7 – 10 minutes and take out before they start turning brown. They should still be soft, as they’ll firm up when they cool down. If using a toaster oven, toast for 7 – 10 minutes at 740 W. Let cool in the oven for a few minutes, then transfer cookies to a wire rack to finish cooling.
Try not to eat them all in one go. Try your best.