Tag Archives: cookies

Spiced Dark Chocolate Pistachio Cookies

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Do you bake to impress or bake to satisfy cookie cravings? Or perhaps, a routine? Even if it is a day to day passionate baking, certainly there is a motive that made you top the cupcake with chocolate shavings, pipe the perfect rose patterned icing or shaping the evenly squared cookie log before slicing them carefully. Most of the time I bake things that I would like to eat ( and that means more chocolate recipes! ) and so it is not so camera friendly but, it’s not an excuse really. I try to make things look as pretty as possible sometimes so that I can take beautiful pictures of it. That is baking to impress somebody, to the world. At times when I bake out of cravings, I bake something really quick, get it out of the oven, impatiently wait for it to cool, desperately snap a few pictures and poof! Gone into my tummy!

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So when I have a day all to myself and probably not craving anything in particular, I like to try baking to impress. Means I put in more effort to make everything look prettier. And I came across a cookie that looks like it came out from a gourmet cookie box sitting in one of those hipster grocers. Pistachios, half covered with dark chocolate, shortbread. I told myself that even if it didn’t taste as good as it looks, I can still look at it and sigh, how pretty!

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I took my time baking these pretties, making sure I pause at each step. I’m glad they turned out slightly rustic looking and it would’ve been a nicer bite if the cookie is more short and less crisp. And maybe brush the dark chocolate more liberally, which I did towards the end.

The next time i bake these again I might use earl grey or cinnamon instead. The variations are just endless! They make an excellent gift as well because they look elegantly rustic.

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If you want to bake to impress, give this recipe a shot. It looks like there is a lot of effort, but actually there is just a few simple ingredients involved and best of all, a log and slice cookie where you can hide the imperfections with a brush of dark chocolate.

Spiced Dark Chocolate Pistachio Cookies

adapted from The Roaming Kitchen

225g unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
115g (1/2 cup) castor sugar
55g (1/4 cup) light brown sugar
30g (1/4 cup) Icing sugar (sifted)
30g (1/4 cup) unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (I substituted with cardamom and cinnamon instead)
2 large egg yolks, room temperature
3 tablespoons freshly brewed coffee
1.5 teaspoons vanilla extract
220g (2 cups) flour
100 grams good quality dark chocolate
1/3 cup pistachios (as needed)

1. Cream butter for about 1 minute until smooth, preferably with a paddle attachment on medium speed.

2. Combine all three sugars, cocoa powder, salt and spices into the bowl of creamed butter. Beat until everything is incorporated and creamy (about a minute).

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3. Reduce mixer speed to low, add egg yolks one at a time, followed by coffee and vanilla extract.

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4. Turn off the mixer and add in the flour. You may use a wooden spoon/spatula to mix at this point till it is just incorporated. Do not overmix. The dough should be soft and quite moist.

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5. Take half the dough and place it on a cling wrap/baking paper. Roll and shape into a rectangular log. Repeat with the other half of the dough.

6. Refrigerate for 2 hours or until it is firm enough.

7. When the dough is ready, preheat the oven to 175C.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

8. Slice the cookies into about 1cm thick. I think a thicker cookie works better here because you do not want the cookies to flatten too much in the oven, especially if the dough isn’t cold enough. That happened to my cookies and I thought a thicker slice would give a better result.

9. Bake for about 20 minutes and let it cool on a wire rack.

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10. When cookies are cooled, melt the chocolate over a double boiler. Roughly chop the pistachios.

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11. Brush the melted chocolate a few times over half the cookie and sprinkle with pistachios! Be patient and let the chocolate set before storing.

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Green tea sablés

I was once given a box of cookies as a thank you gift by a japanese student I hosted last time. I can remember it very well because the box was filled with individually wrapped cookies ( in which later I read that they were indeed actually sablés) with different delicate flavours, a common Japanese pastry trait. There was earl grey, green tea, citrus and others which I couldn’t remember. All i know is that I savoured each and everyone one of them and wishing someone could make me the same thing, again.
So, that was my first encounter (probably) with sablés.

Sablés are the French equivalent to the shortbread biscuits but just sounds so much nicer. Sablés

Perhaps the Japanese popularized it and made it look so pretty and delicate. They are sold in most Japanese bakeries I saw and in commercialized snacks. Put that next to good old shortbread cookies and it just does not look the same.

So here’s one of my attempts in creating sablés. I find it hard sometimes to make it just right because the dough can be abit too dry to form into logs or too wet, but if you follow the recipe well, it shouldn’t be a problem.

Roll into a log. I used the help of the baking paper to roll and shape them.

One thing I realized is that it takes some time for the dough to come together because usually the recipe tells you to incorporate the flour mixture into the butter using a spatula/wooden spoon instead of a mixer. So keep mixing gently till you get the right consistency.
I also suggest you to thaw the dough abit before slicing them (if you refrigerate them in the freezer or if it feels very hard). This way, you get a neat cut without the dough crumbling and getting knife marks. So, patience. Just let it soften a little.

Nicely spaced and ready to go into the oven. You could tell the edges are a bit rough.

If you are a perfectionist and couldn’t stand the sight of the edges of the cookies showing lines, roll the cookie log on a plate of granulated sugar to cover them before slicing. I skipped this, but that’s because I do not have granulated sugar with me.

Green tea sablés  (Makes about 50 cookies)

Adapted from Okashi by Keiko Ishida

Ingredients:

Plain flour/pastry flour 240g (chilled)

Green tea powder 15g

Unsalted butter 150g at room temp

Icing sugar 130g

Salt (a pinch)

Egg yolks 2

Granulated sugar, optional (for covering the sides of dough)

Egg white (beaten)

Green tea leaves (for garnishing)

1.Sift flour and green tea powder together, twice.

2. Beat butter, icing sugar and salt until soft and creamy. Add yolks and mix well.

3. Add flour and green tea powder mixture and fold in with a spatula until a dough is formed.

4. Cover the dough with cling film and refrigerate for about 15 minutes so that it is firm enough to roll into logs.

5. Divide dough into half. Place a portion onto baking paper and shape it into a log about 3.5cm in diameter. Wrap it up with the baking paper and do the same to the other. Refrigerate logs until firm.

6. Preheat oven to 150C.

7. Thaw the dough a bit before cutting them into 7mm thick rounds. If you want, dip the edges with granulated sugar.

8. Place them on baking trays and brush a little egg white over the cookies and garnish with green tea leaves.

9. Bake for about 25 minutes.

Peanut Butter Choc Chunk Cookies ( that will cost you your waistline)

So i baked another version of choc chip cookies again. Peanut butter choc chip cookies. On any other day, this recipe will not even be in my “to bake” list since I’ve baked so many choc chip cookies that I kinda given up on finding a good one or I’ll most likely grab a $2/box amazingly delissshh choc chip cookies from Coles. After baking the banana muffins with peanut butter the other day and realizing it was a total ughh because of the peanut butter, I have decided to bake these monster cookies, as requested by a friend who had the peanut butter in the muffins. So I googled for PEANUT BUTTER CHOC CHIP COOKIES and expected lots of recipes with lotsss of reviews but settled for this recipe by Curtis Stone, with zero reviews HAHAH! just because the picture looks nice and the recipe looks promising. choc chunks? YES! Loads of peanut butter? YES YES!

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Trust me, the cookies are just heavenly! They are not your crunchy cookies, more like brownie cookie like texture. It’s like munching into smooth peanut butter, surprising yourself with choc in between mmm yums!

Eversince I started baking on an almost daily basis i have developed (finally!) what i called “baker’s sense”. Look through the recipe and each baking step conjures up in your head and even the outcomes perhaps.

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ImageMix all the wet ingredients. Mix mix mix! Got a little too excited when everything were mixed together into this creamy goodness. I might have licked my fingers in the process oops!

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Go on, roll em up into balls with your hands! the dough was a little too soft, so i pop them into the freezer for abit before forming into balls.

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So here’s the recipe

Peanut Butter Choc Chunk Cookies
, adapted from Curtis Stone

Ingredients

1 cup (110g) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup peanut butter (about 9 ounces / 280 grams) Recipe calls for chunky PB, but I only have smooth and its still yums, without the crunch
1/2 cup (packed) (115g) light brown sugar
1/2 cup (115g) granulated caster sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick / 125 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 ½ tablespoons honey
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 ounces / 155 grams semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F / 180°C.
  2. Line baking pan with parchment paper.
  3. Mix the flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl.
  4. Using an electric mixer, beat the peanut butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, butter, honey, egg, and vanilla in a large bowl until well blended.
  5. Stir the dry ingredients into the peanut butter mixture in 2 additions.
  6. Stir in the chopped chocolate
  7. Scoop about half tablespoon of dough for each cookie onto the prepared baking sheets, spacing them about 2 inches apart ( Recipe calls for 3 TABLESPOONS FULL! but i thought that would be Humongous! )
  8. Bake for about 12 minutes, or until the cookies puff and begin to brown on top but are still very soft to the touch. (Dont worry when they come out soft and shaped like a dome, it will set and deflate once it’s cooled, that is why its soft in the middle! )
  9. Cool the cookies on the baking sheets for 5 minutes.
  10. Using a metal spatula, transfer the cookies to a rack and eat warm or cool completely.