Saturday, February 9, 2013

Oreo's with Sophistication

Hiding away from slushy banks of snow...and I couldn't be happier. Normally, I develop cabin fever. I feel like there's something I should do outside, that I need to experience fresh air. But this Friday, I holed myself up with three good friends and made a day of reading, napping and of course, baking cookies.

Who knew the weather would have such a big impact on my baking? I added ingredients in a wave of chocolate craving inspiration. One by one they snowballed into the mixer (and yes, I finally have one of them too, but more about that in another post) forming a mound of cookie dough magic.

Cookies baked, I realize the flavor needed a little tartness to round it out. What about greek yogurt? FROZEN GREEK YOGURT. Voila. The Oreo matured into a much more engaging (gluten free) dessert.

Sophisticated Oreos

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup dark cocoa powder
1 cup gluten free flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp xanthum gum
1 tsp kosher salt (or more, see instructions)
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
3/4 cup coconut flakes

1 container Plain or Vanilla Greek Yogurt (Fage brand I find is best) 

1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, add softened butter, shortening and sugars and mix on medium setting until creamed.
3. On low speed, add eggs one at a time followed by the teaspoon of vanilla.
4. In a separate bowl, whisk the dry ingredients together. (I added extra salt to balance out the sweetness, about 4 teaspoons).
5. Slowly pour dry ingredients into the slowly churning butter. And beat until well combined.
6. Add chocolate, white chocolate and coconut.
7. Drop tablespoon servings onto an ungreased cookies sheet or parchment paper and bake for 10-13 minutes.
8. Let cool and devour!
9. When cookies are fully cooled (I prepared them two hours later), spread a hefty dollop of plain or vanilla greek yogurt on the bottom face of a cookie.
10. Close the sandwich with a second cookie and freeze for 20 minutes.

Monday, December 17, 2012

#Mmm: Saltie

Think maritime, think cozy, think sunny and clean. That's the atmosphere when you walk into Saltie, a cute bakery & sandwich treat spot on Metropolitan Avenue in Williamsburg. I ordered their recommendation for a dessert. Eying the options in the display, I knew I couldn't be disappointed: cranberry honey corn muffins, squash pockets and pumpkin oatmeal caraway cookies (pictured below). The server at the front jumped to the mousse immediately: a specialty of the chef standing nearby. "I'm so glad you ordered it," the chef noted, serving a dollop of rich chocolate into a white bowl, "cause I get to lick the spoon." On top she sprinkled a touch of coarse sea salt and a drizzle of, you'll never guess...olive oil. It is fantastic. Rich and flavorful, sweet with the bite of salt and a surprise of olive smoothness. The flavors accompany the chocolate in an unexpected medley of flavor and texture.

The owners and co-authors of the cookbook, Saltie, blend their various flavor comfort foods to invent recipes. Italian-American, Scandinavian-American and British-American: the combinations are inspiring. They use anise, rose, dried lavender flowers, currants and olive oil (and much more). Overall Saltie is an inspired collaboration; particularly for your taste buds. #Mmm.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Unbaked: The Journey of Cookie Dough

My friend, Gordon, sent me his father's recipe for oatmeal craisin chocolate chip cookies. Naturally I made them, but this time I took a photo of each step. Having made cookies so many times, I realize that some textures come instinctively to me. I know when butter and sugar are "creamed" and when you beat an egg into the batter until "fluffy." But how do you sense all of this from a description without someone showing you what that looks like? Stir until just combined. Well, okay...but what does that even look like?

Cookies baked, I ended up with 8 photos of the process. And while that's helpful, 8 is a lot. I opened them all in photoshop and got an idea: what about a grid?

Voila. Here you have it: a step by step of making this delicious recipe for oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. Read left to right, top to bottom.

Oatmeal Chocolate Craisin Cookies 

3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup shortening
2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 1/2 cup flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp kosher salt 
2 cups oatmeal
2 cups chocolate chips
1 cup craisins

1. Preheat oven to 375 F.
2. In a large mixing bowl, cream sugars, butter and shortening.
3. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition until fluffy.
4. Stir in vanilla then maple syrup until well incorporated.
5. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt. Pour dry mix into butter mixture and stir until just combined.
6. Add oatmeal, chocolate chips and craisins. Mix until well dispersed and dollop cookies by the tablespoon onto an ungreased cookie sheet or parchment paper.
7. Bake for 9-11 minutes or until the edges begin to crisp.
8. Devour.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Wine & Plum Chinese Chai Spice Cookies

This is my last installment for The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap! I got them from Alyson of Wine & Plum. They're Chinese Chai Cookies--a delicious and buttery cookie that I enjoyed at all times of day (yes, I've literally had one with every meal). You can check out her recipe here. Thank you for the cookies!

Monday, December 10, 2012

#Mmm: Big Bear Bubble Tea and Macaroons

I'd never had French macaroons until I devoured those pictured above. It was a sweaty September day when I first stumbled upon Big Bear Bubble Tea and saw that the entrepreneur, Jessie, was going to introduce macaroons into her milky product line. Having tried them, all I can say is I am changed. These cookies are a revelation.

Jessie tried her first macaroons at a restaurant in the city, "I fell in love with the raspberry rose flavor" she said--a cookie that literally smells like roses, and tastes like cookie perfume (Jessie uses lychee to accentuate the tartness of the raspberry creme). Determined to recreate the wafer like cookies, she researched dozens of recipes until she found a perfect balance for her new store: Big Bear Bubble Tea in Woodside, Queens. The other flavors came from the inventive baker: matcha green tea, raspberry rose, vanilla bean, cinnamon dark chocolate ginger, chocolate passionfruit and lavender (pictured above). 

I'm converted. Along with a warm bubble tea (that's right, she makes warm steamed milk teas with tapioca for the winter), I can't get enough of these macaroons! The thin wafer crust melts into the creamy center, forming a blend of texture and flavor that unfolds as you chew. My favorite, the lavender macaroon, has all the decadence of a cupcake without any of the weight. It's soft to palatte and rich in nuanced flavor. All the macaroons are made on site in Jessie's adorable shop and soon she will feature more experimental flavors. "I want to make spicy cookies" she said, "something like tom yum flavor and a tropical longan fruit flavor." Jessie is Thai and says her grandfather has a longan tree back in Thailand. "I hope I can find longan good enough here to get the flavor!" I hope so to! And, tom yum!? I can't wait to try it! 

Check out Jessie's site and facebook for more info on how to get your hands on these #Mmm macaroons!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Bourbon Spiced Shortbread Cookies from Rebecca

I got my last batch of cookies today for the cookie swap and they are delicious! Careful holiday themed shapes in a lovely box. The bourbon is a subtle flavor, but it certainly adds a kick to a standard holiday recipe. Thank you Rebecca for the cookies!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Getting Experimental: Curry Raisin Biscaitie

For the Great Food Blogger's Cookie Swap, I challenged myself to finally bake up an experimental Biscaitie flavor that my friend, Gordon, recommended over a year ago: curry raisin. I looked up recipes for curry confectioneries, and found that there are few. It's a savory spice, but think about it: curries are also sweet. In addition to the curry, I added subtlety to the spice to ease its "curry-ness." There's cinnamon, cardamom, and ginger, plus molasses, maple syrup and I soaked the raisins in vanilla and beaten eggs.

Curry Raisin Biscaitie

Dry Ingredients

3 cups flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp cardmom
1/2 tsp curry

Wet Ingredients

3 eggs beaten 
1 cup raisins
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup molasses
1 tbsp maple syrup

1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
2. Beat three eggs in a small mixing bowl, add vanilla and raisins and let soak (about 15 minutes), stirring occasionally.
2. Whisk dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl until well combined.
3. Make a well in the center of the dry mound and pour the molasses, syrup and egg-raisin mixture into the middle.
4. Turing the dough over with your hands, mix the ingredients until well combined and form into two or three loaves (depending on the size cookie you desire).
5. Place loaves on a parchment lined cookie sheet and press flat. Using one beaten egg, glaze the tops of the loaves.
6. Turn pan into oven and bake for 30-40 minutes.
7. Once loaves are done baking, let them cool 5-7 minutes before slicing and returning to the oven for desired hardness.
8. Enjoy!