Posts Tagged 'Chocolate'

Cookies Day 12: Brownie Thins

I’m very, very happy to report that these cookies weren’t just good, not just great. They were glorious.

Do you like brownies? Do you like the edges of brownies? Do you like the crusty stuff that sticks to the pan when you remove the brownies?

If so, this recipe is for you.

Do you like one-bowl baking? Do you like easy baking? Do you like using your microwave when baking?

If so, this recipe is for you.

Do you like making desserts quickly, under 30 minutes? Do you like recipes you can throw together at the last minute? Do you like baking gifts for your friends, but not wasting your entire day?

If so, this recipe is for you.

I even royally screwed up this recipe by reading “1 cup sugar” instead of the actual “1/2 cup sugar” and adding a whole extra half cup to the recipe, and it still turned out great. This must be one of those recipes that you can’t screw up unless you really try, one of those non-bakers baking recipes. Furthermore, you do all of your butter- and chocolate-melting and mixing in one bowl, mixing only briefly.

The cookies are almost like lace cookies in chocolate form, chewy in the middle yet firm and crispy around the edges. The pisachios add a nice little crunch and difference of texture, while the unsweetened chocolate keep the cookies from becoming too sweet, even if you were to add extra sugar.

Brownie Thins
(original recipe Bon Appetit December 2007)

Ingredients
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
Pinch of coarse kosher salt
Nonstick vegetable oil spray
1/4 cup chopped pistachios

Preparation
Position rack in lowest third of oven; preheat to 350°F. Butter 2 baking sheets. Place butter and chocolate in medium microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on medium-high power until almost completely melted, about 1 minute. Whisk until smooth. Add sugar and egg; whisk until smooth, about 1 minute. Add flour, both extracts, and salt; stir just to blend. Let batter stand 10 minutes.

Scoop rounded teaspoonfuls batter onto prepared baking sheets, spacing apart (12 per sheet). Spray sheet of plastic wrap lightly with nonstick spray. Place, sprayed side down, over cookies. Using fingers, press each mound into 2 1/2- to 2 3/4-inch round. Remove plastic wrap. Sprinkle pistachios over rounds. Bake cookies, 1 sheet at a time, until slightly darker at edges and firm in center, about 7 minutes. Cool on sheet 2 minutes. Transfer cookies to rack; cool completely. DO AHEAD: Can be made 5 days ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.

Cookies Day 7: Mini Black and White Cookies

Today was a long day. First day of internship after not a lot of sleep, work til 6, walk back 3 miles, run 6.5 miles, dinner, shower, cookies. In other words, I’m tired.

These cookies did not make me happy. I was expecting flat, miniature versions of the traditional cookie. Instead, I got puffy mounds. Even after icing the flat end, I still wasn’t that happy with them, even though they do taste pretty awesome. Light, with just a hint of lemon in the icing, paired with chocolate … but they’re too puffy. At least they’re tasty, but I found myself going over the recipe countless times to try and figure out where I missed up to make my cookies rise so much. Maybe it was the way I spooned them out onto the cookie sheet, even though I did exactly what the recipe said.

Oh well, can’t win em all, including my fantasy football team where I was a HUGE loser and forgot to check my players’ status on Saturday night and one was injured but it was too late to take him out by the time I noticed it ….. kiss kiss bye bye first place, it was fun.

The icing, at least, is fabulous. And makes a. lot.

Mini Black-and-White Cookies
(original recipe Gourmet December 2005)

Ingredients
For cookies
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup well-shaken buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
7 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg

For icings
2 3/4 cups confectioners sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
4 to 6 tablespoons water
1/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder

Special equipment: a small offset spatula

Preparation
Make cookies:
Put oven racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat oven to 350°F. Butter 2 large baking sheets.

Whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. Stir together buttermilk and vanilla in a cup.

Beat together butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium-high until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes, then add egg, beating until combined well. Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture and buttermilk mixture alternately in batches, beginning and ending with flour mixture, and mixing just until smooth.

Drop rounded teaspoons of batter 1 inch apart onto baking sheets. Bake, switching position of sheets halfway through baking, until tops are puffed, edges are pale golden, and cookies spring back when touched, 6 to 8 minutes total. Transfer to a rack to cool.

Make icings while cookies cool:
Stir together confectioners sugar, corn syrup, lemon juice, vanilla, and 2 tablespoons water in a small bowl until smooth. If icing is not easily spreadable, add more water, 1/2 teaspoon at a time. Transfer half of icing to another bowl and stir in cocoa, adding more water, 1/2 teaspoon at a time, to thin to same consistency as vanilla icing. Cover surface with a dampened paper towel, then cover bowl with plastic wrap.

Ice cookies:
With offset spatula, spread white icing over half of flat side of each cookie. Starting with cookies you iced first, spread chocolate icing over other half.

Cookies Day 5: Chocolate Peanut Toffee

Every time I plan on going for a 10 mile run, something seems to come up. Rain, cold, hangovers. Today it was snow. Wet, heavy, mushy, yucky snow. It’s also cold, but that doesn’t bother me as much as being wet AND cold.

So I didn’t really feel obligated to get myself going early this morning, or do anything at all, really. As I type this, I’m mentally preparing myself to go to the gym, but it’s been a pretty lazy Saturday up to this point.

Flipping through recipes in my now daily quest to find a cookie to bake, I came upon this chocolate peanut toffee recipe. Other than cutting some things up and boiling some other things, there’s not much to this recipe. It also doesn’t require any baking, which means I got to keep my oven turned off for at least a day.

One of the best things about this toffee is the simplicity of the ingredients, allowing for a pure, sharp contrast between the deepness of the chocolate and the bite of the salt. It’s reminiscent of the now ubiquitous salted caramel, but with chocolate.

Chocolate Peanut Toffee
(original recipe Gourmet December 2007)

Ingredients
4 sticks (1 pound) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 cups sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 cups whole cocktail peanuts plus 1 cup chopped (1 pound 10 ounces)
7 to 8 ounces 70%-cacao bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

Equipment: a 15- by 10- by 1-inch baking pan; a candy thermometer; a metal offset spatula

Preparation
Butter baking pan and put on a heatproof surface.

Bring butter, sugar, and salt to a boil in a 4- to 5-quart heavy pot over medium-high heat, whisking until smooth, then boil, stirring occasionally, until mixture is deep golden and registers 300°F (hard-crack stage; see Kitchen Notebook, page 240) on thermometer, 15 to 20 minutes.

Immediately stir in whole peanuts, then carefully pour hot toffee into center of baking pan. Spread with spatula, smoothing top, and let stand 1 minute, then immediately sprinkle chocolate on top. Let stand until chocolate is melted, 4 to 5 minutes, then spread over toffee with cleaned spatula. Sprinkle evenly with chopped peanuts, then freeze until chocolate is firm, about 30 minutes. Break into pieces.

Guinness Ice Cream

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When I first saw this recipe, I thought, You’ve got to be kidding me. I like Guinness and all, but ice cream? Even though I’ve used Guinness in chocolate cake, I was a little apprehensive about how it would turn out, pretty naked in ice cream. This kind of recipe, however, is not the kind that you can easily pass up.

Jay ended up making the ice cream, so I have no idea about the level of difficulty as far as procedure goes, I can only speak about result. The recipe recommends that you pair the ice cream with chocolate-covered pretzels, and this is a recmmendation that I readily affirm. The ice cream is fine by itself, but without the added sweet and saltiness from the pretzels, the ice cream is a little too yeasty and the flavor is a little too strong. One good thing about this ice cream, however, is that you can’t eat a lot of it all at one time.

Next time we make this ice cream, we plan on adding little bits of chocolate-covered pretzels to the ice cream itself.

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Guinness Ice Cream with Chocolate Covered Pretzels
(original recipe Food & Wine)

Ingredients
2 cups Guinness (16 ounces)
2 cups heavy cream
1 3/4 cups whole milk
15 large egg yolks
1 cup granulated sugar
Chocolate-Covered Pretzels, for serving

Method
In a large saucepan, combine the Guinness with the cream and milk and bring to a simmer over moderately high heat. In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the sugar. Gradually add the hot Guinness cream to the yolks, whisking constantly until well blended.

Pour the mixture into the saucepan and cook over moderate heat, stirring constantly until it coats the back of a spoon, about 6 minutes; do not let it boil. Pour the custard into a medium bowl set in a large bowl filled with ice water. Let stand until the custard is cold, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes.

Pour the custard into an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions (this may have to be done in 2 batches). Pack the ice cream into an airtight container and freeze until firm, about 4 hours.

Spoon the ice cream into bowls and top with some Chocolate-Covered Pretzels. Serve at once.

Chocolate-Covered Pretzels

Ingredients
6 ounces milk chocolate, chopped
2 cups thin pretzel sticks

Method
Line a baking sheet with wax paper. Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water. Let cool for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the pretzels and stir gently until coated. Using a fork, transfer the pretzels to the wax paper, letting the excess chocolate drip back into the bowl. Refrigerate the pretzels until the chocolate is set, about 20 minutes.

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