Barb’s Cookies: The Secret-Ingredient Chocolate Chip Cookies

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I almost didn’t want to post this recipe, since it is such a treasured one. Here’s why:

18 years ago, my family moved into a new house. The neighbors across the street, Bob and Barb, brought over housewarming cookies. They were so delicious that we asked for the recipe. We’ve since given a batch of these divine treats to almost every new neighbor, including most recently a young couple up the street.

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Now, what makes these cookies so damn delicious? Coffee.

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And two kinds of coffee!

Instant espresso dissolved in water, as well as ground coffee. Sounds gross, or overwhelming in flavor, but believe me (and the other 8 neighbors) that the minute amount of coffee actually brings out the chocolate flavors.

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Here’s the treasured recipe:

Makes 5 dozen cookies

1 cup butter

1 cup white sugar

1 cup light brown sugar

1 egg

1 1/2 tsp vanilla

2 cups flour

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp instant coffee, dissolved in a few droplets of water

1 tsp ground coffee

2 cups old-fashioned oatmeal

12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips [splurge here! I used Ghiradelli]

1 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease cookie sheets. 

Cream butter, sugars, egg and vanilla. Beat in flour, salt, powder, soda, and coffees. By hand, mix oatmeal, chocolate and walnuts into the dough. 

Place tablespoon-sized drops of dough on greased cookie sheet. Bake for 10 minutes. Let cool for 2 minutes, then transfer to cookie rack.

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Oatmeal Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Father’s Day reminds me of the weekly Sunday drives I used to take with my Dad to visit my grandparents, NPR always filling the car. Upon arrival: a freshly baked tray of cookies.

But peanut butter also always reminds me of my father–it seems to be a mainstay in the kitchen, whether for sandwiches or a simple dollop straight from the spoon.

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And so, I tested out these Oatmeal Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies, with a recipe thanks to Tasty Kitchen and Two Peas and Their Pod. With no butter, these seemingly healthier cookies maintain a great chew thanks to the peanut butter and oatmeal. I used high-quality chocolate for extra oomph–a worthwhile decision. With few ingredients and batter that is hard to resist eating out of the bowl, I was pleased with their simplicity. To say the least, I am a fan.

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White Chocolate Cherry Oatmeal Cookies

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These remind me of the oatmeal raisin cookies I used to eat in my elementary school’s cafeteria. Except that these White Chocolate Cherry Oatmeal Cookies are so much better. There is still the spice and chew that was so familiar in the grade school version, but now there’s a hint of maple, tang from the dried cherries, and a healthy amount of sweet white chocolate. A childhood favorite, totally revamped.

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White Chocolate Cherry Oatmeal Cookies

Adapted from Joy the Baker

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 cup light brown sugar

1/3 cup granulated sugar

2 eggs

2 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup maple syrup

1 3/4 cups old-fashioned oatmeal, uncooked

3/4 cup dried cherries

1 cup white chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, mix flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. 

In a separate, larger bowl, cream butter and sugars until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time. Then add vanilla and maple syrup. Beat until combined.

Slowly add flour mixture to butter mixture, beating until just mixed. Fold in oatmeal, cherries, and white chocolate. 

Scoop tablespoonfuls of dough onto lined sheets, leaving two inches between cookies. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the edges look golden. Remove from oven and let cool for five minutes before transferring to cookie rack. Image

Banana Cream Pudding Cookies

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 Unexpected flavors, with the crunch of Nilla wafers, and the added sweetness of white chocolate pieces, these Banana Cream Pudding Cookies took me by surprise– in the best way possible.

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With the help of pudding mix, the cookies stay moist in the center, while still being sturdy. You could try using any type of chocolate chip in these cookies, and if Nilla wafers are not your thing, they can easily be omitted.

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Banana Cream Pudding Cookies

Adapted from Two Peas & Their Pod

Makes 3 dozen cookies

1 cup butter, unsalted

3/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup sugar

1 pkg. banana cream instant pudding (3.4 oz)

2 large eggs

1 tsp vanilla

2 1/2 cups flour

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup chopped wafers

1 1/2 cups white chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.

In large bowl, beat butter and sugar together until fluffy. Stir in pudding, eggs, and vanilla.

In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking soda, and salt. Slowly add this dry mix to the wet mix. Stir until incorporated. Fold in chopped wafers and chocolate chips. 

Drop by the tablespoonful onto sheets. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until edges are golden brown. Let cool on sheets for 2 minutes, then transfer to wire cooling rack.

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Ginger Spice Cookies with White Chocolate Chunks

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I’ve always shied away from making spice cookies mostly because my uncle is famous in our family for his version. His are of the gingersnap variety, i.e. crunchy. This recipe, Ginger Spice Cookies with White Chocolate Chunks, is not crunchy, and thus I don’t feel like I’m invading on my uncle’s cookie celebrity.

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In fact, these cookies are chewy and moist, thanks to the applesauce and molasses. What is most unbelievable is that, before adding the white chocolate, these cookies are free of fat. Sugar, on the other hand, is plentiful. But what’s the holiday season without a little sweetness? Store these in an airtight container–the cookies get chewier with time.

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Ginger Spice Cookies with White Chocolate Chunks

Adapted from David Lebovitz

Makes 18-24 cookies

1 cup dark brown sugar

1/4 cup applesauce, unsweetened

1/3 cup molasses

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking soda

2 1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 1/2 tsp dried ginger

1/4 tsp ground cloves

1/2 tsp ground pepper

1/4 tsp sea salt

2 large egg whites, room temperature

1 4oz. white chocolate baking bar [I used Ghiradelli], chopped

1/2 cup sugar [I used brown] + pinch of cinnamon, for rolling cookies

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two cookie trays with parchment paper.

In a large bowl with electric mixer, mix brown sugar, applesauce and molasses for 5 minutes. 

In a separate bowl, sift together flour, spices, soda, and salt. 

Add egg whites to wet mixture, beat for 1 minute. At lowest mixer speed, add dry ingredients to wet mixture. Once incorporated, mix for 1 more minute. Stir in white chocolate chunks.

Chill dough in freezer for 15 minutes, or in refrigerator for longer, even overnight.  

In a shallow dish, mix sugar with cinnamon. By the tablespoonful, roll dough into balls and roll in sugar mixture. Place on sheet, with room to spread. Bake for 13 minutes. Let cool for 1 minute on sheet, then place on cooling racks.

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Snickerdoodle Blondies

My father had a hard time grasping the name of these Snickerdoodle Blondies.

“Doodly-whats?”

“Snoodles?”

In fact, the etymology for snickerdoodle shows a similarity to the German word for snail (Schneke), but it could also simply be a 19th century English word for an easily-made treat. Ultimately, who really cares? It’s all about taste in my book, and these chewy bar cookies hit the right spot. Typically snickerdoodles are found in cookie form, so this is a nice variation to try. Made in one bowl with pantry staples, these are one of the easiest desserts I have made. Of course, don’t skimp on the cinnamon sugar topping–this is what makes your home smell delicious, while also providing a sweet and spicy crunch.

Snickerdoodle Blondies

Adapted from Baking Bites

For bars:

1 stick salted butter

1 cup sugar

1 egg

1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup all-purpose flour

For topping:

1 tbsp sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8×8″ baking pan.

In large bowl, mix butter and sugar until creamy and fluffy. Stir in salt, egg, and vanilla. Add in flour. Evenly pour mixture into greased pan. Stir together the topping ingredients and sprinkle on top of batter. Bake for 30 minutes until edges turn golden. Let cool in pan before cutting into squares.


Butterscotch Pudding Cookies

Halloween is to sugar rushes, as Thanksgiving is to turkey-induced sleepiness. These Butterscotch Pudding Cookies provide all the sweetness you could ask for in one irresistible cookie. Made with butterscotch, white and semi-sweet chocolate chips, this is an instant favorite. Pudding mix keeps these treats moist, as seen before as an ingredient in Chocolate Chip Pudding Cookies. Wam, bam, pow, these will knock your socks off–in the best way possible.

Check out the recipe at Two Peas and Their Pod. I woke up the morning after a Halloween party to find all of these cookies devoured. A success, if I do say so myself.

Pistachio White Chocolate Chip Cookies

I shocked myself with these Pistachio White Chocolate Cookies. On a gorgeous late-August day, surrounded by good friends at a barbecue, these cookies went before my eyes. These treats have texture from the oatmeal, but also a tantalizing sweet-salty combination, which makes it hard to eat just one. In fear of sounding like I always say “these are the best…,” I want to make it loud and clear that I just found the holy grail of cookies.

Pistachio White Chocolate Chip Cookies

Adapted from Honest Fare

1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup dark brown sugar

1 egg

1 tsp milk

1 tsp vanilla

1 1/4 cups flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 cup of rolled oats

1 1/4 cups pistachios, chopped (dry roasted, salted)

1 1/4 cups of white chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream butter and sugars together. Add eggs, milk, vanilla and mix until combined. 

In a separate bowl, mix flour, soda, powder, salt and rolled oats. Add this dry mixture to the wet mixture slowly. 

Fold in pistachios and white chocolate chips. Drop teaspoonfuls of dough on parchment paper-lined cookie trays. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until golden brown. 

 

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.