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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

A Chocolate Cookie Recipe That Others Will Rave About!

A Chocolate Cookie Recipe That Others Will Rave About!

Author: Monica Latham
Chocolate cookie recipes are, without a doubt, the most popular of all. Very few can resist the temptation of a soft, gooey, chocolaty cookie.
This chocolate cookie recipe is for the true chocolate lover, combining the rich taste of dark with the sweetness of white chocolate. They are also among the easiest cookies to make as there is no rolling and cutting out shapes. Simply drop the mixture from a spoon onto a baking tray.
Ingredients
115 g / 4 oz unsalted butter
115 g / 4 oz / 2/3 cup light muscovado sugar (if unavailable substitute with dark brown sugar) 1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
150 g / 6 oz / 1 ¼ cups self raising flour
75 g / 3 oz / ¾ cup porridge oats
115 g / 4 oz dark (semisweet or plain) chocolate, roughly chopped
115 g / 4 oz white chocolate, roughly chopped
Preheat the oven to 190oC / 375oF. Line two baking sheets with parchment or baking paper. This will prevent the cookies sticking to the baking sheet and is preferable to greasing the trays. It also prevents them spreading too much during baking.
So that the butter is soft enough to beat easily, remove it from the fridge at least 30 minutes before you plan to start. Unsalted butter is the preferred choice, but if you are going to use margarine, choose the firm block type that is suitable for baking.
Using an electric mixer cream the butter with the sugar in a small bowl until the mixture lightens in color. The mixture should be well aerated and have a light and fluffy texture.
Add the egg and vanilla essence and beat until creamy. The eggs should also be at room temperature or they may curdle the creamed mixture.
Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and sift the flour over the mixture. Using a metal spoon, gently fold through the mixture. Add the oats and chopped dark and white chocolate. Stir until all the ingredients are well mixed.
Take small tablespoons of the mixture and place on the trays spacing them about 2 inches apart to allow room for spreading during baking.
Bake on the center shelf of the oven for 15 – 20 minutes or until the cookies begin to turn a pale golden color.
Remove from the oven and leave on the trays for about 5 minutes. Then using a wide, slotted spatula transfer to wire racks to cool completely. Your cookies will be soft when you first remove them from the oven, but will become crisper as they cool.
This mixture will make approximately 18 – 20 cookies.
Always buy the best quality chocolate you can afford. This is the one time when cost-cutting does not pay. The results are worth the extra cost. Of course the best way to buy it is by the block. Ideally it should contain 70% cocoa solids to achieve that rich chocolaty taste.
For best results it should be eating quality not compound. Other types contain other oils and ingredients and will give inferior results.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Have Loads Of Fun With Easy-To-Make Cookie Recipes!

Have Loads Of Fun With Easy-To-Make Cookie Recipes!

Author: Jaydon Parker
Most people love to eat cookies because they are sweet, flavorful and yummy especially when they are properly prepared and baked. Cookies are great desserts. If you like munching on cookies, then now is actually a very good time to learn how to bake cookies. You may start with easy-to-cook recipes.
Personally, I always look at those easy-to-cook recipes because my 2 year old son also enjoys cooking and baking. He owns a small toy kitchen furnished with stove, sink, fridge and oven. He often stands over a small footrest and puts on his little apron.
He measures, mixes and pours as if he's really baking. The funny thing is when he cooks inside his little kitchen, my son becomes like 1 of those food network stars on TV cooking and making funny anecdotes.
It was only recently when I discovered my eagerness to search for easy- to-prepare sugar cookies because I thought these cookies will be an interesting shift from my typical choco-chip cookies. Nothing's a miss with our choco-chip cookies. In fact, everyone in our house loves them. However, I thought to myself that it will also be nice to expose my son to a broader scope of easy-to-make cookies. Besides, lots of easy-to-cook sugar cookies are found online.
Although the Old-Fashioned Sugar Cookie recipe seems difficult to make, I still consider it as an easy-to-bake recipes. You only have to combine the ingredients, put it inside the refrigerator and roll them in sugar after. After the dough has chilled, you just slice it according to your preferred sizes and then bake them. The best portion of doing this recipe is when you are about to decorate your cookies. Your kids will definitely enjoy this part. You may decorate it with colorful food paint.
During my search for easy-to-bake recipes, I found lots of recipes that do not entail baking. The recipes call for minimal stove action but still no baking in the oven is needed. Since summer is fast approaching, no-bake recipes are really good and fun ideas. They are relatively easy to do and almost all the recipes have similar main ingredients. Finally, my kid will also experience actual cooking.
My boy loves doing lots of mixing when he does his play-cooking, so what I do is allow him to scoop the mixture and place it over the parchment or wax paper. This activity will be fun and interesting because the kitchen will become a big mess. It's totally fine as long as my son enjoys the day.
So what are you waiting for! Check out the World Wide Web for those easy to make recipes and have fun making them with your kids.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

How to Make The Best Sugar Cookie Recipes Which Wow Everyone

How to Make The Best Sugar Cookie Recipes Which Wow Everyone

Author: Monica Latham
Cookie baking is fun - particularly when you have simple and easy to bake sugar cookie recipes to follow. But the most enjoyable aspect is the decorating. This is what turns a plain ordinary cookie into an edible work of art. You really are limited only by your imagination.
The first step of course is to make the cookies. There is no creaming butter and sugar involved. The dough is worked in a food processor. Nothing could be easier.
Ingredients you will need:
9 oz / 280 g /2 ½ cups plain / all-purpose flour
5 ½ oz / 170g unsalted butter, chopped
Pinch salt
3 tablespoons caster / superfine sugar
2 egg yolks beaten with 4 tablespoons ice-cold water
Preheat the oven to 400oF / 200oC. Line two baking sheets with parchment or baking paper.
In the bowl of a food processer, process the flour and butter until it resembles coarse crumbs. Add the salt and sugar and process again until just combined, being careful not to overprocess the mixture.
With the motor still running, add the egg yolk mixture and process using the pulse button until it forms a glossy ball.
Remove from processer, wrap in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Remove from the fridge and divide the mixture into smaller portions for rolling. While rolling one portion, keep the remainder refrigerated. Roll the dough out to a ¼ inch / 6 mm thickness. Using cutters, cut out shapes, placing the cutters as close to the edges as possible to minimise the number of times you re-roll the dough. Repeat with the remaining dough, then combine all the leftover dough and re-roll.
Place onto the baking sheets allowing room for spreading and bake for 10-15 minutes or until a golden color. Remove them from the oven and leave on the baking sheets for 2-3 minutes before lifting them onto wire racks to cool.
Allow to cool completely before icing and decorating.
Now comes the fun part, icing and decorating. Glace icing is perfect for this sugar cookie recipe. It can be drizzled over the top or piped into simple designs.
This glace icing recipe is sufficient to ice 24 cookies.
1 cup icing / confectioners sugar
A few drops of vanilla essence
1 tablespoon of hot water
A few drops of food coloring (if required)
Sift the icing sugar into a bowl then add the vanilla essence. Gradually stir in the hot water until the mixture is the consistency of thick cream. Add the water a few drops at a time until you have the desired consistency. If you find you have added too much water and the icing is too runny, simply add more icing sugar.
Spoon a little icing into the centre, then using the back of the spoon, spread out to cover the entire cookie. Glace icing sets very quickly, so if you are adding other decorations, you will need to work quickly before the icing sets.
Glace icing is also extremely versatile. It is perfect for feathering and drizzling.
To create a feathered effect, cover the cookie with icing as above, then pipe several straight parallel lines of icing in a contrasting color across the top. Take a toothpick and draw lines in the opposite direction, gently dragging the color through the icing.
Alternatively, pipe lines of icing, or, if you want to be adventurous, pipe designs over the tops of your cookies.
Really, the possibilities are endless.
Having a large collection of sugar cookie recipes that you can decorate in creative ways is great fun.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

3 Tips for Baking Healthier Cookies

3 Tips for Baking Healthier Cookies

Author: Criss White
While making a healthier cookie may not sound as appealing as a cookie that is packed with sugars, fats, or sweet candy, it is possible to make a healthy cookie that still tastes good.  It might be somewhat hard to fathom, but there are healthy ingredients and substitutes that can be added to cookies so they maintain their flavor, but are not as bad for you.  Implementing simple changes into your current family cookie recipe can help you stick to your diet and give you just the little bit of sweet that you are craving to make it to your next meal.

With so many people turning to health conscious lifestyles, cookies do not have to be thrown out of your diet entirely.   Instead consider some of the following tips to help make your family some healthier cookies.

1. Add Dried Fruit
For recipes that call for chocolate chips or any kind of extra sugar-based additives consider adding in pieces of dried fruit to your cookies.  Dried fruits are healthy to consume and contain natural sugars that will still give your cookies a bit of a sweet flavoring.  You can choose fruits that will compliment the other flavors in your cookies, or simply experiment with various fruits that you can find at the grocery store.  Here are some dried fruits that are commonly used in cookie baking and can be found at your local grocers or farmers market:
Cherries
Raisins
Figs
Prunes
Cranberries

2. Think Whole Grains
Fiber is an important part of a healthy diet, so why not incorporate fiber into your cookies?  Replace your all-purpose flour with much healthier wheat flour when baking your cookies from scratch.  Even if you replace half of the entire flour amount that is recommended for a recipe with whole wheat flour then you are making a healthier cookie. The wheat flour will make your cookies denser than they would be with all-purpose flour, thus carrying more nutritional value and fitting into your diet just a little bit better.
Another trick that some bakers use to add nutritional value to cookies is adding oats to the mixture.  The oats will give the cookie a crunchy texture and can add additional fiber to your cookies.

3. Substitute your other Ingredients
Think of all the ingredients that you use to make your typical cookie recipe.  Now, think of better ingredients that can make your cookies just a little healthier but taste as good as they are normally. The replacement of just a few different ingredients you can make a healthy cookie. Consider some of the following ingredient replacements for your healthy cookie batch:
Replace the oil and butter from your cookie recipe with applesauce
Replace eggs with an egg substitute or even just egg whites
Replace milk chocolate chips with semi-sweet chocolate pieces instead
Replace white sugar with sucanat (sugar cane) or stevia

Remember that if you want to get healthy, you have to think and make healthy food. With these simple tips you can transform what would otherwise be an unhealthy, sugar-filled, fattening cookie into a healthier, lightly sweetened cookie snack.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Roll Out Cookies For Santa The Right Way!

Roll Out Cookies For Santa The Right Way!

Author: Chef Todd Mohr
I'd be worried if I made cookies for Santa and he didn't eat them.  What would that mean?  Was I too naughty this year for him to even take a bite?  Or, is Santa expecting more from me than stale cookies from the store?
Santa expects cookies from scratch and I've let him down in past years.  That would probably explain the amount of coal I've been receiving.
I now know that cookies for Santa should be sugar cookies, and sugar cookies are rolled cookies.  Rolled cookies are great because you use a rolling pin to create a flat dough that you can cut into Christmas trees, hearts or any other shape.  Once you decorate with sprinkles, chocolate chips or colored sugar, you have an attractive holiday cookie.
I'm going to impress Santa this year and try to change his opinion of the crummy cookie offerings I've made in the past.  I'll make some fantastic sugar cookies with a basic dough formula that will rest in the refrigerator for a few hours.
However, the challenge in rolling sugar cookie dough is that you can get inconsistent thickness of the dough.  This means you'll have cookies of different sizes and some will burn while others are under-cooked.
Cookies for Santa should never be burned or under-cooked, so I've developed a great trick to assure the consistent thickness of the cookies I create.
By using wooden dowels or the metal hanging file folder rods, I can give my rolling pin a guide and maximum thickness for the dough automatically.  When I place my thickness guides on either side of the dough, the rolling pin will never fall to a width below that of the guides.
With a uniform thickness of the dough, now I can impress Santa with the many different shapes I can cut them into, the myriad ways to decorate them, but most importantly, the great way they'll bake because of my cooking rolling trick.
This year, my cookies for Santa are going to move me from the "naughty" to the "nice" category and hopefully score me some of the kitchen tools I've been asking for.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Make Delicious Cookies with Cookie Cutters

Make Delicious Cookies with Cookie Cutters

Author: Martin Pittt
There is nothing quite comforting like the smell of freshly baked cookies. Everyone has a secret family recipe for chocolate chip or raisin cookies. Whether you like them extra chewy or crunchy, you can have a lot of fun making cookies with cookie cutters. You can also make your cookies extra special with the help of cookie decorating supplies like icing nozzles and decorating pens. Decorating cookies makes them a treat for the eyes as well as the taste buds.
Cookie cutters can be made from different materials like steel, tin and plastic. They are available in a variety of shapes, sizes and designs. You can bake cookies with the help different styles of cookie cutters such as cutout cutters, cookie stamps, and even a cookie press. Cutout cutters are the easiest to use. They are basically outlines of different shapes such as circles and hearts. All you have to do is press them onto the rolled-out dough and you get perfect round or heart-shaped cookies. They are often available in sets of varying shapes and sizes. Choose cookie cutters with sharp edges or rims to make perfectly shaped cookies. If you love to bake for the holidays, cookie cutters are an absolute must. You can bake delightful Christmas cookies with the help of cutters shaped like Christmas trees or candy canes. If you are throwing a Halloween bash, your guests will love cookies shaped like ghosts or jack-o-lanterns.
Whether you like baking cookies from scratch or using cookie dough, decorating your cookies is essential. You can add lines, dots or even spell out letters on baked treats with the help of cookie decorating supplies like icing pens and icing pipes. With icing pens you can sketch colorful details on the cookies and make them even more delicious. Icing pens and pipes are offered with different nozzles or tips, so you can add different details to your baked goods. With a flower-tipped or star-tipped nozzle, you can make truly unique cookies. You can give yummy finishing touches to the cookies with cookie decorating supplies like gold or silver foil and sprinkles. Always keep rainbow sprinkles and edible foil handy to give your cookies a professional chef touch.
Baking tasty cookies from scratch becomes easier with cutters and cookie decorating supplies.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

10 Basic Steps to Making Great Cookies

10 Basic Steps to Making Great Cookies

Author: Grandma Linda
Everyone likes cookies; kids, parents, grandparents, friends, and the list could go on.  There is just nothing much better than warm cookies right out of the oven to kids of all ages.  Baking cookies is a great way to get the kids involved in the kitchen even at an early age.  Even the little ones are so impressed by cookies "they made themselves" even though they may have only stirred the dough, added an ingredient, or sprinkled on some colored sugar decorations.  And homemade cookies are perfect for everything from welcome to the neighbor hood gifts, teacher gifts, holiday gifts, office treats, to just simply something to hand to daddy and say, "Look what I made for you".


Today we have some very good cookie dough in the dairy counters of our grocery stores to buckets of dough sold as fund raisers.  But baking your own good cookies is still something special.  Baking cookies with the kids is not only fun but it teaches them how to measure, a math skill they don't even realize they are learning.  It is also a lesson in organization as ingredients are gathered before the baking begins, a lesson in working with others even if it is just the two of you, and a lesson in cleaning up as the kitchen has to be cleaned afterwards.  Even if children aren't involved, becoming proficient with a certain cookie recipe gives one a sense of self and confidence as others come to expect and even request your "special" cookie.


Following are a few tips to help you bake great cookies from scratch, as the old-timers used to say:





  1. Use good ingredients.  It is impossible to produce a first-rate product with second-rate ingredients.  For example, use butter instead of margarine.  So many of today's margarine products contain a large amount of water.  This will not produce a good cookie.  Forget about counting fat and calories when baking cookies.  Concentrate on a good product and don't over indulge on the finished product!





  2. Use good utensils.  For example, invest in a couple of good baking sheets.  Good baking sheets will help you turn out a better cookie.





  3. Use standard measuring cups and do measure the ingredients.  Baking is not the place to "throw in a little of this or that".  Use glass liquid measuring cups for measuring liquids.  You will be able to see the lines easily and the ingredients won't slosh over the sides.  Use nested measuring cups to measure dry ingredients.  Dry ingredients should be measured to the rim of the cup.  And use the right size.  Don't measure what appears to be a half cup in a one cup measure.  Get out the one-half cup measure.  It is no more trouble to wash one extra cup!





  4. Use standard measuring spoons.  Do not grab a "teaspoon" from your silverware drawer to measure an ingredient.  Get out a measuring spoon and do it right.  The teaspoon that came with your silverware set will not measure an accurate teaspoon for a recipe.  And as with the cups, use the right size.  Do not guess at a half teaspoon in a one teaspoon size.





  5. Use the proper baking sheets or pans.  Shiny metal absorbs less heat than the dark metal.  Dark metal may cause your cookies to over brown on the bottom, so the shiny metal is best if you want to produce a delicately browned cookie.  When baking bar cookies, it is especially important to use the proper sized pan that is called for in the recipe.  If you are on a limited budget and can only afford one or two quality pans, go for the cake or bar pans.  They can be turned upside down and used as cookie sheets.





  6. Other important utensils.  To make your baking easier and more efficient, helping you to turn out a better finished product, there are some other utensils you should have on hand.  If your budget is limited, buy the utensils you will use most often (for other uses as well) and add the remainder gradually.  (Hint:  When family and friends ask what you want as a gift for holidays or birthdays mention good quality items you still would like to have.)  Some of these items are:  a good set of wooden spoons for creaming butters and sugars together, slotted spoons for efficient blending of ingredients that need to be mixed by hand, a good set of rubber or silicone scrapers or spatulas, sharp knives, a good set of cookie cutters, a set of heavy mixing bowls with rounded bottoms, large glass pitcher-style mixing bowl, quality wire cooling racks, and a good rolling pin and pastry cloth for use when making cut-out cookies.





  7. Read the recipe carefully before beginning the mixing process.  You don't want to get started and realize you are out of a needed ingredient.  This will also let you know the particular basic method of mixing this recipe so you can have the proper utensils laid out.





  8. Preheat the oven.  Before you place the cookies in the oven, the oven should be at the proper temperature. 





  9. Watch your baking time carefully to avoid over-baked or underbaked cookies.  Always check your cookies at the minimum baking time given in the recipe, then you can bake them longer if needed, checking often.  An overbaked cookie is just not a good cookie.





  10. Never substitute ingredients unless the recipe gives directions for doing so or you are well acquainted with the recipe and know exactly what you are doing.