"A balanced diet is a cookie in each hand." - unknown
October is just about over, so this is my last post commemorating National Cookie Month. I thought I'd end it with a no-bake cookie, so simple yet so unbelievably good. I tell you they are addicting! This is an adaptation of a recipe by the acclaimed British food writer/cookbook author/television personality Nigel Slater. I love how honest his food is. I am in love with his book Real Food, although he has 7 other titles to his name. I call these no bake cookies, Nigel's Fudge Crunchies. They have been a hit in my house for many years now. My kids love them! You may argue they are more confection than cookie, but that would just be superfluous (one of the only big words I know -lol!), Any way you call them they are delicious. I will admit they don't photograph as well as some, but you'll get a good idea nonetheless. Another (any) holiday favorite perhaps? If you want more cookie recipes, you can scroll through here.
Nigel's Fudge Crunchies- Makes about 21
3 Tablespoon unsalted butter
teensy weensy pinch of sea salt
3 Tablespoons Lyle's Golden Syrup*
1/2 ounce Unsweetened chocolate, fienly chopped
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate (60-72%) **
2 1/2 cups corn flakes
colored non-pareils of your choice- optional, but recommended
1. In a medium saucepan over low heat stir together the butter, golden syrup, salt and chocolates until melted and smooth, stirring continuously.
2. Remove chocolate mixture from heat and gently stir in corn flakes with a rubber spatula until completely coated with chocolate.
3. Place 21 mini muffin cups on a sheet pan if you want to have a more polished presentation. Alternatively, line a baking sheet with parchment or waxed paper. Scoop 1 tablespoon of cookie mixture into each mini muffin cup or straight onto lined baking sheet.
4. Sprinkle the tops with a small pinch of non-pareils or to taste.
5. Place tray in refrigerator to set up cookies. Best stored in refrigerator... if they last that long. ; )
* Lyle's Golden Syrup is a very unique tasting cane sugar product. It has the flavor of almost a caramelized, slightly burnt sugar. It is superb tasting. You will not get the same flavor substituting another liquid sugar syrup such as corn or rice syrup or honey, but you can feel free to experiment. Besides on-line you may find Lyle's Golden Syrup at specialty Food stores, international grocer's or if you live in the US, at Cost Plus World Market.
** Since this recipe relies on so few ingredients they all have to be top notch. Use the best chocolate you can afford here. This is not the place to use chocolate chips or candy bar chocolate. Some reliable quality brands are Valrhona, Callebaut, E Guittard, El Rey or Lindt.
"Cookies are made with butter and love."- Norwegian Proverb
By now you all know October is National Cookie Month, right? So in the spirit of sharing and without further ado, here is my favorite Ginger Cookie. It's got some yummy, fragrant spice to it, perfect for fall.It's crisp around the edges then soft everywhere else with some nice added crunch from the coarse sanding sugar. It also makes a mean vehicle for ice cream sandwiches, if you are feeling like taking it in that direction (lemon or blackberry sorbet would be nice inside, but vanilla ice cream would also be delicious or vanilla ice cream with some lemon curd folded in....just sayin'). I do offer one quick variation at the end, too, if you are looking to dress them up a bit.
Chewy Ginger Cookies
2 1/2 cups (11 1/2 ounces) all-purpose flour
1 3/4 teaspoons, scant, baking soda*
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 Tablespoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 sticks plus 2 Tablespoons (9 ounces) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup (3.5 ounces) packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup (3.5 ounces) granulated sugar
6 Tablespoons unsulfured molasses
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
sanding or pearl sugar
1. With a whisk, mix together the first seven ingredients; set aside.
2. In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar on low speed until well combined.
3. On low speed mix in the egg, molasses and vanilla. Increase speed to medium to help combine the mixture well for about 20 seconds. Reduce speed to low.
4. Mix in flour mixture until just combined.
5. Remove bowl from mixer and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Refrigerate dough for 24 hours. This gives all the spices time to really meld into the dough for the best flavor.
6. When you are ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
7. Remove dough from fridge and scoop out using an ice cream scoop to get uniform cookies. Dip cookies into sanding or pearl sugar. Place dough 2" apart on prepared baking sheets. Lightly pat down the tops of the dough.
8. Bake cookies in preheated oven for 10- 12 minutes until edges are golden brown and center seems set and crackles. Cookie will have puffed up, then sank back down.
Variation: White Chocolate-Ginger Chews: Stir in 1 cup of fine quality, coarsely chopped white chocolate such as Lindt, Callebaut or Valrhona into batter after the flour. Proceed as directed in the recipe. The sweetness and creaminess of the white chocolate is a really nice complement to the spiced dough and looks really pretty , too.
* Note: this recipe is for cooking at high altitude (about 5,000 ft, where I live). If baking closer to or at sea level, increase baking soda to 2 1/4 teaspoons.
"C is for Cookie. That's good enough for me." -Cookie Monster
National Cookie month continues! I posted a picture of this cookie a while back on my Facebook and Instagram feed and it was quickly voted the recipe most of my followers there wanted to see. It is worth their adoration, too. It is fudgy and minty and beautiful. I know it's only a little early to talk about this, but what a great addition to your holiday cookie trays this would be, am I right? They are super easy to make. Just make sure you use good quality chocolate like the mint infused Lindt chocolate bar here. Be sure to check out the interesting variations below. Also if mint and chocolate are your thing, check out these recipes here and here.
Mint Crinkle Cookies
2 cups (9 ounces)all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder *
1/8 teaspoons sea salt
5 ounces unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
8 tablespoons (4 ounces ) unsalted butter, cubed
4 large eggs
1 cup (7 ounces) granulated sugar
1 cup (7 ounces) packed light brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon pure peppermint extract
2 ounces mint infused chocolate such as Lindt
1/3 cup mini marshmallows (stale is even better)
1. Melt the chocolate and butter together in a medium bowl; set aside.
2. Whisk together flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.
3. In the bowl of a mixer whisk together the eggs, granulated and brown sugars and extracts on medium speed until well combined and just slightly increased in volume
4. Stir in melted chocolate on low speed a. Scrape down bowl and then add in flour until almost fully combined.
5. By hand, using a rubber spatula, stir in chopped mint infused chocolate and mini marshmallows until well combined.
6. Cover dough tightly with plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours or over-night.
7. When you are ready to bake cookies, preheat oven to 350 Degrees F and line baking sheets with parchment paper.
8. Remove dough from fridge and using an ice cream scoop, portion out dough into approximately 2 1/2 Tablespoon balls. Coat dough thoroughly in powdered sugar. Space 2" apart on prepared baking sheets.
9. Bake cookies in preheated oven for 10-12 minutes until tops are crackled and middle appears set and is no longer glossy. Remove from oven and allow to cool for several minute before transferring to a cooling rack.
* if baking at sea level (I am at high altitude) increase baking powder to 2 teaspoons.
These cookies freeze beautifully, wrapped air-tight for up to 2 months if you want to get a head start on your holiday baking.
Chocolate Orange Crinkles- Omit pepermint extract. Increase vanilla extract to 2 teaspoons, Stir in 1/2 teaspoon fresh orange zest with eggs and sugar. Omit mint chocolate and use 2 ounces Lindt Intense Orange instead.
Mocha Crinkles: Omit peppermint extract.Increase vanilla to 2 teaspoons Stir in 1/2 teaspoon espresso powder with vanilla. Omit mint chocolate and use finely chopped good quality milk chocolate instead.
Chocolate Chili Crinkles-Omit peppermint extract. Kee vanilla at 1 1/2 teaspoons. Add 1/4 teaspoon PURE chile powder (not a spice blend chili powder) to the dry ingredients. Omit Mint chocolate and use 2 ounces of Lindt Chili Chocolate instead.
Dark Fudge Crinkles: Omit peppermint extract. Increase vanilla to 2 teaspoons. Add a little pinch of instant espresso powder to dry ingredients. Omit mint chocolate and substitute mini chocolate chips or chopped up bittersweet chocolate instead.
“I want to take all our best moments, put them in a jar, and take them out like cookies and savor each one of them forever.” - Crystal Woods, Write Like No One is Reading
If you read my last post you know that here in the US, October is National Cookie Month. Unfortunately, with our Presidential election only weeks away, and all the attention directed toward that, the cookie has been over-looked. I know, it's truly a sad state affairs. For one, if both (which should read all) parties would just sit down with some cookies and commit to the greater good, I am certain things would go a lot smoother. Who writes the policy for that? In any case, here is my second entry for the month....the quintessential Chocolate Chip Cookie. It is buttery, brown sugary and so full of chocolate! I worked on this recipe for a long time and I may still tweak it here and there, but for now, it's better than good. I know everyone says their recipe is the best, but I really mean it! Just kidding....but hey why not try it and see what you think? The worst thing that will happen is that you will make somebody really happy when you pull them out of the oven! Or spread the love by bringing a plate to someone special just because! #cookiesandkindness
Chocolate Chip Cookies:-makes a lot*
16 1/2 ounces (2 cups plus 1 tablespoon) unsalted butter, softened
12 ounces (approx. 1 3/4 cup lightly packed) light brown sugar
8 ounces (approx. 1 cup 2 Tablespoon) granulated sugar
1 tablespoon Pure Vanilla Extract
2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
21 ounces ( approcimately 4 1/2 cups) all-purpose flour
1 1/8 teaspoon baking soda**
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 pound 12 ounces chocolate chips, chopped bittersweet chocolate or a combination of the two
1. With a whisk, mix together, flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder in a medium bowl. Set aside
2. Cream butter and sugar on low speed of stand mixer until combined.
3. On low speed, add in eggs and vanilla. Raise speed to medium for about 20 seconds, to combine well. Reduce speed to low. Stir in flour mixture and mix until almost combined.
4. Stir in chocolate chips/chopped chocolate (I like to use different kinds mixed together just for fun and variation).
5. Wrap dough tightly with plastic wrap and chill for 24 -48 hours***
6. When ready to bake, remove dough from fridge about 2o-30 minutes before baking, line baking sheets with parchment paper and preheat oven to 350 degrees.
7. Scoop out dough using an ice cream scoop that holds about 2 1/2 tablespoons. Place them 2" apart on lined baking sheets. Pat down the tops slightly.
8. Bake cookies for 10-12 minutes until edges are golden brown and middles are set. Let cool a few minutes before transferring to a wire cooling rack and/or devouring them. Hint: try eating them frozen- my personal favorite!!
* I like to make this really large batch, scoop out what I want for cookies then scoop out the rest of the dough balls onto a cookie sheet and freeze until firm. Transfer the dough balls to a freezer bag and store in the freezer, as air-tight as possible, for up to 2 months. Then when you want cookies, simply remove some dough balls from freezer, let sit out 2o-30 minutes before baking and you get cookies with little to no effort!
** this recipe was developed at high altitude. If you live closer to sea level you may have to increase your baking soda to 1 1/2 teaspoons, maybe even 1 3/4. Baking powder is just to give it a little lift. Do not change.
*** if you chill the dough before baking, this gives all the ingredients time to really meld together and that in turn will give you more golden brown cookies with a more pronounced caramelization of the edges, which tastes so good. IF you can't stand to wait, baking them immediately after mixing will still be fine.
M&M chocolate chip cookies (my favorite): Reduce chocolate chips from 28 ounces to 24 ounces. Dip tops of dough balls into a bowl of your favorite plain M&M's (I love making them using all the seasonal M&M varieties-autumn colors shown here), Mini M&M's are also fun. Bake as directed.
Chocolate Chip with Walnuts: Reduce Chocolate chips from 28 ounces to 22 ounces. Stir in 1 1/2 cups lightly toasted, coarsely chopped walnuts along with chocolate chips. Bake as directed. (These remind me of my paternal grandma, Julia Byrnes). ♥
“Empty?! You took all the cookies!. They were crying to get out of the jar... Cookies get claustrophobia too, you know!” -Charles M. Schultz
You know what makes me mad? Here it is National Cookie Month and nobody, I mean nobody, is talking about it! There's all this talk about this candidate and that candidate and which celebrity is doing what where, but no one is talking about cookies (well, except for Dorie Greenspan, noted cookbook author, who has a new book coming out at the end of the month on the subject). Cookies deserve a little more respect than that, I think. So I'm here to give it to them.
Cookies are magical. They are little discs of flour, butter and sugar in some variation that you can hold in your hand, no matter how young or how old you are. Who doesn't love a cookie? One little cookie can transport you back to your childhood in an instant (think Proust's madeleines), help you make a friend, make a bad day better, are essential to any Christmas celebration worth celebrating and can create world peace (who could be angry over cookies and milk, right?). Name one other food with that much power and influence. Just as I thought....
So here is my first cookie worth celebrating this month. I created this cookie, Glazed Maple Oatmeal Cookie with Walnuts after trying the recipe for Maple Oatmeal scones in The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook by Ina Garten (p 222). Though I love Ina's scones, generally speaking I am not a scone gal. I am, however, a completely devoted cookie gal. I love this cookie with it's chunky texture full of toasted walnuts (I say the walnuts are essential to this recipe- they temper the sweetness and add crunch) and drizzled with that sweet maple glaze. I hope you will love it, too!
Glazed Maple Oatmeal Cookies with Walnuts- makes about 2 1/2 dozen
8 ounces ( approx 1 1/2 cup plus 1 Tablespoon) all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
3/4 teaspoon baking soda*
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
8 1/2 ounces (2 sticks plus 1 Tablespoon) unsalted butter, room temperature
4 ounces (approx 1/2 cup plus 1 Tablespoon) granulated sugar
7 ounces (1 cup firmly packed) light brown sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 fluid ounce (2 Tablespoons ) PURE maple syrup (grade B if available)
1/2 teaspoon maple extract
4 1/2 ounces lightly toasted walnuts, coarsely chopped
7 ounces ( 2 cups) old -fashioned oats
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
3 Tablespoons PURE maple syrup (grade B if available)
1/4 teaspoon maple extract
teensy pinch (just a few granules) sea salt
1. Preheat oven to 350 Degrees F. Line a couple baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.
2. in a medium bowl whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda and cinnamon. Set aside.
3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, on low speed, cream together the butter and sugars until combined well . Mix in the egg, syrup and extracts and combine well, increasing speed to medium for about 30 seconds.
4. Return speed to low and stir in the flour mixture until almost completely absorbed. Add in oats and walnuts. Mix well. The results will look like this:
5. Scoop out dough using an ice cream scoop about 3 " apart on prepared baking sheets.**
6. Bake in preheated oven for about 10-12 minutes until edges are nicely golden and middle seems set. Cookies will have puffed up a bit in center and then flattened out. Let cool about 4 minutes then glaze.
7. To make glaze, combine powdered sugar, 3 Tablespoons maple syrup, 1/4 teaspoon maple extract, teensy pinch of salt and enough hot water to make a smooth icing with a drizzling consistency.
8. Using a spoon or spatula, drizzle the tops of the cookies Jackson Pollack style with icing ( as much or as little as you'd like), but you want to see cookie beneath the glaze, not have it completely covered).
9. Let icing set before eating or storing, about 15-20 minutes (it's ok if you have to try one sooner, I won't tell).
Promise me you'll share some, right? #cookiesandkindness ♥
*NOTE: I developed this recipe at higher altitude ,at around 5000 feet above sea level. If you live closer to sea level and the cookies are not spreading to your satisfaction, you may need to increase your baking soda to 1 teaspoon. Try it and see.They will taste great either way.
**If refrigerating the dough before baking, you may need to pat the dough balls down a bit before baking. Try one or two first and see what you think. It's generally what I do.
“Had a cold hummus with pita bread, Under a delicious food, yellow or red. Might just have the appetite to cook- Urgent dinner by hook or crook. So that's just a humus humor spread.” -Ana Claudia Atunes
I wanted to post a cookie recipe, because October is National Cookie Month (happy dance!). However, I have been a little short on time and so I am not quite ready to post my first cookie recipe. So instead, I will appease you with something super healthy and delicious- hummus!
This past Spring I went back to upstate New York where I grew up, and on one occasion my mom, aunt and I went out for a little drink and a snack at a wonderful little wine bar in Delmar, NY called the Twisted Vine. We ordered several things off their appetizer menu, but the one thing that I really loved was their hummus. It came in a cute small crock surrounded by veggies. It was chunky, rustic and lemony. I was determined to come up with something similar. This is the result. Right now my favorite way to eat it is with tiny cooked fingerling potatoes in all colors. But of course, you could just as easily eat it with your favorite crudite veggies or pita chips. It's easy and keeps well for a week in the refrigerator. Of course it's super versatile and can also be made into your favorite flavors-drizzle with extra virgin olive oil(it doesn't have any added in) and some chopped fresh parsley , swirl in a little pesto to taste and sprinkle with toasted pine nuts, fold in in some roasted garlic to taste, or roast and finely dice a red pepper then stir in... whatever suits your taste best! For me I just keep it simple and sprinkle Smoked Paprika on top. Soooo good! Oh and it's so much fresher and vibrant tasting than anything store-bought that probably has preservatives and who knows what else. It's so easy to make, there is no excuse not to.
2- 14.5 ounce cans garbanzo beans (chickpeas), rinsed and drained well
6 Tablespoons Organic Tahini
juice from 2 Lemons (about 4 Tablespoons)
3 cloves garlic
1/3 cup water
1. Place all ingredients in the bowl of a food processor.
2. Pulse to combine until well mixed but rough textured.
3. Scrape into a bowl, sprinkle with smoked Paprika and serve with your favorite dippers.