Archive for the ‘Cookies’ Category

Cranberry Pistachio Biscotti with White Chocolate

Monday, December 20th, 2010

If you haven’t forgotten about me entirely, I bet you were saying “I wish that broad would post already.” Well I am here to answer the plea of no one with a brand new post. With a perfect holiday treat, no less. All hail the Festivus pole. This recipe comes to us via my long-time friend inside the computer / long distance running buddy, Brenda. (That is to say, we run far apart. Not long distances.) I suspect she’s trying to fatten me up so that she can be faster than me. Sadly, it’s working.

One thing I hate is Biscotti you can buy at the store/coffee shop that’s so hard you could kill a man if you hit him with it. This is not that Biscotti. Sure, it’s still got some crunch to it. But, it shouldn’t knock any teeth out, at least unless they were already loose to begin with. I love it for the holidays, especially since the pistachios are green and the cranberries are red. How quaint.

The best part is, it looks like it was hard to make, but it totally isn’t! Don’t forget where you are – we don’t do complicated here.

Lets get busy!

What to gather: Cranberries, Pistachios (shelled if you can find them / are lazy), flour, sugar, baking soda, salt (only if your nuts aren’t salted), eggs, vanilla extract, orange extract, extra light olive oil (more on this later).

Now it’s later. Make sure you use “extra light” olive oil. Not to be confused with extra virgin. You do not want the taste of olive oil overpowering your biscotti, so trust me on this one. Extra Light Olive Oil. Do it.

And then combine it with the sugar in a bowl. Tricky so far, I know.

Then, we’re going to add our extracts! It originally called for vanilla and almond. But I was out of almond thought that orange would beautifully complement the cranberries, and I was right. So, from now on, vanilla and orange it is.

Stir that all together, and add 2 incredible, edible, eggs. (Did I just date myself? Worse yet, do you have no earthly idea what I’m talking about?)

In a separate bowl, combine your dry ingredients. Including the salt, if you are using salt. I didn’t, as my pistachios were pre-salted. If yours aren’t, make sure you add it! So, flour, baking soda, and salt (optional). Then, add the dry ingredients to the wet, and mix to combine.

Now we need to add the nuts and cranberries. Before adding mine, I gave them a rough chop. Not chopped to smithereens or oblivion or anything. Just a couple wacks will do. Some will remain hole, some will get cut. It’s ok. Don’t get too wound up about it, really. It’s Christmas!

This dough is sticky, so if you want to mix the nuts and cranberries in by hand, make sure you’ve already readied your pan already. Otherwise, you’re going to have messy hands and no where to turn. Except the sink of course, but you won’t feel like washing your hands right that second. Don’t ask me how I know this. You can mix this with the spoon if you’ve done your pushup(s) today.

If I had a picture of the mixed dough, it would be here. Just imagine it. It’s quite beautiful.

Moving along… line a baking sheet with parchment paper and have it ready to go. Then, we’re going to roll the dough into “logs”. Before we attempt this feat, we’re going to flour our work surface. VERY LIGHTLY!! Don’t be going all Swedish Chef on me with flour flying everywhere. That will dry out your biscotti and make you very sad. Just a very light dusting of flour on the board:

Use one hand to swoosh it around…

Then rub the other hand with the first hand. Now, using just that tiny bit of flour, you’ve floured your work surface, both hands, and make the universe smile. You might consider taking your rings off first. Don’t be like me.

Now form your dough into 2 equal size logs. How wide/long you make your logs is up to you. I wanted smaller pieces of biscotti so that they could go on my cookie platter and not be 6″ longer than any of the other cookies. Wouldn’t want them to feel bad, you know. Sometimes size does matter. So, my logs are about 2″ wide.

Now move them, gently, to the parchment lined cookie sheet, and place in the oven for about 30 minutes. Or until it’s JUST starting to brown. Or really even just shy of starting to brown. You don’t want those death sticks we talked about earlier, remember! In case you need a picture of them again…

Once they’ve finished that first bake cycle, remove them from the oven and allow them to cool for 10 minutes or so. In the meantime, reduce the heat on the oven to 275­° and make some coffee or something. Or take the baby doll away from the dog. Or re-roll your parchment paper that a kid just sent spiraling down the stairs. Or, whatever it is you do during 10 minutes of cool down time.

Once 10 minutes has passed, slice both logs, on the slight diagonal (It just took me 5 tries to spell diagonal. Apparently I should have used my 10 minutes to make coffee.) into slices around 3/4″ thick. Use a fairly decent knife so you aren’t obliterating it!

This is one of the end pieces. Yummy looking, yes? Eat all 4 end pieces immediately.

What?

Line up the slices, on their sides, on a parchment lined baking sheet.

Back into the oven they go, for another 10 minutes, or until they’re dried. Not much will change, appearance-wise, so make sure they aren’t on fire in there! No, they didn’t move during the second baking cycle, I shooshed them together for the purpose of this photo. I’m rebellious that way.

Now, you could stop right here and be done. Cranberry Pistachio Biscotti, a perfect holiday treat. Or, you could get ridiculous. Guess which one I chose?

What?

Keep in mind, if you’re going to drizzle chocolate on yours, they need to be COMPLETELY cooled first. If you try to drizzle on warm biscotti, it will be a calamity of epic proportions. Or, just a mess. Either way, don’t do it. Have another cup of the coffee you made and wait patiently.

Melt the white chocolate however you usually melt white chocolate. That’s another post for another day. Some people use a double boiler, I use my microwave. If you do the latter, just make sure you check it every few seconds. This is not a time to start the microwave and wander off. This can go ugly fast. I used about 1/3 of the bag, and it took just 90 seconds to melt.

It was a little bit thicker than I wanted for what I was doing, so I added about a teaspoon of Crisco, which made it perfect.

There are 1001 ways to drizzle chocolate. I prefer the crudest, most ghetto way possible. A sandwich baggie. Pour it in, zip it up, and cut a SMALL hole in the corner.

Hopefully you’ll be able to find scissors that aren’t these:

Now, just zig zag back and forth across each piece. You gotta move fast, once you start that stuff pouring out, it doesn’t stop. Unfortunately, I don’t have any live action shots of me doing the drizzling, as while I do have mad drizzling skills, I do not have mad drizzling with one hand while taking photos with the other skills. So, imagine me, thin, gorgeous, perfectly dressed and made up, and drizzling like a pro. One half of 25% of one of those things will be how it actually happened.

Oooh. Ahhh. Etc.

Make some today!

Cranberry Pistachio Biscotti with White Chocolate

1/4 cup extra light olive oil
3/4 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon orange extract
2 eggs
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt (unless using salted pistachios, then omit)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup dried cranberries – roughly chopped
1 cup pistachio nuts – roughly chopped

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C). In a large bowl, mix together oil and sugar until well blended. Mix in the vanilla and orange extracts, then beat in the eggs. Combine flour, salt, and baking powder; gradually stir into egg mixture. Mix in cranberries and nuts by hand.

Divide dough in half. Form two logs (12×2 inches) on a cookie sheet that has been lined with parchment paper. Dough is sticky, lightly flour your work surface and hands, if necessary. Bake for 35 minutes in the preheated oven, or until logs are light brown. Remove from oven, and set aside to cool for 10 minutes. Reduce oven heat to 275 degrees.

Cut logs on diagonal into 3/4 inch thick slices. Lay on sides on parchment covered cookie sheet. Bake approximately 8 to 10 minutes, or until dry; cool completely. Drizzle with melted white chocolate, if desired.

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

Wednesday, September 29th, 2010

Once again, I have taken huge liberties with the naming of this dish. A “Whoopie Pie” is traditionally chocolate, and the filling is a shortening/pudding combination. As much as I love to eat things that are bad for me, something about just eating raw shortening in the filling bothers me. Yes, I realize shortening can’t be raw. Whatever, it’s my brain, I will operate it how I see fit! Anyway, these, obviously are pumpkin. It’s late September, y’all, I gotta have pumpkin! As for the filling, I could think of no better compliment to the pumpkin than cream cheese, so I filled them with basic cream cheese icing. And, it worked! So, as long as the Recipe Police don’t show up to arrest me for my nomenclature violation, lets do this thing!

What to gather: Pumpkin, flour, sugar, butter, vanilla, egg, baking power, baking soda, salt, cinnamon

Hopefully the pumpkin shortage is over? I have no idea. I saw pumpkin at my grocery store the other day and immediately bought 300 cans in case of an apocalypse. Does canned pumpkin help in an apocalypse? I would think so.

Our first step, as it often is in baking, is to cream together the butter and sugar.

Whew, what a work out. Glad I’m not a KitchenAid mixer, that might have been hard. Now, we add the remaining “wet” ingredients. The vanilla, pumpkin and egg, to be more precise.

Give that a whirl.

In a separate bowl, we’re going to mix together all the “dry” ingredients. We don’t want a giant clump of cinnamon in one bite and none in the next 200. Not that any of us would ever eat 200 bites of these. No sir, not me. Nope.

There they are, all in one happy bowl. Now, combine. I used the butter knife that I used to level the flour when I measured it. I didn’t take a picture of me doing this because I didn’t want you to know I used a butter knife to stir it. I’m very low-tech. And terrible at secrets.

Now, it’s time to put it all together. Dump the dry mixture into the wet mixture, and, well, mix.

Oooh it’s looking good! Now, keep in mind, these are not like cookies. Don’t be alarmed if your batter isn’t like cookie dough, it’s not supposed to be. It should be thicker than cake batter, but thinner than cookie dough.

What we have to do now is get them on the cookie sheets. Normally for cookies, I’d use my handy dandy cookie scoop. However, this stuff is way too sticky, and I would end up getting frustrated and throwing my cookie scoop across the room. Then the dog would find it and take it to her secret hiding place to lick all the batter off, and then chew up the handle. When I found it 2 weeks later, I would be very sad. I’d also be out of Pumpkin Whoopie Pies, since 2 weeks went by, so how would I ease my sorrows? Quite obviously, we can’t have that. So, I used a teaspoon. Heaping, clearly, although you could make them far smaller than I did if you wanted. You’d have more of them, but I’m lazy and generally rushy, so I did them bigger.

If you’re still paying attention after that overly lengthy paragraph, the important thing here is that they’re all relatively the same size. Since we’re going to be making them into little sandwiches of bliss, we need the top and bottom to be roughly the same diameter. So, just do it!

Edited to Add: The day I made these, the dog ate them all. Since I had extra icing, I decided to make another batch a couple days later. For that batch, I attempted to do it with my cookie scoop, and it worked perfectly. So, pretty much ignore everything I’ve ever said. Or, at least the paragraph about not using a cookie scoop. I’m sorry I ever doubted my treasured scoop. I won’t let it happen again. Perhaps I need to do an entire series of recipes that utilize cookie scoops to make up for my betrayal.

Pop those bad boys into a 350° oven for 15-17 minutes (less if they’re smaller, of course). You can use that time to file your nails, or file your taxes, or form a single file line. OR, you can mix the icing.

I must inform you that when I made this, I made a full batch of the icing, which ended up being FAR too much. So, for this post, I’ve halved the recipe, so you won’t have this problem. Just make sure you do as I say, and not as I do. Or whatever.

Making cream cheese icing is a very labor intensive and time consuming, not to mention very difficult process. Actually, no it isn’t. You just throw it all in a bowl and mix it. Don’t tell anyone, they’ll want to do it at home.

You can add more or less powdered sugar depending on how thick you need this to be. If you were wanting to pipe it on a cake, for example, you’d need it to be a bit sturdier, so, more powdered sugar. If you were making more like a glaze, you’d use less.

Ours is somewhere in the middle. A pretty traditional icing consistency. A consistently consistent consistency.

By now, your whoopie pies should be ready to emerge from the oven. You can probably smell the pumpkin and cinnamon baking, and your stomach is growling. Mine, too. Lets go get them!

You’re probably excited to get this finished, and I can’t blame you, but! You Must! Be! Patient! These will need to cool completely before you put them together. I really mean it! If you frost them still hot, the warmth will melt the icing and you’ll have quite a mess on your hands. Literally. Figuratively. Spiritually. It won’t take that long for them to cool, maybe 15 minutes or so, you can wait it out.

Once they are cool, you can go to town! Just spread a generous amount of icing on the bottom of one, and add another. Put the bottoms together, so it’s pretty on both sides.

Keep going until you’ve built them all. If you have an odd one, then you are to slather it with an even generouser amount of icing and shove it in your mouth in one bite. But don’t tell anyone.

These turned out so yummy! If I wasn’t already married, and already me, I’d marry me.

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

1 15oz can pumpkin puree
2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup softened butter
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon

ICING:
2 cups confectioners sugar
1/4 cup softened butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 ounces softened cream cheese

Preheat oven to 350° and line baking sheets with parchment paper.

Cream together butter and sugar; mix in pumpkin puree, vanilla and egg. In a separate bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and blend until combined.

Drop teaspoonfuls of dough onto cookie sheets. Bake for 15-17 minutes. Cool completely on wire racks.

Once cool, spread icing on bottom of one cookie, and press an additional cookie to it.

To make icing: Beat together all ingredients until smooth.

Soft Chocolate Chip Cookies

Thursday, February 18th, 2010

…and a giveaway, too (**see below)!

The End.

Oh. I wasn’t just supposed to show you them and then eat them, was I? I was supposed to teach you how to make delicious cakey chocolate chip cookies that stay soft even the next day, right? Well, ok. I suppose it’s another step in our How 2 Stay Fat lesson plan. This recipe was brought to us by the same Allison that brought us the cute name for the site. Cute name/awesome cookies/we love her.

What to gather: All-purpose flour, sugar, brown sugar, butter (softened), vanilla, eggs, instant vanilla pudding (this is the secret!), salt (in a cute pinch bowl that will get chewed up by your dog immediately following this post), baking soda, chocolate chips

First step – more sifting. We love to sift here on H2SF. And, LOOK! I got a new sifter, one I can be proud of. So, without further adieu, here it is. We’re sifting together our dry ingredients (flour, salt, baking soda). I just measure them all in to my sifter and then sift. I don’t premix them and I don’t know if you’re supposed to. If you are, we’ll just pretend I’m a rebel. If you aren’t, we’ll just pretend this paragraph never happened.

And just to be able to use the cool word I made up in the Blueberry Buttermilk Pancakes post, here’s a photo of everything all sifty.

This is the part where I break out my favorite kitchen toy, the phone I use to order carryout my stand mixer. If you don’t have a stand mixer, or are working on your upper body strength for your upcoming triathalon, by all means, get your spoon out and beat it like you mean it.

Add the sugar, brown sugar and butter to the bowl, and then cream them together.

Add the pudding mix, and beat until blended. (no photo, they were all starting to look alike and I think I deleted that one in a fit of culinary rage) Add the eggs and vanilla.

And beat gently.

Now we’re going to add the flour. This is where the massive upper body strength comes in handy if you’re doing this the pioneer way. You want to add it a bit at a time.

As it becomes incorporated, add a bit more!

Until it is all happily blended together into happy little dough in your happy little bowl. I have a happy giant bowl, so I scraped the sides down to get every last bit of yummy!

But wait, you might be thinking, wait! Where are the chocolate chips? Ahhh, you thought I forgot. That senility had finally set in and I’d fallen out of my rocker, fallen off of a rock, lost my rocker, forgotten the chocolate chips.

In fact, I just wanted to make you take the bowl off the mixer so that you didn’t pulverize them. You may now add them to the dough, stirring by hand even if you weren’t trying to bulk up for the Olympics. Pour them over the top.

Become overcome with passion and grab a small handful off the top and eat them. Don’t tell anyone. Then combine. No one will ever know.

Now, grab your cookie scoop and prepare to scoop!

Wait…what? You don’t have a cookie scoop?? Well, you need one. I use mine for cake balls, meatballs, cookies, and I’m sure I could think of a few more things I use it for if I weren’t senile or whatever it was you said earlier. Keep reading this post and you could win the exact one I’m using!

Peek a boo! I see you! I’m wearing a pink shirt and white apron, can you see me?

Scoop out a level scoop of dough…

…and drop it onto a cookie sheet.

ain’t it purty?

Repeat four hundred and thirteen thousand times.

Bake in a 350 degree oven for 10-12 minutes, depending on the size of the scoop you used / cookie you made. The scoop I used was “medium” sized, and my cookies took about 13 minutes. But your mileage may vary depending on elevation, position of the moon, dog needing out, etc. Just keep an eye on the first batch so that you know what to expect for the rest.

Allow them to rest on the tray for 2-3 minutes, and transfer to a cooling rack for the remainder of the cooling process.

Pour a large glass of milk, and find a quiet room to hide in. Heaven will soon be yours.

(I halved the recipe for this demonstration, because I was just trying to STAY fat, not get FATTER. Plus, I’m lazy. If you want to become popular in your neighborhood, make the whole batch and take plates of them to your neighbors. Cookies cause worship. Well known fact.)

Soft Chocolate Chip Cookies

4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 cups butter, softened
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 (3.4 ounce) packages instant vanilla pudding mix
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 F. Sift together the flour, salt and baking soda, set aside. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar. Beat in the instant pudding mix until blended. Stir in the eggs and vanilla. Blend in the flour mixture. Finally, stir in the chocolate chips and nuts. Drop cookies by rounded spoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes in the preheated oven. Edges should be golden brown.

**Want to win your very own Oxo Good Grips Cookie Scoop? Leave a comment on this post and you’re automatically entered. I will draw a random winner of all entries received before 10pm Eastern on Friday, February 19th, 2010.**

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