Ginger Snappies

May 27, 2011 § 2 Comments

Aaaaaaand we’re back! Less than three weeks until my college graduation. And WHAT a long time it’s been since the magic of baking has occurred in this apartment. I’m in the midst of writing final essays, doing last film projects, wrapping up boxes and friendships and whatnot. But this morning, that white crinkled paper bag of all-purpose flour called to me from the cabinet as I reached for my daily handful of almonds from the adjacent one. “Boo to you, FoodGirl, for forgetting me!” he shouted, crouching down in helpless rage and glaring with his bleached eyes through the darkness, past the sugar, the baking soda, the chocolate chips. I sighed. “Forgive me. Let’s start over. Let’s just pretend this whole situation never even happened, ok?” I reached in, the palm of my hand grasping his thick, full sides, and set him down on the counter top. He straightened up, uncrinkling a bit. “Harumph. Well. That’s better. What should we bake?”

[Note that these cookies are indeed quite crunchy (snappy?), so get ready for a crunch-o-liscious foodgasm. Those who prefer their cookies soft, run far away!]

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup butter, cut up
1/4 cup well-packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup light molasses (aka treacle!)

  1. In a large bowl, combine flour, ginger, powder, and salt. Stir.
  2. In a small saucepan, on low heat, melt butter, molasses, and brown sugar together, stirring occasionally until smooth.
  3. Pour hot mixture into bowl and mix dry and wet until dough forms.
  4. Press dough into a large disk and refrigerate in plastic wrap for one hour.
  5. After an hour, preheat oven to 350º F and prepare two parchment papered cookie sheets.
  6. Roll dough on a lightly floured surface into about 1/4 inch thick and use cookie cutters to cut out cookie shapes. Repeat until dough is used up.
  7. Bake until just firm and golden brown, about 12 minutes. Allow to cool.

adapted from The Golden Book of Cookies.


Sunny Snickerdoodles.

April 23, 2011 § Leave a comment

Less than two months until I graduate from college. After that, no more academia. No more lectures. No more homework. No more assignments. No more professors. I will be a real adult. [Really?] And what a bizarre thing it is to really become conscious of that. It’s beginning to set in.

But let us not dwell on what is to come, but instead on what is. Today, Evanston is warm, and the trees are in full bloom. The sun is out. The grass has grown in. The birds are chirping. My last Midwest spring. Let us celebrate with Sunny Snickerdoodles.

1 cup butter (2 sticks)
1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
2 3/4 cups flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons cinnamon
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
your favorite sprinkles

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Cream butter and sugar in a large bowl. Add eggs and mix until smooth.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt.
  4. Add dry to wet and mix until thoroughly incorporated. Chill in fridge for 15 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, combine 3 tbs sugar and 3 tbs cinnamon in a bowl. Prepare a large parchment paper-lined baking sheet.
  6. Roll dough into one-inch balls and ever-so-slightly press down in center with thumb. Roll in cinnamon-sugar mixture, place on cookie sheet, and sprinkle with sprinkles!
  7. Place on cookie sheet, at least 1 inch apart, and bake about 8 minutes (depending on how crunchy you like them. I like them chewy, so I baked them for only 8.
  8. Allow to cool five minutes before transferring to a rack or serving plate.

Adapted from’s original recipe.

Ideal Cookie Dough + ?

April 18, 2011 § 1 Comment

Without a strong foundation, a building crumbles. Without its roots that reach deep within the earth, a tree falls. Without a stable family life, a child is more likely to fall behind her peers. It’s the same with cookies. Without a sturdy, strong base – the dough that holds everything together – all is lost and the cookie will not only taste bad, but it will look bad.

Here, this is not the case. After many a moment spent in front of my computer, web recipe perusing, and after many another moment staring at the many inhabitants of my baking shelves, an ideal cookie dough has been achieved. I say “an” and not “the” ideal cookie dough because, as we all know, there is always room for improvement. Do you know of one, already? Let us know. In the meantime, try this very simple but abnormally delicious recipe.

3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup light brown sugar
1 cup butter
1 tablespoon. vanilla extract
2 eggs, slightly beaten
3 cups flour
3/4 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 cups butterscotch chips
1 1/2 cups bittersweet chocolate chips

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a bowl, cream sugars and butter. Add vanilla and eggs, mixing thoroughly.
  2. In a separate bowl, sift dry ingredients and add, in two or three parts, to the creamed mixture. Mix well. (Use your hands! )
Done with Part 1: the foundation. NOW comes the fun part. Add whatever you like. I divided the dough into two parts and added butterscotch chips to one and large bittersweet chocolate chips to the other. Amend step 1 of Part 2, below, as you see fit.
  1. Divide dough into two parts and add butterscotch to one half, kneading to incorporate chips into dough. Do the same with remaining half of dough and chocolate chips.
  2. Line two baking pans with parchment paper. Roll dough into smooth, small balls and place at least one inch apart from each other on pan. Bake 10 to 12 minutes, or until edges are beginning to turn golden brown. Best with vanilla ice cream!

Nutella Sandwich Squares

April 15, 2011 § Leave a comment

Nutella is the ultimate happiness generator.

Imagine. You’re sitting in a chair at your kitchen table, a large jar before you, a spoon beside it. It’s been a long day. You place your hand over that plastic white top and twist, the cover effortlessly unscrewing and falling to the tabletop. Your head tilts forward and your eyes gaze into the chestnut-colored depths of the Nutella jar. Whiffs of chocolate and hazelnut swirl up, through the air and into your nostrils, overtaking your air streams and electrifying your mind. The spoon goes in, in, in, and around, around, around, happily twirling in viscous goodness. Your spoon comes out, and like a jet, zooms into your open mouth and onto your tongue. Your lips envelop the spoon and your eyes close. Everything else melts away. It’s just you and your ‘tella. What a magic moment.

Nutella was created in the 1940’s by Italian chocolatier Pietro Ferrero (delicious drugstore Ferrero Rocher, anyone?). During World War II, food rationing caused a scarcity in cocoa…which meant a shortage of chocolate. This was not acceptable. What to do? The Big Aha came to Ferrero: Hazelnuts, always in abundance in his native region of Piedmont, would be the perfect ingredient to add to cocoa and thus stretch out cocoa rations. Well, I guess we can trace Nutella back to cocoa shortages. Thanks, food stamps.

Here’s a delicate, crunchy Nutella confection that very much delivers.

1/2 cup old fashioned rolled oats
1 cup all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for rolling
1/3 cup whole-wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

  1. Preheat oven to 350º F.
  2. Spread oats on a rimmed baking sheet; bake until golden, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl; stir in flours and salt.
  3. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add vanilla extract and stir. Add dry oat mixture; beat until blended.
  4. Form dough into a disk, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate until firm (about 2 hours).
  5. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into one gigantic spread, about 1/8 inch thick, over a large sheet of parchment paper. While rolling, dust lightly with flour as needed.
  6. Move parchment paper, with cookie spread on top, to a baking pan.
  7. Bake until cookie dough spread is golden around edges, about 8-10 minutes.
  8. As SOON as you take sheet out of the oven, cut cookie dough length-wise, into strips approx. 1-2 inches thick, with a sharp, non-serrated knife. Next, do this horizontally so squares form. Perform this step as quickly as possible, as cookies harden fast.

Allow to cool (at least 1 hour) before spreading Nutella between two cookie squares and sandwiching. Store in an airtight container for up to three days.


inspired by Martha.

Caffeine Surprises

April 11, 2011 § Leave a comment

HEADLINE: Espresso-Infused Cookie Dough Goes on Caffeine Rampage and Overtakes Innocent Chocolate Kisses.

Evanston, IL: It was a breezy Saturday afternoon. The sun was out, the sky was a cloudless blue. Students traipsed down the street on their way to the library. Dogs led their owners by their leashes, stopping every so often along the sidewalk. Besides the wind, all was quiet.

Inside one apartment, however, evidence of the crime was glaringly conspicuous. Pans slammed against the cupboards. Every ten minutes, the oven creaked open and shut. The aroma of melted chocolate wafted into every room. Cookie crumbs were scattered about the kitchen surfaces. Chocolate Kiss-less wrappers were strewn about the counter tops. The cookie dough, maniacal from the caffeine of the espresso within it, had gone berserk and devoured every Hershey’s kiss in sight. With every bite, it birthed a new cookie.

And then I devoured the cookies.

1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon instant espresso (Medaglia D’oro!)
2 tablespoons sour cream (or heavy cream)
1 egg
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
large bag of dark chocolate Hershey’s Kisses

  1. Preheat oven to 350º F and line two baking pans with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, cream sugars and butter. Add vanilla extract, espresso powder, sour cream, and egg, and beat until well combined.
  3. In a separate bowl, stir flour and soda together. In two or three parts, add dry to wet, stirring constantly.
  4. Once batter is complete, refrigerate for about 15 minutes.
  5. With a soup spoon, drops small scoops of dough, about two inches apart, onto prepared baking pan. Lightly press a dark chocolate Hershey’s Kiss into the center of each scoop (see above). Cover with another small scoop of dough and seal each kiss into center of cookie. Make sure no part of the Kiss is visible in each cookie ball!
  6. Sprinkle each cookie with a little espresso powder and place on upper middle rack in oven.
  7. Bake for about 10 minutes, until edges are beginning to turn golden brown. Cool for about ten minutes, and enjoy!

Best eaten while hot…while the chocolate center will flow out, onto your tongue, with eeeevery bite.

Chocolate Clouds

April 7, 2011 § Leave a comment

There’s something mystical about a good cookie. From that first crunch – as your teeth sink down, your lips closing in around that rotund little disc, its sugary essence seeping from your mouth onto your tongue – to the crunch, the swirl, the taste that envelops your every sensory faculty – you just feel its goodness percolate every part of your being. You know what we’re talking about? I assume so. That’s what being a foodie’s all about – how food touches your soul.

A good cookie – made with quality ingredients, with skill, and with care and warmth – engenders this sensation. But only a good cookie.

Here’s a recipe that’s bound to do it to it. The recipe’s a derivative of the magnificent cookie magician, Sarabeth.

1 1/3 cup superfine sugar
1 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into ½-inch cubes
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs, at room temperature, beaten
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 cups (12 ounces) chocolate chips

  1. Position racks in the center and top third of the oven and preheat to 350°F. Line 3 half-sheet pans with parchment paper.
  2. Combine sugars and beat in butter until smooth. Add vanilla and eggs, continuing to stir.
  3. Sift the flour, baking soda, and salt together into a medium bowl.
  4. In three parts, while continuing to mix, add dry ingredients to wet. Add chocolate chips and mix just until combined.
  5. Empty the dough onto the work counter, and use your hands to thoroughly distribute the chocolate chips in the dough.
  6. Using a large tablespoon, drop onto pans, about two inches apart.
  7. Slightly flatten each dough ball with the heel of your hand. ball of dough.
  8. Bake for 15-17 minutes, rotating pans about halfway through, until the cookies are evenly golden brown. During the last 3 minutes, rap each pan on the rack to achieve crackle effect.
  9. Cool for 5-10 minutes.

ideal oatmeal cookies

April 1, 2011 § Leave a comment

Perhaps the perfect oatmeal cookie recipe has been found.

I don’t enjoy raisins in cookies, so I never use them for baking. If YOU like raisins, though, feel free to add them (and any other fixin’s) to your liking. Merrill, thank you for bringing such a magnificent recipe to life.

Although I’ve added a little something here, taken a little out of something there, the recipe remains well intact. Food52 has become a mainstay of my daily gastro-web endeavors. Get ready for some externally crisp yet internally CLOUD-LIKE oatmeal foodgasms. Best eaten warm, in a bowl, with a scoop (or 5) of vanilla ice cream.

1 1/8 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon allspice
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups rolled oats
3 cups semisweet chocolate chips (Ghirardelli is my fave)

  1. Heat your oven to 375º.
  2. Combine flour, salt, soda, and spices in a bowl. In another, cream butter and sugar, and then incorporate eggs and vanilla extract.
  3. A bit at a time, add dry to wet and mix with your hands! Continue until all is evenly distributed within your dough.
  4. Add chocolate chips and oats, and continue to stir until combined.
  5. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper and flatten large tablespoon-sized balls onto sheets, about two inches apart.
  6. They’re finished when the cookies are golden brown around the edges, about 15-20 minutes.
  7. Cool before serving, about 10 minutes.

Enjoy with a cup of steamy, freshly brewed tea and ice cream on the side. MAJOR foodgasm.

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