Just Baked: Double Chocolate Cookies

“There is nothing better than a friend unless it is a friend with chocolate.” ― Linda Grayson

You know what’s better than a chocolate chip cookie? A chocolatey chocolate chip cookie!!!

I still had leftover chocolate chip morsels that I badly wanted to put to use already. I also had a little bit of dutch-processed cocoa powder left. Initially, wanting to bake brownies, I decided I wanted cookies instead. Searching for recipes that involved the two ingredients led me to the Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies by Kathy.

What I loved about her recipe was that it asks for a cup of butter. That being said, I did not have to bother cutting my bar of butter up anymore because I hate having to do that. I also liked the fact that it’s almost like making a brownie cookie.

Anyway, her recipe was very easy to follow. Except for adding another teaspoon of vanilla, I did not do any more tweakings to the recipe. Oops, I did use macadamia nuts instead of walnuts.

Guys, the house smelled of brownie heaven! The smell of chocolate was simply divine! It was a miracle I was able to wait for the first batch to cool before trying one cookie out. And, just as expected, the cookie tasted like a brownie that’s a little fudgy in the middle. It was so delicious and not overly sweet!

People at work loved the cookies too. I brought them to work together with the coconut oatmeal cookies and these brownie-like cookies disappeared faster than I expected.

Please do try her recipe out. To make it more aesthetically pleasing, don’t put all the chocolate chips in the dough. Save some to put on top after scooping them onto the baking sheets. That way, you get these little melted chocolate chips on top after the cookies bake. They firm up again once cooled.

 

Advertisements

Just Baked: Coconut Oatmeal Cookies

For I am coconut, and the heart of me is sweeter than you know.” — Nikki Grimes

Technically, I baked these cookies weeks ago. I thought all the while that I’ve written about it already. After getting back from Hong Kong though, I have been busy with work that I forgot I only started writing this post.

This is almost an extension too of my Hong Kong adventures post. You see, the inspiration to make coconut cookies were because of the coconut-flavored egg rolls that I got from Kee Wah Bakery at the Hong Kong International Airport. I was only planning to buy penguin cookies, but a lady asked me to try free samples of the egg roll. She did not have to convince me much because I loved it right then and there.

When I got home, I knew I had to have something with a coconut taste. Therefore, I took it upon myself to find a coconut recipe that I can work with. The problem though, was that I only had desiccated coconuts in my pantry and all the recipes I was finding said to use shredded coconuts. To hell with shredded coconuts, I was going to use my desiccated coconut pack instead.

The recipe I decided to follow was from Food Network for coconut oatmeal cookies. It had five stars with 29 reviews and I think all of them only had praises for this recipe.

I did not do much tweaking except for adding 1 tsp of coconut extract and 1/2 tsp of salt. I thought to myself that cookies without salt will not have that added depth in flavor. Salt actually adds a little bit more oomph in baking. So, in salt went into my dough. I also added half a cup more of desiccated coconuts because they are not as bulky as shredded coconuts. I wanted my batch to yield a lot of cookies.

Guys, the whole house smelled so lovely and coconutty! It smelled like a vacation on a tropical beach, with coconut water for refreshment. It was simply amazing!

fullsizeoutput_6f8

Here’s the deal. Because I did not use shredded coconut, the cookies were a tad bit drier than I would have liked. Still, they were chewy because of the oatmeal. Boy, they were yummy though. They were so yummy that I was actually debating whether to still bring some to work and share them with my colleagues or to just keep them all to myself. Of course, sharing is caring. So, I brought them to work.

The thing with coconuts is that not everyone is a fan of them. Even I took some time to warm up to this drupe. So, while some loved them, there were some who weren’t as fond of them. Despite that, I was still told that the cookies were good.

fullsizeoutput_6fa

Perhaps I will try to find shredded coconut next time. Alternatively, perhaps I can just rehydrate desiccated coconut? I still think shredded coconut is different from grated coconut. Grated coconut is not difficult for me to get, but shredded coconuts? I have a higher chance of finding flaked coconut than finding the shredded version.

fullsizeoutput_6f5

That’s it for now, guys! Hope you try the recipe out too.

Just Baked: Chocolate Swirl Buns

“When you select the right kind of chocolate it is like giving your insides a hug. Everyone needs a chocolate hug.” — Jean Kelsey 

After two weeks of feeling ill during the second half of February, I felt the need to make some bread. I wanted the therapy I get from working with dough and needed the comfort of a house that smelled heavenly from bread in the oven.

I wanted something easy like a cinnamon roll, but I did not want cinnamon this time. I was torn between wanting a sweet bread or savory bread. To be honest, I was leaning towards making a cheesy garlic bread. However, having no food processor in my kitchen and having an aversion to handling real garlic (I hate the smell it leaves on the hands), I decided to use my last Beryl’s Dark Compound Chocolate bar.

For the recipe, I was initially looking at recipes for babka. However, it involved too many steps and too much time to get the dough ready. I wanted something quick and easy for an impatient amateur like me. My search led me to Donal Skehan’s recipe.

52932105_828408607498314_5062651940920360960_nThe dough was easy to make and to handle. For the first time, I did not use my hand mixer and its dough hook attachments! Instead, I used my hands to knead for about ten minutes or more. It felt like a workout but it was so satisfying to knead the dough. It was like working with slime or clay.

The more tiring part of this bread making activity is chopping the dark compound chocolate bar. I need to invest in bigger and sharper knives. Anyway, I made sure to leave some big chunks of chocolate because I was worried they’d melt too quickly and burn of I chopped too finely.

IMG_0932Donal’s recipe was a pretty simple recipe that is easy to follow and difficult to mess up. Honestly, the only things that worried me in this recipe were the use of dark chocolate and my lack of ground cardamom.

You see, I like my chocolate more milky than dark. I like white chocolate best of all. Dark chocolate never appealed to me despite being closer to what real chocolate is.

I also do not like cardamom. However, Donal emphasized the difference it will make in the dough. Thankfully, I did not have ground cardamom on hand so I had valid excuse to skip it. I would like to try adding some in the future though. That is, if I can find ground cardamom in my country because even the ones not in powder form is already tough to find (hooray to another excuse for me to skip it!).

I badly need practice on twisting dough. No matter how hard I tried, I could not replicate Donal’s technique of twisting the dough. I did my best though. Holy cow, that rhymed!

img_0933.jpg

The breads puffed up more in the oven. The house smelled so good while the butter, sugar and chocolate flavors were marrying.

fullsizeoutput_62a

Despite not looking perfect, I was so proud of myself! The buns were great when eaten a few minutes after being taken out of the oven. Surprisingly, the chocolate was not bitter. I was so afraid to try it and not like it because of the dark chocolate. I was wrong. I loved it so much!

I hope you give Donal’s recipe a try. Until then, I hope you stick around and support me as I try more recipes in the future.

 

 

 

Just Baked: Triple Chip Cookies

I may have hoarded a lot of baking ingredients in the last couple of months that I find myself wondering how I could use up all of them. Among the things I bought so much of are morsels in white chocolate, butterscotch and semi-sweet chocolate variants.

I was in the same situation last Christmas when I was thinking of what to gift to my colleagues. I was too lazy to look for three different recipes that will use up those morsels. I found my perfect solution when I found the Triple Chip Cookies recipe from Shugary Sweets. You may go to her website for the complete recipe. However, stay tuned here for the little tweaks that I made to her original recipe.

fullsizeoutput_5f8

The one thing I love about this recipe is that it calls for melted butter. That being said, I need not worry about getting my butter from the freezer (that’s how I like to keep my butter) very early for it to come to room temperature by the time I am ready to bake. It cuts my waiting time by 90% and that is a plus for me.

While hers called for only a cup and a quarter of melted butter, I opted to use a cup and a third. I figured that with four and a quarter cups of flour, a little extra butter will help keep the cookies from being crumbly. I also decided to brown the butter a bit for that extra nutty flavor that ups the cookie game by another level.

I also added a quarter teaspoon more salt making my salt a total of three quarters of a teaspoon. I always like a hint of saltiness in my cookies to cut through the sweetness of the sugars and the chocolate chips. I only had table salt available but I am sure using sea salt would have been even better.

I followed the rest of the ingredients as written in the Shugary Sweets site. My only problem was that my white chocolate and my butterscotch morsels were too tiny compared to my semi-sweet chocolate chips. Hence, a cup and a quarter of these morsels seemed too plenty because they took up very little space. Oh well, maybe I can try to find morsels sized evenly next time.

My common problem with any cookies that have chips or morsels in them is that the dough covers them a lot while baking and there’s not much trace of them on the top. That is why, unlike my attempt like Christmas season, I made it a point this time to save some chips/morsels to decorate the tops of my cookies. After scooping them on the tray lined with parchment paper, I stuck a few more chips on the cookie dough so they will show up after the cookies bake.

68429072_Unknown

Using a small scoop (4mm), I ended up with six dozens and three pieces of cookies! The did not spread so much and because of the baking powder, they rose up a little bit. I think the size of the morsels affected the yield of the cookies.

Anyway, I liked these cookies a lot. The nutty taste of the browned butter made the cookies even more yummy! Admittedly, they were a tiny bit too sweet for me though so, I think I’ll adjust the amount of chips/morsels next time. I might go for more semi-sweet chocolate chips and lessen the amount of the white chocolate and butterscotch versions.

I was able to fit a dozen cookies in a 5″ x 6¾” x 2″ box. It’s perfect for gifting for special occasions! All it needs is a ribbon (or two) and a tag!

68429152_Unknown

 

Just Baked: Gooey Cinnamon Rolls

“Anyone who gives you a cinnamon roll fresh out of the oven is a friend for life.” ― Lemony Snicket, When Did You See Her Last?

I am forever in love with the smell of cinnamon and sugar whether they be on my pretzels or on my snickerdoodles. Still, nothing beats warm, fresh-from-the-oven cinnamon rolls that fill the house with a heavenly scent.

With humidity at only 58%, I decided it was time to once again attempt making cinnamon rolls. I had all the ingredients at home to make this treat and it was my chance to use my pastry mat from Hong Kong.

img_9432

My first attempt a few months ago was a disaster because no matter how long I kneaded the dough and how much additional flour I put in, the dough was too bloody sticky and soft that I was not able to do anything about it except to just make a cinnamon loaf bread. Hey, it was still so yummy despite being in a different form! Too bad I forgot the recipe I used at that time.

For my second attempt, I followed the recipe of Anna Olson from her Oh Yum YouTube channel. Her recipe looked easy to make for an amateur like me. My only problem was I only had a hand mixer. I figured that if I was able to make Hokkaido milk bread using it, I should be able to make cinnamon rolls with it too.

Oh dear. The dough was still just as sticky as the last time I made it. I think I consumed 60 minutes kneading the dough, alternating between my hand mixer and my own hands.  I also added what seemed like 1/4 cup of flour because everything was freaking sticky! I do not know if it was my flour or if I was simply unlucky because I could not achieve the smooth, baby’s bum texture of dough like I see bakers on YouTube get.

68165312_unknownWhen I finally decided to give up with kneading because my arms were needing some rest already, I placed my dough in a lightly oiled bowl and covered it to let it rise. I left it alone for 90 minutes while I prepared the cinnamon sugar filling and the goo.

The goo! Oooh, it smelled wonderfully of butter, sugar and maple syrup! I added walnuts and raisins in the pan with my gooey syrup mixture because I am fond of cinnamon rolls with fruits and nuts. They give the buns some texture that I absolutely love. That being said, I do not get why A LOT of people hate raisins.

68165328_unknown
I enjoyed beating this bad boy.

My favorite part about making bread is that I get to punch the dough as part of the degassing step. Boy, it’s therapeutic when I get to punch it and shout “Bam!” With this dough, I especially wanted to beat the gas out of it because it gave me a hell of a hard time kneading it. Thankfully, it was no longer too tacky after proofing.

Rolling out the dough into a rectangle shape so I can spread the filling was not as difficult as I was prepared for. The best part? I was able to roll the whole thing into a log! I was getting more and more excited because at this stage, I was far better from how it was during my first attempt. This looked promising!

Using a cooking twine, I sliced twelve pieces that were of uneven sizes. Yeah, I still have to improve a lot on that part. At least the twine made sure I didn’t squish my buns unlike if I used a knife. I have to thank Mom for the twine because there was no way I was using mint-flavored floss on my hard work.

68165424_unknown

I let the buns proof for another hour before finally baking them for 45 minutes at 350ºF. Oh my gosh! They look adorable sitting on that puddle of goo!

Oh my gosh! Achievement unlocked! I did it! I made my very own cinnamon rolls and I did not use store-bought dough.

68165568_unknown

Okay, happiness aside, I admit finding the amount of goo too much for the buns. I would probably use just half the recipe next time because I am not fond of overly sticky and soggy cinnamon rolls. After flipping the buns out, I poured around 3/4 cups of excess goo in a jar to keep and use for something else. I think it would be nice to pour on pancakes.

I also find that the buns browned a little darker than what I was aiming for. I was afraid the bottom half weren’t baked yet despite the tops already browning so, I held on to the last 5 minutes of the baking time. Perhaps lower temperature and longer baking time on my next attempt?

68165728_unknown

I am so proud of myself today despite the uneven sizes of the buns and the excess goo. It’s okay to have a lot of room for improvement because it only means more adventures in my kitchen. On my next attempts, I want a tighter roll, more filling, less goo and finally, even slices.

For now, I shall be enjoying this gooey, sticky fruit of my hard work.

img_0315

Memory Lane: Candy-Coated Chocolate Chip Cookies

“Mere color, unspoiled by meaning, and unallied with definite form, can speak to the soul in a thousand different ways. ” ― Oscar Wilde

I was around seven or eight years old when Mom bought a set of cookbooks that opened the door for me to the world of baking. Back then, we only had the small oven you put on top of the stove. Despite how tiny it was, Mom was able to make some treats from the recipes in the cookbooks come to life.

A few months ago when I was feeling nostalgic, I decided to re-create the very first cookies I tried making–candy-coated chocolate chip cookies–with a few twists to the original recipe. To help me was with my super nice (and super pretty!) colleague, Zammy.

IMG_8811

Now armed with an electric mixer, we started to cream 1 cup light brown sugar (packed), 1/4 cup granulated white sugar and 1 cup salted butter for a couple of minutes. We stopped when the mixture was light and fluffy already. I bet I took so much longer when I was a kid, but these days, two to three minutes should be good enough, depending on how soft the butter is when I start.

Yes, we used salted butter. You see, I always use salted butter for cookies because I feel like the additional salt in the butter helps bring more life to the taste of the cookies. Also, I am not sure if it’s just my imagination, but I have a feeling salted butter makes the edges of the cookies taste more yummy. It kinda teases one into devouring the whole piece quickly and get another one.

Once the butter and sugars were creamed together, we added one large egg and 1.5 teaspoons of vanilla extract. I always use the dark vanilla extract but the clear kind should be fine. A few more minutes with the electric mixer should do it.

When I was a kid, I used to be frustrated when the eggs took so long to be combined with the butter mixture. It was worse when I used to make muffins or banana bread. I realized only now that back then, we used margarine instead of buttee because butter was simply very expensive. That must have been why the eggs won’t combine well with the rest of the mixture.

To a sifter, we put in 1.75 cups of all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon of baking soda and 0.5 teaspoon of Himalayan pink salt (just to be fancy). Regular salt should be fine though.

I always make it a point to sift the baking soda with the flour because that baking soda is such a traitor! Sometimes, it won’t mix well with the batter or the dough. When it clumps together, no matter how long you bake you cookies or cakes, they will remain clumped. The worst part is when you unluckily bite into clumped baking soda, it tastes like soap. I was victimized for a number of times when I was a kid and it was awful!

Zammy mixed the dry ingredients to the wet one just until they were all combined. Over mixing causes the cookie to be tough and we didn’t want that. After all, we still added 1 cup of sliced almonds and 1 cup of colorful, candy-coated chocolate chips that we had to mix to distribute evenly throughout the dough.

Using a small OXO scoop, I scooped little mounds of dough on my cookie sheets lined with parchment paper. Zammy placed additional chocolate candies on top of the scooped dough for added pop of color. She was having a lot of fun with the candies!

Then, we placed the first tray in the fridge to chill for about 15 minutes while we pre-heated my oven to 375°F.

The recipe made 4 dozen cookies. We placed each tray in the fridge to chill for a bit before baking. I find that it helped them not to spread too much in the oven when they bake for 8 to 10 minutes.

Ta-da!!!

They’re just like the cookies I baked as a kid. These time, though, they had none of crazy shapes that I used to get as a kid because I only used teaspoons to drop the dough on the cookies sheets back then.

67640512_unknown

 

Just Baked: Cream Puffs!!!

“Maybe  there’s no scientific evidence of desserts curing what ails you, but if you ask me, the jury’s still out on science anyway. ” ― Crystal Cestari, The Best Kind of Magic

Cream puffs are one of the treats Mom used to buy us when my sister and I were kids. Despite not being a frequent treat we received, I remember loving cream puffs so much because of the custard filling. I didn’t like the filling too sweet though. I wanted them just right.

When I eventually started working and had my salary, I used to buy cream puffs from a Beard Papa’s stall in Glorietta until one day, I noticed that the stall was no longer there. A few years later, just recently, I discovered that Beard Papa’s is reopening in Glorietta. This time, it’s not just a stall; it’s going to be a shop!

While waiting for Beard Papa’s to open though, I decided to attempt making cream puffs in my own kitchen. I looked for recipe after recipe until I discovered the recipe from Kitchen Conundrums with Thomas Joseph segment in Everyday Food’s YouTube channel. I also searched for the video on how to make the filling that they dubbed as the No-Fuss Pastry Cream. It was the perfect recipe for me because I did not have to think about tempering the eggs to make sure they do not scramble and all the “fuss” that comes with making pastry cream.

What I did find difficult though is piping the batter and the pastry cream. I watched a lot of YouTube videos where the baker pipes stuff out of a pastry bag without looking like he or she is struggling or exerting any effort at all! My hands and wrist hurt a lot after.

I was surprised at how much they puff up. They looked so tiny when I piped them out. I left them to bake while I piped another batch and ten minutes later, they were already big! I remember turning around to check my oven only for my eyes to almost pop out of my head when I saw how much they have risen.

I was very sure then that they were going to have this huge air pocket inside for the cream to fill. They were so light once out of the oven!

I may have gone overboard with some because I filled them too much that some pastry cream oozed out the other side. Nevertheless, I was so happy I finally got to make these! It was just one of the treats I would think about but not dare try. Not anymore! I was hooked!

Please do check out the links of the recipes I linked above. They really are beginner-friendly and taste amazing!

I still cannot wait for Beard Papa’s to open soon.

A Merry Berry Breakfast

“One should not attend even the end of the world without a good breakfast.”  -Robert A. Heinlein

Last August 21, my country celebrated two holidays: Ninoy Aquino Day and Eid al-Adha. We were actually hoping for Eid al-Adha to be celebrated on the 22nd like the rest of the world, I think but even just one day of rest from work is already very much welcome.

I took the opportunity to go through the ingredients I had at home and realized that my whole wheat flour isn’t gonna last for long. I needed to bake it into something despite my and my mom’s lack of fondness for whole wheat bread. Initially wanting raisin whole wheat bread, I realized we only had dried cranberries at home. So whole wheat cranberry bread it is.

IMG_8630
It has risen!

I got the recipe from King Arthur Flour and just simply tossed in a handful of cranberries. The ingredients I used after tweaking are as follows:

  • 1 1/8 cups lukewarm water
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 3 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 1/4 cup powdered milk
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons Himalayan salt
  • a handful of dried cranberries

I had a fun time kneading the dough using my handheld mixer with dough hook attachment. Eventually, I started using my hands to incorporate the cranberries into the dough. It looked so cute while it was proofing!

While waiting for the dough to proof, I decided to bake the frozen blueberries and strawberries that I bought on a whim. I discovered the Sunny Morning Muffins recipe the day before and just knew I had to bake a version of it! From the name alone, I was expecting the muffins to be as bright as the sunshine in deliciousness!

The ingredients I used after tweaking are as follows (2 batches):

  • 2 cups strawberries, chopped
  • 2 cups sugar, plus 2 tablespoons
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (the nuts I got were salted already so I reduced the salt by half)
  • 2 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1 tsp lemon extract
  • 2 cups blueberries
  • 2 cups chopped salted cashew nuts (the only one available at the time)

The muffins were fairly simple to make. You just combine all the ingredients and that’s it! No special method of folding or mixing. What took me long was filling my muffin tray (one that makes 24 mini muffins) and ensuring that each well will have enough berries and nuts.

For step-by-step procedures, you may click on the link to the original recipes.

After hours of baking, I had a large loaf of bread and about 5 dozens of mini muffins. What should have been the last dozen on mini muffins, I made into four larger ones.

67639616_Unknown

The whole wheat bread turned out to be really soft. It tasted pretty much just like plain bread; nothing extra special. The cranberries just added some tartness and sweetness to it. As much as I enjoyed making it though, I really cannot find it in me to love the texture of whole wheat bread when eating it.

But, the muffins! They were really, really good! They were soft but not mushy. The combination of strawberries, blueberries and cashews in one bite was awesome! The berries were not too sweet and were a just a tiny bit tart, giving balance to the sweetness from the sugar and the banana. Also, it was a good thing I used half the amount of the salt required due to the cashews already being salted.

67638768_Unknown

If anyone knows how to make whole wheat bread without the gritty texture in the mouth, please let me know! I’d be so happy to learn.

Just Baked: I Want to Marry You Cookies

They say that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. I’m not quite sure about that and currently, there’s no man whose heart I wish to worm my way through. All I know is that when I saw my cousin post about these cookies that she baked, I just knew I had to try making it too!

Well, that was three years ago, back in April 2015. She found the recipe from The Café Sucre Farine blog. However, instead of pecans, she wanted her fiancé to try them with hazelnuts. I am not sure why but maybe because he was more partial to hazelnuts than pecans? Judging by her post too, it seems as if he got to try it already before. Whatever! All I know is that they did get married. And, whether this cookie was one of the reasons he married her, I shall never know because my cousin is a pretty awesome woman anyway.

Okay, so back to the cookies. A little more research and I found out that this recipe was from Melissa Stadler. She entered the recipe in a contest by The Cooking Channel and eventually, she found herself filming for a segment for a show called, The Perfect 3, where she won the cookie category! Anyway, you can find her recipe and her story in her blog, Modern Honey. The original recipe though, unlike the one my cousin found, did not contain any nuts and called for less white chocolate chips.

Well, speaking of nuts, I didn’t have pecans or hazelnuts. I did have a small bottle of cashews though and I figured it should work. And, thanks to the gift certificates our boss gave out for a job well done a few months back, I was able to buy all other ingredients I would need without spending a dime! Ah, I love my employer! I did tweak a little bit though, depending on what was available in the supermarket where I went.

Oh! They smelled heavenly while they were in the oven!

Because I was making two batches of these, some trays of dough had more chilling time that the others. I found that those that chilled longer did not spread and brown as much as those that had less time in the fridge. Chilling does make a difference!

So, how did they taste? They were fantastic! Despite the amount of sugar and the chocolate chips in the recipe, they were not overly sweet. In fact, they were just right! Since I baked them longer than the minimum, I got cookies that were on the crispy side. Not hard like Chips Ahoy cookies but still with a crunch. Just how I liked my cookies!

67638272_Unknown

I do not wonder anymore why they are called I Want to Marry You Cookies! They were perfect! They also went great with a mug of milk!

67638000_Unknown

So, to give back to my team at work, I decided to bring most of the cookies I made to work for my colleagues to try. I hope they like these cookies as much as I did!


Ingredients
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 ¼ cups dark brown sugar
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup old fashioned oats 
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup roughly chopped cashew nuts

Instructions

  1. Melt the butter until golden brown in color, then add all the sugars. Combine well and allow to chill in the fridge for 10 minutes.
  2. After chilling, add the egg plus extra egg yolk and vanilla and mix well.
  3. Add the flour, oats, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Mix just enough until there’s no trace of unmixed dry ingredients.
  4. Add in the chocolate chips and nuts. Mix well to evenly distribute.
  5. Using a small ice cream/cookie scoop, scoop the dough onto the baking sheets lined with parchment/baking paper, making sure to leave an inch or two between each cookie.
  6. Allow to chill for around 30 minutes.
  7. Pre-heat the oven at 325˚F.
  8. Take out the cookies from the fridge and bake them for up to 12 to 18 minutes or until fully baked.
  9. Allow to cool on the pan for a few minutes then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Just Baked: White Chocolate Chip and Cranberry Cookies

“Count your cookies, not your problems.” ― Cookie Monster, The Joy of Cookies: Cookie Monster’s Guide to Life

I recently bought a pack of dried cranberries to put on my salad. After tiring of eating salad for a week, I wanted to do something else with my remaining cranberries. So, on a recent trip to the grocery, I bought a pack of white chocolate chips to try to make one of my favorite cookies from Starbucks—white chocolate chips and cranberry cookies.

It’s not the first time I made these cookies but I could not find the recipe I used before. I then searched for a new one and came across the recipe from Diane Abed from AllRecipes. The only thing I didn’t have in her list of ingredients was the brandy. I decided to just use vanilla because I was going to bring the cookies to work and one of my colleagues is pregnant. I have no idea if one tablespoon of brandy mixed in cookie dough and baked off will have any effect on her but I didn’t want to risk it.

When I make cookies, I normally use salted butter for extra flavor. When I made these cookies, I only had unsalted butter. So, I decided to add ½ teaspoon of fine salt just to help with the flavor.

img_7818.jpgThe recipe was easy to make with or without an electric hand mixer. I did use one because I got used to it already. I think it only took me 10 minutes to whip the first batch. With the size of my cookie scoop, I wasn’t sure if I was indeed going to yield 24 cookies or more. However, I whipped up 24 cookies just like the recipe said so I whipped up another batch.

This is the most vanilla I used on a cookie. One tablespoon! That’s why when I was baking the cookies, the whole house smelled wonderfully of vanilla.

I did not flatten the cookies after scooping them on the baking sheet because I thought they were going to spread. However, that wasn’t the case. They only spread very little so I ended up with small, thick cookies. That meant a they took a little longer to bake completely though. Maybe 13 to 14 minutes instead of just 10 minutes.

img_7821-e1530521682989.jpg

They were so delicate after getting out of the oven so I gently took them out to place on a cooling rack. I did not want the cookies to steam and be soggy by letting them cool on the tray they baked on. Also, I had to use the tray again to prepare my next batch of cookies for baking.

All in all, I made four dozens of cookies! Half of them I brought to work for my colleagues to enjoy. They have known for quite some time that I bake on weekends and they were requesting I let them taste what I make. I got positive feedback and there were those who went for seconds.

66586192_unknown

They were moist on the inside and a little chewy because of the cranberries. The white chocolate really goes well with the tartness of the fruit. No wonder it’s my favorite fruit and chocolate combination! Not that white chocolate can be considered as “real chocolate,” but you know what I mean.

Try out Diane’s recipe. I am sure you and the people you’ll gift the cookies to will enjoy them!