Easy but a-m-a-z-i-n-g cookie recipe??
You know the ones... when you give someone a cookie, they take a bite, and their eyes get all watery, look up to the heavens and thank God their alive?
OKAY- maybe that's a little dramatic.... BUT - I'm looking for a killer cookie recipe (that isn't too difficult).... I usually make the recipes on the back of packages... and am looking for cookies that WOW for my BF and his work buddies.
Open to all kinds of cookies.... bring it on!
I love these as they are simple and fit your description.
Don't be fooled by the ingredients... they are awesome!
Tofu Peanut Butter Cookies
One 18 oz jar of peanut butter, the cheap stuff works best
one 16 oz pkg of firm tofu
2 cups sugar (DO NOT USE SPLENDA!)
2 Tablespoons of vanilla
Mix everything and place in 1-2 teaspoon size balls on a cookie sheet.
Bake at 325 degrees for 20-25-mins.
They flatten out and no one knows or can believe they are made with tofu.
I box Butter Pecan Cake Mix
1/2 Cup of Veg. Oil
1/2 Bag of Toffee Pieces (I think both Heath and Skor make them...same size as choc. chips)
1 cup Pecans
Mix first three, then stir in Toffee and Pecans. Bake at 350 for 12-15 minutes. Makes a great chewy cookie, approx. 2 1/2 dozen.
Absolutely agree with this recommendation. I chop up a Trader Joe's pound plus bar or other solid block of dark chocolate to get bigger pieces and round up to 2 c. of chips personally. I've also read that chilling the dough for 24+ hours first improves them, but I haven't confirmed this yet. Even as written, this recipe is so good that the cookies were the only thing my mother in law wanted to eat when she was in the final stages of cancer. Poignant, but a ringing endorsement.
A couple of years later and I have to update this recommendation. I love the cookies but prefer the recipe from the NYT adaptation of Jacques Torres. The thick and chewy cookies are still good, and much less fussy so I do use the recipe sometimes but this is my new favorite (though the toffee is still good):
The Germans do a variation on this, which is my favorite. They're called Bethmaennchen (translates to "Little Beth Men" - Beth was the last name of the family for whom this was named). The key is to use a good quality marzipan, which is hard to find in the US. The best I've found is Stramondo: http://www.amazon.com/Stramondo-Organ...
Here's how my German mother-in-law makes it:
Take a block of marzipan and knead in an egg white and a couple of spoonfulls of powdered sugar and flour. This is supposed to be 90% Marzipan, with a moist interior, so don't worry. Roll into balls and then press 3 blanched almond halves around it (with tips pointing up). Bake for ~10 minutes till slightly brown, then coat with a sugar glaze to help hold the almonds in place and give some shine.
Are these real sugarly or more almondy, if it's possible to say. I usually like using almond paste rather than marzipan because it's less sweet and I like the idea of trying the stramondo. But it looks like they don't sell an almond paste, at least anywhere obvious.
Maybe these cookies aren't overly sweet since it looks like you don't add that much sugar to the marzipan?
Sorry for the delay, have been traveling and am finally back. Went to Germany and got to make this recipe with my mother-in-law again. It's not sweet at all. Mostly almondy. Intensely almondy, which is why they're so small. Unfortunately I don't know the exact proportions, as I was taught to do it "by feel." Probably just a couple tablespoons each of flour and powdered sugar. Enough for the dough to still be a bit sticky, but still workable with a generous coating of powered sugar on the outside. Do seek out the Stramondo. Very high percentage of almonds compared to every other marzipan or almond paste I've seen in the US. And unlike most others, there's no corn syrup. It's just 4 ingredients: Sicilian Palma Girgenti almonds, Mandorla Cuore almonds, raw cane sugar and vanilla. I've read that Lindt also makes a very high grade marzipan, but they only sell that one wholesale. The ones they sell retail are not as good (but maybe still good enough?)
Another important thing with Marzipan is the ratio or bitter to sweet almonds. The more bitter almonds, generally the better. But of course they're more expensive. Oh, and apparently the temperature and extraction process have a lot to do with it, so apparently it's not possible to make the best quality marzipan without very special and expensive equipment.
There's a lot of good information the web about Marzipan quality and all the factors that impact its quality. Unfortunately all of that information is in German. I'm yet to find any good information in English. Unfortunately, since we are so loose about how we label things compared to Europe, the terms "Almond Paste" and "Marzipan" don't necessarily mean much.
I did order the Stramondo marzipan you recommended. I had intended to make the Bethmaennchen for Christmas but didn't get to it. So my martzipan is still waiting for me in its beautiful package. I found some interesting lore on these cookies online and their origin. I'm excited to make these and will be doing it for a family gathering later this month. I'll just proceed by feel and hope I get it right. With quality ingredients it's sure to taste good. I'm afraid you've probably introduced me to another expensive habit though!
people also rave about her "world peace cookies" (do a board search) and chocolate chunkers (semisweet, white, and bittersweet chocolate, raisins, nuts.. yikes!)
eta: here's a post on the topic of cookies from dorie's book:
i think some people have trouble with the dough being tempermental so i haven't made them yet
i made these for my christmas potluck at work ... my vp marched right up to me and demanded the recipe. she said she'd never tasted anything like it! she now asks me if i've brought cookies to the office whenever she sees me. i don't think she's kidding!!
the dough (apparently) can be tempermental - i shared the recipe with a friend and she said her cookies were a flop (but still tasty)... follow dorie's directions very closely (she's very detailed). the chill time is essential. i actually make a huge bunch, freeze the rolls and take them out as i need them. i find them easier to slice after they've defrosted in the fridge. but even the 'mashed together' bits are amazing.
Make rainbow cookies (aka venetians), Here is one recipe: http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Rainbow-...
or google it. Don't be intimidated. It's not difficult, just a little long. Everyone is blown away by these. No one thinks they can be home made. Plus, they taste better than most bakery's because they are made with real almond paste.
I make the recipe on the Quaker Oats box, but add dried cherries and chopped dried apricots instead of raisins. The cherries and apricots are a little more exotic, and they give a lot of chew to the cookie. You could just as easily experiment with whatever dried fruit you have around... the fruit and nut aisle at Trader Joe's is a fun place to look around.
I make snickerdoodles - a buttery sugar cookie rolled in cinnamon and sugar - recipe found in the Joy of Cooking. They became my go-to cookie in college, since I always had the ingredients at hand in our teensy dorm room. Everyone loves them, even those who previously didn't know what they are, and they're so easy to make. Plus, this cookie is useful for those situations in which people may have nut allergies, since there are no nuts in the recipe.
(In fact, I made them last night again!)
the BEST tip i've learned is to use the highest quality chocolate in whatever recipe you choose. it will make OR BREAK the recipe. that said, these are high on my list:
giant chocolate-toffee cookies
or in the pb realm, brownies yet cookies w/pb filling:
Chewy Chocolate Cookies. These have gotten rave reviews from coworkers, family, friends. It was published in one of AllRecipes' cookbooks.
I had to laugh at one of the recent reviews: "WARNING: DO NOT attempt to make this recipe unless you are prepared to loose control and eat 10 cookies in one sitting. You will not be able to stop yourself, they are AMAZING." Yes, they are THAT good.
ETA...AND I just noticed that this original post was from two and a half years ago. :-)
re: The Oracle
I make "eggnog" cookies, unbelievably easy and always a winner wherever I take them:
1 pkg refrigerator sugar cookies
1 carton vanilla icing
Dust the raw cookies with a heavy coating of nutmeg before cooking. After cooking, spread icing on cooled cookies and sprinkle more nutmeg for color.
re: The Oracle
whether the request was 3 years ago or 3 hours ago, my suggestion for *simple* and delicious would still be the same - flourless peanut butter cookies. and if, like me, you love chocolate with your PB...fold some in (chopped or chips), drizzle ganache over the cookies after baking, or best of all, dip in ganache!
re: The Oracle
here you go:
GHG’S ULTIMATE FLOURLESS PEANUT BUTTER COOKIES
(Makes approximately 1½ dozen cookies)
8 oz. natural, unsalted peanut butter (if oil has separated, stir well to reincorporate)
1 large egg
¾ c brown sugar
2 Tbsp molasses (NOT blackstrap)
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp pure vanilla extract
¼ tsp Kosher salt
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
Fleur de sel
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Combine peanut butter, egg, molasses and vanilla extract in a large bowl, and mix well to combine thoroughly. Stir in sugar, baking soda, salt and cinnamon, and mix well to ensure even distribution.
Roll the dough into 1-inch balls (about the size of a walnut in the shell), and set in rows on the parchment-lined baking sheet, leaving plenty of space between them because you're going to flatten them out.
Pour raw sugar onto a small plate, dip the back of a fork into it, and press down gently on each dough ball with the back of the fork to flatten it slightly and leave impressions/grooves from the fork tines. Dip the fork back into the sugar before each press. You're going to press each cookie *twice* to create a cross-hatch pattern (so you'll want to make the second impression at a 90-degree angle to the first one).
After all cookies have been pressed, sprinkle the tops with a bit more of the raw sugar.
Bake the cookies on the center rack of the preheated oven for approx. 10 - 11 minutes, until puffed and golden. As soon as you remove them from the oven, sprinkle each cookie with a few grains of fleur de sel.
There are three basic types:
Light (a.k.a Barbados) molasses - light color, very sweet, mild flavor, thinner consistency, most common choice for baked goods/pastries
Dark (a.k.a. Robust) molasses - darker color, not as sweet as the light variety, thicker consistency, stronger flavor
Blackstrap - very dark, minimal sweetness, somewhat bitter flavor, very thick consistency
Molasses is essentially a by-product of sugar extraction. Cane and beet sugar are "made" by extracting the juices from the raw materials and boiling the juice until the sugars precipitate out into crystals, leaving behind a syrup. That leftover syrup is light molasses. If the producers boil the light syrup again and extract more sugar crystals from it, the syrup left behind after that second boil is dark molasses. If they boil the dark molasses and extract crystals from that, the syrup that remains is blackstrap molasses.
Blackstrap is rarely used for culinary purposes because the flavor is so powerful and bitter. I personally like it when used properly, but I'm partial to bitter and less sweet flavors anyway. It's actually a good source of several essential minerals, so many people use it for the health benefits.
Another option that produces one of the richest chocolate cookies I've ever had (I rarely go for them b/c a cookie never satisfies the way pure chocolate does) is one that someone posted here recently and I made with great success for a shower. They are small and a bit more elegant than a traditional chocolate chip cookie (of which I'm also a huge fan, see above). You can also make the dough, freeze the formed cookies, and bake whenever you need them.
rootlesscosmo's adaptation of Maida Heatter (don't know how to link)
DOUBLE CHOCOLATE COOKIES
2 oz. unsweetened chocolate
6 oz. semisweet chocolate
2 tbsp. (1 oz.) butter
1/4 c. flour
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp. salt
3/4 c. sugar
2 tsp. ground (or instant) coffee
1/2 tsp. vanilla
6 oz. chocolate chips
8 oz. walnut pieces (optional--I used almonds and ultimately decided that any nuts were a distraction)
1. Preheat oven to 350°.
2. Line cookie sheet with foil; oil lightly. (Or just use a non-stick cookie sheet, or--my preference--a silicone sheet such as Silpat.)
3. Melt chocolate and butter over hot water; stir until completely mixed and smooth.
4. Combine flour, salt, and baking powder.
5. Beat eggs with sugar, coffee, and vanilla on high speed; reduce speed and add melted chocolate.
6. Add dry ingredients; stir just until blended. Add chips and nuts.
7. Spoon onto cookie sheet; bake 8 minutes or just until tops are dry. (Caution: these burn easily.)
This is a variation on a Cook's Illustrated recipe that is just as chocolatey as a person can take. (I think the original recipe used a combo of bittersweet and semisweet, so is just a tad less sweet than this version.) http://allrecipes.com/recipe/ultimate... When I've made these, I melt the chocolate in the microwave, stirring every thirty seconds, being careful not to burn the chocolate, because my microwave oven is fairly powerful. It's good to use the best quality chocolate you can afford, too. Once you've made this version, this recipe is adaptable to additions of powdered chile, cinnamon, spices, nuts, etc. if you'd like to customize it.
I make graham crackers, and then coat them in chocolate. It's easy, but you do it in stages, so it's a bit time consuming, like most good things.
Make the crackers, easy.
cut and bake, easy.
coat in chocolate easy.
I have had people hide them from their own children, LOL.
This is Nancy Silverton's cracker recipe:
2 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons unbleached pastry flour or unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup dark brown sugar, lightly packed
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
7 tablespoons (3 1/2 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes and frozen
1/3 cup mild-flavored honey, such as clover
5 tablespoons whole milk
2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade or in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the flour, brown sugar, baking soda, and salt. Pulse or mix on low to incorporate. Add the butter and pulse on and off on and off, or mix on low, until the mixture is the consistency of a coarse meal.
In a small bowl, whisk together the honey, milk, and vanilla extract. Add to the flour mixture and pulse on and off a few times or mix on low until the dough barely comes together. It will be very soft and sticky.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and pat the dough into a rectangle about 1 inch thick. Wrap in plastic and chill until firm, about 2 hours or overnight.
To prepare the topping: In a small bowl, combine the sugar and cinnamon, and set aside.
Divide the dough in half and return one half to the refrigerator. Sift an even layer of flour onto the work surface and roll the dough into a long rectangle about 1/8 inch thick. The dough will be sticky, so flour as necessary. (SKIP THIS ENTIRE NEXT STEP)(Trim the edges of the rectangle to 4 inches wide. Working with the shorter side of the rectangle parallel to the work surface, cut the strip every 4 1/2 inches to make 4 crackers. Gather the scraps together and set aside. )
Place the crackers on one or two parchment-lined baking sheets and sprinkle with the topping. Chill until firm, about 30 to 45 minutes. Repeat with the second batch of dough.
Adjust the oven rack to the upper and lower positions and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Gather the scraps together into a ball, chill until firm, and reroll. Dust the surface with more flour and roll out the dough to get about two or three more crackers.
(SKIP THIS STEP TOO) Mark a vertical line down the middle of each cracker, being careful not to cut through the dough. Using a toothpick or skewer, prick the dough to form two dotted rows about 1/2 inch for each side of the dividing line.
Bake for 25 minutes, until browned and slightly firm to the tough, rotating the sheets halfway through to ensure even baking.
Yield: 10 large crackers
Now that sounds really complicated, all that measuring and cutting. I did it that way for years and it was a total pain.
I finally figured that it was stupidly easy, and bought a square cookie cutter. Voila.
Now it is is just the same as any basic sugar cookie.
Roll it out and cut it with the cutter. Make it any shape you want. And a lot of the time I don't bother chilling them after I cut them.
Melt milk chocolate in a double boiler. put all your cookies on a rack or parchment lined cookie sheet. Coat one side with chocolate. put them in the fridge to harden.
Go do something else.
When the chocolate has hardened, turn them over and do the other side.
People will offer to marry you, children will clean their rooms, wars will be fought over these cookies.
NO ONE makes their own graham crackers. Prepare to be worshiped.
I just ran across this one. Very simple but everyone that's tried them has said they are some of the best they've had. crispy crunchy salty chocolaty nutty.
2 sticks butter
1 cup sugar
1 sleeve saltines
1 tsp vanilla
12oz chocolate chips
3/4 cup toasted nuts
Heat oven to 350
Cover cookie sheet with buttered foil or parchment.
In saucepan melt 2 sticks of butter over med heat and add 1 cup of sugar, bring to simmer - don't over stir.
Simmer until edges brown.
Turn heat off and add vanilla.
Layer bottom of pan with saltines.
Pour syrup over saltines to coat evenly and bake for 5 minutes
Immediately coat with 12 oz chocolate chips, let melt and spread evenly, top with toasted nuts and press firmly. Refrigerate 1hr.
This past holiday season, a friend shipped over a package of homemade cookies that included Drommer Cookies as posted in the Chicago Tribune a few years ago. When I hit the Drommer cookies, I stopped eating everything else and gorged on those. I would have sworn they were made with ground almonds, but apparently brown butter is what gives these their unique flavor. Make sure to use quality vanilla. I made one batch with cheap mexican vanilla because I had nothing else left and the chemical taste totally showed through.
2 sticks (1 cup) butter
2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
¾ cup sugar
2 tsp. good quality vanilla
36 blanched almond halves
Heat oven to 300 degrees. Melt butter in a medium saucepan over low heat, stirring often, until beginning to brown, about 15 minutes. Pour into a large bowl, making sure to add any browned bits from the bottom of the pan; cool completely, about 45 minutes. Meanwhile, stir flour and baking powder together; set aside.
Add sugar to browned butter. Beat with a mixer on medium speed until fluffy; beat in vanilla. Blend in flour mixture; beat until just combined. Form into 1-inch balls; transfer to a greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Press an almond half on top of each cookie to flatten. Bake until cookies begin to brown, 50 minutes.
Makes 3 dozen.
Chocolate Crinkles--No butter. No Flour. 6 ingredients.
(I have made the NY Times recipe for Chocolate Chip Cookies, the Levain knock-offs, boatloads of brownies, antique cookie recipes passed down for generations.. and yet, these are: #1--I-am-done-Best Cookie of Life.)