Cooking with Alison

Archive for the ‘Cookies’ Category

Mini Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

In Cookies on February 13, 2011 at am

These are bite sized, deliciously soft and chewy, chocolate and peanut butter treats that are similar to Hershey’s peanut butter and chocolate kiss cookies (recipe here).  I made them for a hockey night, a birthday lunch, and for Valentine’s day when Reese’s released heart shaped mini peanut butter cups.  These would be great for picnics, pot lucks or cookie exchanges.

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The Best Ginger Snaps (Ginger Molasses Cookies)

In Cookies on November 27, 2010 at am

A few months ago, my sister requested ginger molasses cookies or gingersnaps, so I did some recipe testing and discovered the best recipe just in time for the holidays.  All of the other cookies that I made tasted fine, but none of them blew me away.  This recipe, however, produced the most amazing crunchy and chewy texture.  Everyone that tried them Loved them.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen Ed and Krystal eat so many cookies in one sitting.  Furthermore, my housemate – who is as critical as I am about food – asked for the recipe; and my little brother – whom I almost never hear from – texted me just to say, and I quote, “Man Alison, great cookies”.  That may have been the best compliment I have ever received.  😉

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Absolutely The Best Sugar Cookie Recipe

In Cookies on November 20, 2010 at am

When I test recipes, it usually takes between 3 and 15 trials before I declare a favourite [and put an end to the obsession].  But when I tried Gina DePalma’s sugar cookie recipe, I couldn’t imagine myself feeling compelled to try another sugar cookie recipe ever again.  Gina DePalma is an award winning pastry chef that worked at Mario Batali’s Babbo Restaurant in New York City.

My family is usually indifferent to cookies, but when I presented them with these over last year’s holidays, they devoured them and requested hundreds more.  I baked them 3 more batches before having to cut them off, despite their pleading.  They’ve asked a few more times over the past year, and I’ve insisted that they wait until the next holiday season.  But now that the holidays are fast approaching, and I am very busy with work and courses, I’ve decided to dedicate my [little] free time to trying all new recipes this year.  So I’m posting this recipe without a photo (for now), because I just had to share it.  It is so good that I’d hate for you and your families to miss out too.

These thin cookies are delicate and crispy with the perfect amount of sweetness, so they are meant to be enjoyed plain.  If you’re looking to decorate cookies, I suggest using this sugar cookie recipe instead, as it will withstand the royal icing much better (recipes here).

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Best Shortbread Cookies Recipe

In Cookies on November 10, 2010 at am

I have been trying, and been disappointed by, shortbread cookie recipes for years.  Jamie Oliver finally put an end to my search.  His self proclaimed, Best Shortbread in the World really is the best homemade shortbread that I’ve ever made or tasted.

If you’ve ever made shortbread cookies, you know that All of the recipes call for cornstarch.  But I’ve discovered that the secret to shortbread cookies is to use anything but.  This recipe works well with semolina or corn flour.  Note that corn flour is not the same thing as cornstarch.  Semolina and corn flour give the cookies a firmer, crunchier texture with a lot more flavour.  For the sake of recipe testing, I tried this recipe using cornstarch and the cookies were inedible in comparison.  Now that I’ve found my favourite base recipe, I can’t wait to experiment with variations like dried apricot, citrus zest, chocolate dips, etc.

Note:  I used an 8″ x 8″ pan by accident for the latest batch of cookies (shown above).  A 9″ x 9″ pan is suggested, and I highly recommend sticking to that.  Otherwise, the cookies are too thick (as shown above), take longer to bake, and turn out slightly dry on the bottom but crumbly on the top.  The cookies I made using a 9″ x 9″ pan turned out beautifully.

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Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies (2 ways)

In Cookies on September 2, 2010 at pm

During my search for my favourite oatmeal raisin cookies (recipe here), I came up with a buttery, chewy, oatmeal cookie base.  So I adapted that recipe for oatmeal chocolate chip cookies in 2 ways – a standard cookie that’s thick and healthier and another one that’s thin and not so healthy.  Both recipes make chewy cookies but the second recipe makes great crunchy cookies too.

The first recipe below makes cookies that are on the thin side (the way I like them).  They’re buttery and chewy in the middle with beautifully crisp edges.  The second recipe makes cookies that are healthier, heartier (ie. “oatier”), and thicker.  They can be made chewy or crunchy to suit your preference.  Both recipes have received great reviews but I personally like the first recipe (the less healthy one) a lot more [of course].  🙂

Check out my tips for baking cookies.

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Best Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

In Cookies on June 6, 2010 at pm

Personally, I like oatmeal raisin cookies more than chocolate chip cookies.  I think I stand alone in this position  😉  But I find that most bakery cookies are either too “oaty”, too heavily spiced, or too thick (I prefer them on the thinner side).  So I set out on a mission to find my favourite chewy oatmeal raisin cookie recipe.  I tried 8 different recipes and here is the best one.  They are buttery, soft and chewy in the middle, and they have beautifully crisp edges.  Check out my tips for baking cookies.

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Best Chewy and Crunchy Chocolate Chip Cookies

In Cookies on March 11, 2010 at pm

I used to get anxious about baking cookies because it was a guaranteed Fail for years.  But I finally got the hang of it by pushing my way through more than a dozen different peanut butter cookie recipes over a short period of time.  Here’s a link to my tips for baking cookies.  After I recovered from baking peanut butter cookies, I took on a mission to find my favourite chocolate chip cookie recipe.  I love cookies that are chewy in the middle with crunchy edges.  I tried 13 different recipes before I declared 2 of them the best.

Both of the recipes that I’ve posted below will give you beautifully chewy and crunchy chocolate chip cookies.  If you like your cookies crunchy, the second recipe makes excellent crunchy cookies if you make them smaller or add an extra minute or two to the baking time.  The first recipe is the one I use when I want to make a large batch quickly and easily.  The second recipe is unique in that it uses browned butter.  I prefer the flavour of the first recipe but I prefer the texture of the second recipe.  Also note that cookies from the second recipe taste better on the second day compared to cookies made from the first recipe.  Both make excellent cookies but the second recipe requires a bit more time and work.  Also, the second recipe doesn’t make as many cookies as the first one.

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Tips for Baking Cookies

In Cookies on January 21, 2010 at pm

For the longest time, I was horribly defeated every time I tried to bake cookies.  But through batch after batch (to the power of an insanely large number) of trial and error, I figured out the following basics for baking cookies.  It took me a Very long time, Much work and even more butter, but I can finally say that I think I’ve got it.  🙂  Hopefully you’ll find these tips helpful.  Keep in mind they’re more geared towards baking cookies that are chewy on the inside and crunchy on the outside because that’s how I like my cookies.

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Peanut Butter Hershey’s Kiss Cookies

In Cookies on January 21, 2010 at pm

Most people call these Peanut Butter Blossoms and they are Very Very good.  These are my favourite peanut butter cookies and I’ve tried 13 different peanut butter cookie recipes.  There are many different kinds of Hershey’s kisses, so use your favourite.  I imagine these would taste great with the caramel kisses (available in the USA) or Rolo’s.  I made these for a baby shower and even though there were several other desserts, not a single one of these cookies made it home with me.  I’ve tried this recipe using shortening, butter, and a mixture of both.  All of these options work well, but I prefer using half shortening for the texture and half butter for the flavour.

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Penguin Cookie (3 dimensional)

In Cookie Decorating, Cookies on January 19, 2010 at pm

For the 2009 holidays, I organized a cookie decorating contest at work.  I entered anonymously and placed second (photo of first place below).  I was pleasantly surprised when my cookies turned out very similarly to what I designed in my head  🙂  This was my first time working with fondant (link to the fondant recipe) and my second time working with gumpaste (link to the gumpaste and edible glue recipes).

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Gumpaste Recipe

In Cake Decorating, Cakes, Cookie Decorating, Cookies, Cupcakes on January 18, 2010 at pm

Gumpaste is used for decorating cakes, cookies, and cupcakes and is actually very easy and cost efficient to make.  I think of it as an edible cake decorating play-doh.  It holds up better than fondant so I use it for decorations that need more structure.  Also, unlike fondant, once gumpaste decorations dry out, you can keep them forever.  I buy tylose online and use the recipe provided by Nicholas Lodge’s isac (international sugar art collection).

Please note that you need a stand mixer to make gumpaste (although I wonder if a food processor would work… let me know how it works out if you try it).  The first time I made gumpaste, I broke my handheld mixer.  I was So Happy when it happened because then I knew that I could finally justify buying myself a Kitchenaid stand mixer.  You see, I try to only purchase kitchen stuff that I absolutely need and I try to be resourceful with my already versatile tools.  Even while sticking to these strict rules, I’ve still managed to accumulate a Lot of kitchen stuff, haha.  In October 2009, I bought the Kitchenaid Professional HD model from Costco for $275 (on sale).  I chose the stainless steel colour because it reminded me of an industrial kitchen.  I absolutely adore it and use it all the time.

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Valentine’s Day Cookies

In Cookie Decorating, Cookies on January 16, 2010 at am

Shortly after I completed my cake decorating course (link here), I applied the techniques that I learned to decorate cookies.  I made royal icing (recipe from Joy of Baking) for the first time and bought a good paint brush to flood sugar cookies.

I’ve never liked the taste of iced sugar cookies, but I would consider these to be good recipes, because the texture and taste are very similar to the store-bought ones.  They were very popular when I brought them into work.  Also, if you like the taste of almond extract, you’ll probably like these.

I use the recipe for sugar cookies from Joy of Baking when I’m decorating with icing.  See here for my favourite plain sugar cookies recipe.

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