Thursday, October 30, 2008

Happy Halloween!

Although cookies are not the theme of this website, for my second post I've created a semi-healthy version of sugar cookies that are great for any holiday! Not to mention, GE's Stock has been lingering below $20 / share for several weeks now, so what better way to boost office morale than with Cookies & Candy Corn? I brought these to work Tuesday and because of popular demand brought more on Wednesday. Can't say it helped GE's stock, but the candy corns did put some nostalgic smiles on people's faces.

This recipe is fairly simple and really only requires patience while the dough chills in the fridge for a couple of hours. The Almond Milk and Coconut flavoring give the boring sugar cookie depth and content. You can also substitute the coconut flavoring with vanilla. I also prefer to use "semi-soft" butter vs. completely "soft" butter because I feel this preserves the flakiness of the cookie when bitten into. For the topping, you really can use any type of candy or even frosting. I tried to tone down the sugar content of the cookie, so when adding a topping like the Corn Syrup laden Candy Corn, my cookie didn't get overbearingly sweet.

Lisa's Everyday Sugar Cookies - For Halloween!
1 C Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
2 C White Flour
1/2 Tsp Baking Powder
1/4 Tsp Baking Soda
1/4 Tsp Sea Salt
1 C unsalted butter - semi soft
3/4 C Sugar
1/4 C Dark Amber Maple Syrup
1 Egg
1 Tbsp Almond Milk
1 Tsp Coconut flavoring/syrup (if available)
Powdered Sugar for rolling out dough
Candy Corns (by personal preference)

Sift or Stir, whichever you have time for, all of the dry ingredients. Set Aside. In a mixer, combine Sugar, Maple Syrup, and Butter until fully combined. Add Egg, coconut flavoring and Almond Milk. Once all ingredients are combined slowly add the flour mixture, 1-2 Cups at a time. Beat on low/medium speed until mixture pulls away from sides of the bowl. Divide the dough up in halves or quarters, all dependant upon how many cookies you want to make. Chill in the fridge for around 2 hours, this will help the cut outs hold their shape when baking.

Pre-heat oven to 375*F

Roll out dough using the powdered sugar as its anti-sticking agent. Cut out dough in shapes (I had to improvise and use the top of a water glass for my cut outs!) and place on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet about 1/2 inch apart. Bake for around 6-7 minutes - should be almost done, pull tray out and place the Candy Corns on top. Bake for another 1-2 minutes. When done, cookies should be golden brown on the bottom. Total cooking time is between 7-9 minutes.  Quickly move onto the cooling rack! Bet you can't eat just one ...

Saturday, October 25, 2008

How to network... through Chocolate Chip Cookies

My mom sent me this recipe when I first moved to San Francisco. She insists cookies (& lasagna) are the key to anyone's heart... unfortunately in my case it was: cookies are the key to credibility in any office, especially when that office consists of 10 employees, all but myself being male.

Cookies are easy to throw together, but you can really enhance the recipe by choosing the best ingredients: organic eggs vs. non organic, dark chocolate chunks vs. basic chips, dark amber maple syrup vs. Aunt Jemima, roasted oats vs. quick cook oats... you get the picture.

Thanks Mom, now I've earned more credibility than I was expecting. Every month they're asking when the next batch is coming! Men, I swear...

Delicious Chocolate Chip Pecan Cookies
1 Cup Flour ( I prefer King Arthur Whole Wheat Pastry Flour or White Flour)
1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1/4 tsp fine grain sea salt
2 Cups Organic Oats
1/2 Cup Pecans (pre roasted)
1 Stick (8 tbsp) Unsalted Butter
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
1/2 Cup Sugar
1 egg
1/4 C Dark Amber Maple Syrup (US Grade A)
1/2 tsp Vanilla (only the best!)
2 tbsp Cocoa Powder (love Green & Blacks Cocoa)
3/4 Cups Dark Chocolate Chunks (Whole foods carries a good brand)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

Roast pecans in the oven for about 6 minutes - I tend to "over roast" on purpose, the flavor is always a little more rich and nutty. Once cooled, chop them up into chunks.  Stir flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, oats and roasted pecans (make sure the pecans have cooled) together.  In a separate bowl beat the butter, brown sugar and white sugar for about 40 seconds.  Add egg and beat until you have a smooth and light texture.  Turn the mixer on high and slowly add the maple syrup then vanilla.  Now turn the mixture to the lowest setting and gradually add the flour mixture.  In a separate bowl, toss the chocolate chunks in the cocoa powder until completely coated.  Lastly, hand stir the chocolate chunks in the batter.  Drop walnut sized balls on parchment lined cooking sheet.  Bake for about 9 minutes at 350*F.  Cool on the pan until you are able to spatula them onto a cookie rack.  I find the cooling part the most important as it helps the cookie develop the chewy outside while maintaining the ooey gooey inside.

With bonus season around the bend, these should be a hit!

Welcome to my blog!

My passion for food and a delicious lifestyle can no longer be contained.  This blog is to document my creations in the kitchen as well as the gastronomical experiences that ignite this creativity.  Although my experiments tend to be on the healthy side (to some people's dismay), I will show you that quality ingredients are the key to any delicious recipe.  What's a corporate girl to do when she's feeling dull?  Why, cook of course!