Brown Butter Molasses Cookies

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No matter where I am in NYC, I can most likely name the neighborhood’s best cookie. Dumbo? Jacques Torres. Upper West Side? Levain, no doubt. Union Square? Try the chocolate chip at Paradis. Oh, and City Bakery. A solid cup of coffee alongside is a non-negotiable.

 
Call it old fashioned, but I love a classic molasses cookie. You don’t see them very often at bake shops. I’ve heard Pushcart Coffee has a good one.. I grew up eating my grandmother’s soft, chewy version, rolled in sugar. They were stored in a cookie tin with a piece of bread to keep them fresh (p.s. that trick works).

 
Using her recipe as inspiration, along with an updated mix of spices from December’s Bon Appetit, I’ve created a cookie fit for the holidays. Browning the butter is an extra step that gives these cookies some nuttiness. The combination of dark molasses and brown sugar lends some drama. A sprinkle of ginger, cinnamon and cardamom are a bit spicy, in a good way. Don’t forget to roll them in sugar, preferably the raw stuff (grab a couple more packets when you get your coffee). Which you’ll definitely want to be drinking while you eat one of these.

Brown Butter Molasses Cookies

Makes about 2 dozen

Adapted from Bon Appetit

  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • ⅓ cup granulated sugar
  • ⅓ cup dark molasses
  • ¼ cup (packed) dark brown sugar
  • Raw sugar, for rolling
  1. Heat oven to 375°. Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until foaming subsides and butter turns a nutty dark brown, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
  2. Whisk flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, and salt in a small bowl. Whisk egg, brown butter butter, granulated sugar, molasses, and brown sugar in a medium bowl. Mix in dry ingredients just to combine. Refrigerate the dough for at least an hour or up to 24 hours.
  3. Place raw sugar in a shallow bowl. Scoop out dough by the tablespoonful and roll into balls. Roll in sugar and place on 2 parchment-lined baking sheets, spacing 2” apart. Using the heel of your hand, press down on cookies to flatten slightly. Sprinkle with a bit more raw sugar on top.
  4. Bake cookies, rotating baking sheets halfway through, until cookies are puffed, cracked, and just set around edges (over-baked cookies won’t be chewy), 8–10 minutes. You may have to bake the cookies in batches. Transfer to wire racks and let cool. Store in an airtight container with a piece of bread to keep them fresh for days.

Monster Cookies

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Peanut butter-oatmeal-M&M cookies. Need I say more?

These cookies hail from Kelly Senyei’s wonderful site, Just a Taste. Thick, chewy and peanut buttery, these are not the ones you set out for afternoon tea. They’re the ones you bring in a Tupperware to a friend’s for a New Girl marathon. Or on a road trip. Or anywhere, for that matter.

I used commercial PB –  Skippy is my favorite for baking. I suppose you could use natural peanut butter, but the texture might be more crumbly. These cookies do not contain flour, but rely on old-fashioned oats to bind the dough together. I used M&Ms (Easter colored!) but you could sub in (or add) chocolate chips, toffee chips or any other tasty bit that you have lying around.

These go really well with a cup of coffee or a glass of milk. And your DVR lineup.

Monster Cookies

Recipe adapted from Just a Taste

1 cup white sugar
1 cup dark brown sugar
½ cup butter (1 stick), at room temperature
3 eggs
1½ cups peanut butter (smooth or chunky, I used Skippy)
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
4½ cups old-fashioned oats
1 cup M&Ms (mini or regular)

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Cream together the white sugar, brown sugar and butter with an electric mixer.
  3. Beat in the eggs, peanut butter, vanilla, baking soda and salt.
  4. Stir in the oats and M&Ms.
  5. Scoop 2-to 3-tablespoon mounds of the dough onto a parchment paper- or Silpat-lined cookie sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes.

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Brown Butter Brownies

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I first made these simple chocolate brownies last Valentine’s Day. They were topped with dulce de leche ice cream and washed down with lots of champagne (gal pal holidays at their finest). They were so good, I found myself turning to the recipe about once a month. Dressed up with Maldon sea salt, they were perfect for dinner parties. Spiked with espresso and more dark chocolate, they made the trip to Long Beach Island.

If you’re looking for a cake-like, vaguely chocolate, somewhat sandy brownies, don’t make these. These are intensely chocolatey, rich, dense. They rely on a combination of brown butter and cocoa powder and very little flour. What I like most (besides their taste) is their versatility. For holiday appeal, I added a dash of peppermint extract to the batter and covered them warm with crushed candy canes. Wrapped in parchment and cellophane, they’d make a great gift.

Brown Butter Brownies 

From Bon Appetit

10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 1/4 cups sugar
3/4 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs, chilled
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon unbleached all purpose flour

  1. Preheat oven to 325F. Line an 8×8 baking pan with foil; coat with cooking spray.
  2. Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Continue cooking for about 5 minutes, stirring often, until butter stops foaming and brown bits form at the bottom of the pan. Remove from heat.
  3. To the saucepan, add sugar, cocoa, 2 tsp. water, vanilla and a large pinch of salt. Stir to blend then allow to cool slightly.
  4. Add eggs, one at a time, whisking throughly after each addition. When mixture looks shiny, add flour and stir until thoroughly blended (may take about a minute). Stir in mix-ins (optional).
  5. Bake brownies until toothpick inserted comes out almost clean, about 25 minutes. Do not overbake!! Cool slightly then transfer to the freezer for a bit – this will make them easier to slice into clean squares.
Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie

Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie

Something about September makes me think about chocolate chip cookies. Maybe it’s back-to-school lunchbox memories. Perhaps it’s the fact that I’m turning on my oven for the first time in months. While I love the salted-caramel-cacao-nib-rosemary-infused desserts that are so … Continue reading

The Oatmeal Raisin Cookie

These are it (dare I say?) the perfect oatmeal cookie. I don’t use the ‘P’ word lightly, you see, it just sets the bar too high. But these, these are some mighty fine cookies, if I do say so. What makes them different? The basic thick & chewy cookie is bolstered with 2 kinds of oatmeal (old-fashioned and quick) for varying texture. Keeping with the theme, both golden and black raisins add a pop of sweetness. Toasted pecans provide a satisfying crunch. And have patience: a chill before baking allows the dough to “marinate”, melding the flavors and preventing excess “spread” during baking. So follow the recipe, pour yourself a cup of tea and revel.

The Oatmeal Raisin Cookie

Yield: About 4 dozen small cookies or 3 dozen larger cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/3 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 1/2 cups quick oats
  • 3/4 cup golden raisins
  • 3/4 cup black raisins
  • 1 cup toasted pecans, chopped
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F
  2. In a large bowl, beat together the butter, brown sugar, eggs and vanilla until smooth. In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt together. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture into the butter/sugar mixture and beat, scraping down the sides of the bowl. Repeat this process twice more with the remaining 2/3 of the flour mixture. Stir in the oats, raisins and pecans.
  3. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes or the freezer for about 15 minutes. You can refrigerate the dough for up to 24 hours before baking.
  4. Roll the dough into balls and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Flatten the tops slightly. Bake for 1o to 12 minutes, rotating the sheet halfway through. They are done when the edges are lightly golden – the tops may appear a bit doughy.
  5. Remove from the oven and let the cookies sit on the hot baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool.
-Recipe adapted from  smitten kitchen

5 Minute PB&C Crunch Cookies

Five minutes, peanut butter + chocolate. Need I say more?

No-Bake PB&C Crunch Cookies

Yield: Approx. 1 dozen

  • 1 1/2 cups high-fiber ‘twig’ cereal (like Fiber One)
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 2 T. peanut butter (can also sub another type of nut or seed butter)

Directions

  1. Melt chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl, stirring ever 30 seconds until melted (you can also do this over a double-boiler). Stir in peanut butter.
  2. Combine cereal and chocolate mixture in a large bowl. Scoop or spoon 1/4 cup portions onto parchment or wax paper-lined baking sheet. Freeze for 30 minutes before eating. Store in airtight container in freezer.

Iced Eggnog Cookies & White Chocolate Covered Peppermint Oreos

To celebrate Mo and Ramsey’s cookie carnival, I broke out the big guns. Everyone loves drinking eggnog, so I devised a way to chew it. These iced cookies are  a nog-infused nod to a Mrs. Fields classic. I used this recipe.

White chocolate covered Oreos are a 3-ingredient, no-bake crowd pleaser. I tried to buy Trader Joe Joe’s Candy Cane cookies, but they were sold out (along with white chocolate, what gives TJ’s?) Newman’s Own Hint O’Mint sandwich cookies were a good sub, but if you can find those green minty Oreos, even better.

White Chocolate Covered Peppermint Oreos

Ingredients

1 package mint-flavored sandwich cookies (see reccs above)

2 packages white chocolate chips

Crushed peppermint candies (about 1/2 cup)

Directions

In a large microwaveable bowl, melt white chocolate chips until smooth. Be sure to stir frequently to prevent overheating.

Dunk cookies in white chocolate using 2 spoons. Place on wax paper and sprinkle with crushed candies. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Gluten-Free Brownies

As a tribute to those following a wheat-free diet, I’ve got the dessert for you. Many gluten-free recipes call for special flours and hard-to-find ingredients, but these brownies can be made without a special trip to the health food store. What makes these  special? In lieu of flour AND butter, these babies get a little help from a can of black beans. Once you get over the whole bean-in-yo-brownie factor, you may never return to that box of G-free brownie mix again. Note: be sure to cool brownies completely before serving.

Gluten-Free Brownies

One 15 ½-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed very well

3 large eggs

3 tablespoons canola oil

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup cocoa powder

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Pinch salt

1/2 cup mini chocolate chips, divided

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray an 8 X 8-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.

Place the black beans in the bowl of a food processor; process until smooth and creamy.  Add the eggs, oil, sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla extract,  baking powder, and salt and process until smooth.  Add ¼ cup of the chips and pulse a few times until the chips are broken up a bit.

Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish and sprinkle the top with the remaining ¼ cup chocolate chips.

Bake 30 to 35 minutes, or until the edges start to pull away from the sides and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan completely before slicing.

-Adapted from MealMakeoverMoms.com

Oatmeal Cookie Sandwiches

I have noticed cookie sandwiches at many bakeries lately.  Babycakes, the famed vegan shop in the Lower East Side, boasts 4 types on their menu.  A bit nostalgic and a bit obscene, these cookies are chewy and gooey – perfect with a cup of tea or like my friend Kelly and I enjoyed them – with frosty glasses of frozen hot chocolate. Sweet!

For cookies

1/2 lb. (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt (optional)
3 cups Quaker Oats (quick or old-fashioned)

Heat oven to 350°F.

Beat together butter and sugars until creamy. Add eggs and vanilla; beat well.

Whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; stir together until no streaks remain.

Stir this into the butter mixture. Stir in oats; mix well.

Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls onto an ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown.

Cool 1 minute on cookie sheet; remove to wire rack.

Makes about 4 dozen.

For filling

2 cups confectioners sugar

1 tsp. vanilla

3 T. butter, softened (barely melted)

Milk

Pinch salt

In a bowl, beat together sugar, vanilla, butter and salt. Add a few tablespoons of milk, adding more milk or sugar to reach a thick, spreadable consistency. Spread icing on the bottom side of 1 cookie and top with another. Store in an airtight container.

Cookies and Cocktails

Scenes and recipes from our little holiday gathering…

Our IKEA Christmas Tree – a real sparkler!

 

Bailey’s Irish Cream Cookies, Frosted Cut Outs and Glazed Spritz

 Almond Joy Cookies

Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies (with festive drizzle!)

My “Shortcut” Sangria – punch bowl from Crate & Barrel

Mint Chocolate Cookies 

Peanut Butter Balls (Buckeyes)

Paula Deen’s Caramel Corn

 

Shortcut Sangria

3 Liters red wine (the cheaper, the better – I used a large jug of Carlo Rossi – $16!)

1 can apple juice concentrate

4 apples, cut into 1-inch cubes

4 oranges, 2 sliced and 2 juiced

6 limes, 3 sliced and 3 juiced

4 lemons, 2 sliced and 2 juiced

2 T. sugar

Mix apple juice with 2 cups cold water. In a large pitcher or punch bowl, combine wine, fruit, juices and sugar. Stir and chill until ready to serve, or overnight. You can also add flavored or plain vodka, a splash of triple sec or apricot brandy for a REALLY festive punch bowl.