Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Thick Bakery Style Chocolate Chip Cookies

I've been on the hunt for a big, thick, chewy, bakery style chocolate chip cookie for a new customer and I've been trying out some different recipes.

One of the cookies I made were these, and they are really good. Nice and thick and chewy and easy to put together, which is important to me.

Then I came across a mention of the book, "The Sweeter Side of Amy's Bread" and I remembered how fabulous her breads were when we visited Chelsea Market in New York. So I ordered the book, which came in no time, and made these cookies, actually called "Nuevo Chocolate Chip Cookies". They bake up nice and thick and, of course, the best just out of the oven! There's a little bit of molasses in the dough and even a tiny bit of ground ginger, which I found to be pretty unusual in a chocolate chip cookie.

You make them gigantic! 3 ounces of cookie...but you could, of course, make them a little bit smaller, too.
For my needs, I wanted a big cookie, so these were perfect.

You should really only put 6 on a baking sheet. They need room to spread.

Nuevo Chocolate Chip Cookies (from The Sweeter Side of Amy's Bread by Amy Scherber and Toy Kim Dupree)

Makes 1 dozen large cookies

2 cups (10.14 oz.) unbleached AP flour ( I always use King Arthur's)
1 1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1 large egg
1 egg yolk ( from a large egg)
1 1/4 tsp. vanilla
3/4 cup ( 5.70 oz.) unsalted butter, slightly softened
2/3 cup light brown sugar
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tbsp. molasses
1 1/8 cup semisweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350. Line sheets with parchment paper.

1. In a bowl, whisk flour, baking soda, salt and ginger.
2. In a small bowl whisk the egg, egg yolk and vanilla.
3. In a mixing bowl, cream the butter, sugars and molasses on medium speed for 2 minutes, til light and fluffy, scraping the sides and bottom of the mixing bowl occasionally.
4. Gradually add the egg mixture til everything is well combined.
5. With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients in stages, mixing only til it's all well combined. Again, scraping the sides and bottom of the mixing bowl.
6. Add the chocolate chips and continue mixing on low til evenly distributed.
7. Scoop balls of dough, weighing each at approx. 3 ozs. ( 2 1/4" dia.)
To scoop: Use either a large scoop, moist hands or a large metal spoon.If you don't have a scale, use a scant 1/2 cup measure.
Do not flatten the dough balls.
8. Bakefor approx. 18 minutes, rotating the sheet halfway through baking. They should be golden brown and just set when they're done.
Cool the cookies on the baking sheet 5 minutes. Then remove them to a wire rack to cool completely.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Oat and Orange Scones

I never tire of scones. The varieties are endless, sweet or savory. This oat and orange scone is made with whole wheat pastry flour, which was challenging to find around these parts. I've never seen it in any of my local markets so I called Whole Foods and, sure enough, they had it. Gotta love that store!

Whole wheat pastry flour is lighter than whole wheat flour and it makes these scones light and quite delicate, which is a good thing. They have a nice subtle nutty flavor.

I halved the recipe and I did make a change in the original recipe. I used half and half instead of buttermilk. I make almost all my scones with half and half but because these don't have an egg in the recipe I thought the scones needed a little more fat.

One thing to always remember when making scones is to have your butter and milk or cream very cold.

Once you add in the half and half, gently stir the mixture with a fork, using almost a folding motion.
This insures that you will get a light scone.

Dump the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and shape into a round or rectangle shape.
Then, using a bench scrape or large knife, cut the dough into 8 to 10 triangles ( for half the recipe), depending on what size you want.

At this point you can bake them all or freeze some for another time.
For the ones you're going to bake right away, brush the tops with half and half then sprinkle with raw sugar and a little more oats, if you like.
Oat and Orange Scones ( adapted from 101 Cookbooks)

Makes 12 to16 large size scones. ( I tend to make my scones small so this recipe would yield 16 to 20 for a smaller size scone.)

3 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup turbinado sugar ( I used cane sugar)
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
Pinch of salt ( this is my addition)
2 sticks unsalted very cold butter, cut into small cubes
Zest of an orange
2 cups oats ( I thought this was too much oats so I used a little less)
2/3 cup dried currants
1 cup cold buttermilk ( I used cold half and half), you may need a little more if the dough seems dry
1/4 cup raw sugar ( for sprinkling on tops)
1/4 cup buttermilk or half and half ( to brush on tops)
Preheat oven to 375. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

1. In a food processor or large mixing bowl, add together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Pulse or stir to combine.
2. Add in the butter and orange zest, pulsing a few times if using a food processor, (blend in with your fingers if mixing by hand), til mixture consistency resembles small and large peas.
3. Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl ( if using a food processor) and stir in the oats and currants.
4. Pour the buttermilk (or half and half) over the dry mixture and gently stir with a fork, using more of a folding motion. Add a little more milk if the mixture seemd too dry.
5. Dump the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and using floured hands, shape into a round or rectangle, patting the top to approx. 1 1/4" thickness. Using a bench scrape or large knife, cut the dough into triangles.
6. Transfer the sections onto your parchment lined baking sheet and brush the tops with buttermilk or (half and half) and sprinkle with raw sugar and a little more oats, if you like.
7. Bake the scones 15 to 18 minutes, depending on the size. The bottoms should be golden and they should feel firm when gently pressed in the center. You can also check for doneness by inserting a toothpick into the center. If it comes out clean with no crumbs clinging, then they're done.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Hot Fudge Pudding Cake

Digging through my old recipe file I came across this Hot Fudge Pudding Cake in a recipe booklet from Hershey's dated 1987. It sounded like an interesting way of making a cake. Mix a batter, sprinkle on a sugar and cocoa mixture, then pour hot water over the whole thing and bake it! I'm not sure how old the original recipe actually is but after I made it I thought I'd check out the recipe online and I did find a lot of these cakes. So I guess I'm not the only one who liked the concept!

It's really a fun cake to make that bakes all together and it turns out like a brownie with a fudgy sauce.

It's an easy one to make and you don't even need to drag out the mixer. Just a few bowls and spoons to mix and maybe your sifter for the cocoa powder.

So if you're in the mood for something chocolaety and gooey...give this one a try.  A big dollop of whipped cream would be the perfect finishing touch!

You don't even need to grease or butter the pan.

Hot Fudge Pudding Cake ( from Hershey's Recipe Sampler Booklet, 1987)

Makes 8 to 10 servings.

1 1/4 cups sugar, divided
1 cup AP flour
7 tbsp. Hershey's cocoa powder, divided
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup milk
1/3 cup butter (5 tbsp.), melted
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 1/4 cups hot water
Preheat oven to 350.
1. In a medium bowl, combine 3/4 cups of sugar, flour, 3 tbsp. cocoa powder, baking powder and salt.
2. Blend in milk, melted butter and vanilla. Beat til smooth.
3. Pour batter into a square pan, 8 x 8 x 2" or 9 x 9 x 2".
4. In a small bowl, combine remaining 1/2 cup sugar, brown sugar and remaining 4 tbsp. of cocoa powder.    Sprinkle this mixture evenly over batter.
5. Pour hot water over top. Do not stir.
6. Bake 40 minutes or til center is almost set. Let stand 15 minutes. Spoon into dessert dishes, spooning sauce from bottom of pan over top. Serve with whipped cream.
Notes: I bet if you mix some espresso powder in with the hot water it would taste even more chocolatey!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Tate's Chocolate Chip Cookies... Revisited

Ok, so today being National Chocolate Chip Day I decided to revisit the well known chocolate chip cookie from Tate's Bake Shop.

This cookie has been a constant mystery to me- let me explain why.

I bought a pack of the chocolate chip cookies a while back, brought them home and presented them to my son, Kris, who proceeded to inhale about 4 before I had to stop him or I think he'd have eaten the whole dozen! I did another experiment a few months ago.

I've read many comments on the cookies and so many say they're addictive. And they are! But why?
Because it's like eating one potato just can't!   Tate's cookies are hard and crunchy, crunchy like potato chips so it's hard to eat just one. Crunchy like a cracker...again, hard to eat just one.

But here's the other thing I kept going back to. Tate's cookies are shipped all over the country. If I tried to ship my cookies to, let's say, California, they'd be stale by the time they got there. So how does she do it?

Well, I don't know exactly how Tate's does it but I figured out how I can do it.
They're twice baked...just like a biscotti! That's the conclusion I've come up with. Twice baking them takes alot of moisture out of the cookie, makes it hard and crunchy and allows it to remain fresher longer. Just like biscotti.

All the recipes I've read on her cookies just say to bake them longer but I found the twice baking is key.
I bake them first for the regular time called for in the recipe, about 11 to 12 minutes. Then I take them out and let them cool, then I put them on a wire rack ( so air circulates all around the cookie) and place them back in the oven for between 4 - 5 minutes. The oven temperature remains at 350.

They have to cool completely before you can feel them to be sure they're hard. They will always feel softer while still warm. If, once they're completely cooled again, they feel still a little soft in the center, then place them back in the oven again for another 2 minutes or so. Just keep an eye on them so they don't burn.

Now that's my way of making them hard and crunchy. Maybe Tate's Bake Shop has a different method of making them hard and crunchy. Maybe the convection ovens bake them differently than my home oven.

If anyone reading this gives my test a try I'd love to hear from you on how the experiment went for you.

Next...crunchy oatmeal raisin!
Happy Baking!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Olive Oil Citrus Cake

I just love these olive oil cakes. This one, again, comes from "Rustic Fruit Desserts". I think I'm going to eventually make everything in this cookbook! All the recipes sound so good and this cake? Delicious!

It's easy to make, moist from the olive oil and the combination of grapefruit, orange and lemon zest give it a wonderful almost refreshing citrus flavor.

This time I made the grapefruit juice glaze which just makes it so much more delicious. It's actually a dessert under  the season of "Winter" but any time is perfect for this one.
The cake uses cake flour and you have to sift the flour twice along with the baking powder and salt.

The hardest part of making the cake is zesting the grapefruit. It's so big and tricky to hold and zest!

There's a lot of citrus zest that goes into the batter, which makes it so darned good.

Prepare your pan by coating with olive oil and then sprinkling with sugar.

The cake gets a nice golden brown color and is light and moist.

Olive Oil Citrus Cake ( from "Rustic Fruit Desserts")
The book says to: "Choose a fruity olive oil with a medium density and lasting thickness on the tongue."


1 1/4 cups ( 5 oz.)unsifted cake flour (you will sift later)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 tsp. fine sea salt
3 eggs, room temp.
3/4 cup granulated sugar
Zest of one grapefruit
Zest of one orange
Zest of one lemon
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. lemon oil ( I used 1/2 tsp. lemon extract)
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp. sugar (for coating the pan)

3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons of freshly squeezed grapefruit juice
Preheat oven to 350. Using a paper towel, coat a 9" by 2" round baking pan with olive oil, then sprinkle it with the tablespoon of sugar.

1. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together twice.
2. Using a hand held beater or stand mixer with the whisk attachment ( I  used the paddle attachment and it still came out fine...oops!), beat eggs, sugar and zests on high speed for 5 minutes, til eggs are thick and lighter in color.
3. Add the vanilla and lemon oil ( or lemon extract).
4. Turn the mixer to medium low speed and slowly drizzle the olive oil into the batter, pouring slowly along the edge and down the side of the bowl.
5. Add the flour mixture and mix on low speed til just incorporated.
6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake 25 to 30 minutes, or til cake is golden and has domed slightly in the center. Cool to room temp.
Glaze: Whisk the sifted confectioners' sugar with the grapefruit juice til smooth and a thin consistency, adding more juice if too thick. Pour over the cooled cake.
Wrapped in plastic, the cake will keep at room temp. for 2 to 3 days.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Thick and Chewy Peanut Butter Cookie

I've been looking for another Peanut Butter Cookie with chocolate chips for a while and I came across this recipe, originally from "The Dessert Bible" by Christopher Kimball.

A little over a year ago I made these and they were great but this recipe seemed like a thicker cookie, something more bakery style. This cookie did come out thicker and the ground up peanuts used do give the cookie a nice crunch and peanut taste, however, I still think this one is every bit as good. I think the peanut butter chips give a more "peanutty" flavor.

But, don't get me wrong. These are delicious, nice and moist. One additional step I'd make would be to dip them in sugar before baking. And you don't have to put in the chocolate chips or chunks...up to you!

Thick and Chewy Peanut Butter Cookies ( found here)

Makes about 3 doz.

2 1/2 cups AP flour ( I used 12.2 ozs.)
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened but still cool
1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup creamy peanut butter
3 large eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
1 cup roasted salted peanuts
1 cup chocolate chips or chunks (optional)
1. In a medium bowl, whisk 1 1/2 cups of the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
2. Place the reamining 1 cup of flour with the roasted salted peanuts in a food processor and pulse til ground, 15 one second pulses.
3. Stir mixture into the dry mixture.
4. Beat the butter and sugars til light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
5. Add the peanut butter and beat to combine, scraping the bottom and sides of the mixing bowl.
6. Add the eggs, one at a time, then beat in the vanilla.
7. On low speed, add the flour in 2 additions.
8. Stir in the chocolate chips or chunks.
9. Cover and chill the dough in the fridge 30 minutes, or til stiff.
10.Preheat oven to 350. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
11. Once the dough is chilled, roll the dough into 2" balls and place on the baking sheet, spacing 3" apart. Press the dough lightly with a fork to make an "X".
12. Bake for 10 - 14 minutes.
Allow to cool on the baking sheet to set the cookies, about 3 minutes. Then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Red Raspberry Jam Cake

I got up extra early this morning to bake this cake for you from the newest cookbook I love called, "Rustic Fruit Desserts". I haven't been good about posting lately...well that's not entirely true. I felt so quilty and wanted so badly to bake a lovely cake to show you. But I've been having some baking issues, let's just call them that, shall we? The past few recipes I've made haven't been post worthy- to say the very least!

There was a tart lemon tart that sounded so good-but the crust was a disaster so that one was tossed. Then  I tried a rhubarb compote, nope!
Then some cookie mishaps-won't even go there. Then this!

Look at that dark blob of a cake! Had such high hopes for it. But I figured out the problem, fixed it and made it again...only this time I made mini versions. I do love the flavor of the cake. It is a nice spice cake with pockets of jam and if  when I make it again, I might even try making it into cupcakes.

Before I totally lose you, please take note. If you have this cookbook, please go to page 142 and change the jam amount to ONE CUP. (I, obviously, used TWO cups ).
There's where the other cup wound up. Stuck to the bottom of the pan. What a mess!

I decided to halve the recipe and put the batter into small bundt type pans, just to be sure the recipe worked.

The cake is actually delicious with a nice spice flavor. I was getting a little tired of playing around with the cake so I didn't make the glaze from the recipe, which I think was needed so I just dusted the top with powdered sugar and called it a day!

Jam Cake with Brown Sugar Rum Glaze ( adapted from "Rustic Fruit Desserts")

1 tbsp. unsalted butter, room temp. , for pan.

2 cups (10 oz.) AP flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. fine sea salt
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 cup ( 4 oz.) unsalted butter, room temp.
1 cup granulated sugar
3 eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 cup red raspberry jam ( or any other jam that you like, blackberry, blueberry...)
Rum Glaze, recipe follows
Preheat oven to 350. Butter a 10 to 12 cup Bundt pan.

1. Sift flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg together in a medium bowl. Set aside.
2. In a mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar together on medium high speed for 3 to 5 minutes, or til light and fluffy.
2. Add eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition.
3. Add half the flour mixture and mix til just combined, then mix in the buttermilk. Add the remaining flour and mix, again just til combined.
4. Fold in the jam til evenly distributed. Do not overmix.
5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
6. Bake in the middle of the oven for 40 to 45 minutes or til a wooden skewer inserted into the center comes out clean and the cake has started to pull away from the sides.
7. Cool on wire rack 20 minutes before inverting the cake onto the cooling rack.
Place a baking sheet or some parchment paper under the rack to catch the drips when you glaze the cake.
Rum Glaze:
3 tbsp. unsalted butter
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup heavy cream
Pinch fine sea salt
4 cups (1 lb., 1 oz.) confectioners' sugar
2 tbsp. rum

1. Stir the butter, brown sugar, cream and salt together in a small saucepan over medium high heat.
2. Boil the mixture 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3. Stir the confectioners' sugar into a bowl, then pour in all the butter mixture and whisk til smooth.
4. Whisk in the rum, then pour the glaze over the cake while it's still slightly warm.
Wrapped in plastic, the cake will keep at room temperature for up to 5 days.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Lemon Blueberry Buckle

This is the recipe I almost made a few weeks back but opted for this one. I have to tell you that this Lemon Blueberry Buckle is every bit as delicious as that Blueberry Bundt Cake!

The recipe is from the book, "Rustic Fruit Desserts" . Originally the recipe calls for a lemon syrup to glaze the hot cake but I decided not to use it. I'll give you the glaze recipe just in case you want to go with it... but it has plenty lemon flavor without it, though.

With fruit season just beginning, I hope you'll set aside a few cups of blues for this cake.

Make the crumb topping first, then pop it into the freezer while you make the cake.

Whisk the dry ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside.

In a mixing bowl, cream the butter, sugar and lemon zest.
Add the eggs, one at a time.
Then stir in the dry ingredients alternately with the buttermilk.

Fold one cup of the blueberries into the batter.

Then spread the batter into your prepared pan and spread the other cup of blues over top followed by the crumb topping.

Bake for 45 to 50 minutes.

Lemon Blueberry Buckle (from "Rustic Fruit Desserts" by Cory Schreiber and Julie Richardson)

1 tbsp. unsalted butter at room temp. for pan

Crumb topping:

1/2 cup (2 1/2 ozs.) AP flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/8 tsp. fine sea salt
Zest of one lemon
1/4 cup (2 oz.) unsalted butter, room temp. cubed

1 1/2 cups plus 2 tbsp. ( 8 1/4 ozs.) AP flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. fine sea salt
1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
6 tbsp. unsalted butter, room temp.
3/4 cup sugar
Zest of one lemon
2 eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen

Lemon Syrup:

1/3 cup sugar
Juice of 2 lemons

Preheat oven to 350. Butter a 9" square cake pan.

Make crumb topping:
1. Mix flour, sugar, salt and lemon zest together in a bowl, then add the butter and using a fork or your fingers, cut in the butter til the size of peas.
2. Place the topping in the freezer while you make the cake.

1. Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and nutmeg together in a bowl.
2. Cream the butter, sugar and lemon zest on medium high speed til light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes.
3. Add the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition.
4. Stir in the flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with the buttermilk in 2 additions, beginning and ending with the dry. Scrape the bowl occasionally.
5, Gently fold in one cup of the blueberries into the batter and spread into your prepared pan.
6. Sprinkle the remaining cup of blueberries over the cake, then sprinkle on the chilled crumb topping.
7. Bake 45 to 50 minutes ( mine took more like 55 minutes), or til lightly golden and firm on top.
1. Combine sugar and lemon juice in a small saucepan and whisk til blended.
2. Cook over medium low heat, stirring occasionally, for 8 to 10 minutes, til syrupy. The glaze will bubble while cooking so you may need to remove it from the heat to check that it is thick enough.
3. Pour the glaze over the cake as soon as it os removed from the oven. Reheat the glaze briefly if it has become too thick to pour.
4. Covered in plastic wrap, the cake will keep at room temp. for 2 to 3 days.


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