Posts Tagged by cookies

Cheetos Cookies You Just Have to Try

Salted caramel. Chocolate chips and popcorn. French fries dipped in a Frosty. Chocolate-dipped pretzels.  Chocolate-dipped potato chips. Candied bacon.  Salty and sweet combinations are one of my favorite things to munch on!   I saw these cookies on a show about bakeries, or unique eats, or some kind of food countdown. I can’t really remember. I watch a lot of food shows. This one has been stuck in my head for a while, though.

Cheetos Cookies are basically a sugar cookie dough with crushed up Cheetos inside, then rolled in more crushed Cheetos before you bake them.  Sounds super weird, but you just have to trust me. They’re amazing.

 

Cheetos Cookies

If you're a person who loves sweet and salty snacks, these cookies are for you! I'm not ashamed to say I love how oddly delicious these Cheetos Cookies are.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cup flour
  • 3 cups whole Cheetos puffs, plus 2 more cups of puffs for coating
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soada
  • 1 tablespoon cream of tartar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup shortening
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg, at room temperature

Directions

Step 1 Pre-heat oven 350 degrees.
Step 2 Place 3 cups of the Cheetos in a zip top bag seal and crush using a rolling pin or something similar.
Step 3 In a medium sized bowl, combine the flour, crushed Cheetos, salt, baking soda, and cream of tartar. Using an electric mixer on medium speed, mix to combine.
Step 4 In a separate bowl add the butter, shortening and sugar. Mix and cream well together. Add egg and mix well again.
Step 5 Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients 1/2 at a time,
mixing well between each addition. Cover and refrigerate the dough for at least 1 hour.
Step 6 Add the remaining 2 cups of Cheetos to a zip top bag and crush the same way as the first batch. Pour into a small bowl or plate.
Step 7 Using a small ice cream scoop, make tablespoon-sized dough balls. Roll each dough ball in the Cheeto crumbs and place the dough balls on a parchment paper lined baking pan.
Step 8 Bake for 10-12 minutes. Remove from the oven and let the cookies completely cool.
Step 9 Store in an airtight container. These may also be frozen.

So, I’m thinking about trying this next with Nacho Cheese Doritos. Thoughts?

 

Easy Baking Substitutions

 

As the busy baking season approaches, most of us a bound to run short of something or other. Here are some of the most successful baking substitutions for a bakers’ dozen of popular ingredients.
  • Baking Powder: Combine 2 parts cream of tartar to 1 part baking soda
  • Brown Sugar: For each cup needed, stir together 1 cup white sugar and either 2 tablespoons molasses (for dark brown) or 1 tablespoon molasses (for light brown).
  • Buttermilk: Stir 1 tablespoon lemon juice or distilled white vinegar into each cup of regular milk and let the mixture sit 5 minutes. You can also substitute unflavored kefir for buttermilk.
  • Cornstarch: Stir in 1/2 to 1 teaspoon arrowroot per 1 cup of liquid you need to thicken. Heat gently in order to activate its thickening power.

  • Eggs: Eggs accomplish a number of tasks in baking, including adding richness and moisture, binding and leavening. Not all substitutions will work equally well for all purposes, but here are some common egg alternatives and the duties they’re best at. Quantities are for 1 egg.
    • Commercial egg replacer: Binds and leavens; use 1 1/2 teaspoons replacer combined with 2 tablespoons water.
    • Baking soda and acid: Leavens; use 1 teaspoon baking soda and 1 tablespoon lemon juice or white vinegar.
    • Baking powder and oil: Leavens and adds moisture; combine 2 teaspoons baking powder, 2 teaspoons water and 1 tablespoon canola oil (use only in recipes calling for 1 or 2 eggs max).
    • Flaxseed meal: Binds; stir together 2 tablespoons finely ground flaxseed with 3 tablespoons warm water and let sit 5 minutes to thicken.
    • Chia seeds: Binds; grind 1 tablespoon chia in a spice grinder, then mix with 3 tablespoons water and let sit 5 minutes to thicken.
    • Tofu: Binds and adds moisture; use 1/4 cup mashed tofu.
    • Apple sauce and some fruit purées and cooked vegetable purées (i.e., squash  or sweet potato): Binds and adds moisture; add 3 tablespoons.

Gluten-Free Whole Grain Flour Mix

  • Gelatin: Use 1 teaspoon agar-agar powder or 1 tablespoon agar-agar flakes per cup of liquid and heat slowly, stirring, until the mixture thickens. Agar-agar must be heated to activate, but will set at room temperature, unlike gelatin which must be chilled.
  • Honey: Substitute equal amounts agave nectar or rice syrup.
  • Margarine: Use equal amounts of butter, a half-and-half mixture of butter and canola oil, or half canola oil and half unsweetened applesauce.
  • Milk: Use equal amounts soymilk or nut milk, or a mixture of equal amounts half-and-half and water. You can also use 1 cup minus 2 tablespoons kefir, plain (not Greek) yogurt or buttermilk for each 1 cup of milk called for, although the flavor and texture will be altered a bit.
  • Granulated Sugar: Use honey, maple syrup, rice syrup or agave nectar, substituting 2/3 cup for each 1 cup sugar called for. You can also use molasses, but since it has a strong flavor use only 1/2 cup for each cup of sugar in the recipe. Date sugar or coconut sugar can also be substituted at 2/3 cup per 1 cup sugar.
  • Shortening: Use equal amounts butter or margarine.
  • White All-Purpose Flour: Substitute whole wheat flour, whole wheat pastry flour or white whole wheat flour at about 1/8 less than called for in the recipe. You can also use a commercial gluten-free flour blend in equal proportions, or make your own: give this Gluten Free Whole Grain Flour Mix a try.
  • Whole Wheat Pastry Flour: Use half all-purpose flour and half whole wheat flour.
Source: BlogsRelease

8 Tips for Amazing Holiday Cookies

Holiday Cookie Success

Shortbread for Santa, Hanukkah sweets, New Year’s treats—whatever traditions you hold dear, cookies are key at holiday time. With these few simple pointers on measuring, mixing (not too much!), size, and more, you can make this the year for mastering the art of cookie baking. Read on for eight essential lessons to take you from basic ingredients to crave-worthy cookies ready for a thick swirl of frosting or a double dip in dark chocolate—great for gifting or gobbling.

1. Invest in a Digital Scale

When it comes to measuring ingredients such as flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, baking is a science that repays precision. If your recipe provides the option of measuring by weight, you’ll want to use a digital scale, which ensures amounts will be accurate no matter how level your measuring cup may appear. A decent-quality digital scale costs about $25 and can be purchased online or in a baking supply store.

2. Go Nonstick for Success

While parchment paper is handy for lining baking sheets, consider upgrading to a nonstick silicone mat (Silpat is my favorite and a widely available brand, and this Artisan is very popular and wallet-friendly!), which prevents the dough from sticking to the baking sheet and serves as a buffer from the hot pan, preventing the cookie bottoms from scorching. Best of all, silicone mats are reusable and easy to clean. A quick wipe with a warm towel removes any residue, leaving the mat ready for your next dozen.

3. Avoid Overmixing

For tender, moist cookies, stick to the minimum amount of mixing—just until the ingredients are evenly distributed and fully combined. Why? The more you mix a cookie dough that contains flour, the more active the gluten in the flour becomes. Overactive gluten translates to a tougher, chewier texture.

4. Chill First, Roll Second

Dough that’s meant to be rolled and cut with cookie cutters is easiest to work with when chilled. Otherwise, the fat (most commonly butter) in the dough will warm quickly, causing the dough to stick to your hands, tools, and work surface. For best results when rolling and cutting, keep the dough wrapped in plastic and chilled in the refrigerator, removing only small portions at a time to work with. After you’ve cut out your cookies, place them back in the fridge for 30 minutes before baking, if time allows. This way, your cut-out cookies will best maintain their intended shape rather than stretch or spread.

5. Size Matters

Consistency is critical when it comes to the size of your cookies, for one simple reason: Cookies that are the same size will bake in the same amount of time. Mixing up sizes on the same baking sheet inevitably means the smaller cookies will bake faster (read: burn) while the larger ones will be underbaked. This holds true for both cut cookies (the little stars will cook faster than the big gingerbread men) and drop cookies. For drop cookies, you can keep the size consistent by using a small ice cream scoop, melon baller, or measuring spoon (such as a tablespoon) to portion out batter, dipping the scoop in warm water after every few uses to prevent sticking.

6. Avoid Overcrowding

Cookies of all types need ample room on a baking sheet to allow for any spreading while baking. Also keep in mind that as a cookie bakes, it releases steam. And it is this steam that helps cookies retain their moisture. This is why cookies placed in the corners of baking sheets bake faster, and are crispier, than those in the center of a sheet. (The corners of baking sheets reflect heat directly onto the cookies, and because there are fewer cookies surrounding the ones in the corners, corner cookies are exposed to less steam and dry out faster than the rest.)

7. Tinker With the Temperature-to-Time Ratio

The temperature of your oven and the time your cookies spend in the oven directly affect their texture. If you prefer a crispier cookie, decrease the oven temperature and increase the baking time. If you prefer a chewier cookie, increase the oven temperature and decrease the baking time. This second approach will also result in cookies with a softer center. And always remember to rotate your baking sheets halfway through the baking time, as most ovens do not distribute heat evenly.

8. The Key to Cooler Cookies

How and where you set your baked cookies to let cool can make or break your success. After removing cookies from the oven, transfer them to a rack where air can circulate fully. Otherwise, cookies left on a hot baking sheet will continue to bake. Cookies should also be left to cool completely before being frosted or packaged in airtight containers.

Ready to get started? Following these eight simple tips can mean the difference between golden-brown cookies and overly crisp crumbles. The same simple principles apply to every variety of cookie, from classic chocolate chip to spiced gingerbread and every flavor and shape in between. So fire up that oven and ring in the holiday season with a batch of your favorite seasonal sweets!


Source: Victoria Burghi, chef instructor in the Pastry & Baking Arts program at The Institute of Culinary Education

Photo: Romulo Yanes

Peanut Butter and Jelly Cookie Bars

PB & J Bars

It’s always a good day when you end it with peanut butter and jelly, no matter the form it takes! I was already in a pretty good mood last night – it was Friday, our daughter came home from college for the weekend, hubby had just mowed the grass, we had some awesome Mexican food for dinner…life was pretty rockin’ right about then.  Later, the snacking instinct was triggered when we sat down to watch a movie. Hmmm…you know that thought process. What’s in the kitchen? What can I make with it? What’s super easy? What’s crazy yummy?  Peanut Butter and Jelly Cookie Bars!

We’ve been making these bars forever. I think the recipe originally came from someone at church, who probably wrote it on the back of a receipt or an envelope (whatever was in her purse at the time!) to give to us. It’s the easiest thing to make and is pretty flexible. We’ve make tons of variations and they’re all delicious!

These cookies only take four ingredients and the combinations are endless. We’ve done this cookie with chocolate chip cookie dough, peanut butter cookie dough and even brownie dough. You can really use whatever dough you find in a roll. If you’re really ambitious and amazing, you can make your own dough, but I’m all about easy on this one! Change up the flavors of jelly or jam, and swap out the kinds of chips you add.

PB & J Cookie Bars

After I turned on the oven and lined my pan, I pressed about 2/3 of the roll of cookie dough into the bottom of my pan.  It always looks like it’s not going to be enough, but somehow works out in the end. (I always think of the loaves and fish when I do this!)

Spread your favorite jam or jelly across the top of dough, but don’t go quite to the edges.  We’ve learned over the years that this seems to keep the jelly from burning. I used some of our homemade strawberry jam, but we’ve used all kinds. If you use jelly, I found that it’s easier to spread if you stir it up a little to break it up before you put it in the pan.

PB & J Cookie Bars

Then, all you have to do is dump the chips, the rest of the cookie dough and the granola in a bowl and mix them together. I use my hands for this and just squish it all together.  Little kids love this part! Sprinkle the mixture evenly in the pan – this time you can go to the edge.

PB & J Cookie Bars

Bake your masterpiece for about a half hour, then comes the hardest part…let them cool! Leave them in the pan until they cool, then use the foil to help you lift the whole thing out of the pan.   Cut them into squares – I usually do four across and four down to make 16 bars, but for bigger appetites you could do 9 squares.

PB & J Cookie Bars

Peanut Butter and Jelly Cookie Bars

Makes 16 bars.

Ingredients:

1 roll of refrigerated sugar cookie dough

3/4 cup of your favorite jam or jelly

3/4 cup peanut butter chips

3/4 cup granola (no dried fruit)

(optional) 1/2 cup chopped peanuts – if you’re a chunky peanut butter fan!

Directions:

1. Line a 9×9 baking pan with foil and spray with cooking spray. Preheat over to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Use about 2/3 of the roll of cookie dough to press in the bottom of the pan.

3. Spread the jelly/jam over the cookie dough almost to the edge.

4. In a separate bowl, crumble together the granola, peanut butter chips, nuts ( if you’re adding them) and remaining cookie dough, and sprinkle it evenly across the top of the jelly (this can go to the edges.)

5. Bake for 30 minutes or until the cookie dough is golden brown.

6. Place the pan on a rack until cool, then lift the bars out of the pan using the foil.

7. Cut into bars and serve.

8. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

 

We made a s’mores variety of this a few times using snickerdoodle cookie dough, marshmallow creme instead of jelly, chocolate chips and crumbled graham crackers. So amazing!

How do you like your PB&J?

Easy as Pie Crust Cookies

Pie-Crust-Cookies

To me, the best part of the pie is (usually) the crust. No stone throwing, please. I’ve embraced my *cough* uniqueness and I’m comfortable admitting this.  I also don’t mind telling you that I’m the same way with pizza crust.  I think I got it from my dad… I’ve been staring at a package of leftover refrigerated pie crust in my fridge and have succumbed to it’s calling.  Yes, it really does say my name every time I open the refrigerator. Really. Time to bake.  I thought about Pie Crust Cookies – the ones where you just roll balls of dough in cinnamon sugar and bake them – but wanted to add a little extra to this batch. I’m also pretty smitten with cookie cutters and wanted to haul out the hearts!

Pie-Crust-Cookies-1

These Pie Crust Cookies are all dressed up for Valentine’s Day and I’ll be bringing them to my dad – my very first Valentine! My second favorite way to make these is with cranberries and fresh rosemary.  We made these at Thanksgiving.

Pie-Crust-Cookies-Thanksgiving

Chocolate chips work really well and pair wonderfully with dried cherries – or by just themselves! Apricots and almonds would be yummy, as would some crushed pistachios and orange zest. How about a savory version – crumbled bacon and shredded cheddar?  Chopped pepperoni and grated Parmesan?  Gasp! What about crushed up Butterfingers?  Oh my gosh – I’m calling my dad right now!  OK, right after I run to the store for more pie crust. Have any ideas for flavor combinations?  I’m ready!

To make this version of Pie Crust Cookies:

Pie Crust Cookies

Prep time 15 minutes
Cook time 14 minutes
Total time 29 minutes
Meal type Appetizer, Dessert, Snack
Misc Child Friendly, Freezable

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup dried fruit, finely chopped (I've used dried cranberries, cherries, raisins and apricots. Use what you enjoy or have on hand!)
  • 1/3 cup chopped nuts of your choice
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar (We use turbinado, but any kind of sugar will work)
  • basic egg wash or cooking spray
  • extra sugar to sprinkle on top

Directions

Step 1 Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Unroll one of the pie crusts onto waxed paper or parchment paper.
Step 2
Spread dried fruit and nuts evenly across the crust.
Step 3 Sprinkle the 1/2 cup of sugar evenly across the crust.
Step 4 Unroll the remaining pie crust and lay it on top on the first one, lining up the edges as best you can. It doesn't have to be perfect.
Step 5
Place another sheet of waxed paper or parchment paper on top of your pie crust sandwich and roll the two layers together until they become one. It will thin out, but be certain there's a pretty good seal.
Step 6 Cut out into whatever shapes you like and place on a baking sheet. If the two layers of crust separate, simply pinch them back together. These don't spread much, so they can be fairly close together.
Step 7
Use an egg wash or some cooking spray on the tops of the cookies and sprinkle each one with some additional sugar.
Step 8
Bake for 12-14 minutes on 375 degrees. These are done when they are golden brown. Remove from pan to a cooling rack.
Pie-Crust-Cookies-8  

Double Chocolate Nutella-Filled Cookies

Double Chocolate Nutella Filled Cookies

I stood at the counter in my kitchen this weekend and was suddenly struck by how ridiculous it looked.  I am a self-proclaimed coffee addict, and probably need a support group, but I truly believe I need an intervention. I have three, that’s right, THREE coffee makers on my counter – a regular coffee maker, a Keurig and a Tassimo, each with their own array of accessories and supplies.

Coffee Addict's Counter

The regular machine moved in first, then a Keurig came in – a big, sleek machine so full of coffee potential.  This one almost left me breathless.  It’s exquisite little cups of flavor and quick path to a steaming cup of coffee…who could resist?  These two lived together fairly harmoniously for quite some time. Each had their own purpose and provided an endless stream of caffeine. The most recent addition is Tassimo. My new go-to machine for perfectly layered, real cream lattes.  So, I feel perfectly justified having all three machines. DH may beg to differ, but I’m comfortable with my decision.  Don’t judge me. 😉

So, my next thought was to wonder what could possibly make this whole coffee thing better?  Easy.  Cookies.  Chocolate cookies.  No, DOUBLE chocolate cookies.  No, no…double chocolate cookies filled with caramel.  Wait.  Double chocolate cookies filled with caramel AND Nutella.

Done.  Go make some of your own, grab some coffee and enjoy. These are quite remarkable!

Double Chocolate Nutella-Filled Cookies

Serves 16
Prep time 40 minutes
Cook time 10 minutes
Total time 50 minutes
Allergy Egg, Milk, Tree Nuts, Wheat
Meal type Dessert, Snack
Misc Freezable
Website Izy at Top With Cinnamon
These are rather large cookies with a fabulous gooey center!

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter (melted)
  • 1 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips ((milk or dark))
  • 1/2 cup Nutella
  • 16 chocolate caramel candies ((I used Rolos.))
  • Fleur de sel for sprinkling on top, if desired.

Note

I recently ran across this recipe and thought I might be in heaven.  When I learned that it was created by a young lady named Izy who is a mere 17 years old - I was positively inspired! Please visit her lovely website - www.topwithcinnamon.com - and, if nothing else, enjoy the beautiful photos she takes.

Directions

Step 1
Gather ingredients and preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Prepare a baking sheet with a silicon liner (like Silpat) or with parchment paper.
Double Chocolate Nutella-Filled Cookies
Step 2 Stir the brown sugar and eggs into melted butter. Add the cocoa powder, salt and baking soda until well combined with few lumps.
Step 3 Stir in the flour just until you can no longer see any white in the chocolate. Fold in the chocolate chips.
Step 4
Spoon dough onto the prepared cookie sheet by the tablespoon. Using your finger or the back if a measuring spoon, create a small well in each ball of dough.
Double Chocolate Nutella-Filled Cookies
Step 5
Add about a half teaspoon of Nutella to the well and one Rolo in each cookie. Top with an additional tablespoon of dough that has been flattened into a disc.
Double Chocolate Nutella-Filled Cookies
Step 6 Seal the edges of the cookie dough and sprinkle with fleur de sel (if desired.)
Step 7
Bake for 8-10 minutes. Let cool for a couple of minutes and move to a cooling rack.
Double Chocolate Nutella-Filled Cookies
Step 8
Once completely cooled, store in an airtight container. These also freeze very nicely.
Double Chocolate Nutella-Filled Cookies