Friday, May 27, 2016

Chai Spiced Sugar Cookies

This week, I had narrowed down my cookie choices to two vastly different cookies. I like to have options, and I had the ingredients on hand to make either of them, so I figured I would go with what I felt like making at the time. In this case, I ended up making these as they better fit the time that I had to bake! I got home a little later than expected and then felt like chilling on the couch for a bit. That didn’t leave a lot of time, so I opted for these which are fairly quick to make.

This cookie reminds me a lot of a snickerdoodle; it’s a sugar/butter cookie that is shaped into balls and rolled in a sugar-spice mix. You first make a chai spice mix and mix it with sugar. You beat that with the butter and save some to roll the cookies in. I imagine that you can use any variety of spices, but I think you need the cinnamon and ginger. The original recipe called for cardamom, but I don’t really care for it, so I substituted Chinese five spice. Don’t be afraid of the pepper, it adds a lot!

These cookies were easy to mix, but I found it a little difficult to get all of the sugar and the flour mixture mixed in all the way. When shaping the cookies, I noted that the dough in the bottom of the pan was a little sandy, as everything wasn’t mixed together completely. They are soft when they come out of the oven, so don’t be tempted to bake them longer. I prefer them soft in the middle! The spice mix is really nice in these cookies, and the flavor is infused throughout the entire cookie. They aren’t super sweet, which lets the spice flavor shine through.

Chai Spiced Sugar Cookies
2 3/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon Chinese five spice powder
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon finely ground black pepper
1 cup butter, room temperature
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with silicone baking mats.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In a separate medium bowl, combine the sugar, cinnamon, ginger, five spice powder, allspice and black pepper. Remove 1/4 cup of the sugar-spice mixture and set aside.

In a large mixer bowl, beat the butter and sugar-spice mixture on medium until light. Add the egg and vanilla and stir until combined. With the mixer running on low, gradually add the flour mixture, mixing until combined.

Shape the dough into 1-1/4 inch balls. Roll the balls in the reserved sugar-spice mixture. Place on the prepared baking sheets.

Bake for 8-10 minutes, until set. The cookies will continue to set as they cool, so do not over bake. Allow to cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes before moving to a wire rack to cool completely.

Recipe from My Baking Addiction

Friday, May 20, 2016

Lemon Butter Cookies

This has been the first “normal” week at work in what seems like a long time! It’s still been busy though. Earlier in the week I baked a cake to celebrate my four friends at work who share a May birthday. That cake was quite extravagant and I will post the recipe soon, so for Friday I decided to go with something much more simple: a lemon butter cookie.

Ok, another reason I made these is because I have a lemon at home and otherwise have all the ingredients, but that’s ok! Sometimes the simplest cookie can be the best, and they often aren’t as sweet as some of the other complex creations that I bake. After such an over-the-top cake earlier in the week, I figured we would be ok with something a little less sweet.

These come together quickly, the dough comes together in just a couple of minutes. This doesn’t make the largest batch, about two and a half dozen. The cookies are fairly small, but these just wouldn’t work as a large, oversized cookie! They are a tea cookie and they should be petite! They have a nice lemon flavor, not too overpowering, and they aren’t super sweet. I really like these, but be warned that you’ll likely get powdered sugar all over you when you eat them!

Lemon Butter Cookies
1 cup butter, room temperature
⅔ cup sugar
1 egg
2 teaspoons lemon zest
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2½ cups flour
Powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with silicone baking mats.

In a large mixer bowl, beat the butter and sugar on medium until light. Add the egg and stir to combine. Stir in the lemon zest and juice. With the mixer running on low, gradually add the flour, stirring just until the dough comes together.

Shape the dough into 1-inch balls and place on the prepared baking sheets. Flatten to cookies with a fork, creating cross marks on the top of the cookies.

Bake for 15 minutes, until cookies are set. Transfer to a wire rack and dust with powdered sugar. Once the cookies are cooled, dust again with powdered sugar.

Recipe from Simply Whisked

Friday, May 13, 2016

Coconut Brookies

I often talk about how I take cookies to work every Friday. Well, my husband also works at the college. I have occasionally taken cookies to his group of coworkers, but it’s been a long time. I understand through the grapevine that the folks over there were wondering why they don’t ever get cookies. When I make a recipe, I usually have enough to take to just one place.

I’ve been at a workshop this week (and a conference last week), so I haven’t brought cookies to work. Since I wasn’t going to be in the office today, I decided to send cookies with my husband. I do hope they enjoy them. I know the last time I baked for them, I had made a cookie that has since become one of my favorites. I’m not sure I can top that.

I thought these would be really nice, fudgy brownies topped with coconut cookie dough. They do dirty a couple more dishes than a normal batch of cookies, but not too bad and I needed to do the dishes anyway. You have to be careful piecing the coconut cookie dough into the top layer. I made a nice even layer, but I think I could have been less precise and the cookies would have been just fine. It’s hard to tell when these are baked enough. I think I baked mine a little too long. The brownie is still fudgy but the coconut cookie part is a touch dry. Together, it works out ok though.

Coconut Brookies
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
2 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
3/4 cup butter
1 3/4 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 cup flour

3/4 cup butter, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 teaspoon coconut extract
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup shredded coconut

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9” x 13” pan with foil and spray with cooking spray.

Make the brownies: In a microwave or in a double boiler, melt the unsweetened chocolate, semi-sweet chocolate and butter, stirring until smooth. Transfer to a medium mixing bowl. Whisk in the sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Add the cocoa powder and flour and stir with a spatula until the flour disappears into the batter. Spread the batter into the prepared pan.

Make the cookies: In a large mixer bowl, beat the butter and sugar on medium until smooth. Add the egg, vanilla, and coconut extract and stir to combine. Add the flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt and stir on low. Add the coconut and stir until the dough comes together.

Working with small amounts of dough at a time, flatten the dough and place it on top of the brownie batter. Continue piecing together the dough and press the cookie dough edges together until the brownie batter is completely covered.

Bake for 35-40 minutes until the coconut cookie dough is dark golden brown. (The brownies will not test done, but will firm up as the cookies cool.) Cool completely on a wire rack. Lift the cooled brownies from the pan and peel away the foil. Cut into squares.

Recipe from Crazy for Crust