Tag Archives: dough

Chocolate Chip Pretzel Cookies

17 Feb

Alright, y’all. I have totally hopped on the sweet & salty train. It actually worked out really well for me because the salted caramel trend hit right at a time when I discovered I actually like sweet/salty combos. See, as a kid, I hated that. I didn’t like desserts that had nuts or peanut butter in it, because those things are supposed to be salty, and desserts should not have salt in it. My older sister always got all the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups out of my Halloween haul.

But maybe my adult palate is becoming more adventurous. Whatever it is, I’ve been excited to experiment with salt on desserts. Last month I tried the salt-on-top method with my Salted Nutella & Caramel-Stuffed Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies. AMAZING. This time I tried the salt-baked-in method by adding pretzel pieces to chocolate chip cookies.

They were so tasty, and I really enjoyed them. My preference is for cookies to be slightly undercooked so that they’re super gooey and chewy. And with lots of extra chocolate. And straight out of the oven so it melts in your mouth.

These were really not that hard if I were making a normal batch. But I was making them for our local Meals on Wheels, and I needed SIX DOZEN, so it became a bit more of a project than I realized.

IMG_3080

A couple tips I learned while baking these:

  • The dough needs to be chilled when it goes in the oven. If it’s too warm, the cookies will spread a lot more while they bake, and you’ll end up with a thin cookie. So if you’re making a large amount of cookies and it’s taking a while to scoop them all out and rotate them in and out of the oven, periodically pop the dough back into the fridge to chill a bit.
  • Don’t drop an entire baking sheet of cookies on the floor because that is very frustrating when you need a certain amount of cookies and you’re almost out of flour.
  • Don’t turn off the oven when you meant to turn off the timer because then the cookies won’t bake enough and in your attempts to not waste that batch you might cook them a lot longer because you can’t tell when they’re done and then end up baking them to a crisp.

If you can find caramel chips in the store (I couldn’t, and I was in a hurry, so I didn’t look elsewhere) you should definitely consider adding them in, like the original recipe called for. I bet that’s tasty.

Cookies

These were really good, but I won’t lie, they would probably be better with even more mix-ins — more chocolate chips, more pretzels, and those caramel chips. Feel free to play around with the mix-ins with your batch. This recipe should yield about 2 dozen cookies.

Chocolate Chip Pretzel Cookies adapted from By Stephanie Lynn

1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup white sugar
1 egg
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/3 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/3 cup crushed pretzel pieces

In a medium bowl sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl beat the butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. With the mixer on low speed, gradually add the eggs and vanilla. Mix well.

Slowly add the flour mixture and beat just until there are no streaks of flour showing. Stir in the chocolate chips, caramel chips and pretzel pieces.

Cover and chill the batter in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Using a cookie scoop drop rounded tablespoon portions of the dough, about 2 inches apart, onto an un-greased baking sheet.

Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 1 minute prior to moving to a wire rack to cool completely.

Linking Up With:

Funday Monday from Still Being Molly
Made by you Monday from Skip to my Lou
Inspiration Monday from Twelve O Eight
Wonderfully Creative Wednesday from All She Cooks
Create It Thursday from Lamberts Lately
Full Plate Thursday from Miz Helen’s Country Cottage
All Things Pretty from Sparkles and a Stove

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A-Pizza Pie!

26 Apr

Last weekend, I cooked up a storm. The BF was at some boring conference that I opted out of, so I spent the afternoon in the kitchen. Among other things, I made homemade pizza. And I mean, homemade – dough from scratch, sauce from scratch.

Speaking of the term “from scratch,” here’s a little rant for you. (If you’re not interested, just skip this paragraph.) In my mind, “from scratch” means using real ingredients, no short cuts. So when I find a recipe for tomato sauce called “tomato sauce from scratch” that calls for a 28-ounce can of crushed tomatoes, I just feel like that’s a little bit of false advertising, you know? Don’t get me wrong, I don’t necessarily oppose cooking with canned goods. I just oppose cooking with canned goods when it’s supposed to be “from scratch.”

Okay, rant over, because you need to see all the amazing pictures we got of this pizza. Mark Bittman ran a piece in the NY Times about homemade pizza, so along with about 1,453,7459 other pretentious hipsters, we tackled the project. I started with his basic pizza dough recipe, though I altered it a bit to feature whole wheat flour. Although this whole project did take a while, it was easier than I expected it to be.

The Dough

I set up my food processor and added in 1 cup whole wheat flour3/4 cup white flour1 1/2 teaspoon fast-rising yeast1 teaspoon salt, and 1 tablespoon olive oil. I turned it on and poured in 1/2 cup water through the tube. It took about 20-30 seconds to process it into a sticky ball – a large clump of dough was swirling around and around inside. (If yours is too dry, add 1 tablespoon of water at a time. If too mushy/sticky, add 1 tablespoon of flour at a time until it comes together.)

I rubbed a little olive oil on my palms to keep the dough from sticking to me when I pulled it out of the processor. I shaped it into a ball and wrapped it in plastic wrap. I left it out on the counter for 2 or 3 hours while I attended to other things. (Mark gives you a few more options in his recipe if you’re tight on time.) (Also, sorry for the lack of pictures – my hands were really messy and I was flying solo on this mission.)

Tomato Sauce

On to the tomato sauce. Before I put the food processor away, I pureed 4 small tomatoes  into mush. In a sauce pan, I heated 2 tablespoons olive oil1/2 diced yellow onion, and 4 cloves minced garlic over medium high. Once the onions started to look a little clear and smell more fragrant, I added the tomato puree in. Then I added about 2 tablespoons Italian seasoning blend and 2 tablespoons white wine. I let that simmer over low heat for about 20 minutes. (Near the end it seemed a little thin, so I turned the heat up high and cooked it without a lid to get some of the extra water to steam off.) FYI, we both thought this was a little heavy on the onion – could have cut that down a bit. And we both thought it could have used more tomato flavor – though if I bought tomatoes in tomato season, that probably would be way better.

Pizza

Fast forward a couple hours, and I’m ready to cook my pizza. I took the dough ball and unwrapped it, shaping it into a ball and dusting the outside with flour. I let it rest for a bit while the oven warmed up to 500 degrees (HOT!) and I prepared the ingredients. I shredded up a whole ball of super high quality mozzarella. And trust me, when you splurge on super high quality mozzarella, you really notice the difference. I sliced up some mushrooms, the BF halved some cherry tomatoes, and I sauteed a handful of spinach with some olive oil and garlic for about 4 minutes.

Mmm... Cheese. Is that a little mushroom I see back there?

Aren't you just the cutest little tomatoes I've ever seen?

Spinach Saute

After that, I turned back to the dough and worked on pressing it out. I just used my hands to press it on the counter to about a 1/2 inch thick flat round. I added a little flour here and there when it got sticky. I didn’t worry about making it too thin, (1) because I’m impatient and (2) because I like thick, soft crust. The BF probably would have preferred a thin, crunchy crust, but he wasn’t the one making the pizza all day.

Dough!

I transferred the dough from the counter to my pizza stone. (I spread some olive oil over the crust, but after cooking it, I realized that was really unnecessary – it was pretty greasy.) I baked the crust for about 5 minutes at 500 F. After that, I pulled the crust back out and added my toppings – spinach and mushrooms on my side, spinach and tomatoes on his side. And course, a very large amount of mozzarella cheese for both of us. (If I’d had some, I would have loved to mix some rosemary into the crust.) I popped it back into the oven for 5-7 more minutes.

Totally Sauced

Ingredient #1

PIZZA

And when we pulled it out – omg gooey deliciousness. I sliced up our pizza, the BF cracked open a soda, and we settled down for a movie on the couch. AMAZING. It was SO GOOD.

PIZZA FTW

Cinnamon Rolls

18 Apr

When I was a teen, my aunt invited my cousins and me over to teach us a few things in the kitchen. I can’t say I’ve made homemade ravioli since that night, but I do regularly use her Asian sticky rice “recipe” and her recipe for cinnamon rolls. This is something of a semi-homemade treat, so it’s super easy. I took some rolls fresh from the oven to a friend’s for brunch last weekend, and they were pretty amazing.

First off, pour some pecans into a bundt pan. Then add in some frozen dinner rolls. I usually cram in about 12 of the 15 rolls in the package.

Yeast Rolls

Sprinkle one package of butterscotch pudding mix over top the rolls. (DON’T use the instant!) And then sprinkle 1 teaspoon cinnamon over that.

Butterscotch Pudding

In a saucepan, add 1 cup brown sugar and 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter. Stir over medium heat until melted and smooth, then pour it over the rolls. At this point, you can put them in the fridge to sit overnight and bake fresh in the morning, or you can go ahead and bake them now.

Ready for the Oven

Bake the rolls at 350 F for about 30 minutes. Loosen the sides, then dump the whole thing upside down onto a serving plate. Enjoy!

Cinnamon Rolls!

YUM

Fresh Strawberry-Lemon Bars

11 Jun

I was joking in my last post about how I don’t really like strawberries, but I actually do. I was just joshin’, y’all. They’re just not my fave. But if I thought I didn’t like strawberries, this dessert would totally change my mind. It took a bit of time but was way worth it. I found the original recipe in an issue of Better Homes & Gardens, and it actually called for raspberries. But I thought, Hey, strawberries are in season, and they will probably work just as well. And damn was I right! These are good!

I started off by preheating the oven to 350 F and preparing my baking pan. I lined a 13×9 inch pan with aluminum foil, making sure I had enough to hang over the edges to make handles for later.

I threw 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted organic butter into a large bowl, and then beat them with my hand mixer on medium about 30 seconds. Naturally, maybe because I forgot to cut them into chunks first, the butter got all stuck in the mixer and I had to push it all back into the bowl.

Then I added 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar and 1/4 teaspoon salt. I mixed that on low speed for another 30 seconds.

I added 2 cups all-purpose flour and beat on low speed until incorporated. Then I increased the speed to medium and continued mixing until it formed a dough. For a long time, it stayed really crumbly and seemed like it wasn’t going to form into a dough. I turned off the mixer and scraped the mixer and sides of the bowl. When I started mixing again, it came right together into the dough. I don’t know if it needed a break or if I just needed to keep going or what, but it worked. Since you want a bar crust and not just a crumble bottom, it’s better to over-mix then under-mix, so don’t stop too early.

Now there's a dough

Once I had a dough, I dropped it in chunks into the foil-lined baking pan. This made it easier to smooth it out into an even dough. I popped it in the oven for 20 minutes, which was the perfect amount of time to clean up and then chop 1 pint strawberries into quarters.

Dough chunksDough layer
Once the dough finished its 20 minutes, I let it cool for 5 minutes and then brushed the exposed foil with butter. Then I spread a small jar (10 oz? I don’t remember) strawberry jam evenly over the crust.

Jam layer

For the next layer, I spread the quartered strawberries evenly.

Strawberry layer

Now for the custard filling. In another large bowl, I mixed 4 oz. (1/2 package) cream cheese and 4 oz. goat cheese with a hand mixer on high for about 30 seconds. Then I added in  1/2 cup sugar, 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, 1 egg, 1 egg yolk, the zest of one lemon, the juice of one lemon, and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Of course when I tried to get just the egg yolk, I accidentally poured the whole egg down the drain. But take two worked just fine. And then I beat the whole mixture on medium until smooth, about one minute.

Custard

A tip or two about lemon… To zest a lemon, use a flat grater to grate the lemon peel directly into the bowl. Grate the yellow, but stop when you see white — you don’t want to use that part. To juice a lemon, roll it around on the counter under your palm, putting a bit of weight into it. This will loosen up the juices a bit. Then cut it in half and squeeze each half directly into the bowl. If you have trouble keeping seeds out of your bowl, wrap a paper towel around the lemon and squeeze the juice through it. The paper towel will hold back the seeds and any pulp.

Custard Layer

I poured the lemon custard batter evenly over the strawberries and then baked it for about 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, I pulled them out and let them cool for about 10 minutes. I asked the BF to help me remove them from the pan — we each took an end of the foil and lifted it out, pulling it tight so it wouldn’t slide in on itself. Since I wanted to serve them for dessert and dinner was already halfway through, I stuffed them in the fridge to cool a little faster.

Strawberry Lemon Bars

When I was ready to serve, I cut them into bars and served a little piece to everyone, and omigod they were soooo good. Lots of strawberry, very lemony, really rich, and oh so sweet. But even though the goat cheese and cream cheese made it rich, the lemon also made for a pretty light, summery flavor. Deelish.

Strawberry Lemon Bar

Notes:

  • Wow, these are good. I am actually kind of surprised how much I like them considering they don’t have any chocolate.
  • I was a little skeptical that these would hold up as bars. I’m guessing I didn’t chill them long enough because they were a little runny at first. But when I chilled them again and sliced the other half the next day, they held up really well. And I figured that even if they didn’t, this would make just as delicious and satisfying a dessert if it were called a cobbler, crumble, or custard. Try them the first day with a spoonful warm out of the oven and a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top. Then refrigerate the rest, and after they’ve chilled, try them the next day as a firm, chilled bar. Both are pretty delicious!
  • This recipe could be made the exact same way but with a variety of fruits. I’d love to try raspberries, blueberries, peaches, anything really. Maybe I’ll try this again with other seasonal produce.