Tag Archives: cookies

Raspberry Almond Streusel Bars

raspberry bars tastefood
Raspberry Almond Streusel Bars

I made this recipe recently for a contest sponsored by Attune Foods. We were challenged to create a recipe using whole wheat flour and one of Attunes Foods’ healthy whole grain cereals. I didn’t win the contest, but I feel like I won anyway, because these bars were a huge hit and this recipe is a keeper. The streusel does double duty as the crust, and sandwiches  an intense raspberry filling. The whole wheat flour and wheat flake and flax cereal nudge these bars into the kind-of-sort-of healthy department. Oh, who am I kidding…but healthy or indulgent, these bars should be on your to-do list as we embark upon the holiday season.

Raspberry Almond Bars
Old-fashioned oats may be substituted for the cereal. Makes 16 bars.

Crust and Topping:
½ cup whole wheat flour
½ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup almond meal
½ cup Uncle Sam Original Cereal (or old fashioned oats)
½ cup dark brown sugar
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
¾ cup chilled unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch cubes
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon almond extract

1 cup high quality raspberry preserves, such as Bon Maman
6 ounces fresh raspberries
1 tablespoon raspberry liqueur, such as Chambord (optional)

1/4 cup sliced or slivered almonds

Heat the oven to 375°F. Butter an 8 by 8-inch baking pan. Line the bottom with parchment leaving a 2-inch overhang on 2 opposite sides. Butter the parchment.

Combine the flours, almond meal, cereal, sugars, cinnamon, and salt in a food processor. Pulse to combine and finely chop the cereal, about 10 times. Add the butter and extracts. Pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal, 10 to 12 times. Transfer 2 cups of the mixture to a bowl to reserve for topping. Press the remaining mixture firmly and evenly into the pan. Bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes.

Place the preserves, raspberries and liqueur in a bowl. Mix with a fork to combine, lightly mashing the whole raspberries but leaving large pieces intact. Spread the raspberries over the crust. Add the almonds to the reserved topping, then sprinkle the topping over the filling.

Bake until the filling is bubbling and the topping is golden brown, about 25 minutes. Cool completely in the pan on a wire rack. Remove from pan and cut in 2-inch squares. Serve at room temperature or cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days.

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies with Almonds and Sea Salt

Dark Chocolate Cookies TasteFood

Dark Chocolate Crinkle Cookies with Almonds and Sea Salt

Sometimes when life hands you lemons….you make chocolate. In this case, deeply dark, intensely rich Swiss chocolate in the form of a cookie.  While I can’t speak for you, I can do with some chocolate therapy right now, and this cookie is just the antidote. In fact, it’s hard to find a more chocolate-y cookie. Nearly 1 pound of melted dark chocolate is reconfigured in an airy yet rich cookie with a crackly exterior and gooey center, all thanks to 4 billowy eggs and just a little bit of flour. The lemonade will have to wait for another day.

Dark Chocolate Cookie Plate TasteFood

Dark Chocolate Crinkle Cookies with Almonds and Sea Salt

My chocolate mantra applies to this recipe: Choose the best quality dark (70-72%) chocolate you can lay your hands on.

Makes approximately 30 (2-inch) cookies.

14 ounces (400 g) dark chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup coarsely chopped almonds
Sea salt

Melt chocolate and butter in the top of a double boiler over barely simmering water, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat.
Beat eggs and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer until thick and very pale in color, 3 to 4 minutes. Add chocolate and vanilla. Mix to combine.
Whisk flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl. Add to chocolate and stir to combine without overmixing. Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes.

Heat oven to 325° F (170° C). Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Drop heaping tablespoons of the cookie batter onto parchment, leaving 2 inches between cookies. Sprinkle each cookie with a few almonds and a pinch of sea salt flakes. Bake in oven until tops crack and cookies are set, 13 to 15 minutes. Remove from oven and transfer parchment to wire racks to cool. Allow cookies to cool completely before removing from parchment (they will stick if they are still warm).

Salted Caramel Blondie Bars

You might call these “everything but the kitchen sink bars” but Salted Caramel Blondie Bars (with chocolate and oats) pretty much sums up these rich and chewy nuggets. What prompted this recipe was my discovery of a forgotten jar of homemade salted caramel sauce in the back of the refrigerator. I know: You are thinking, how could anyone forget caramel? Good question, and I admit I’m not proud. To rectify my oversight, I quickly whipped up these blondies today to satisfy a sweet craving, and to start building our sugar tolerance in the lead up to Halloween at the end of the month. To balance out all of the sweet ingredients, a sprinkling of sea salt over the top of the bars helps to tame the excess – which (naturally) enables us to eat more.

Salted Caramel Blondie Bars with Chocolate and Oats

The addition of oats is optional. If oats are omitted, then increase the amount of flour to 2 cups. Makes 36 small squares.

1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar, lightly packed
3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 large egg plus 1 large egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
3/4 cup old fashioned oats
3.5 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup salted caramel sauce
1 teaspoon sea salt

Heat oven to 350 F. Butter an 8-inch-by-8-inch baking pan. Line with parchment and butter the parchment. Whisk the brown sugar and butter together in a large bowl. Whisk in the eggs and vanilla until smooth. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt in medium bowl and whisk to blend. Add to the sugar and butter, stirring to incorporate. Stir in the oats and chocolate. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top. Drop spoonfuls of the caramel over the batter. Using a sharp knife, swirl the caramel through the batter to evenly distribute. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon sea salt. Bake in oven until top begins to turn golden brown and bars are set, about 30 to 40 minutes. Remove and cool completely on a rack.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Therapy

Sometimes, life gets busy and a few curveballs come our way. Best laid plans are, well, put to rest. So, we go with the flow, chin-up, and carry on. In honor of life’s little bumps and interruptions, I offer this simple gift. It’s nothing new, but, rather, something familiar, comfortable, and oh-so sweet. You’ve seen these cookies here before in a 24-hour version, but this batch requires no such waiting, because there is a time and place for instant gratification, too. Especially when chocolate is involved.

Chocolate Chip Cookies
Makes about 30 cookies

1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
2 cups, plus 2 tablespoons, all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups dark chocolate chips
1/2 cup finely chopped dark chocolate

Heat the oven to 375 F (190 C). Combine the butter and sugars together in a bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat at high speed until light and creamy. Add egg and yolk. Continue to mix until thoroughly combined. Add the vanilla and mix again. Whisk the flour, salt and baking soda together in a small bowl. Add to the butter and sugar and mix until well blended. Stir in the chocolate chips and chocolate. Drop rounded tablespoons of the batter onto baking sheets lined with parchment. Bake until tops are light golden, 10 to 12 minutes.

Lemon Bars

~ very lemony lemon bars ~

‘Tis the season for lemons. Actually, late winter is the season for lemons, but happily the season spills into spring, offering up bushels of citrus which beget light and lovely desserts, such as these Lemon Bars. Lemon Bars are a family favorite, a quintessential childhood treat that pleases adults and kids alike. The key to a good lemon bar, in my book, is that the filling must be intensely lemony packing a wallop of tart, with just enough sugar, but not so sweet that it’s cloying. The final touch is a pinch of sea salt, which keeps the sweetness in check and allows the lemon to shine through.

Lemon Bars

This recipe is adapted from and inspired by many sources, including Ina Garten and, most recently, Lucas’ Lemon Bars from Food52, as well as my personal weakness for sea salt. Makes 32 two-inch square bars.

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar, plus extra for dusting
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup unsalted butter, slightly softened but still cool, cut in cubes

4 large eggs
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
2/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Sea salt flakes, such as Maldon or Fleur de Sel, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Butter a 9 inch by 13 inch baking pan. Line with parchment and butter the parchment. Combine the pastry ingredients in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix until the dough resembles coarse lumps and just begins to come together. Dump the dough into the prepared pan and, with your fingers, evenly press the dough to cover the bottom of the pan. Bake the crust until it just begins to turn golden, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven.
Whisk the filling ingredients together in a large bowl until blended. Evenly pour over the crust. Return the pan to the oven and bake until the filling is set but not coloring, about 25 minutes. Remove and cool completely on a rack. Cut into bars. Dust with confectioner’s sugar and lightly sprinkle with sea salt flakes.

Home Baking: White Chocolate and Coconut Oatmeal Cookies

~ White Chocolate and Coconut Oatmeal Cookies ~

Wherever we move, there is a kitchen ritual to settling in. A new home is exciting and unsettling. There are new smells, a different light and the need to relearn a dance in our daily routine. Things are lost, then found and lost again.  We hurry to get our groove, a new groove, which will eventually transform into normal, while the urge is never stronger to wrap ourselves in the comfort of the familiar. So one of the first things I do is bake cookies. As the cookies bake, their fragrance wafts through the house marking its territory and reminding us of our family life. The smell coaxes us from our various rooms, technologies and activities, and we sit together, again, at our kitchen table, sharing a plate of home baked cookies with milk and tea.

White Chocolate and Coconut Oatmeal Cookies

Recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen; Deb at Smitten Kitchen has a way with sea salt, and this recipe immediately caught my attention. I’ve adapted it slightly and added a shower of coconut to the dough.

Makes approximately 30 2-inch cookies

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
14 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut, plus extra for sprinkling
6 ounces high quality white chocolate, chopped, about 1 cup
Sea salt flakes, such as Maldon or Fleur de Sel, for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 350 F. Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together in a bowl; set aside. Beat butter and sugars together in a bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment until light and fluffy, 3 minutes. Add egg and vanilla and mix well. Add flour and mix to thoroughly combine. Add oats, coconut and chocolate and mix to blend. Shape in 1 1/2 inch balls and place on baking sheet lined with parchment. Flatten slightly. Sprinkle with a pinch of coconut and a few grains of sea salt, gently pressing into the dough. Bake in oven until light golden, about 14 minutes.

Chunky Chocolate Cookies with Toasted Almonds and Raisins

Chocolate Therapy:
Chunky Chocolate Cookies with Toasted Almonds and Raisins 

As we tighten our purse strings, eat out less, purchase fewer perceived must-haves, it’s important to take a moment to focus on the simpler things in our lives that bring us pleasure: Family and friends? Absolutely. Good health and happy children? Of course! Beautiful sunsets and autumn foliage? Thank you very much. But right now what I’m most interested in is chocolate.

It’s not so long ago that I posted a recipe with chocolate on my blog. Perhaps this is reflection of the state of the world as I know it.  So call me repetitive or even a diet saboteur, but let’s be frank. Chocolate is good. When you taste it, you know it. More importantly, when you serve it to your friends and loved ones, it brings a smile to their faces. And, these days, generating smiles on the faces of people we know and touch is a very good thing.

Chunky Chocolate Cookies with Toasted Almonds and Raisins
Makes  30 2-inch cookies

14 ounces dark (70%) chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/4 cups  granulated sugar
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup toasted almonds, chopped
3/4 cup golden raisins

Melt  chocolate and butter in the top of a double boiler over simmering water, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat. Beat sugar and eggs in the bowl of an electric mixer until thick and very pale in color, 3 minutes. Add chocolate and vanilla to the eggs and mix well. Whisk flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon together in a small bowl. Add to the chocolate and mix to combine.  Stir in almonds and raisins. Refrigerate batter 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350 F. (180 C.) Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Drop rounded tablespoons of batter onto the parchment. Bake until the tops are cracked and firm to the touch, 12-14 minutes. Remove from oven. The cookies will still be soft in the center and will continue to harden as they cool. Cool completely on parchment. Store in an airtight container for 2-3 days.

More chocolate therapy? Then try these recipes:
Chocolate Orange Pots de Creme with Fleur de Sel from TasteFood
Miette’s Chocolate Sable Cookies from the Kitchn
Rich Chocolate Brownies from TasteFood
Chocolate Caramel Tart from My Baking Addiction

24 Hour Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

You will have to trust me on this. This chocolate chip cookie recipe does indeed require more than 24 hours to make. Most of the time it’s simply sitting in the refrigerator, where the batter will be in lock-down, off limits to sneaky fingers looking for a swipe. It won’t be easy. Especially if you are like me, and sadly accustomed to instant gratification when chocolate is involved. Well, here is a little exercise in self-restraint – consider it a late New Year’s challenge. Summon your will power and tip your hat to the process. Wait the full 24 hours between preparing the batter and baking the cookies. The results are what I consider the best* chocolate chip cookies I remember tasting. You can then congratulate yourself and your family on your discipline and proceed to eat as many cookies as you like.

24 Hour Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

I discovered this technique in the fall issue of the wonderful e-magazine Made with Butter. The following recipe is adapted from Jennifer Kaplan’s Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe. Makes about 30 – 1 1/2 inch cookies.

3/4 cup unsalted butter
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Sea salt for sprinkling

Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Divide the butter in 4 pieces and add to the pan. The butter will begin to melt and foam. Continue cooking the butter until it becomes golden brown and the milk solids sink to the bottom, resembling small dark brown particles, 5 – 10 minutes. (It took me 7  minutes. Watch the butter carefully because it can burn very quickly.) Remove from heat, and cool for several minutes to lukewarm.
While the butter is cooling, whisk flour, salt and baking soda together in a large bowl. Set aside.
Once the butter has cooled, add both sugars to the skillet. Mix thoroughly to combine. Add the egg and egg yolk, mixing well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla extract. Pour the wet ingredients into the flour and stir to combine. Stir in the chocolate chips. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate 24 hours.
To bake the cookies, preheat oven to 375 F. Line a baking sheet with parchement. Scoop a heaping tablespoon of dough (it will be stiff) and place on baking sheet, leaving enough room for the cookies to expand as they bake. Lightly sprinkle with sea salt. Bake cookies until light golden in color and just cooked through, about 12 minutes. Remove from oven and cool on rack. If you are using the same pan for another batch of cookies, first allow the pan to cool completely. Enjoy!

Ginger Spiced Molasses Cookies

~ Ginger Spiced Molasses Cookies ~

We’ve waited until very late (for us) to get our Christmas tree this year. Normally it’s up in early December, and by time the 25th arrives, we light the candles in a last hurrah, before dismantling it the next day. This year is a little different. We harvested our tree only this past weekend, on Saturday evening in the dark. As we picked it out, it felt like we were back in Denmark, searching for a tree in the darkness of the nordic winter. We spent Sunday decorating and will continue to do so over the next few days – after all, everyone has to have their way with the decorations. Then on the 24th, we will light the tree in its full glory as we celebrate julaften or Christmas eve, when we eat our big holiday dinner. In true Scandinavian fashion we use live candles, and it’s truly the most beautiful sight to behold.

Since the tree is so fresh, it will remain standing for a good week after Christmas, which is perfect, since we are home for the holidays this year and look forward to friends stopping in for wine and gløgg.  In anticipation, I’ve made an extra large batch of these Ginger Molasses Spiced Cookies to have on hand for any last minute tree tweaking and unexpected guests who might surprise us. The spice of these cookies goes very well with a glass of warm spiced gløgg.

Ginger Spiced Molasses Cookies

I was honored that Food52 selected these cookies last week as their contribution to a virtual cookie swap, hosted by Food Network and Yahoo! Shine. And Alicia, the talent behind the delicious blog Weekly Greens, has featured this recipe in her Whole Foods Market Cooking Column. Christmas has indeed come early this year!

Makes about 42 (1 1/2 inch) cookies.

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 large egg
1/2 cup unsulfured molasses
1/3 cup finely diced candied ginger, optional
Granulated sugar for rolling

Whisk the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ground ginger, allspice, salt, and cloves in a bowl to combine.  Cream the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg and molasses and mix well.  Add the dry ingredients and mix to combine. Stir in the candied ginger. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 375°F.  Pour some granulated sugar into a small bowl. Roll dough into 1 1/2 inch balls, then in the sugar. Arrange on baking sheets lined with parchment paper and gently flatten. Bake in oven until set and crinkled on top, 12 to 15 minutes. Remove and cool.

Dried Cherry and Pistachio Biscotti

~ Dried Cherry and Pistachio Biscotti ~

In my never-ending quest to create new recipes to please my family and my readers, I rarely follow a published recipe to a “t”.  Instead I create, tweak and spin recipes to my taste, reading cookbooks and magazines for inspiration then casting them aside while I let my thoughts simmer and stew until a wisp of the season, a sudden craving or an irresistable market item presents itself as motivation. Except for these biscotti.

This recipe is nearly a direct re-production of a recipe from Bon Appetit. It follows the recipe almost to the “t”, and then a change I made was not my idea at all, but the idea of my friend, Pam, who brought these cookies to our annual Summer Solstice beach barbecue this summer. I knew I was in trouble when I found myself walking around the beach munching on 2 fistfuls of these cookies before we even started grilling.

These biscotti have everything that I like in a cookie: fruit, nuts, a restrained sweetness, and the perfume from orange zest. Pam’s idea was not to fully bake them to enamel-cracking crispness. Instead they were baked to a wonderful crumbly perfection, which begged for more tasting without breaking my teeth, enabling further eating – to which I happily complied.

Dried Cherry and Pistachio Biscotti
recipe adapted from Bon Appetit

Makes  approximately 30 biscotti

1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup old fashioned oats
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
Zest from one orange
2 teaspoons lemon zest
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup dried cherries, coarsely chopped
1 cup unsalted, shelled pistachios

Preheat oven to 350 F. (180 C.)  Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Combine the first 6 ingredients in the bowl of an electric mixer with a paddle. Blend on low speed, 30 seconds. Whisk eggs, oil, zest, vanilla and almond extracts together in a separate bowl. Add the wet ingredients to the flour. Beat on medium speed until combined, 1 minute. Stir in cherries and pistachios.
Divide dough in half. Shape each dough half into a 16 inch log. Arrange on a baking sheet, spaced 5 inches apart. Flatten each log into a 2 inch wide strip. Bake until golden brown and set, about 30 minutes. Remove from oven and transfer to a rack. Cool 15 minutes.
Reduce oven to 250 F. (125 C.)  Transfer biscotti to a cutting board. Cut in 3/4 inch strips with a serrated knife. Return biscotti to the baking sheet and arrange cut side down. Bake until firm and golden, 25 minutes. Remove from oven and cool completely on racks.
Biscotti may be made up to 3 days in advance. Store at room temperature in an airtight container.