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Tag Archives: Cookies

Valentine’s Cookie: Super Yummy Butter Cookie

Valentine’s Cookie: Super Yummy Butter Cookie

I have talked before about my love of Alice Waters and her lovely cookcook, The Art of Simple Food. No recipe in it has yet let me down. So why, oh why, did I wait so long to try her butter cookie recipe? What is wrong with me?

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This simple recipe will knock your socks off with its perfect buttery saltiness. And then you can change it up and add some raspberry jam, or a light powdered sugar glaze to decorate them. They will make your Valentine’s Day extra yummy.

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PS. This realization that everything in this cookbook is amazing means that I am now going to start cooking almost exclusively from this book, because YUM.


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Butter Cookie Recipe: Adapted from Alice Waters,’ The Art of Simple Food.

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature

2/3 cup sugar

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 tsp salt

1 egg, at room temperature

2 tsps milk

2.5 cups unbleached flour

Preheat over to 350F. Cream together butter and sugar. Then add vanilla, salt and egg.  Gradually add the flour, mixing until just combined. Divide into thirds, and shape into logs. Wrap in saran wrap, and chill until firm. Then slice into 1/4 inch slices, and place two inches apart on baking sheet.  (Even though the dough has no levening agent, the cookies do spread).  Or, instead of logs, divide the dough in half, and form round disks, wrap in saran warp and put in fridge until firm. Roll dough out to 1/4 thick and cut with cookie cutters. Place spaced out on cookie sheet.  Bake at 350F for 10 minutes, or until lightly golden.  Let cool on sheet for a bit. Feel free to frost or make jam-filled cookie sandwiches (my favorite).

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Rachel

 

 

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Quest for Perfect Cookie Recipes Part I – Dulce de Leche

Quest for Perfect Cookie Recipes Part I – Dulce de Leche

Well, after my disappointment with NYC cookies, I decided to test out a bunch of cookie recipes until I find the best ones. This fits in well with procrastinating. So here is Part I.

Pass the cookies!

I made some oatmeal crispies. I got the recipe from a blogger that I super-respect. While these cookies were good, they were not awesome.  Until I tweak the recipe a little, I will not post it, because obviously I only want to be associated with cookies that will blow your freaking mind.

Mmmmm…. dulce de leche! That’s thick awesome caramel for those gringos who don’t speak Spanish.

Regardless, they are very pretty little cookies. Especially when made into little cookie sandwiches stuffed with homemade dulce de leche.

Nom nom nom!

I plan to tweak the oatmeal crispies recipe just a bit until I get something perfect. In the meantime, I will share my recipe (which I found on Pinterest) for homemade dulce de leche. Super easy. Yummy yummy yummy!

Oatmeal crispies with homemade dulce de leche!

(Obviously I couldn’t decide whether to use the flash or not.)

Dulce de Leche (Caramel)

Take a can of sweetened condensed milk.

Put can into slow cooker on low heat. Make sure the can is COMPLETELY submerged. Cook for 8 hours.

Then rinse under cool water and put into the fridge while still warm. The can needs to refrigerate for at least two hours to finalize the deliciousness-process (read: I don’t know what the importance of refrigerating the can is, but apparently it’s important).

Enjoy! Eat it with pretzels, with cookies, with apples… on a spoon…

With love,

Rachel

 

For Butter’s Sake! A lament for the lack of good pastries in NYC.

For Butter’s Sake! A lament for the lack of good pastries in NYC.

ARGH! Just freakin’ ARGH!!!

I have had it up to here (*holds hand above head*) with New York bakeries. Seriously. Fed. Up.

Have New Yorkers never tasted a good pastry? Is this because no one in NYC grows up with parents who bake cookies on the weekend or make real cakes from scratch? You’ve never eaten a pastry or frosting made with real butter? You want me to pay $3 for a cookie or $3.50 for a cupcake that barely can be called mediocre and thank you for it?!!? It’s a bakery that only makes cupcakes, so why did I think the cupcakes would actually be good?! Your cookies look gorgeous, so I buy one only to be sorely disappointed by the taste?!

I am ranting, I know and it’s because I am so OVER the New York thing where someone opens a shop that specializes in some darling trendy dessert, where the desserts look lovely, cost a small fortune and are NOT YUMMY! Either they don’t know that pastries can taste better, or they have no pride, or they think all NYC consumers are idiots. Whatever the reason, I am NOT PLEASED.

Ok, so this annoyance has been a long time brewing. I had been struggling to find a good cookie (my go-to when I have a sweet tooth). This cookie plight was recently elevated because cookies in Europe are nothing like American cookies, so after all summer in Europe, a chocolate chip cookie was all I could thing about.

Yes, I can and do make the world’s best chocolate chip peanut butter cookie at home, but if I can do it and it’s not that hard, why can’t a store that specializes in cookies do it?

Back to the story: I was in NYC and jonesing. I figured Magnolia Bakery, of cupcake fame, might have decent cookies, so I stop in. (Magnolia did have a very respectable oatmeal cookie, but their brown sugar cookie was lacking, possibly from too much baking soda.) While I was in there getting cookies, there were samples of a red velvet cupcake with “cream cheese” frosting.

Looks good right? Don’t be fooled.

I tried one and get this:
The frosting was made with shortening!!!

They were charging $3.50 for a tiny little cupcake made with shortening! Maybe there was a tiny bit of cream cheese in there with the frosting, but I know my frostings and I know that it was not made with real butter!! Are you kidding me, Magnolia? You pride yourself on deliciousness and you cannot use real butter? I should have said something to the guy working the counter about my disappointment, but I was too upset to talk rationally with the man.

How does Monica feel about low fat mayonnaise? “It’s NOT mayonnaise!” That’s how I feel about shortening: It’s NOT butter!

I have ranted about the need for making frosting with real butter before, but it obviously bares repeating: butter makes the best frosting. Butter has the same calories and fat content as shortening and tastes a million times better. Butter costs a little more than shortening but who cares? If you are charging $3.50 for a cupcake, you can afford to make it with real butter!!!!!!! If I am going to splurge some calories on a yummy dessert, it had better be yummy. Magnolia, have you no shame?!

This supreme annoyance at Magnolia Bakery has been smoldering for a while. This dessert-related angst resurfaced today when I went into Rocco’s bakery in the West Village to get a cookie. They have this display window laden with all sorts of heavenly-looking cookies that lure you in, thinking that anything that looks that lovely has got to taste good.

Another sneaky bakery that cannot be trusted.

I went in for the praline pecan cookie, but while I was waiting in line I was tempted to go for the trick-or-treat, a “caramel” cookie with bits of Twix in it. I asked the girl at the counter what she thought, and without hesitation she said the trick-or-treat.

I rue my decision to follow her advice. The cookie was subpar. Like Magnolia’s brown sugar cookie, it suffered from too much levening agent. The dough does not taste like caramel in the least, and the texture is meh.  It’s a little bland too, and while I cannot be certain, I don’t think it was made with real butter either because the darn cookie tastes fake. I know I made a last minute switch, but I doubt the pecan praline would have been good either.

And so, I am officially done with New York. How can it possibly call itself the best city in the world if far too many over-priced specialty stores cannot fathom the importance of cooking with real butter? If I overpay for one more mediocre pastry in the stupid city I am going to lose it! Like even more than writing-a-seven-page-rant-about-pastries losing it. It’s insulting to my intelligence, to my taste buds, to Julia Child, and to cookies all over the world.

Butter has been around for thousands of years (no joke). There is a reason: it is delicious. Do not accept substitutes! Gosh, New York!

For shame, New York specialty bakeries. For shame.

So, my dear readers, if you pass by Magnolia or Rocco, I suggest you skip it. And if you happen to know a place that makes awesome pastries, let me know. (But if you like Magnolia’s cupcakes, then we have different standards for pastries, so maybe keep your suggestion to yourself. Sorry for the snark, but I seriously am doubting the New Yorker’s ability to discriminate between what is good and what is expensive). Thanks for tolerating my rant. Or maybe you stopped reading 7 minutes ago.

Teetering on the edge,
Rachel

Passover Chocolate Peanut Butter No-Bake Cookies

Passover Chocolate Peanut Butter No-Bake Cookies

Passover desserts, with the exception of homemade macaroons and flourless chocolate cake, tend to suck. There’s no way around it. Without real flour, all the substitutes just aren’t up to snuff. They are tough and a little bland usually. Takes a lot of mastication and even more wine to make them truly palatable.

Now, these aren’t as good as the non-Passover version (the one with real oats), but gosh darn it! They come pretty darn close. And I made them up (as far as I know).

By substituting ground up matzo for oats, these cookies are kosher for Passover (dairy) and quite tasty. They make a great addition to any Seder, or just make a fun snack to eat during the celebration of the Jews’ exodus from Egypt.

The Recipe:

Cover two cookie sheets with wax paper to prepare.

In food processor, pulse about 8-10 sheets of matzo until it’s about the texture of oats. You need 3 cups of matzo crumbs.

In heavy sauce pan, bring to a boil:

2 cups sugar

4 tablespoons cocoa powder

1 stick butter (unsalted)

Let boil for about 90 seconds. Turn off the heat.

Then stir in:

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup of peanut butter

The three cups of matzo crumbs.

Once all stirred up and slightly cooled (after two or three minutes), put heaping teaspoons of the mix onto waxed paper. Let cool until hardened.

Happy Pesach!

Rachel