Brown Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

I love oatmeal cookies. Actually, I think I love oatmeal. Period. Oatmeal raisin cookies are like, in my top three. The other two cookies are Oreos (duh), and sprinkle cookies. Probably. Only the ones from the bakery, though. You know, the crumbly, buttery ones with a million sprinkles? Those are the jam. Oatmeal raisin would be at the top because homemade, but either way, I needed to have an oatmeal cookie in my life soon.

Brown Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies_3

When I was brainstorming aloud to my friends on what I should make next, I mentioned an oatmeal cookie. I have already done my favorite, but with the mention of “oatmeal” alone was enough to cause a mini stir. I couldn’t finish my sentence before I heard “I HATE OATMEAL COOKIES.” Emphasis on hate. Mostly because oatmeal cookies always seemed to equal oatmeal raisin. While my little oatmeal raisin lovin’ heart broke, I reasoned with them. I also got the whole “raisins are deceiving” line, too. Although, that reaction is a lot funnier.

So, I settled on oatmeal chocolate chip. I get to eat my oatmeal cookie and everyone else gets to enjoy them raisin free. While I’m still a tad offended at the fact that there are so many raisin haters out there, I figured this was a good compromise.

BROWN (er, tan?) BUTTER THO

BROWN (er, tan?) BUTTER THO

Now, oatmeal chocolate chip cookies are basically a chocolate chip cookie but with oats. Sounds basic, to be honest. The last thing I want is a basic cookie. I sat there with my browser open and thought “how can I make these unbasic? How can I take them up a level?” And then it hit me.

In my time baking, well before this blog, I have only attempted to make brown butter once. Let’s just say, I took it too far. I had light black butter. Not appealing, and definitely not tasty. With the help of some instructional GIFs, from one of the last places I’d look to on the internet for kitchen advice, I tried to make brown butter again.

Oats, though

I was cautious of it going too brown, so my brown butter might actually be tan butter. Or light brown butter. Or maybe taupe butter. I don’t know! What I do know is that when I was making this, my house smelled heavenly. I could not believe that melting butter, and taking it a little further than just melting, could make my house smell that good. It smelled like warm, toasty, buttery, and nutty all at the same time. I was amazed, and then I got excited because if it smelled that good, I already knew my cookies were going to come out poppin’.

Ideally for cookies, you have softened butter. After browning mine, I let it sit room temp so it can harden a bit. It’s funny that I had to reverse the technique here and go from melted to softened; never thought I’d have to do that! I stirred it before it got too hard to evenly distribute all that golden brown deliciousness. Granted, I could’ve let it get a tad stiffer but I was short on time.

Cookie DOUGH

Anyway, the cookies came out unbelievably good. The brown butter was PERFECT in these cookies. Like, I can’t even at how great this came out. I’m still stunned. It added a hint of nuttiness to the cookies that I just couldn’t believe. I had a (ahem, or two) cookie while it was still warm, and I wanted to melt just like the chocolate chips. Super chocolatey, with that nutty hint from the brown butter, and then with the crispy but chewy addition of the oats. OMG. IT. WAS. CRAZY. I took them with me to work and they were gone in minutes. Even the oatmeal haters became oatmeal lovers after these cookies.

So, if you have an (or several) oatmeal skeptic(s) in your life but need to fill that oatmeal void with something everyone can enjoy, try this cookie. Oatmeal haters will see what they’ve been missing.

Brown Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies_2

Brown Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies – adapted from Joy the Baker

Makes about 4 dozen

  • 2 sticks of butter, browned and cooled
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon of ground nutmeg (fresh, if you can)
  • 2 1/2 cups of rolled oats
  • 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips (spoiler alert: a whole 12oz bag)

Directions:

  1. Make the brown butter: in a small pot or sauce pan, melt both sticks of butter over medium heat. Once completely melted, begin stirring. You’ll see the butter foam up as the milk solids rise to the top and begin to pop. KEEP STIRRING. While you’re stirring, pay attention to the butter’s color. A good way to see what’s happening, if the foam is all in the way, is on the sides of the pan. For me, it got brown as well, which is how I knew I was close. Once you see the butter is a nice light brown color, GET IT OFF THE HEAT ASAP. Pour your brown gold into a heatproof vessel and let it hang out. It’ll continue to get browner (allegedly) as it cools. Cool until it’s hard but soft enough to cream with butter.
  2. Cookies: Preheat the oven to 350F. Line your baking pans with parchment paper and set aside. In a large bowl, cream the cooled but softened brown butter and both sugars until creamy, for about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the eggs one at a time, and beat well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract, and mix until blended.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Slowly incorporate the dry ingredients into the butter and egg mix; making sure to incorporate the dry ingredients well. Stir in the oats, and finally fold in the chocolate chips.
  5. Using a disher or tablespoon, scoop out the dough onto the prepared sheets, leaving a couple inches of space between each cookie. Bake the cookies for 10 to 13 minutes, or until lightly golden brown. Cool on the sheets for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. (try them warm!)

Lucy’s Tips:

  • Don’t burn the butter. 
  • The whole wheat flour is optional! I threw it in there for added “health” but feel free to use the 2 full cups of all-purpose. 
  • Seriously, don’t burn the butter. 
  • Store in an airtight container at room temp. They should be good for a couple days, if they last that long. Alternatively, you can portion out the dough and freeze it for cookies anytime. 
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Kitchen Experiments: Angel Food Cupcakes

Ah yes, angel food. A cake so light, fluffy, and fat free that angels sing about it and eat it exclusively. Or something like that. Angel food cake is one of my favorite experimental desserts. Not only is there a unique method but the bigger version of this cake is kind of show stopping, but that’s another post 😉

Angel food cake is a meringue based cake. I’m already familiar with meringues, so this wasn’t very new to me. Besides the fact that meringues and I roll mad deep, I’ve made angel food two other times. The first time didn’t go so well. My cake didn’t rise as high as it should’ve. While it yielded tasty results, it didn’t look like the cake I envisioned. What went wrong? I probably deflated the whites a bit. Since I now know my way around meringues, I knew this wouldn’t happen again, and I’ve got pictures to prove it!

Cupcake! 2

At first, I was skeptical to make these cupcakes. Angel food, the big cake, requires cooling upside down. It’s the weirdest thing but hey, I’m not going to argue with that recipe. I wondered how it would work or if the cupcakes would end up deflating after cooling. Even with those doubts in my mind, I went for it.

The first step to making this recipe is to separate a dozen large eggs. We only need the whites. Save the yolks, though! I have 12 yolks chillin’ in the fridge with no aim. I’ll think of something. After separating, leave them out for a while to get to room temperature. Egg whites are best separated cold but they whip better room temp. Strange but true. I separated mine and went to the gym. Seems oxymoronic to make these after the gym but that’s how I roll. I also went ahead and pre-sifted the cake flour, powdered sugar, and salt, and set it aside. When in doubt, mise-en-place it out. Quote me.

Egg whites and yolks

After I got back from the gym, I got to work. Let me preface this by saying all your utensils MUST BE GREASE FREE. Whites are so finicky, they won’t get all voluminous if there’s grease. They’ll never, ever whip. Ever. No fixing that, so make sure your bowl, beaters, and spatulas are grease free. A good way to do this is to wipe your tools down with either lemon juice or vinegar. Now that everything’s clean, preheat the oven to 350 and line a million cupcake pans. Okay, so not a million but this recipe faithfully makes 36 cupcakes, so line enough wells for that. Set all that aside and let’s get started.

Pour those whites into your giant bowl, or in your stand mixer if you’re a lucky duck. Start beating the whites until they get frothy and bubbly. Shouldn’t take too long. Add the cream of tartar. What is that? Well, it’s neither cream nor tartar. It’s actually potassium bitartrate, which is a byproduct of wine making. I hear they scrape this stuff off wine barrels. It’s purpose here is to stabilize the whites. With this stuff, your whites will not fall. Crucial stuff here.

After adding the cream of tartar, continue beating the whites until you have soft peaks. How do you know you’re there? Turn off your beaters, dip them straight down into the whites and pull them back up. Turn the beaters on its side and look at the whites on the tip. If some of the whites stay on the beater and look like the picture below, you’ve got soft peaks. No whites on the beaters? You’re not there yet! Keep going and check periodically.

Soft Peaks 2

Continue beating the whites and gradually add the sugar. Keep beating the whites until they’re super fluffy, and thick. At this point, they’re probably at a medium peak (like in the photo). Add the vanilla and beat it in. You know you’re done whipping the whites when the trail of the beaters stays on the whites. No trails? Keep going.

At this point, we’re done beating. Grab your spatula and pre-sifted dry ingredients as it is time to fold them in. The best way to fold in the dry ingredients is by doing it in thirds. Don’t throw it all in and mix because you’ll risk deflating the egg whites. We definitely do not want that. Despite the fact that there’s cream of tartar in here, it won’t help keep all that air in. Fold gently and carefully, but also making sure to completely incorporate the dry ingredients. My favorite folding method is the “cut and sweep.” I basically take my rubber spatula and “cut” straight down the middle of the bowl, then I “sweep” the side of the bowl into the middle. Rotating the bowl helps!

Folding the dry

Once done folding, spoon the batter in gently into the lined cupcake tins. Bake the cupcakes for 18-19 minutes or until golden and puffy. Cool completely and top with frosting. I went for a raspberry whipped cream because I low key made these for Valentine’s Day. Except not really but these make a cute lover’s day dessert! Like, I won’t tell if you and your partner eat all 36.

Cupcake!

Even with all that doubt in my mind, the cupcakes came out beautifully. Fluffy and light, just like they should be. They’d be completely fat free had I not topped them with whipped cream but it’s whatever! I hope I helped demystify the angel food process (in cupcake form, at least). While it looks intimidating, the results are way too delicious to not try and make these.

Angel Food Cupcakes – barely adapted from How Sweet It Is

Makes 36 cupcakes

  • 12 large egg whites (1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cups sifted powdered sugar (sift before measuring)
  • 1 1/8 cups sifted cake flour (sift before measuring)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions:

  1. Separate the eggs, and let the whites sit at room temperature. While that’s resting, sift the cake flour, powdered sugar, and salt together. Set aside. Line your cupcake pans, and place your oven racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven, and preheat to 350F
  2. Using an electric mixer or stand mixer, begin to beat the whites until frothy and bubbly. Add the cream of tartar, and continue beating until soft peaks form. Gradually add the sugar, while still beating, and continue until the whites have thickened and have medium peaks. From there, beat in the vanilla extract.
  3. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in the dry ingredients in thirds, making sure to fully incorporate each addition before adding more. Once batter is smooth, carefully spoon the batter into the prepared pans.
  4. Bake the cupcakes in the preheated oven for 18-19 minutes or until golden and fluffy. Cool the cupcakes completely before frosting.

Lucy’s Tips:

  • For the raspberry whipped cream, I beat a pint of heavy whipping cream until soft peaks, added two tablespoons of sugar, 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract, and 1/3 cup of seedless raspberry jam. I reckon a shot of booze will go good here 😉

Monster Cookies

I almost didn’t make this post. Or these cookies, for that matter. It seems that I’m in somewhat of a baking rut. It’s like writer’s block but worse. Well, its horribleness is in the eye of the baker but alas, I have baker’s block.

Monster Cookie

It’s strange because a planner like me always has something up my sleeve. I don’t know, I like having a little bit of insurance for when things don’t go as planned. There’s a long list of recipes I’m dying to make and yet, I didn’t feel like making any.

This week, I just decided it was time to slap some sense in myself and get back in the kitchen. Luckily, I had a reason to. You see, I now work for the fabulous program I mentioned a couple times here. For those who don’t know what I’m talking about, I work for a non-profit organization called CO*OP (which is short for cooperate). Its main goal is to give recent city grads an opportunity to add onto their education with new digital skills. The grads then get to take these skills and put them to practice during a three month apprenticeship at a participating agency/company. I was part of the pilot group and am fortunate to be part of the team that will help this grow into something huge.

Monster Cookie Dough

Anyway, yesterday was our welcome party for our second cohort of fab grads. I knew I had to bake something, and forced myself into the kitchen to do so. Earlier this week, my sister brought me an M&M cookie. It kind of hit me right there. I was just like “PUT M&Ms IN A COOKIE, STAT.” To me, the only cookie with M&Ms in them are monster cookies.

I gotta be honest, I wasn’t expecting these cookies to come out this way. I used Ree’s recipe with a lot of faith that I’d have a cookie similar to the one I ate but much better. I wasn’t totally disappointed but it could’ve gone way better. The cookie spread out something fierce in the oven, which made it thin and lacy. Again, not the result I was expecting but delicious nonetheless. If I can blame it on anything, I’d blame the hot oven. 375F is kind of high for cookies.

Monster Cookie Dough_2

My favorite thing about Ree’s recipe, which is why I chose it in the first place, was how easy it is to customize with your own favorite fillings. You know how much I love throwing random things into my baking, so I was all over that. For this particular trial, I chose the traditional M&Ms (of course), mini semisweet chocolate chips, and threw in some cornflakes last minute. Cornflakes, you ask? Yes, cornflakes. Ree puts Rice Krispies in hers, so I thought about it for a good two seconds before I was like “CORNFLAKES.” I’d say it worked!

Despite the fact that the cookie was ridiculously thin, the cornflakes kept their crunch, which made the cookie twice as crunchy. The M&Ms popped out both in color and taste, which brought yet another layer of crunch, followed by some smooth chocolate. My old and new classmates loved them! I had an absolute blast hanging out with them, and seeing them enjoy the cookies (and the brownies) made me feel really good. Like, “get back into the kitchen to bake like usual” good. I look forward to getting back in the game, and treating the second cohort to some goodies on a regular basis!

Monster Cookie 3

Monster Cookies – adapted from The Pioneer Woman

Makes 48 cookies

  •  2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar, packed
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cup AP flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons Kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 3/4 cups plain M&Ms
  • 3/4 cups mini semisweet chocolate chips
  • 2 1/4 cups cornflakes

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Line baking sheets with parchment or silicone liners. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the sticks of softened butter and both sugars until pale and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, and vanilla. Mix until incorporated. Next, add the flour, baking powder and soda, and salt. Mix until moistened and combined. Fold in the rolled oats, M&Ms, and chocolate chips until evenly distributed among the dough. Lastly, fold in the cornflakes.
  3. Using a tablespoon, two spoons, or a #50 disher, portion out the cookie dough onto the prepped baking sheets, making sure to leave room between each cookie. Bake the cookies in the preheated oven for 12-15 minutes or until the edges are golden. Cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before carefully moving to a wire rack to cool completely.

Lucy’s Tips: 

  • Ree’s recipe originally calls for salted butter. I usually have unsalted on hand because I can control the salt content in what I’m making myself. To kind of match the salted butter, I opted to add 1/4 teaspoon of salt per stick of unsalted butter. Since the recipe already called for 2 teaspoons of salt (on top of the salted butter), I only added 1/4 teaspoon more instead of 1/2.
  • If your ovens run hot, like mine, take advantage of the temperature reduction I included in this version of the recipe. If yours doesn’t, feel free to bake these at the original 375F. 
  • Also, don’t forget to customize your monster cookie with your favorite toppings!

Christmas 2014 Recap

Hey all! Merry Christmas! I hope everyone had a lovely holiday full of warmth, happiness, and family. You probably noticed my absence all of last week. I took an unintentional blogging/baking break, by way of a stomach virus. I spent all of last week feeling absolutely terrible and nauseous at the sight of food. Not what you wanted to hear following Christmas wishes but it’s true! I had two more #CookieCraziness recipes planned, including one with a new gadget my plans were quickly brought down. I’m feeling much better, and have been slowly regaining my appetite for delicious things again. I’m glad too because as a food lover, not eating is blasphemous.

Christmas Tree

Anyway, let me tell you a bit about my holiday. In my house, we celebrate the 24th, not the 25th. It must be some Dominican tradition but that’s just always how it’s been. Back in the day, we used to have a full house but now it’s just us four plus our neighbors. I actually prefer it this way because there isn’t much pressure to be super social, and I can have more leftovers.

Besides the fact that there’s really only eight of us (plus/minus 1), my mom always cooks a lot. To be honest, Christmas Eve is basically a repetition of Thanksgiving in terms of food, except that the main protein changes. Instead of turkey, we have pork (or pernil for the Latin@ folks). I actually prefer the pernil to turkey but for tradition’s sake on Thanksgiving, we roll with it.

Christmas Dinner_1

From L to R: Pastelon, Pastelon de Verenjena, Moro de Gandules, Platanos Maduros, Cassava, Parker House Rolls, Pernil, Potato Salad, Basic Salad, Pastelitos.

On our menu this year:

  • Parker House Rolls: the same we had at Thanksgiving (from Bon Appetit), except that I doubled the recipe because of reasons. Still a winner!
  • Pernil (or pork): Star of the night. What Dominicans traditionally have on the table for Christmas Eve. Pray there’ll be leftovers.
  • Moro de Gandules: Rice with pigeon peas. Another holiday staple at my house. Super simple but delish dish, made with my mom’s secret sofrito (actually, almost everything has this stuff in it).
  • Pastelón: That starchy starch thing that has been at our table the past couple holidays. I still don’t eat it but there it is! (in depth description of it’s innards here and here)
  • Pastelón de Verenjena. Eggplant casserole, which is almost like a lasagna. This is my fave, and is always at the table specifically for me. Layers of tempura fried grafitti eggplant, ground beef, green beans, tomato sauce, and tons of mozzarella.
  • Potato Salad. Another holiday staple. I make the salad every time, this time was no different. (check out it’s ingredients here)
  • Basic green salad. About as basic as it looks/suggests. At the table for almost no reason as barely anyone eats this stuff.
  • Pastelitos or empanadas. “Appetizers” except not really. Two kinds: cheddar cheese, and ground beef mixed with hardboiled eggs.
  • Platanos Maduros. Last minute addition to the table of fried sweet plantains. Can’t no one say no to these.

As you can see, this is basically Thanksgiving part two. No one’s complaining, as basically everyone is all about that pernil (no turkey) (dang, couldn’t help that!). We had our littlest neighbor here, who’s eight and extremely hard to shop for. I don’t know but eight is such a weird age; not a teenager but not exactly a kid. That in between age is hard to gauge what they actually like. Strange, but we got her a password journal (which she LOVED), this super cute DIY jewelry box, and some trinkets from Claire’s. She and my sister decorated it in the kitchen. It was so fun to see her reactions to the gifts. One of the main reasons giving is the best!

Christmas Present_1

After all that, we had dessert. Since I was food adverse last week, I had nothing planned. Nothing, which is super unlike me. I asked my mom, which is moot as she never knows, what she wanted. Got nothing from her so I ran with my sister’s suggestion of making a tiramisu. I rolled with it for three reasons: my sister asked, easy to make, and was on my bucket list anyway. I made it the night before, which was awesome because that freed me up to bake bread the next day.

Christmas Dinner_3

It was super simple to make, and is actually super delicious too. I have to say, for such a simple dessert, it was really good. It’s also not very photogenic, if at all. I used this recipe and have a few suggestions. The main one is to mix the mascarpone with the yolks because this stuff is stiff and will never incorporate with the mix when folding. No one wants a lump of cheese in a supposed smooth dessert. Another is to only soak one side of the lady fingers. These things are literal sponges and they soaked up quite a lot. Do one side and hope there’s still some bite when serving. Finally, add booze to this. Every baker’s secret weapon should be in here. I threw a bit whisky in the cream and in the coffee but it could’ve used more.

All in all, it was actually a pretty nice Christmas Eve. There were a few minor setbacks that could’ve ruined things but others made up for it. If anything, this was a major upgrade from last year, and for that I’m most grateful. I hope everyone’s holiday was as uplifting as mine, and that this last week of the year is an awesome one!

Big Soft Ginger Cookies

To me, it’s not Christmas without gingerbread. It’s probably my favorite holiday cookie. Where people might say sugar, I say gingerbread.

It’s funny because I didn’t grow up with having gingerbread like that, especially for the holidays. Like I mentioned last year, the only time I had anything that even remotely resembled gingerbread was through a famous lady named Little Debbie. Thankfully, not anymore. I feel like though, in this day and age, if I ate one of her gingerbread men I’d probably get the worst headache ever. Processed sugar does that to me sometimes.

Big Soft Ginger Cookies_5

These past couple of years, I’ve made it a point to have a gingerbread something for the holidays. My folks, as usual, are meh about them so my sister and I get to eat most, if not all of the cookies. When I first started baking on theme things, and gingerbread was on the list, I started with this recipe. Allrecipes used to be my holy grail of recipes, and I sometimes go back there for old faves. I even have this very same recipe printed out on an index card, in a feeble attempt at a recipe box! Let me just say, formatting that on Word was a nightmare.

This year, in case you haven’t noticed, the cookie recipes I’ve posted have all been no fuss drop cookies. I swear it was unintentional. I realized this when I looked at my cookie wish list on my whiteboard the other day. I was deciding what to make next when I mentally screamed “WAIT A MINUTE! How come I don’t have cut outs?” I think my subconscious did me a favor by not choosing cut outs. Thanks, brain.

Since these are not cut outs, they are super easy to make. There’s just three things I’d like to point out, though. The original recipe says to use margarine. I’m an all butter household now, and there’s no turning back. Why use margarine when there’s butter available? Unless you have like, dairy problems or something, use the butter. The second thing is, swap out half the sugar for brown sugar. I didn’t this time, because I forgot, but please do. There are molasses in these cookies already but brown sugar is awesome in these sort of things. Dark brown sugar if you can, although either works fine. The last thing I’d note is to refrigerate the dough a little bit. It’s super duper soft, which can be a real pain when trying to shape into uniform balls to dip in sugar before baking. Let them chill out for half an hour or so, then thank yourself for not making cut outs.

Big Soft Ginger Cookies_4

Speaking of sugar, I guess I have one more thing to note. These cookies are rolled in sugar before baking, because why not add a little somethin’ somethin’ extra to these? Well, I upped the ante this year by rolling them in raw sugar. This was the best idea I had since deciding to add twice the amount of chocolate chips in a PB cookie. The crunch on these cookies because of this sugar is unbelievable. I was stunned, as I thought the dough would soak them up. It didn’t and they were fab.

Now, my cookies spread out quite a bit but that’s okay. I want to say that it was partly because of my new sheet pans and silicone liners, but I just don’t know. Either way, the cookies are as fantastic as I remember. Chewy, gingery, and molasses-y; just like a ginger cookie should be. The ginger is subtle but still present, which makes you just want to eat another one. The crunch from the raw sugar adds depth to an otherwise all chew cookie. Since mine spread out something fierce, it also didn’t look too bad if you ate one or five. They weren’t thick so it didn’t count!

Despite the fact that my ginger cookie this year was not in the shape of a little edible man, I still feel like I got in the quintessential holiday cookie. Good thing I can eat them all by myself!

Big Soft Ginger Cookies_3-1

#CookieCraziness recipes thus far:

Big Soft Ginger Cookies – adapted from allrecipes

Makes 36 cookies

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup (stick and a half) unsalted butter, room temp
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1/4 cup raw sugar, for rolling

Directions:

  1. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the flour, ginger, baking soda, ground cinnamon and cloves, and salt. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the room temperature butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Remember, you can go as long as you’d like. anywhere from 4-10 minutes; whatever it takes. Add the egg and vanilla, and mix well. Then add the molasses and the water until fully incorporated.
  3. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet mix, making sure it’s well incorporated before adding more. Fold in the last bit of dry ingredients, making sure to not overmix. Cover the dough and refrigerate for 30 minutes to an hour. You can definitely skip this step but a chill will make the soft dough a tad more workable.
  4. After chilling the dough, preheat your oven to 350F. Line two baking sheets with parchment and set aside. On a plate or in a small bowl, place the 1/4 cup of raw sugar.
  5. Scoop out the dough using a disher, tablespoon, or two small spoons, and place on the raw sugar. Roll the dough ball until completely covered and transfer to the prepped baking sheet.
  6. Bake the cookies for 8-10 minutes. Let the cookies cool on the sheet for at least five minutes before transferring to rack to cool completely.

Lucy’s Tips:

  • I used maybe more than 1/4 cup to roll the dough balls in. Depends on the size of the dough ball, I guess. 

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Hello again! Bet you didn’t think you’d see another post from me this week! As promised, I began ramping up my cookie production this year and will possibly post twice as much this month. It’s a little nerve-wracking but I am up for the challenge!

When planning this month’s #CookieCraziness (isn’t my hashtag for this year’s cookies awesome?), one of the top cookies was a peanut butter one. I LOVE peanut butter, so this was a no brainer. However, plain peanut butter cookies can be boring and monotonous. I’m not into that with my cookies, so chocolate chips were the obvious solution.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies_5

Peanut butter cookies aren’t necessarily a Christmas-y cookie. Like, when I think Christmas cookies, peanut butter ones are the furthest from my mind. Everyone else thinks of chocolate and peppermint everything. I usually go with sugar or gingerbread, which I’ll get to sometime later. I don’t know but I feel like peanut butter doesn’t even have an appropriate season. All the more reason why it belongs (in cookie form) with the holidays.

The main ingredient in these beauties is the peanut butter; the star of the show! Consider using chunky peanut butter in these cookies for added texture and to add on to the PB taste. I’m not about that chunky PB life, though; I love natural and smooth peanut butter. I get the huge jars at Whole Foods all the time because I make granola for my Greek yogurt regularly. Obviously, I need to have tons of the stuff on hand at all times because when I’m not making granola, there are PB&Js to be made (with grape jelly exclusively).

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies_2

According to the recipe, there’s supposed to be a double hit (or triple if you opt for chunky) of PB; the second by way of peanut butter chips. I once bought a couple bags of those from the one time they had them at Trader Joe’s. They were so good, I can’t even recall what I made with them. I had chocolate chips leftover from making these, so I used twice as many chocolate chips in this batch.

Now, let me just praise the actual cookie dough for one second. A DREAM to work with. Came together beautifully and handled like a dream. I’ve never seen such clean scoops of cookie dough come out of my mixing bowl. Barely any scraps and no sticking! Speaking of sticking, I used my new silicone mats for my half sheet pans. I had to get a pair because my parchment paper never fits. Can I just tell you how much I love them? I love them. Absolutely adore them. Cookies slid off no problem, they’re easy to clean, and look cute too. SO glad I got them!

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies_3

The cookies were INSANE. I found myself eating all of the scraps and several cookies before they even made the plate; they’re THAT good. Very peanut buttery, with the chocolate chips as backup. Think of PB and chocolate as partners in crime, or good cop/bad cop except they’re both the good cops. They just go together! The cookies themselves are soft but sturdy, with a little crunch from the granulated sugar they’re coated in before baking. You can even still see the traditional fork marks from the slight smush they need before going into the oven. They were as dreamy as their own cookie dough. When the cookie dough works, you just know the cookie will too!

Hopefully I’ve convinced you to consider peanut butter cookies as a holiday cookie. They may not scream Christmas but folks will be screaming with joy upon eating them this season. Either way, I think these non-conventional holiday cookies belong on your cookie roster.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies_4

#CookieCraziness posts:

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies – barely adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Makes 36 cookies

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup peanut butter at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • Granulated sugar for rolling/sprinkling

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line two baking sheets with parchment (or those nifty silicone liners). Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a medium sized bowl and set aside. In a small bowl, place a good amount (maybe a 1/4 cup; separate from the amount needed to make the cookies) of granulated sugar for rolling the cookies later.
  2. In a large bowl, beat the butter and peanut butter until smooth and fluffy. Add the sugars and beat until the mixture is smooth. Add the egg and mix until fully combined. Finally, add the milk and vanilla.
  3. Add the dry ingredients and stir until completely combined. With a rubber spatula, fold in the chocolate chips. Using a cookie scoop, a tablespoon, or two teaspoons, drop the dough into the bowl with the granulated sugar. Completely coat the dough ball and transfer to the prepped baking sheet. With a fork, gently press the dough down but do not flatten completely. You can press the cookie with the fork twice, each in a different direction, to get the signature pattern.
  4. Bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes or until lightly golden brown around the edges. The cookies may look under done but they are. Let them cool on the pan for a minute or two before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Lucy’s Tips

  • I preferred baking them 12 minutes for a sturdier cookie that was still soft and slightly chewy. For a lighter cookie, aim for the lower amount of time. 
  • If you don’t feel like pressing with a fork, any smooth (or not smooth) surface can work. For example, a spoon, shot glass, offset spatula, etc. Just don’t go crazy pressing them down with anything!
  • I got 36 cookies with a #50 disher/scoop. Amounts of cookies vary depending on the size of the scoop/disher/spoon. The bigger the disher/spoon/scoop, the fewer the cookies. 
  • To make these extra festive, consider rolling them in colored sugar!

Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies

It’s December, which can only mean one thing in the food world: COOKIES! Aw yeah, it’s that time of year again. I don’t know what’s more exciting; the cookies or the holidays? Either way, the holidays are upon us.

I decked my halls the day after Thanksgiving for two reasons. I was dying to get into the holiday spirit, and because I feel like my tree(s) are never up long enough. For me, my Christmas spirit lies solely in my Christmas tree. I’m in charge of decorating it by myself every year and it brings me such joy to see it lit up in the corner of my living room.  It’s weird but it doesn’t feel like Christmas without my baby tree all decked out in ornaments and bright lights.

Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies_4

Anyway, let’s talk cookies. Here on Lucy the Baker, I have a number of cookies up already but this holiday season, I want to up the ante. I’m planning on doubling my cookie production this year, which will hopefully mean more posts. I’m excited, nervous, and hungry!

For starters, here are some red velvet cheesecake brownies. Now, before you even say it, brownies ARE considered a cookie. It’s technically a bar cookie, as opposed to a regular cookie. I don’t know who decided this but I agree with them. Brownies aren’t really a cake, so they must be a cookie. These brownies are special, though. Not only do they have a ridiculous cheesecake layer, but they’re red velvet. That automatically raises the bar, and then some.

Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies_1

I don’t know if you noticed but I lack red velvet recipes. Sure, I have the lone one up but there’s a reason as to why that is. Like that recipe I posted last year, almost all my red velvet attempts have gone wrong. I don’t know what it is but, I always end up with a messed up red velvet something. My first ever (undocumented) attempt was some red velvet cupcakes, which came out flat and stuck to the pan. The whoopie pies were my second and although the cookie itself came out good, I almost forgot the sugar and messed up the filling to the point of no return. I had better luck this time but I wouldn’t call them a perfect success; typical things like broken and stuck brownies happened.

Either way, these are fabulous. Not only are they red velvet, with its smooth texture and hint of chocolate, but there’s a cheesecake layer. Believe me when I say it is ridiculous. I was amazed. Cheesecake and red velvet go together like chips and dip, to be honest. My favorite part of this entire recipe was the swirling part. It looked absolutely beautiful. The cheesecake batter swirled with red velvet brownie batter, came together in perfect and visually stunning harmony. I don’t know but there’s something about that tangy cream cheese against the lightly chocolatey taste in red velvet. It’s like, magical or something.

So, let’s start the holiday season, and the #CookieCraziness with these brownies!

Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies_2

Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies – barely adapted from The Novice Chef

Makes 36 brownies

Red Velvet Layer:

  • 3 1/4 cups flour
  • 2 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa powder (I used Hershey’s Special Dark)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 tablespoons milk, divided
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon red food coloring (I used Wilton’s No Taste Red)
  • 2 teaspoons white vinegar

Cheesecake Layer:

  • 2 8oz packages cream cheese, softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350F, and lightly grease a half sheet pan.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, salt, and baking powder.
  3. In another bowl, whisk the eggs, oil, 2 tablespoons of milk, vanilla, food coloring, and white vinegar. Pour the wet into the dry and mix until combined. The batter will be very thick!
  4. Remove 3/4 cup of the thick batter and add the remaining 2 tablespoons of milk. Set aside.
  5. Spread the remaining batter into the prepared sheet pan. Make sure to spread it as evenly as possible, and all the way into the corners of the pan.
  6. Time to make the cheesecake layer: in a large bowl, combine the softened cream cheese and sugar, beating until fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, and vanilla. Continue to beat until completely incorporated and lump free.
  7. Pour the cheesecake batter over the brownie batter, spreading it out to the corners. Drop spoonfuls of the thinned out brownie batter onto the cheesecake layer. Using a butter knife or small spatula, drag the tip through the cheesecake and red velvet batters to create swirls.
  8. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until center is set. Brownies shouldn’t jiggle. Cool completely on a wire rack before cutting into squares.

Lucy’s Tips:

  • Jessica, at The Novice Chef blog, made these for Valentine’s day and used a heart cookie cutter. Instead, feel free to get festive and use holiday cutters (like a tree or a snowman) instead of cutting into squares. 
  • My brownies took a bit longer than 30 minutes. The center was still jiggly, which scared me but they came out alright. 
  • I used Hershey’s Special Dark cocoa powder (because YUM), which may have contributed to the burgundy color in these brownies. 
  • I strongly suggest gel food coloring, as the liquid stuff can dilute your batters if you use too much. 

Thanksgiving 2014: The Day After

WOW. Last night was pretty awesome. SO MUCH FOOD! We shook up this year’s menu a bit from last year’s. Like I mentioned on Wednesday, we aimed for a little more of an American Thanksgiving. I feel bad saying it but I try really hard to Americanize our food and household. In retrospect, I probably shouldn’t because my culture is important to me and it’s something I want to keep going but I can’t help it.

Anyway, the table was pretty much half our traditional menu and the other was American.

On the menu we had:

Thanksgiving2014_TURKEY

Turkey, obviously! (regular green salad in the bottom right corner that literally no one ate. Thanksgiving is not the time for “healthy” things)

Thanksgiving2014_2

Parker House Rolls from Bon Appetit. So fluffy and so good! Spotlight may be coming soon!

Thanksgiving2014_Mac and Cheese

Macaroni and cheese. SO AMAZING. We added bacon and made the full recipe. This is that one time I am SO happy we have leftovers!

Thanksgiving2014_Pastelón

Pastelón de viveres. This is my mom’s ~thing~; I don’t eat this at all. It’s basically a starch heaven casserole made with two kinds of taro root, green bananas (not to be mistaken with plantains but those can be used too), and kabocha squash. In the middle, there’s a layer of cooked pork. If you’ve ever had Dominican (or Puerto Rican? I’m not sure) pasteles en hoja, this is similar to that minus the leaves and the boiling part. It’s a weird culmination of things but my mom likes it and has been making it for the holidays lately, so I guess it’s here to stay.

Thanksgiving2014_Salads

Salads and rice. On the left is my mom’s yellow rice with peas, below that is our potato salad, and next to that is macaroni salad.

The potato salad contains boiled and diced potatoes (duh) and carrots, diced hard boiled eggs, mayo, white vinegar, chopped cubanelle peppers and onions. The macaroni salad is almost the same as the potato salad; instead of potatoes, carrots, and eggs, it’s just tri colored macaroni.

Thanksgiving2014_Mashed Potatoes

Behind the salads was my sister’s mashed potatoes. She made this on her own, without a recipe! Very proud of her efforts, and they were delicious.

Thanksgiving2014_Pastelitos

Pastelitos or empanadas! These were filled with ground beef and diced hard boiled eggs. Some were just cheddar cheese. Crowd favorite!

For dessert, we had this Apple Cranberry Torta from Cooking Channel TV. I made several changes to the recipe but it was a moist and delicious little cake. I feel like it was maybe a cross between a pie and a cake. I’m still trying to edge that in, obviously! Recipe will be posted below.

Overall, we had a tasty Thanksgiving. I can see mac and cheese in my future! I’m ready to get my tree up and move on to Christmas! Can’t wait to see what’s on the menu then 😉

Thanksgiving2014_Table2

Full spread. And my mom’s arm.

 

Apple Cranberry Torta – adapted from Giada’s recipe on Cooking Channel TV

Makes one 8″ round cake

  • 1/2 cup Grand Marnier (or other orange liquer)
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins
  • 1/2 orange, zested
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups of diced apples

Directions:

  1. In a small saucepan, heat the orange liqueur just until warm. Turn off the heat and submerge the dried cranberries and golden raisins. Set aside.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350F. Butter and line the bottom of an 8-inch round cake pan.
  3. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, beat the four eggs and add the melted butter, sugar, vanilla, and orange zest. Mix in the dry ingredients and beat just until combined.
  5. Gently stir in the apples, cranberries and raisins. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for up to 30 minutes. Cool slightly in the pan before inverting to peel off the parchment. Serve slightly warm.

Lucy’s Tips:

  • I took the walnuts out of this and replaced it with golden raisins because half my family is allergic to nuts. 
  • I used one large Granny Smith apple but use any kind you’d like. 
  • I also soaked my dried fruit for quite a while, which helped them sustain the orange liqueur flavor. 
  • Technically the recipe didn’t state to line the pan with parchment but I don’t trust recipes that rely on just buttering the pan. /skeptic

Recipe Roundup: Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is finally here! Well, tomorrow officially but the wait is basically over. Even so, I don’t have a very clear idea of what’s landing on my dinner table tomorrow. It’s a struggle every year but this year feels different.

We try our best to combine both Dominican and American cultures on the table but I think this year, we’re leaning more on the American side. I guess I’ll see just how much we’re leaning tomorrow! Just know that no matter how far into the American side of things this family will lean, pie will never be a part of it (for shame:()

Anyway, I don’t have a recipe for today. Instead, I decided to do a little link roundup of recipes I’ve made or I’ve seen on the internets that I like and are on theme for tomorrow’s dinner. I’m including a few Dominican recipes that we’ve had for the holidays for those that want an idea of how to make some of those dishes. They’re not my recipes but we’ll get there one day! There will also a recap post of my Thanksgiving on Friday, so be on the lookout for that.

Treat House Salted Caramel Turkey

Salted Caramel Crispy Treat from Treat House NYC

 

Mains/Sides:

Bread:

Dessert:

Missed last year’s Thanksgiving recap? Check out what I had for dinner last year here.

Have a happy Thanksgiving!

Apple Galette

Thanksgiving kind of snuck up on me this year. I’ve been anticipating it since early October but I’m still shocked it’s actually next week! I’m even more shocked because I have nothing planned yet, which is SO not me. By now, my mom and I usually already have our game plan down, with only last minute things on the grocery list. We don’t even have a turkey yet! What makes it worse is that I’m already getting ready for Christmas, which totally goes against the traditionalist in me that doesn’t skip over holidays. I don’t know, but the holidays so far have thrown me for a loop.

Besides the fact I have nothing planned, I at least have a quick and awesome dessert option for you semi-traditionalists. This isn’t your traditional apple pie, but is delicious in its own right.

Apple Tart 1

Part of what attracted me to making a galette, aside from it being an apple dessert, is its simplicity. If you can make pie crust, you can make this galette. Even if you can’t make pie crust, you can still make this galette. No fancy equipment is needed to make this, which is awesome, and is super quick to put together.

The other thing that attracted me to this galette? The fact that it’s free form. I don’t yet own a pie dish (gasp!). It’s true, I don’t have one. I’ve mentioned it before but we’re just not pie people. No matter how hard I try to get my folks to appreciate pie, it just won’t happen. I guess that’s just one of those American things that’ll never stick at the table at my house. Sad because pie is awesome but there’s not much I can do there. The only thing I own relatively close to a pie pan is a tart pan. The issue there is that it’s pretty big, which is hard to use when most pies and tarts are usually 9 inches in diameter. This is where the galette saves the day. After making the crust, you just roll it out as far as you can, place it on a lined baking sheet, pile the apples on top and fold up the edges. That’s it! No matter how ugly you think it looks, it will come out beautiful and rustic looking. I love it when desserts aren’t intentionally pretty; makes the homemade factor look even more appealing.

Apple Tart 4

Speaking of the crust, it’s super easy to make. No food processor required at all. Sure, it’s handy but you can easily make this crust without it. To cut in the butter, you can either use a dough cutter, a pair of forks, or your hands. I opted for my hands but any of the above works fine. I also subbed half the flour with whole wheat for some nuttiness and pseudo healthiness.

Now, let’s talk about the apples for a minute. For this galette, your apples need to be thinly sliced. You don’t need fancy equipment to make this happen but if you want all slices to be even, break out your mandoline (or handoline, like we did last week) for slicing. I freehanded the slicing this time, because I don’t think evenness is necessary here. You can also artistically lay the slices onto the crust to make it look even fancier, but I just piled them in.

Apple Tart 3

The result is this lovely and rustic dessert that didn’t take too much time or effort to make. The crust is nutty and crunchy against the soft and tart apples. A dessert this simple is perfect for your Thanksgiving table. Not much thought or effort goes into it, and it looks super pretty and like you spent a ton of time on it. No one has to know it was that easy 😉

Apple Tart 2

Apple Galette – adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Dough: 

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, just softened, cut in 1/2-inch pieces
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons chilled water

Filling:

  • 2 pounds apples (I used Granny Smith), peeled, cored (save peels and cores), and sliced
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Glaze:

  • 1/2 cup (100 grams) sugar
  • Cores and peels from sliced apples

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, add flour, sugar, salt, and 2 tablespoons of the butter. Blend in a mixer, using a dough cutter, with forks, or your hands until dough resembles coarse cornmeal. Add remaining butter and mix until biggest pieces look like large peas.
  2. Drizzle in the water, stir, then drizzle in more until dough just holds together. Toss with hands, letting it fall through fingers, until it’s ropy with some dry patches. If dry patches predominate, add another tablespoon water. Keep tossing until you can roll dough into a ball. Flatten into a 4-inch-thick disk and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Remove the dough from the fridge and let sit out for a couple of minutes, until the dough is malleable but still cold. On a lightly floured surface, roll into a 14-inch circle about 1/8 inch thick. Dust excess flour from both sides with a dry pastry brush.
  4. Place the dough on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Heat oven to 400°F. Toss sliced apples with 4 tablespoons of sugar and the cinnamon.
  5. Place the apples on dough, either rustically or in a ring 2 inches from edge; continuing inward until you reach the center. Fold over the dough edges back onto itself, at about one inch intervals until the galette is ‘closed.’
  6. Brush melted butter over apples and onto dough edge. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons sugar over dough edge.
  7. Bake in center of oven until apples are soft, with browned edges, and crust has caramelized to a dark golden brown, about 45 minutes, making sure to rotate galette every 15 minutes.
  8. For the glaze: Put reserved peels and cores in a large saucepan, along with sugar. Pour in just enough water to cover and simmer for 25 minutes. Strain syrup through cheesecloth or sieve.
  9. Remove tart from oven, and slide off parchment onto cooling rack. Let cool at least 15 minutes before glazing, slicing, and serving.

Lucy’s Tips:

  • I originally sprinkled the sugar (as per the original recipe) onto the apples, but will toss them in sugar in the future. I found it wasn’t sweet enough but if you like your galettes on the tart side, stick to sprinkling. 
  • The galette is best served slightly warm. Even better with ice cream and a side of whipped cream. Just sayin’.