Salted Double Chocolate Peanut Cookies

Something is making me sneeze.

Perhaps it is the colossal pollen eruption that took over my neighborhood:

Or maybe it has to do with this new family member:

Here’s another photo, because one is just not enough:

One thing for sure is that these scrumptious things are so amazing that I would be willing to sneeze continuously for the rest of my life in order to eat these. Of course, this side-steps the fact that if I were sneezing continuously, I probably couldn’t eat.

These are Salted Double Chocolate Peanut Cookies.

Say what?

I love peanut butter cookies, but adding salt and chocolate to them? That should almost be illegal.

Thankfully, I made these pups for my little cousin’s birthday party so I didn’t have to sit in a corner and shovel them down my throat in guilt. While these certainly didn’t overshadow the Modern Pastry cannolis, or the blue frosted Carvel cake, I feel these at least stood up to the other desserts. I realize they look like feces, particularly when placed against other desserts, but believe me on this one: they don’t taste like feces.

My only complaint is that they have a cake-like consistency. I prefer my cookies to be gooey, melting, and chewy. Don’t let that stop you from trying these out. An easy recipe to follow, you can substitute peanut butter chips for a sweeter taste, or use peanuts as I did.

Check out the recipe at Food 52.

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My Grandmother’s Favorite Cookies

My grandfather had a passion for genealogy, and I believe most everyone in my family was affected by his zest for family heritage. He kept a diary for most of his life, something that most people can’t say they have done. I was always intrigued by family histories, particularly that of my maternal grandmother. Born in Egypt but of Russian heritage, she immigrated to the U.S when she was 18. I’ve always admired her independence, perhaps because, like me, she is an only child. During the holidays, my mother told me my grandmother would be visiting. She also hinted that my grandmother’s favorite cookies were Russian Tea Cakes.

These treats also go by Mexican Wedding Cakes, so I’m not sure whether to attribute the recipe to one culture or another. However, the combination of butter, sugar, finely chopped nuts and some vanilla is ubiquitously delicious. I used good ol’ Betty Crocker’s recipe, which you can find here.

My grandmother did not realize I had made her these cookies on Christmas Day until my aunt ran into the living room exclaiming how amazing these cookies were. I’ve never seen my grandmother leap out of her seat as quickly as she did, particularly considering that my grandmother claims she would prefer a piece of bread at the end of dinner, rather than a sweet.

The way the cookie melts in your mouth is surely why so many people commented on these bites of goodness. Not to mention, that messy powdered sugar that remains on your lips after taking the first bite is a cute look.

Almond Joy Cookies

I am now living in a house with fifteen other people, and though our kitchen is generous in size, I still only have one shelf to keep all of my food. This means that boxes of cereal, cans of soup, and coffee take precedence for shelf space over kitchen staples like flour, sugar, etc. What is a college student to do, when the need to bake is obvious but the ingredients are not present? The answer is Almond Joy Cookies.

Using store-bought dough and adding ingredients is the key to these cookies. My fellow housemates seemed to enjoy these scrumptious little bites full of coconut, almonds and chocolate. What’s more to love? Although I am usually against store-bought dough, these cookies taste just as good as home-made, from-scratch cookies. Go on, make these and devour a whole plate of them. I dare you not.

Almond Joy Cookies

1 16.5 oz. prepared roll of sugar cookie dough

3/4 cup shredded coconut

1 cup milk chocolate chips

3/4 cup sliced almonds

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease baking sheet. 

Let dough soften for several minutes. Break up cookie dough in large bowl. Add coconut, chocolate chips and almonds. Mix together (you may need to use your hands to properly mix the ingredients). Drop rounded tablespoons on sheet. Bake for 10-13 minutes or until cookies begin to brown.

The Ocean (and Brown Butter-Fleur de Sel-Chocolate Chip Cookies)

I made these:

I went here:

The ocean is my therapy.

Maybe I have obscured vision, but if you stare at the horizon for long enough, it becomes a solid white line. Things become aligned, at peace. Even if it is below freezing out.

Other things that make me at peace: film rolls and these cookies.

These are heavenly Brown Butter-Fleur de Sel-Chocolate Chip Cookies. I have never browned butter before, but boy does it add a kick to the average chocolate chip cookie. And then you add sea salt and suddenly these cookies are divine. Check out the recipe here.

Gluten Free Salted Caramel Cookie Cups

I know Christmas is impending when the traffic within a ten mile radius of the mall is at a stand still. Thankfully, I went to yoga this morning and got my patience all sorted out, which made the traffic less bothersome.

Other signs of Christmas have included, but are not limited to:

-my mother cleaning the house, despite the cleaning ladies arriving the next day,

-my cat eating through the cord of Christmas lights (and is surprisingly still alive, currently digging through tissue paper),

-the arrival of family from all across the States,

-fifty degree weather (just kidding, not a sign of Christmas),

-a fridge filled with appetizers and salads up the wahzoo,

-eating cheesecake for dinner.

Just to add to the cookie craziness that has been in my kitchen and on my blog, here’s another recipe for the collection! One of my best friends is gluten intolerant, so with the help of another best friend, we adapted this recipe, Turtle Tassies, to suit a gluten free diet. These caramel pecan cookie cups are decadent, sweet, and perfectly bite-size. Not to mention, it was impossible for me to tell that these were gluten free. The package of cookie mix calls for vanilla, so if the gluten intolerant person you’re serving is severely gluten intolerant, make sure to use GF vanilla. Be careful taking the cookies out of the trays, as a few of mine weren’t baked enough and couldn’t support the caramel (my oven also cooks unevenly…).

1 package GF Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix

Butter, egg, vanilla (as noted on cookie mix)

3/4 cup GF semi-sweet chocolate chips

2 (14 oz) bags of caramels, unwrapped

1/3 cup whipping cream

1/2 cup chopped pecans

Sea salt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a mini cupcake pan with cooking spray. Make dough according to cookie mix box. Make 36 balls of dough about one inch in size. Press each ball into pan, press up sides to create a shell. Bake 8 to 9 minutes until edges start to brown. In a small saucepan, place caramels and cream and heat until melted. Reduce heat to low. Remove pans from oven and use the back of a wooden spoon to press gently on the sides and bottom of each cup. Bake shells for 2-3 more minutes. Remove from oven, place 2-3 chocolate chips in each cup. Spoon about 1 tablespoon of caramel into cups, top with pecans and a sprinkle of sea salt.

The Cutest Cookies: Reindeer Style

When I was little, I left out cookies, a diet orange soda, and some lettuce for Santa and his reindeer, similar to most children. Additionally, I drew out a map of our house in case he got lost (I don’t think it’s possible to ever get lost in my house, but I wanted to make his delivery of presents as easy as possible).

One year, the Christmas tree was moved to a different room of the house, so I gave him written instructions on how to get to the new location. I also told him to not worry about going down the chimney, but instead to just go through the back door. If he went through the door instead of the chimney, he would hypothetically shave off three minutes. Three minutes that could be spent eating more cookies, which is always a good thing.

I found this recipe for Reindeer Peanut Butter cookies and I instantly wanted to make them. These cookies are almost too good to eat, but then you remember there are chocolate covered pretzels as antlers, and suddenly the cookies are devoured.

If I were to make these again, I would add more peanut butter or perhaps use a different peanut butter cookie dough. These were good, but not the best cookie base because of a mild peanut butter flavor. The recipe called for mini chocolate covered pretzels, which I could not find, so I made the cookies larger and used normal sized chocolate covered pretzels. Some reindeer lacked antlers because the bag of pretzels had many broken pieces. Just be wary of this when purchasing the antlers.

Reindeer Peanut Butter Cookies

3/4 cups peanut butter

1 1/4 cups brown sugar, packed

1/2 cup shortening

3 tbs milk

1 egg

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 tsp baking soda

3/4 tsp salt

Chocolate covered pretzels

Mini brown M&Ms

Regular sized red M&Ms

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine brown sugar, peanut butter, shortening, milk, and vanilla in a large bowl. Beat at medium speed. Add egg and beat until just blended. In another bowl, combine flour, soda and salt. Add to creamed mix at low speed. Form 2″ ball of dough and place on greased cookie sheets. Pinch the bottom slightly to make a point. Flatten by hand. Cook for 7 to 8 minutes until just turning brown. Remove and immediately press 2 pretzel antlers at the tops of the cookies. Press 2 mini M&Ms for the eyes, and one red M&M for the nose. Allow to cool before transferring off of sheet, as the pretzels need to set.

Christmas = Andes Chocolate Mints

Every Christmas, my late grandmother would bring over Andes Chocolate Mints. Similarly, every Easter she would have a stock of Russell Stover lemon squares, which from my google searches seem to no longer exist (hint to Russell Stover: if you bring these candies back to the market, I will buy every single box).

Chocolate and mint are like chocolate and peanut butter. Or for me, raw onions and ketchup and/or mustard. It is the perfect combination. Not to mention, while Andes Mints still make an appearance at my family’s Christmas dinner, why not put them in a cookie?

This recipe from Baker’s Royale is terrific and relatively easy. If you have a standing mixer, this recipe is very easy. Don’t have a standing mixer? Be prepared to be mixing the ingredients for a good fifteen minutes. My arms are jacked now. Because of all the mixing, the eggs take the place of most dry ingredients and butter (so hypothetically these are healthier–except that then you add in chocolate and Andes). Espresso granules are added for some extra oomph, and the bittersweet cookie against the sweet, minty Andes is delicious. The cookie is almost meringue-like because of the eggs, which at first was a turn-off for me when reading the recipe because I like soft, squishy cookies. But don’t run away because these cookies melt in your mouth with a minty-chocolate taste. What more could you ask for, besides Russell Stover lemon squares or raw onions and ketchup?

The Australian Chocolate Chip Situation

These are good. So damn good that I nearly ate myself into a coma. My original intention was to make a treat for a presentation I had to give on the appropriate topic of Tasty Cities. What happened in the end was that I shared these with some friends and a birthday boy. Aside from multiple jokes about my balls, they were devoured in seconds.

I purchased my first bag of Australian chocolate chips. This is a major accomplishment, considering that I had to accept the fact that the supermarket only sold dark or milk chocolate. Not semisweet, or bittersweet, or white. Ideally, I would use semisweet chips in chocolate chip cookies, particularly if they are Ghiradelli or Guittard. In the end, I purchased no-name brand milk chocolate chips and a dark chocolate bar. I’m not sure if I would call Australian’s chocolate situation as a shortage of chocolate types, but more likely, the United States has a diverse, extensive selection of chocolate available even in local supermarkets.

Without an oven in my apartment, these Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Balls are the perfect solution to a delicious, sweet treat made in no time. Because the dough is eggless, you can eat the dough right out of the mixing bowl. Any open invitation to eat dough out of the bowl is welcome to me. If you have the patience, wait a few hours after refrigerating the dough to make shapely balls which can then be dipped in chocolate.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Balls

Makes at least 24 balls, if you don’t eat the dough first

1/2 c butter, softened

3/4 c brown sugar, packed

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 c all purpose flour

1 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk

1/2 cup semisweet mini chocolate morsels

1 or 2 chocolate bars, for dipping

Cream butter and brown sugar until creamy. Add vanilla, then slowly beat in flour. Mix in milk, then chocolate chips. 

Keep dough refrigerated in order to make the dough firmer and easier to roll.

I refrigerated the dough for about two hours and then rolled the dough into balls. The following day I dipped the dough into dark chocolate, which I merely heated up in the microwave.

Be sure not to overheat the chocolate, or else the chocolate can become grainy, dense, or oily. Break up a chocolate bar into pieces and place in a microwaveable bowl. Heat in the microwave for 1 minute, then stir. If the chocolate is still not melted, heat in 30 second intervals, stirring in between until chocolate is melted. Dipping the cookie dough balls in chocolate can be messy, but laying parchment paper on the countertop makes the process simpler. With a fork, skewer, or toothpick, dip the cookie dough in the chocolate until coated evenly. Set the dough on the parchment paper and let cool in the refrigerator.