14 January 2010

Turbinado-Dipped Shortbread Cookies

I need to get more comfortable with people watching me bake. I don't know if it was the cameras, or having Cory, Emily and John in the kitchen with me while I made these shortbread cookies, but I was extremely self-conscious the entire time. Definitely not nearly as much fun as I usually have while baking (but then again my usual baking experience calls for me dancing around, blasting upbeat music and singing my heart out into whisks). What WAS cool, was being able to see each step of the baking process laid out in picture form, thanks to the wonderful photography of John Fetherston. I learned a lot; for example: I should never wear my new apron (courtesy of John and Etsy) with patterns... It clashes. Also, I need to stand up straighter.

Well, I had been craving shortbread cookies for a couple of days and on my last night in Akron, I decided to grab a movie with my favorite power couple and my favorite Arizonan and get to baking! Results were a success that were gone long before I was...

Turbinado-Dipped Shortbread Cookies
Adapted from Food & Wine

  • 1 1/4 sticks butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 c. powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 c. flour
  • 3 tbsp. turbinado sugar (I used Sugar in the Raw)
  • 1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
To Make:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Beat together butter, powdered sugar, vanilla and salt until just fluffy. Mix in the flour in 3 batches at a slow speed, until just incorporated.
  3. On a (preferably cold) work surface, form the dough into a 1 1/2 in. thick log, and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill for one hour.
  4. Brush log with egg yolk using a pastry brush, and roll in the turbinado sugar until coated evenly.
  5. Cut the log into 1/2 in. thick rounds and place 1 in. apart on a greased baking sheet. Bake for about 18 minutes, or until brown around the edges. Cool completely.
Some Notes:
  • The original recipe also calls for 3/4 c. toasted and chopped pecans. I didn't include them because my friends aren't huge fans of nuts and I didn't have any on hand. They were delicious without them.
  • The dough was very hard to come together when forming the log. I believe this was because the butter wasn't perfectly at room temperature when I added it. Be careful!
  • I use a convection oven, and the original recipe called for baking the cookies for 20 minutes. Honestly, the batch was a little overdone for my tastes at 18 minutes, so watch carefully.

09 January 2010

Peanut Butter Chip Chocolate Cookies

Ick. I seriously need to stop taking my food shots with my camera phone. It just makes me sad! I got a ridiculously nice point-and-shoot digital camera for Christmas, even, and yet it never seems to be around when I need to take these shots. So, I heartily apologize for the terrible quality and color of this post's pictures, HOWEVER you will not have to deal with my camera phone crapola in the next post! I got to do some baking with my good friend John Fetherston, from Arizona, while he was in town, and he's a brilliant photographer with a pretty awesome photoblog (although he is waaay to humble to admit it) called "Life Through My Lens." I'm super excited to see his shots of me, up to my elbows in flour and butter. I am oh so attractive, after all...

Anyway, on to this post! On Wednesday, I drove to Columbus with Joelle Diane, Caitlin, and Leah for a Repower America rally. The day before, I decided that I wanted to make something pretty simple and basic that would be a good roadtripping snack. I decided to research some chocolate chip cookie recipes to make later that night, and read about 15 recipes online. I had the idea to use cocoa powder to flavor the dough and substitute peanut butter chips for the chocolate ones, and I went out and bought my ingredients. Of course, when I got home late that night and got ready to bake, our internet decided it just didn't want to play along. I, then, had to search my memory for (read: make up completely) the measurements and ingredients for these cookies. Given the circumstances, the results were absolutely jaw dropping.

Straight out of the oven, I had to leave the kitchen while they cooled, so as not to eat them all. The centers were gooey and warm and amaaaaazing, like the best Reese's cup you've ever imagined. The next day, they were a super big hit with my roadtripping sisters-in-arms. After they were all gone, there were multiple times when someone said "I really want one of those cookies!" My mother also made my brother eat all of the ones I left in her kitchen, because she was afraid to have them in the house. The verdict? Entirely too addictive for words, and simple to boot!

Audrey's Mostly Made-Up Peanut Butter Chip Chocolate Cookies

  • 1 c. butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/3 c. cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 c. peanut butter chips
To Make:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a baking sheet with non-stick spray.
  2. Cream together butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla.
  3. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder in a separate bowl. Add by half cups to the creamed mixture, mixing to just barely combined after each addition. Fold in the peanut butter chips.
  4. Form dough into 1" balls and bake for 11 minutes. Cool on tray for 5 minutes, and then completely on a wire rack (if you can resist them that long).
Some Notes:
  • I really have nothing that I would change to this recipe. It was that good. Maybe I'll try substituting white chocolate chips next time.
  • I used Ghiradelli cocoa powder. I wouldn't be willing to compromise for cocoa powder of any poorer quality, because it lends the primary flavour to the cookies.

04 January 2010

The Breakfast Bonanza: Jan. 2010!

So, I am pretty damn sure I have some of the best friends in the history of awesome friends. If I had to describe us as a collective in a single sentence: we are all notorious foodies who don't take ourselves too seriously. Of course, we are all highbrow artsy-type college kids home for winter break, as well, and this morning we felt the need to rub it into our younger siblings' faces that they had to go to school while we got to stay home and play in the snow. So what did we do? Oh, Morgan, Joelle Diane (read her blog here), and I just decided to make the biggest, fanciest, most delicious hot breakfast ever to be eaten on a snowy day (at the crack of noon, of course).

The menu? Joelle made the best egg and potato scramble I've ever eaten. You can see her feverishly sauteeing in the second picture. Inspired by my dear cousin Kat's foray into french toast-dom the other day, I decided to try out a recipe for orange-flavoured french toast, and ended up accidentally leaving out ingredients (in my defense, we were dancing around the kitchen to Andrew Bird), and topping the whole delicious mess off with fresh raspberry syrup and dried cranberries.

The result?

Tutti Fruity French Toast
(very loosely) Adapted from Gourmet

  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 1/4 c. thawed, concentrated orange juice
  • about half a loaf of italian bread (or other crusty bread)
  • 1/2 c. raspberry syrup
  • 1/4 c. dried cranberries
  • a little butter for the skillet
To Make:
  1. Whisk together eggs, vanilla, sugar, and orange juice. Dip bread into the mixture and coat well. Place on a pan and allow to sit at room temperature for about 15 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, melt a little butter in a skillet. Fry the french toast over medium heat for a little less than 5 minutes on each side.
  3. Top with warm raspberry syrup and cranberries.
Some Notes:
  • We didn't use powdered sugar, but you should.
  • We used raspberry syrup because we forgot to buy maple syrup. The toast would be just as good with maple, but less fruity, obviously. If you can't find raspberry syrup, or don't have any on hand, thinning out a little raspberry (or any other berry) jam would most likely work.
  • I'd love to top this with shredded toasted coconut! Yum!