Wednesday, October 30, 2013

[Cookie 104] Pecan Logs



Yeah I know, you probably thought it was all empty promises.  That I really wasn't going to start up this blog again, and I know this has been keeping you up at night (for me, it's been my awful upstairs neighbors--like, why are you moving/building/destroying furniture at 2am?!).  But don't even worry about it--I am so here, for you, for real! And my excuse for not posting promptly isn't laziness this time (or not exclusively laziness, I should say).  I've just been working on retouching the photos to make them look real nice and purty for you.  So what I'm saying is, it's all going to be better than ever! First step on the road to improvement--these Pecan Logs, in that they are better than those lame Icebox Spirals and Bull's-Eyes of the last post.  One step at a time.  The next cookie is even better than these, so get pumped!


But some things haven't changed.  I still primarily chose to make these cookies because they didn't require an extra trip to the grocery store, since I still had pecans left over from making this totally insanely incredible Pecan-Pumpkin Pie with Bourbon Whipped Cream.  I don't really have a recipe to link to that, since it was a combination of several recipes, and a lot of people were involved and a lot of drinking was involved, so I'm not even sure everything that went into it.  But it was good!!! Just imagine--bottom layer pumpkin pie, top layer pecan pie.  They actually ended up totally mixing together, as a result of poor judgement and drinking the bourbon instead of cooking with it, but seriously who gives a shit.  It was goooooood!!!

Sorry about the tangent, but I mean come on, pie, pie pie, piepiepie.  Maybe I should make a pie blog next.  I don't know if my arteries, stomach, or wallet could really handle that though, to be honest.  OK OK OK, cookies, let's talk.




These are real classic shortbread cookies with pecans both on the inside and the outside.  I was worried that they hadn't fully baked through, since for some reason I always have that issue when making shortbread.  But after letting these cool and waiting a few hours, they hardened up and really lived up to their category of "crumbly and sandy".



One thing I'd like to mention (which Martha already did in in the header notes, and I totally ignored): Try not to over grind the pecans.  They very quickly release their oils and then clump together and don't really integrate into the dough that well, and definitely are difficult to roll onto the outside of the dough.  I was about 2 microseconds away from total pecan butter--not that that would have been a bad thing, but it would have botched this recipe for sure.




They're cute though, huh! All lined up like little poops.  Sorry! Another note: the dough is a little tricky to roll into an even log shape, especially if it warms up.  The less you handle the dough the better.  I rolled it into a ball and then a quick roll between my palms to make the log shape.  Then dump it into the pecans and roll it about.  Side note: I once went to a very very real Chinese food restaurant that served a dessert that they called "Ass Rolls About."  It had something to do with a donkey rolling in the dust or something, but I mean come on, really? I was about to do a quick google search on Ass Rolls About, but then remembered I'm at work, and that might not be a smart choice.



And voila.  They are cute and taste nice.  Very good for a cookie exchange between friends, since those are coming up.  Also good for a cookie exchange between your hand and your mouth (sorry, is that a double entendre?).  They're good.  Nothing other worldly, but good, cute, and simple--JUST LIKE ME.  (Ok, only the last of those 3 things is actually true...)


Pecan Logs
Makes about 4 dozen

Ingredients

  • 2 cups pecans (about 5 1/4 ounces), toasted
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/4 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted, plus more for dusting
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Process pecans in a food processor until finely ground; set aside.
  2. Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl; set aside. Put butter and confectioners sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; mix on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add egg and vanilla; mix until well combined. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture and half of the ground pecans; mix until just combined. Wrap dough in plastic; refrigerate until cold, about 30 minutes.
  3. Roll tablespoons of dough into 2-inch-long logs. Roll logs in remaining pecans. Place on baking sheets lined with parchment paper, spacing about 1 inch apart.
  4. Bake cookies, rotating sheets halfway through, until pale golden and slightly cracked, 14 to 15 minutes. Transfer logs to wire racks to cool, about 5 minutes. Sift confectioners' sugar over cookies before serving, if desired. Cookies can be stored in airtight containers at room temperature up to 3 days.

****
{End Results}
Baking Difficulty: 1/5
Ingredient Accessibility: 4/5
Tastiness: 4/5
Attractiveness: 4/5
Is it worth it?: Sure

{Pairings}
Drink: Bourbon.  But seriously, they are the perfect size for dipping, so maybe milk? OMG CHOCOLATE MILKSHAKE WOULD BE KILLER!!!!
Activity: Rolling your ass about

Saturday, October 5, 2013

[Cookie 103] Icebox Spirals and Bull's-Eyes


God this feels so WEEEEIRD!!!!!!! I can't believe I'm doing this again.  What's wrong with me?! Everything has changed since I left the blogging world.  Google Reader doesn't even exist anymore, so how will people even know about this blog? Actually, if there's anyone out there reading this, would you mind giving me some insight into how people/you read blogs these days? Like, how are you reading this right now? I know all about Pinterest and Instagram (follow meee), but what about BLOGSSSSS?? Are they, like, so 2010? Help!

Okay, so let's get to know each other again, yeah? Since I last posted, I have graduated college, moved into a really awesome apartment, traveled around India for 4 months, been using a laptop with a non-functioning period key for nearly a year, and finally got a legit job at a photo company.  This is the lady who is writing to you:


And here are some nice things she has in her apartment (Baryshnikov and Dahlias, both are sexy):



She has NOT been baking very much, that's for damn sure.  Until now--I am so ready to do this.  I hate the fact that my triumphant return is marked by such a pathetic, boring, lame cookie, but hey, I'm still the same girl who wants to bake cookies without having to go food shopping for any ingredients other than sugar and butter.  So I made these guys.  But don't worry--I've pretty much exhausted all the really boring recipes from the book, so now I have no choice but to buy expensive, weird ingredients and bake difficult, tedious recipes!



Anyways, let's get to it.  This is a total standard icebox cookie recipe, so you can make the dough and keep it in the freezer for a century and bake a random cookie here and there when you feel like it.  The only way I can see Martha justifying including this boring recipe in her book is because she made fucking spirals with the dough, but seriously Martha, we all know you're really good at making boring shit look pretty.  Come on! A little flavor would have been nice.  Also, these were totally NOT crumbly and sandy! That may have been my fault, but still, I'm upset.


So I tried to spice it up by using Droste cocoa and this fancy vanilla extract, but it really didn't make much of a difference.

And I didn't even TRY to make the bull's-eyes, because those look so LAME!!!! Like, who cares about those guys when you've got spirals around.



In summation, this recipe is in no way remotely worth the effort of rolling the dough into a pretty spiral log.  The cookie is nice only if you've just discovered that you had already made the dough several years ago and it's been sleeping in your freezer collecting freezer burn and now you can have surprise cookies! I would not bake them if you want cookies right now--maybe bake them in preparation for nuclear apocalypse? Otherwise, choose from any of the other delicious, simple, fast recipes in the book.


Icebox Spirals and Bull's-Eyes
Makes 34 bull's-eyes and 28 spirals

Ingredients


  • 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) butter
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs, plus an extra egg white for "glue"
  • 3 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 5 cups flour, plus more for work surface
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder

Directions
    1. Using the electric mixer, mix the butter and the sugar until creamy. Add the eggs and the salt, and mix well. Beat in milk and vanilla. Add flour a little at a time, mixing it in until all of it has been incorporated.
    2. Divide the dough into balls, one for each color. For chocolate dough, add cocoa (1/4 cup is enough to flavor half a batch). Mix well with electric mixer. For colored dough, start with 1/4 teaspoon food coloring, and mix well. Add more in tiny amounts for darker colors. Gel-paste coloring can be intense, so add it gradually.
    3. Wrap each ball of dough in its own sheet of plastic wrap; pat flat into a rectangle. Refrigerate at least one hour or until ready to use.
    4. Parchment or waxed paper makes a good work surface. Sprinkle generously with flour, then roll out each piece of dough 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick to make the swirls; you can use thicker layers for the bull's-eyes.
    5. The bench scraper is a good tool for trimming dough's edges to make them even. The egg white, brushed on with a pastry brush, will act as a glue, making the layers stick together.
    6. For center, with your hands, roll chocolate dough into a 1/2- to 1 1/2- inch-thick rod; chill 20 minutes. Place rod on edge of rolled-out dough that's been brushed with egg white.
    7. Roll rod inside sheet of dough. Cut the dough where it meets up. Seal by pinching and pressing gently. Chill 20 minutes, then repeat to add other layers. To decorate, go to step 7, or jump to step 8 for plain.
    8. For spirals, measure and trim two or more colors of dough to same size. Brush on egg white, then stack layers. Brush top with egg white. Starting at one end, roll up the dough.
    9. Smooth and straighten the layers as you roll them so there are no gaps, then gently pinch and press the edge of the roll to seal it. Now the dough is ready to decorate. If you want plain cookies, skip to step 18.
    10. Add your favorite toppings (try coconut, colored sanding sugar, chopped nuts, or chocolate sprinkles): Spread topping in baking sheet, brush dough with egg white, and roll the log in topping.
    11. Roll each log in parchment or waxed paper; twist the ends of the paper closed. To help the logs keep their round shape, set each in a cardboard paper-towel roll that you have sliced open lengthwise.
    12. To remember what colors you have already used, with crayons, draw the designs onto key tags; tie the tags onto the paper covering the logs. Chill logs until they are solid, about 1 1/2 hours.
    13. Cut 15 inches of dental floss (or double thickness of thread). Let log soften for about 10 minutes. Remove parchment. Wrap floss around log and pull through. Make the slices thin: 1/4 inch or less.
    14. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place slices on an ungreased baking sheet (lined with parchment paper). A grown-up should bake the cookies 12 to 15 minutes, until firm but not browned. Let cool on baking sheet for several minutes, then transfer to a wire rack.
****
{End Results}
Baking Difficulty: 2/5
Ingredient Accessibility: 5/5
Tastiness: 2/5
Attractiveness: 3/5
Is it worth it?: Nah

{Pairings}
Drink: Margarita
Activity: Celebrating my return with listening to the above song

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Hello? (Hello? Hello?)



Is this thing on?

GUESS WHO BAKED SOME COOKIES--THIS ASSHOLE!

Post coming soon.  

Saturday, September 24, 2011



AWwoowowooowWWWOOOowowoOOOooooOOOOOOOO!!!!!!

GHOST OF A LONG DEAD BLOG COMIN' BACK TO HAUNT YOU!!!!! I SHALL RETURN!!!!!

AND I DIDN'T EVEN REALIZE, IT IS EXACTLY SIX MONTHS TO THE DAY SINCE MY LAST POST! SPOOOOOOOOOKY!!!!!!!!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

[Cookie 102] Raisin Bars

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I hate blogging. I like baking, I like baking all these cookies, I like sharing them, I like you readers (most of you), and I like taking pictures, but I don't like updating this thing. I mean seriously, does anyone actually like to do that? Okay, I guess a lot of people.

Forgive me. And you will, once you make these Raisin Bars.

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Some notes: The filling is really rad, but would be even radder if you used figs or prunes. Or a combination. Remember these fig bars? They had the most amazing filling, with red wine, honey, and (duh) figs. That would taste pretty damn good in this oatmeal crust. Probz better than the fig bar pastry crust, which was mediocre.

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Hope you are having a nice spring! More posts, more often, I promise. I make no promise on the quality or attitude of them.

P.S. Just read over some old posts. Not sure if I should feel hideously embarrassed about this whole blog and my writing, or proud of my sharp tongue and slick wit. I'm going to go with the former.

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Raisin Bars
Makes 16 wimpy, or 9 fatty squares

Ingredients

  • Unsalted butter, softened, for baking sheet
  • 2 cups raisins (about 13 ounces)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup apple cider
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons coarse salt
  • 1 1/4 cups vegetable shortening
  • 1 1/4 cups packed light-brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 10-by-15-inch rimmed baking sheet. Line bottom with parchment paper, and butter parchment; set sheet aside.

  2. Make filling: Pulse raisins and sugar in a food processor until almost pureed. Transfer to a saucepan. Whisk cornstarch into 1 cup cold water; whisk into raisin mixture. Stir in cider. Simmer over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until mixture thickens and sugar has dissolved, about 6 minutes.
    Let cool completely.

  3. Make dough: Whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl; set aside. Put shortening in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed until smooth. Add brown sugar, and mix until pale and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add egg and vanilla, and mix until combined. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture; mix until just combined. Mix in oats.

  4. Press half the dough into prepared baking sheet. Spread raisin filling evenly over top of dough. Crumble remaining dough on top of filling using your fingers, gently pressing down so that topping covers filling. Bake, rotating sheet halfway through, until top is golden brown, about 35 minutes. Let cool completely in sheet on a wire rack. Cut into 2-inch
    squares. Bars can be stored between layers of parchment in airtight containers at room temperature up to 5 days.


****
{End Results}
Baking Difficultly: 3/5
Ingredient Accessibility: 4/5
Tastiness: 4/5
Attractiveness: 2.5/5
Is it worth it?: Yeah bro

{Pairings}
Drink: Apple cider
Song: Friday -- Rebecca Black (no link, I'm not that mean--just trying to keep up with pop culture here!)
Activity: Write my blog 4 me cuz i am lazee