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Valentines Cookie Art

10 Feb

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Whether they’re gifts for someone special or something to gorge on in self-pity, these cookies are intricate little pieces of art!

This is my first time really making something as artsy and detailed in cookie form. When I think cookies, I think scooping out some chocolate chip on parchment paper and sticking it in the oven. Not these guys. Not only are they twice as good, they take twice as long to make too!!

The base of these cookies is a delicious chocolate cut-out cookie recipe from this amazing cookie blog I discovered recently called Bake at 350. If you haven’t already heard of it, it’s amazing and I highly recommend you check it out! Here is the recipe I used. I used some cute Valentines themed cookie cutters, an X shape and a sweet heart. For the purpose of these cookies, it was really important that once they were cut out, they kept they’re form. The secret is from the genius behind Bake at 350, stick the cut out cookies in the freezer for 5 minutes before baking. I tried it out and it worked really well at baking nicely shaped cookies. The only mishap I had was the pan in the freezer falling out on the floor as soon as I opened the door, unfortunately some cookies bent into frozen balls of mush and were not salvageable (until I rolled them out again, that is!). Once I baked and cooled all my cookies it was time to move onto the fun part – Royal Icing.

Royal Icing is the icing used to decorate cookies with, as it leaves a nice hard, shiny, matte finish when dried. It’s really  simple to whip up quickly – there are thousands of homemade recipes online with only a couple of ingredients. For this recipe, you will need to make two different kinds of royal icing. One of them needs to be of stiff, pipe-able consistency. The other one, is the same recipe, just with added water to ensure it’s consistency is thinner than the previous batch, to make the consistency a sort of thick syrup, which makes it easier to flood the cookie with. It’s also advised to add a gel paste food colouring to this one, to create contrast.

First of all, outfit your piping bag with a tiny little #2 piping tip. Then, fill the piping bag with your thicker royal icing. On each cookie, pipe the outline of the shape and let dry for around half an hour (sometimes this takes a long time to do, so usually you can just jump right into flooding the cookies on the first ones you piped after you’ve finished piping everything!). For this next part, you can either use a squeeze bottle, piping bag or spoon. I used a spoon, because one of my other piping bags ripped 😥 Take a small amount of your syrupy royal icing and spread it around with the spoon within the outline of the cookie. Let it sit for an hour before you go back to the piping bag to add details and words.

It may sound straightforward, but I warn you that it is very time consuming! I spent multiple hours on these cookies… and then came back the next day and made more because I had enough royal icing 🙂 The ones I showed you here are X’s and hearts, but the second time I made these (not featured) I made them all hearts because it was easier to make than the X’s and put conversation heart sayings on all of them. They were pretty cute!

Have a Happy Valentines Day!

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Best-Ever Chocolate Chip Cookies

30 Jan

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It’s about that time of year. Exam month. Everyone is cramming in as many hours as they can a day for studying. Usually, I like to snack when I’m studying. A cup of caffeinated tea and a little bowl of popcorn can usually do the trick. But, like anything you eat for extended periods of time – it can get boring (Except for tea – I will never get tired of tea ever). My solution, was to whip up some cookies. Chewy, crisp, Chocolate Chip Cookies.

If you’ve been following the blog for a while,  you might ask yourself, why? I already have a chocolate chip cookie recipe on the blog – why I am writing to you about it again? Because, friends – I’ve discovered something even better. I’ll let you in on a little secret – I haven’t been satisfied with my chocolate chip cookie recipe. Whenever it’s mid-week and I’m craving something quick,  I try and avoid those cookies at all costs. I was kidding myself when I thought that they were buttery, chewy with a crisp exterior. Please don’t ever make those cookies – these ones here are the real deal.

For Christmas, I had gotten a lovely little recipe magazine called Chocolate Desserts: The Absolute Best Chocolate Recipes Ever from America’s Test Kitchen Cook’s Country. Sounds promising right? So as I was flipping through, I find a little something called Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies – and the rest is history.

I strongly recommend you go out and find this book. Buy it at the supermarket, borrow it from a friend. Do anything you can to get your hands on this recipe. It’s to be displayed until February 27th 2012, so hurry up! The recipe is genius – it created the best chocolate chip cookies I have ever had.

Holiday Gingerbread

13 Nov

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For some people, the holidays smells like crisp air, apple cider and pine trees. For others, like myself,  the holidays smell like warm spices coming from the kitchen – usually when I make these gingerbread. Typical holiday gingerbread tends to be hard and crunchy. The absence of that extra flour in these cookies make these almost as chewy and soft as a chocolate chip cookie, which steps up these gingerbread. Usually gingerbread is made in the holiday season, but no one’s stopping you from making these with biscuit cutters in the middle of the summer.

I’ll face it – my cookie cutter collection is a bit of a mess. I have odd shaped cutters, to say the least. There’s one set of misshapen gingerbread men where they are missing a head, leg or arm. Imagine the conversations I have when I bring these to the party (Casual Party-goer: Umm… this one has a bite in it. Me: Actually it was meant that way. Enjoy!). I probably have more… interesting cookie cutters than festive holiday ones. My collection includes a pig, a rocketship, a pineapple, a hippo, a turtle, a dinosaur, a music note – you name it, I have it. I found all of them at my new place of employment, To Set  A Table. I was actually making these cookies for the holiday set-up night to bring to everyone (Mind you, that was a long time ago, I’ve only found time to write this up now).

Now, time for the recipe!

Littlemissbakeaholic’s Holiday Gingerbread

Ingredients:

2 1/4 cup all purpose flour (You will need a lot more to coat the dough balls and dust your surface though)

2 teaspoons ground ginger

1 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup butter, softened

1 cup white sugar

1 egg

1 tablespoon water

1/4 cup molasses

Extra sugar for sprinkling

Instructions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees

2. Sift together the flour, ginger, baking soda, cloves and set in a small mixing bowl. You can set that aside for now.

3. In mixing bowl, cream together the butter and white sugar until it’s light and fluffy. Beat in the egg, then stir in the water and molasses (Trust me, you will need a spatula to get the molasses out).

4. Gradually add in the flour mixture and combine. The dough won’t seem as though it has enough flour in it, but please resist the temptation to add more! You can compensate by heavily flouring your surface later.

5. Now, it’s time to roll out the dough onto your heavily floured surface and cut out the dough with cutters. It’s best to form a large ball (a bit larger than an orange) and coat it in flour before rolling, as the dough is very sticky. Your laborious scraping cookies off of the counter will be rewarded when you bite into these chewy cookies!! Place the cookies on an ungreased baking sheet and sprinkle sugar on top for an added sweetness.

6. Bake in the oven for 8-10 minutes. Let cool on baking sheets and enjoy!

 

[Edit: I am liking this new theme! It has seasonal options, so currently I’m in fall mode but it won’t be long until winter 🙂 Also, apologies for such a long wait for the next post. I’ve been very busy with my new job (!) and all the clubs/activities/midterms/life and haven’t found the time for a nice photography session with my little bits of baked goodness. Hopefully I will get some more holiday treats up this year, but I wouldn’t count on the post-a-week sort of regime we used to have]

Modern Shortbread

30 Sep

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When I was walking through the deli/bakery section of Whole Foods, I caught my eye on these meticulously dipped in chocolate shortbread cookies – and they looked gorgeous. It may be a Christmas thing, but I absolutely looove shortbread. Probably my favorite cookie. So why haven’t I made shortbread before? I honestly have no idea. So, thank you Whole Foods bakery staff for creating these modern shortbread to spark my creativity and attention.

After I saw the cookies, I became obsessed. I didn’t buy one at the store because I was in a rush, so of course, when I got home I needed to make them. Unfortunately, I didn’t have enough time that night, so I went to school the next day with this idea of creating a Black and White shortbread. When I got home and googled a recipe, it turned out that these fantasy black and white cookies didn’t exist. Black and White cookies have cake-like texture with icing on both sides. Not the shortbread I had dreamed of. So, since it didn’t exist on the internet, I decided to do a little improv baking. I googled a recipe for basic shortbread and rolled out small circles with my biscuit cookie cutters. Then, I used about 1 1/2 cups of chocolate chips to dip the cooled shortbread. I was thinking that it would be extremely difficult to do because the chocolate would diminish to the point where I couldn’t dip it anymore. Luckily, I had a rubber spatula on hand. So, I scraped up all the chocolate and pushed it to a side and dipped the cookie on an angle. And? It worked perfectly! It’s a shame there was a lot of excess chocolate, I had to delicately scrape it off. Shaking it off didn’t work so well because of accidently hit the side of the bowl, shattering the cookie. So, I picked up the bigger crumbs and then mixed in the smaller crumbs into the chocolate and prayed it wouldn’t make a difference. After dipping, I placed the cookies on plates lined with wax paper to let the chocolate harden for a couple of hours. The result? Absolute shortbread perfection 🙂

Chocolate, Walnuts, Espresso – Oh my!

7 Jul

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It’s been awhile since I made something really chocolatey and delicious – in cookie form. The brownie cookies I made awhile back were a bit lacking, and I figured this would be a good opportunity for redemption. My mom was going in for some surgery-like procedure and couldn’t eat for a day and a half prior. That meant no chocolate, no coffee and no nuts – few of her favourite things. While she was at the hospital, I decided to whip up a batch of these amazing cookies I found on Epicurious for a little welcome home treat – and they were delicious! I made Chocolate Walnut Espresso cookies, with its brownie batter consistency and caffeine kick, these are one of the few cookies I can call my favourites.

I usually don’t bake with nuts, mostly because I don’t like them in sweets. But today, these were for my mom, so it wasn’t about me. The recipe called for a cup of walnuts, but in the large batch, it wasn’t very much. I got around one or two walnuts per cookie. (Sidenote: Here’s the recipe from Epicurious since I can’t post it here) These were quick and easy to whip up, and really simple to bake. I used my small ice cream scoop because of the brownie like consistency and it made all of the scooping a whole lot easier. I also don’t normally use coffee in my treats because I don’t drink coffee, but these tasted really good with the ground espresso – I guess I might have to start making more caffeinated treats!

When baked, these cookies poof up a bit and get a really nice crackle coating. The inside is really moist and decadent. Perfect cookies for a tall glass of milk – or a cup of coffee! These have become a hit in my family and they surely will be a hit in  yours too 🙂

Brownie Cookies

5 Jun

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Okay, so now that I have this blog, I’m into trying new things for baking, right? So far, I don’t think I’ve made a  repeat of anything on this yet. You’ll have to understand that before this, the only thing I’d make was my tried and true recipes. No guess work involved. After this? Oh boy.

My town has this event every year called the Oakville  Taste. The top restaurants and bakeries come together a make some of their dishes to serve and put together the recipes in a recipe book for the guests to take home. My sister volunteered at the event and took one of the recipe books home. So I decided to make the brownie cookies from Black Forest Bakery. And that’s where all the problems started.

I was halfway through melting the butter and cocoa powder when I noticed it said to mix in the baking powder and flour. The catch? The recipes list didn’t list flour and baking powder. My mom actually called up the bakery and asked how much to add, but they didn’t know because it’s in different quantities then they’d produce at the bakery. So ultimately, I had to guess. I started with a tsp of baking powder, cause that seemed reasonable. Then the flour, I added by the 1/4 cup. I got to 2  and 3/4 cups flour when I gave up. The mixture hadn’t changed from it’s thick brownie consistency and I was running out of patience. So, I took little scoops of brownie and rolled them in the icing sugar, and put them on the pan to bake in the oven.

From the first batch, I learned that you needed to get more icing sugar on it. Then I sampled it and realized that I added too much flour.

Oh well.

They tasted good to everyone else.

Classic Chocolate Chip Cookies

22 Apr

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There are probably over a million recipes out there for Chocolate Chip Cookies. This one in particular, is absolutely delicious. The buttery, flaky cookies are amazing when paired with rich chocolate chips. These are my go-to cookies. They are quick and easy – perfect for school lunches. I made this recipe after trying out numerous recipes – I took the best parts of each and luckily they all meshed together phenomenally. Read on for the recipe!

Classic Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients:

– 1 cup of butter (whenever I make cookies, it’s impromptu, so I don’t have time to leave it at room temperature. Instead, I take a small glass measuring cup and zap the butter for about 10-15 seconds. Ahhh… sooo much easier)

– 3/4 cup brown sugar

– 3/4 cup white sugar

– 1 large egg

– 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

– 2 1/4 cups flour (plus more if you want stiffer, thicker cookies)

– 1/2 teaspoon salt (usually, I just put in a few sprinkles with a salt shaker. 1/2 teaspoon is simply a guideline)

– 1 teaspoon baking soda

– 1 cup chocolate chips (Ghiradelli Milk Chocolate chips are simply the best! Substitute chocolate chips for chocolate chunks if you have the extra time on hand to chop up Bakers chocolate)

Materials:

– Large stand mixer (Let’s face it. Do we really want to have to sweat to cream the butter, or add the flour? Didn’t think so.)

– Fork (to mix the flour mixture – why dirty a nice whisk when a fork works just as well?)

– Small/Medium baking bowl

– Spatula

– Assorted Measuring Cups and Spoons

– Cookie Trays (either non-stick or accompanied with parchment paper)

– Small Ice Cream Scoop (also known as the best way to scoop cookie dough!)

Steps:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees farenheit

2. Cream the butter and sugars until smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add vanilla and egg. Scrape down sides of the bowl if needed, just make sure it’s all mixed in well!

3. Sift together flour, salt and baking soda in a bowl (with the fork!). Add the mixture bit by bit into the stand mixture of butter and sugar. Mix well until dough becomes… doughy.

4. Add the chocolate chips and give it a quick stir in.

5. Scoop out cookies with ice cream scooper onto tray. Bake for 9 minutes, no more, no less 🙂

Makes a lot of cookies… I don’t have an accurate number because many are gone by the time I can count them (and I eat lots of cookie dough… when no one is looking).

If you tried these out, tell me how they came out for you!