19 May 2009

Chocolate Hazelnut Cookies

I've been feeling like cookies that embody the classic European combination of rich chocolate and hazelnuts, so I adapted my recipe for Chocolate Crinkle Cookies to suit my crazy cravings...but it wasn't until after the hazelnuts had been roasted, steamed, peeled, chopped, and baked to perfection inside these little masterpieces that Francis mentioned his disdain for hazelnuts. Hey, but guess what? He polished off all but two cookies that I managed to steal away for myself in no time flat.

1/2 C unsalted butter
1 1/4 C sugar
2 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
4 oz. unsweetened chocolate + 2 oz. bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled
2 C flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. milk
1/2 C hazelnuts, roasted, skinned, and chopped

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.

2. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy; beat in vanilla, then eggs and chocolate.

3. Stir in dry ingredients alternately with milk; stir in hazelnuts until just incorporated.

4. Chill for 1 hour.

5. Shape into 1" balls and place on baking sheet 2" apart.

6. Bake for 14-16 minutes.

24 April 2009

Classic Peanut Butter Cookies

Just like Mom used to make. Well, just like your mom used to make. My mom was a chocolate-chip-with-walnuts kind of woman herself. I never experienced one of these tasty treats until a couple of years ago when one of the old ladies at work baked them for us. God bless Miss Pat; she made me a believer. You can make these with crunchy or creamy peanut butter according to your preference--mine is the Walmart-brand crunchy stuff. If you're feeling really sinister, toss in some milk or semi-sweet chocolate chips.

Peanut Butter Cookies

3/4 C unsalted butter
3/4 C brown sugar
1/4 C sugar
1 C peanut butter
1 large egg
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
2 C flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 C chocolate chips (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease or line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat.

Cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add peanut butter and mix well. Beat in the egg and vanilla, mixing until thoroughly combined.

Add flour, soda, and salt, beating until completely incorporated. Then stir in chocolate chips (if using.)

Shape into 1" balls and place on baking sheet. Dip the tines of a fork into some granulated sugar and press into each ball in a criss-cross pattern.

Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the edges begin to turn golden brown.

21 April 2009

Wheat Germ Blondies

This recipe is appropriate for my first post, as this is the first thing I baked for Francis that made him say, "Yum! When are you making these again?" I adapted them from Meta Given's Modern Encyclopedia of Cooking, which I inherited from my great-Gram after years of baking goodies with her in a cozy kitchen. I've added wheat germ, which takes a little of the guilt away (completely psychological), white chocolate & butterscotch chips, and adjusted the vanilla to lend a richer flavor. I also halved the cup of brown sugar into part dark brown and part regular, but any brown sugar will do.

P.S. These are pretty awesome with a scoop of 'nilla ice cream.

3/4 C all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4-1/2 C toasted wheat germ
1/2 C butter
1/2 C dark brown sugar
1/2 C light brown sugar
2 large eggs, beaten
3/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/2-3/4 C pecans
1/4 C white chocolate chips
1/4 C butterscotch chips

Grease or line with parchment an 8x8 inch pan.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Sift together flour, salt, and baking powder in a small bowl.
In a saucepan (I like to use one big enough to mix everything in...less dishes to wash), melt butter over low heat, then add sugar and stir until smooth. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.

Beat in eggs until well blended, then beat in vanilla.

Add the flour mixture & wheat germ and beat until smooth. Then stir in wheat germ, pecans, butterscotch and white chocolate chips.

Spread into prepared pan and bake for 22-27 minutes, until barely done. Score with knife into squares, cool in pan on rack, then cut and serve or store in an airtight container.