Category Archives: Cookie

Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Makes 36 cookie
The nutty taste of brown butter, a good dark chocolate chip and a final sprinkling of salt work in concert to elevate these cookies to star status – named the best-tasting chocolate chip cookies by our expert panel.
Published in The Washington Post.

Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Adapted from Joy Wilson of JoytheBaker.com

Ingredients

  • 2 sticks unsalte butter, half at room temperature
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon molasses
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, plus 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans
  • Flaky or coarse sea salt, for sprinkling

Steps

  1. Melt the chilled half of the butter in a medium skillet over medium heat, swirling it in the pan occasionally. It’ll foam and froth as it cooks, and start to crackle and pop. Once the crackling stops, keep a close eye on the melted butter, continuing to swirl the pan often. The butter will start to smell nutty, and brown bits will form in the bottom. Once the bits are amber brown (2 1/2 to 3 minutes or so after the sizzling stops), remove the butter from the heat and immediately pour it into a small bowl, bits and all. This will stop the butter from cooking and burning. Let cool for 20 minutes.
  2. Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven; preheat to 350 degrees. Line several baking sheets with parchment paper.
  3. Combine the remaining 8 tablespoons of room-temperature butter and the brown sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer or use a handheld electric mixer; beat on medium speed for 3 to 5 minutes, until the mixture is very smooth (but not quite fluffy). Reduce the speed to medium-low; beat in the vanilla extract and molasses until well incorporated.
  4. Pour the cooled brown butter into the bowl, along with the granulated sugar. Beat for 2 minutes (medium-low), until smooth; the mixture will lighten in color and become fluffy.
  5. Reduce the speed to low; add the egg and egg yolk, beating for 1 minute, then stop to scrape down the bowl. Add the flour, kosher salt and baking soda; beat on low speed just until everything is incorporated. Use a spatula to fold in the chocolate chips and pecans and finish incorporating all of the dry flour bits into the dough.
  6. Scoop the dough in 2-tablespoon-sized balls onto the baking sheets, leaving about 2 inches between the balls. Use a light two-fingered pinch to sprinkle each portion of dough with coarse or flaky sea salt.
  7. Bake (upper and lower racks) for 12 to 15 minutes until golden brown, rotating the baking sheets top to bottom and front to back halfway through. Let the cookies rest on the baking sheets for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool.
  8. epeat to use all the dough.

Black Truffle Chocolate Pecan Cookies

As I and my neighbor were exchanging cookies in the spirit of the season, we noticed that we both had cookies that looked alike. Mine were the Ron Paul Black Angus Cookies and hers were the Black Truffle Chocolate Pecan Cookies. I asked her for the recipe so I could see what the differences were. It is my pleasure to tell you that there are only minor differences in the recipes.

One very eerie thing about the two recipes is that they were both published by the Oregonian FOODday section on December 5th. The Black Angus on December 5, 2006 and this recipe on December 5, 2013- seven years later.

If you are really interested in this exact recipe, here is the pointer:
Black Truffle Chocolate Pecan Cookies

Since so much of the recipes are identical I am choosing to only publish the differences.

Black ruffle Chocolate Pecan Cookies

From Catherine Buford, Daily Cafe at Rejuvenation, Portland

Description

If you like chocolate with your chocolate, these cookies are for you. Former FOODday est Kitchen director Linda Faus says they’re “slightly crisp on the outside and pure chocolate and pecan goodness on the inside”

Ingredient (differences from Black Angus)

  • Instead of 3/4 cup unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks) use 11 Tablespoons (1 stick 3 Tablespoons)
  • Instead of 1/4 teaspoon salt, use Pinch salt.
  • Instead of 1 1/2 cup toasted and coarsely chopped pecans use 1 1/4 cup coarsely chopped pecans- no toasting.

Instructions

There are no changes to the instructions before the dropping of the dough to form the cookies.

  1. Instead of dropping 2-Tablespoon portions drop heaping Tablespoonfuls. Instead of baking 11 t0 13 minutes, bake 12 to 15 minutes.


My neighbor says that she differed from the recipe by toasting the pecans and not using as much bittersweet chocolate.

I was astonished to find that most of the recipe is word for word the same as the Black Angus recipe. But what can I say. I think the credit goes back to Ron Paul, and Catherine Buford should have only noted that she was making small changes to the recipe.

Black Angus Cookies

This is an excellent recipe for the chocolate lover. It uses coffee to accent the flavor of the chocolate. It is only missing the other item we are now seeing in recipes of cookies that contain chocolate- the sprinkle of sea salt on the dough just before baking. That could easily be fixed by the person making these wonderful cookies.

This recipe was published way back in 2006, and yet is seemed to predict a lot that is happening now in the cooking of chocolate oriented cookies. First, it starts with bittersweet chocolate. That is now available in chip form and is being used by a large number of the recipes I see. Second, this recipe melts the chocolate and butter into a smooth mixture before adding it to the rest of the wet ingredients. That also is showing up in a lot of current recipes.

Ron Paul Black Angus Cookies

from the Oregonian FOODday Tuesday, December 5, 2006
Makes 5 to 6 dozen (or less)

Ingredients

  • 1 pound bittersweet chocolate, chopped (3 1/3 cups)
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks; not margarine)
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons instant espresso powder
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups toasted and coarsely chopped pecans (1/3 pound; see note)
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips (12 ounces)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease baking sheets or line with parchment paper.
  2. In top of a double boiler over hot water, place bittersweet chocolate and butter and heat until melted, stirring occasionally; set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.
  4. In a large bowl combine eggs, sugar, espresso powder and vanilla extract. Beat with a wooden spoon, or the paddle attachment of a stand mixer until well-combined. Pour in the bittersweet chocolate mixture and mix well. Gently fold in the flour mixture, pecans and semisweet chocolate chips.
  5. Drop dough in 2-Tablespoon portions (or using #50 scoop), 2 inches apart onto the prepared baking sheets. Bake 11 to 13 minutes, until cookies are still shiny but are beginning to set in the cente. Do not overbake. Remove immediately to wire racks,or aluminum foil to cool.
  6. NOTE: To toast nuts, heat in a dry skillet over medium heat until they start to brown. Stir occasionally. Be careful not to scorch them. Or, spread on baking sheet and bake in 375 degree oven for 5 to 8 minutes or until brown Or, spread nuts on a paper plate on in a microwave-safe pie pan. Microwave on high for 1 to 2 minutes or until golden brown, stirring once.


My hint for the pecans is to toast them first, and then chop them. It is easier to toast large pieces than the many small pieces from chopping.

I find that the cookies are very slow to totally solidify. That means that if I try to take them off the baking sheet, or even the parchment paper too soon, the bottom centers stick and it makes a mess. I would recommend lining the baking sheets with parchment paper, and then pulling the parchment paper off the baking sheet and onto the cooling racks when the cookies come out of the oven. Use a new piece of parchment paper for the next batch. Take the cookies off the parchment only when they are stone cold.

New York Times Chocolate Chip Cookies

After making these cookies, I put them in tupperware containers and refrigerated them. When I got them out to make my Christmas boxes of different varieties of cookies, I ate one and discovered that the center wasn’t nice and soft and gooey as my muse had wanted, but was rather firm. I think there could be several reasons why.

  1. This is my new oven, and maybe the temperature isn’t as the readout says. I don’t think this is the problem because on another cookie, it seemed under-cooked instead of over-cooked
  2. I cooked the full suggested 18 minutes for refrigerated dough; perhaps that is wrong.
  3. Maybe refrigeration has something to do with it; could the centers dry out even when in a tupperware container?

I will be trying this recipe again in the future, and if I can determine a cause, I will add a not to this page.


My Seattle muse brought this version of a chocolate chip cookie to my attention. She liked how the center of the cookie was soft, and of course the salt on the cookie also makes it taste good. I searched around and found a basic recipe, but as I got into it, I found a lot of issues to resolve. Hopefully all those are resolved in this version of the recipe.

In some sense this cookie reminds me of the Pub cookies in that it is very large- it could be larger than the 4 inch diameter that I made- and is ideal for walking around and crunching as you take life easy and enjoy your surroundings.

New York Times Chocolate Chip Cookies

Developed by Jacque Torres

Written up by David Leite

Ingredients

  • 2 ½ sticks (1 ¼ cups) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 ¼ cups (10 ounces) light brown sugar
  • 1 cup Plus 2 Tablespoons (8 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups minus 2 Tablespoons (8 ½ ounces) cake flour*
  • 1 2/3 cups (8 ½ ounces) bread flour*
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons kosher or sea salt
  • 1 ¼ pounds (20 ounces) bittersweet chocolate, at least 60 % cacao content
  • sea salt, to sprinkle

* instead of 8 ½ ounces cake flour, substitute 2 cups AP flour, then use only 1 cup bread flour

Instructions

  1. Using a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and both sugars together until light and fluffy.
  2. Add the eggs one at a time, mising welll after each addition.
  3. Mix in the vanilla extract.
  4. Turn the mixer on low. Add both flours, the baking soda and baking powder, the salt and chocolate to the mixture in the mixer bowl.Mix only until the flour is no longer visible.
  5. Scoop 3 1/2 ounce mounds of dough onto baking sheets.*
  6. Refrigerate for 24 to 36 hours
  7. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  8. Flatten each dough mound slightly and sprinkle with sea salt.
  9. Bake for 18 minutes.
  10. The cookies are done when a crust has formed and the edges are slightly crispy. The middle of the cookie will fall after removed from the oven and cooled.

The dough may be frozen for a month, or refrigerated for up to 5 days if covered tightly.

*The baking sheets may be covered with either parchment paper or silicon mats if desired. Or the cookies can be placed directly on the baking sheets. Do not grease the baking sheets.

A 3 1/2 ounce scoop would be a #9; I used a #20 scoop and was able to get only 4 cookies on a baking sheet. The cookies expand; my final cookies were about 4 inches in diameter.

Macarons

I felt challenged to make macarons for my friend. A lot of people call these macaroons, or French macaroons, but they are distinct and very different from the macaroon cookie. I tell people that they are a take-off of the Oreo cookie, but of course, they came first so maybe the take-off is in the other direction.

The recipe seems simple enough- only 4 ingredients in the basic recipe, and then you add food coloring and extract flavoring. The basic recipe is to make an meringue, and then fold it into a mix of almond flour and powdered sugar to create the dough. The dough is piped onto baking sheets, and cooked. These finished ‘cookies’ or shells are coupled together and filled- as I say, like Oreo cookies.

But, although the recipe is fairly straight forward, it has a lot of subjective decision points, and those make it difficult to learn. I made the recipe 5 times and threw it all in the trash before I got a handle on all the issues.

Macarons

Ingredients

  • 3 egg whites
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 2/3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 cup almond flour

Directions

  1. Mix the almond flour and powdered sugar and sift them into a 2-quart bowl.
  2. Beat the egg whites in a separate bowl until they are starting to foam. Add the granulated sugar and continue to beat until there are stiff peaks.
  3. Fold the egg white meringue into the sifted flour/sugar mixture to create the dough. Continue to fold the dough until the dough is smooth enough to flow.
  4. Fill a piping bag with a ½ inch opening with the dough, and pipe the shells onto a lined cookie sheet. Let the piped shells stand at room temperature until a hard skin is formed on top; about 1 hour.
  5. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
  6. Bake the shells until they are set, but not browned- about 10 – 15 minutes.
  7. Let the shells cool completely with the baking sheets on the cooling rack before trying to remove them and filling them.

In the photo, the darker macarons were from the first batch that I felt was anywhere near a success. I got 6 shells from that batch which was only about a 20% yield. However, I then was able to correct the last couple parameters and start getting 90% yields from a recipe that made 40 shells. If you look closely at the photo, you will see a fringe-like layer at the bottom of the shell; this is know as feet. A proper shell has feet. These shells were filled with nutella, and you can see it showing with some of the macarons.

Starting at the first of the recipe, these are the issues I found, and the way I finally set the parameters.
1)Sifting the flour/sugar mixture can be difficult in high humid weather. As a starting point, I would suggest waiting for drier weather to learn how to make the shells.
2)I decided that the meringue was complete when the peaks made by lifting the whip stood straight up, and the tips of the peaks did not bend over. Don’t go much beyond this stage as it will dry the meringue and it will not incorporate with the flour/sugar mixture properly.
3)When the folding has gotten to the point that all of the flour/sugar mixture is wet, you can add flavoring and color to the shells. For color, use 2 – 3 drops of a gel food coloring, and for flavor, add 1/2 teaspoon of an extract. There seems to be some agreement on when the folding is complete: it is called the figure 8 test. The dough should be liquid enough to flow off the spatula as a continuous ribbon with which you can make a figure 8, but not so liquid as the start of the 8 disappears before the full figure is formed.
4)Most of us have 12 inch piping bags; these are a problem in that they do not hold all of the dough and so they need to be refilled. I finally went to the Decorette Shop and bought some 18 inch bags and so had much less fuss piping.
5)I did not use any special piping tips with the piping bag, but just cut the tip of the bag off. To get the 1/2 inch diameter opening, I measured up to the point where the distance between the two sides of the flattened bag was 1 inch and cut. If I remember my math, the 1 inch is half the circumference and the circumference is Pi * diameter meaning the diameter is 2 / pi, or about 2/3 inch- slightly larger than the 1/2 specified in the recipe, but it works.
6)In order to get constant size shells, you need a guide. I drew circles with a compass on a separate couple sheets of paper as that guide. Then I placed the guide under my silicon mats to do the piping, and pulled the guide papers out once I had the shells piped. My circles are 1.5 inches in diameter and placed so that their centers are 3 inches apart. Once they were drawn, I inked the circles and their centers with a black marker pen.
7)Another test that the dough is soft enough is that the nipple from piping disappears; the top of the shell should be smooth. I had a few nipples but most of the shells were smooth.
8)If you don’t wait long enough for the skin of the shell to form, the shell will not have feet. It is the rise of the dough in the oven locked in by the skin that causes the feet to form.
9)After having too many shells that were starting to brown, I decided to shield the baking sheet completely from the upper element of the oven. I put a piece of foil on a rack leaving only the side edges uncovered, weighted it down with an empty baking sheet, and put the rack on the position just above where the shells are cooking.
10)If the shells are not cooked long enough, or not completely cooled they will separate when they are removed from the silicon mat or parchment paper. The bottom of the shell will stick to the lining of the cookie sheet.

Now that you have the macaron shells, you can consider how to fill them to complete the cookies. I found that flavored ganaches seemed to work best. I also tried jams with cream cheese as a binder; I had a mess with that in that I used too much jam and it didn’t all harden. And as I show in the photo, you can use things like Nutella.

For cream cheese based fillings use 4 ounces of softened cream cheese with 3 Tablespoons of jam.

For ganache based fillings use 3 ounces of chocolate to 2 Tablespoons of heavy cream. Add 1/4 teaspoon of extract flavoring and 1 drop of gel food coloring if desired.

Macaroons

Recently, I was asked to make some macaroons; I think they really wanted me to make macarons, but I looked for a macaroon recipe and made these little cookies. They are really quite siimple. A couple years ago I made Coconut Macaroons and wrote an article then. That recipe used sweetened condensed milk as the binding agent, whereas this recipe uses meringue. Otherwise, the recipes are very similar

The recipe comes from Alton Brown and the Food Network.

Toasty Coconut Macaroons

Ingredients

  • one 14-ounce package sweetened shredded coconut
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Spread the coconut out in a single layer on a half sheet pan. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes until the coconut is golden. Set on a cooling rack to cool.
  3. Whip the egg whites and sugar in a large bowl with a hand mixer on high for 8 to 10 minutes until stiff peaks form. Add the vanilla and salt. The egg whites and sugar can also be whipped in a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment.
  4. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the toasted coconut
  5. Drop by the tablespoon onto a parchment paper-lined half sheet pan, leaving 1 to 2 inches around each cookie. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown


That is the recipe, and now I need to explain how I actually made the cookies.

In my old oven, the coconut did not evenly cook, and so even with stirring, there were pieces that were much darker than others. I used my stand mixer to whip the egg white. I used my #60 scoop to measure and drop the cookies onto my cookie sheets covered with silicone pads.

I got 3 1/2 dozen cookies. I found the best cooking time was just over 15 minutes, but short of 17 minutes. The old oven is funny that it seems to cook a second pan faster than the first pan, so I have to generally reduce the time by about a minute after the first batch is cooked.

Valentine Day 2016

plate 004

At Christmas, I received cookies from several people, and was struck by the fact that other people make smaller cookies than I do. I mean the recipes call for ‘walnut-size’ or tablespoon size balls of dough, and that seems to define the cookie size. But, when I go to give cookies away, I can only get a few of that size cookie on a paper plate; other people seem to make smaller cookies and get more on a gift plate.

So I decided that for Valentine Day, I would make smaller cookies. My final plate of cookies that I gave away contained:
Ethel’s Sugar Cookies cutout as hearts and decorated with Royal Icing,
Russian Tea Cakes,
Rocky Road Cookies,
Chocolate filled Bon Bon Cookies,
Snickerdoodles,
Two-tone Brownies,
Magic Cookies,
Lemon Squares, and
Fudge.

If you are interested in the recipes for the various cookies, just click and the recipe should come up in a separate tab for review. Below is a photo of how I decorated the cutout cookies.

cutouts 003

The list of cookies (and candy) can be broken into three parts when it comes to making smaller items; the cutout cookies, the drop and molded cookies, and the pan baked cookies (and candy). Each category is a different problem.

For cutout cookies, you are at the mercy of the cookie cutter. Mine was slightly larger than I would have liked. I have some smaller cutters, but I wanted the heart shape and was too impatient to go looking in stores for a smaller one.

For the pan baked cookies, making the smaller size is only a matter of cutting the cookies smaller. I made cuts between 3/4 inches and 1.5 inches, but think probably 1 inch square is the best goal. I do have some thoughts about pan bake cookies; most important is to NOT cut them in the baking pan. That damages the knife blade- dulls it- and scratches the baking pan! I do all my pan baked goods in pans that I have lined with foil with overhang; when they are done cooking and cooled, the foil lifts out easily and you can work on a proper cutting board.

However, where the foil is fitted into the corners of the baking pan, it gets wrinkled, and many times the raw cookie batter will seep into the corner folds and make it very difficult to peel the foil from the cookies. This is especially true with the Magic Cookies; in the future, I would spray the foil to ensure it comes off the cookies easier.

Finally, there are the drop and molded cookies. These are where the work is. I started with the concept that the ‘walnut-size’ or Tablespoon size cookie was the amount of dough I scooped with my #60 scoop- it actually should be a #64, but that is a very small difference. I have a smaller, unmarked scoop, which I have calculated to be about a #120 to #128; that should be 1/2 Tablespoon. I tried using that as a starting point, but felt it was still too big. So I formed into balls the cookie dough using the smaller scoop, and then cut the balls in half. This gave me the size I wanted. That would be about 1.5 teaspoons.

Now I had to do some things to make the cookies right. First, the Bon Bon cookies are normally formed around a chocolate Kiss. I weighed a Kiss, and then chocolate chips and discovered that a Kiss was about equivalent to 11 chips. Since the dough was now about 1/4th of the normal amount of dough, I chose to wrap the Bon Bon around 2 chocolate chips-(maybe I should have used 3). And cooking time with experimentation and errors turns out to be about 2/3 the suggested time for the normal cookie.

For the Rocky Road cookies, I ended up cutting the mini marshmallows in half. All the other drop cookies just needed an adjustment in the cooking time, and all were good using 1/2 the dough from the small scoop.

Now, if you are making smaller cookies, you soon learn that the normal recipe which makes 3 – 4 dozen cookies will make 6 to 8 dozen small cookies. So the second area in which you want to do some changes is probably with the ingredient list of the recipe. In most cases, you will want to cut the amounts in half. If the recipe calls for a single egg, then the trick is to break the egg into a separate bowl and whip it to a scramble, then measure out 2 Tablespoons of the scrambled egg as equivalent to 1/2 an egg.

Holiday Sweets

snickerdoodle 001Snickerdoodles

No matter which holiday you celebrate in December, I am certain there is a place for sweet food. This year, I am making some of my favorites again, and the recipes are already on this blog. I am going to call your attention to some of the many sweet eats that we have already.

Sweet eats come in many forms, although I suspect that many of us think first of cookies and candy. But, there are also dessert breads. And if you are having a party, perhaps a pie or cake will show at your table. If I don’t suggest enough ideas, then I would invite you to click on the “Index of Articles” at the top of the page and see if you can find something that will fill the bill.

Morning BunsMorning Buns

Before I get to the candy and cookies, let me call your attention to a couple bread items. Of course, in the breads there are the standard breakfast fair like Cinnamon Rolls (I actually have two recipes for these) or Cinnamon Bread. I will be making Morning Buns, myself. And then there are dessert breads such as Banana Tea Bread and my favorite- Steamed Bread Pudding!

If you are looking for something real different as a dessert, look at the Paska recipe. It is a winter treat, with candied fruit and all, but not a dense fruit cake.

Chocolate Bark with PeanutsChocolate Bark with Peanuts

In the area of candy, Fudge is always good start. If you want something very simple, I would suggest making a Chocolate Bark with nuts. I will be making Rum Balls because son-in-law James is looking forward to them. To fill out the candy possibilities, there is English Toffee, and Truffles; they both go over very well and make good gifts if you need to take one to someone that is hosting a party.

Cookies are another area where you can go simple, or do something special. Perhaps the easiest cookie I make is the Snickerdoodle; it is the first baking I ever did, and it is still one of my favorite cookies. Daughter Jenn has asked for Karo Lace cookies, and I will make those for her. I will also make a batch of Bon Bon cookies to test making them with almond flour instead of chopping the almonds.

kookie brittleKookie Brittle

Daughter Mindy likes to do her own baking, and she specializes in pan cookies. I will be visiting her and she has promised to make Lemon Squares and Kookie Brittle. Last year, I got the recipe for Slutty Brownies from her when I visited. She also mentioned Magic Cookies, she remembers those as the second kind that Marlys and the girls made each year, because the girls could do most of the work and participate in the cookie making.

Pub CookieGelato di Superior Pub Cookie

You will notice I haven’t mentioned the old standby of chocolate chip cookies. There are many recipes for those, although I only go with the Original Toll House cookie. However, if you would really like to blow someone’ mind with a giant cookie, there are a couple I can suggest. One is the Giant Chocolate Chip Cookie, and the other is the original recipe for the Gelato di Superior Pub Cookie; your recipient will be chewing on one of those cookies for some time!

cutoutsCutout Cookies

And I nearly forgot the cutout cookies; again, these are something you can make with the kids letting them decorate the cookies after they have cooled. I have found the best recipe for making the cutout cookies is Ethel’s Sugar Cookies although the Kammerjunkere cookies also make good cutouts. For the decorating where you want icing, I would go with Royal Icing as it hardens nicely. If you are new to using Icing to decorate your cutout cookies, look at the article I wrote after taking the Cookie Decorating Class. About half way down the article you will find me talking about piping dams with the Royal Icing, and then flooding the area with thinned Royal Icing. I also talk about adding texture using sugars and candy pieces. I think if you make the Royal Icing, your young adult can learn to use it to decorate the cookies.

So, Have a sweet holiday, and we will find something new next year.

Errol

Halloween Cookies and Cupcakes

both 001

This Halloween, beside the cake pops that I made, I also made the witch cupcakes again, and spider cookies. The cupcakes were to test if I had learned anything from last year; I think I did. The cookies are because both daughters sent me pointers to them, so I felt I should try them. Interesting enough, the article does not specify a cookie, but only the decorations- use any cookie.

witch 001

The biggest problem I seemed to have last year with the witch cupcakes was I thought the buttercream frosting sagged, and the witch face went into the cupcake. So I took an idea from the Christmas Tree cupcakes, and made the buttercream frosting much thicker so that it wouldn’t sag. I added 3/4 cup extra powdered sugar for 1 pound of powdered sugar in the recipe for The Decorette Shop’s Butter Cream Frosting. I think that did the trick. In fact, the frosting was thick enough that I was able to make long noses on the witches.

And of course, now that I know where to buy eyes (The Decorette Shop), I gave my witches buggy eyes. The eyes have imperfections where the pupils are not always centered; this gives the witches a wandering eye look where sometimes the eyes don’t look in the same direction.

For a cupcake, I chose to use the Black and White Irish Cream Cupcake recipe but to make it all chocolate. The only difference was that I added 6 ounces of bittersweet chocolate to the entire batter rather than dividing the batter in half and only adding 3 ounces to one half of the batter. And I didn’t have the problem of filling the cupcake papers since I wasn’t trying to keep the black and white theme.

I had leftover ganache from when I had made the original cupcakes, and so after cutting the cone out of the cupcake for the hat, I frosted the cupcakes with the ganache to minimize their drying out. Then I piped the extra stiff green Butter Cream Frosting into the hollow and let it build up to create the head. I gave the buttercream a 24 hour wait to allow it to dry and crust before I tried decorating it. Meanwhile, I made the witches’ hats, including piping the orange band to fill in around the edge of the cone. Both the orange band and the black mouth are colored Royal Icing made from the Decorette Shop recipe; I like working with the Royal Icing for decorations as it drys quickly and hard. I also used it as the glue for fastening the cone to the chocolate wafer, and later for fastening the hat to the head.

When I attached the hats to the heads, I needed to flatten a spot on top of the head so the hat had an area of contact. After piping the heads, the top was left most often as a point. It turned out easy to cut off a small amount of the green buttercream to make the flat spot.

spider 003

For the spider cookies, I started by making a batch of Ethel’s Sugar Cookies as cutout cookies, rolling the dough out and cutting it with a 2 3/4 inch biscuit cutter. I like the results of that recipe for keeping its shape with little spread. Then I used brown Royal Icing to pipe the spider’s legs.

While I was making certain the legs were drying, I unwrapped my Mini Reese’s Peanut Butter cups and used the brown Royal Icing to attach the eyes. Then a little Royal Icing on the top of the peanut butter cup and invert it onto the center of the legs for the spider.

Here is The Decorette Shop’s Butter Cream Frosting recipe:

BUTTERCREAM

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup Hi-Ration Shortening (a Decorette Shop product)
  • Pinch of salt (optional)
  • 2 to 3 drops Butter FLavor (also available at the Decorette Shop)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 tsp. vanila
  • 1/4 tsp. Almond Flavor
  • 1 Tbsp. meringue powder (also available at the Decorette Shop)
  • 1 lb. powder sugar

Directions

Put all ingredients in bowl and beat at medium speed for 10 minutes.

Pub Cookies

big 003

My sister Ann sent me this recipe, and after a quick glance, I put it aside. It called for pretzels and I would have to put those on a shopping list and get them someday in the future. But a couple other things also caught my eye. 1) The full name of the cookies is Gelato di Superior Pub Cookies. 2) There are a lot of ingredients in the cookies. 3) The recipe calls for a ½ cup scoop size.

I made the cookies according to the recipe and you can see the enormous size of each. That plate is 7 ½ inches in diameter! I only got 4 cookies on my cookie sheet at a time, and this created a problem since the cookies cool on the cookie sheet for 30 minutes; I had to use several of my other pans to be able to continue to process the cookie dough. So one thing I wanted to do is to reduce the scoop size; I found eating one cookie more than I liked and immediately cut all the rest of the finished cookies in half. So a scoop size of ¼ cup is probably adequate – that would be a #16. I have a #20 that I will use next time.

But let me go back to the name of the cookie, and its origin –Hot Springs National Park in Arkansas. There is a historical area of the park that includes a row of bathhouses from back in the 1800s. One of those bathhouses –the northern most- is the Superior. It currently serves as a brewery and restaurant. The web site gives the cookie the identification of Superior Bathhouse Brewery & Distillery’s Gelato di Superior Pub Cookie. So you can see why the enormous cookie size; people probably stop in and buy a cookie to munch on as they do the tourist bit up and down Bathhouse Row road.

After I made my Halloween Cake Pops, I did have some left over pretzels, and so I made the cookies. When the recipe says to put the uncooked regular oats and next four ingredients in a large bowl, it really means a large bowl. I used a 4 quart bowl and almost couldn’t get everything combined. However, there may be an easier solution; almost everything in the recipe is either 1 cup, or 1 teaspoon, so I think the recipe could easily be divided in half making the 4 quart mixing bowl adequate.

My final suggestion is with regard to the crushed pretzels; I did not crush them greatly, and they ended up sticking out in several places. As always, I think it might be well to run a knife through them to make them about the size of the chocolate morsels and chopped sandwich cookies.

Below, there are two versions of the recipe – the original, and Errol’s half size version. Other than the amount of ingredients, and the scoop size, both recipes are the same and give a similar number of cookies – about 15.

Original Gelato di Superior Pub Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 cups uncooked regular oats
  • 1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
  • 1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate morsels
  • 1 cup crushed pretzel sticks
  • 12 chocolate sandwich cookies, chopped
  • Parchment paper

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Beat first 3 ingredients ar medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Add eggs and vanilla, beating just until blended.
  2. Combine flour and next 3 ingredients in a bowl, gradually add to butter mixture, beating well. Combine oats and next 4 ingredients in a large bowl. Add cookie dough to oat mixture and blend using your hands.
  3. Roll about 1/2 cup dough into a ball. Place on parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Flatten ball to 1/2 inch thickness with the palm of your hand. Repeat procedure with remaining dough.
  4. Bake at 350 for 18 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on pan on a wire rack (about 30 minutes). MAKES 15 SERVINGS.


After the first batch, I found that 18 minutes made the cookies more crisp than I like, and I cut the cooking time down to 16 minutes. Also, if you have two pans in the oven on the middle and lower shelf, you need to rotate the pans about half way through; the lower pan is shielded from the upper heating element, and will not be as cooked as the middle pan.

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Errol’s Version of Gelato di Superior Pub Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 large eggs
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 cups uncooked regular oats
  • 1/2 cup sweetened flaked coconut
  • 3/4 cups semisweet chocolate morsels
  • 1/2 cup crushed pretzel sticks
  • 6 chocolate sandwich cookies, chopped
  • Parchment paper

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Beat first 3 ingredients ar medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Add egg and vanilla, beating just until blended.
  2. Combine flour and next 3 ingredients in a bowl, gradually add to butter mixture, beating well. Combine oats and next 4 ingredients in a large bowl. Add cookie dough to oat mixture and blend using your hands.
  3. Roll about 1/4 cup (#16 scoop- I used my #20) dough into a ball. Place on parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Flatten ball to 1/2 inch thickness with the palm of your hand. Repeat procedure with remaining dough.
  4. Bake at 350 for 16 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on pan on a wire rack (about 30 minutes). MAKES 15 SERVINGS.


The #20 scoop is slightly smaller than the 1/4 cup #16 scoop, but I don’t think it is enough to make any real difference. I got 8 cookies on my cookie sheet of this size, and they expand to about 4 inches in diameter. So you probably need to consider 5 inches placement center to center.