Friday, January 23, 2015

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

King Arthur Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

I saw King Arthur Flour post their 2015 Recipe of the Year and that it was cookies—these Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies and they looked like the perfect cookie that I needed to make for my family this week.

Kind of bummed, I went to the store to specifically get some King Arthur Flour, but I’ve looked before and was just wishful thinking—the stores near me here in Utah don’t have King Arthur flour available, so I almost hate to use their name for these cookies, but I did stick to their recipes almost exactly, so I do want them to get all the credit for these.  I will tell you, the recipe calls for their unbleached all purpose flour and I do have and use a good name brand unbleached flour for almost all my baking. 

This recipe has a lot of chocolate chips.  It suggested semi-sweet chocolate chips, but I used mostly milk chocolate chips and added some dark chocolate chips.  I wish I would have just stuck with the milk chocolate, as the boys really like the cookies but said there is too much chocolate in them.  Oh well, it’s not stopping them from eating them.

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies 2

I wish I would have taken a before picture of these cookies on the baking sheet because I want to let you in on a little secret—when some (most) cookies come out of the oven, they are often not nice and perfectly round (as you see in the photo), but one of my tricks is as soon as I remove a baking sheet from the oven, I immediately take a metal spatula and go around the edges of each cookie, pushing in the areas where they aren’t nicely rounded.  Sometimes I do it when the cookies still have a minute or two in the oven then finish the baking. Once they are done, leave the cookies sitting on the hot baking sheet for a few minutes until they set up a bit more.   These cookies did seem to be the type that spread into other shapes a bit more, I often call those kinds “amoeba” cookies. ;  )  Just do my trick of quickly forming them back in to circles and you’ll be happy.  It has always worked great for me. 

These cookies have perfectly browned and crisp edges but are chewy in the centers.  I can’t believe I haven’t taken a single bite of them, but it’s because I can tell they are the kind of cookie I’d really like and have a hard time not eating more!  I love a good oatmeal cookie.

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies, slightly adapted from King Arthur Flour, by Katrina, Baking and Boys!

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

1 cup (220 grams) light brown sugar

1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar

1 large egg, room temperature

1 large egg yolk, room temperature

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 cups (240 grams) unbleached all purpose flour

1 cup quick cooking oats (or old fashioned)

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoon salt

12-18 ounces chocolate chips (I used 12 ounces milk chocolate and 6 ounces dark chocolate)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper.  Put the butter and sugars in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat until well combined, about 2 minutes.  Add the eggs and vanilla and beat well.  Scrape sides of bowl.  In a separate bowl, whisk together all the dry ingredients.  Add them to the creamed mixture and beat together just until combined.  Scrape sides of bowl and stir in the chocolate chips (In the future I will just use 12 ounces as my family thought 18 was too much.)

Scoop cookie dough onto baking sheets spacing them about 2 inches apart.  Bake for 10 minutes, cookies will be browned on the edges and still a little doughy on the insides.  Remove the baking sheet from the oven and using the edges of a metal spatula, form the cookies where needed back into rounds pushing lightly around the edges of each cookie.  Return the cookies to the oven for another 2 minutes.  Remove from oven and let sit on baking sheet for 5 minutes, they will set up and the centers will bake a little more on the hot sheet.  Move the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.  Makes about 30 cookies.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Granola Energy Bars—Tuesdays With Dorie—Baking Chez Moi

Granola Energy Bars, gluten free, refined sugar free

It’s Tuesdays With Dorie time.  To start out the new year, we picked the Granola Energy Bars from Dorie’s Baking Chez Moi.  How fun for me to have a recipe that didn’t need altering.  I just used gluten free oats.  We could use any nuts and dried fruits we wanted and the granola bars were easy to make.

Dorie mentioned that these were best with brown rice syrup and I’ve been wanting to get some and try it so I bought some (and yay, it was on sale).  I did exactly as the recipe said, but only baked these for 20 minutes, not 25-30 and they were super crispy/hard. Bummer. So much that we had a hard time cutting them immediately.

Granola Energy Bars

Well, never fear—I decided to make them again.  This time, I changed up the nuts and fruit a bit (I went with sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, coconut and peanuts and just raisins.  But I decided to use raw honey and lower the temperature of the oven.  When I make granola, I bake it at 300 degrees F.  It was written in the recipe to bake these at 325 degrees F.  So I went with 300 degrees and I used raw honey instead of the brown rice syrup.  I baked the new batch for only 20 minutes as well.  They seemed a lot softer.  Enough that I was even worried they wouldn’t cut into bars.  But I waited as the recipe said—let them cool for 3 hours and while they hardened up nicely, they were much better, still a little more firm than I like a chewy granola bar to be, but I am going to love having them for snacks for the next week.  I wonder if it’s a high altitude thing?

Granola Energy Bars

I couldn’t help it—with the peanuts and raisins, I kept thinking about those candy bars called Chunky that have peanuts and raisins in them and I decided these granola bars needed to be dipped in chocolate.  LOVE!  I’m so smart. Just kidding.  Dorie mentioned in the recipe that you can add any and all kinds of nuts and fruit and chocolate if you want.  I never think of chocolate………….(right!?)  I used some 70% organic chocolate (3 ounces) melted with about 1/2 teaspoon of coconut oil. 

Chunky Peanut Raisin Granola Energy Bars

When I didn’t have enough chocolate left to keep dipping the bars, I drizzled the rest over the remaining bars.

Granola Energy Bars--TWD

Never fear—I did not and will not throw out the first bars that are so hard.  This morning, I put them in some almond milk on the stove and waited and watched and broke them up as they softened and turned them in to my morning oatmeal!  Good stuff!

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Classic Criss Cross Peanut Butter Cookies

Classic Peanut Butter Cookies

Sometimes the thing to do is just go with the gool ol’ classics.  I needed/wanted to make some cookies for a couple people and went with the perfect Classic Criss Cross Peanut Butter Cookies.  I just finished making them (the recipe makes more than four dozen cookies) and I think I’ll make another batch because I know the boys will love having these on hand. 

Cookie dough is almost always best after it has been chilled.  Many have asked me through the years why their cookies spread so much and are flat and one of the number one reasons I tell them is because they didn’t chill the dough.  When the butter is too soft and you use a cookie dough right after making it, it can make the cookies spread too much when they bake because all the ingredients are already warm.  I made this dough yesterday and it just didn’t work out for me to get them baked until today.  But the dough really only needs a couple hours in the refrigerator.  I haven’t tried it with these, I’m going to—but my favorite thing to do is make cookie dough, form cookie dough balls and freeze them.  I almost always have some kind of cookie dough to grab from the freezer and all I have to do is set them on a baking sheet, preheat the oven and bake them.  When you bake them from frozen, you just add a couple minutes to the baking time.

Classic Peanut Butter Cookies

This cookie dough is perfect after it has chilled for a couple hours to roll into balls.  These cookies are then rolled in granulated sugar.  Once you place them on a cookie sheet, you can press down on them with a fork in a criss cross pattern.  Another thing I love about these cookies—they are all perfectly round.

Very similar recipes can be found all over the internet for these types of classic peanut butter cookies.  I adapted a recipe I found at Sally's Baking Addiction.

Classic Criss Cross Peanut Butter Cookies, by Katrina, Baking and Boys! adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

1 cup granulated sugar

3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed

2 large eggs, room temperature

2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup chunky peanut butter (you can use smooth, too)

3 cups, plus 2 tablespoons all purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup granulated sugar (for rolling the cookie dough balls)

In the bowl of a mixer, beat together the butter and sugars.  Scrapes the sides of the bowl.  Add the eggs and vanilla and beat for 2 minutes.  Scrape sides of bowl again.  Add the peanut butter and beat until well combined.  Add the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt and mix on low just until combined.  Scrape the dough into an airtight container and refrigerate for about 2 hours (or longer, the dough is great stored in the refrigerator for a couple days).

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. (325 degrees F for convection oven-I love baking cookies in a convection oven with 3 baking sheets at a time.)  Form walnut-sized balls of dough and roll them in the sugar.  Place about an inch and a half apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper.  Bake for 10-11 minutes.  Remove from oven and let sit on the baking sheets for a couple minutes.  Move cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.  Makes 54 cookies.

*If you make the cookie dough balls and freeze them, press them down with the criss cross pattern with a fork before freezing,  (store in an airtight container or freezer bag) set them on the baking sheets while the oven is preheating and add 1-2 minutes to the bake time.  Also note—I have since baked these fresh from making the dough (without chilling) and while the dough is soft and harder to form into balls, mine baked the same and look great.  I have even tried forming the dough balls, criss crossing them, then freezing them for 15 minutes and they also baked great for 12 minutes.

Classic Peanut Butter Cookies

Pile the cookies onto plates and give them away (okay, maybe have a few if you must).  Wish I could!  I already know peanut butter cookies are great and there is nothing better than the classics!

 

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Gingerbread Buche de Noel—Tuesdays With Dorie—Baking Chez Moi

Gingerbread Buche de Noel

Wait—before the year is over, I must post about this Tuesdays With Dorie recipe we made in the group over Christmas!  I’m a little late on posting it.  The date was for the Tuesday before Christmas, but I wanted to make it for Christmas Eve, so didn’t get it posted—until now—all the sudden it’s New Year’s Eve!  I did make this for Christmas Eve and I must say, though it was a huge labor of love and there were many steps to follow, I have learned that with Dorie’s recipes, if I do just that—follow all directions, the recipes always turn out great.  That said, I followed all the steps perfectly, except I decided to try making it gluten free and used organic cane sugars. 

Gingerbread Buche de Noel, cut off ends

Oh, look, two skinny little ends cut off.  I had to taste them for quality control!

I had high hopes that since the cake only called for 3/4 cup of flour that changing it to a gluten free flour blend would probably be okay.  I was going to retype the recipe as I made it, but I really didn’t change anything except the flour (I happened to have some Pamela’s Gluten Free Baking Mix, so that is what I used) and I used organic cane sugar and organic brown sugar.  All the many involved steps to the recipe were not changed at all.  And though I say it was a labor of love and there were what seemed like many steps involved, it was SO worth it.  I would certainly make this cake again for a special occasion.

The gingerbread flavor was not too strong, so I think this cake could be made year round.  And even if it was a strong ginger flavor, I would not be against making this in the summer if I really felt like it.  ; )

The cake roll worked perfectly—that’s always a worry that it will not roll up nicely.  This rolled perfectly with not even any cracking.  The filling is a nice cream cheese/butter filling that isn’t sweet at all and then the delicious egg white/sugar syrup frosting is a perfectly sweet addition to the cake.  Also loved the pecan praline crunch that was in the filling and on the top of the cake. 

TWD--Gingerbread Buche de NoelThis cake was my big holiday splurge and I won’t tell you how many pieces of it I ate (not all in one sitting).  I took the cake to a family Christmas Eve celebration and it was well liked by everyone who ate some of it.  Nice thing about those big family get-togethers—so many desserts that I was able to bring a little bit of the cake home to enjoy later.

Gingerbread Buche de Noel

I wish you all a wonderful, Happy New year!  Thanks for still sticking around here with me.  It’s almost been seven years since I started my blog and while I’m not in it for the fame and money, I love sharing with my readers the happiness I get from baking and sharing with all those around me.  While how often I blog has changed over the years and even the kinds of things I blog, I’m happy you’re still here.  I wish you all health and happiness in the new year!

You are in luck if you want this recipe, it can be found on the internet from some of the promotions done with Dorie’s new book.  You can find the recipe HERE.  I think you should just get Baking Chez Moi!  My link at the top for Tuesdays With Dorie has everyone else in the groups’ posts for their Buche de Noel cakes.  Check them out!  We’ll be starting the year out more healthy with some granola bars, coming soon! 

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Gingerbread Buche de Noel—Tuesdays With Dorie—Baking Chez Moi

Just a quick note—Today for Tuesdays With Dorie  the recipe is Gingerbread Buche de Noel.  I plan to make it tomorrow for Christmas Eve, so my post won’t be up today, but I’m looking forward to making it! 

Stay tuned and in the meantime, check out the link for others in the group who have already made and posted about their cake!

Tuesdays With Dorie--Baking Chez Moi--Gingerbread Buche de Noel links

 

MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY

HOLIDAYS!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Salted Mixed Nut Brittle

Best Salted Mixed Nut Brittle

I’m here!  I know I haven’t been blogging as much and it makes me sad, but one can only do what they can do, right?  Before Christmas is here (it’s almost here!), I wanted to share this perfectly crispy, but not tooth-breaking-hard mixed nut brittle.  That’s right—mixed nuts.  Why not use other nuts and not just peanuts in a brittle?  I’ll never go back to just peanuts again.  In fact, this brittle doesn’t even have peanuts.  I used a mix that is peanut-free. 

My friend, Paige (chef extraordinaire), who blogs at For Love of the Table first introduced me to this brittle (the link to her blog is the recipe!) and I’ve made it numerous times since.  I used some Planters mixed nuts that have lots of pistachios as well as the usual cashews, almonds, pecans and some Brazil nuts.  Hazelnuts would be so good, too!

This brittle is easy (the stove does all the work).  Some sugar and water, a little corn syrup and butter are dissolved, then brought to a medium boil.  The only difference for me compared to Paige’s instructions is that she says it should take about 10 minutes to come to hard crack temperature and mine took almost 20 minutes.  Just make this when you have some time to hang around the kitchen and babysit it a bit, but you can plan to easily get a few other things done while it’s cooking away.  Check out Paige’s blog post for not only the recipe, but I love that her posts are always so full of the best instructions.  I have never had a “recipe fail” when I follow the directions in her recipes. 

Best Salted Mixed Nut Brittle I love Paige’s tip to have the nuts on a baking sheet in a low temperature oven to warm them while the brittle is cooking.  Once the mixture is at the right temperature, you need to quickly add the nuts, stir and spread it on a buttered sheet.  It begins hardening quickly, so to have the nuts warm, it helps the process, rather than if you add colds/room temperature nuts, it brings the brittle to a cooler temperature faster and makes it start hardening before you can even spread it on the baking sheet!  Here’s where I forgot (waaaahhh!) to salt the brittle while it was still soft enough to keep the salt on top, but definitely add it as soon as you spread it because the salt is a great addition, even if you’re already using roasted, salted nuts.  And it looks great with those little white specks on top.  Even though mine was a bit hardened when I remembered, there is still a little finer salt on the top.  I hurried and ground my pink Himalayan sea salt over it, so it wasn’t as course as it should be.  But this brittle sure tastes great!

You know how when you break it in to pieces and smaller bits and chunks break off?  I might have tasted a few of those, but only if there was a healthy nut in them.  ;  )

Here’s the link to the recipe again on Paige’s blog.  If you like or love brittle—make this!  It’s fun and perfect to give as gifts, too.

Sunday, December 07, 2014

Apple Pie with Lucky Leaf Pie Filling and Pampered Chef Pie Plate (Giveaway)

 

Apple Pie with Lucky Leaf

Who would like a slice of Apple Pie?  ME!  I think apple pie is my favorite kind of pie.  Too bad I didn’t make this one gluten free.  I will admit to having snitched a bite.  (Living on the edge.)  My favorite pie filling folks at Lucky Leaf sent me a fun package with some pie filling and this awesome Pampered Chef pie plate.  My family convinced me to make a cheesecake for Thanksgiving.  They love nothing more than opening cans of pie filling, especially cherry and blueberry (which Lucky Leaf also sent me) and having it with cheesecake.  But even though I can’t and didn’t eat the pie, I had to make apple pie with the apple filling. 

Lucky Leaf’s canned pie filling is full to the top with apples. 

IMG_8403

I love that and wish I’d had two cans of it for the pie, but since I didn’t, I cooked some apples and added it to the filling to make a fuller pie.  Another thing I love about Lucky Leaf premium pie fillings—no high fructose corn syrup.  Not only that, but there are just minimal ingredients, basically the same as you’d make at home—fruit, sugar, cornstarch, and spices.  Sure comes in handy in a pinch.

I chopped up 4 apples, added a little sugar, a touch of lemon and some cinnamon and cooked them in a pot for about 10 minutes.   Then I folded the Lucky Leaf filling in with the cooked apples.  I put that in my prepared pie crust in the awesome Pampered Chef pie plate, added a crust top and baked it for 35 minutes.

Apple Pie ready for top crust

I think the pie turned out great!  I really like the already fluted edge of the pie plate. 

Apple Pie ready to bake

I have always had a hard time fluting the edge of pie and this really did make it easier for me.  And it’s a pretty plate!

Apple Pie with Lucky Leaf Premium Pie Filling, by Katrina, Baking and Boys!

1 can Lucky Leaf Premium Apple Pie Filling

4 apples, peeled, cored and sliced (use your favorite apple)

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 cup granulated sugar

Homemade pie crust, ready for top and bottom of pie (I used Dorie Greenspan's Galette Dough recipe), chilled for at least 30 minutes

2 tablespoons cream, for brushing on the crust

Turbinado sugar, for sprinkling over the pie

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. 

Put the prepared apples in a saucepan, along with the lemon juice, cinnamon and sugar.  Cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. 

While the apples are cooking, roll out the bottom crust and put it in the pie plate.  Fold the pie filling into the cooked apples and put them in the prepared pie plate.  Roll out the top crust and cover the apples with it.  Tuck the top crust around  the edges slightly over the bottom crust and flute the edges.  Vent the top of the pie making slits with a knife.  (I always make a little pie crust cutout of whatever kind of pie I’m making to put in the center of the crust.) Bake for 35-40 minutes, if the crust is browning too much during baking, cover lightly with foil.  Let cool on a wire rack.

Apple Pie (I didn’t check the browning of my crust in time and would have covered it with foil a little sooner, it was almost done when I looked.  It was still definitely not too dark though.  It sliced nicely, too.

Apple Pie slice

A couple of the boys had a slice of the pie, but Kevin wouldn’t want me to tell you he has eaten about 3/4 of it over a couple of days.  Every time he’s in the kitchen and wonders what he can eat, I keep telling him to eat the pie.  He’d want you to know he’s doing it just for me.  Besides that, it’s really good!

Did I mention a giveaway?  Yes—Lucky Leaf wants to give one of my lucky, randomly chosen readers a Pampered Chef pie plate and some of their premium pie filling, too!  I want to make it simple for you—just leave me a comment here about one of your favorite holiday family traditions.  The giveaway will be open to US residents only and will go until 12:00 p.m., Friday, December 12.  A winner will be announced on Facebook and other social media, so make sure you’re following Baking and Boys and Lucky Leaf!  Thanks and thank you Lucky Leaf!

Baking and Boys! on Facebook

My Twitter Account (@koismith)

Baking and Boys! on Pinterest

Lucky Leaf on Pinterest  Check out all their delicious pinned recipes!

Lucky Leaf on Facebook

Lucky Leaf on Twitter

#BakethisHolidaySpecial 

***UPDATE—GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED.  WINNER SELECTED.  THE WINNER IS LISA BARRON!  LISA, PLEASE CONTACT ME VIA EMAIL (kevnkoi@hotmail.com) ASAP WITH YOUR ADDRESS.  Congratulations!