Orange Chocolate Cookies

(#22 in the limited series: cooking/baking in the time of the coronavirus quarantine)

Yesterday was a particularly bad day for me.  I felt so blahhhh and did not feel like doing anything.  I did not feel like cooking, baking crocheting or doing anything at all, for that matter.  At the 2/3 mark (the quarantine was extended another 2 weeks), the quarantine was finally affecting my mind and heart.

The good news is, I am feeling a bit better… and today I was feeling good enough to bake chocolate cookies… with a touch of orange.

I had a dream last night – I was a kid again, and I was eating a childhood favorite – orange truffles.  The memory was so vivid that I wanted to make the cookies upon waking up.  Of course I had breakfast first!

As it turned out, it seemed to be fate… because when I opened my FB page, a friend had just posted a recipe for … yep… Orange Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies!  I halved the recipe – and started the making the cookie dough right after breakfast!  I was feeling rather energetic that I made another batch of peanut butter cookies!  And even combined a batch to make a 2-in-1!!!

The recipe needed orange zest… so what did I do with the zested orange?  I made the kid an orange-banana-berry smoothie!

1 cup sugar
zest of 1 orange

Rub the zest in the sugar and set aside for a while.

150g butter
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla

Beat the butter with the zested sugar until light and fluffy.  Add egg and vanilla; beat well.

3/8 cup cocoa
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

Stir in the dry ingredients.  Batter/dough will be stiff.

1/3 cup semi sweet mini chocolate chips
1/3 cup dark chocolate chips

Fold in the chocolate chips.  Chill the dough for an hour.

Scoop dough onto ungreased cookie sheets.  Bake at 350*F for 10-12 minutes.

 

 

My New Favorite!!!

(#18 in the limited series: cooking/baking in the time of the coronavirus quarantine)

For the last (almost) 4 decades I have “THE” best peanut butter cookie recipe – my absolute favorite from a 1980s Better Homes and Gardens cookbook!  The basic recipe is always the same but my mix-ins have varied- the most common being chocolate chips and the most decadent being coarsely crushed peanut brittle.

Because of the quarantine, the kid is bored and has taken to requesting all sorts of things… her own FB account (NO…), her own messenger account (still NO…), her own youtube account (heck NO!)… and various food requests like chocolate chip cookies (done)… pizza (done)… and her latest – peanut butter chocolate chip cookies.

I was set to make my favorite… but I guess I had quite a lot of time on my hands so I took a quick (but really not-so-quick) look at my “notebook” (which in actuality is several notebooks and sheets of paper where I write recipe notes, ideas and stuff).  There I found a recipe for “extra PB cookies” which was basically similar to my favorite recipe except that it had twice the amount of peanut butter, less flour, and a rather unexpected ingredient – graham flour.

Of course the question is… where in the world would I find graham flour???  And in the midst of a quarantine at that?!?  What I did have was graham cracker crumbs… and to my mind I thought it would do (I just need to lessen the sugar a bit since the crumbs were sweeter than flour).  In any case, what did I have to lose in experimenting?

½ cup butter, softened
⅓ cup granulated sugar
½ cup packed brown sugar
1 cup extra crunchy peanut butter
1 egg
½ tsp. vanilla
½ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
¾ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup very fine graham cracker crumbs
2 50g bars of Meiji Black chocolate, chopped

Beat butter and sugars together until light and creamy. Add peanut butter and beat well. Add egg and vanilla; beat some more.

Combine soda, salt, flour and graham cracker crumbs. Stir into the peanut butter mixture.

Chill at least 1 hour (mine got stuck in the fridge for 2 hours). Form into balls and place 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Flatten lightly with a fork, making a crisscross pattern.

Bake in a preheated 375F oven for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the edges of the cookies have lightly browned.

I was blown away with the results!  So much so that I told hubby that my (now ex) favorite has been de-throned!!!

The cookies have a wonder texture – it is delicate and crumbly but with edges that have crunch.  The center is delicate and soft… and the double dose of extra crunchy peanut butter brought with it an extra bang of peanut butter flavor and bits of crunchy peanuts… the black chocolate, bitter with only a slight hint of sweetness, and not overly plentiful at that, brought a pleasant surprise when bitten into…

It was just… wow (!!!!!)

I kept shoveling one cookie after another!!!

It was exceptionally good with coffee!

 

Fat Double Choco Chip Cookies

(#12 in the limited series: cooking/baking in the time of the coronavirus quarantine)

The kid, presumably bored because of the imposed community quarantine, bugged me to bake her favorite chocolate chip cookies, with one “strange” request – she wanted fat chocolate cookies…

I like my cookies on the thinner/flatter side, for some reason, and that’s how I have been baking it.  I wasn’t exactly sure how to make fat (or thick) ones.  But I always aim to please the kid so I asked around my (rather small) baking circle… most told me to swap out a third to a half of the butter with Crisco, or shortening.

Luckily, I had some butter-flavored Crisco left over… it was barely a third of a cup!  But it was enough!  The recipe I used is the all-time favorite TollHouse, swapping some of the butter with the butter-flavored Crisco.

The other tip was to shape the cookies “taller”, meaning still rounded but slightly oblong with more height than width…

The other change that I made was to use 2 different kinds of chocolate chips.  I had semi-sweet chips that were small and I had a bag of Hershey’s dark chips which were twice the size of the small chips.

Was it a success???

The kid was over the moon!!!

And she made another request…

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies!

(I need to check if we still have peanut butter…)

 

Peanut Butter Brittle Cookies

If there is one thing I find extremely difficult to resist, it is a particular cookie – peanut butter. More specifically, the first cookie, uhm, the first thing I ever baked when I was ten years old! The original recipe is from a 1975 Better Homes and Gardens cookie book… I still have the book!!!!

Of course throughout the years the original recipe had been tweaked, whether intentionally or by accident.

This time around, I added some left over peanut brittle that we got last Christmas holidays… I thought of using it before it expired in a couple of weeks!

1 cup peanut butter (I always use super crunchy kind!)
1 cup butter, softened (the original recipe specified half butter, half shortening
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar (originally 1 cup)
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
1 teaspoon baking soda
2-1/4 cups all purpose flour

1-1/4 cups crushed peanut brittle

(original recipe has 1 teaspoon baking powder which I omitted)

(I also reduced the brown sugar by 1/4 cup because of the peanut brittle since I did not want an overly sweet cookie)

The procedure is standard – beat peanut butter, butter and sugars until light and creamy. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add vanilla. Stir in flour and baking soda in 2 batches. Fold in crushed peanut brittle.

Usually I use a cookie scoop because it is more convenient. But for some reason, this particular batch I decided to do it the way I did it some 4 decades ago. (ha, so now everyone knows hold old I am!)

Using a tablespoon as measure, roll dough into balls and place on an ungreased cookie sheet (I always line mine with grease-proof baking paper). Flatten (with palms or bottom of a drinking glass).

Bake in a preheated 375F oven for about 8 minutes (for a soft chewy cookie) to 9/10 minutes (for a crunchier cookie). Cool on the cookie sheet 10 minutes then cool completely on cooling racks.

I love, love, love these with coffee!!!!

Cocomia Cookies

I promised BFF a cake but I guess I made a mistake and the cake did not materialize.  But my conscience could not allow me to come empty-handed, so I decided to make some cookies – her favorite combo of flavors – coconut and macadamias.

The recipe I use is the usual one, from BHG (my original post here), but with very slight changes –

1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup packed brown sugar (reduced from 3/4 cup)
1/2 cup compound butter, softened (instead of half shortening/half butter)
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup sweetened coconut flakes (instead of desiccated coconut)
1/2 cup halved macadamias (I had small ones)
chocolate covered macadamia nuts

Sift together flour, baking soda and salt; set aside.

Cream butter and sugar together. Add the egg and vanilla. Beat well.

Stir in flour mixture. Fold in coconut and macadamias.

This time, I dropped tablespoons of the dough into a mini muffin/cupcake tin.

Bake for 5 minutes, then rotate the pan. Bake another 4 minutes then (working fast) place a chocolate piece in the center of the cookie. Bake another 2 minutes, until cookie edges are lightly browned.

BFF looked happy!

Pan Banging Chocolate Chip Cookies

The recipe intrigued me!

So I thought of trying it…

My first attempt was a dismal fail –

The cookies spread so much it stuck together forming 1 weird looking mass.

My second try was better – I “contained” the spreading of the cookies by baking them in a pan with shallow round cavities.  But the cookies were too soft.  I think perhaps I may have underdone the baking slightly.

My next one was even better, but I still baked the cookies in a shallow round mold…

My final one was by far the best one.  But it was waaay tooo tedious.  I don’t have a big oven so technically only 2 large cookies would fit my cookie sheet! It took me the whole afternoon to bake 11 cookies!!!

The recipe can be found on The Vanilla Bean Blog.

 

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

The recipe for these cookies came from one of my favorite cookbook authors/chefs – Dorie Greenspan!  My brother recently got me a copy of Dorie’s Cookies and of course I just had to try the peanut butter (that being my favorite cookie flavor and all…)

I followed the recipe faithfully, even using Skippy which was the recommended brand! But I swapped the chopped peanuts with chocolate chip cookies… (and halved the recipe while I was at it)

1 cup flour
1/8 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
3/4 cup Skippy smooth peanut butter
1/2 cup butter, at room temperature, cut into chunks
1/4 teaspoon fine salt
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1 large egg
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Combine flour, baking powder, and nutmeg; set aside.

Beat peanut butter, butter and salt together until very smooth.  Add the sugars, continue beating.  Add the egg and beat some more.

Stir in the flour mixture then fold in the chocolate chips.

Using a small cookie scoop, place dough mounds onto parchment or silicone lined cookie sheets.

Bake in a preheated 350F oven for 10 minutes or so; or until the cookie edges are set.

We loved the cookies!!!!! And again, the kid praised me for being the best in the kitchen!

The original recipe can be found here.

Fruitcake Cookies

This is another recipe from Mrs. Fields; but not from the same book as the Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies (the post before this one).

And, because we are not exactly fruitcake lovers, I halved the recipe!

1 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup quick cooking oats
1/2 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/8 cup molasses
1 teaspoon brandy
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
1-1/2 cups mixed fruit (glazed and dried)

Sift the dry ingredients together; set aside.

Beat butter, brown sugar and molasses together; add brandy, vanilla and egg. Stir in the dry ingredients (do not overmix!) then fold in the mixed fruit.

Drop by tablespoons onto greaseproof-paper-lined cookie sheet.  Bake in a preheated 325F oven for 12 to 18 minutes or until the cookie edges are light brown.  Let the cookies rest on the cookie sheet for 10 minutes after removing from the oven; then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.

I was pleasantly surprised when the kid ate one and declared it delicious!  You see, she does not like mixed fruit of any kind!!!

 

 

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

There’s good news… and there’s bad news…

The good news is that the kid loved the cookies.

The bad?  The kid was disappointed because the recipe for these cookies came from someone else.  She has this idea that I am the world’s greatest cook and baker (let’s see up to when that lasts… but I am absolutely enjoying it in the meantime!)

Anyway, these cookies were BFF’s request.  And the original recipe is from Mrs. Fields.  Although technically I changed it since I did not like raisins (and BFF did not like it either!) so it got swapped out for chocolate chips (dark mini chips and bittersweet chips).  I also used only 1 kind of sugar (raw or washed sugar that is available locally) and baked the cookies at 325F instead of the original 300F.

1-1/4 cups sugar
1 cup butter (1 225g bar); softened
2 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 Eggs

2-1/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup quick-cooking oats

1-1/2 cups chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325F.

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy (about 4 minutes?)

Add honey, vanilla and eggs. Mix well.

Sift in the flour, soda, salt and oats. Don’t over-mix.

Fold in the chocolate chips.

Drop mounds of cookie dough on to greaseproof-lined cookie sheets (I used a small cookie scoop); lightly press to flatten slightly. Bake about 15 minutes, or until edges are lightly browned. Do not over-bake!

Cool on cooling racks.

I made about 5 dozen (approx. 1-inch) cookies.

Nevertheless, the kid loved the cookies and asked that I make some more!

Two Toned Cookies

As they say, why mess up a good thing?

Well…

If it is to make it better, then, sure, why not?

My go-to recipe for Chocolate Chip Cookies is the good ‘ole Nestle TollHouse recipe, although I always use half a recipe…

Anyway, I had visions in my head of a two-toned cookie – a hybrid of a chocolate chip cookie and a chocolate cookie studded with peanut butter chips!

I wasn’t really sure how I was going to do it… the chocolate chip cookie part was not the problem… the chocolate cookie was the question – and I am actually quite lazy, I mean I love baking so I will bake any chance I get, but I don’t particularly like washing dishes!

Anyway, to solve my issue, I halved the batter (without chocolate chips yet) by placing approximately half in another bowl.  I added half a cup of chocolate chips to one bowl and 2 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa and half a cup of peanut butter chips to the other bowl.

Drop half a teaspoon of each batter side by side (or top and bottom) then bake.

The little girl saw me baking and requested that the cookies be dipped in chocolate and sprinkles.  I thought it was a bit overkill but then, what they hey, why not?

We ended up with cookie pops that she brought to a playdate… it turned out that one of her playmates was having her birthday celebration that day!

Oreo Brownies

The kid had invited a playmate for a playdate.  As usual, she asked me to make snacks.  This particular instance, she asked for brownies with Oreo cookies.  When I asked why, she replied that it was because she wanted brownies and her playmate wanted Oreo cookies.  Win-win, right?

Well, as may be seen from the picture, it turns out that I had underestimated the number of cookies that the pack contained!  I was sure that it was enough, I had even thought that there would be leftover cookies!

Anyway, it was easy to make – just pick your favorite brownie recipe (here is mine) and skip all the mix-ins.  After pouring the batter into the pan, press Oreo cookies on top of the brownie batter (just make sure you have enough cookies to  cover the whole top, I promise it will look waaaayyyy better than this one that I made)

As always, the best of cooking and baking for the kid, she always gushes that her “mommy makes the BEST stuff”!

(big, big grin!)

Reduced Sugar Oatmeal Chippers

It is no secret that my favorite cookies are Peanut Butter Cookies.  What is not so widely known is my next favorite – nope, still not Chocolate Chip Cookies – it’s oatmeal!  But not with raisins, or chocolate chips… I like my oatmeal cookies with dates!

But… for this baking project, I gave in to a (supposedly) win-win-win situation – win 1 for me – oatmeal, win 2 for the kid – chocolate chips, and win 3 for hubby – calorie reduced… so I went to my cookbook library and pulled out an old favorite cookbook –

bhg_cookie book

(seriously, I have a collection of BHG cookbooks!  I have at least 4 for cookies alone!)

and decided to use the recipe for Oatmeal Chippers…

oatmeal chippers recipe

with (as usual) some modifications.

To be honest, hubby and the kid were not impressed by the cookies.  They said that the cookies were bland, with a particular texture that they did NOT find appealing.

I shared some with BFF, who shared some with her officemates, and according to them, they were delicious!

So I choose to believe BFF!  hahahaha!

For the recipe –

I used a sugar-stevia baking mix (I found in the baking store), in place of the sugar.  Actually, the instructions on the packet directed using only half of the baking mix in place of the whole sugar amount.  I omitted the nuts (the kid and hubby prefer a no-nut cookie).  I also halved the recipe!

3/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 cup butter compound
6 tablespoons sugar-stevia (sugar substitute mix)
(original is 3/4 cup brown and white sugar mix)
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup quick-cooking oats
1 cup chocolate chips

Combine flour and baking soda.   Beat butter compound and sugar substitute together; add egg and vanilla.  Beat well.  Stir in flour, in 2 additions.  Fold in oats, then chocolate chips.

Using a 1-oz cookie scoop, drop cookie dough onto an ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake in a preheated 375*F oven for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the cookies are lightly browned.  Cool on the cookie sheet for a minute or so, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.

The half recipe made around 30 cookies.

Next time I am going to try the Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chip Cookies by Martha Stewart!