baking

DARK CHOCOLATE & PISTACHIO COOKIES

dark chocolate/pistachio cookies

I’ve always been curious about pistachios, that cute little green nut, but never enough to actually try them. I knew the boyfriend was a fan and I’d heard friends and family rave about them, but you know me, I’m not one to try new things.

I pinned this recipe for dark chocolate chunk & pistachio cookies from one of my favorite blogs, Two Peas & Their Pod, months ago thinking maybe that could be my incentive to try them. When Jimmy’s birthday came around, I knew it was the perfect time to surprise him with these nummies.

Of course I let him be the first to try them, they were his birthday cookies after all. After he gave them the thumbs up I mustered up some courage to try them. And surprise! I like pistachios. At least, I like them when baked into a cookie with chocolate. I haven’t yet pushed myself to the point of trying a few out of the cannister I bought. Baby steps.

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened/at room temperature
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup chopped pistachios, shells removed
1 cup chopped dark chocolate
Sea salt, for sprinkling on cookies

Directions

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda.

3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugars together until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla and beat for an additional 2 minutes.

4. With the mixer on a slow speed, slowly add in the dry ingredients and mix until just incorporated. Don’t over mix!

5. Stir in the pistachios and chocolate chunks.

6. Using a spoon or cookie scoop, form tablespoons size balls of cookie dough. Place cookie dought on your prepared baking sheet about 2 inches apart. Sprinkle sea salt over cookie dough balls.

7. Bake cookies for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned around the edges. Let cookies cool on the baking sheet for 2 minutes and then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.

8. Enjoy!

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baking

THE BEST F#*!ING SUGAR COOKIES I HAVE EVER MADE

Easter sugar cookies

Sorry for the profanity, but I’m like way too excited about this.

I’ve been on the hunt for a perfect sugar cookie ever since I discovered my passion for baking. I wanted a soft, thick cookie that was sweet but not rot your teeth sweet.

I usually ended up with cookies that were too sugary and too crunchy, and any time I would try to cut thicker cookies they would just end up spreading out and looking like a blob. The cookies were never gross, and people seemed to eat them up, but they weren’t the perfect cookie I always wanted.

So I spent some time this weekend combing my favorite blogs for a new recipe to try out. I landed on this one from Bake at 350 (a new blog discovery that I’m loving). The recipe is appropriately titled “perfect every time sugar cookies.”

I figured I’d give it a shot. I had my doubts when the dough came out crumbly, which the recipe said would happen, but still. I’m looking at it like, I’ve made a huge mistake. But it smoothed out and I calmed down a bit. Then I cut the cookies out, stuck them in the oven, and nearly did a cartwheel when they held their shape.

Then a tried another new thing: buttercream frosting. I always heard it was the bomb, so why not go all out and throw some buttercream on my new and hopefully perfect cookies?

James taste tested the first cookie and he quickly gave me the thumbs up. So I grabbed a little piece of his and shoved it in my mouth and was like OMFG I DID IT! Well, obviously the credit goes to Bake at 350 for creating this wonderful cooke recipe and Wilton for the buttercream recipe, but clearly I NAILED them.

I brought the cookies into work and got so much love. Several people commented that it was the perfect amount of sweet, that the cookies were soft and, of course, incredibly yummy.

Like I said. nailed it.

And since I’m blogging about it, that means I’m sharing the recipe! You’re welcome (;

Ingredients

For the cookies:

3 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 c sugar

2 sticks butter, cold & cut into chunks (I used unsalted, recipe creator used salted)

1 egg

3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract

For the buttercream frosting:

1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine softened

1 teaspoon clear vanilla extract

4 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar

2 tablespoons milk (I used whole milk)

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350. Line your cookie sheets with

2. Combine the flour and baking powder in a medium size bowl and set aside.

3. In the bowl of your stand mixer, cream the sugar and butter. Add the egg and extracts and mix.

4. Gradually add the flour mixture and beat until just combined, scraping down the bowl, especially the bottom. * This is a key point. I recently read that you can beat/mix the wet ingredients all day long, but once you add the dry ingredients in you really don’t want to over mix. Stop as soon as the two are combined for the best results.

5. The dough will be pretty crumbly, so knead it together with your hands as you scoop it out of the bowl for rolling.

6. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to about 1/4″ to 3/8″ thick and cut into desired shapes. * I also realized that over flouring my work surface = over flouring my cookies before baking which = dryer/crunchier cookies. Don’t over do it!

7. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. I went with 10. The cookies were still a nice, pale color with the teensiest hint of golden brown on the bottom. Let the cookies sit a few minutes on the sheet before transferring them to a cooling rack.

8. Now it’s time for the frosting. In a large bowl, beat the shortening and butter until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and beat in vanilla.

9. Gradually add the sugar,one cup at a time, beating well on medium speed. Scrape the sides and the bottom of bowl often. Once all of the sugar has been mixed in, the frosting will appear dry. Don’t panic, the next step will fix this.

10. Gradually add milk and beat at a medium speed until light and fluffy.

11. Spread the frosting in cookies using a small spatula or your finger. If you’re adding sprinkles, make sure to do it right after you get the frosting on the cookie. Otherwise it will harden up a bit and the sprinkles won’t stick.

If you’re a sugar cookie fan, give this recipe a try. I promise you will not regret it.

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baking

BAILEY’S IRISH CREAM COOKIES + DARK CHOCOLATE

Bailey's Irish Cream cookies

I found myself in the St. Patrick’s Day spirit this weekend, so I decided to whip up some shamrock sugar cookies with an irish twist: Bailey’s Irish Cream. Because what’re more Irish than that??

This cookie came to be with the help of several different recipes, but the main cookie recipe I lifted from one of my favorite food blogs, Two Peas and Their Pod. I used her lofthouse style cookie recipe for the base, threw in some Bailey’s, and then dipped the cookies in dark chocolate after being inspired by these irish cream cookies from Buttercream Blondie. I wish I had had some sprinkles on hand to make them pop like they do in her photos.

I will say that the cookies did not come out as irish-cream flavored as I had hoped. If you’re thinking about trying these out,  I would recommend adding more Bailey’s to the recipe (you might then have to add extra flour) or just going with a standard sugar cookie and Bailey’s flavored icing. I’m considering trying the latter option out for next year.

Ingredients

6 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 cups granulated sugar

3 large eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1½ cups sour cream (seriously! it gives the cookies their soft texture)

½ cup of Bailey’s Irish Cream (maybe a bit more)

2 bags of dark chocolate baking chips

Directions

1. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees; prepare your cookie sheets by lining them with parchment paper.

2. Combine flour, baking soda & powder and salt in a large bowl. Set aside.

3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the sugar and butter until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes or so. Add in eggs one at a time and beat until well incorporated. Add in vanilla extract and sour cream and beat slowly. Add the Bailey’s and beat slowly until well incorporated.

4. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the stand mixer and beat until dough forms. The dough should be a little sticky, but not overly so. If you need to, add more flour until dough is just slightly sticky.

5. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least two hours or overnight.

6. Flour your working surface and roll out the dough to a quarter-inch thickness. Use shamrock cookie cutters to cut out cookies; I used two different sizes for a little variety.

7. Place cookies on cookie sheets and bake in the oven for 7 minutes. The cookies should be slightly golden around the edges. Immediatley transfer cookies to wire rack to cool.

8. Place dark chocolate chips in a microwavable safe bowl and heat in 30 second increments, stirring in between.

9. Once cookies are cool, dip the left side of the cookie into the chocolate. Let the excess chocolate drip off the cookie before placing it on parchment paper to dry. If you want to speed up the drying process, chill cookies in the fridge for 30 minutes to set the chocolate.

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baking

SALTED CARAMEL CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

salted caramel chocolate chip cookies

Whenever I find myself feeling a little on the depressed side I get the urge to bake. Whether it’s my subconscious’ way of telling me stuffing my face with some sweet, sugary goodness will cheer me up or that I find channeling my energy into whipping up some tasty treats relaxing, I just go with it.

I’ve been pinning cookies on Pinterest like crazy lately, and I’ve ben dying to try out these salted caramel chocolate chip cookies. Seriously how perfect do they sound?

This was my first attempt at these sweet & salty cookies and overall I think they turned out pretty well. They were delicious, anyway.

I think next time I’ll try to find actual caramel bites (I had to use caramel squares that I cut up and I don’t think my pieces were bite-sized enough) and go with mini chocoalte chips rather than these ginormous ones I used. Why I’m complaining about having extra chocolate I will never know.

I also might go for a smaller cookie scoop: The recipe calls for tablespoons and I’m pretty sure mine were one and a half tablespoons. Since my cookies were larger, I gave them a few extra minutes in the oven until they were just browned on the bottoms.

I can’t wait to try these again. They were honestly the perfect ending to my otherwise less-than-amazing day.

Recipe by Two Peas & Their Pod.

Ingredients

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons cornstarch (I skipped this step)

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 large egg

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1/2 cup Kraft Caramel Bits

Sea salt, for sprinkling on cookies

Directions

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees; Line your cookie sheets with parchment paper so the cookies won’t stick!

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cornstarch, baking soda and salt.

3. In a separate bowl or using your stand mixer, cream together the butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar until smooth. Add in the egg and vanilla and beat well. Slowly add in the dry ingredients.

4. Stir in the chocolate chips and caramels until well combined.

5. Scoop dough by the tablespoon and onto your prepped cookie sheets. Make sure each cookie is about 2 inches apart. Sprinkle a little sea salt over the cookies dough before baking for 10 minutes or until lightly browned around the edges.

6. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.

7. Try not to eat all the cookies at once or you might explode.

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