Saturday, January 21, 2012

Week Three - Chunky Peanut Butter Cookies

First, I've got to say I'm not fond of Peanut Butter Cookies. I may have eaten a few more than I should have at some time in my misspent childhood... and I just don't eat them any more. Other folks like them, however, so here is a sort-of-variation of Peanut Butter Cookies.

1 Cup Chunky Peanut Butter
4 oz. melted Butter
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar (packed)
1/2 Cup White Sugar
1 Large Egg
1Tablespoon Vanilla
1 2/3 Cups AP Flour
1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Salt

Washed Raw Sugar for sprinkling on tops


Wait to preheat oven to 350 until you take the dough out of the refrigerator.

In the bowl of your stand mixer (or a medium-sized mixing bowl) combine the Melted Butter, both the Brown and White Sugars, Peanut Butter, Egg, and Vanilla. Mix on Medium speed until combined. Sift the dry ingredients onto a piece of waxed paper or parchment, then add them to the mixer (always add dry ingredients a little at a time, on low speed) increasing speed to medium and mixing until dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl, about 2 minutes. Dough will stick together in a solid mass. Pour the dough out onto the waxed paper and fold the paper to completely cover the ball and place it in the refrigerator for about two hours, until firm.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator, and place parchment on two half-sheet pans. Now is the time to pre heatthe oven to 350...

Flour your hands then pinch the dough off and roll into 1" balls between your hands. Place the balls about 2" apart on the cookie sheet. When ou have filled the sheet, press the tops of the cookies with the tines of a fork to make the traditional lines in the tops of the Peanut Butter Cookies. Sprinkle the tops of the cookies with raw sugar to add crunch, and bake for about 12 minutes, or until goldy-brown. Remove cookes to a rack to cool.

Enjoy with a cold glass of milk !

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Week Two... Cookie Press

My cookie press skills leave something to be desired! Gotta do something about that, don't I?

I found my Mom's cookie press in a box of old kitchen tools. It is all aluminum, and was made sometime in the 1950s. I can't ever remember her using it. Since I hadn't used a cookie press before and making press "Tea Cookies" was the aim of this week's baking, I used one of the recipes included in the instruction booklet enclosed in the box with the press. I was amazed at all the tips and plates to make really fancy cookies. They were so Mom! "Bridge, anyone?"

I did not like the dough at all! Very sticky (it was supposed to be soft, but this stuff was "sticky"! I couldn't get it to stick to the cookie sheet, no matter how I tried). I use parchment when I'm baking, but the directions said to form the cookies onto an ungreased sheet and bake. When you removed the baking sheet from the oven, the cookies were supposed to be removed while still hot/warm. Not a good idea to omit the parchment... the cookies didn't stick badly, but they deformed when I slipped the cookie spat under them when I was moving them to the cooling rack. I added more Vanilla and Cinnamon to give these puppies some flavor, they were so blah. ..just nothing-tasting. Lemon would be a good choice, too... maybe I'll try changing the flavor next time. That and finding or making up a different recipe!

I got pretty frustrated with the cookie press, and made small drop cookies out of the dough so I could be done, too. (yeah, yeah...) Sprinkled some Demara Sugar on the tops of the small cookies for color and crunch. They weren't bad, just not spectacular. After I've had a chance to develop a "Tea Cookie" recipe that I can use in a cookie press, I'll post it. We'll have to wait a bit for that, I'm not in the mood..


Friday, January 6, 2012

Week One...Coconut-Marzipan Macaroons!

I'm in Palm Desert, taking care of my Dad while my brother (the 'regular' caregiver) is on a very short vacation. Since I didn't bring any recipes with me, I decided to make up an easy Macaroon to share with you all... my Dad loves Macaroons! I didn't bring my camera, so I took a photo with my phone. Sadly, it isn't a Smart Phone, so I can't post directly from there. I've asked Larry to send the photo from his smart phone to my email, and I'll try to post it from there as soon as it arrives. What a lot of convolutions to look at some cookies!

The ingredient list is short and the prep time minimal, so get into the kitchen and whip these up! (You'll understand later why this is such a bad pun. Think eggs.)

Coconut-Marzipan Macaroons

Difficulty Rating = Easy

Tools Required = Med-small bowl, Whisk, Stand Mixer (OR Large Bowl and Wooden Spoon), Scale (or measuring cup if you want to convert measurement), Half-Sheet Pan, Parchment, Cooling Rack

Prep Time = 15 min.

Bake Time = 20 min. depending on “chewiness” desired. Bake longer for more crunch.

Ingredient list

7 oz. Marzipan paste – one roll if you are using the pre-made kind.

8 oz. Sugar

6 oz. AP Flour

5 oz. Unsweetened Coconut

3 Egg Whites – beaten to ‘frothy’

1 Whole Egg


Pre-heat oven to 375, move rack to center. Cover a half Sheet pan with parchment. Crumble Marzipan into bowl of stand mixer and add the Sugar and Whole egg. Mix (on 2-3) to smooth batter consistency. In a smallish bowl, whisk Egg Whites to Frothy and set aside. Slowly add Flour to stand mixer bowl. Remove bowl from mixer and fold in the Coconut. Fold in the frothy Egg Whites last so you don't lose all the air.

Place large, rounded spoonfuls – use a scoop for consistent size – on cookie sheet. Bake until goldy-brown on the points and the bottom, and very light in the crevasses. About 20 min, depending on oven and your tastes.

Cool on a rack. Store in an airtight container, or freeze up to six months. (Mine never last that long, though!)