Sunday, May 20, 2012

Potato Chip Cookies

At breakfast one morning I was reading my Cook's Country magazine and found these cookies.  Although they sounded a bit strange, the combination of salty and sweet definitely appealed to me.  Cook's Country gives you not only the recipe but how they came up with the recipe.  I thought something interesting that they mentioned was how they tried many different types of potato chips.  Full fat potato chips gave the cookies an undesirable "oily" taste and made the edges brown too quickly.  They opted to go with 40% less fat chips, specifically the Cape Cod brand.  This was also the first time I used parchment paper and loved it. It made clean up super easy and the cookies did not stick at all (something that has been a problem lately on my aging non-stick cookie sheets).  The cookies turned out pretty well...kind of like sugar cookies, but with extra crunch from the chips.  They would definitely be fun to make again.

Potato Chip Cookies

3/4 C all purpose flour
1/2 C crushed reduced fat potato chips (Cape Cod 40% reduced fat chips are recommended)
1/4 C pecans, toasted and chopped fine
1/4 tsp salt
1 stick butter, softened but cool, cut into 8 pieces
1/4 C powdered sugar
1/4 C granulated white sugar
1 egg yolk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. Combine flour, chips, pecans and salt in a bowl, set aside.
3. Cream butter, powdered sugar and granulated sugar, beating on medium high speed until light and fluffy.
4. Add egg yolk and vanilla and beat until combined.
5. Slowly add flour mixture, beating on low speed until combined.
6. Roll dough into 1 inch balls (I did 1.5 inch balls and the cookies got very big!).  Lay out on parchment paper 3 inches apart and press down into 1/4 inch high flat circles with lightly floured fingers.
7.  Bake ~10 minutes at 350 degrees or until lightly browned on edges.
8. Let cool slightly and then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.  Enjoy!
Makes 16 large cookies or 24 regular cookies.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Double Chocolate Biscotti

In honor of Priyanka and Reza's birthdays at work they requested "something chocolate" for their group meeting birthday treat.  I always want to try new recipes, so I decided that biscotti would be a fun thing to try and would be perfect for our afternoon group meeting.  Interestingly, very few of my group members had heard of biscotti, so I looked up the official definition and found that biscotti is of Italian origin and by definition must be "twice baked."  I didn't want my biscotti to be quite as hard as traditional biscotti so I modified the baking directions a bit.  If I had more time I would have melted some white chocolate and drizzled it on the side to make them prettier.  I think these would make a great holiday gift, are really easy to make and can be modified by adding nuts, white chocolate chips, etc.

Double Chocolate Biscotti
1/2 C butter, softened
2/3 C white sugar
1/4 C cocoa powder
2 tsp baking powder
2 eggs
1 3/4 C AP flour
3/4 C semisweet chocolate chips

1. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
2. Gradually beat in cocoa and baking powder, then beat on medium high speed for 2 minutes.
3. Beat in eggs one at a time.
4. Stir in flour at low speed until combined and then stir in chocolate chips.
5. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes.
6. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Line baking sheet with foil and spray with non-stick spray.
7. Divide dough in half and form into two 9-inch logs.  Pat down slightly to about 1 inch thickness.
8. Bake for 20-25 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
9. Turn oven off and cool on cookie sheet for 5 minutes.
10. Carefully cut into 1/2 in slices using a sharp knife and turn each slice so cut side is facing up.
11. Set oven to 325 degrees and bake again for 5 minutes.
12.  Remove from oven, carefully flip each slice to the other side and bake an additional 5-7 minutes.
13.  Place on cooling rack to cool completely.  Store in air tight container.

Difficulty: Medium
Debbie's Rating: 8.5

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Can't Believe They're Kosher for Passover Brownies

It's Passover time again, so I thought I would write about the dessert that I made for the first seder this year. My mom got this recipe for Passover brownies from a cooking class she took at our synagogue on Pittsburgh. The goal of Passover desserts is always to make something that doesn't taste like it's for Passover, which is hard, considering you can't use any flour! These brownies are actually really good and went over well at the seder. They are not the healthiest but hey, when you can't use flour, you end up using a lot of eggs and butter to get structure.

Passover Fudge Brownies
4 eggs
2 C sugar
1 C melted butter, slightly cooled
½ tsp salt
6 tbsp matzah cake meal
1 C cocoa
1 cup ground nuts (optional)
KP non-stick spray

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Sift matzah cake meal and cocoa. Set aside.
3. Beat eggs on medium high speed. Add sugar gradually and beat well.
4. Beat in melted butter and salt.
5. Add dry ingredients slowly, beating until fully combined. Stir in nuts.
6. Pour into a greased 9” x 13” metal pan.
7. Bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 min until a toothpick comes out clean.

Difficulty: Easy
Debbie's Rating: 9
Hirsh's Rating: 9 (10 on a passover scale)

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Chocolate Mint Cookies

Well, it has been a while since I blogged- almost a year! Work has been quite busy, but I felt inspired tonight, so here you go, a new blog post!! While I haven't been blogging for a while, I still have been trying new recipes and having fun in the kitchen. So hopefully I will make a few of the new recipes again and post them soon. :-)

One of the best avenues for trying new recipes this year as been my group meeting birthday tradition. Every time someone in my subgroup has a birthday, I ask them what they want and make it for group meeting that week. This past year I made: apple walnut cookies, almond cookies, peanut butter fudge, coffee muffins, banana nut muffins and raspberry/blueberry muffins just to name a few (can you tell we switched from a pm meeting to am meeting?) Well, it's been a full year and I'm back to the beginning with Shufeng. Shufeng really loves the birthday treat idea and actually picked this recipe for me to make. I was pretty skeptical since I am used to the creaming method for cookies and this recipe actually melts the butter, but the 600 positive reviews on encouraged me to make them anyways (with a few tweaks of course). I have to say, I was quite impressed with how they turned out!! I would call them the grown up version of thin mints. :-)

Chocolate Mint Cookies
3/4 stick butter (6 tbsp)
3/4 C packed brown sugar
1 tbsp water
1 C semisweet chocolate chips
1 egg
1/8 tsp mint extract
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
5/8 tsp baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
18 Andees mints, broken in half

1. Melt butter in a small saucepan over low heat.
2. Stir in brown sugar and water until combined.
3. Add chocolate chips and stir until they begin to melt. Take off heat and stir until chips are completely melted.
4. Pour mixture into a mixing bowl and let stand at room temperature for 10 minutes to cool slightly.
5. Combine flour, salt and baking soda in a separate bowl.
6. Beat egg and mint extract into chocolate mixture on high speed.
7. Add dry ingredients and mix on low speed until combined.
8. Scrape dough down into center of bowl, cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
9. Preheat oven to 350.
10. Use a cookie scoop to portion dough into balls about 1 inch in diameter.
11. Bake for 8 minutes.
12. Place 1/2 Andees mint on each cookie and bake 1 more minute.
13. Swirl mint and then remove cookies from cookie sheet.
14. Cool to room temperature and then refrigerate briefly to set topping.
15. Enjoy!

Makes ~3 dozen