Wednesday, May 26, 2010

[Cookie 077] Lemon Poppyseed Crisps


I don't know why I've been having trouble writing this post. I have nothing to say. Hmm. Well, I guess I'll just talk about the cookies.


I was surprised at how really lemony these cookies are! I guess it makes sense since you reduce the lemon juice so it gets very concentrated, and then you add a bunch of lemon rind too, which leaves you with quite a tart dough. I loved it! Nothing worse than a cookie that claims to have a certain flavor and then you can barely taste it (remember the Mocha Shortbread ?).


And the poppyseeds are really a nice touch--they not only give the cookie a pleasant little crunch, but they taste good and get stuck in your teeth! I love all things lemon + poppyseed, like tea cakes and muffins and quick breads and all that, and these cookies taste just like all of those.


One bug with them was how they never fully became crisp like the name suggests. Whenever this happens, I always wonder if it was actually my own fault or the recipes--it can be either, or both, who knows.


Also, an important note: refrigerate the dough a bit before you start rolling it into balls or you won't be able to work with it. It's very wet at first, but solidifies nicely when cooled, so just make sure you do that first. Then you can roll the dough into nice little spheres with ease! Problem solved. I check the MS website for the recipe and a lot of people in the comments complained about this exact problem, and many had this same solution, so I'll save you some time and worry by telling you up front. You can thank me later, or now--whenever, really.


Okay, sorry this post is so dry and bland. The cookies aren't! You should make them! They are drop dead easy, tasty, and different. So get on it and use up those random lemons you have hanging around. Okay, bye. Talk to you later. Ciao.


Lemon Poppyseed Crisps
Makes about 30

  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice, plus 3 1/2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest (2 to 3 lemons)
  • 8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds, plus more for sprinkling

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bring lemon juice to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium heat; cook until reduced by half. Add 1 stick butter; stir until melted.
  2. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Cream remaining stick butter and 1 cup sugar on medium speed in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix in egg and lemon butter. Mix until pale, about 3 minutes. Mix in vanilla and 2 teaspoons zest. Mix in flour mixture and poppy seeds.
  3. Stir together remaining 1/2 cup sugar and 1 1/2 teaspoons zest. Roll spoonfuls of dough into 1 1/2-inch balls; roll them in sugar mixture. Place 2 inches apart on baking sheets. Press each with the flat end of a glass dipped in sugar mixture until 1/4 inch thick. Sprinkle with seeds.
  4. Bake until just browned around bottom edges, 10 to 11 minutes. Transfer to wire racks; let cool completely. Store in an airtight container up to 1 week.

{End Results}
Baking Difficultly: 1/5
Ingredient Accessibility: 4/5
Tastiness: 4/5
Attractiveness: 3.5/5
Is it worth it?: Yeah! They're so quick and easy that even if you don't like them (you will), it won't take too much effort.

Drink: Tea, maybe some English Breakfast or other black tea
Song: Yellow -- All Natural Lemon and Lime Flavors
Activity: These travel great, so get on your bike and put some of these in a cute box and go have a picnic already--jeez!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

[Cookie 076] Double Chocolate Coconut Cookies


It's good to be home. I feel like I'm at rehab or something: the weather is perfect and there is nothing to do but recover from my debilitating cold and stressed out mental state (and last week's drug addiction). I've still got to unpack a few boxes, but I've found time to lounge out in my backyard under the oak tree with a beer and In Defense of Food, the book you all should read. Oh, and I managed to squeeze in a quick baking session too, obviously.


Seconds after I stepped foot into my lovely house, I walked into the kitchen and began to nose around to assess the current food situation. Nuts? Check. Dried fruits? Check. Oh hey, white chocolate chips! And coconut (albeit, rather...aged). Wait, no cocoa powder. Hmm. A quick trip to the supermarket can fix that. We've got an overabundance of butter that needs baking, so let's hop to it!


Upon seeing the white chocolate and coconut, these Double Chocolate Coconut Cookies came to mind right away, in part because I have The Book nearly memorized by now. That's either really impressive or really pathetic, and I think you can guess which one. Anyway, seeing as their recipe is posted right next to the White Chocolate Chunk Cookies I thought they would be equally amazing. Not really the case, unfortunately.


The recipe is stupid easy: just throw everything together, basically. First mix the wet ingredients, then the dry, then combine slowly. Stir in some other stuff. Drop heaps onto your baking sheet. Bake. Eat. Meh. Flavor-wise, these are pretty lacking. Maybe it's because I was forced to use Hershey's cocoa powder because my supermarket is completely awful and decided to no longer sell Scharffen Berger. But regardless, the cookie was thoroughly mediocre and definitely nothing to write home about. I enjoyed making them because I got to use my awesome oven which isn't 100ยบ off balance (like my dorm one was), and my KitchenAid, but other than that it was a pretty forgettable experience.


Yeah, not the best review. Whatever, can't win 'em all right? Right. Don't worry about it, I'm already getting ready to make something else. Until then, I'll just chill out and drink this insanely spicy ginger beer and eat the most amazing granola I just made. Life is good right now. Happy Summer.


Double Chocolate Coconut Cookies
Makes about 5 dozen

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 2 cups white-chocolate chunks (about 9 ounces)
  • 1 3/4 cups sweetened flaked coconut
  • 1 3/4 cups coarsely chopped walnuts, (about 6 ounces)

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put butter and sugars in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; mix on medium speed until smooth, about 2 minutes. Mix in eggs, 1 at a time. Stir in vanilla.
  2. Sift flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl. Mix into butter mixture on low speed until well combined. Stir in chocolate, coconut, and walnuts.
  3. Using a 1 1/2-inch ice cream scoop, drop batter onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper, spacing 2 inches apart. Flatten slightly. Bake until set, 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool on sheets on wire racks 2 minutes. Transfer cookies on parchment to racks to cool completely. Cookies can be stored in airtight containers at room temperature up to 1 week.

{End Results}
Baking Difficultly: 1/5
Ingredient Accessibility: 4/5
Tastiness: 2.5/5
Attractiveness: 2/5
Is it worth it?: Nah, not really. You can find an equally simple recipe that will yield far tastier results. These are good if you want chocolate!

Drink: Nothing...?
Song: Catholic Pagans -- Surfer Blood (to get you ready for summer!)
Activity: Give these cookies away, grab a beer and a book, read about 2-3 lines of text, then fall asleep.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

[Cookie 075] Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars


Well I did it. I am officially halfway through my college career. Does that freak me out? Yes. But I try not to think to hard about it; instead, I subconsciously revert to all of my old childhood habits. No, I didn't buy back all my old My Lil' Ponies or start watching Sesame Street (though, I might), but I definitely am keeping my eye out for some butterfly barrettes and jelly sandals to add to my wardrobe. And I made sure to rewatch The O.C. (season 1, please) as well as Ratatouille, which is actually a seriously amazing movie. And obviously, I made these Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars to celebrate the end of my sophomore year in college. Talk about a serious throwback.


Eating these is like revisiting your childhood, but on crack. Okay, let me explain that. These bars are really intense and delicious, but have this hidden quality to them that makes them bizarrely addictive. Addictive like...GET THESE OUT OF MY KITCHEN BEFORE I EAT THE ENTIRE BATCH. I honestly would have done that. It's terrible, actually.

The crack-cocaine

I think I first realized that I had reinvented crack-cocaine about 15 minutes into the preparation of the recipe. It's once you mix together all the wet ingredients: butter, peanut butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla. That's the drug part. That's the dangerous part. If there was one thing I could eat without feeling any regret/gaining any weight, it would be this. Hook me up to an IV of it, put it in a trough by the dining room table, whatever. Just gimme gimme.


So, if you have enough willpower to actually add the dry ingredients without eating all of the crack-cocaine, you'll begin to realize that you have an absolutely massive amount of dough. I think I realized this when I finished measuring out 3 whole cups of flour. That's a lot. So I mixed it all up, which was a work out in itself considering I don't have a mixmaster, and then ate some more of the dough. Gotta get my fix.


Anyway, I forgot to mention that this recipe is really great for cleaning out your fridge, which is why I made it (I was moving out of my dorm, so had to get rid of a bunch of food). You can use any kind of peanut butter, even though the recipe calls for creamy, and you can use any kinds of jelly. I had a bunch of almost empty jelly jars in the fridge, as well as some cranberry butter, so I mixed them all together and made a very nice jelly to spread on top of the dough.


Once the baking dish was all prepared, I had to move it to the oven. Obviously. Well, I lifted up the baking dish, and I almost blew out my knees in doing so--it was crazy heavy. I stumbled over to the oven, managed to open it, and placed the dish inside. Set the timer. Went and took a nap (duh, by this stage I was officially 6 years old). Woke up, strained to lift the monstronsity out of the oven, and set it on a cooling rack.


Okay, here's the important part. You really need to wait for this to cool and set. You're supposed to let it cool entirely on the cooling rack, then slice it, and then refrigerate it for 2 hours. But remember, I was a 6 year old by this point. A 6 year old with no patience. So I refrigerate it for about 20 minutes and then decide to serve myself a slice. WHAT A DISASTER. Messiest decision 2010. The dough was completely unset and gloppy and totally delicious. But also a little gross in its total over-the-top intense, heart attack nature. Back into the refrigerator.


Once they are actually set, however, they are really way better. I could eat these for a long time. I did. I ate a lot. Then I had a juice box and took another nap (I wish I was lying). And then I promptly gave the rest away. The first step was admitting I had a problem. The second step was passing my problem off to someone else. I'm a recovering addict, but I don't think I've really learned from my mistakes. Whatever. Call me a 6 year-old drug addict trapped in a 20 year-old's body. Woof, that'll give you nightmares.

Anyway, I bet you're like, "I don't want to be a drug-addled child!!!" Yeah you do, it's great. Make these, trust me. What's better than nostalgia paired with uncontrollable, manic eating? Nothing! So get to it, folks!

P.S. Get ready for a whole lot more posting! Summer = No work = More baking = Awesome


Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars
Makes about 3 dozen

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pan
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 1/2 cups smooth peanut butter
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups strawberry jam, or other flavor
  • 2/3 cup salted peanuts, roughly chopped

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-by-13-inch pan with butter, and line the bottom with parchment paper. Grease the parchment, and coat inside of pan with flour; set aside. Place butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes. On medium speed, add eggs and peanut butter; beat until combined, about 2 minutes.
  2. Whisk together salt, baking powder, and flour. Add to bowl of mixer on low speed; combine. Add vanilla. Transfer two-thirds of mixture to prepared pan; spread evenly with offset spatula. Using offset spatula, spread jam on top of peanut-butter mixture. Dollop remaining third of peanut-butter mixture on top of jam. Sprinkle with peanuts.
  3. Bake until golden, about 45 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool; cut into about thirty-six 1 1/2-by-2-inch pieces.

{End Results}
Baking Difficultly: 3/5
Ingredient Accessibility: 4.5/5
Tastiness: 4/5
Attractiveness: 3/5
Is it worth it?: If you're taking advice from an addict, you need to reevaluate your judgement. That being said, YES YES BAKE THEM AND GIVE EM 2 ME PLZ.

Drink: A juice box, durrr.
Song: Little Child -- The Beatles
Activity: Snack time, followed by nap time.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010



I'm moving out of my dorm in less than a week, so I don't really want to buy any ingredients or food or anything to make cookies. And finals--they're also making it difficult to bake anything. AND this heinous cold I have, which is entirely debilitating. I AM A WALKING ZOMBIE.

I'll post soon, but only once I can breathe out of both nostrils.