Cookies


Mallow cookies

I have never left a Daring Baker challenge so late.  But with all the birthday festivities, I somehow managed to let it slip.  With time short, I opted to only make the chocolate covered marshmallow cookie.  They actually reminded me of the Hi-Hat cupcakes I made with my niece B. – which I loved!

The July Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Nicole at Sweet Tooth. She chose Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Cookies and Milan Cookies from pastry chef Gale Gand of the Food Network.

These cookies were delicious.  They reminded me of my childhood!

{ Mallows – Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Cookies }
Recipe courtesy Gale Gand, from Food Network website

* Ingredients *
3 cups (375grams/13.23oz) all purpose flour
1/2 cup (112.5grams/3.97oz) white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
12 tablespoons (170grams/ 6 oz) unsalted butter
3 eggs, whisked together
Homemade marshmallows, recipe follows
Chocolate glaze, recipe follows

* Directions *
1. In a mixer with the paddle attachment, blend the dry ingredients.
2. On low speed, add the butter and mix until sandy.
3. Add the eggs and mix until combine.
4. Form the dough into a disk, wrap with clingfilm or parchment and refrigerate at least 1 hour and up to 3 days.
5. When ready to bake, grease a cookie sheet or line it with parchment paper or a silicon mat.
6. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
7. Roll out the dough to 1/8-inch thickness, on a lightly floured surface. Use a 1 to 1 1/2 inches cookie cutter to cut out small rounds of dough.
8. Transfer to the prepared pan and bake for 10 minutes or until light golden brown. Let cool to room temperature.
9. Pipe a “kiss” of marshmallow onto each cookie. Let set at room temperature for 2 hours.
10. Line a cookie sheet with parchment or silicon mat.
11. One at a time, gently drop the marshmallow-topped cookies into the hot chocolate glaze.
12. Lift out with a fork and let excess chocolate drip back into the bowl.
13. Place on the prepared pan and let set at room temperature until the coating is firm, about 1 to 2 hours.

Note: if you don’t want to make your own marshmallows, you can cut a large marshmallow in half and place on the cookie base. Heat in a preheated 350-degree oven to slump the marshmallow slightly, it will expand and brown a little. Let cool, then proceed with the chocolate dipping.

{ Homemade marshmallows }

* Ingredients *
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup light corn syrup
3/4 cup (168.76 grams/5.95oz) sugar
1 tablespoon powdered gelatin
2 tablespoons cold water
2 egg whites , room temperature
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

* Directions *
1. In a saucepan, combine the water, corn syrup, and sugar, bring to a boil until “soft-ball” stage, or 235 degrees on a candy thermometer.
2. Sprinkle the gelatin over the cold water and let dissolve.
3. Remove the syrup from the heat, add the gelatin, and mix.
4. Whip the whites until soft peaks form and pour the syrup into the whites.
5. Add the vanilla and continue whipping until stiff.
6. Transfer to a pastry bag.

{ Chocolate glaze }

* Ingredients *
12 ounces semisweet chocolate
2 ounces cocoa butter or vegetable oil

* Directions *
1. Melt the 2 ingredients together in the top of a double boiler or a bowl set over barely simmering water.

Makes 2 dozen cookies

Blueberry macarons

Blueberry was thrown into the suggestion box as a macaron flavour to trial for my upcoming wedding.  I am not sure if I have ever seen a blueberry macaron before.

Thinking about it now, a blueberry macaron would have been perfect to include during my recent Finnish baking month.  Berries feature strongly in Finnish baking – particularly blueberries.  I am still happy with my ‘Finnish inspired’ cardamom and coffee macarons, but a blueberry and cardamom macaron would have been a lovely complement, too.

This blueberry macaron is sans cardamom.  It consists of an almond macaron shell sandwiched together with a simple blueberry cream.  I am fond of the colour of these macarons.  Though I must admit, I think I need to purchase food colour powder as I sometimes find it difficult to reach the exact colour I want with liquids.

I will be shortly testing a new macaron recipe, but for now, the last few macaron trials have been with my ongoing tried and tested version.

{ Blueberry macarons }

* Ingredients *

100g egg whites
3g egg white powder
125g almond meal
125g icing sugar
Red and blue food colouring
For the syrup:
150g sugar and 50ml water

* Directions *

Process the almond meal and icing sugar together.  In a mixer, whip half the egg whites to soft peaks.  Meanwhile, in a saucepan bring the water and sugar for the syrup to 117C (or 242F) on a candy thermometer.  Once ready, slowly add the boiling syrup to the egg whites and continue to whip on medium speed until they thick and shiny and are completely cooled (about 10 minutes).  At the final changes of whipping the meringue, add the food colouring to make a purple colour.  Mix the remaining egg whites to the sifted almond mixture and fold into the meringue in four parts.
Pipe macarons on lined baking sheets. Double up your baking sheets if you do not have professional grade quality.  Let your macarons sit at room temperature for 30-60 minutes. Bake at 140C or 280F for 15-18 minutes.  Fill with ganache or filling of your choice.  Refrigerate to set.

{ Blueberry cream }

* Ingredients *

120g white chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup heavy cream
½ cup blueberries

* Directions *

Heat cream and blueberries until bubbles form around the edge of the pan.  Let cool and rest for about an hour.  Gently puree the berry and cream mixture.  Reheat the cream gently and pour over the chocolate.  Let sit for 2-3 minutes and then stir.  Let cool then transfer to the refrigerator to thicken.

Raspberry Cream

Sometimes I get the urge to bake something simple.  Mostly because I really want to bake but do not have the time for something overly elaborate.  I think these homemade cookies fall into that category.  They are lovely and simple, but not too complicated.

I have been thinking about different creams, ganaches and fillings for the array of macarons I am currently making.  I was then reminded of this recipe that I have wanted to make for a while.  The filling is very similar to the Rose Macarons with Raspberry Cream that I made a few months back.

It is nice to have a break from macaron making.  Well, while the egg whites are aging, anyway!

{ Raspberry Cream Cookies }
Adapted from Martha Stewart Cookies

* Ingredients *

1 3/4 cups all-purpose / plain flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 sticks or 150g unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups plus 2 teaspoons sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise, seeds scraped and reserved
6 ounces or 180g fresh raspberries
7 1/2 ounces or 225g best-quality white chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup heavy cream
 
* Directions *

Preheat oven to 180F or 350F. Whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
Mix butter and 1 1/2 cups sugar with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add egg, extract, and vanilla seeds; mix until smooth. Reduce speed to low. Gradually mix in flour mixture.
Scoop batter using an ice cream scoop; space 2 inches apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper.
Bake cookies 4 minutes. Remove from oven; gently tap baking sheets on counter to flatten cookies. Return to oven, switching positions of sheets; bake until cookies are just set, 4 to 6 minutes more. Let cool on parchment on wire racks.
Puree raspberries and remaining 2 teaspoons sugar in a food processor. Pour mixture through a fine sieve into a small bowl, pressing to extract juice; discard seeds. Set mixture aside.
Melt white chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Remove from heat; whisk in cream in a slow stream. Whisk in reserved raspberry mixture. Refrigerate 30 minutes.
Spread 1 heaping teaspoon raspberry cream on the undersides of half the cookies. Sandwich with remaining cookies. Cookies can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container up to 2 days.

Makes 3 dozen

Liquorice macarons

You know those flavours that you either love or hate?  Well, I think liquorice is one of them.  I fall in the former camp.  I am a liquorice fan through and through.

As a child, I remember my mother carefully guarding an occasional box of Bassett’s liquorice allsorts that she would buy from the (unfortunately now non-existent) food hall at David Jones here in Brisbane city.

I was not setting out to create a liquorice flavoured macaron.  My initial list for the wedding favor trials consists of champagne, blueberry, matcha and lime-basil.  But after a hiccup or two, an opportunity presented itself.  Yet another batch of macarons. 

Being a liquorice lover, I have some liquorice flavoured tea in the pantry.  I was staring at the tea and had a flashback to some Earl Grey truffles I made last Christmas.  With a batch of light blue coloured macaron shells just screaming for some filling, I knew what I had to make.

After gently warming some cream, I added a couple of tablespoons of the liquorice tea.  I left that infuse then strained well.  I then proceeded to make a dark chocolate ganache.  The resulting flavour is noticeably liquorice-y but subtle.  It has a refreshing finish that marries perfectly with the cool blue shell.

I am not sure if these will make it to the wedding (the Champagne macarons are currently top of the list!), but I have enjoyed making and tasting them nonetheless.

For the shells, I used my standard macaron recipe, but I hope to actually trial a new version very soon!

{ Liquorice macarons }

* Ingredients *

100g egg whites
3g egg white powder
125g almond meal
125g icing sugar
Blue food colouring
For the syrup:
150g sugar and 50ml water

* Directions *

Process the almond meal and icing sugar together.  In a mixer, whip half the egg whites to soft peaks.  Meanwhile, in a saucepan bring the water and sugar for the syrup to 117C (or 242F) on a candy thermometer.  Once ready, slowly add the boiling syrup to the egg whites and continue to whip on medium speed until they thick and shiny and are completely cooled (about 10 minutes).  At the final changes of whipping the meringue, add the food colouring.  Mix the remaining egg whites to the sifted almond mixture and fold into the meringue in four parts.

Pipe macarons on lined baking sheets. Double up your baking sheets if you do not have professional grade quality.  Let your macarons sit at room temperature for 30-60 minutes. Bake at 140C or 280F for 15-18 minutes.  Fill with ganache or filling of your choice.  Refrigerate to set.

{ Liquorice cream }

* Ingredients *

120g dark chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons liquorice tea

* Directions *

Heat cream and tea until bubbles form around the edge of the pan.  Let cool and rest for about an hour.  Strain the tea from the cream.  Reheat the cream gently and pour over the chocolate.  Let sit for 2-3 minutes and then stir.  Let cool then transfer to the refrigerator to thicken.

Lemon glazed madeleines

The lovely Gine at i dolci fammo felici recently posted some adorable madeleines.  I was instantly reminded of the fluffy, buttery shell shaped cakes I tasted in Paris last year at Fauchon

A few months back I did bake some chocolate madeleines, but Gine’s post reminded me I still needed to tackle the more traditional lemon.  Madeleines are my favourite sweet petit French treat – behind macarons, of course!

The recipe is courtesy of David Lebovitz.  I followed it to the letter and was easily able to produce some tasty little shelly treats.  The simplicity and elegance of these little cakes is just so charming.  I will certainly be making more!

{ Lemon Glazed Madeleines }
Adapted from The Sweet Life In Paris by David Lebovitz

* Ingredients *

Batter:
3 large eggs, at room temperature
2/3 cup (130g) granulated sugar
rounded 1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cup (175g) flour
1 teaspoon baking powder (optional)
zest of one small lemon
9 tablespoons (120g) unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature, plus additional melted butter for preparing the molds

Icing:
3/4 cup (150g) powdered sugar
1 tablespoon freshly-squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons water

* Directions *

1. Brush the indentations of a madeleine mold with melted butter. Dust with flour, tap off any excess, and place in the fridge or freezer.
2. In the bowl of a standing electric mixer, whip the eggs, granulated sugar, and salt for 5 minutes until frothy and thickened.
3. Spoon the flour and baking powder, if using, into a sifter or mesh strainer and use a spatula to fold in the flour as you sift it over the batter. (Rest the bowl on a damp towel to help steady it for you.)
4. Add the lemon zest to the cooled butter, then dribble the butter into the batter, a few spoonfuls at a time, while simultaneously folding to incorporate the butter. Fold just until all the butter is incorporated.
5. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. (Batter can be chilled for up to 12 hours.)
6. To bake the madeleines, preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
7. Plop enough batter in the center of each indentation with enough batter which you think will fill it by 3/4’s (you’ll have to eyeball it, but it’s not brain-surgery so don’t worry if you’re not exact.) Do not spread it.
8. Bake for 8-9 minutes or until the cakes just feel set. While the cakes are baking, make a glaze in a small mixing bowl by stirring together the powdered sugar, lemon juice, and water until smooth.
9. Remove from the oven and tilt the madeleines out onto a cooling rack. The moment they’re cool enough to handle, dip each cake in the glaze, turning them over to make sure both sides are coated and scrape off any excess with a dull knife. After dipping, rest each one back on the cooking rack, scalloped side up, until the cakes are cool and the glaze has firmed up.
Storage: Glazed madeleines are best left uncovered, or not tightly-wrapped; they’re best eaten the day they’re made. They can be kept in a container for up to three days after baking, if necessary. I don’t recommend freezing them since the glaze will melt.

Makes 24 cookies

Champagne macarons

About a month ago I mentioned I was getting married soon.  And for the wedding, I wanted to make some macaron favors.  I was so overwhelmed by the lovely suggestions, so much in fact I did not know where to begin my trials.

But given it is a wedding, there was one very obvious starting point.  Champagne macarons.

The lovely Kerrin at MyKugelhopf made this particular suggestion.

I was not quite sure how to inject the Champagne flavour into this macaron initially.  But I quickly decided the flavour needed to go into the filling.  I was not prepared to experiment with the basic macaron shell that I can almost bake without too many hiccups.

I had a little look around for ‘Champagne Cream’ recipes but only really came across the savoury variety.  I then remembered my impromptu filling for my lavender macarons – lavender infused cream mixed into white chocolate.  I essentially copied the same idea here.

Overall, the flavour is subtle.  The champagne is not too overbearing.  The colour is also lovely being so neutral.  Verdict?  They are definitely on the short-list for the big day!

{ Champagne macarons }

* Ingredients *

100g egg whites
3g egg white powder
125g almond meal
125g icing sugar
For the syrup:
150g sugar and 50ml water

* Directions *

Process the almond meal and icing sugar together.  In a mixer, whip half the egg whites to soft peaks.  Meanwhile, in a saucepan bring the water and sugar for the syrup to 117C (or 242F) on a candy thermometer.  Once ready, slowly add the boiling syrup to the egg whites and continue to whip on medium speed until they thick and shiny and are completely cooled (about 10 minutes).  Mix the remaining egg whites to the sifted almond mixture and fold into the meringue in four parts.

Pipe macarons on lined baking sheets. Dust lightly with icing sugar.  Double up your baking sheets if you do not have professional grade quality.  Let your macarons sit at room temperature for 30-60 minutes. Bake at 140C or 280F for 15-18 minutes.  Fill with Champagne cream.  Refrigerate to set.

{ Champagne cream }

* Ingredients *

120g white chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup heavy cream
¼ cup Champagne (sparkling wine)

* Directions *

Heat cream and Champagne until bubbles slowly form around the edge of the pan.  Let cool and rest for about an hour.  Reheat the cream gently and pour over the chocolate.  Let sit for 2-3 minutes and then stir.  Let cool then transfer to the refrigerator to thicken.

choc chip copy medium 5

When I lived in America, I was not surprised at how popular chocolate chip cookies were.  I think many people around the world recognise this ‘American icon’.  What I was not ready for, however, was the explosion of varieties, sizes, flavour combinations, recipes, and sometimes, endless discussions around finding the ‘perfect’ cookie.

Like the brownie, I like my chocolate chip cookie chewy.  This is my favourite recipe in this category.

I made a batch of these cookies a couple of years ago for my partner’s friend (flatmate at the time).  He is a huge fan of the chocolate chip cookie.  In fact, he apparently said they were the best he had ever tasted.  Big call, but I tend to concur.  They are absolutely the most perfect chocolate chip cookie around.

Chocolate chip cookies may not be as popular here in Australia as they are in America, but they are still a firm favourite treat.  They are incredibly simple to make and I think are the perfect home baked gift in a pinch.  The dough only takes a few minutes to pull together and 10 minutes to bake.

I have been experimenting with homemade packaging.  I am playing around with a few ideas to adopt for my upcoming wedding favours.  I am obsessed with  baker’s twine.  Can you tell?  Secretly, I cannot wait for Christmas to use an endless quantity of the red/white colour!

Until then, here is the recipe.  Please try and let me know what you think.

{ Soft and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies }
Recipe from Martha Stewart’s Cookies

* Ingredients *

2 1/4 cups all-purpose / plain flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup (2 sticks / 250g) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed light-brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 cups (about 12 ounces or 350g) semisweet and/or milk chocolate chips

* Directions *

Preheat oven to 350F or 180C.  In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and baking soda; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter with both sugars; beat on medium speed until light and fluffy. Reduce speed to low; add the salt, vanilla, and eggs. Beat until well mixed, about 1 minute. Add flour mixture; mix until just combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.  Drop heaping tablespoon-size balls of dough about 2 inches apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper.  Bake until cookies are golden around the edges, but still soft in the centre, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from oven, and let cool on baking sheet 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack, and let cool completely. Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature up to 1 week.

Makes 36 cookies

Next Page »