Friday, April 20, 2012

Grammy's Chocolate Cookies

I really feel like I'm in a rut lately, and I haven't been cooking or blogging as much. I'm grateful for the recipe swaps to get my butt into gear so I can actually make something in the kitchen!

The theme for this latest swap is Celebrity Recipes. I received this Martha Stewart recipe for Grammy's Chocolate Cookies. When I received it, I had to look back to make sure I haven't made it before! I've bookmarked this for a while now, but never had the chance to make it.

This past weekend was the first warm weekend of the year. It was over 80°, so my sisters decided to bring out the grill! I brought the bulk of the cookies over, and they went over really well. Even with 2 cups of sugar, it wasn't too sweet, and the turbinado sugar I rolled it in added a nice crunch (and added some nice sparkle). I used kosher salt for this, as I do with all baked goods now, and it added a slight hint of salt that was perfect. I brought the rest to work, and it was a huge hit!

Very rarely do I get the exact amount of cookies a recipe calls for. I actually used a Martha Stewart cookie scoop to portion out the dough, and it made exactly 3 1/2 dozen. I use this all the time for drop cookies as well.

As always, remember to check out Sarah's blog for the full swap round up, including my submission of Tyler Florence's shrimp scampi.

Grammy's Dark Chocolate Cookies
made by cathy's kitchen journey
adapted from Just Baked, originally from Martha Stewart's Cookies

  • 2 cups plus 2 TBSP all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened Dutch processed cocoa
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 1/4 cups (2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • about 3/4 cup sanding sugar for rolling (I used turbinado sugar)

  1. In a medium bowl, sift or whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla, and beat to combine. Reduce speed to low and gradually add the flour mixture; beat to combine. Form dough into a flat disk and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill until dough is firm, about 1 hour.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350° degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment, or spray with cooking spray.
  4. Using a small cookie scoop, portion out dough and roll dough into 1 1/4-inch balls. Roll each ball in the sanding sugar. Place on prepared baking sheets about 1 1/2 inches apart. Bake until set, about 10 to 12 minutes, rotating halfway through.
  5. Cool on baking sheets for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Cookies can be stored between layers of parchment in an airtight container at room temperature up to 1 week.
Yield: 3 1/2 dozen

Pin It

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

No Knead Pizza Dough

This past weekend, my girlfriends got together to throw one of my high school girlfriend a baby shower. She is the first one of our group to have a baby and we wanted to do something special for her.

Since the mom-to-be has a dairy allergy, we set out to make everything dairy free. I made these vegan chocolate cupcakes that were a huge hit! I started out using the 2D tip, but the frosting ended up stringy since I used half shortening. It looked fine for the pink vanilla frosting since it looked like flowers but I just used a piping bag without a tip for the chocolate. I topped them with cupcake toppers from here.

We really had a mish-mosh of a menu that included Chinese and Italian cuisines. Since my friend loves pizza, I decided to make pizza for her using vegan cheese.

I've made pizza before, but I really hate kneading dough, even if it's with the Kitchenaid mixer. I've tried it in the bread maker with the dough cycle as well, but it wasn't quite right. This dough was perfect for me, since it required no kneading! All I had to do was dump all the ingredients in a bowl, mix, then leave it alone! Since I had so many other things to for the party, I decided to give this a go.

I halved the recipe and it made 3 good sized pies (about 12" each). I was going to try making garlic bread with this as well, but I ended up using it all for pizza.

No Knead Pizza Dough
made by cathy's kitchen journey
as seen on King Arthur Flour, originally from Artisan Pizza and Flatbread in Five Minutes a Day

  • 3 cups + 3 tablespoons (25 1/2 ounces) lukewarm water
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 TBSP instant yeast
  • 1 1/2 TBSP kosher salt
  • 9 cups (38 ounces) all purpose flour

  1. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Mix until thoroughly moistened (use a spatula if necessary).
  2. Loosely cover and set aside in a warm area. Let rise for 2 hours.
  3. After 2 hours, transfer the covered bowl to the fridge for at least 3 hours, or up to 7 days.

to make pizza:
  1. Preheat oven and stone (if using) to 450° F.
  2. To make pizza, portion out a softball sized piece of dough (about 8 oz).
  3. Dust a piece of parchment with cornmeal and place the dough on top. Add another piece of parchment over the dough and roll the dough out between the 2 pieces of parchment. Leave the dough to sit for 30 minutes to reduce shrinkage.
  4. Remove the top piece of parchment, top with pizza sauce, cheese and choice of toppings. Transfer to baking stone or pan with the parchment. Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, depending on the thickness of your pizza.
Yield: I halved the dough recipe, which yielded 3 pies

Pin It

Friday, April 6, 2012

Cheese Danishes

I love turnovers or hand pies. They're just so convenient and portable to eat, no utensils required!

For our fruit recipe exchange, I received these cheese danishes. I made these for as another snack for the get together I had. We all played this board game called Quelf. It was a pretty interesting game, as none of us played it before, and I had to crawl under a table at one point! One of the things we had to do whenever anybody rolled a 1 on the die was to yell "all hail the Chinese cheese biscuit!", which was quite coincidental because I had just served these.

I originally had some difficulty using the puff pastry since I took it out of the fridge ahead of time. I was concerned that it had not fully thawed in the fridge. BIG mistake! It made the dough too tough to work with. Make sure the dough is cold, straight from the fridge, or you'll have a tough time unfolding!

A few changes I made were using Neufchâtel cheese to lighten it up, using reconstituted lemon peel from Penzeys, and using the leftover egg whites as a wash. It came out great and everybody enjoyed it, even the cheese haters! I double this to feed everybody and as I thought, I had some cheese filling left. I ended up throwing it away, but I'm sure it can be used to spread on bread or something!

Remember to check out Sarah's blog for the full round up including my submission for blueberry buckle!

Cheese and Fruit Preserve Danishes
made by cathy's kitchen journey
adapted from Simple Gourmet Cooking

  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, separated (reserve whites for egg wash)
  • 2 TBSP ricotta cheese
  • zest of one lemon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 box frozen puff pastry, defrosted in refrigerator
  • 8 TBSP fruit preserves (I used raspberry)

  1. Preheat the oven to 400° F. Line 2 sheet pans with parchment paper.
  2. Cream the cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment on low speed until smooth. With the mixer still on low, add the egg yolks, ricotta, lemon zest, vanilla, and salt and mix until just combined (do not whip). Turn off the mixer, and set mixture aside
  3. Unfold 1 sheet of puff pastry onto a lightly floured surface and roll it slightly with a lightly floured rolling pin until it's a 10 by 10-inch square. (Use one at a time, leaving one in the fridge until ready to use.) Using a sharp knife or pastry cutter, cut the sheet into quarters with a sharp knife.
  4. Place a heaping tablespoon of cheese filling into the middle of each of the 4 squares (I used a cookie scoop). If using, place an additional tablespoon of desired filling into each pastry.
  5. Brush the edge of each pastry with the egg wash and fold 2 opposite corners to the center, brushing and overlapping the corners of each pastry so that they stick together tightly. Crimp the edges together with a fork to seal.
  6. Lightly brush the top of the pastries with egg wash. Place the pastries on the prepared sheet pan. Repeat with the second sheet of puff pastry and refrigerate the danishes for 15 minutes.
  7. Bake the pastries for about 20 minutes, rotating the pan once during baking, until puffed and light brown. Serve warm.

Yield: 8 servings

Pin It