Tag Archives: cookies

Dark Chocolate Sour Cherry Cookies

27 Apr

Yummies.

After making mushroom lasagna for my family this weekend, I decided we needed something to balance out the vegetables and so made these cookies, which are loaded with two types of chocolate and delicious sour cherries.  The recipe comes from Martha Stewart Cookies, a book Gina and I were given for Christmas by Gina’s godmother, who is also an avid and excellent baker.  I’ve never been a big Martha Stewart fan (I tend to like less grandmothery chefs who haven’t gone to jail), but this book is pretty awesome.  It has about 100 cookie recipes, divided by type such as “chewy”, “crispy”, “cakey”, etc.  I am told she has a similar cupcake book, although I can’t imagine how there are quite as many cupcake varieties as there are cookie types.

I sometimes forget how easy cookies are to make, but these were really a cinch- just mix some dry ingredients, add an egg and chocolate, put in the oven and enjoy.   We didn’t have a mixer in the mountains, so I even made do with just a spoon to whisk everything together.  They are intensely chocolatey, so certainly not for anyone with a chocolate aversion (is there such a person? I don’t know one), but the sour cherries add a nice contrast that lightens up the chocolate monotony.  Below is a halved recipe from the original, but I assure you, you will still have cookies for days- I’m never sure why cookie recipes assume that you are baking for 20.  Try these sometime soon, I promise you will not regret it.  Just have a large glass of milk nearby.

Dark Chocolate Sour Cherry Cookies
From Martha Stewart Cookies

Makes about 2 dozen

Equipment: Electric mixer (or wooden spoon and some old fashioned elbow grease), knife, cookie sheet

Ingredients:
3/4 plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 plus 2 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar (light brown works too)
1 large egg
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
3/4 cup firmly packed dried sour cherries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line cookie sheet with parchment paper or grease with butter. In a bowl sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt.  In the bowl of an electric mixer with paddle attachment, or large bowl with wooden spoon, cream together the softened butter and sugars until fluffy and light.  Add egg and vanilla and stir/beat until combined.  Add the flour mixture and stir until just combined.  With a wooden spoon, mix in the chocolate and sour cherries.

Form balls of dough (mine were about 1 rounded tablespoon although Martha recommends 1/4 cup, which seems excessively large).  Place balls on the baking sheets, 2-3 inches apart.  Bake until puffed and cracked, about 9 to 11 minutes.  Let cool and enjoy!

Christmas with the Spices

27 Dec

Our Christmas cookies!

Hello everyone, we hope you’ve all been having an excellent Christmas! We’ve had a rather adventurous few days, filled with lots of eating of course.

Roxie shows off her piping skills

As Roxie has said, we were delayed in Washington by two days, and so decided to make Christmas cookies to fill up the time. We realized we hadn’t done this in years, as we’re always traveling for Christmas—it was fun, but hard work! We followed the instructions put up by the Pioneer Woman (using Baked at 350’s cookie recipe but an egg white royal icing recipe). Of course, we didn’t have all the fancy equipment she did… but spoons and forks did almost as well as squirt bottles and toothpicks, though our free-form stars were a little wonky.

The wigilia table

We wrapped up the cookies to bring over to England, and finally made it on Christmas Eve, just in time for the traditional wigilia dinner at our aunt’s house. This is the big Polish fish dinner that is eaten on Christmas Eve (after opening presents).  Traditionally the wigilia is about 10 courses with 12 or 13 types of fish, which differs by family, according to our uncle Tony.  But we do a slightly abridged version, with 6

The borscht with a hard boiled egg

courses and 4 types of fish in total, by our count at least.  Basically it means we get two Christmas dinners… one Polish one on Christmas Eve, and one traditional English one on Christmas Day! The wigilia starts with the singing of Silent Night in three languages—the original German, English, and Polish. We all thought we might have gotten a little better at the Polish over the years, but it is a very difficult language to pronounce, and we basically rely on our uncle and cousin to carry that verse. The first course is a borscht soup (a brightly colored beetroot soup), traditionally with hard boiled egg or sour cream. Then we moved on to smoked eel—a new addition this year, and extremely tasty. Our aunt had made her own horseradish to go with it, which was proclaimed excellent by those of us who enjoy horseradish (I do not, but Roxie slathered it on everything). The next course is the pickled herring, cucumbers, and buckwheat. Not exactly something I eat every day, and I remember finding it pretty weird

Two very fat carp!

the first time I had it, but I’ve come to really enjoy the herring, and the cucumbers in dill are excellent accompaniment. The next course is thestar of the show—stuffed carp, and this year we had two! I’m still unconvinced by carp as a fish—it definitely has a very distinctive flavor, and it is basically impossible to get a piece without bones in it—but the stuffing is delicious. And if that isn’t enough, we had only a short break before the muck was

The Stilton (and the controversial Stilton spoon)

brought out! (Can’t guarantee that that is the correct spelling, but that is definitely how it is pronounced.) This is a poppy seed mixture with almonds (I think) and lots and lots of alcohol. It’s served alongside dried fruit also stewed in alcohol (and all served with port, of course). Last but not least was the huge wheel of Stilton (accompanied by a lively debate over the correct way to slice or scoop Stilton)—a course I was rather relieved to opt out of due to my hatred of bleu cheese, I was so full after all that food!

Can you pronounce those Polish words?

But then of course we were at it again the next day—and this time our family had to do the cooking! Our Christmas Day dinner is a little more casual though, especially as we had three boisterous children joining us. We cook almost the same exact meal as we do for Thanksgiving—substituting kale for sweet potatoes this time, though. And the dessert, of course, is the traditional Christmas pudding with brandy butter, though now that Roxie and I are no longer the youngest we don’t get the pound coins hidden in it anymore!  All in all, we’ve had an excellent few days and are looking forward to some more good British eating to come.

Maximilian enjoyed his brussel sprouts

Chocolate Chip Cranberry Coconut Cookies

17 Dec
C-C-C-C-Cookies

Try to be less messy than I am when putting cookies on the sheet

I only realized as I was typing the title to this post that all of the ingredients in this cookie start with C!  I did not do that on purpose, but it does make a fun alliteration.  These cookies were made when at 9:30 one night I decided I really wanted homemade cookies, despite the fact that I was planning on going to bed in an hour.  I happened to have a container of some dried cranberries, coconut, and chocolate chips in my fridge, so I decided just to throw them in some batter, and thus, Chocolate Chip Cranberry Coconut Cookies were born.  And then I chopped up another bar of chocolate and added that as well, just for good measure.  I’m completely guestimating the amount of ingredients used, as I didn’t measure the add-ins at all.  Mine had very little coconut, but I would definitely suggest adding some more, as when the flavor comes out it really adds to the overall cookie experience.

Your batter will not look exactly like this if you remember to add flour.

I got the recipe from this chocolate chip recipe on All Recipes, just because that was the first thing that came up when I googled chocolate chip cookies. I used the basic batter as a starting point, and it turned out very well- the cookies were chewy and crispy at the same time when first out of the oven, and lasted very well for the next few days (I know, because one night I ate about 4 while I was waiting for my dinner to cook).  I have to admit though, these were very nearly a complete cookie failure, because the first time I scooped out the cookies onto my baking sheet I realized I had forgotten to add flour.  In case you are not familiar with baking, the flour is a pretty important ingredient in basically any cookie.  I blame the fact that I was rushing in my cookie-craving state, and also that I was distracted by how good the sugar and butter mix tasted that I forgot I was missing the main ingredient.  Luckily I realized before putting the sheet into the oven, otherwise I would have had a very buttery messy situation on my hands.  If you’re looking for a cheap gift for anyone for the holidays, these would be a great holiday cookie to make and wrap up nicely!  They only take about 30 minutes from start to finish, and as long as you remember the flour, they are pretty much foolproof.

Chocolate Chip Cranberry Coconut Cookies
Makes 24 cookies

Equipment: Big mixing bowl, stand or hand mixer, spatula, spoon, cookie sheet and parchment paper or silicone mat

Ingredients
1 cup butter (2 sticks), softened
1 cup white sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons hot water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup dried shredded coconut

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream together the butter, white sugar and brown sugar until smooth.  Beat in the eggs one at a time, then add the vanilla. Dissolve the baking soda in hot water, and add to the batter along with the salt.  Beat to incorporate, then stir in the flour, chocolate chips, cranberries, and coconut (with a wooden spoon or spatula). Drop by large spoonfuls onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone mat (but not greased).  Bake for about 10 minutes, or until the edges are brown.  Cookies will keep for a few days in an air-tight container at room temperature.

World Peace/Win People Over with Cookies Cookies

29 Nov

Magic on a plate

Gina was the first one of the Ginger Spices to make these cookies, but I have made them several time since and have no intention of stopping.  They are seriously delicious, melt in your mouth chocolaty, and on top of that are very simple, utilizing ingredients that I almost always have in my kitchen anyway.  I first read about them on Smitten Kitchen, which is where the “World Peace Cookies” name came about, and if you think that name is exaggerating the power of these cookies, you only need to try them to be converted.  I firmly believe that if served to any friend, boss or person you are trying to impress they will be immediately won over, and will continue to ask for “Roxie cookies” (or “Insert-your-name-here cookies”) every time you see them henceforth.  I personally have a certain friend’s mother who tried one of these intending just to taste one, then ate about three more, and now apparently asks after me all the time (admittedly, said friend may be exaggerating/this may not have to do solely with my baking skills, but I choose to believe in the power of cookies above all else).

Chopped chocolate. Say that three times fast.

I think it’s the texture of this type of cookie that make them so strange and addictive- they are apparently known as “sandies”, which makes sense because the dough sort of resembles sand and they crumble easily.  They also have a lot of brown sugar in them, which always reminds me of sandcastles, so I like to think that fact is somehow related to the name.  All you really have to do is chop some chocolate (which is super fun, therapeutic, and gets chocolate all over your hands in the best way possible), cream the butter with a stand mixer or hand held mixer, and then add all the ingredients until a dough forms.  The recipe makes a large amount, but trust me, you want to make it all.  Plus you divide the dough into two pieces to chill, so can easily bake one that day and save the other for a few days later when friends are banging down your door begging for these.  Or just for when you find you have eaten 25 cookies in three days and want some more.  They also keep very well in a container at room temperature, and as they are not chewy they last for about a week if for some crazy reason you see reason and decide not to eat them all in a day like me.

Sandcastle-like sugar

World Peace/Win People Over with Cookies Cookies
From Smitten Kitchen, from Dorie Greenspan (fantastic name, btw)

Equipment: Stand Mixer or Hand Mixer, or a whisk and very strong arms, sheet pan, sharp knife, cling film or tin foil

Ingredients:
1 1/4 cup flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 stick plus 3 tablespoons butter, at room temp
2/3 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon fleur de sel or 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, cut into chunks, or 3/4 cup mini chocolate chips

Sift the flour, cocoa, and baking soda together. Working with a stand mixer or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter on medium speed until soft and creamy.  Add both sugars, the salt and vanilla extract and beat for 2 minutes more.

Turn off the mixer. Pour in the flour and mix at low speed about 5 times, a second or two each time.  If there is still a lot of flour on the surface of the dough, pulse a couple of times more.  Continuing at low speed, mix for about 30 seconds more, just until the flour disappears into the dough — for the best texture, work the dough as little as possible once the flour is added, and don’t be concerned if the dough looks a little crumbly. Toss in the chocolate pieces and mix only to incorporate.

Turn the dough out onto a work surface, gather it together and divide it in half. Working with one half at a time, shape the dough into logs that are 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Wrap the logs in plastic wrap and refrigerate them for at least 3 hours.  Logs can also be frozen for a couple of months if desired.

When you are ready to bake, preheat oven to 325 and line baking sheet with parchment or silicone mats.  Slice logs with a sharp thin knife, if they fall apart just form them back together on the baking sheet.  Put them on the baking sheet with about an inch between (one log needs two batches), then bake for 12 minutes. They will still look very soft, but take them out and let them cool until they have hardened and can be handled.  Enjoy, and store any extras in airtight container!

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