Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Alton Brown's "The Chewy" Chocolate Chip Cookies

I've made these cookies several times now, and they have always been a huge hit. It's hard to even feel motivated to try a different chocolate chip cookie recipe. I also use this dough in the center of my cookie dough cuppycakes now.


Alton Brown's "The Chewy"
(Adapted from Food Network with only minimal modifications.)

* 2 sticks unsalted butter
* 2 1/4 cups bread flour (it's really important to use bread flour)
* 1 teaspoon kosher salt
* 1 teaspoon baking soda
* 1/4 cup sugar
* 1 1/4 cups brown sugar
* 1 egg
* 1 egg yolk
* 2 tablespoons milk
* 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
* 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips (I use Ghirardeli)


Heat oven to 375 degrees F. (Note: I usually preheat my oven to 25 degrees lower than what recipes say, because it runs about 10 degrees hot and also I use nonstick bakeware. So I actually baked these at 350.)

Melt the butter in a heavy-bottom medium saucepan over low heat. Sift together the flour, salt, and baking soda and set aside. (Note: Be careful to melt the butter slooooowly. If you do it too quickly - i.e. on too high a heat - it will separate and you'll end up with greasy cookies.)

Pour the melted butter in the mixer's work bowl. Add the sugar and brown sugar. Cream the butter and sugars on medium speed. Add the egg, yolk, 2 tablespoons milk and vanilla extract and mix until well combined. Slowly incorporate the flour mixture until thoroughly combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Chill the dough, then scoop onto parchment-lined baking sheets (I skipped the parchment because my nonstick baking sheets are AWESOME), 6 cookies per sheet. (AB says to use a #20 disher to scoop the cookies. I use a large OXO cookie scoop, which according to the Internets, is the same size.)

Bake for 14 minutes (my cookies took about 14-15 minutes - keep an eye on them or they'll burn) or until golden brown, checking the cookies after 5 minutes. Rotate the baking sheet for even browning. Cool completely and store in an airtight container.

NOTE: I chill my dough for 24-36 hours before baking the cookies (though AB doesn't say to do this). I find that it really improves the flavor of the cookies. Your mileage may vary.


Monday, April 26, 2010

Chocolate Raspberry Cuppycakes

I made these for a friend's birthday. Only I've been a little behind on things, and so I made her the "birthday" cupcakes about 5 months late. She did say they were worth the wait, though. ;-)

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Chocolate Raspberry Cuppycakes
(Borrowed from Sweetest Kitchen - makes 12 cupcakes)

* 125g soft unsalted butter
* 100g dark chocolate, broken into pieces
* 300g raspberry jam (I used seedless)
* 150g caster sugar
* pinch of salt
* 2 large eggs, beaten
* 150g self-rising flour


Preheat your oven to 350F. (Note: I usually preheat my oven to 25 degrees lower than what recipes say, because it runs about 10 degrees hot and also I use nonstick bakeware. So I actually baked these at 325.)

Melt butter in a double boiler. When nearly completely melted, stir in the chocolate. Stir with a wooden spoon until the butter and chocolate are smooth and melted. Now add the raspberry jam, sugar, salt and eggs. Stir with a wooden spoon and when all is pretty well amalgamated stir in the flour.

Put batter in lined cupcake pan. Do not overfill! I estimate you want to put no more than 1.5 tablespoons of batter in each cupcake liner. Bake for about 25 minutes (it was 26-28 for me). Cool in the pan for 10 minutes before removing and placing on a rack.

Cool cupcakes completely. Fill cupcakes with raspberry whipped cream using the cone method, then frost with the chocolate ganache icing (recipes are below).

Raspberry Whipped Cream Filling

* 1/2 cup ultra-pasteurized heavy whipping cream
* 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
* 1/2 tablespoon granulated white sugar
* 1/4 cup lightly sweetened raspberry puree (recipe below)

To make the raspberry puree:

Thaw 24 oz (680 grams) of frozen unsweetened raspberries in a large fine-meshed strainer suspended over a large bowl. (This may take a few hours.) Once the berries have completely thawed, force the juice from the berries by gently pressing them with the back of a large spoon. All that should remain in the strainer is the raspberry seeds.

Throw away the raspberry seeds and and stir in 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar. Sweeten more if necessary, to taste. (For extra flavor you can also add a little raspberry liqueur.)

Store covered in the refrigerator up to a week, or freeze up to a year. Makes approximately 1 3/4 cups (420 ml).

To make the raspberry whipped cream filling:

In a large mixing bowl place the whipping cream, vanilla extract, and sugar and stir to combine. Cover and chill the bowl and beaters in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. When chilled, beat only until soft peaks form. Add the sweetened raspberry puree a little at a time, and beat just until stiff peaks form when the beater is raised. Taste and fold in more sugar or puree, if required.

Chocolate Ganache Icing

* 100g dark chocolate
* 100ml double cream
* 12 fresh raspberries, optional


Break the chocolate for the icing into little pieces and add them to the cream in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, remove from the heat and then whisk – by hand or electrically – until thick and smooth. Ice the cupcakes, smoothing the tops with the back of a spoon, and stand a raspberry in the center of each.

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Here's a bonus picture of a whole dozen cuppycakes.

Chewy Chocolate Cherry Cayenne Cookies

Taken from here.

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* 1/4 cup flour
* 1/4 tsp baking powder
* 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
* 8 oz (1 1/3 cups) bittersweet chocolate chips or squares, 63 % to 70% cacao
* 4 Tbs butter, unsalted
* 2 Tbs brewed espresso (I used espresso powder dissolved in boiling water)
* 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
* 1 tsp cayenne powder
* 2 large eggs
* 2/3 cup sugar
* 1/2 cup dried cherries
* 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
* 1/4 cup chopped pecans


Preheat oven 375°. (Note: I usually preheat my oven to 25 degrees lower than what recipes say, because it runs about 10 degrees hot and also I use nonstick bakeware. So I actually baked these at 350.)

In a small bowl combine flour, baking powder, and sea salt. Set aside.

In a double boiler or pot of simmering (not boiling) water with a heat-safe bowl set on top as shown, melt the bittersweet chocolate and butter. When melted, turn off heat and add espresso, vanilla and cayenne. Stir. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

In a large bowl or standing electric mixer (if you have one use it, I don’t and this saddens me but at least I get a workout) beat the eggs with an electric mixer on high just until frothy about 2 minutes. Slowly add sugar and beat on high until egg and sugar mixture is thick, about 13 more minutes. (Note: I ended up beating the egg and sugar mixture for about 14-15 minutes.)

Gently fold using a spoon or spatula cooled chocolate mixture into egg and sugar mixture. Fold until partially combined. Add flour and carefully fold again until partially combined. Next add the dried cherries, semi-sweet chocolate chips and pecans. Fold until everything is just mixed. Be careful not to over mix and deflate the eggs. If the mixture is a little runny, chill in refrigerator for 5 to 10 minutes.

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Place small spoonfuls of cookie batter (I used a small cookie scoop that's about 3/4 of a tablespoon) onto baking sheet. Leave about 2 inches between each cookie (I put 8 cookies on each baking sheet).

Set in oven and bake for 9 minutes. Oven times do vary. What you are looking for is a shiny brownie-like crust.

When finished, cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes. Then remove from the baking sheet and place on a cooling rack.

Thick, Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

I stole this recipe shamelessly from Smitten Kitchen, with only a couple changes.

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* 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
* 1-1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
* 2 eggs
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 1-1/2 cup all-purpose flour
* 1 teaspoon baking soda
* 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* 3/4 teaspoon salt
* 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
* 3/4 cup raisins (I recommend Newman's Own organic)


Preheat oven to 350°F. (Note: I usually preheat my oven to 25 degrees lower than what recipes say, because it runs about 10 degrees hot and also I use nonstick bakeware. So I actually baked these at 325. I also didn't use parchment paper and my cookies were fine.)

In a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar, egg and vanilla until smooth. In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt together. Stir this into the butter/sugar mixture. Stir in the oats and raisins.

Cover the dough and chill it in the fridge for at least one hour. Using cold dough helps the cookies bake up thick and chewy.

Roll dough into balls of about 1.5 tablespoons each. I use a medium OXO cookie scoop and put 9 cookies on each cookie sheet. Bake for 10-15 minutes taking them out when golden at the edges but still a little undercooked-looking on top (mine took about 14 minutes). Let the cookies sit on the hot baking sheet for five minutes before transferring them to a rack to cool.

Yields about 3 dozen cookies.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cuppycakes

I actually made these cuppycakes once back in November but somehow failed to take any pictures of them. Then a friend of mine came in town to visit a couple months ago, so I made them again... only with a fortuitous accidental modification.

My intention was to make the cake part using the dark chocolate cupcake recipe in this post. That's how I did it the first time I made the chocolate peanut butter cuppycakes, and it came out delicious. However, I accidentally grabbed the wrong chocolate from my pantry, and used 60% cacao instead of 85%.

The cupcakes came out good anyway. They didn't taste like dark chocolate, but they were way more moist than the batch I made with the darker chocolate.

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Cuppycakes
(makes 12 cupcakes)


For the cupcakes:
* 3 to 4 oz. good-quality 60% cacao chocolate (I used Ghirardeli)
* 12 tbsp. (1 1/2 sticks) butter
* 1 1/8 c. sugar
* 4 eggs
* 5/8 c. flour
* 1/8 cup cocoa powder, unsweetened
* 3/4 tsp. baking powder
* Pinch salt

For the peanut butter filling (adapted from here):
* 2/3 cup confectioners' sugar
* 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
* 2 tbsp. butter
* 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract


To make the cupcakes:

Preheat oven to 350 F (I actually preheated mine to 325F).

Chop chocolate and transfer into the bowl of a standing mixer. Add butter to the chocolate and place the bowl over a pan of simmering water. Stir until chocolate melts and butter is combined.

Remove from heat and stir in sugar. Let mixture cool for 10 minutes. Beat in an electric mixer for 3 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing for 10 seconds between each.

Sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt into the mixture, return to the electric mixer, and mix until blended.

To make the peanut butter filling:

In bowl, with mixer on medium speed, mix confectioners' sugar, peanut butter, butter, and vanilla until blended. Shape mixture into 12 balls. (Balls will be sticky and don't need to be perfectly shaped.) Place balls on waxed paper-lined cookie sheet; set aside.

To assemble and bake:

Scoop batter into cupcake cups (I filled mine pretty full - 2 level scoops with my small cookie scoop, which I think holds 3/4 tbsp). Roll peanut butter filling into balls and place one ball atop each cupcake (do not press down into the batter). Cover with a small amount of batter (I used a small "eating" spoonful).

Bake for 25 minutes or until the tops look cracked and brownie-like and a toothpick inserted in the side (not the center) comes out clean.

I baked these cupcakes for about 25 minutes. Given the fact that they were soft and falling apart, I think they could have stayed in another minute or two but they tasted AWESOME.

Wait until cupcakes cool completely. Then frost with the peanut butter frosting recipe from here.

Paula Deen's Monster Cookies (Rawr!)

Apparently, monster cookies are well-loved by a lot of people, but I had never heard of them until recently when I found the recipe on Paula Deen's website. Now I've made them twice in the past month or so just because they are so easy to make and people always seem to love them.

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Monster Cookies
(makes 36 cookies)

* 1/4 cup raisins, optional (I recommend Newman's Own organic raisins)
* 1/2 cup chocolate chips
* 1/2 cup multi-colored chocolate candies
* 1 stick butter, softened
* 1 12-ounce jar creamy peanut butter
* 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1 cup granulated sugar
* 1 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
* 3 eggs
* 2 teaspoon baking soda
* 4 1/2 cup quick-cooking oatmeal (not instant)


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper or nonstick baking mats.

(Note: I usually preheat my oven to 25 degrees lower than what recipes say, because it runs about 10 degrees hot and also I use nonstick bakeware. So I actually baked these at 325. And I did not use the parchment paper for these cookies and they were fine.)

In a very large mixing bowl, combine the eggs and sugars. Mix well. Add the salt, vanilla, peanut butter, and butter. Mix well. Stir in the chocolate candies, chocolate chips, raisins, if using, baking soda, and oatmeal. Drop by tablespoons 2 inches apart onto the prepared cookie sheets (I actually used a medium OXO cookie scoop, which is 1.5 tbsp).

Bake for 8-10 minutes (my cookies were a little larger and took 14-15 minutes to bake). Do not overbake. Let stand for about 3 minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool. When cool, store in large resealable plastic bags (or an airtight container like the one I use, pictured below).

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Peanut Butter Crinkle Cookies

This was my first time making peanut butter cookies. I lovingly borrowed this recipe from here.

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Peanut Butter Crinkle Cookies

* 1 cup butter
* 1 cup creamy peanut butter
* 1 cup brown sugar
* 1 cup sugar
* 2 eggs (room temperature)
* 2 tsps vanilla extract
* 2 1/2 cups flour
* 1 tsp baking powder
* 1 tsp baking soda
* 1/2 tsp salt
* 1 cup powdered sugar (or more as needed for rolling)


The original recipe says to preheat your oven to 350. I usually preheat my oven to 25 degrees lower than what recipes say, because it runs about 10 degrees hot and also I use nonstick bakeware. So I actually baked these at 325.

Line baking sheets with parchment paper (I skipped this step).

Place powdered sugar in shallow bowl.

In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and peanut butter. Once combined beat in the white sugar, and brown sugar until well blended. Beat in the eggs and vanilla.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Gently add to creamed mixture and mix until almost combined. Chill dough for 10-20 minutes.

Roll tablespoonfuls of dough into balls. Gently roll the dough balls into powdered sugar and place dough balls on parchment lined baking sheets. Carefully press down on each ball with a glass to flatten tops slightly. (NOTE: The cookies that turned out the best for me were the ones I pressed into thick disks (almost like a round Tinker Toy piece shape.)

Bake for 10-12 minutes (it was actually 16 minutes for me) in the preheated oven, or until top is crinkly and edges are set. Cool on sheet for 10 minutes and transfer to baking rack to finish cooling.

Chocolate Cuppycakes with Coffee Cream Filling

I'm so behind on posting things to this blog!

chocolate coffee cupcake

I made these cuppycakes back in October, after a friend of mine found the recipe for me on Food Network. They were yummy, but I think they could have been more coffee-y. I think this is because I used instant coffee. Next time, I will use espresso powder.

coffee cupcakes - inside view

Chocolate Cuppycakes with Coffee Cream Filling


For the cupcakes:
* 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
* 2 cups sugar
* 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
* 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
* 1 teaspoon baking powder
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1 cup vegetable oil
* 1 cup strong brewed coffee, cooled (I recommend instant espresso powder dissolved in boiling water)
* 3 large eggs
* 1 (8-ounce) container sour cream
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* Chocolate covered coffee beans, for garnish, optional (I didn't use these)

For the coffee cream filling:
* 1 (3-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
* 1/4 cup coffee-flavored liqueur
* 1 (8-ounce) container frozen chocolate flavored whipped topping, thawed


To make the cupcakes:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line muffin pans with paper liners and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add oil, coffee, and eggs. Beat at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Mix in the sour cream and vanilla.

Spoon the batter evenly into prepared muffin cups, filling each 2/3 full. Bake until a tester inserted in center comes out clean, for 16 to 18 minutes. Let them cool in pans on wire racks for 5 minutes. Remove from the pans and cool completely on wire racks.

To make the coffee cream filling:

In a small bowl, whip the cream cheese at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Slowly add the liqueur and fold in the whipped topping. Cover and chill.

I filled the cupcakes using the cone method. The original recipe suggests using a squeeze bottle to "inject" it into the cupcake.

Coffee Buttercream Frosting

* 1/2 cup butter, softened
* 3 cups confectioners' sugar
* 1/4 cup strong brewed coffee (as above, I recommend espresso powder dissolved in boiling water)


In a medium bowl, beat the butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add the confectioners' sugar, beating until smooth, then beat in the coffee.

Spread the Coffee Buttercream frosting evenly over cooled cupcakes and garnish with chocolate covered coffee beans, if desired.