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!