Category Archives: Cookie

Slutty Brownies

This is the second recipe that I got when I visited daughter Mindy in August. I have cooked it here at home a couple times, and feel I need to put some effort into changing it slightly. As it stands, the recipe calls for a 9 x 9 inch pan; that is an area of 81 square inches. I felt that when Mindy cooked the recipe, it was overflowing the pan; she used an 8 x 8 inch pan.

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Few people I know have a 9 x 9 baking pan; the common size is 8 x 8 or 64 square inches of area. So I feel I need to reduce the recipe to about ¾ of its current size. That will take some experimenting since it is difficult to take an integer number of eggs and use only a fraction; i.e. the recipe calls for 1 egg in the cookie dough part, and 2 eggs in the brownie layer part. Reducing the recipe straight on would make that ¾ of an egg and 1 ½ eggs. Ouch! A bunch of the other measures would also lead to inconvenient values- not the ¼, 1/3, ½, 2/3 and ¾ values for which we have measures.

I am now adding two new versions of the Slutty Brownie recipe. The first reduces the amount of ingredients so that it fits nicely in an 8 x 8 pan. Even when I reduced the size, I still felt the brownies were too tall; that it was difficult to get my mouth around them. So I reduced the recipe still further so that the final brownies are thinner; about 1 inch high. Both of these recipes are at the end of this article; you can get there by clicking on this update.

So I am committed to re-editing this article when I have found the correct combination of ingredients. When I did make this recipe, the first time I used a 10 inch cake pan; surprisingly that is indeed an 81 square inch area. (Area = pi * radius squared; 81 = 3.14 * r squared; r squared = 81 / 3.14 = 25.8; square root of 25.8 = ~5.0; 2 * r= diameter = 10 inches). I was quite happy with how the recipe worked. I was unhappy with the many pieces that were triangular in shape when I cut the brownies because the pieces were along the round edges of the cake pan.

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The second time I made the recipe, I used a 7 x 11 baking pan; that has an area of 77 square inches that is really quite close to the 81 of the 9 x 9 pan. I think if you have a 7 x 11 pan, this is one place to use it.

Okay, here is the recipe for an 81 square inch area.

Slutty Brownies 81

Cookie Dough Layer

Ingredients

  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cup AP flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Brownie Layer

Ingredients

  • 10 Tbsp butter
  • 1 1/4 cups white sugar
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup AP flour

Oreo Layer

Ingredients

  • 1 package Oreo cookies (either regular or double stuffed)

Directions

Cookie Dough Layer:

Cream together the butter and sugars in a mixer. Add the egg and vanilla, making sure to scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl. Add the flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder and mix on low until everything is incorporated. Fold in the chocolate chips.

Brownie Layer:

In a medium sauce pan, melt the butter over medium high heat. Add the sugar and cocoa powder once the butter is melted. Whisk to combine and remove from heat. Add the salt, vanilla and eggs and continuously whisk until the eggs are combined. Add the flour and continue to mix.

Assembly:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Line the bottom of a 9 x 9 baking pan with foil and then spray the foil with baking spray.

Layer the cookie dough on the bottom of the 9 x 9 baking pan, pressing down to form the bottom of the slutty brownies.

Layer as many Oreo cookies as can fit on top of the cookie dough layer. Do not overlap the Oreos, but I cut some Oreos to fill the larger gaps in this layer.

Pour the brownie batter on top of the Oreo layer and make certain it’s evenly layered on top.

Bake for 30-35 minutes. Test with a knife to see if the center is done. (it might still show some chocolate on the knife, but not much and not very liquid). Let the brownies rest before cutting and serving.


I hope you were able to follow the idea that the key is the area of the baking pan, and it needs to be as close to 81 square inches as possible. When I finish experimenting and learn how to make the brownies in an 8 x 8 pan, I will add that information to this article. If you would like a personal email when I get to that point, and are not a subscriber to my WidowerRecipes blog, send me a note and I will let you know when I have upgraded this article.


And so here we are with the promised updates for an 8 x 8 pan. As mentioned near the front of this article, there are two recipes; I call them Slutty Brownies 64 Thick, and Slutty Brownies 64 Thin to differentiate the one which only reduces the ingredients enough to make a nice 8 x 8 pan that is almost identical to the original 9 x 9 recipe which is labeled Slutty Brownies 81. The second recipe reduces the height of the brownie from about 2 inches to about 1 inch.

Slutty Brownies 64 Thick

Ingredients

Cookie Dough Layer:
• 6T butter at room temperature
• 3T brown sugar
• 1/2 cup white sugar
• 1 egg
• 1 tsp vanilla extract
• 1 cup AP flour
• 1/4 tsp salt
• 3/8 tsp baking soda
• 3/8 tsp baking powder
• 3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Brownie Layer:
• 8 Tbsp butter
• 1 cups white sugar
• 1/2 cup cocoa powder
• 1/4 tsp salt
• 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
• 2 large eggs
• 1/3 cup AP flour

Oreo Layer:
• 16 Oreo cookies (either regular or double stuffed)

Directions

The directions are identical to the original recipe except to use an 8 x 8 pan.

Cookie Dough Layer:

Cream together the butter and sugars in a mixer. Add the egg and vanilla, making sure to scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl. Add the flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder and mix on low until everything is incorporated. Fold in the chocolate chips.

Brownie Layer:

In a medium sauce pan, melt the butter over medium high heat. Add the sugar and cocoa powder once the butter is melted. Whisk to combine and remove from heat. Add the salt, vanilla and eggs and continuously whisk until the eggs are combined. Add the flour and continue to mix.

Assembly:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Line the bottom of a 8 x 8 baking pan with foil and then spray the foil with baking spray.

Layer the cookie dough on the bottom of the 8 x 8 baking pan, pressing down to form the bottom of the slutty brownies.

Layer the 16 Oreo cookies on top of the cookie dough layer. Do not overlap the Oreos; I found the 16 Oreos were a perfect fit in the 8 x 8 pan.

Pour the brownie batter on top of the Oreo layer and make certain it’s evenly layered on top.

Bake for 30-35 minutes. Test with a knife to see if the center is done. (it might still show some chocolate on the knife, but not much and not very liquid). Let the brownies rest before cutting and serving.



And next is the thin version of the recipe. You will find the cookie dough layer quite different from the above versions of the recipe because there is no way to reduce 1 egg into a fraction of an egg. As a result, the cookie dough is very soft; rather than pushing and patting it into the bottom of the pan, you will need to pour it in, and then spread it with a small offset spatula.

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We also reduced the height of the Oreo layer by reducing the Oreo cookies to crumbs. I put them into a gallon freezer bag and beat them up until they were crumbs, held together by the white center creme; the center almost completely lost its identity since the crumbs cling to it and the white no longer shows through. Other than that, the recipes are similar.

Slutty Brownies 64 Thin

Ingredients:

Cookie Dough Layer:
• 3T butter at room temperature
• 1 1/2T brown sugar
• 1/4 cup white sugar
• 1 egg
• 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
• 1/2 cup AP flour
• 1/8 tsp salt
• 1/4 tsp baking soda
• 1/4 tsp baking powder
• 2 ¼ oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips

Brownie Layer:
• 4 Tbsp butter
• 1/2 cups white sugar
• 1/4 cup cocoa powder
• 1/8 tsp salt
• 3/4 tsp vanilla extract
• 1 large eggs
• 5 Tbsp AP flour

Oreo Layer:
• 10 Oreo cookies (either regular or double stuffed) smashed to crumbs

Directions

Cookie Dough Layer:

Cream together the butter and sugars in a mixer. Add the egg and vanilla, making sure to scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl. Add the flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder and mix on low until everything is incorporated. Fold in the chocolate chips.

Brownie Layer:

In a medium sauce pan, melt the butter over medium high heat. Add the sugar and cocoa powder once the butter is melted. Whisk to combine and remove from heat. Add the salt, vanilla and eggs and continuously whisk until the eggs are combined. Add the flour and continue to mix.

Assembly:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Line the bottom of a 8 x 8 baking pan with foil and then spray the foil with baking spray.

Pour the cookie dough on the bottom of the 8 x 8 baking pan,smoothing it out to form the bottom of the slutty brownies.

Layer the Oreo cookie crumbs on top of the cookie dough layer. Push the crumbs around to cover the cookie dough layer as well as possible.

Pour the brownie batter on top of the Oreo layer and make certain it’s evenly layered on top.

Bake for 25-30 minutes. Test with a knife to see if the center is done. (it might still show some chocolate on the knife, but not much and not very liquid). Let the brownies rest before cutting and serving.

S’mores bars

During my August trip to Seattle, my daughter Mindy had made these S’mores bar cookies for us. They disappeared fast enough that I asked her for the recipe, and have now made it a couple times at home. I have made some adjustments to it to fix things I felt were wrong.

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I very much dislike working with marshmallow creme, and I also like a smaller, 2-bite type of cookie. So I kept working with this recipe trying to fix what I didn’t like. I don’t have good results yet, but what I did is shown in Update 1down below.

S’mores Bars Recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large milk chocolate bars (each should be 4 inches x 8 inches)
  • 7 ounces marshmallow creme
  • Directions:

    Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease an 8-inch square baking pan.

    In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking powder and salt. Add to butter mixture and mix at a low speed until combined.

    Divide dough in half and press half of dough into an even layer on the bottom of the prepared pan. Place chocolate bars over dough (2 large Hershey’s bars should fit perfectly side by side, but break the chocolate, if necessary, to get it to fit in a single layer no more than 1/4 inch thick).

    Spread marshmallow creme over chocolate layer. Place remaining dough in a single layer on top of the marshmallow (most easily achieved by flattening the dough into small, flat shingles and laying them together).

    Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until lightly browned. Cool completely before cutting into bars

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    I have a couple words of advice in making these bars. First, when preparing to top the marshmallow layer with the final dough layer, I found if I rolled the dough out into a piece as near to 8 x 8 as I could, it was easiest to put it on the marshmallow layer. I placed the dough ball under a sheet of plastic film, rolled it, cut it into four pieces about 4 inches x 4 inches, and then used a large offset spatula to lift the dough off the rolling surface and place it on the marshmallow creme.

    The second piece of advice is to indeed completely cool the cookies before trying to cut them. Even though the pan feels cool, and the top of the dough feels cool, the chocolate might still be liquid. That happened to me; I cut the bars before the chocolate had set up again, and it was running all over. Not cool. So maybe you will want to cool the cookies in the pan overnight before cutting them.

    Update 1

    My work on making this recipe into a small, 2-bite cookie was not a great success. The results were very inconsistent. However, I feel I need to show what I did, and how it worked. Here is a photo of one of the results.

    Smores 001

    What I did was form the cookies in the cups of a mini-muffin tin, and use chocolate chips and mini marshmallows to get the flavoring. The details are as follows:


    Make the dough as in the original recipe. Spray the muffin tins.

    Place 1 Tablespoon of the dough into each of 23 of the muffin tin cups. Using your finger, press the dough into a cup shape; as you press the bottom down, the dough will naturally build up the sides of the muffin tin.

    Place 4 chocolate chips and 3 mini marshmallows into each of the 23 cups.

    Place 1/2 Tablespoon of the dough on top of each of the 23 muffin tin cups; push the dough down and around to join the dough that has formed the cup, totally enclosing the chocolate chips and marshmallows.

    Cook at the 350 degrees F used for the original recipe, but only for about 17 minutes. Cool in the muffin tins.

    It is interesting but having tried this direction several times now, I can only get 23 cookies from the recipe; if I try for 24, I don’t have enough dough to cover the last 2 cookies. That is not all bad; the cookies come out with the browned marshmallows showing on top.

    The cookies tend to blossom over the top of the muffin cups- and besides I don’t want you using a knife on the tins. I found that by holding the outside edges of the cookie- finger and thumb on opposite sides- and rotating the cookie slowly and evenly it loosens and will come out of the muffin tin in one piece.

    My disappointment in these cookies is that they seem to be inconsistent depending upon how well I am able to get the top dough sealed to the bottom cup dough. And, the marshmallow seems to melt into the dough and not stay visible. So unlike a real s’more, the marshmallow and chocolate are hidden. Still, the cookies are very addictive.

    I have given up on the 2-bite version of the recipe for now- I’m full of s’mores. But I want to still work on placing the top dough on the original version of the recipe; that seems like it could be done better than what I did before.

Rolo filled Bon Bon Cookies

Ever since I made the salted caramel filled Bon Bon cookies, I have wanted to make the filling a Rolo rather than the chips I had used; Rolos seem to be the desired source for caramel because they are available at all types of markets. It took me several attempts before I came to what I felt was a success.

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My early attempts would find the cooked cookie cracked and leaking caramel- not something I would want to serve. I had started my attempts by only replacing the chocolate Kiss with the Rolo; then I even tried cutting the Rolo in half since the weight of the Rolo is almost twice the weight of the Kiss.

Finally, I decided I had to see how others were keeping the Rolo embedded in their cookies. The place I focused was a website where the author – Sally- was making a caramel embedded chocolate chip cookie. I started by following her recipe and making a batch of the cookies. I must say, they answered the question about how to embed a Rolo in a chocolate chip cookie. If you like that idea for a cookie, then head on over to the website and check it out –Sally’s Baking Addiction.
These salted-caramel chocolate chip cookies are really big- about 3.5 to 4 inches in diameter!

I have a couple notes from making Sally’s recipe. She reserves a half cup of chocolate chips for pressing onto the top of the cookie just before baking; I found that probably 1/4 cup of chocolate chips was enough to reserve, but I would not put the rest into the dough- the 1/2 cup there is enough. Making the dough does not need a mixer; a whisk and spatula are enough as the dough is quite soft at this point. It hardens in the refrigerator, and then is almost too hard to scoop; you may want to wait more than 10 minutes for it to soften after it comes out of the refrigerator. Because the cookies are so large, I found it safest to move them from the cookie sheet to the wire racks using a pan cake turner.

From making that recipe, I learned three things that I needed to change in the Bon Bon recipe to use it with the Rolos.

  • The amount of dough surrounding the Rolo has to be increased.
  • The cooking temperature needs to be decreased.
  • The cookies need to be cooled on a flat surface, not a wire rack.

In making the chocolate chip cookies, Sally uses a total of 3 Tablespoons of dough. Now her dough has chocolate chips in it, so the 3 Tablespoons doesn’t translate directly to Bon Bon dough. I tried both 1 Tablespoon and 1.5 Tablespoons and I think the answer is at least 1 Tablespoon and maybe a bit less than 1.5 Tablespoons. Okay, the original chocolate filled Bon Bon I was measuring the dough with a #110 scoop; since a #64 is 1 Tablespoon, the #110 is more like 60% of a Tablespoon, or just under 2 teaspoons. For my experiments, I used a #50 and a #60 scoop. The #60 is just more than 1 Tablespoon (#64) and the #50 is just less than 1.5 Tablespoons (#48).

The Chocolate filled Bon Bon recipe uses an oven temperature of 350 degrees; I noted that Sally uses the temperature at 325 degrees with about the same cooking time. So I lowered the temperature for the Rolo filled Bon Bon by 25 degrees to 325 degrees.

Finally, the above steps stopped the cracking of the cookie and the obvious leaking of the caramel but there is still a soft spot on the bottom of the cookie. (I noticed that Sally’s salted caramel chocolate chip cookies also had this soft spot). If I cool the cookie on a wire rack, the hot caramel sometimes would leak through the soft spot and drop through the holes in the wire rack. If the cookie is cooled all the way on the cooking sheet, then the caramel can’t escape and the cooled cookie looks perfect. Sally cools her cookies for a full 10 minutes on the cookie sheet before moving them, so I suggest the same treatment for the Rolo filled Bon Bon cookies.

Update: I have just made a new batch of these cookies, and found a couple pieces of advice to give you. First, I used the new Mini Rolos instead of the regular Rolos. One advantage is that you do not need to unwrap them; they come without individual wrappings. The second advantage is that you can now use less dough to cover the rolo; I was able to get nearly 100% perfect cookies using my 1 Tablespoon scoop. (Actually it is a #60). I am not changing the recipe below because it still reads correctly. Previously, when I was using the regular Rolos, I had to use my #50 scoop which is more dough (about 1.28 Tablespoons) and thus, a bigger cookie.

I also found that the Rolo wasn’t picking up the salt as much as I desired. To solve that problem, I moistened a paper towel, and placed a few Rolos at a time on it. I placed about a dozen Rolos on the moist towel while I was working on a cookie sheet; by the time I used them, they were picking up the salt nicely.

Rolo Filled Bon Bons

  • 3/4 cup Crisco
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup very finely ground nuts (pecans or almonds)
  • 2 Tablespoons course Salt (Sea Salt?)
  • 1/2 bag Rolos

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Remove foil from about 36 Rolo candies. You may need a few more or less depending upon how big you scoop the balls of dough; I measured the total dough at 48 Tablespoons.

Cream together Crisco and both sugars. Add egg, vanilla and extract. Beat well. Add flour, baking powder, salt and nuts.

Roll at least 1 Tablespoon of dough into a ball. Press a thumb-print into the ball. Pick up a Rolo, press it into the course salt, and then place it into the thumb-print in the dough ball. Press the ball around the Rolo so that the candy is completely enclosed. Place on ungreased cookie sheet. Continue making Rolo filled balls and placing them on the cookie sheet about 2 inches apart.

Bake for 12 minutes—do not overbake. Allow cookies to cool for at least 10 minutes on the cookie sheets before moving them to wire racks to completely cool.

Makes about 2 1/2 dozen cookies.

Two-Tone Brownies

What happens when you take the perfect brownie recipe, and then ice the brownies with a simple cream cheese frosting? You get a two-town brownie. But don’t leave it at that; add a simple chocolate ganache frosting on top of the cream cheese frosting and you have these wonderful brownies.

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To begin, the brownie recipe itself is perfect! the espresso powder really sharpens the chocolate taste of these little treats. The brownie is dense, and not all floury like so many recipes. For the brownie itself, this recipe is something you will want in your repertoire.

But then the toppings are added, and you end up with the most decadent brownie you ever tasted. Each of the topping layers by itself is good, but together and on the brownie you have perfection in a brownie.

The recipe only makes 16 pieces, but these brownies are rich, and you will find that the 16 pieces are a good number. And besides, if you really need more, you can always make the recipe again.

Two-Tone Brownies

Brownies:

  • 6 Tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter
  • 3 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped (1/2 cup)
  • 1 Tablespoon instant espresso powder
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line an 8 x 8 x 2″ square baking pan with aluminum foil with overhang; coat with cooking spray.

In a medium-size sauce pan, heat together over low heat stirring until melted and smooth the butter, chocolate and espresso powder. Remove from heat, add and stir until smooth the sugar, eggs, vanilla and salt. Add the flour, cinnamon and nuts.

Scrape and spread into prepared pan. Bake for about 25 minutes or until set in center. Let cool in pan on wire rack.

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 4 oz. cream cheese at room temperature
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Beat in a small bowl at high speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes, all the ingredients. Spread evenly over cooled brownie base. Refrigerate until set -about 1 hour.

Chocolate Frosting

  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
  • 3 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped (1/2 cup)
  • 1 Tablespoon butter

In a small pan bring to simmering the cream and espresso powder. Add chocolate. Remove from heat and let stand 3 minutes. Add butter. Stir until chocolate and butter are melted and mixture is smooth. Pour over cream cheese frosting; spread in an even layer. Refrigerate 2 hours or overnight. Cut into 16 bars.

Kammerjunkere (Groom’s Cookies)

I received this recipe from my sister Ann; she had it labeled as Groom’s Cookies. I have since learned that its name is Kammerjunkere. The cookie is rolled out paper thin and cut with cookie cutters. At first I was nervous about trying the recipe; it seemed to be weird in that it called for 4 cups of molasses, and 15 cups of flour. That was just too much in my way of thinking.

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So, I cut the recipe in half to try it, and it still makes a lot of dough. I am trying something different in cookie cutters- going very small, and so I could have nicely done with just one fourth of the original recipe. But, it doesn’t seem to divide directly into that smaller portion. Ann says that she has used cookie cutters as large as 4 x 5 inches to make these cookies. She also warned me not to ice the entire cookie, but to just use a few highlights on them. The molasses tends to draw moisture and that would interact with the icing to keep it from drying completely. (The hearts in the photo measure about 1.5 x 1.75 inches).

Before I got started making the recipe, I decided to do a web search to see what others might have done for Groom’s Cookies. Most of what I found were regular old sugar cookies cut into hearts, and then frosted like a black tuxedo- nothing near for what I was looking. Then I found a site with Danish cooking recipes, and there with the title Kammerjunkere was the exact same recipe my sister had sent.

Groom’s Cookies (Danish Kammerjunkere)

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbs. baking soda
  • 4 Tbs. water or milk
  • 3/4 lbs. butter, softened
  • 3/4 lbs. brown sugar
  • 2 Tbs. ground cloves
  • 2 Tbs. ground cinnamon
  • 4 cups molasses
  • 15 cups flour
  • 2 tsp. lemon zest
  • 8 oz. brandy

Directions

Soak the baking soda in the water or milk.

Cream the butter and sugar. Add the spices and molasses to the creamed mix and mix them in. Stir in the flour using a large wooden spoon, and then the lemon zest and the brandy. The dough should be very stiff; add more flour if necessary but cautiously. Then add the soda and water/milk.

Divide the dough into manageable units, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Roll the dough very thin- less than 1/8 inch in thickness and cut. Bake on greased cookie sheets, or on silicon mats until brown

Decorate with icing


Before I give you the ingredients for a half-size batch, let me give you some hints about what I learned.

I used milk instead of water for soaking the baking soda. When I finished the dough, I made it into 4 packets wrapped and flattened into disks; those packets still contain a lot of dough, and I probably would have been better served to make 8 packets. I ended up cutting the packet in half before putting it on my board to roll it out. (And my recommendation for 8 packets is for a half-recipe of cookie dough).

And I also caution you to use the large wooden spoon to stir in the flour; I started to use a hand mixer, and I nearly killed the motor of the mixer. There was smoke! So I saved the mixer and got out my big wooden spoon.

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HALF_RECIPE

Groom’s Cookies (Danish Kammerjunkere)

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbs. baking soda
  • 2 Tbs. water or milk
  • 12 Tbs. butter, softened
  • 6 oz. brown sugar
  • 1 Tbs. ground cloves
  • 1 Tbs. ground cinnamon
  • 2 cups molasses
  • 7.5 cups flour
  • 1 tsp. lemon zest
  • 4 oz. brandy


If you would rather work in volume instead of weight, the 6 ounces of brown sugar is 12 Tablespoons. I looked up some volume/weight equivalences for interest, and the 15 cups of flour is about 4 pounds, and thus the 7.5 cups of flour is about 2 pounds.

My experience in rolling out the dough to paper thin is that the dough is very sticky, and needs lots of flour on both the rolling pin and the work board. I even experienced that the flour was all absorbed, or moved from under the center of the piece as I rolled, and would be stuck when I went to cutout the cookies and move them. I learned quickly to only cut the cookies from the edge of the dough after I had rolled it, and to scrape the center part back up to start again with more flour on the board.

The direction to cook until brown is not the type of a direction that the nerd in me likes. I quickly learned on the first pan of cookies that “until brown” was about 5 minutes; much longer than that and you could start to smell burning.

Salted Caramel Cookies

A few weeks ago, I was at my favorite bake shop – Blake’s Decorette Shop– looking for chocolate and molds in order to make Easter bunnies. I mean, what is Easter without a chocolate rabbit from which to bite the ears? Anyway, in looking at the various types of chocolate, I happened to see a bin that said “Sea Salt Caramel Wafers”. I know how great Salted Caramel tastes; when Mindy and I go to Molly Moons for ice cream, we often have some salted caramel. So, I bought a package. At that time, I didn’t have any idea about how I would use it.

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So, this week I decided to put the salted caramel into cookies. I decided it should go into two different kinds of cookies- Bon Bons, and Chocolate Chip cookies. And I have just finished that exercise and have to say that it really puts a new flavor pallet on those cookies.

The Bon Bon cookies were quite simple to change to use the wafers instead of the candy kiss. I put two wafers in each ball, and the operation was no different than wrapping the dough around the candy kiss. Because the dough has so much nut flour in it, it is easy to handle.

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I can’t say the same for the chocolate chip cookies; I think I have said before that the Toll House cookie recipe is my favorite, and that is what I used this time. The dough is quite sticky, and you need to work around the chocolate chips and chopped nuts. I increased the size of the scoop/disher I was using to try to add more dough and help me seal the two salted caramel wafers inside the cookie. I tried to do an operation similar to wrapping the Bon Bon dough around the wafers. I have since read that you might make two small balls of the dough – about 1 Tablespoon each- and then squeeze the wafers between the two balls. I have also had a suggestion that refrigerating the dough for a while before working with it might make it less sticky. Again, I did not try that this time.

Rugelach

While searching the internet for versions of the Hamanteschen, I ran across a second Jewish cookie that looked interesting; in fact, I first thought of it as a miniature cinnamon roll, and I do love a good cinnamon roll. I asked my neighbor Esther about it, and she gave me a recipe from one of her friends that has received rave reviews and has in the past been requested for many of those tables of 2-bite goodies.

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Back in December of 2009, the Oregonian newspaper in the FoodDay section, did a search for the best Rugelach in town. I think they state it best when they say “…we were pretty proud of our results — until we spent an afternoon making rugelach with Margaret Hasson.”

It is Margaret’s recipe that Esther gave to me, and after I made the recipe and took some to Esther to critique, it appeared that I didn’t need to change anything. So here is Margaret’s recipe.

Rugelach

Margaret Hasson

The Filling

Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup apricot preserves
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
Directions

Stir together in a bowl; refrigerate for a few hours or overnight.

The Dough

Ingredients
  • 1 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 1 8 oz. package cream cheese, softened
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
Directions

Blend butter, cream cheese and flour, either by hand or in a stand mixer. Divide dough into 3 balls. Wrap each in plastic wrap. Refrigerate 3 to 4 hours or until firm enough to roll.

Ingredients
  • 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/4 Teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 to 3 Tablespoons melted butter
  • Extra granulated sugar
Directions

Combine the cinnamon and sugar.

Putting It All Together

On a lightly floured surgace or silicon mat, roll one ball of dough into a 12-inch circle. Cut the circle into 16 wedges with a sharp knife dipped in flour. Place 1 teaspoon of filling across the wide end of each wedge. Starting at the wide end, roll toward the point.

Place cookies, point side down, on ungreased cookie sheet. Brush top of cookie with the Topping butter, sprinkle with the Topping sugar and cinnamon mixtuer.

Bake 22 minutes in a 375 degree oven.

Cool enouth to handle, remove from cookie sheet, dip bottoms of cookies in the Topping extra granulated sugar and place on wax paper to cool completely.

Makes 4 dozen cookies.

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When I rolled my dough, it was difficult to get it all the way out to a 12-inch circle, but I did get it there. The edges at that point were starting to get feathered because they were so thin. This doesn’t really matter as they get rolled into the center of the cookie.

I have read versions of this cookie that roll the dough to only 9-inch circle, and versions that cut only 12 wedges. Each of these has a result in the size of the cookie, making it either thicker or wider. I like Margaret’s 12-inch, 16 wedge size as a nice 2-bite size.

The filling is very sticky; try to get it in the center of the wide end of the wedge so that it doesn’t come out the sides as you roll the cookie.

Hamanteschen Cookies with Prune Filling

About a year ago, my neighbor Esther showed me filled Jewish cookies called Hamanteschen, and I decided I wanted to add that to my cookie repetoire. Hamanteschen is a cookie that is used to celebrate Purim, a Jewish holiday to remember Queen Esther and her saving the Jewish people of Persia. I will let you look elsewhere for the full story; the name of the cookie means Haman’s hat, or Haman’s ear, or Haman’s purse or pocket. I personally like Haman’s ear.

I did a bunch of research on the internet and tried to develop what I thought was a good dough for the cookie. My early attempts seemed to be very dry, and I thought I would be either filling the Hamanteschen with gravy, or serving it with gravy; the dough was like a dense biscuit. I finally got a dough that was lighter and moister, and that is the recipe I will show below. And it is the dough I used for these cookies.

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I took some of these cookies to Esther and asked for her appraisal. She immediately gave me a dozen of her version of the Hamsnteschen, and addressed the short-comings of mine. As you can see, her cookies are more open and lighter looking. She ended up giving me her recipes which I also publishing below.

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If you look at the many recipes for the cookie, you will find that there is difference of opinions about both the size of the circle to cut from the dough, and to the thickness to which the dough is rolled. After working with both Esther’s and my own dough, I think the answer for me is that the dough should be rolled to 1/8 inch thick, and should be cut with a diameter not greater that 2 1/2 inches. Increasing either dimension will add extra dough to the cookie, and take it out of the 2-bite range.

Errol’s Hamanteschen Dough

Ingredients

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • zest of 1/2 an orange
  • filling (see below)

Directions

Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in the food processor and pulse to mix. Add the oil and pulse. In a bowl, combine the sugar, eggs, orange juice and zest; add it to the food processor and pulse to mix. Do not over mix. Divide the dough into 2 disks, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Roll out the dough on a floured work surface to 1/8 inch thick. Cut out disks with a diameter not greater than 2 1/2 inches. Place a teaspoon of filling in the center of the disk. Fold the sides of the disk over the filling in three places to form a triangular shape, and pinch the corners together. A little of the filling should still show in the center. Place on the baking sheet and continue forming cookies until either the dough runs out or the baking sheet is full. Scrap dough can be rerolled to form more cookies.

Bake for 12-15 minutes.

The filling is one of the keys to a good Hamanteschen that Esther discussed with me. She knew by the way my cookies were folded over the top that I had used preserves as a filling.
For filling, I used a jar of preserves; apricot preserves seems to be a common choice, but I have seen, and used raspberry preserves. I have also seen a suggestion to add a couple chocolate chips with the raspberry preserves- chocolate and raspberry is a common combination among bakers.

But Esther said that preserves are too thin, and will run if the cookie doesn’t hold its shape. Instead, the filling needs to be thick and stand on its own. She gave me her recipe, and with it I did not have any runny filling. So I will not recommend using the staight preserves in the cookie although many of the internet site recipes seem to go that direction.

One of the big problems you will experience the first time you make these cookies is the unfolding of the sides. I found that if I used a finger dipped in water to run around the edge of the disk, it seemed to stick together better. I still had individual cookies that didn’t keep their shape, but I had fewer failures using the extra moisture. Esther goes a step further; if you look closely at her cookies, you will see that after pinching the corner together, she then rolls the corner over on itself to further lock it in place.

I used an old biscuit cutter to cut my disks. I have also tried different size drinking glasses, and other objects with a round shape. So look around and find the disk cutter that will be the best size to use; it doesn’t have to be a special cookie cutter; just be circular.

Esther’s Hamanteschen Recipes

Dough

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons melted honey
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 heaping teaspoon baking powder
  • Enough flour to roll (approximately 5 ½ cups)

Directions

Cream the butter and sugar. Add the honey, then the eggs, and finally the dry ingredients.
Divide the dough into 3 parts.
Roll a dough part about 1/4 inch thick. Cut into rounds, fill, and make the three corner shape.
Bake on greased pan until brown.

Prune Filling

Ingredients

  • 1 cup prunes soaked in water 2 hours
  • 1 cup raisins washed
  • 1 cup dates
  • ½ cup nuts optional
  • 1/2 cup jam or preserves
  • Juice of one lemon

Directions

Put the prunes, raisins, dates and nuts through a mincer such as a food processor.
Add the jam and lemon juice and mix thoroughly.

I modified the recipe slightly for my use. Having tried rolling the dough to 1/4 inch thick, I knew I didn’t like the results, so I rolled the dough down to 1/8 inch thick. I did not use a greased pan, but instead used my cookie sheets covered with my silicon mats. I baked the cookies at 350 degrees for about 14 minutes.

Esther likes the bottoms of the Hamanteschen to be browned. To get that effect, she cooks them on the bottom rack of the oven for half the time, and then raise them to the middle rack of the oven to finish cooking. I followed her advice in this area and tried to brown the bottoms of the cookies, but the silicon mats seem to protect the cookie from the heat to some extent. I left the cookies on the bottom rack for 9 minutes before moving them to the middle rack for another 4 minutes. There is a very light tanning of the bottoms.

Recently, I found an apricot filling that I feel should be included with this recipe.

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Apricot Filling for Hamanteschen Cookies

Ingredients

  • 2 cups finely chopped dried apricots
  • 1 1/3 cups orange juice
  • 2/3 cup honey
  • zest from 1/2 an orange

Directions

Place the ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer until the moisture is absorbed and the apricots are soft. Let cool.

I chopped my apricots in the food processor by pulsing until they seemed consistent. It took me about 1/2 hour to get the moisture absorbed from the mixture. At that point, the taste was very tangy; more so than I would like. I let the mixture cool in the refrigerator for a couple days before I could make more cookies, and the taste had smoothed and was no longer the tangy orange zest flavor that it had been.

Mexican Wedding Cookies

This is an very interesting cookie and recipe; it is sort of a BOGO thing. Mexican Wedding Cookies ((Polvorones) and Russian Tea Cakes are almost the same recipe; the only difference in the way I make them is in the type of nut flour I use and the shape into which I make the cookie. Notice that I said “in the way I make them”; a lot of other peoples’ recipes do not make any difference in the two. My basic recipe is a Short Bread cookie dough, with nut flour added; there is no leavening or egg in the recipe. You will find other recipes that add egg to the basic Short Bread, and do not differentiate on the type of nut flour. In most cases, these are all called Mexican Wedding Cookies. I have seen recipes that use pecans, walnuts or almonds, all calling them Mexican Wedding Cookies.

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A Short Bread recipe is fairly simple and short; it contains fat, sugar, flour and flavoring. This recipe adds the nut flour to make the cookies. For Mexican Wedding Cookies, the nut flour is ground pecans, and for the Russian Tea Cakes the nut flour is ground walnuts. The second differentiation I make is in the shape of the cookie; while I leave the Russian Tea Cakes as balls, I roll the Mexican Wedding Cookies into crescents. I have seen Mexican Wedding Cookies that make them as a ball that looks exactly like the Russian Tea Cakes. This picture is my Russian Tea Cakes.

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So, with this recipe, you can make either Mexican Wedding Cookies or Russian Tea Cakes, and if you want to interpret the recipe in your own way, feel free. You may make your cookies with any nut flour you want, and you may shape your cookies any way you want. I am only showing you the way I learned.

The nut flours are easy to make; they do not have to be ground to a powder, but just enough to be easy to handle in the dough. The way I make mine is in a food processor. I have found that it is best to run a knife through the nut halves a couple times before putting them in the food processor so the projectiles the spinning blades throw do not have as much mass; it scares me to hear the nut halves hit the side of the processor bowl. I think once when I did just dump the halves in the processor, I actually cracked a piece of the plastic of the processor bowl. Once in the processor, just pulse it a few times; there will still be a few discernible pieces, but for the most part you will have a fine enough grind to make the nut flour.

Mexican Wedding Cookies and Russian Tea Cakes

Ingredients:

  • 2 sticks (1 cup) butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, plus more for dusting
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup nut flour

Directions

  1. For the nut flour, measure out the desired type of nuts, cut any large pieces, then finely grind in food processor or blender. I use pecans for Mexican Wedding Cookies and walnuts for Russian Tea Cakes.
  2. Heat oven to 400 degrees F.
  3. In large bowl with electric mixer beat butter, confectioners’ sugar, and vanilla until blended. On low speed, beat in flour and nut flour just until blended.
  4. Roll Tablespoons of dough into shape; smooth 1-inch balls for Russian Tea Cakes or crescents for Mexican Wedding Cookies. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets
  5. Bake 10 minutes or until firm (cookies may crack slightly).
  6. To Coat: put confectioners’ sugar into a wide bowl. Add hot cookies, a few at a time and toss carefully to coat. Remove with a spoon to wire rack to cool. When cool, roll again in confectioners’ sugar.


There are a couple tricks I should mention when making the crescent Mexican Wedding cookies. To roll out the Tablespoon of dough into a cylinder, I found that the best method was to roll across my bottom hand in a 45 degree direction, with my top hand doing the motion from little finger to first finger and back again. When I rolled at 90 degrees, the ending shape was wider in the middle than at the ends and didn’t make as nice a finished cookie.

Notice that the recipe says to remove with a spoon to the wire rack. If you try to pick the crescent up with your fingers, there is a good chance that it will break into two pieces. The spoon does not put any pressure against the legs and seems to save more cookies that when just using your fingers.

Once when I was making Mexican Wedding Cookies I rolled the unbaked crescents in the confectioners’ sugar before baking, and then again when they came out of the oven and were hot. This worked quite well. After all, the object is to get as much powdered sugar as possible on the cookies, isn’t it?

Perk’s Sugar Cookies

This recipe was one I tried when I was testing for a good recipe to use for cutout cookies; it didn’t make the cut. The dough is soft, and spreads a lot when cooked. But still, the cookie is very good- soft rather than crisp.

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Perk’s Sugar Cookies

(Perk is Penny Delancey’s Grandmother)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cream of Tartar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions:

Cream butter and sugar. Add egg and vanilla and beat until light and fluffy. Add dry ingredients; mix well.

Roll into balls, place on cookie sheet and press down with a glass dipped in sugar. Bake at 375 degrees about 10 minutes.

To make lemon cookies, exclude the vanilla and add:

  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons lemon
  • 2 Tablespoons more flour


The spread on these cookies is quite large; they become close to 3 inches in diameter. I had some trouble with the cookies spreading into each other while cooking; as a result, some of mine have a rough edge where I had to pull them apart. I was using my #50 scoop, and only getting 8 cookies per pan.

I also had some problem using the “glass dipped in sugar”. I wasn’t getting the sugar to stick to the bottom of the glass, and then to transfer to the cookie. As a result, I filled a salt shaker with sugar, and then I used the glass to press the cookie dough ball flat, and sprinkled sugar on the flattened cookie.