Thursday, February 25, 2010

Giant Red Velvet Cupcake

Now I know this isn’t a cookie, but I did have to bake it just like I would bake cookies, so in a way it’s kind of similar and goes with my blog. Red velvet is my sister’s favorite kind of cake and since a few days ago she came home with a box of red velvet cake mix for me to make for her, I decided I would put it in my blog. I didn’t use a regular pan to make this cake, instead I used a silicone, cupcake shaped mold set. I’ve been wanting to try this out for so long and I finally got to use it. The bakeware was easy to use, it wasn’t too floppy like most silicone bakeware and the cake was easy to remove from it.

I really liked how the box gave you a little booklet of ideas for different ways to decorate your giant cupcake and ideas for fillings that you could put inside it, such as ice cream, pudding, fruit, fudge, whipped cream, and more. Since my sister doesn’t really like frosting I decided not to put any on it and let her enjoy it the way she likes it.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Cream Cheese Cutouts

I know I made sugar cookies for my last blog, but I really wanted to try out this recipe. I thought it was different that it used cream cheese, it’s not something I would think to find in a sugar cookie recipe. So I wanted to see if the cream cheese would make a difference, and it did. I liked this cookie a lot better than the sugar cookies from my last blog. These cookies made about 7 dozen, took about 50 minutes (not counting time placed in refrigerator) and were simple to make. I was also happy that I got to use my different cookie cutter shapes since the last cookies were meant to be in a circle shape.

1 cup butter, softened
1 package cream cheese (3 oz.), softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 cups confectioner’s sugar
1/3 cup butter, softened
2 tablespoons milk
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
* food coloring and sprinkles optional

•In mixing bowl, cream butter, cream cheese, and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla.
•Combine flour and salt, gradually add to creamed mixture until blended.
•Cover and refrigerate for 1-2 hours or until easy to handle.
•On lightly floured surface, roll dough to 1/8 inch thickness. Cut with cookie cutters dipped in flour and place 1 inch apart on ungreased baking sheet.
•Bake at 375 degrees for 7-8 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Then, let cool for 1 minute and remove to wire racks.

•In mixing bowl, beat frosting ingredients until smooth. Add food coloring if desired.
•Frost cookies and decorate with sprinkles.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Sugar Cookies

This week I decided to make classic sugar cookies; they took about 30 – 40 minutes to make and made about 2 dozen cookies. Sugar cookies are my second favorite kind of cookie behind oatmeal cookies. I really liked this recipe, the cookies came out very sweet and soft. They are the perfect kind of cookies to go along with a glass of milk. The only changes I made to this recipe was adding less salt because I only had salted butter and not unsalted as should be used in any recipe.

2 cups granulated sugar
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
14 Tbsp (1 3/4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs

•Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350°F. Spread 1/2 cup of the sugar in a shallow dish for coating and set aside. In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together and set aside.
•Beat the butter and remaining 1 1/2 cups sugar together in a large bowl using an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3-6 minutes. Beat in the vanilla, then the eggs, one at a time, until combined, about 30 seconds, scraping down the bowl & beaters as needed.
•Reduce the mixer speed to low and slowly mix in the flour mixture until combined, about 30 seconds. Give the dough a final stir with a rubber spatula to make sure dough is combined.
•Line large baking sheets with parchment paper. Using wet palms, roll 2 Tablespoons of dough at a time into balls, then roll in sugar to coat. Place balls on parchment-lined baking sheets, spaced 2 inches apart. Flatten cookies with the buttered bottom of a drinking glass, then sprinkle and remaining sugar over flattened tops.
•Bake cookies, one sheet at a time, until the edges are set and just beginning to brown but the centers are still soft and puffy, 10-12 minutes, rotating the baking sheet halfway through baking. Allow cookies to cook on baking sheet for 10 minutes, then serve warm or transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Fancy Peanut Butter Cookies

This recipe makes about 7 -1/2 dozen cookies and because it made so many cookies it took about 2 hours. Besides the recipe taking a little long everything else went great. I got many good reviews from my friends and family about these cookies. The only thing the recipe suggests is not to use reduced fat or generic brands of peanut butter because the cookies will not come out as good. A tip I’d like to give you is when decorating the cookies with the chocolate is, in case you don’t have any pastry bags you can put the melted chocolate into a Ziploc bag and cut a small hole in the corner to allow the chocolate to come out.

1 cup shortening
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
¼ cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt

¼ cup butter, softened
¼ cup shortening
¼ cup peanut butter
4 cups confectioners’ sugar
¼ cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
dash salt

½ cup semisweet chocolate chips, melted
2 tablespoons milk

• In mixing bowl, cream shortening, peanut butter and sugars until light and fluffy.
• Add eggs beating well after each addition. Then beat in milk and vanilla.
• Combine the flour, baking soda and salt; gradually add to the creamed mixture and mix well.
• Roll into 1inch balls and place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Remove to wire racks.
• For frosting, in mixing bowl cream butter, shortening, peanut butter, and confectioners’ sugar until light and fluffy. Then, beat in milk, vanilla, salt until smooth, and frost cookies.
• Combine melted chips and milk; drizzle over frosting.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Walnut Chocolate Hearts

Since Valentines Day is coming up soon I thought I would make some Valentines Day cookies. When I read the recipe to these it sounded so good and I thought they looked really pretty too. This recipe makes about 4 dozen cookies, takes about 2 hours, and wasn’t too hard to make. I did have a few problems with the recipe. First, I didn’t have chopped walnuts so I had to chop them myself, and then, I didn’t have a rolling pin so I had to improvise. In case you don’t have a rolling pin you could do what I did. I took an empty wine bottle from my dad, cleaned it and used it as a rolling pin, and it worked perfect. I also put some wax paper on top of the cookie dough when I rolled it out because when I didn’t have it on, the dough would break apart and wouldn’t roll out as smooth.

1 cup butter, cubed
2/3 cup packed brown sugar:
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg, lightly beaten
2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
¼ cup baking cocoa
½ teaspoon salt
¾ cups finely chopped walnuts

1-1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoons shortening
½ cup ground walnuts

• Combine butter and brown sugar in saucepan. Cook and stir over medium low heat until butter is melted. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Cool for 15 minutes and stir in egg.
• Combine flour, cocoa and salt, and add to butter mixture. Then, fold in walnuts
• Cover and chill for 30 minutes or until easy to handle.
• On a lightly floured surface, roll dough to ¼ inch thickness. Cut with floured 3 inch heart shaped cookie cutter. Place 1 inch apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 350 degrees for 9-10 minutes or until edges are firm. Remove to wire racks to cool.

• For topping, in microwave melt Chocolate chips and shortening on low heat, and stir until smooth.
• Dip half of each heart into chocolate mixture. Allow excess to drip off.
• Dip edges of dipped side into ground walnuts. Place on wax paper, let stand until set.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Loaded Oatmeal Cookies

This recipe makes around 12 cookies and takes about 40 or 50 minutes to make. It’s a pretty easy recipe; the only trouble I had was that all I could find at the grocery store were full pecans. Since the recipe asked for chopped pecans I had to chop them myself.
There were a few changes I did to the recipe. Because I don’t really like coconut, I didn’t put as much coconut flakes as it asked for, and I put in less chocolate chips.
A tip for when putting cookies on the baking sheet is to use a spoon to scoop as much cookie dough as you need and then use the back of another spoon to remove dough from the spoon and put on the baking sheet. It will help you to get the dough on baking sheet faster and in a less messy way.

1/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup each, sugar and packed brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup quick cooking oats
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup flaked coconuts
1/4 cup chopped pecans

•In a small mixing bowl, cream butter and sugars. Beat in egg and vanilla.
•Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon; gradually stir in creamed mixture. Stir in oats, chocolate chips, coconut, and pecans.
•Drop in rounded teaspoonfuls 2 inches apart onto an ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 13-15 minutes or until lightly browned. Immediately remove to wire rack or just make sure it’s not stuck to the baking sheet.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Double Chocolate Espresso Cookies

I thought these cookies came out pretty good. They take about 30-40 minutes to make and are only in the oven for 10-12 minutes. The only problems that I had while making them were that I forgot to buy the unsweetened chocolate that the recipe asked for, but it really didn’t make a big difference. Instead, I added some more semisweet chocolate chips and that worked out fine for me, since I don’t really like unsweetened chocolate. I also didn’t place the cookies far enough on the baking tray so a few cookies turned into one giant cookie, but I did know that was going to happen when I put the dough on the trays. I just couldn’t find my other cookie trays.
The only thing I suggest is to have all of your cooking utensils ready before you start to bake. It will prevent you from walking in circles all around your kitchen, like I had to do because I forgot to take out the spatula, baking spray, and other stuff. I also suggest making sure you have all the right ingredients and that you check to see what you already have in your house before you go to the grocery store. At the grocery store I asked my mom if we had baking powder at home and she said that we had plenty, but when we got home I found that we had plenty of baking soda, not powder but soda, and although they do create the same effect, they could ruin a recipe if switched.

3 squares unsweetened chocolate, chopped (1oz. each)
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips (12oz.)
1/2 cup butter, cubed
1 tbsp instant coffee granules
1 cup 2tbsp sugar
3 eggs
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

Directions: (preheat oven to 350 degrees)
• In small saucepan, melt unsweetened chocolate, chocolate chips, butter, and coffee granules, stir until smooth. Set aside to cool.
• In mixing bowl, beat sugar and eggs for three minutes. Beat in chocolate mixture. Combine flour, baking powder and salt, and add into chocolate mixture. Stir in extra chocolate chips(optional)
• Drop rounded teaspoonfuls 2 inches apart onto greased baking sheets. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Why cookies?

Baking is one of my hobbies I enjoy most. It is a way for me to calm down and relax. I love being able to grab ingredients, mix them together, and end up with something tasty, well, hopefully.
The reason I chose my theme as cookies instead of just baking in general is because I usually don't make cookies. I always have cookie recipes that I really want to make, but because, to me, it's easier and faster to bake cakes and brownies I usually just make those and save the cookie recipes for another day when I'll have more time. So, to finally stop myself from procrastinating, I'm challenging myself to pull out all those cookie recipes that I've marked down or saved and finally get to baking them. While I'm doing this I'll also be giving you guys the recipes, some helpful tips, and what my thoughts were about trying out these recipes. I hope you'll enjoy!