Whenever I can, I explore candy and confection recipes for flavor inspirations. One of my favorite chocolate combinations is chocolate and chili. So why not explore that in a butter cookie?
This recipe uses Mexican chocolate such as Ibarra or Abuelita, which is available at Latino grocery stores. If you can’t find Mexican chocolate, you can substitute 2 cups coarsely chopped semisweet chocolate.
Makes about 4 dozen cookies
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup + 2 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch Process cocoa powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup lightly packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract, Mexican is ideal
1 large egg, room temperature
2 cups finely chopped Mexican chocolate, such as Ibarra (or subtitute 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips)
Whisk together the flour, baking powder, cocoa, cinnamon, cayenne, pepper and salt in a medium mixing bowl. Set dry ingredient mixture aside.
Combine butter and sugar in bowl on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add milk and vanilla and blend well. Scrape down bowl, add egg, and mix well. Reduce mixer to low, add flour mixture, and mix until just incorporated. Fold in chopped chocolate.
Turn dough onto a piece of plastic wrap or wax paper. Shape it into a log (approximately 12 inches long and 1 1/2 inches in diameter), and wrap tight. Place in the refrigerator overnight or a minimum of 8 hours so that the flavors mature.
Preheat oven to 350°F and arrange rack in the middle. Remove cookie dough from the refrigerator and slice into 1/4-inch thick rounds. Place on an ungreased baking sheet and bake until firm to touch, about 12 minutes. Cool on a rack.
Store cookies in airtight containers for up to one week.Read More
I am starting to plan my Valentine’s Day baking and have been experimenting with meringues. These, from Emeril, are really easy and very delicious. They are of course also gluten-free.
Makes about 4 dozen
2 large egg whites, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
2/3 cup superfine granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips or finely chopped semisweet chocolate
1 cup finely chopped walnuts
Preheat the oven to 350F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat egg whites until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and beat until fluffy but not at all dry. (Be careful not to over beat.)
Add the sugar gradually, about 3 tablespoons at a time. When 1/2 of the sugar has been added, add the vanilla extract. Continue beating and adding remaining sugar in batches, until all of the sugar is dissolved and the meringue is very shiny and tight. Gently fold in the chocolate chips and chopped nuts.
Working one teaspoon at a time, push a teaspoonful of meringue from the tip of 1 teaspoon with the back of another teaspoon onto the lined baking sheets, leaving 1-inch of space between cookies. Place baking sheets in the preheated oven and turn the oven off. Leave the cookies (undisturbed) in the oven for at least 2 hours and up to overnight, or until cookies are crisp and dry.Read More
The tender and crumbly straw color biscuit, known as shortbread, is a staple in my house, making an appearance in some form, whenever I bake. Originating in Scotland, this classic recipe consists of sugar, butter and flour mixed together and placed into a round mold. The classic version does not contain any variation such as the addition of extracts, chocolate, nuts, fruits or citrus zest. Although I love the tradition of making shortbread in a mold, I usually chill the dough overnight and then roll it to 1/4″ thick and cut it into biscuit-sized rounds, which I bake for about 12 minutes on parchment.
Traditional Shortbread Cookies
Makes one mold or about 1 1/2-2 dozen cookies
1 stick unsalted butter
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 cups sifted all-purpose flour
Superfine sugar, for dusting
Preheat oven to 350F.
In mixer, combine butter and sugar. Gradually add flour until blended. Press into the shortbread mold.
Bake in oven until golden, approximately 25 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes. Loosen edges with a knife and gently turn cookie out. Sprinkle warm cookie with superfine sugar and cut into wedges.
Alternative preparation: chill the dough overnight and then roll it to 1/4″ thick and cut it into 1″ biscuit-sized rounds. Place on parchment-line cookie sheet. Sprinkle with sugar or jimmies or just leave plain. Bake at 350F for about 12 minutes until edges are golden brown. Remove to rack to cool.Read More
What is in season in January? Pears of course! Bosc and Comice are in season in the fall through winter. And, the Anjou pear is in season now. In this delicious recipe, pears provide a delicate but sweet addition to the crunchy pecans and flavorful spices. The addition of pear nectar further enhances the flavor. This recipe was adapted from Land O’Lakes Butter.
Makes 3 dozen cookies
2/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup pear nectar or milk
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 medium (1 cup) ripe pear, peeled, finely chopped
1 cup chopped pecans
4 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch each of ground ginger, ground nutmeg and ground cloves
3 to 4 tablespoons pear nectar or milk
Preheat oven to 375°F. Lightly grease baking sheets.
Combine sugar, brown sugar and butter. Beat at medium speed until creamy. Add pear nectar and egg; continue beating until well mixed. Reduce speed to low; add flour, spices and baking soda. Beat until well mixed. Stir in pear and pecans.
Drop 1 rounded teaspoon dough onto lightly greased cookie sheets. Place cookies 2 inches apart. Bake for 10 to 13 minutes or until set. Cool completely.
Combine all frosting ingredients except pear nectar in small bowl. Beat at low speed, adding enough pear nectar for desired spreading consistency. Frost cooled cookies.
Note: For baking, select pears that are firm without bruises or blemishes on the skin. Bartlett or Bosc pears make good choices for cookies or cakes.Read More
One of my best friends sent me this recipe for Meyer lemon and black pepper cookies. It seems to fit the savory kick that I have been on this week. Since I was not able to find Meyer lemons, I used regular lemons.
Meyer Lemon and Black Pepper Cookies
Makes about 4 dozen cookies
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup finely grated Meyer lemon zest
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon finely ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup whole milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg, at room temperature
Whisk together flour, lemon zest, baking powder, pepper, and salt in a medium mixing bowl.
Combine butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add milk and vanilla, and mix well. Scrape down the bowl, add egg, and mix well. Reduce mixer to low, add flour mixture, and mix until just incorporated.
Turn dough onto a piece of plastic wrap, shape it into a log about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Wrap tight. Place in the refrigerator until firm, at least 1 hour but preferably 8 hours.
When ready to bake the cookies, heat the oven to 350°F and arrange the rack in the middle. Remove dough from the refrigerator and slice into 1/4-inch-thick rounds. Place on an ungreased baking sheet and bake until golden brown on the bottom, about 12 minutes. Remove to rack to cool.Read More