bars · cookies

“Bronzies” : blondies with toasted cashews, marzipan, and white and dark chocolate.

This is an unusual recipe from the food folks over at Food 52. If you can tear yourself away from the shop, filled with gorgeous cookware and other fun stuff for the kitchen, I’d suggest looking through their recipes. They are consistently great and different from the usual fare.

These blondies are rich and chewy with more than a hint of white chocolate, which you melt right in with the butter to make the batter. Then, you add chopped marzipan, toasted cashews, dark chocolate chips, and more white chocolate. They would make an excellent addition to any Christmas cookie tray. They will travel, ship, and freeze well.

Notes for the next time I make them:

  • I will be sure to use dark brown sugar. Light brown worked fine but I think the added layer of the molasses-rich dark brown sugar would make it even better.
  • I might also use already toasted and salted cashews. I toasted raw, unsalted cashews myself. They were good, but you know how I love the salty/sweet combo.
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cookies

Chewy Toffee Crunch Cookies

It’s beginning to feel like fall around Central Oregon. In the span of two weeks, the kids have gone back to school, the days have gotten noticeably shorter, and it’s been downright chilly in the mornings. This is all extra fine by me. I love fall. Sweaters, roasts, scarves, fireplaces, and steamy lattes. And richer flavors, like toffee. I will pick toffee 100 times over pumpkin spice, I’m just saying.

This week, Shelly over at Cookies and Cups, posted a recipe to her Butter Crunch Cookies, and with autumn rushing back in, I knew I had to make them.

I made the toffee, per the recipe. It’s easy, even if you have to dig out your candy thermometer. You could use a bag of toffee bits, or crush up Skor or Heath bars if you don’t mind a little chocolate. But, if you like to control what goes in your food, making the toffee yourself isn’t a bad option.

bars · cookies

Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

If there is one thing I don’t love about baking, it’s the clean up afterwards. I’ve figured out a system that works for me – basically, filling the sink with hot, soapy water when I start, tossing dirty dishes in while I work, and washing them while whatever I’m baking is in the oven. It’s not brain surgery but it accomplishes my goal of having a clean kitchen by the time whatever I’m making comes out of the oven.

Here’s what I made today. Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars.

The recipe comes from a new (to me) blog, South Your Mouth.

I love this recipe as much for the outcome – wonderfully classic cookie bars that have a chocolate punch and a chewy texture – as for the relatively small mess they make. I used a hand mixer, one big bowl to mix the ingredients, and lined the pan with foil, so all I had to was was the bowl, the beaters, measuring cups/spoons, and a spatula.

The chewy texture and perfect bar consistency come from using “mostly melted” butter, equal parts brown and white sugars, and..the kicker, self-rising flour. I didn’t have any, so I used her tip of converting AP flour by adding salt and baking powder. Genius.

These cookie bars travel well, keep well, and freeze well. I already stashed half the batch in my freezer for a rainy day. Now that’s thinking ahead.

cookies

The Lazy Person’s Chocolate Chip Cookie

I love having counters free of STUFF. I want to see vast expanses of gleaming clean tile in my kitchen whenever possible. Every night before I go to bed, I try my damnedest to clear and clean off my kitchen island and counters. It’s good for my well-being.

I also love baking. And because I want clear counters, I hide my KitchenAid stand mixer in my pantry. This is great for my kitchen aesthetic, but can be a hurdle to when I want to bake. Haul it out, set it up, clean it off, haul it back. It’s not terrible, but sometimes, I just can’t be bothered.

This is where the Salty Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies recipe comes in.

This recipe, which was created by Shelly over at Cookies and Cups, and only appears in her cookbook (see my note below for a link to the cookbook), doesn’t call for a mixer of any kind! You make the dough in a sauce pan and a large bowl, using a wooden spoon. Plus, because you brown the butter in the sauce pan, you don’t have wait for the butter to soften up! I was like, yes. Sign me up. The fact that these cookies are easy to make and impart the nutty, complex flavor of browned butter, and these are my go-to when I want chocolate chip cookies. The finished cookies are crispy on the edges and chewy in the middle, which is just exactly the way I like them.

So, whether you don’t have a mixer, or you’re just too lazy to haul out your stand mixer, I think you should try these.

As a side note: These cookies are the cover recipe for Shelly’s The Cookies & Cups Cookbook recipe book, which is full of delicious treats, great dinner ideas, and some really helpful hints. Plus, Shelly’s writing is delightful. I definitely recommend this book. It’s become a staple in my kitchen!

cookies

Krumkake : A Cookie Fit for a Viking

Five years ago, my friend Ann and I went on an epic Scandinavian adventure. We spent 11 days, travelling across Sweden, Norway, and Denmark. We ended up seeing all kinds of ships on this vacation – the Vasa Museum in Stockholm, the Viking Ship Museum and the Amundsen Museum in Oslo. We even (accidentally) got a free water taxi across the harbor in Oslo.

Ann and I travel well together. We want the same things while travelling, which is to say, a little sight seeing, a great hotel, afternoon naps, and good food. A good dinner while on vacation is a must for me. We always treated ourselves to wine and cocktails and, of course, dessert. The Scandinavians are a dessert-loving people. I respect this. They somehow balance the freshness of their cuisine – fish, salads, vegetables – with delicious pastries and cookies and ice creams. You will not go hungry in Scandinavia.

In memory of our excellent trip, I made krumkake, even though we didn’t actually ever HAVE krumkake while in Scandinavia. Hmm. I’ll have to go back and fix that.

Krumkake (KROOM-ka-kuh) are a Scandinavian cookie that are made of a thin batter and pressed between the plates of an iron, like a waffle, then rolled onto a wooden cone. They’re delicate and light, and perfect for summer get-togethers when you want to serve something pretty and fresh that won’t weigh your guests down. I’ve had them filled with sweetened whipped cream, fruit, ice cream, and one particularly memorable time, a Nutella buttercream. Stop the presses. That was delicious. The cookies themselves are more a pretty vehicle for the filling, but I have to say I find an unfilled cone a delicious accompaniment to an afternoon cup of coffee.

You do need a special iron for this, although I’ve heard a pizzelle press would work well, too. Here’s the recipe I use for my krumkakes:

  • 5 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2/3 cup whole milk
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 eggs

Combine the melted butter and the sugar, and mix well. Add the eggs. With a hand mixer, mix until it is pale yellow in color. Add the milk and four, and continue to blend until the mixture is smooth. The batter should flow easily but slowly off the back of a spoon.

You can add some flavors into the batter at this point. Some ideas:

  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract
  • 1 teaspoon ground almonds

Pour one tablespoon of batter on a heated iron. Adjust the cooking time to get a golden brown cookie; it should take about 2 minutes. When it’s done cooking, remove it from the iron and wrap it immediately around the wooden cone to shape into a cone. Press the seam against your cutting board to seal while it cools.

Once the krumkakes are cooled, add your choice of filling and dust with powdered sugar.

Makes about 20 krumkake.

Skol!

 

bars · cookies

Salted Caramel Pretzel Crunch Bars 

Full disclosure: These are probably a little over the top. 

A shortbread crust topped with crushed pretzels topped with homemade salted caramel sauce topped with chocolate and sprinkled with sea salt. I might have even stirred in a tablespoon of peanut butter in the chocolate topping. Because..in for a penny, in for a pound, especially when it comes to dessert, am I right? 

This recipe is from Sally’s Baking Addiction blog. Her recipes are consistently great and reliable. I took her tip of making the caramel sauce ahead of time, so the rest of the recipe came together pretty quickly. I also doubled the caramel recipe so I have plenty left over to use as ice cream topping. Here’s to planning!! 

I was distracted and didn’t press the pretzels into the unbaked shortbread, which made spreading the caramel over them a little complicated, but I persisted. I’m a survivor. 

I cut them into tiny squares. They’re rich enough that one or two bites will satisfy even the sweetest of sweet tooths. (That’s me.) Give these a try and let me know what you think! 

cookies

Fairy Bread Cookies and an Embarassment of Sprinkles 

Once upon a time, my brother-in-law informed me that there are two types people in this world: those who like sprinkles and those who don’t. 

I fall firmly and forever in the first category. They’re so happy. I want them everywhere. Rainbow sprinkles, rainbow non-perils, white non-perils on white frosting. They can be over the top unicorn and rainbows or understated tonal. Either way, I am 100% pro-sprinkle. I’m not even sure we can be friends if you don’t like sprinkles. I’ll have to think about it. 

I’m also a sucker for sugar cookies, upon which I like …you guessed it: sprinkles. So when I saw Shelly from my very favorite baking blog, Cookies and Cups, post this recipe for Fairy Bread Cookies, it was a no brainer. Look at these gorgeous things. 

The cookies are easy to make and come out as kind of a sugar cookie-shortbread hybrid. They’re not overly sweet, which is good because you slather the top with vanilla buttercream and then load them up with an embarassment of sprinkles. Yay!! 

Shelly tells the story behind Fairy Bread. All I know is that these cookies definitely made my wishes come true.