Tag Archives: baking cookies

mmmmm crispy edges and chewy center on this chocolate chip cookie

Martha Stewart’s Chocolate Chip Cookies

Who doesn’t love a chocolate chip cookie?!?! I believe they have been named the #1 favorite cookie to bake at home. There are a million good recipes out there for chocolate chip cookies, and for years, my go-to was from The Joy of Cooking (still a fave).

But since I’m working on all of Martha Stewart’s recipes from her Baking Handbook and I was desperately in the mood for chocolate chip cookies, I figured I’d try out hers!

In this book, she actually gives a recipe for chocolate chunk cookies, but since all I had on hand was mini chocolate chips, then mini chocolate chips it would be 🙂

I always tend to start with the fairly standard ratio to make basic drop cookies: 1 part flour, to 1 part sugar (usually half white and half brown) to 1 part butter. 1 egg per 1 part. 1-2 teaspoons vanilla per your liking, 1 teaspoon each of salt and baking soda, and 1 part chocolate chips.

Then you can play around with these ratios to find your ideal taste and texture.

For instance, here I was going for flatter, crisper cookies with harder edges and softer middles. So we upped the butter a little bit.

Also, for most drop cookies, you want to start with room temp butter. But I actually like to melt it slightly in the microwave which also helps create the flatter cookie.

My tips:

  1. Don’t eat them when they’re hot. The temperature masks the flavor.
  2. Realize that they are going to spread in the oven and don’t place them too close together – some of mine ran into each other creating more square-ish shapes.
  3. Create 5 tablespoon-sized balls for really really huge cookies that you can then stack together with icing to turn them into a layered cookie cake! (This is my next project with these cookies).
  4. If you have chocolate chunks, go for that instead of chips since the chips kind of get lost in the expanse of cookie. It would have been deliciously chocolatey to have bitten into a huge hunk of chocolate.
  5. Eat with milk or a malty porter.

My execution was pretty good on this recipe, although I made them a bit larger than Martha did (about 2.5 tablespoon balls). With the excess of butter they definitely spread out upon baking.

I cooked them until the edges and tops were golden brown, and then let them cool on the sheets for a few minutes before transferring them to a wire cooling rack.

They turned out delicious – flat and crispy as desired.

 

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warm Lebkuchen with icing

German Spice Cookies: Lebkuchen with Icing

This holiday season, my mom and I baked up a batch of these Lebkuchen ~ traditional German Christmas cookies that taste like gingerbread, but surprisingly have NO ginger in them! (Is that a fair description, Oliver?)

finished German spice cookie
yummy cookie!

The cookie recipe we tried was actually one that she received from Viking River Cruises (I guess mom’s on that mailing list).

They Lebkuchen cookies were chewy and certainly extremely spicy and rich. Definitely to be enjoyed with an English Breakfast or Earl Grey tea, or perhaps a light German beer like Paulaner or Spaten.

The ingredients and steps are fairly straightforward, but be warned that you need to plan ahead because the dough is to be chilled overnight. Have fun!

Ingredients:
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup molasses
(We didn’t end up having enough honey so we added more molasses to make up 1 cup of these two ingredients ~ 1 to 1 substitution)
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest
2 + 3/4 cup flour (plus more for dusting)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon nutmeg

German spice cookies ingredients
German spice cookies ingredients

The recipe then also calls for 1/3 cup of candied citron and 1/3 cup of hazelnuts ~ We omitted both of these.

Okay, side note here: I did not know what citron was…I assumed it was candied lemon peel. Ooops. No. It is not. It is a fruit unto itself. There are different varietals and guess what one of them is? Etrog!!! As in Lulav and Etrog! (Staples in the Sukkot holiday for my non-Jewish friends.) So that’s a fun factoid for ya! Here’s a recipe for making your own candied citron.

To make the icing, you will need:
1 cup of sugar
1/4 cup of milk (or water)
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1/2 cup of powdered sugar

To Make:
1. Bring honey and molasses to a boil and then remove from heat


2. Stir in the brown sugar, egg, lemon juice and zest
3. In a large bowl, whisk together the 2 + 3/4 cup flour, baking soda, and spices
4. Stir the molasses mixture into the flour mixture (also this is when you would add the candied citron and chopped hazelnuts)


5. Cover & chill overnight

Next day:
6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper
7. Roll out a bit of your dough on a floured surface until about a 1/4 inch thick, adding more flour if the dough is too sticky
8. Use a cookie cutter or clean glass to cut circular cookies out of the dough [Repeat #7 and #8 with the rest of the dough]


9. Move the cookies to the baking sheets and cook for 10-12 minutes
10. Transfer the cookies to a rack for cooling and brush with icing while still warm
11. Decorate with almonds, candied citron or crystallized ginger

While the cookies are baking, make the icing as follows:
1. Heat sugar, milk (or water) and vanilla on the stove but do not boil


2. Remove from heat and whisk in the powdered sugar
3. Reheat as needed to maintain the liquid state as you brush it over the top of the warm cookies