“I don’t understand why so many ‘so called’ chocolate lovers complain about the calories in chocolate, when all true chocoholics know that it is a vegetable. It comes from the cocoa bean, beans are veggies, ’nuff said.” I have no idea who said this. I found it online at one of those portals for quotes about chocolate. But it says everything I feel about chocolate. When I’m eating it. I just don’t care about calories. I just don’t. I’m lost in the rich pure deliciousness of it. These cookies are a chocoholic’s dream. Fudgey cookies topped with a morsel of pure Dove dark chocolate. I used hearts since Valentine’s Day is coming up. Nothin’ goes better with a made up holiday about love than chocolate.
These delightful little cookies always seem to be on Christmas platters, but I’m here to tell you that they’re great all year round. They are so easy to customize – you’ll be amazed at all the delicious ways you can make them. With their buttery melty texture, they are always a hit.
New Year’s resolution #1 is to get back to blogging. The whole, two kids in school at different times/becoming nothing more than a chauffeur thing has really thrown me off my game. Nevertheless, there were many brilliant recipes this year and so I bring you Bakerlady’s Top Ten of 2012. By popularity (that means you wonderful readers picked these), here they are:
Honorable Mention – Nanny’s Banana Pudding – I just can leave her off the list. It was so close to cracking the top 10. Probably my favorite dessert making memory of the year at her cabin with my sisters.
#10 Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Parfait — A dessert I made for a dinner party with friends that turned out to be absolutely gloriously delicious. And beautiful. Very impressive.
#9 Disneyland’s White Chocolate Raspberry Cookie — My favorite snack in the park and apparently a cookie that many people want to replicate at home. I got to share one at Disneyland this fall with my kids. They love it as much as I do!
#8 Cinnamon Roll Pancakes — A quick way to fancy-pants up your kids breakfast. Ah-mazing!
#7 Rolo Cake Bars — I made these for the guys who painted my house this summer. Quick, easy and absolutely scrumptious!
#6 Greatest Chicken Salad Ever — This wasn’t a new recipe since last January, I’ve been making it a long time. Thanks to the power of Pinterest however, many new folks discovered it this year.
#5 M&M’s Rolo Pretzel Bites — Possibly the most evil (in the best way possible) thing I’ve ever discovered. You’ll find yourself eating them like popcorn…until you remember halfway thru the batch that you really really really shouldn’t do that because you just consumed a half bag of Rolos without realizing it.
#4 Snickerdoodle Bread – Like your favorite cookie in bread form. Soft and delicious with a ribbon of cinnamon butter thru the middle and a crusty cinnamon sugar topper. Yum yum yum!
#3 Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzel Bars — These were a spin-off another popular recipe. The addition of the pretzels to smooth peanut butter and chocolate was awesome in my book, and yours too!
#2 Lemon Monkey Bread — My personal favorite discovery of this year. No boring caramel monkey bread for my readers. This stuff is warm and soft with a hit of sweet and great tang from all the lemons. Dee-licious!
And the number one recipe this year coming in with more hits this year than my entire site had in the history of Bakerlady (aka: a whole lot!)…
Reese’s Peanut Butter Bars!! I love how many of you found Bakerlady thru this recipe (thanks Pinterest). I enjoy all the stories I get to hear about making this dessert with your mothers, grandmothers and enjoying them in your school cafeterias growing up. I’m still pretty peeved that my school never had these things…but happy for those of you who did. Sort of happy anyway.
Thank you all for coming back to Bakerlady all year for more deliciousness. Have a safe and happy New Year’s celebration and I’ll see you all in 2013!!
In the past several weeks I made two monumentally bad choices. Probably more, but these two will probably haunt me the rest of my life. The first mistake was trying salt n’ pepper pistachios for the first time. Please hold your judgement until you find out the other thing I’ve never had before. Pistachios pale in comparison. I think since I first cracked one of those salty nuts I’ve taken down an average of a pound of them a day. No exaggeration. I’ve blown thru three 5 pound bags of those evil snacks in about two weeks. Fifteen pounds of nuts? That’s crazy! I just can’t get enough of them.
I discovered the most disturbing thing last weekend. There are people who (brace yourself…this is earth shattering news) don’t like cake. Seriously? I thought my crazy husband was the only genetically deficient (and I mean that in the nicest way possible) one. But apparently, there are more of you out there. One of them is my sister Elizabeth. Yes, the Lizzy of cowboy salsa and pirate’s punch doesn’t like cake. It is just so depressing. She does like pie though. Pumpkin pie specifically. So for her birthday last weekend I made plans to cook up some pumpkin-y fall deliciousness.
A few years ago I went to Disneyland on a mission. That mission was food. Glorious, delicious food. You see, I’ve been enjoying Disneyland pretty much my whole life. I went several times as an adult with my sisters and cousin. No kids, just four 20-somethings having a blast. I took a trip after the birth of each of my children. A mommy break sometimes is absolutely essential to keeping your sanity. In all these trips however, I’d never truly realized the fabulousness of Disneyland food. Obviously there are things that are overpriced and a little bland (it is a theme park after all), but there are unexpected delights as well. I started reading Disneyland forums a few months before this particular trip. I was doing research (yes, it’s a sickness…I know) and compiling a list of all the great things people recommended consuming while at the Happiest Place on Earth. The list got very long very fast. Over 5 blissful days of appetite stretching, gluttonous eating I managed to taste everything on my list. Most items met or exceeded my expectations. One cookie blew me away. The forums just called it “the cookie”.
This cookie. A light sweet dough with white and chocolate chips swirled with raspberry. Bliss. Usually when something is overhyped as being simply divine, the real thing doesn’t measure up. I cannot express to you how excited I was when at first bite I realized Disneyland’s White Chocolate Raspberry Cookie was everything I wanted it to be and more. It is beyond delicious. You can find it at Pooh Corner and at some of the shops on Main Street. Can you sense my joy at finally having one in my hands??
I’d heard that Disneyland will give you the recipe for things if you ask. Not true. At least, not true with this cookie. Perhaps because they don’t actually make it in the park. It’s made by a company called Selma’s. And they aren’t about to hand out their recipe (I can’t really blame them). Thankfully, my cousin Shannon (also a baker and a Disney freak) managed to piece together a close copy using Selma’s snickerdoodle dough as a springboard. I tweaked her recipe a little, using almond extract instead of raspberry. I also used a trick I learned from America’s Test Kitchen and added an egg yolk for a super soft and chewy cookie. The result is pretty near a perfect match. Big and chewy, swirled with raspberry and the sweetness of two kinds of chocolate.
The only trick in making these is the swirl of raspberry. It is VERY easy to mix it too much and end up with a bright pink cookie instead of dancing raspberry swirls. Working 1/4 of the dough at a time is the key to getting the proper twirly action.
Dollup about 1 tablespoon of jam over the top of one quarter of the dough.
Then use a knife to sort of cut it in.
Don’t stir! There should still be clumps of obvious jam.
Then, using a cookie scoop, drop the dough on your prepared cookie sheet.
And flatten slightly.
Repeat with the remaining dough, working with one quarter of it at a time.
Depending on the size of your cookies, your bake time can vary from 8 minutes all the way to 17. I wanted mine to resemble the big bakery sized cookies they serve at the park. Only bake until the edges are faint golden and set. The middles will still be soft and puffy.
I can almost hear the faint screams of people going down Splash Mountain and the buzz of the pretend bees outside Pooh Corner as I eat these cookies. It was a vacation in my kitchen as the aroma of chocolate and raspberry started wafting out. At first bite I knew I was in deep trouble if I didn’t find someone to “gift” the batch to. They were so soft and chewy and the flavor of the dough and the mixed in jam & chocolate was exactly right!
If you’ve ever tried this treat in Disneyland and love it as I do, make sure you have people to help you eat these before making a batch. The temptation to sing Zip-a-dee-doo-dah while you consume the entire tray will probably be too great if you are by yourself with these. Partly because having another one isn’t going to cost you four bucks like it does at the Magic Kingdom! Without any monetary ramifications holding you back, there’s no telling what you might do. Seriously.
Disneyland’s White Chocolate Raspberry Cookie
adapted from Rumbly In My Tumbly
2 1/2 C Flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 C butter, room temperature
1/2 C granulated sugar
1/2 C brown sugar
1 egg + 1 egg yolk
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract
Raspberry Jam (I used about 4 TBSP)
3/4 cup white chocolate chips
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1. Cream the butter & sugars until light and fluffy. Add egg/yolk, vanilla and almond extracts. Mix well. Add dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Add white & semi-sweet chocolate chips.
2. Scoop out about 1/4 of the dough into a smaller bowl. Add about 1 T of jam and cut it in using a butter knife. Be careful not to MIX it, or your dough will turn pink, you want more of a swirl.
3. Take the jam swirled dough and scoop by spoonfuls (I used a large melon baller/ice cream scoop) onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Flatten slightly with the back of a spoon or spatula and place in a 350° oven for 12-17 minutes. *Your bake time may be less depending on the size of cookie you make. I wanted mine big and bakery sized, so they took a little longer. Take them out when the edges are set but the center is still puffy and soft. Cool on baking sheet 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
4. Repeat steps 2 & 3 until all the dough is used.
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Cookie Monster is a classic. A friend of mine shared this video with me saying this is how she feels every time I post a new recipe. She’s so sweet. Enjoy a good laugh by watching this:
A while back, this same friend gave me a cookbook full of deliciousness. I’ve loved everything I’ve ever baked out of it. Especially the Razz-ma-tazz bars. Oh yum. I decided to let my hubby choose something for me to bake in honor of Sabrina. I’ll bet you think shared with her too huh? No. I’m totally lame and didn’t realize until after I’d sent them to work with the hubster that I should have saved some for Bri. I’m such a spaz. I know, it’s not as nice a story now. Sorry. 😦
Put aside your disappointment and make some of these cookies. They are full of crunchy nutty goodness and rich chocolate. It’s a basic peanut butter cookie, kicked up with chopped peanuts and chocolate chips. You’ll love them.
Next time Sabrina. I’ll share some cookies maybe.
Chunky Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookies
From NESTLÉ TOLL HOUSE
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups (12-oz pkg.) Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels
1/2 cup coarsely chopped peanuts
PREHEAT oven to 375° F.
COMBINE flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar and peanut butter in large mixer bowl until creamy. Beat in egg and vanilla extract. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in morsels and peanuts.
DROP dough by rounded tablespoons onto ungreased baking sheets. Press down slightly to flatten into 2-inch circles. I used a glass dipped in a little granulated sugar.
BAKE for 7 to 10 minutes or until edges are set but centers are still soft. Cool on baking sheets for 4 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.
Chocolate is grand, but oatmeal raisin cookies will always be my favorite. Packed with hearty rich flavor and succulent raisins, these cookies are absolutely perfect. Big and thick, soft and chewy. I love them. I’d take these over any other cookie out there. Any day of the week. And twice on Sunday. Odd saying. Anyone know where it comes from?
Soaking the raisins in the egg mixture is the key to this recipe. It produces lots of plump juicy morsels to bit into with all that oat deliciousness.
If you’ve had hard, dry versions of this cookie before and been turned off the whole notion of Oatmeal Raisin, give this recipe a whirl. They are simply delicious.
Perfect Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
-3 eggs beaten
-1 cup raisins
-1 teaspoon vanilla
-1 cup butter
-1 cup packed brown sugar
-1/2 cup white sugar
-2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
-1 rounded teaspoon cinnamon
-2 teaspoons baking soda
-2 1/2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
1- Combine eggs, vanilla, and raisins in a small bowl, cover and let stand for 1 hour.
2-Preheat oven to 350 F
3-In a large bowl cream the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar together. In another bowl sift together the flour, cinnamon, and baking soda, stir into creamed mixture. Then stir in raisin mixture, and rolled oats. Scoop 2 tablespoons of dough onto a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Bake for 13-15 minutes or until just set on the edges. Cool 10 minutes on the cookie sheet, then remove to a cooling rack.
I started a cake decorating class this week. Can I just say (while doing a little dance) “woo-hoo!”. I’m incredibly excited. Can’t wait to practice new techniques and learn how to make lots of beautiful things. For the first class, I had to bring blank canvases. Which, in a decorating class equals round unfrosted sugar cookies. Everybody needs a great rolled/cut out sugar cookie recipe. It’s perfect for any occasion.
This dough will not spread or bubble. It will stay exactly as you cut it. Just right for making angels and trees during Christmas, pumpkins and ghosts at Halloween, hearts for Valentine’s Day, shamrocks for St. Patrick’s Day, stars for 4th of July…you get the picture. A good sugar cookie is buttery and rich. The perfect bed for sweet light buttercream frosting. My favorite is included below.
Look how perfectly these bake. Each one just right. Light and crisp exterior with a soft buttery inside.
I know, the round cookies are pretty boring, but the recipe is so perfect, I had to share it. I didn’t have any dough sticking anywhere when making them. No frustrating perfect circle turned into a blob of cookie. Just easily rolled out exact shapes that stay how you cut them.
Perfect Every Time Sugar Cookies
from Rumbly in my Tumbly
1 1/2 cups butter, softened
2 cups white sugar
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Stir in the flour, baking powder, and salt. Cover, and chill dough for at least one hour (or overnight).
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Roll out dough on floured surface 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. Cut into shapes with any cookie cutter. Place cookies 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets.
Bake 6 to 8 minutes in preheated oven. Cool completely.
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups powdered sugar
Pinch of salt
2-3 tbsp heavy cream
1. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter on medium-high speed for about 2-3 minutes. Add vanilla extract and continue to beat until light and fluffy. Slowly beat in powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time until fully incorporated. Add salt. Beat for an additional 1-2 minutes until smooth. Add heavy cream, 1 tbsp at a time. Continue to beat on medium-high speed for another 1-2 minutes until desired consistency as been met. Add food coloring if desired.
You would never know it is the middle of June. At least not if you live anywhere near me. The famous line “It rains 9 months of the year in Seattle” is holding true. So far this month we’re running below average for temperatures (hovering near the mid 50’s…for a HIGH) and above average rainfall. Higher than normal for the Pacific Northwest means lots and lots of wet dreary days. It looked so much like mid-September out there today, I got the urge to make one of my favorite fall cookies.
I’ve wanted to recreate a treat I had over the weekend anyway, and the weather cooperating was a good excuse to do it sooner rather than later. While I was away last weekend, I stopped in four different bakeries to sample some goodies. Research you know. All for you.
These cookies are heavily spiced with cinnamon, cloves and ginger with a soft chewy texture that is absolutely glorious. Perfect for warming you inside when it is all grey and gross outside. For those of you who live where webbed feet are not a side-effect of your address, think of me huddled in a sweater as you enjoy one (or three) of these cookies with a nice glass of frosty-cold milk. Perfection.
There are a couple of tricks to getting perfectly craggly tops on your morsels of molasses. First, chill the dough. Second, do not overbake these. Mine were perfect right at 12 minutes in the oven. You want the edges to be just set, but the tops to still be all puffed up. As they cool down, you get those gorgeous cracks.
Finally, the secret weapon. Flicks of water. Yes. I know, it’s crazy. I read this in a cookbook years ago. After you’ve rolled your dough in sugar (to give it that beautiful crystallized finish), wet your hands slightly. Then, holding your hands over your baking sheet, pretend there’s a wasp flying into your face. Bzzzzzzz. Bzzzzzzzz.
Protect yourself! Shake your hands around like a bit of a maniac, flinging water droplets on top of the cookies. Seriously, these are the kinds of things I do when baking. Also when a bee gets near me. One of the plus sides of the Seattle weather is the limited number of nasty bugs. Wasps are pretty much as menacing as they come around here. Your children (or husband) may think you’ve completely lost it as you flail around in the kitchen, but your cookies will look fantastic when they’re done. And if that isn’t worth a little ridicule, I don’t know what is. Bake and enjoy!
Ginger Molassas Cookies
Adapted from Paula Dean
3/4 cup vegetable shortening
1 cup sugar, plus more for rolling
1 large egg
1/4 cup molasses
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
Using an electric mixer at low speed, cream the shortening and sugar until thoroughly combined. Add the egg and molasses and beat until completely incorporated. Sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and salt and add to the mixture. Stir until combined.
Chill in fridge for 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper or nonstick baking mats.
Roll the dough into balls about 1-inch in diameter. Roll the balls in sugar. Place 2-inchs apart on the prepared cookie sheets. Flatten the balls slightly with your fingertips. Wet your hands and flick water droplets over the cookie sheets. Bake for 12 minutes until set at edges but still puffy. Cool on 10 minutes on cookie sheet (set on rack, not on the counter). Transfer to wire racks to cool completely.