Monday, December 13, 2010

Coooooooooooookies everywhere

So the cookie contest was this weekend
I really really really wanted to win
the grand prize was a gleaming red kitchen aid mixer
with the multi-sized bowls

I was praying for a blizzard because I could walk my cookies over but not everyone else could

no blizzard here

really cold but all the snow went to my family down south (sorry...I should have been more blizzard specific)

anyway, I didn't get the call so I doubt I won so maybe you don't even want these recipes but they are good

so good in fact that I didn't get pictures because they got eaten so I will be making more

possible pictures then but I am not promising anything

the first ones I made are a ball of wonderful chocolaty goodness with some caramel thrown in for good measure...
holy yum
i don't even LIKE cookies (well I do but I hate baking them...all the futziness makes me mental...I want to throw them all in at once and go from there)

the 2nd ones were a short bread concoction with caramel (and I added chocolate because how can THAT combo be bad) with some sea salt...yowza...those might be my favorite

in either case

here they are

Chocolatey caramel goodness

3 squares unsweetened chocolate
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar (I used homemade brown sugar) but the recipe calls for regular
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 cups finely chopped pecans

(then there is this caramel recipe but I used a different one because I had left overs from the shortbread cookies...who knows what this tastes like but I am including it in case you want to try)
14oz pack of caramels
2 tbsp milk
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate morsels

microwave choc square and butter until completely melted
stir in 1 cup sugar, egg, vanilla and then mix in the dry ingredients (really...these were the instructions...I mixed the dry ingredients in a separate bowl and then added them while mixing to the wet mixture)

refrigerate for at least 30 mins (I used this time to mix up the shortbread recipe and get that ready)

shape dough in 1 inch balls (I swear I did this but mine "may" have been know...the bigger the better???) and roll in pecans

place on parchment paper covered cookie sheet 2 inches apart

make indent in dough with thumb (I almost pushed all the way through but they still flattened out when I baked them so upon taking out of oven, i pushed a little bouncy ball in the center to make a new divot...hey, it helps to be creative int he kitchen and we have a million of those stupid things floating around)

remove and cool on wire rack

I left them on the paper as they seemed a little gooey yet but firmed up on cooling (very grateful I used the parchment paper)

then when they are cool, you fill the indent with caramel and then cover with a drizzle of melted chocolate (if you are making the caramel from above, you melt the caramels with the milk in the microwave and then fill the centers, melt the chocolate and cover...this recipe was very pro-microwave)

onto the shortbread cookies

Salted Caramel Thumbprint Cookies

Makes 16 cookies  (Ummmmmm....I made a lot more as I made my cookies smaller...I measured and everything but apparently I made my square kind of thinner than it was supposed to be)

Shortbread Cookie recipe adapted from Barefoot Contessa
Caramel recipe taken from Salted Caramel Mousse by Trish Desseine
1 1/2 stick of unsalted butter, room temperature (I softened it in the microwave because I have that great softening button...I also used salted butter because really...who uses the unsalted kind besides fancy cooks)
1/2 cup of granulated sugar (I used brown sugar...what can I say, we just made a new batch and I love it)
1/2 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
1 3/4 cup of all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup of granulated sugar
2 ½ tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream (I used 1/2 a cup because I am a dolt and didn't read the recipe made caramel soup...which was fine because it firmed up later but made me cry a bit at the time)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, (I don't have that so I just used regular beaters...this is where winning that kitchen aid would have come in handy)cream together the butter and sugar until they are just combined and then add the vanilla. Separately, sift together the flour and salt. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture to the creamed butter and sugar. (this is hard to do one handed...just letting you know)Mix until the dough starts to come together. Dump on a floured board and roll together into a flat square. ( thickness given...apparently mine was not thick enough but that just means there were more cookies and less guilt when eating them)Wrap in plastic and chill for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, take out the fridge and cut into 1 1/4-inch squares.
Roll the dough into 1 1/4-inch balls. (If you have a scale they should each weigh 1 ounce...I don't have a scale so...there you go) Place the balls on an ungreased cookie sheet. (I covered mine with parchment paper after having been ecstatic that I did for the chocolate ones before) Hold the cookie steady with one hand and press a light indentation into the top of each with your finger.  Note: I actually poked a hole using a medicine dropper and then made it a little bigger by wiggling it since my cookies were too small to poke my finger into...that should have been my 1st clue) .  Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until they’re just a little golden brown on the sides. Let them cool. While they’re cooling, make the caramel.

Combine the sugar and 2 tablespoons water in a medium saucepan. Do not stir. Cook over medium-high heat to a dark caramel, swirling as it begins to brown to distribute the sugar.  While the sugar and water are going at it, heat up the cream in a saucepan or microwave just until warm.

Take off the heat and add your room temperature butter.  Whisk the butter in, being sure it’s totally combined. Add your warmed cream and whisk vigorously.

By now your cookies should be cooled.  Spoon a teaspoon of warm caramel into the indentations of your cookies and top with sea salt. You can eat right away (the caramel will be goopy and wonderful), or let sit for 2 hours so the caramel sets. Fancy and fantastic!

I also added two chocolate chips in the indent of the cookie when they came out of the oven...then the caramel over the top and then a sprinkling of sea salt.  If you wait for a bit to put the salt on, the caramel won't melt it and it will look all crystally and pretty.


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Cookies Cookies Everywhere

Well...there were cookies cookies everywhere. 

The boys got a hold of them so now there are about 3 cookies left. 

Tonight I am going to attempt a version of a cake pop...have you seen those?  If not, you need to check out   She is amazing and wonderful and full of fabulous ideas.

I am going to make my own version of the Christmas tree ones...only I am using spice cake, cream cheese frosting, white candy coating and coconut, tinted green.  I even bought little colored stars for on top of the tree.

I have a recipe that is a chocolate sugar cookie, rolled in nuts with a dip in the center that you fill with caramel and then cover the whole shebang with melted chocolate

I am also going to make Jake's Oreo balls (which sounds a lot more creepy than it really is)


the fanciest
most awesome
idea I have had in a long time

I am going to make mini pie cookies and then drizzle caramel over the top

pictures to follow

(maybe I won't make them ALL tonight)