Kitchen Bitch

Cooking in the Kitchen with Sass & Class

A Sweet Treat From Germany: Lebkuchen Spice Cookies December 20, 2012

Lebkuchen 2

I’m proud to say that I’ve almost officially made it through my first holiday season as a personal chef and caterer at The Delish Dish! Wohoo! With all of my big events behind me, including The Delish Dish Homemade Holiday, it’s time to focus on what’s really important at this time of year, besides family, friends, and Christmas, of course:

COOKIES!!!

As you may recall, we’re big into sweets in my household, and my husband just loves cookies, especially these Five-Spice Snickerdoodles I made just for him last night. While Doug loves crunchy cookies like these Hazelnut Crescents with Vanilla Bean Sugar, I love cookies with a combination of crunch and chew and spice and icing, so it’s no wonder these Lebkuchen cookies caught my eye as I was flipping through Food & Wine magazine this month.

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Caramel-Frosted Brown Sugar Drops July 23, 2012

I wasn’t much of a cookie girl before I met my husband, but I’m starting to feel like a convert. Once every other week or so Doug requests cookies, which means I get to cuddle up with my cookie and baking books and hunt for a new recipe to try. While Doug could eat these snickerdoodles every day of the week, I like variety, so I purchased Nancy Baggett’s The All-American Cookie Book back at Christmastime. However, this book shouldn’t be relegated to just the holidays. There are cookie recipes for every occasion—as well as for every sugary craving imaginable.

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Cookie Classics: Hazelnut Crescent Cookies with Vanilla-Bean Sugar December 19, 2011

I’ve been plowing through many a cookie recipe this past week to bring you only the best of the best, dear readers. I’ve made oatmeal-toffee cookies, white-chocolate, raspberry and walnut cookies, and—one of my new favorites—a classic South American sandwich cookie called an alfajore (recipe to come).

They all went pretty quickly, but these buttery bites seemed to really strike a cord with family and friends. They’re incredibly simple, but their flaky texture, buttery bite and hazelnut crunch make this cookie an all-time classic. And, of course, everyone loves stuff rolled in powdered sugar.

And this isn’t just any powdered sugar. It’s vanilla-bean powdered sugar, which gives the cookies not only a beautiful white color but a lovely vanilla aroma as well. If you’re feeling lazy, or you don’t happen to have vanilla beans lying around the house, you can just call my cousin Kelly who has 2 pounds of them skip the addition of the vanilla bean to the sugar altogether. (more…)

 

Thumbprint Cookies and A Homemade Jam Giveaway April 12, 2011

When I just couldn’t stand the winter weather anymore a few weeks ago, I went in search of something delicious to brighten my week. I wasn’t sure exactly what that something was, but I walked into Stanley’s Fruit Market early one morning and saw the answer staring right at me: Dapple Dandy Pluots.

Nope, I didn’t just make up the word pluot. They’re a real thing—a cross hybrid of apricot and plum. Dapple Dandy pluots are purplish red with dotted smooth skin similar to that of a plum. They’re also known as Dinosaur Eggs. Pluots are sweet and juicy; they have a higher sugar content than either a plum or an apricot.

What did I do with these pluots, those beautiful little fruits? I went on a jam-making binge, of course. I made a batch of pluot jam. It was sweet and a brighter shade of red than I was expecting. I loved it for its gorgeously sweet simplicity and sheer exoticism. (I’ve never seen pluot jam at the store, have you?)

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Cookie Exchange! Homemade Holiday Oreos December 8, 2010

Homemade Holiday Oreos. The green sandwich cookies have peppermint filling.

Last year, my best friend Laura and I threw our first annual ladies-only holiday bash. We decorated my little apartment like it was the North Pole, made more appetizers than we could ever eat, baked a million cookies for our guests to decorate, and whipped up about 15 different colors of icing to top both the cookies and homemade gingerbread houses.

Needless to say, we were exhausted by the end of the day, but the party was a huge success and we vowed to learn from our mistakes when we planned our holiday extravaganza the next year. Fast forward one year later, and our now-annual Christmas party is only a week away.

We decided to forego a cooking decorating party for the ever-popular cookie exchange so we could greatly limit the number of cookies (and batches of icing) we have to make in advance. Plus, now we can focus more on our savory appetizers, mulled wine, prizes and our (sort of) larger-than-life Christmas decorations.

Laura and I start planning weeks in advance for this yuletide shindig: “Trophies” need to be found and assembled for each category winner; decorations need to be collected and hung; menus need to be planned; food needs to be bought and cooked as far in advance as possible; and last, but certainly not least, we need to do a trial run on our cookie recipe.

We made enough sugar cookies and royal icing last year that I don’t want to look at the stuff for at least another year, so we reviewed our collective repertoire for a real crowd pleaser.  It didn’t take us long to decide we needed to do a take on everyone’s favorite snack cookie—OREOS.

You’d be hard pressed to find a guy or gal who doesn’t love these great chocolate sandwich cookies. When two barely sweetened chocolate cookies sandwich a plump smear of sweet cream icing, great things are bound to happen (like eating a half dozen of them in a single sitting). We decided to jazz up the recipe by adding food coloring and a splash of peppermint extract to the icing to really make them festive.

If you love Oreos, you’ve got to try making these little babies at home. You’ll be the most popular person in your home or office—as long as the cookie jar stays full. 🙂

 

Homemade Oreos
If you want to make these really festive, you can add a splash of peppermint extract to the filling when you add the vanilla, or add food coloring to the icing for colorful holiday treat. I originally found this recipe on SmittenKitchen.com; it’s adopted from Retro Desserts by Wayne Brachman. Click here to download a copy of this recipe.

For the chocolate wafers:
1¼ c. all-purpose flour
1 c. sugar
½ c. unsweetened Dutch process cocoa
1 tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
½ c. + 2 Tbs. (1¼ sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 large egg

For the filling:
¼ c. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
¼ c. vegetable shortening
2 c. confectioner’s sugar, sifted
2 tsp. vanilla extract

Make cookie batter. Set two oven racks in the middle of the oven. Preheat to 375˚F. In the bowl of an electric mixer or a food processor, mix the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt. While pulsing, or on slow speed, add the butter, and then the egg.  Continue mixing until dough comes together in a mass.

Beat until dough forms a large ball

Form and bake cookies. Take rounded teaspoons of batter and place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet about 2 inches apart. With moistened hands, slightly flatten the dough. Bake until cookies begin to crisp slightly around the edges, about 8-10 minutes, rotating once halfway through for even baking. Set cookies on a wire rack to cool.

Cool the cookies on a wire rack before sandwiching

Make cream filling. Beat together butter and shortening in a large mixing bowl. At low speed, gradually beat in the sugar and vanilla. Turn the mixer on high and beat for 2 to 3 minutes until filling is light and fluffy.

Add powdered sugar and beat until fluffy

Assemble cookies. Spoon filling into a pastry bag or zip-top bag with a ½-inch round tip.  Choose two cookies similar in size and pipe a teaspoon of the filling cream into the center of one cookie. Place the other cookie on top of the cream and press gently to spread the filling. Repeat this process until all the cookies have been sandwiched with cream. Dunk in a large glass of milk.

Put icing in a plastic baggie or a piping bag. You can mix the food coloring directly into the icing in the bag and just smash it around with a squeezing motion.

Pipe a small blob of filling onto one cookie and sandwich with the other cookie. Voila! Homemade oreos

 

Kitchen Classics: Oatmeal Raisin Cookies August 18, 2010

Filed under: Baked Goods,Cookies,Desserts,Nuts — thekitchenbitch @ 11:02 AM
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Oatmeal Raisin Cookies from the 25th anniversary edition of the Silver Palate cookbook.

Of all the things in the world, why would I do a post about Oatmeal Raisin Cookies? Well, these are special cookies, to say the least. Some great things I’ve been told by people who’ve tried them: “I don’t even like oatmeal, and these are amazing!” “I’m not a big fan of raisins, but I could eat this whole container!”

If these lovely comments aren’t enough to get you to try this fantastic classic recipe, then I don’t know what else to tell you—except there’s no way in hell you can go wrong with cookies like these. Crunchy on the outside, tender in the center, and with just enough chew from the quick oats and raisins, these Oatmeal Raisin Cookies are sure to satisfy even the pickiest cookie crowd.

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
This recipe is adapted from the 25th Edition of the Silver Palate Cookbook by Julee Rosso and Shelia Lukins with Michael McLaughlin. For a print copy of this recipe, click here.

12 Tbs. unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing the cookie sheets
½ c. granulated sugar
1 c. light brown sugar
1 egg
2 Tbs. water
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2/3 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. baking soda
3 c. quick-cooking oats
1 c. raisins

Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Grease two cookie sheets.

Make cookie dough. Cream the butter and both sugars until fluffy. Add the egg and beat thoroughly. Mix in the water and vanilla. Sift together the flour, cinnamon, salt, and baking soda; add to the egg mixture and mix well. Add the oats and raisins, and mix.

Form and bake. Form the cookies on the prepared cookie sheets. Bake until the edges are done but the centers are still soft, 15 to 17 minutes. Remove to a rack and cool.

The Oatmeal Raisin Cookies get their close-up.