Category Archives: cookies

Mallomars!

Did  you grow up eating Mallomars as a kid? I remember reading about them in books and hearing about them, but I don’t know that I’ve ever had an actual Mallomar. For those of you not familiar with them, you can view the official Nabisco cookie here. They are essentially a graham cracker base with a “kiss” of marshmallow on top, enrobed in chocolate. Sorta like a cold s’more. Pretty excellent stuff.

So we start the cookie base…officially, not a graham cracker base since I did not use any graham flour.

After those are baked and cooled, I piped a swirl of marshmallow on top…that’s right I made marshmallow. And it was awesome. Sorry, there are no pictures of that because I couldn’t manage boiling sugar syrup, beating egg whites and a camera all at the same time. I’m just not slick enough for that.

I was probably a bit generous with the marshmallow, which meant that some of the cookies didn’t get any. Sad. But the ones that did were pretty happy!

After the marshmallow is set, they take a dunk in some nice, warm chocolate…

 

And then add sprinkles for fun!

 

I was pretty happy with the way these turned out. The only thing I would do differently would be to pipe the marshmallow on a little differently…I would probably stay away from a swirl-type look to minimize an unfortunate resemblance to something less appetizing. But  their appearance didn’t stop anyone from eating these!

 

 


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Biscotti

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I went through a phase when I was younger where I loved hard, dry cookies – including my baby cousin’s teething biscuits. I’ve always thought of biscotti as a kind of more adult version of teething biscuits, albeit slightly tastier. I’ve had a standard biscotti recipe that I’ve been making since I was in elementary school, but for some reason I decided I wanted to mix things up a little and try something new. As someone who typically has a difficult time with change, I think I may have found a new standard. But should I really be surprised? They are, after all, from Dorie Greenspan, and when does she ever fail?

lovely toasted almonds awaiting the food processor

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awaiting the first baking

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sliced up and ready for the 2nd baking

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of course, I couldn’t leave well enough alone. I made chocolate ones, too.

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with a smear of chocolate

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double chocolate

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Chocolate Biscotti

adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From my home to yours

2 cups  flour

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

2 tablespoons instant espresso powder

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temp

1 cup sugar

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup chopped almonds

4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped or 3/4 cup mini chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat.

2. Sift together flour, cocoa, espresso powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar together on medium speed until pale (about 2 minutes). Scrape down bowl. Add eggs and vanilla and beat for about 2 minutes (mixture may look curdled). Reduce mixer speed to low and add dry ingredients in 3 additions, mixing only until dough forms. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Mix in nuts and chocolate.

4. Turn the dough out onto a work surface and knead in any dry ingredients that might have escaped mixing.

5. Divide dough in half. Working with one half at a time, roll dough into 12-inch long logs. Flatten both logs so that they are about 1/2 to 1 inch high and about 2 inches wide. Carefully lift each log onto the baking sheet.

6. Bake logs for about 25 minutes, or until slightly firm. Remove baking sheet from oven and cool logs for about 20 minutes.

7. Working with one log at a time, cut each lot into slices between 1/2 and 3/4 inch wide (use a serrated knife). Stand the slices up on the baking sheet and bake the cookies again for about 10 minutes. Cool on a rack.


Taking a breath…

Hi everyone! First, I want to apologize for being so MIA from this blog…it feels like all my time lately has been eaten up by work (both real work and working on the house), and blogging just has to take a backseat. And to be completely honest, I recently started (and finished!) the Twilight series and so life had to be put on hold while I was busy attending to that, too.

But despite my lack of blogging, it does not mean that I wasn’t baking and creating! I actually have been quite productive, so I’ll post a few pictures of what I’ve been up to…

First, I finally got around to trying my idea of mint/lime macarons. I did manage to get some pictures of the process, but they got eaten up before I had a chance to take pictures of the final product.

almonds, sugar, and mint

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sugar and lime zest….mmm…yummy

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pretty shells!

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lime curd for filling

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As I said, I wasn’t able to get any pictures of the finished lime/mint ones, but a few days later, I tried out a strawberry shell and filled those with lime curd and/or chocolate ganache. Here’s a picture of those…

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And then the other thing that I’ve been working on is a wedding cake for my husband’s cousin’s wedding…actually, i’ve just mostly been working on some flowers for that. What do you think?

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I hope you’ll all forgive me for my lack of posting…I am hoping that things will calm down a bit for me and I’ll be able to remember to take better pictures of the stuff I am doing. July was (is!) just a crazy month. Although August does look busy, I hope I’ll be able to make more time for this. Thanks for checking this stuff out!

Madeleines & Blondies

Hi everybody! Sorry I have been MIA for awhile – life has been a bit crazy in my little world, and it’s been difficult to sit down and blog. But never fear – the baking has not stopped! 

First up are the madeleines. This was my first attempt at making madeleines – a little strange considering how much I LOVE these cookies. But I guess part of the reason I’ve never made them is because I don’t own the requisite pans. However, now that I live with my brother-in-law, who makes these cookies on a fairly regular basis, I have access to the necessary pans! So off I went!

getting the ingredients together

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melted butter

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mixing the batter

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chilling in the pans

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a bit crispy on one side…oops! but still mighty tasty!

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buttery, soft cookie…mmmmm

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Both of these recipes are from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From My Home to Yours. This blondie recipe has a kinda funny story to it. A few months ago, I went to a pot luck where a friend brought a huge plate of the yummiest-looking blondies I’d seen in awhile. So of course I asked for the recipe…and I was shocked when I got home to find out that I had had the recipe in my kitchen the whole time. Silly me. I actually made this particular batch for a nurse at work who had been having a bad day, so I was rushing a bit when I made them and didn’t get a chance to take too many pictures. But here are some of the finished product:

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Oatmeal cookies 2 ways

It’s been awhile since I made a simple, homey treat. Looking back over the blog, I realized that recently I’ve been making a lot of fancier-looking stuff. Now that’s all good and fine – I get a lot of enjoyment in working on tiny details and making things look nice, but sometimes the prettiest looking thing is a nice, chunky, homey cookie. So when my husband asked for oatmeal cookies, I was more than happy to oblige.

It seems that the most common oatmeal cookie is the oatmeal raisin cookie. For years, I thought oatmeal cookies were “mom” cookies. Growing up, it seemed that the only cookie my mother would eat on a regular basis was oatmeal raisin. I don’t really remember seeing her eat chocolate chip cookies, sugar cookies, peanut butter or anything else (even though these cookies were around A LOT since I was always baking as a kid). So somehow I got it into my head that moms only ate oatmeal raisin cookies. The only way I would eat an oatmeal raisin cookie as a kid was to pick out the raisins.

As I got older, I figured out that other people do eat oatmeal raisin cookies – myself included. I also discovered that there are so many other things that can go into an oatmeal cookie instead of raisins. This turned out to be a good thing since it turns out that my husband hates raisins, but really likes oatmeal cookies. (I think it took him awhile to figure this out since he also thought all oatmeal cookies had raisins.)

Since these cookies are for my husband, I made non-raisin cookies. He also prefers cookies without a lot of added chunks – but I like chunks! So I did them two ways; first, plain for the husband, and second, with white chocolate for me! These are based on a recipe from Deb at Smitten Kitchen, who adapted it from Cook’s Illustrated.

the dry stuff: flour, salt, baking soda & baking powder

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ground old-fashioned oats (I wanted a finer texture than whole oats)

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mixing the dry into the wet: butter, sugars, egg, vanilla

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scoops of dough waiting for the oven and sprinkled with salt

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out of the ovenIMG_3284

without chips

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and with chips! (I don’t know why this picture is smaller! I didn’t mean for it to be!)

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Another Challenge for Future Denise

So we’re back to macarons. As I have said previously, these little buggers really get under your skin. I have spent countless hours daydreaming about making them and trying new flavor combinations. Unfortunately, after today’s attempt, I think my obsession with these things is about to grow…

If you haven’t figured it out yet, I hate making mistakes. I hate failing. And while I wouldn’t say that these macarons are a failure, I know I can do them better. I waffled back and forth about whether I even wanted to post about these…but I reminded myself that one of the purposes of this blog is so I can record my progress. So here they are:

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This was my first attempt at chocolate macaron shells. I’ve hesitated on the chocolate shells because I’ve read that the acidity of the cocoa powder can wreak havoc on the precise chemistry upon which the success of these cookies depend, thus making these the most finicky of these finicky cookies. But today, I decided I would face my fear. So far, the planets have all lined up for me when it comes to macarons, and I had no real reason to believe that I would fail. So off I went, carefully weighing and mixing. But when I popped them into the oven, my fears were confirmed. While they all developed their little feet, their tops were far from the beautiful smooth domes that are desired. Rather, these were either wrinkly or cracked. A couple had smooth tops, but they were strangely flat. I decided that they needed more time in the oven. Big mistake. 
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While I concede they don’t look too shabby in pictures, it is in their texture that I find major fault. Instead of having a nice crisp outer shell, giving way to a soft chewy interior, these are crunchy. Like, bite-into-them-and-watch-the-crumbs-fly- crunchy. So my big conclusion is that I over baked them…something that Future Denise can easily rectify her attempts. But she should do some more research and try to figure out what is behind the wrinkly tops…perhaps it had something to do with my difficulties in achieving a good meringue this time?

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Despite their failings, I filled them anyway…with the hope that the filling would mask their flaws. Y’all like chocolate and caramel, right? I don’t think they taste too bad. I just recommend eating them over the sink so that when you bite into them, the crumbs don’t fly all over the floor.

So this will be another project for Future Denise…hopefully, her chocolate macaron fate will be more favorable.

My Secret Dream

Okay. So it’s probably not that secret; it’s probably pretty obvious. I am, however, somewhat embarrassed to be making it public…but here I go:

I want to have a custom cake/dessert business. I also want a pet pig, but that’s another story.

There. I said it. I guess I’m embarrassed because I know there is so much potential for failure and it’s a huge risk. But over the last few months, I’ve noticed even more how much joy I experience when I’m creating these treats, and it’s something I want to do all the time…if I can make that a reality, why not?  I’ve talked to a few people who have done it successfully and I think I have an idea about what I need to do…but it’s intimidating. So I’m going to need your help…hopefully, y’all are actually reading the words on this blog and not just looking at the pictures. You’re not going to be much help if you aren’t reading this.

I never thought of myself as a particularly entrepreneurial person, but I am ready to start taking on this dream of mine. First step, though, is to get some projects to build up my portfolio, and that’s where all of you come in. If you are in need of cake/cupcakes/cookies, please think of me!  All cake/cupcakes/cookies can be customized to your event – this includes flavors, color, and design.  And if you do have something for me, please give me as much advance notice as you are able so that I can give your project the proper amount of attention.

Right now, I’m not after creating a huge dessert empire; I am just hoping that I can take this hobby of mine and make it something more productive. If I make enough desserts, I can power up to the next level.

So that being said…here are some examples of some sugar cookies! I’m working on getting some non-seasonal cookie cutters which will increase my repertoire greatly. But these are some generic, all-purpose cookies:

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I think one of my favorite parts is getting sugar ALL over me and the kitchen. Here are some close-ups:

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See? They can be customized…and not just with names. Maybe a monogram?

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What’s your favorite kind of cookie? I like yummy ones.

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And they can be made for any occasion or theme!

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I love cookies! Thanks for checking these out!