Saturday, October 29, 2011

October 2011 Daring Baker Povitica!

This may not look it, but it's a "mini" version of the daring baker challenge.

The Daring Baker’s October 2011 challenge was Povitica, hosted by Jenni of The Gingered Whisk. Povitica is a traditional Eastern European Dessert Bread that is as lovely to look at as it is to eat!

I decided to keep to the traditional recipe of povitica - because it sounded really tasty. Just think about it - a rich dough hiding the secret of a walnut sugar rich filling, all wrapped up and just pretty as a picture both before and after you cut it!

Along with a nice cup of coffee or tea, this is an awesome way to start the day - or an even better way to take a little break in the middle of the day for "tea time". Everyone I gifted these too loved them, and I encourage you to make this as soon as your can. The .pdf of the recipe can be found here.

Thank you again for such a great challenge, and Happy Halloween everyone!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Peanut Butter Chocolate "Double" Cookies

Sometimes I just can't make up my mind. Do I want chocolate chip cookies or peanut butter? Well, why not both? Yea, I'm overly ambitious like that sometimes.

I would like to say I came up with this idea by myself, but I didn't. Well, I enhanced an idea that fell into my lap. My SIL Fawn has been bit by coupon madness, and purchased a bunch of those cookies in a bag type things - the ones were you add a bit of water or an egg, and then bake. Sounds cool, right? Only problem with that is, she doesn't like the chocolate chip ones. So she put the dough for the chocolate chip on top of the peanut butter, and she loved it.

Once she told me about this, I had to try...but I wanted a bit of a twist, of course. I decided to make peanut butter thumbprint cookies, and then fill the thumbprint with chocolate chip cookies. So the cookies wouldn't necessarily melt together, but have two distinct cookie doughs baked together.
The result? Awesome. My peanut butter cookies spread a bit more than I would have liked, but that is simply because I didn't let them chill in the refrigerator long enough. And, yes, that cookie you see in the middle is a peanut butter cookie filled with raw cookie dough. I think the cookie monster would be proud.
A pdf of the recipe can be found here.

Double Cookies

Makes about 36, depending on size

Adapted from: Mom’s peanut butter cookie recipe, chocolate chip cookie recipe (which looks a lot like the Nestle one…), and Chocolate Krinkles

NOTE: I chose to use raw eggs in this batter, and take the slight risk that if I eat it raw, that may not be a good thing. If that is not for you, I suggest you stick to the baked version, or substitute 2 T. whole milk for the eggs, but that changes the texture of the baked cookie to crisper.

For the Peanut Butter dough:

2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 egg or 2 T. whole milk
2/3 c. creamy peanut butter

In a large mixing bowl, cream butter, sugars, and peanut butter until light and fluffy. Add soda, salt, and egg, and mix until well combined. Gradually stir in flour and chill dough for 5-6 hours or overnight.

For the Chocolate Chip Dough:

2 3/4 cups all purpose flour

1 t. soda

½ t. salt

1 cup unsalted butter, softened

1 cup brown sugar, lightly packed

½ c. granulated sugar

2 cups chocolate chips (I used semi-sweet)

2 t. vanilla

1 egg or 2 T. whole milk

In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and both sugars until light and fluffy. Add egg, salt, vanilla, and soda, and mix until well incorporated. Gradually incorporate flour and chill dough for 5-6 hours and overnight.

To assemble:

Premade and refrigerated cookie dough from above

1/3 c. sugar

Preheat oven to 350.

Form cookie dough into 1 ½ tablespoon balls. Roll in sugar. On a lined baking pan (line with parchment or a silicone pad), place cookie balls 1 ½ to 2 inches apart. Dip your thumb in sugar and form a well in the middle of the cookie to put your second flavor in. The easiest way I’ve found to do this is to gently move your thumb around the middle of the cookie, making the center larger, while moving your forefinger around the edge of the cookie to make sure it doesn’t crack. Place 1 teaspoon of your second dough in the middle of your cookie.

Bake cookies for 9-12 minutes, until lightly golden. Remove from oven and let rest 5-10 minutes, then transfer them to a serving plate.

**If desired, you can leave the thumbprint empty and place uncooked cookie dough in the center (see previous information about eggs before you do).

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Almond Thumbprints with Raspberry Curd Filling

I'm baacccckkk! Wow, that was quite a break, but I was busy, working on a contract I had been working on for a while. Combine that with a short trip, and there you go!

It's PinkTober! For those of you that don't know, PinkTober was created to raise awareness (and money) for breast cancer. I don't know of anyone that hasn't been touched in some way by breast cancer, so lets see what we can do to help reduce that number.

I created these cookies just for PinkTober. I was looking for something a bit different, and I think these do it. And, they taste so good! The raspberry curd is a little silky, a little tart, and a little sweet. The cookie has a little chew, a little crunch, and tastes fantastically of almonds.

I did struggle with what I was going to make, since I wanted something different. And, I will admit, raspberries aren't exactly pink. However, I did have quite a few raspberries in my freezer that I wanted to use, and I comforted myself by thinking that raspberries are so good for you, maybe we could just fake it a bit. Yes, I know, the butter and sugar pretty much cancel out the good raspberries, but its the thought that counts, right?

For a .pdf of the recipe, click here.

Almond Thumbprint Cookies with Raspberry Curd filling

For the curd (makes about 1 ½ cups):

1 1/2 cup raspberries, crushed

½ to 2/3 cup sugar

6 T. butter, softened

1 t. lemon juice

½ t. lemon zest

4 egg yolks

2 T. corn starch, dissolved in 1 T. water

¼ t. salt

In a large saucepan, add all ingredients except butter. Over medium heat, stir constantly, until mixture has thickened and coats the back of a spoon. The consistency should be just a little thinner than pudding.

Remove from heat, and add the butter, one tablespoon at a time. After butter has melted into the curd, strain curd to remove any seeds and/or lumps. Store in an air tight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

For the cookies (makes about 30):

3 cups almonds, toasted and chopped

1 2/3 c. flour

½ c. butter, softened

½ t. salt

1/2 t. almond extract

1 cup sugar

1 egg

Preheat oven to 350. In the bowl of a food processor, add 2 cups almonds, flour, salt, and sugar. Process until almonds are finely ground, but be careful to not process to a paste. Add remaining ingredients and pulse until well mixed.

Shape one tablespoon of dough into a ball. Roll in remaining chopped toasted almonds, lightly coating the outside. Place on a cookie sheet. You don’t need to worry about these spreading, they don’t spread much at all. Make an indentation in the middle of each cookie. I’ve found the best way to do this is with the top of a wooden spoon, or with a teaspoon.

Bake cookies for 9-12 minutes, until lightly brown. Remove from oven and let cool on the cookie sheet. After cool, fill the center with raspberry curd.