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Sunday, December 15, 2013

Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Chocolate Chip Cookies!
It's Saturday and snowing outside, yay! I have spent the day relaxing in my PJs, one of my favorite things to do on the weekend whenever possible. I happened to check my baking supplies in the pantry and came across a bag of chocolate chips I bought a few weeks ago. I read the recipe on the back of the bag and had all the ingredients on hand, so I made Chocolate Chip Cookies! These Chocolate Chips Cookies are a little crisp when you bite into them, chewy and filled with decadent chocolate chips. I had a few right out of the oven and they were heavenly, and perfect on a snowy day or any day of the week. You should really give this recipe a go!

Close-up view, Chocolate Chip Cookies
Makes 4 dozen (48) cookies.

Ingredients

2 1/4 cups All-Purpose Flour

1 teaspoon Baking Soda

1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt

2 sticks (16 tablespoons) Butter, softened

3/4 cup Granulated Sugar

3/4 cup Brown Sugar, packed

2 teaspoons Pure Vanilla Extract

2 Extra Large Eggs

1 bag, 10 oz. Ghirardelli 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Chips

1 cup Walnuts, Almonds or Pecans, chopped (optional) (I did not have any of hand). Another option is 1/2 cup dried Candied Ginger, Cherries or Cranberries and 1/2 cup of any of these nuts.

Decadent Chocolate Chip Cookies
Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Stir Flour with Baking Soda and Salt; set aside.

Using a bowl of your mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat Butter and Sugars at medium speed until creamy; about 3 to 4 minutes.

With a spatula go along sides of the bowl to make sure everything is incorporated.

Add Vanilla then Eggs one at a time, with mixer on low speed until incorporated; about 2 minutes.

Take spatula and go along sides of the bowl to make sure there are no Flour pockets and everything is blended well.

Fold in Chocolate Chips with a spatula just until incorporated.

Using a spoon or ice cream scoop, drop onto ungreased cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Use parchment paper to prevent sticking.

Spread cookie dough 2 inches apart.

Bake 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown.

Let cookie sheets cool completely before adding more dough to bake.

Let cookies cool for 3 to 4 minutes and using a wide metal spatula, transfer cookies to wire rack to cool completely; about 1 hour.

If you want to serve the cookies warm, just rest on wire rack for 4 to 5 minutes.

Enjoy!

-Sophia Fry

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Spritz Cookies

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Spritz Cookies
On Sunday, I baked 2 batches of Spritz Cookies for a holiday party at my job this past Monday. Everyone really loved them and they are very easy to bake. They are also one of the classic cookies baked during the holidays. I first made these cookies back in 2011 and since that time, my baking has really improved and I am pleased with my results this year.

I made these Spritz Cookies using my Cuisinart Electric Cookie Press, which I love by the way but takes some getting used to. I stick to the recipe in Cook’s Illustrated Holiday Baking, 2011, pgs. 26-27 (recipe below) because different recipes are tested and this recipe was the best one. These Spritz Cookies have great flavor and the shapes hold well. They are crisp when you bite into them and soft inside. I tinted part of the dough red and green for variety, but you can use any colors you like. I also used colored sugars and sprinkles, but this is optional. Spritz Cookies are beautiful on their own using different shapes from your cookies press. If you want to change the flavor profile, substitute the pure vanilla extract to almond, coconut, orange or lemon extract.

Makes about 6 dozen 1 1/2 inch cookies.

Close-up view, Spritz Cookies
Ingredients

1 Extra Large Egg, just the yolk

1 tablespoon Heavy Cream

1 teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract

2 sticks (16 tablespoons) Unsalted Butter, softened

2/3 cup Granulated Sugar

2 cups All-Purpose Flour

Colored Sugars and Sprinkles, optional

Gel Food Coloring, optional

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a small bowl, beat Egg Yolk, Heavy Cream and Vanilla Extract with a fork until combined; set aside.

In a bowl of your mixer with the paddle attachment, cream Butter, Sugar and Salt on medium high speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes.

Scrape down bowl with spatula.

With mixer running on medium speed, add Yolk-Cream-Vanilla mixture and beat until incorporated, about 30 seconds.

With mixer running on low speed, gradually add Flour and beat until combined.

Scrape down bowl with spatula and give a final stir to make sure no flour pockets remain.

Dough will be soft, but do not refrigerate.

Another close-up view, Spritz Cookies
If you want to tint dough, separate depending on how many colors you want. I used red and green gel colors and separated dough into two glass bowls. Add 4-5 drops at a time and combine with a spatula until desired color is reached.

Fit your cookies press with desired disk to form cookies.

Press dough onto an ungreased baking sheet, spacing about 1 1/2 inches apart.

If desired, decorate with colored sugars and sprinkles.

Bake 1 sheet at a time until cookies are light golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes.

Remember to cool cookie sheets completely before you press more cookies or the cookies will lose their shape.

Cool cookies on sheet for about 3 to 5 minutes and with a wide metal spatula transfer to wire rack and cool completely, about 1 hour.

Enjoy!

-Sophia/Two Frys