Thursday, May 20, 2010

Stained Glass Cutouts

I have wanted to make these cookies for a while and I’m so happy I finally got to do them. I think the idea of putting hard candy into the cookies is so cool and unique. I also love the way it looks! This recipe only took about an hour and makes about one or two dozen. The cookie part came out very good and soft, but I did have a little trouble when making them. First I ran out of all-purpose flour and had to use flour that was better for bread. Although it didn’t really make a difference, it was still frustrating. Then, the dough came out a little too sticky so I had to add extra flour, that wasn’t too big of a deal, but still, it was frustrating and took some time until I got the right texture.

½ cup butter, softened
¾ cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
2-1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/3 cup clear red hard candy (I used jolly ranchers so I could have different colors)
1 cup vanilla frosting, optional

•In bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time; beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla.
•Combine flour and baking powder. Gradually add to creamed mixture.
•Cover and refrigerate for 3 hours or until easy to handle.
•On lightly floured surface, roll out dough to 1/8 in. thickness. Cut with cookie cutter and then with smaller cookie cutter cut out centers and place aside to reroll. Place cookies 1in. apart on baking sheets. Fill centers with crushed candy.
•Bake at 375 degrees for 7-9 minutes or until candy is melted and edges of cookies begin to brown. Cool completely on baking sheets. Carefully peel off foil. If desired, decorate with frosting.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Chocolate pretzels…sort of

Well you’ve probably noticed that the picture above does not match with the title for these cookies. Well, usually any problems that I encounter while baking cookies are missing a certain ingredient, forgetting an ingredient in the recipe, or trying to figure out a good way to put frosting or other toppings on the cookies. But I have never had a whole recipe go completely wrong and have no idea what happened. I have gone over this recipe like a million times, trying to figure out what I did wrong, but I can’t find anything. First, the texture of the dough came out all wrong. Every time I tried to roll out the dough to make the pretzels, it would just fall apart. So after about ten minutes of retrying, I gave up and just decided to make cut out cookies instead. And there was my second problem. I was able to roll out the dough with no problem and place the cookie cutters down, but when I went to take the shaped dough off and put it on the baking sheet, they would just fall apart. I made about twenty or thirty shaped pieces of dough and got only eight cookies on the baking tray in one piece. The rest would just fall apart when I tried to pick them up, so I had to finally give up on this recipe. I still can’t figure out what went so wrong in this recipe, but because it’s bothering me so much that I can’t figure out why I can’t make these pretzels I’ll probably retry this recipe again one day, or until I can get it right.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Mocha Crackle Cookies

This recipe took about one hour and makes around five dozen cookies. Now the recipe had a picture along with it, and my cookies, unfortunately looked nothing like it. The picture showed the cookie to be a darker shade of brown, whereas my cookies came out a lot lighter. But it was probably because I didn’t have chocolate squares, only chocolate chips, so I had to guess at how much I needed. The picture also showed the cookies not expanding as much as mine did, but I’m still not sure why. But besides all the differences with the picture and actual cookies, they came out pretty good.

½ cup butter (no substitutes)
5 squares (1 oz. each) unsweetened chocolate
1 Tbsp instant coffee granules
4 eggs
1/8 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 cups plus 3 Tbsp all-purpose flour2 tsp baking powder
1/3 confectioner’s sugar

•In microwave or saucepan, heat butter, chocolate, and coffee until chocolate is melted; cool slightly.
•In mixing bowl, combine eggs and salt. Add sugars.
•Stir in chocolate mixture; mix well.
•Combine flour and baking powder; gradually add to egg mixture to form a soft dough.
•Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours or until easy to handle.
•Roll dough into ¾ in. balls. Roll in confectioner’s sugar; place 2 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets.
•Bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes or until set. Remove to wire racks to cool.

Festive Shortbread logs

I really liked how these cookies came out. They were and stayed moist. The chocolate and nuts added to them tasted very good, it was a perfect topping to a shortbread cookie. I had no problems at all while making them. They took around thirty to forty five minutes to make and made about four dozen. I love how these cookies stay moist. I keep forgetting to put them in a container, but I’m starting to think that I don’t need to because they aren’t getting dry.

1 cup butter, softened
½ cup confectioner’s sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
4 tsp shortening
¾ cup ground walnuts (or pecans)

•In a mixing bowl, cream butter and confectioner’s sugar. Add vanilla.
•Gradually add flour; mix well.
•With lightly floured hands, shape tablespoonfuls into 2 in. logs.
•Place 2 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 350 degrees for 9-11 minutes or until edges and bottom are lightly browned. Cool for 2-3 minutes before removing to wire racks.
•Melt chocolate chips and shortening; stir until smooth. Drizzle chocolate over half of the cookies. Dip one end of remaining chocolate, then sprinkle with walnuts.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Fudge-filled Dessert strips

These cookies are very tasty! The mix of chocolate, nuts, and cookie dough is perfect. The recipe took about one hour to make and made three dozen cookies. I did have a few problems while making these little strips. First, I had two different brands of cream cheese, each having a different type of texture to it and both of them were half empty. So I had to use both of these types of cream cheese in the recipe. I also had had a problem when folding the dough; some parts were too thin and broke when I folded the sides. Then, while I was trying to cut the dough into strips, because of the texture of the dough after baking was so fragile, many of the strips would brake in half. But other than those minor dilemmas, these cookies were pretty simple and not too messy.

1 cup butter, softened
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
2 cups chopped walnuts
Confectioner’s sugar, optional

• Cream butter and cream cheese until fluffy. Gradually add flour
• Turn onto a lightly floured surface; knead until smooth. Divide into fourths; cover and refrigerate for 1-2 hours or until easy to handle.
• In saucepan, melt chocolate chips in condensed milk. Stir in walnuts. Cool to room temperature.
• On an ungreased baking sheet roll out each portion of dough to 11in. by 6-1/2-in. rectangle.
• Spread ¾ cup chocolate filling down center of each rectangle. Fold long sides to the center, press to seal all edges. Turn over so the seams are down.
• Bake at 350 degrees for 27-32 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove to wire racks to cool. Cut into ½ in. slices. Dust with confectioner’s sugar if desired.

Pecan Goody Cups

This recipe takes about forty five minutes to make and it makes about 4 dozen cookies. The only problems I had was forgetting to put the butter into the filling, but I don’t think it would have made a big difference since it was a small amount of butter. Because I had never made this recipe before I wasn’t sure how thin the cookies should have been. So the first batch of cookies came out a little thick and some were still a little bit raw inside, but luckily I was able to fix the second batch before I put the filling on and stuck them in the oven. I also didn’t have any miniature muffin cups, so I just shaped them by hand.

¾ cup butter, softened
2 packages (3 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
2 cups all-purpose flour

1-1/2 cups packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 Tbsp butter, melted
48 pecan halves

•Cream butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy. Gradually add flour, beating until mixture forms a ball.
•Cover and refrigerate for fifteen minutes.
•For filling: combine the brown sugar, eggs, and butter; set aside.
•Roll dough into forty eight balls. Press onto the bottom and up the sides of greased miniature muffin cups.
•Spoon a scant teaspoon of filling into each cup. Top each with a pecan half.
•Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool for two to three minutes before removing to wire racks.