Monday, November 12, 2012

Compost Cookies

I'm going to be in a wedding! A bridesmaid to be precise! I don't know much about weddings. The last wedding and reception I attended was when I was like 5. We are lucky I remember that (I don't remember my childhood, much less what I did 3 days ago). Now I am in the wedding! We call it a wedding, but really its a statement of vows, or both. There never was a wedding or exchange of vows, whoops. So it is pretty much a wedding, I guess. How could this be, you ask?!

Did you know in Colorado you can have someone stand in for the other half? That is what my brother and now sister-in-law did. The best part was, the stand in for my sister-in-law was a dude. To be precise my parents best man. How cute?

It is probably important to know why they did this. She was at boot camp. He had already finished and was an officer, in the military. It isn't the best to sleep with your boss, ya know? Especially in the military. They just failed to think of this before she was confined to boot camp. Now the wedding is in February. They aren't much for the planning ahead. Excited none the less. Do you know anyone who has gotten married in this way? Or any good wedding laughs? I'd love to hear them!

Believe it or not, the above story is slightly related to these cookies. I'm mailing them to my sister-in-law, in Texas. Another twist to their little love story: they've spent a lot of time apart. BUT she comes home in 2 1/2 weeks, for good!

These cookies are from the Momofuku Milk Bar cookbook. This is a pretty great book. A lot of it is pretty involved  but oh so very interesting. Beet-lime white chocolate ganache? Intrigued. Plus I don't live in New York. AKA New York is being brought to me instead.

I've been wanting to make these for a while and a friend recently was nagging me for the recipe. Perfect reason to make them. Plus, I have been all about the sweet, salty and unexpected. Chips and pretzels in your cookie? YUM!

These come out as giant sized cookies. In case you like 'em smaller, take note of that.  You only use 1/4 of the graham crust, but I took their suggestion and froze it for later use. I plan to make these for the holidays anyways. Screw traditional cookies, someone else will make them. Another great tip, freeze them for later. The finished product is rich and sweet, with whole pretzel crunch surprises.

Graham Crust:
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup milk powder
2 tablespoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, melted
1/4 cup heavy cream

Cookie batter:
2 sticks butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup brown sugar, tightly packed
1 tablespoon corn syrup

1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/3 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt

3/4 cup mini chocolate chips
1/2 cup butterscotch chips
1/2 cup graham crust
1/3 cup old fashioned oats
2 teaspoons ground coffee

50g (2 cups) chips
50g mini (1 cup) pretzels

  1. Combine the butter, sugars, and corn syrup in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and cream together on medium-high for 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the egg and vanilla, and beat for 7-8 minutes, until pale and fluffy (almost doubled).
  2. In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture. Mix just until the dough comes together, no longer than 1 minute (you don't want to over mix the batter!).
  3. Still on low speed, add the chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, graham crust, oats, and coffee and mix just until incorporated, about 30 seconds. Add the potato chips and pretzels and paddle, still on low speed, until just incorporated. Don't overmix or risk breaking too many of the pretzels or potato chips!
  4. Using a 2 3/4-ounce ice cream scoop (or a 1/3-cup measuring cup), portion out the dough onto a parchment-lined sheet pan. Pat the tops of the cookie dough domes flat. Wrap the sheet pan tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or up to 1 week. Do not bake your cookies from room temperature--they will not bake properly (did you see all that butter you put in there!?). 
  5. Heat the oven to 375F.
  6. Arrange the chilled dough a minimum of 4 inches apart on parchment- or silpat-lined sheet pans (these cookies do spread like crazy, give 'em space. I put 5 per pan). Bake for 18 minutes (I'd check them at about 16 minutes, depending on your oven). The cookies will puff, crackle, and spread. After 18 minutes, they should be very faintly browned on the edges yet still bright yellow in the center. Give them an extra minute or so if that's not the case.
  7. Cool the cookies completely on the sheet pans before transferring to a plate or an airtight container for storage. At room temp, cookies will keep fresh for 5 days; in the freezer, they will keep for 1 month.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Sweet & Salty Sugar Cookies

What is your favorite kind of cookie? I asked my sister-in-law that same question and the response was one I wasn't really expecting. Or maybe I should have because she is a bit of a selective eater. Her response was sugar cookies and chocolate chip cookies without the chocolate chips. What do you even call that, when the major ingredient is missing? Sometimes the odd stuff is the best stuff, so she might be onto something?

My favorite cookie has to be chocolate chip though or white chocolate macadamia nut. It is probably a childhood thing. My grandmother would always make billions of chocolate chip cookies and we would eat them all winter long. The macadamia nut is probably picked up from my dad, pretty sure those are his favorite. I also like them because they seem to have this sweet and slightly salty thing going on.

Sweet and salty has to be the ultimate flavor combination. Chocolate covered pretzels. Salted caramel. These almonds .You name it, if it is sweet and salty it will be awesome. That is how these cookies came to be. Plain old sugar cookies seemed boring. They tend to be overly sweet and run of the mill.

These may be sweet too, but in the best way. You can't just eat one, the salt gets you coming back for more.  It might be just the cookie for the person who doesn't like sweets. These are also super easy to make. Everything should be in your pantry or fridge already.

You take a vanilla bean and scrap out its cute little seeds and combine it with sugar. Beat the sugars and butter. Add an egg and some vanilla extract. The addition of vanilla extract combined with the vanilla bean, gives these a vanilla scented quality. It cuts the sweetness a bit and balances the saltiness. Then you add your flour, mix it all up. Scoop, roll, flatten and bake your cookies. Slam, bam and done! The resulting cookie is chewy and soft on the inside, witch crisp edges.

Try them with a cup of coffee, its delicious. These will make the perfect cookie for the upcoming holiday cookie season. Not to mention an unexpected surprise from the traditional sugar cookie. Take them to a holiday party or to work, for a surprise break from the standard sugary sweet holiday cookies. You'll impress people, promise. I want to know what your favorite cookie is, leave a comment!


Yields 24 cookies
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
16 tablespoons unsalted butter (2 sticks), softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 vanilla bean, scraped
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1 large egg
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Salty/Sugar Coating:
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon sea salt

  1. Preheat the oven to 375F. Position a rack in the middle of oven.
  2. In a food processor, combine 1 cup sugar and the vanilla bean, pulsing until vanilla is well distributed (If you don't have a food processor, use your hands to break up the vanilla seeds into the sugar, until evenly distributed.)
  3. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. 
  4. In a stand mixer or bowl, beat the sugars and butter together for 2-3 minutes, until light and fluffy. Then add the egg and vanilla, beating until well combined. Add the flour mixture, mixing until just combined. 
  5. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment. In a small shallow pan or plate, mix the sugar and salt. Scoop the dough by the tablespoons, a generous one, rolling the dough into a ball. Next, roll the dough into the sugar/salt mixture. Place the cookies, evenly spaced, on the prepared baking sheets. Next, slighlty press each cookie, using a flat bottomed glass, flattening the tops. 
  6. Bake the cookies for about 12 minutes, until their edges are just starting to brown.
  7. Remove the cookies from the oven, and cool on the pan for several minutes before transferring to a rack to cool completely.
  8. Once the cookies are cool, store them in an airtight container and enjoy.
Recipe adapted from Baking Illustrated


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