Archive for the Category ◊ Cookies & Bars ◊

14 Sep 2012 Chocolate Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies

ChocPB cookies good Stack

I have been meaning to post this recipe forever, I just never had a good picture of the cookie.  The recipe only makes 32 cookies, and around here 32 cookies lasts approx 32 seconds.  My friend Josee made these for a Christmas Cookie Exchange two years ago (that’s how long I have wanted to post this recipe). I gave a dozen of these to a friend, Becky,  for a “Craft it Forward” exchange and I promised the recipe to her ONE year ago. (Bad Polly, bad, bad, bad, bad.)  But finally, I  made a batch that didn’t get scarfed immediately.  I made them for my Yoga Group, and they are too polite to eat a half dozen each at one sitting (but it could have been that I had them so busy bagging stuff for an upcoming fundraiser and they didn’t have any hands free to eat cookies!)  They did sing praises for the cookies they did eat though and encouraged me to post the recipe ASAP.

Now getting back to the first time I encountered this cookie.  It was my favorite cookie that year, maybe my favorite cookie in all the years of our exchange (of which there have only been three).  Oddly enough, I made my cookie that year from same cookie magazine Josee used, and I never even considered making these!  Even now, if I just looked at the recipe, I would not be inclined to make it. This is one cookie that tastes much, much better than it’s list of ingredients.  It tastes much, much better than it looks, too and, no matter how good the picture looks above  (do you like it?  I got a new camera!), it still doesn’t do the cookie justice.  Take a bite!  There’s a layer of peanut butter inside!  As one of my friends said, who shall remain nameless, “So how did you get the peanut butter IN there?”

So here it is, at long last, the recipe for Chocolate Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies (originally published as “Peanut Butter Munchies” in the Better Homes and Gardens “100 Best Cookies”, 2009).

One more note,  I often loose track of how many balls I have, so now I line up a chocolate ball with a peanut butter ball before I start rolling.  One time I ran out of peanut butter balls! I have no idea how that happened.  So I just cracked open another bottle of wine and made another half batch of the peanut butter batter, and all was fine. Hic.  (Just kidding.  I don’t drink.  Ever.  Really!! No, REALLY, I don’t!!!)

Chocolate Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies

For Chocolate Cookie

  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ cup butter (one stick, 4 oz), softened
  • ¼ cup peanut butter (I always use creamy)
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup packed brown sugar (I use light brown sugar)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon of milk or cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

For Peanut Butter Filling

  • ½ cup peanut butter
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar

For Sparkle

  • 2 tablespoon granulated sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder, and baking soda and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl of an electric mixer combine butter and peanut butter.  Beat for a minute or so. Add in both sugars and beat for another minute or so.  Beat in egg and milk.
  4. Slowly add the flour-cocoa powder mixture to the butter-peanut butter mixture and beat just until combined.  Roll ball into a snake shape and refrigerate for a short while (to make it easier to handle) while you mix up the peanut butter filling.
  5. Beat peanut butter and powdered sugar together until well combined.  Roll dough into 32 equal balls.
  6. Divide cookie dough into 32 equal portions.
  7. For each cookie, flatten a piece of chocolate dough and top with a peanut butter filling ball.  Wrap Chocolate cookie dough around the peanut butter filling, making a ball in the process.  Place balls on a cookie sheet, about 1 inch apart.
  8. Rub a bit of leftover dough or a very slight bit of butter onto the bottom of a glass.  Dip glass in sugar.  Press cookies flat with sugar coated glass. (redip glass in sugar before pressing down on each ball).
  9. Bake cookies in preheated 350 degree oven for 8-10 minutes, until the sides are just slightly cracked.  Cool on cookie sheet for a minute or so and then transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Becky, I hope you are reading this…, I’m sorry that I took so long.  Josee, thanks for introducing me to this excellent cookie! Everyone else, ENJOY!  This is one great cookie!

Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today, come back again soon!  Now that I am learning how to master an SLR camera, I will probably be posting more frequently 🙂  I have a terrific parchment wrapped salmon recipe and a long time favorite gazpacho recipe just waiting in the wings!

10 Oct 2011 Mocha Cheesecake Brownies

I am not a big fan of the food section of my local paper.  In fact, I am not a  fan at all.  I read it every Wednesday just to see which recipe will cause me to roll my eyes the most.  Sometimes I even post LOL comments on my Facebook page.  It’s THAT bad.  Occasionally, there are recipes that don’t cause me to roll my eyes. They cause me to fall asleep. LOL. Just kidding! NOT!  Sometimes there are recipes I think aren’t too bad, but rarely am I inspired to try one.  Then, last Wednesday there was a recipe that hit me over the head and hollered, “Try me, try me”.  The recipe was  “Mocha Cream Cheese Brownies”, and I did roll my eyes before I tried it.   Not because the recipe was bad, it was really very good (as  you have probably guessed based on the picture above).  I rolled my eyes because  the  name of  the brownie was wrong.  I’ve had cream cheese brownies, bars, breads, muffins.  The cream cheese is mixed with a bit of sugar and perhaps an egg, then layered in with the batter. When baked, you get a nice layer of cream cheese. This is  NOT a cream cheese brownie.  It’s a cheesecake brownie.  There’s a world of difference.  A world of yummy difference.

I baked the brownies, as directed, in a 9×9 pan.  I won’t do that again.  The brownies were too tall. They were so tall they were hard to get into my mouth!  And, I had to bake the brownies 15 minutes more than the recipe suggested to get the cheesecake layer to set.  Now I think they the size if the baking pan was wrong in the recipe (or maybe I just know better!). Next time I will bake these Mocha CheeseCAKE Brownies  in a 9×13 pan and then the suggested baking time will probably be spot on.

About one third of my pan of brownies is in the freezer right now.  I think they will freeze very well.  Brownies freeze well.  Cheesecake freezes well.  Why not Cheesecake Brownies?  If they don’t freeze well, I will update this post…but I am pretty sure that won’t be necessary.

This recipe was published in the San Jose Mercury News on Wednesday, October 5 as “Mocha-Cream Cheese Brownies” and attributed to Emly Luchetti, “The Fearless Baker”.

Mocha Cheesecake Brownies

Brownie Layer

  • 9 oz. dark chocolate (58-62% cacao)
  • 10 tablespoons butter, cubed
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • large pinch Kosher salt

Cheesecake Layer

  • 16 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons instant coffee granules or instant espresso powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Grease a pan, your choice, a 9 inch square pan (as the original recipe originally specified), or as I suggest, a 9×13 oblong pan.
  3. Place the chopped chocolate and the cubed butter into a microwaveable bowl.  Melt the chocolate and the butter in the microwave.  (I did this on 50% power for three minutes, stirring after every minute.)  Let the chocolate cool to room temperature.  (You can get the rest of the ingredients for the brownie layer ready to go and also make the cheesecake layer while waiting for the chocolate mixture to cool) (Skip step #4  and come back to it when the chocolate has cooled.)
  4. Whisk 1 cup sugar and 3 eggs together until smooth.  Stir in the melted and cooled chocolate. Add in the flour and the salt and mix until well blended.
  5. Mix the cream cheese and 1/2 cup sugar together until smooth. Blend in the two eggs, and then the instant coffee and the vanilla.
  6. Pour the brownie batter into the bottom of the prepared pan.  Spread the cheesecake layer on top of the brownie layer. Swirl the cheesecake layer and the brownie layer together (use a spoon or a knife–don’t over swirl)
  7. Bake in 350 degree oven for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. (I had to bake mine–in a 9×9 pan for an additional 15 minutes)
  8. Cool to room temperature.  Cut into bars. Serve.

Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today.  Have fun with these brownies.  They are deeelicious!

26 Jul 2011 Blueberry Chip Cookies

Hey world, there’s a new cookie on the plate!  It’s sort of like a chocolate chip cookie.  It has all the elements of a chocolate chip cookie.  It crunches like a chocolate chip cookie; crisp around the edges and chewy in the middle. It even looks like a chocolate chip cookie.  But it’s NOT!  It’s a Blueberry Chip Cookie!  Nope, not reminiscent of a blueberry muffin  or a blueberry cake.   Nothing like a blueberry tart or a sugar cookie with jam either.  I think it really is a chocolate chip cookie.  With blueberries. And white chocolate chips.

Two secret ingredients:  freeze dried blueberries and dried wild blueberries!  I had never seen freeze dried blueberries either, but there they were right on the shelf at Trader Joe’s, not too far from the dried blueberries.  The freeze dried blueberries are crushed into a powder and then mixed into the dough with the flour.  The small dried blueberries have a lot a flavor and don’t burst into a gooey mess when cooked.   Genius, pure genius!  And we have Irvin, from Eat the Love, to thank for this delightfully twisted Chocolate Chip Cookie 🙂

I made a few changes to the original recipe.  I didn’t use Kamut flour (what IS that?) and I didn’t make these jumbo.  Irvin made 18 cookies from this recipe (they must have been the size of a PIE!), I made 5 dozen.  I am not sure the sugar sprinkle is necessary, I might leave it off next time but my daughter liked the sparkle (she’s such a girlie girl).

Blueberry  Chip  Cookies

  • 3 cups plus 3 tablespoons All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 cup freeze dried blueberries, crushed into powder (put into a Ziploc and go to town with a meat tenderizer or rolling pin)
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 1/4 cups (2 1/2 sticks) butter at room temperature
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 10 oz white chocolate chips (don’t use Nestle’s-they are nasty)
  • 1 cup dried wild blueberries (I’d probably add an extra 1/4 – 1/2 cup next time)
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar to sprinkle on top (optional)

1. Preheat the oven to 350º F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat.

2. Place the  flour, freeze dried blueberry powder, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Whisk vigorously until the dry ingredients are evenly distributed and uniform in color.

3. Place the butter and sugars in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. On medium speed, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about three minutes.

4. Add one egg to the creamed butter and beat on medium until incorporated. Scrape down the sides and repeat with the second egg and then the vanilla.

5. Add 1/3 of the dry ingredients to the butter and beat on slow speed turning up the speed to medium as the ingredients incorporate into the dough. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and then add an additional 1/3 of the batter repeat, beating on slow to medium. Scrap and add the final 1/3 dry ingredients.

6. Add the white chocolate chips and dried blueberries to the cookie dough and turn the mixer on to slow speed, mixing in the chips and blueberries until evenly distributed.

7. Scoop a tablespoon of the dough, roll into a ball, place on cookie sheet and flatten slightly. Sprinkle with a little white sugar. Repeat.  I found I could place 14 cookies on each cookie sheet.

8. Bake in preheated 350º oven for  about 13 minutes or until the edges of the cookie starts to look golden brown. Remove from the oven and let rest on the pan for 5 to 10 minutes to cool before moving them to a wire rack to cool to room temperature.

Makes about 5 dozen cookies.

I am so pleased with these cookies!  They are so much like a chocolate chip cookie, but so different.  The dichotomy tickles me purple!   I hope you are the first person on your block to make Blueberry Chip Cookies!

Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today!

10 Feb 2011 Symphony Brownies

Who bothers making brownies from scratch any more?  Bargain hunters pick up boxes of brownie mix for a dollar. Brownie gourmets with no budget constraints are picking up  boxes of Ghiradelli Double Fudge Brownies.  Either choice is cheaper than making a batch of brownies from scratch.  If you are happy in your box brownie life, read no more.  If you dare to dream of something beyond box brownies, read on. I have something special to share…

I’ve  set a boxed brownie next to a home made brownie.   I know the difference.  It’s huge.  Boxed brownies are dark, oily cakes. By no stretch of the imagination can they be called brownies. Scratch brownies are intense.  Fudgey.  Crackly on top.  Rich.  Pure chocolate. Buttery.  So I bother to make brownies from scratch.  Once you set your box brownie down next to your made from scratch one, I think you will too.

My daughter Abby made four types of from scratch brownies recently, and experimented a bit with the method.  The tip for mixing brownies from this month’s Good Housekeeping magazine proved to be a winner.  You know that melt-in-your-mouth, skinny meringue, crackly top on top of a really good brownie?  The secret is to beat the eggs with the sugar until the mixture is a very pale yellow and almost tripled in volume!  This means beating the eggs and sugar for up to ten minutes with an electric mixer! So, not only is making making brownies from scratch more expensive than buying a box of brownie mix, it also takes a bit longer to mix up. Are you turning back to your boxed brownie?  I didn’t think so!

Here’s a great recipe to get you started baking brownies from scratch.  This recipe has a long pedigree.  Abby found it at My Baking Addiction and that website specified that the recipe was inspired by Paula Deen and adapted from Allrecipes.com.  The recipe gets it’s name from the Hershey Symphony Bars, which are layered in the middle of the brownie.  Abby made hers with a Cadbury Dairy Milk bar (her favorite).  I am sure you can use any chocolate bar in the middle.  The name of the brownie is kind of cool though, so I kept it 🙂

The original recipe specified baking this in a 8×8 inch pan, which Abby did.  I found the brownies to be too thick and rich, and a bit too gooey, too.  The third batch found it’s way into a 9×13 inch pan and we were much happier with the results.

Symphony Brownies

1 ½ cups white sugar
3 eggs
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate; coarsely chopped
¾ cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 (4.5 ounce) Symphony Chocolate bars; broken into squares (then I cut each square into thirds)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9×13 inch baking pan with cooking spray.
  2. With an electric mixer beat the sugar and eggs for ten minutes.
  3. Microwave chopped unsweetened chocolate and butter large bowl at 50% power for 3-4 minutes or until butter is melted, stir after every minute.
  4. With the mixer still going, stir the melted chocolate into the beaten eggs and sugar.  Stir in the vanilla and salt. Gradually add in flour and stir until just combined.
  5. Spread ½ the batter (about 2 cups) into the prepared pan.
  6. Evenly space the pieces of  Symphony chocolate over the batter in the pan.
  7. Add the remaining  brownie batter over the Symphony chocolate pieces.
  8. Bake in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes; do not over bake.
  9. Cool brownies in pan.  Allow to cool completely before cutting. Another hint, cut brownies with a plastic knife!  Really!  You’ll be amazed how nicely plastic knives cut brownies!

Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today!  Here’s hoping that you make some brownies–from scratch–for Valentine’s Day <3

08 Feb 2011 Milky Way Rice Krispie Treats

One more week until Valentine’s Day.  I wonder if I can pull together a week of chocolate posts?  LOL.  Of course I can!  Is there any ingredient I like more? Aside from chocolate (and coffee), what is my private, secret, shameful indulgence?  Rice Krispie treats.  I can’t be left in a room alone with them. Terrible, horrible-immoral-things happen.  So what better way to start out my Valentine’s Day posts than with a recipe for a chocolate Rice Krispie Treats?!

I try every recipe for  Rice Krispie Treats that I run across.  I have quite a collection of Rice Krispie recipes: Coconut, Browned Butter, Peanut Butter, and Chocolate-Cherry.  Sadly, not all the recipes I’ve tried have worked.  The coffee ones and the butterscotch ones, both made with pudding, were major disappointments.  Not this one though.  I found this recipe on a British food site, The Greedy Gourmet. These, these my friends, are winners. Only one problem though, there are no marshmallows in them! =:O  In fact, the entire recipe has only three ingredients! (I might try to remake this recipe with some marshmallows at a future date  because I do miss some of that marshmallow gooeyness.)  With no marshmallows, these Rice Krispie Treats are more crispy than gooey, but they are ohhhhh soooo good!

The original recipe was made with Mars bars, which is a UK chocolate bar very similar to a Milky Way bar, so I subbed Milky Way bars. The original recipe also called for slicing some additional Mars/Milky Way bars and laying the slices on top of the treats, then covering the entire thing with some melted chocolate.  I didn’t do that.  Five melted Milky Way bars stirred into 4 cups of Rice Kripies sounded decadent enough for me.

Milky Way Rice Krispie Treats

  • 5 Milky Way Bars (about 11 oz. total)
  • ¼ cup butter
  • 4 cups Rice Krispies
  1. Prepare a 8×8 or a 9×9 baking dish by spraying with Pam or smearing with butter.
  2. Pour 4 cups Rice Krispies into a large heat proof bowl and set aside.
  3. Chop the Milky Way bars and place in a small saucepan with the butter.  Over low heat stir the Milky Way bars and the butter until both are melted and the mixture is smooth and creamy.  Remove from heat.
  4. Pour the chocolate mixture over the Rice Krispies and stir well.  Coat as many Rice Krispies as possible with the chocolate mixture.
  5. Pour the Rice Krispie mixture into prepared square pan.  Press lightly on mixture to remove air pockets and to level out and flatten mixture.
  6. Let set.
  7. Cut into serving sized squares and enjoy.

Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today.  Maybe you’ll put some of these in your kids lunch box this week? And, maybe, for Valentine’s Day dinner, you’ll consider a recipe for Hot Chocolate Lava Cakes.  My daughter made them for us last year…, yummm!  This year, she made four kinds of brownies.  I’ll be posting the two winners shortly (the bacon ones will not be posted…)

17 Jan 2011 Cowboy Cookies (Coconut-Oatmeal Cookies)

Why these cookies are called Cowboy Cookies I have absolutely no idea.  I have spent considerable seconds trying to figure it out. Coconut + oats + Rice Krispies = Cowboy Cookies? Really? What cowboy eats coconut?  A Polynesian cowboy?  That makes no sense. I’ve never heard of a Polynesian cowboy.  Soooo…, any other ideas? This conundrum aside, I am pretty pleased with my picture!  I think the picture says Cowboy Cookies, even if the recipe doesn’t!

The recipe I have was cut out of a newspaper years ago.  Unfortunately I don’t know which newspaper (but probably from either the San Diego Union Tribune or the San Jose Mercury News).  Nor do I know which decade I clipped the recipe.  Probably sometime in the 80’s, 90’s or 2000’s!  I just have the recipe, no intro, no hint as to why this cookie has such an inexplicable name.  The original recipe called for a cup of shortening.  I use half butter and half shortening.   I haven’t tried them with all butter, but let me know how they turn out if you decide to give it a go.

Anyway, this is a wonderful cookie.  It’s crisp on the outside, chewy on the inside, and delicately flavored.  More of a Princess cookie than a cowboy cookie.  A Polynesian Princess Cookie!  A much better name.  If you are setting cookies out, this is a nice alternative to the usual chocolate chip, peanut butter and sugar cookies.  Hey, I could open a cookie counter!  I’d feature this cookie, the Abby’s Peanut Butter Blossoms, my Chocolate Chip Cookies, Snickerdoodles, Louise’s Cream Cheese Sugar Cookies, the King Arthur Flour’s Chocolate-Caramel cookies and the Better Homes and Gardens Ginger Cookies, which I still have to post.  Scoot on over, Mrs. Fields, make room for Granny Polly!

Cowboy Cookies

(which really, really need another name… Coconut-Oatmeal Princess Polly Cookies, maybe?!)

½ cup butter

½ cup shortening

1 cup white sugar

1 cup light brown sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

2 cups quick-cooking oats (not that instant stuff)

2 cups Rice Krispies

1 cup shredded coconut

Preheat oven to 325º. Beat the butter and shortening together for a minute or so.  Add in the sugars and beat for 5 minutes with an electric mixer.  Add in eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Stir in vanilla. In another bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Add flour mixture to butter-sugar-egg mixture.  Stir in oatmeal, Rice Krispies and coconut.  Drop by tablespoons-ful onto cookie sheet.  Roll dough into a ball, then flatten slightly with finger or palm of hand.  Bake in preheated 325º oven for 12-14 minutes.  Cookies will have a very light tan tinge when done.  Don’t overbake. Remove cookies from oven and cool on racks. Makes about 4 dozen cookies.

You are going to love these cookies.  They are delicious, and they keep well.  Maybe THAT’S why they are called cowboy cookies! They last long enough to be taken on a cattle drive…, in Polynesia…!

Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today!