Posts tagged ‘Cookies’

July 5, 2012

Oatmeal Cookies with Giada

I’m always suspicious of TV chefs who spend their show cooking and never take a bite. I want them to convince me it’s delicious! Make me want to cook that dish! Have me thinking I can actually smell the food through my television, because it’s so intoxicatingly scrumptious. I enjoy watching chefs like Giada, Laura Calder, Anne Burrell and Nigella, who by the way, under the cloak of darkness, goes for late night seconds at the end of every show. These chefs happily steal an olive before they hit the salad, taste the sauce as it’s cooking and I’ve even seen them take a swig of the wine (not from the bottle) that they’re cooking with. I’m not saying TV chefs should be swirling their fingers through the sauce or licking the spoons. At least take a bite at the end of the show to let us know it’s good stuff. Can you honestly cook an entire meal without scarfing a little taste here and there?

Moving on to cookies… there’s nothing Italian or typically Giada about these cookies. I’ve confessed to owning all her books and was thrilled when my Aunt brought me “Weeknights with Giada.” Like her other books, this is filled with recipes that you would like to make for your family. I love her section called “Breakfast for Dinner” and she also includes a chapter titled “Change of Pace,” where she strays from her Italian roots and includes recipes like Thai lettuce cups, Greek meatballs and vegetables in red curry. Rather than jump into making a savory dish, I found these cookies and decided they would be my first go from her book. Loaded with rolled oats and dried cranberries, I’ve convinced myself they’re healthy. I’m obviously ignoring the stick of butter and cup of sugar found in the list of ingredients.

OATMEAL, CRANBERRY, AND CHOCOLATE CHUNK COOKIES (makes 12 big cookies)

Adapted from Weeknights with Giada

Giada recommended using a 1/4 measure to scoop the cookies, so I thought I’d show you what they looked like before they hit the oven. I thought they looked so pretty.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 – 4oz bar 60% cacao bittersweet chocolate bar, chopped into 1/4″ pieces (I used Ghirardelli)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Combine the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl and set aside.

Cream the butter and sugars in a stand mixer using a paddle attachment until they are light and fluffy. Add the egg and the vanilla, mix until combined. Add the flour mixture slowly until incorporated. Lastly, add in the oats, cranberries and chocolate and run the mixture until they are just blended through the dough.

Using a 1/4 cup dry measure, scoop the dough into little towers on parchment lined baking sheets.

Press them down slightly…

Giada says to bake the cookies for 13-15 minutes until they are slightly golden on the edges. I bake cookies using the convection setting on my oven. These were done in 10 minutes. Leave the cookies on the baking sheets to cool for 20 minutes before removing them to a cooling rack. A really hearty, delicious cookie.

* I wonder if these could be made using whole wheat flour? Or use half whole wheat and half all-purpose? I’m not enough of a baker to figure this one out. Are you?

April 5, 2012

Chocolate Dipped Macaroons

Chocolate Dipped Macaroons

Passover is quickly upon us, and I’m excited to be hosting this year. With a challenge to make a spread of delicious Passover dishes for my guests, I push thoughts of serving crostini with prosciutto out of my head. Do you remember my run-in with Alan as I wrapped chicken in bacon for Rosh Hashanah? I know I can make him proud this year.

Passover seders growing up were infrequent at best. It seemed we weren’t able to pull it together every year, but when we did my grandmother made a spread of all her finest fare. I can still picture my grandfather sitting at the table, in charge of the seder, yelling at my grandmother to sit down and promulgating assertively when it was time to drink the wine. I can recall at a very young age grandpa telling my mother it was fine for me to drink the wine, it would just make me sleepy. Was he trying to silence me? I certainly wasn’t missing any important Jewish lessons at our seder table, that’s for sure. He would usually lead the seder like this, “The Jews crossed the desert. Drink the wine. Forget it – let’s eat!” While other families spent hours going through the Haggadah, page by page, in painful detail, our seder was more like the abridged version of the cliff notes. In retrospect, I guess I shouldn’t be complaining but I know there’s a happy medium out there. I didn’t learn about the plagues until I bought my daughter a Rugrats Passover book when she was a toddler. Not normal! Come to think of it, this whole Passover experience might have been what led me to join our shul.

The last Passover seder with my grandparents I can remember, I was in my twenties. In a rush to get through the one page of the Haggadah my grandfather would commit to reading, we jumped right into the pot roast and ate ourselves sick. While we sat drinking coffee and eating dessert, proudly rubbing our full bellies, my grandmother leaped up from her chair and announced that she had forgotten that there was a turkey in the oven! Really?! I guess we know now where I get my inability to make small quantities of food. We didn’t even miss that turkey. I guess we ate it for lunch the next day. We are a family of crazy foodies going back for generations.

My father’s favorite food was anything with coconut. I discovered this recipe for coconut macaroons, originally adapted from the Barefoot Contessa and they are the perfect Passover treat. My dad would have loved them.

INGREDIENTS (makes about 25 cookies)

  • 14oz sweetened shredded coconut
  • 14oz sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 egg whites at room temperature
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. In the bowl of a stand mixer, whip the egg whites to beautiful peaks, not too stiff. In a second bowl, combine the coconut, condensed milk, vanilla and salt. Carefully fold the egg whites into the coconut mixture a little at a time, being careful not to overmix. Drop the batter onto parchment lined baking sheets using a cookie scoop. You want them to be fairly large, about a heaping tablespoon. The recipe should make about 25 cookies.

Bake the cookies for about 18-20 minutes, switching the cookie sheets around halfway through. Bake until the cookies are nicely browned on the tops. Remove and cool on a rack. Meanwhile, to melt the chocolate, place the chips in a glass bowl and microwave for about 60 seconds. They won’t look melted, but give them a stir and put them back in, turning on the microwave for 30 second intervals, until the chocolate is just about melted. Stir again and it should be properly smooth and glossy. Watch it closely in the microwave. You don’t want it to heat up too much. Only until it is just coming together.

Place a sheet of fresh parchment paper on a cookie sheet and dip one half of each cookie in the melted chocolate. Place the chocolate dipped cookies on the parchment and put the sheet pan in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes or until the chocolate is set. I usually make half of my macaroons chocolate dipped and leave the other half plain. So yummy!

* Here’s the recipe for my grandmother’s pot roast if you are planning a holiday meal or just want to make something special for dinner tonight.

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