Double Chocolate Tahini Cookies + 5 Tahini Dessert Recipes

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“Put down the weight of your aloneness and ease into
the conversation.  The kettle is singing
even as it pours you a drink, the cooking pots
have left their arrogant aloofness and
seen the good in you at last. All the birds
and creatures of the world are unutterably
themselves. Everything is waiting for you.”   
David Whyte Everything is Waiting for You

 

She knows me.  All of the beautiful, funny, ugly parts of me.  She sees my life now, not as the whole picture, but a small piece of the story.  A friendship like that is a lifeline when the world seems unrelenting.  So, it would seem shocking to think I almost didn’t answer her call the other afternoon.

Cut the rope and let me drift out to sea.  No!  She screams.  You drift away and we are both lost.  

I stared at my phone, picked up on the fifth ring.  A quiet “hi” and “how are you, Kel?” Twenty-three years of her voice, a “hi”, a simple question; she is as comforting to me as anything I have ever known.  Words came, trickling, one after another to her, an inlet discovered just in time.

My son’s recent Autism diagnosis had muted my words, left my mind torpid, my heart divided. Relief and sadness intertwined, choking my voice.  I needed space, a dark cave, time.  And she knew all of this because she fights the same beast, she wears the same albatross around her neck.  Though our conversation was brief, I felt better than I had in months.  Something in me cracked, revealing a sliver of light.  And then.  Gratitude and love followed, marching ferociously back, surrounding me.  [You are not alone!  You. Are. Not. Alone!]  If I were a religious woman I may have fallen on my knees, given thanks to him/her for the blessing of this friendship.  But I am not.  Instead, I picked my kids up from school, made a batch of cookies and poured myself a glass of wine.

Double Chocolate Tahini Cookies

Savory tahini replaces peanut butter and pairs perfectly with chocolate in this traditional cookie recipe

recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen’s peanut butter cookies

Makes 3 dozen (using a 2 tablespoon cookie scoop)

Ingredients:

1 + 1/4 cup unbleached, all-purpose flour

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 cup light roasted tahini,  at room temperature (be sure to mix in the oil well before measuring)

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar

1 large egg

1 tablespoon of milk

2 teaspoons vanilla

1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted

1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (or semi-sweet)

raw sugar and festive decorations for sprinkling, optional but adds a yummy crunch

Directions:

Pre-heat the oven to 350F.  Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.  Set aside. Slowly, melt the 1/2 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips on the stove top or in the microwave.  Set aside.

Using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment or an electric mixer, beat the butter and tahini until smooth, about 3 minutes.  Add sugar and dark brown sugar.  Beat until fluffy, about 3 more minutes.  Add the milk and vanilla extract.  Add melted chocolate.  Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl with a spatula to make sure everything is well incorporated.  Add the flour and mix until well combined.  Lastly, stir in the dark chocolate chips.

Place raw sugar and/or decorative sprinkles on a plate.  Using a 2 tablespoon cookie scoop, place cookie balls in sugar, roll around and cover completely.  Place on prepared baking sheet.  Gently, make a cross-hatch pattern with a fork on each cookie or lightly press on the cookies with an off-set spatula.  ( I used an offset spatula.)

Bake the cookies for about 12 minutes.  Be sure not to over bake! The cookies may look under baked, but as long as they are puffed and just set at the edges you are all set!  Allow the cookies to cool on the pan for 5 minutes, then remove and place on a wire rack to cool completely.  Cookies will last in an air-tight container, at room temperature, for 2 days.  Enjoy!

5 Tahini Dessert Recipe You Must Check Out!

Molly Yeh’s chocolate tahini cake with rosemary buttercream is stunning and sounds delicious.  Check it out here!

Chocolate tahini cake two ways, curious?  The Brick Kitchen has the recipe for you.

Tis’ the season for cookies so add something new to your Christmas cookie plater this year with NYT’s salted tahini chocolate chip cookies and A Cozy Kitchen’s tahini concord grape thumbprint cookies.

If quick breads are your go to when it comes to holiday baking, check out my recipe for tahini chocolate chip banana bread.  It is delicious!

Chocolate Dipped Rosemary Butter Cookies + 5 Can’t Miss Holiday Cookie Links

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Do you know 2am?  I’m guessing, yes.  You see the pitch-dark shadows, you hear creaking pipes.  Nearby deep,heavy breaths attempt to lull you to…sleep.  And yet.  One side proves as uncomfortable as the other, stomach, back, side again.  Round and round you go. Thoughts simultaneously occur, then evaporate into the cool night air, as if never thought.

Do not believe everything you tell  yourself late at night.  [Who said this?]   But, you do.  And then you carry them around with like a small child, tending to their needs.  They don’t need you. The people in this house/home, they need you.  

So, you drag your weary body out of bed, walk around a bit, looking for answers in another room.  [Cold floor meets warm feet, shocking you from the bottom to the top, leaving goosebumps on your bare arms.  Shiver followed by a longing for the bed that provides no respite.]  Answers are not found.

What’s the alternative?  Return.  Try again.  This time…

The god awful bed you curse at 2:37am welcomes you back like desperate lover.  You give in, conceding, this time, because a bit of comfort and rest is better than none at all.

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Chocolate Dipped Rosemary Butter Cookies

A savory, sweet, even floral cookie with a crunchy exterior meets chocolate and falls in love.  Cookie conceived at 2am.

Makes about 2 dozen

Butter Cookie Recipe adapted from Epicurious

Ingredients:

2 cups of all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

2 sticks or 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature ( I used Plugra Butter)

1 cup sugar

1 large egg

1 + 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted

1 egg white

4 tablespoon raw sugar

festive sprinkles for decorating, optional

2 inch round cookie cutter, optional

Directions:

Using a medium bowl, whisk together flour, salt and baking powder.  Set aside.

Using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment or an electric mixer, beat butter until light and fluffy.  Add sugar and continue to beat for about 5 minutes, scraping down the sides and bottom once or twice.  Add the egg and vanilla and beat until well combined.

Slowly add the flour, beating until the dough just comes together.

Place the dough on a large piece of plastic wrap and press into a 8 inch circle.  Chill the dough for at least 4 hours or overnight.

When ready to bake, pre-heat your oven to 375F.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.  Set aside.  Place chilled cookie dough on a lightly floured piece of parchment paper.  Lightly flour rolling-pin and roll out dough to 1/4 inch thick.

Using a 2 inch round cookie cutter, cut out cookies and place on prepared baking sheets. (If cookies become difficult to cut out, freeze dough for 15 minutes, then proceed.)  Brush cookies with egg white and sprinkle with raw sugar.  Bake until puffed and golden brown at the edges, about  10-12 minutes.   Allow to cool on pan for about 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

While the cookies are cooling,  gently melt chocolate chips on the stove-top or in the microwave.

Once cookies are cool, dip in melted chocolate and place on a wire rack set inside a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Add festive sprinkles to chocolate, if desired.  Enjoy!

*Cookies will last up to 5 days.  Store in an air-tight container at room temperature.*

5 Can’t Miss Cookie Links for the Holidays

If you are a fan on linzer cookies, head to The Whole Bite for a chocolate linzer cookie recipe with dulce de leche.   I love this twist on a classic!

Still craving all things pumpkin?  Satisfy your craving with a batch of pumpkin cookies with brown sugar frosting.  Head to Creme de la Crumb for the recipe.

Crackle cookies are always a hit the holiday cookie swap.  Check out She Wears Many Hats double chocolate crackle cookie recipe.  Yum!

Have you ever tried an alfajore cookie?  I have the recipe for you.

This is a chocolaty twist on my favorite holiday cookie.  Check out the recipe here.

Chocolate Chip Granola Cookies + 5 Bake Sale Hits For the School Year

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My sister took refuge in baking long before I joined her.  While I retreated from our volatile family life with a book in hand, she baked.  Chocolate chip cookies, dozens at a time, made in our grandmother’s no frills kitchen.  And when my grandmother chirped “chocolate chip cookies again?!”, both a question and a criticism, she remained intent on producing another dozen of warm, gooey, crisp chocolate chip cookies.  Unwavering and focused at just 10 years of age.

Flour, baking soda, salt set aside in a small, banged up metal bowl.  Butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla mixed in a large, partially chipped glass bowl until fluffy, while a timeworn  hand-held mixer rested on a white and gold-speckled Formica countertop.  Ten year old hands eager to the add the chocolate chips and sample the raw dough.

She immersed herself in a simple formula, soothed by nearly the same, pleasing results every time.  Her quiet, almost mechanical process allowed for an escape from our uncertain reality.  Just three years her senior, I admired her peaceful focus from a distance, unable (or unwilling) to fully understand it.  And though I enjoyed every sweet bite, dozens after dozens, I never asked “chocolate chip cookies again?”  Unspoken air and a smile were enough.

Twenty-five years later and I bake for the same reasons she began baking: a refuge from that which we cannot control.  I should thank her.  And yet, once again, unspoken air and a smile seem to be enough.

Chocolate Chip Granola Cookies

A crisp and light chocolate chip cookie with the addition of a nut-free granola makes for a fun twist on a classic combo!

recipe adapted from Brown Eyed Baker Levain Chocolate Chip Cookies

makes 2 dozen

Ingredients:

3 cups of bread flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup or 2 sticks, unsalted butter, cold and cut into chunks

3/4 cup light brown sugar

1/2 sugar

2 eggs, cold

1 tablespoon of milk (any kind)

2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 + 1/2 cups dark chocolate chips

1 cup of granola (Your favorite recipe, store-bought or the recipe listed below)

Directions:

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

Grab a medium bowl and whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; set aside.

Using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment or a hand-held electric mixer, beat the butter at medium speed until it comes together as one.  Add brown sugar and granulated sugar and beat for an additional 5 minutes.  Add the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a spatula after each addition.  Add the vanilla.  Reduce the speed to low and add the flour and 1 tablespoon of milk.  Do not over mix!  Stir in granola and chocolate chips.  Place dough in an air-tight container and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or overnight.

When ready to bake, pre-heat the oven to 375F.  Scoop out a 1/4 cup of cookie dough with your hands and roughly shape it into a ball. Place on prepared baking sheet, leaving about an inch between each cookie.  Continue with remaining dough.  Bake until a light golden brown, about 18-20 minutes.  Cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes and then place on a wire rack to cool completely.  Cookies stored in an air-tight container will last up to 2 days.  I think these cookies are best the day they are made.  Serve with a cold glass of milk.  Enjoy!

Nut-free Granola

recipe adapted from Cookie + Kate’s Healthy Granola

makes about 6 cups

Ingredients:

4 cups old fashion oats

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ginger

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 cup millet, rinsed

1/2 wheat germ

1/2 cup olive oil

1/2 cup maple syrup or honey

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

Pre-heat the oven 350F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  In a large bowl combine, oats, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, millet and wheat germ.  Add the oil, maple syrup and vanilla.  Stir until every oat is covered in the oil and maple syrup.

Spread granola evenly across prepared baking sheet.  Bake until golden brown, about 20-25 minutes.  Allow the granola to cool completely, undisturbed,  on the sheet pan.  Break into chunks and store in an air-tight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.  Enjoy!

5 Bake Sale Hits You Should Check Out!

Looking for a gluten-free cookie option for your next bake-sale?  Head to My Gluten-Free Kitchen for a chewy chocolate chip cookie recipe that will win the hearts of all kids.

Brownies are always a hit.  Head to Alexandra’s Kitchen for Fine Cooking’s rich, fudgy brownies recipe.

Cupcakes make people smile.  Head to Sweetest Kitchen for a chocolate cupcakes with fudge frosting recipe that is sure to pull in some fast cash!

Sugar cookie bars with lemon cream cheese frosting.  Just make them.  Head to Two Peas and Their Pod for the recipe.

Check out Baked By Rachel’s snickerdoodle blondie bars.  They are on my must make list!

 

 

 

Alfajores + 5 Cookies You Don’t Know About But Should!

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Ho, ho, ho. Fa lah lah.  It’s the season for all things sugar.  Despite this being a crazy weekend celebrating Goose’s eighth, yes eighth, birthday with both a friend and family party; I have a cookie recipe for you.

Alfajores.  Alfawhat?  This cookie hails from South America.  A tender cookie made mainly with cornstarch and filled with Dulce De Leche.  This is a must make and a share with everyone I know kinda cookie.  I hope you love them as much as my skinny jeans are telling me I loved them!

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Alfajores

recipe slightly adapted from Fix Feast Flair

makes about 15 cookies

Ingredients:

1 cup cornstarch

3/4 cup unbleached, all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

8 tablespoons or 1 stick of unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/3 cup sugar

2 large egg yolks

1 tablespoon Cointreau

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup of homemade or store bought Dulce de Leche, at room temperature

Optional:

powdered sugar for dusting

sprinkles for decorating

piping bag and small tip

Equipment:

2 inch round cookie cutter

Directions:

In a medium bowl whisk together cornstarch, flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Set aside.

Using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat sugar and butter until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.  Be sure to scrape down the bowl once or twice.

Next add egg yolks, Cointreau and vanilla extract.  Beat on medium-low speed.  Scrap down the sides of the bowl.  With  the speed on low, slowly add dry ingredients.  Mix until just incorporated.

Scrape out all the dough and place on a piece of plastic wrap. Shape into a disk and cover with plastic wrap.  Refrigerate for at least an hour or until firm.

When ready to bake, pre-heat your oven to 350F.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.  Remove dough from fridge and place on a lightly floured surface.  Roll out the dough to 1/4 inch thickness.  No worries if the dough splits, just piece it back together.   Using a 2 inch round cookie cutter stamp out 30 cookies.  It is just fine to re-roll the dough until you have 30 cookie rounds.

Place the cookies on prepared baking sheet and chill for 20 minutes.  This will help them keep their shape.  Transfer to pre-heated oven and bake for about 14 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking time.  Cool cookies completely on a wire rack.

Spread or pipe a generous spoonful of Dulce de Leche on 15 cookies, then place the other 15 cookies on top and gently press together to form a sandwich.  Pipe or spread a bit of Dulce de Leche on the outside of each sandwich cookie and roll in sprinkles.  Dust with powdered sugar, if desired.

Cookies will last store in an air-tight container at room temperature for several days.  Enjoy!

5 Cookies You Don’t Know About But Should!

Looking for a delicious gluten-free Christmas cookie?  Reclaiming Provincial has a recipe for flour-less Mexican chocolate crinkle cookies that is mouth-watering!

Dear Santa,

All I want for Christmas is pizzelle iron so I can make Bon Appetempt’s meyer lemon pizzelles. Promise to share.

xo, me

Benne Wafers– A little something sweet from South Carolina for your Christmas cookie platter.

If you are looking for a not too sweet holiday cookie, Check out Heidi Swanson’s Swedish rye cut-out cookies. 

Calling all macaroons lovers! Head to What’s Cooking Good Looking for a cherry-chocolate pistachio macaroon recipe.

 

Frosted Red Velvet Cookies + 5 Holiday Cookie Links You Can’t Miss!

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Did you ever watch Steal Magnolias?  The Julia Roberts movie that came out in 1989? No? You should put it on your Netflix list.  My sister and I watched it over and over.  We were obsessed with the movie and with Julia Roberts.  If you did watch it you might remember the groom’s cake: a red velvet cake shaped like an armadillo, covered in gray frosting.  This was my first introduction to red velvet.  Many years later when the cupcake craze hit Boston, I ate my first red velvet cupcake.  After taking a single bite I understood the obsession and, well, I became obsessed.  I ordered red velvet anything whenever I got a chance.  At my brother’s wedding two years ago, I stood in my beautiful, pewter colored bridesmaid dress and devoured two red velvet cupcakes during the course of one song.  I’m not ashamed; they were best I ever had!

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The combination of the cream cheese frosting and the cocoa are amazing together, but the thing that gets me every time is the bright, red crumb.  It’s not magic, I know.  The cookies get their vibrant color from red food coloring and natural cocoa powder.  It’s just magical baking science.

Last December, I saw a recipe for frosted red velvet cookies in Cook’s Illustrated.  I dog-eared the page, but never made the cookies.  This year I made sure they were in my holiday cookie rotation.

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Bubba and kids went nuts for them.  C asked, just before she shoved a cookie into her mouth, “Umm, are they red velvet?” My girl is hooked.  I know this is the season of sharing, kindness and generosity, but we didn’t share these cookies.  We ate them as if they were about to vanish.  Before long one cookie and a few crumbs remained.

Frosted Red Velvet Cookies

Recipe barely adapted from Cook’s Illustrated Christmas Cookies

makes about 22 cookies

Ingredients:

1 + 3/4 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon natural unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

12 tablespoons of unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 cup sugar

1 large egg

1 tablespoon red food coloring

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/4 cup of 2% Greek yogurt

4 ounces of cream cheese, softened

11/4 cups confectioners’ sugar

holiday sprinkles for decorating, optional

Directions:

Pre-heat your oven to 350F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a small bowl, whisk together your flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt.  Set aside.  Using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment cream 8 tablespoons (1 stick) of softened butter.  Add sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes or so.  Next add your egg, food coloring and 1 teaspoon of vanilla and beat until combined.

Lower the speed and add half of the flour mixture, then the Greek yogurt and ending with the rest of the flour mixture.

Scoop up 2 tablespoons of dough and drop on prepared baking sheets.  Leave about 2 inches in between each dough mound.  Bake each sheet, separately, for about 16 minutes or until the centers are set.  Be sure to rotate the pan halfway through baking.  Allow the cookies to cool on the sheet pans for about 5 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

While the cookies cool, prepare the cream cheese frosting.  Use a clean, dry bowl!  With a paddle attachment, mix the cream cheese, 4 tablespoons of butter and 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla on medium speed for about a minute.  Lower the speed and add the confectioners’ sugar.  Mix for a minute.  Increase the speed to medium/high and beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Spread a spoonful of frosting on each cookie and decorate with sprinkles, if desired.  The cookies taste best the day they are made, but taste great the next day too!  If you have any left over, store them in an air-tight container at room temperature.  Enjoy!

5 Can’t Miss Holiday Cookie Recipes

Love white chocolate? How about peppermint?  Check out Not Without Salt’s white chocolate peppermint cookies with vanilla salt.  That’s right, vanilla salt. Yum!

My kids love hot cocoa.  Hot cocoa with a handful of marshmallows floating on top is their favorite winter-time drink.  I think I will blow their minds when I make Laura’s, at Fork Knife Swoon, recipe for flourless hot cocoa cookies!

Chocolate, caramel and salt need to happen during the holidays.  Head to Bakers Royale for salted chocolate caramel snickers cookie recipe.  My mouth is watering.

If you love thumbprint cookies, check out mini chocolate thumbprint cookies at Pinch of Yum.  They look like just the dessert to serve at your next holiday gathering!

My most pinned recipe: lemon ricotta cookies.  They will make your family swoon this holiday season!

The Great American Milk Drive is taking place now.  Feeding America will donate a gallon for a gallon until December 31st.  Consider making a donation today!

 

The Best Chocolate Crinkle Cookies + 5 Crinkle Cookie Recipes for the Holidays!

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We got back from our Thanksgiving trip to Philly a day early, thinking we would take a day to recover from all the eating, drinking and socializing we enjoyed days before.  I woke up blurry eyed on Sunday, wanting and needing more sleep.  I walked downstairs to find the kids eating breakfast, full of energy, ready for the next…holiday.  Bubba poured me a giant cup of coffee.

“Want to get the tree today?” Today? Can I go back to bed instead? Can we enjoy the after glow of Thanksgiving for just a minute?

“We are getting our Christmas tree today!” the kids sang, as they did laps around the house.  What did they eat for breakfast? A doughnut and a glass of Red Bull.  Ugh, Dear Santa, all I want for Christmas is some of my kids’ energy.

“Sure.”  Bubba’s favorite thing about Christmas is getting the tree. How could I say no?

Two hours later we are on the road, again, heading to a Christmas tree farm.  We arrive at the farm only mildly annoyed with each other.  A man in jeans and a barn coat directs us to a hill.  “If you have 4 wheel drive, head up the hill.”  The hill is more like a small ski slope and we wonder if our Pilot can make it up.  Bubba guns it and before long we are looking down at a hill-side sporadically covered with Douglas and Fraser Firs.

“Is this it?” The kids.

“Yup.” We say unknowingly. Bubba steps out of the car and grabs the saw from the back.  The kids follow him. I grab the baby and we are on the hunt for the perfect tree.  I point to a sad little Charlie Brown tree. “What about this one?”

“No way Mama!”  I guess they don’t share my love for the unloved trees, yet.

The trees start to all look the same, my feet are cold and the baby has a giant snot sliding towards his lips.  I search my pockets for a tissue, but find nothing, so I use my fleece mitten. It’s laundry day.

I point to a tall, skinny tree not far from us.  We walk over to take closer look.

“Looks good!” Bubba.

Before I can record the cutting of the tree or even ceremoniously say timber, the tree is lying down in the snow.  I put the kids in the car and we hoist our skinny Douglas fir to the roof of the car.  Bubba realizes we don’t have any rope to tie the tree down, so with an Exacto knife, he slices an old bicycle tube in half and secures the tree.  I married MacGyver.

Excitement fills the car as we head home.  “My favorite thing about Christmas is unwrapping presents!” G. C nods and agrees.  “I like decorating too.”

“I love getting the tree.” Bubba. Ok my turn.

“I love making Christmas cookies.”  There it is: making Christmas cookies gets me through the holidays, especially when little hands help.  I’m not sure if it is the copious amounts of butter sugar that make me smile or taste testing each batch; either way I love it.

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ccc0012I am starting this season off with Chocolate Crinkle Cookies.  I found a recipe in the most recent addition of Cook’s Illustrated.  This recipe promised moist and tender cookies with a rich chocolate flavor and plenty of tiny, irregular cracks.  I adapted the recipe only slightly by adding both natural unsweetened cocoa and Dutch-processed cocoa powder.  Why? Because I didn’t have enough natural cocoa powder in the house.  I bet all of one powder or the other will taste just as good.  I like to think maybe the combination of cocoa added more depth of flavor to the cookies.  Maybe…

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The thing that excites me most about these cookies are the tiny powder sugar-coated fissures covering the surface.  Turns out it is all about science. Imagine that!  To learn more about the science behind crinkly cookies head here.  Enjoy the day they are made with a cold glass of milk!

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

Makes about 22 cookies

Recipe slightly adapted from Cook’s Illustrated November & December 2014

Ingredients:

1 cup unbleached, all-purpose flour

1/4 cup unsweetened natural cocoa powder ( I used Hershey’s.)

1/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-processed cocoa ( I used Guittard.)

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 1/2 cups brown sugar

3 large eggs

4 teaspoons instant espresso powder (Optional but I used it.)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped

4 tablespoons of unsalted butter

For Coating:

1/2 cup of sugar

1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar

Directions:

Pre-heat your oven to 325F.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoas, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Set aside.

In a large bowl whisk together the brown sugar, eggs, espresso powder and vanilla.  Make sure it is well combined!  Next, melt the chocolate and butter together in a microwave safe bowl.  (I checked and stirred the chocolate/butter mixture every minute for 3 minutes.  You could also melt the chocolate and butter using a double boiler.)

Allow the chocolate to cool a bit and then whisk into the egg mixture until combined.  Fold the flour mixture into the chocolate mixture until well combined and no flour streaks remain.

Now let the dough rest, alone, at room temperature for about 10 minutes.   While your dough is relaxing, pour the granulated sugar and confectioners’ sugar in two separate bowls.

Using a #30 scoop or 2 tablespoons of dough, roll into balls.  Place the dough ball in the granulated sugar, coat, and then drop it into the confectioners’ sugar; roll and coat evenly.  Place coated dough balls on prepared sheets and bake one sheet at time for about 12 minutes, rotating the sheet pan halfway through baking time.  **The cookies are done when they looked puffed, edges are set but centers are still soft.  The cookies will seem underdone between the cracks. That is a good thing!** Allow the cookies to cool completely on the baking sheet.  The cookies taste best the day they are made, but still taste great a couple of days later.  If you have any leftover, store in air-tight container at room temperature.

5 Must Make Crinkle Cookie Recipe Links!

If you love lemon flavored cookies, check out Cooking Classy’s lemon crinkle cookie recipe.  Red velvet nut? Cooking Classy also has a red velvet crinkle cookie recipe for you. Yum!

Looking for a decadent, fudgy yet flourless chocolate crinkle cookie? Head to Reclaiming Provincial for the recipe.  Sounds interesting and Carey’s photos are beautiful!

Molasses and ginger scream holidays to me. So wow your friends at your next cookie swap with Averie Cook’s Soft Molasses Coconut Oil Crinkle Cookies.  Amazing!

I made grapefruit crinkle cookies last year and Bubba’s co-workers went nuts for them.  Head to Cups + Spoonfuls for the recipe.

 

 

 

Lemon Ricotta Cookies with a Lemon Glaze + 5 Italian Desserts You Should Try

LR0086I am not Italian. I didn’t grow up eating Italian food but I absolutely love it, all of it. I lived in the North End of Boston, the Italian section, my first year out of college. For a whole year, I was surrounded by the smells of Italian bakeries and restaurants. My mouth watered every time I passed a bakery on my way to work in the morning. I was just out of college and could barely afford my overpriced apartment, so I didn’t have a chance to enjoy the restaurants, but I could enjoy the cookies and fresh breads from the many bakeries. My favorite Italian bakeries are Bova’s and Maria’s. If you are in Boston, head to the North End and check them out. You will not be disappointed! I recently found a recipe for Lemon Ricotta cookies by Giada De Laurentiis and decided to give them a shot. I have her cookbook, Everyday Italian ,which I love, so I had a feeling I would love these cookies as well. I was right! These cookies are light and refreshing. The crumb is super tender almost cake like. The lemon glaze adds a little sweetness but is not overpowering. I think this might be my new go to recipe for the holidays!LR10036I really crave citrus in the winter. I almost prefer it over chocolate. I know crazy! lR0068 My will power over cookie dough is pretty strong most of the time, but this batter was hard to resist. I had to lick the spatula before it went into the dishwasher. LR0069The dough is sticky so I used a cookie scoop to get more even amounts of dough. Buy a cookie scoop! You get the same amount of batter every time so you’ll have uniform sized cookies, and it speeds up the whole process. LR0102 Cute packaging is important when giving cookies and treats as gifts. I bought simple brown bakery boxes and red grosgrain ribbon. For more ideas or to shop check out this sweet online store. LR0080 Lemon Ricotta Cookies with Lemon Glaze

recipe by Giada de Laurentiis

Makes about 3 dozen

Ingredients:

For Cookies: 2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. kosher salt

1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 cups sugar

2 eggs

1 (15-ounce) container whole milk ricotta cheese

3 tbsp. lemon juice

Zest of one lemon

For Lemon Glaze:

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

3 tbsp.  lemon juice

Zest of one lemon

Directions: Preheat your oven to 375. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside. In a medium bowl stir together flour, baking powder, salt and set aside. Using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat together butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes, scraping down the bowl once or twice.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until combined. Add the ricotta cheese, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Beat until fully incorporated . Stir in the dry ingredients. You can put the mixer on the lowest setting or stir by hand with a wooden spoon. Spoon about 2 tablespoons of dough onto prepared baking sheets. Bake for about  15 minutes or until slightly golden at the edges. Start checking your cookies around 12 minutes. You don’t want to over bake! Remove baking sheet from the oven and let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for about 20 minutes.

To make the glaze: Stir together the powdered sugar, lemon juice, and lemon zest in a small bowl until smooth. Gently, spread about 1/2-teaspoon of glaze on each cookie. Allow the glaze to harden for about 2 hours. Cookies will last up in airtight container at room temperature for 3 days. Enjoy!

5 Italian Desserts You Should Try!

Bubba and I went to Italy on our honeymoon 7 years ago. We ate a lot of gelato but I never tried anything like this dessert.

Do you like tiramisu? How about in cupcake form? Head here for the recipe.

I have never tried a zeppole but after looking at these photos from the Brown Eyed Baker, I think I might.

I love ricotta pie. This version is on my list of recipes to try very soon.

Need something light and refreshing after a heavy winter meal? Try Giada’s Lemon Ricotta Granita recipe.