Month: April 2009

Orange Pomegranate Kolaches

Orange Pomegranate Kolaches

There are so many good jellies/jams/preserves out there and kolaches put them to good use! Plus, this dough comes together really quickly and behaves really well. Plus, you don’t need to wait to for the dough to chill before you roll it out (I personally HATE chilling dough because I am inherently impatient).  I used pomegranate jelly I found at the store to make them seem fancy, but these are just one of those cookies that is bound to taste good with whatever you have hanging around the kitchen. Just a quick note though: when you fold the edges together, make sure you press them together really well because, as they bake, they will want to unroll on you. Trust me- I have a lot of disk-shaped kolaches with a jelly stripe that somehow didn’t make it into the picture, hmm…

Orange Pomegranate Kolaches
Print Recipe

1/2 c. butter, softened
3 oz. cream cheese
1 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. orange extract (or grate in some zest if you have it)
1 1/4 c. flour
~1/2 c. pomegranate jam
1/4 c. powdered sugar

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 375 oF. Lightly coat a cookie sheet with cooking spray.
  • Cream butter and cheese together. Beat in salt, sugar and extract. Add flour and mix just until dough comes together (it will seem crumbly).
  • Turn dough out onto floured work surface. Knead a few times to make thee texture smooth and elastic. Roll out to 1/8″ thickness. Cut out 2″ rounds with a floured cutter.
  • Transfer rounds to prepared cookie sheet. Spoon or pipe a small stripe (~1/2 tsp.) down center of each round. Fold sides over each other (like a little loose burrito) and pinch edges to seal, leaving ends open.
  • Bake for 15 minutes. Transfer to cooling grid immediately when done. Dust with powdered sugar.

Peanut Butter Chip Cookies

I saw this recipe on Smitten Kitchen and just had to try it (and speaking of Smitten Kitchen, I must say, I love her site. She has the best recipes — both baking and regular cooking). Oh how I adore a good, homemade peanut butter cookie. And these cookies are DELICIOUS. I normally only have a bite or two of the treats that I bake (I have a sweet tooth, but luckily, it doesn’t take much to satisfy). Well, I’ve already consumed two of these cookies and I’m not going to lie, I’ll probably have a couple more. Diet, what?

Anyway. I’m in the process of moving, so I’ve packed up all of my baking gear except what is required to make cookies. So you’ll probably be seeing a lot of cookies on here in the next week or so. :)

Peanut Butter Cookies
Recipe source: Smitten Kitchen
Print Recipe

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup peanut butter at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup peanut butter chips
1/2 cup chocolate chips

For sprinkling: 1 tablespoon sugar, regular or superfine

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, the baking soda, the baking powder, and the salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat the butter and the peanut butter together until fluffy. Add the sugars and beat until smooth. Add the egg and mix well. Add the milk and the vanilla extract. Add the flour mixture and beat thoroughly. Stir in the peanut butter and chocolate chips. Place sprinkling sugar — the remaining tablespoon — on a plate. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls into the sugar, then onto ungreased cookie sheets, leaving several inches between for expansion. Using a fork, lightly indent with a crisss-cross pattern (I used the back of a small offset spatula to keep it smooth on top), but do not overly flatten cookies. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Do not overbake. Cookies may appear to be underdone, but they are not.

Cool the cookies on the sheets for 1 minute, then remove to a rack to cool completely.

Gabry’s "Blondie Brownies"

Gabry's Blondie Brownies

Like any religious experience, my coworkers and I treat  our afternoon coffee break with solemnity and  devotion. Our dedication frequently takes us to the local coffee shop which boasts a number of delectables for the sampling. One Sicilian coworker, Gabriella, has a certain fondness for the ‘blondie brownie’. However, I am convinced Sasquatch makes more regular appearances than does the fabled ‘blondie brownie’. Taking pity on her, I decided to sate her blondie lust with a version of this recipe. It comes from Dorie Greenspan’s book Baking: from my home to yours, which was a great gift from a friend. She has a pretty cool blog worthy of occupying a slow afternoon so be sure to check it out (click here for the link).

Chewy, Chunky Blondies (adapted from Dorie Greenspan)
Print Recipe

2 c. flour
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 c. butter, softened
1 1/2 c. brown sugar
1/2  c. sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
1 c. chocolate chips
1 c. toffee bits (I used Heath bits)
1 c. pecans, chopped
1 c. coconut

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 325 oF. Spray 13″ x 9″ pan with cooking spray.
  • Cream butter, sugar and salt together. Beat in eggs, vanilla and leaveners. Mix in flour until well-incorporated.
  • Stir in remaining ingreadients (mixture will be thick!). Spread into prepared pan, smoothing top with rubber spatula.
  • Bake 40 minutes, rotating pan ~ 15 minutes in. Remove from oven and run knife round sides to loosen. Let cool for 10 minutes in pan before transferring onto cooling rack. Cut into 32 bars.

Cherry Almond Butter Cookies

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In my opinion, cherries and almonds have very similar flavors so if you put them together, all the better. The dough I used for this cookie is nice because it comes togther in a snap, can be flavored however you want and, because it is piped, can be shaped a number of ways. Here I used a 1/2″ diameter star tip to pipe star directly onto the cookie sheet. The texture of these cookies are similar to that of those wonderful Danish butter cookies you get in those cheap tins at Christmas: that melt-in-your-mouth, buttery, sandy cookie. However, I must admit that mine came out too delicate (translation = crumbly…hoooo), likely beacuse I wasn’t very careful in measuring out my flour. In truth, many of them barely survived the move off the cookie sheet by the time I man-handled them with my spatula. I suspect I had too great a butter to flour ratio. ..Also, like any true butter cookie, leave plenty of room between cookies because they will spread a bit. This is advice I wish I’d follow more often than I actually do! Anywho, the taste is too good not to try again!

Cherry Almond Butter Cookies
Print Recipe

3/4 c. butter, softened
1/4 c. sugar
1 tsp. almond extract
1/2 tsp.  salt
2 tsp. milk
1 1/4 c. flour
~ 1 c. maraschino cherries, halved and well-drained

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 325 oF. Beat butter and sugar together. Blend in salt and extract. Mix in flour and milk (if necessary) to form a smooth, pipeable dough.
  • Transfer dough to a piping bag fitted with a 1/2″ star tip. Pipe 1 1/2″ wide stars onto ungreased cookie sheet, leaving ~3 inches of space in between. Press a cherry half into the center of each cookie
  • Bake 20 – 25 minutes (depending on how large you piped your cookies), until edges brown slightly.
  • Leave cookies to set on cookie sheet, transferring to container when completely cooled.

Chocolate Crispies

Growing up my siblings and I always had a Little Debbie in our lunches. One of my favorites is the Star Crunch- you know the one: that chocolate-caramel-rice crispie patty. I dream one day of coming up with a version of my own and this was the first stab, so to speak. I found this on bakespace.com (direct link to the recipe here). I suspect I used too much cereal, because the chocolate caramel coating was a little too scarce. The original recipe calls for 10 0z., but the generic box I got at Dominick’s was 12 oz. and I am one of those “what-am-I-gonna-do-with-2 ounces-of generic-rice-crispies?” cooks, so naturally I used the whole thing. If you are lazy like me, it will seem like there isn’t enough chocolate sauce to cover them all, but be patient, because as the chocolate sets up, they really do hold together nicely. Also, while forming them into individual servings is a fun way to present them, you must cover yourself in Pam to keep the stickies off and you will probably find it easier just to press them into a pan and cut them into squares. As a cautionary note, these are not good substitutes for Star Crunch cravings, since they are more like rice crispie treats than anything. That being said, they taste really good. To quote my husband, “These are how cocoa crispies are supposed to taste!”.

Chocolate Crispies
Print Recipe

1 (12oz.) box crisped rice cereeal
1 jar (~11 oz.) caramel ice cream sauce (I used Smucker’s)
1 bag (~11 oz.) chocolate chips (I used Ghirardelli 60% – we love dark chocolate here)

Directions

  • Melt choclate chips and caramel sauce together in a very large bowl (big enough to hold all the cereal with room to stir) over a pot of boiling water, stirring constantly until smooth and well combined. Remove from heat. Stir in cereal.
  • Spray 13″ x 9″ pan with Pam and press into pan or spray hands and form into individual patties and place on wax paper. Let sit ~ 1 hour to fully set up.