Sunday, January 25, 2015

Fudgey Chocolate- Chocolate Chip Cookies (gluten free, Kosher for Passover)

A perfect cookie for a chocolate lover - there isn't any flour to come between you and your chocolate. 

This cookie is actually a very chocolaty-meringue cookie studded with chocolate chips and dried cranberries. The recipe is adapted from King Arthur Flour. By beating the egg whites until stiff the cookie will remain lighter and fudgier than the original version.  Baking is a bit tricky, the cookie needs to dry out, but not burn. A few cracks will begin to appear when they are fully baked and increase as they cool.  Do not remove from the parchment baking sheet until completely cooled. 

NOTE: you must bake these cookies on parchment paper. I found that once baked, remove the entire sheet (with the cookies on them) to a cooling rack. Don't attempt to move them off the paper until they are completely cooled. Store in single layers, separated from the next layer with waxed paper or parchment paper. 

Electric mixer
Scale, measuring cups, spoons, silicone spatula 
Parchment paper, baking sheets (3 if you have, otherwise allow the sheet to cool between batches)
cooling rack 
metal spatula 

3 extra large egg whites
1/4 tsp kosher salt 
1/2 tsp cream of tartar (optional)
9 oz confectioners sugar 
1 Tbsp vanilla sugar 
3 oz (1 cup) good quality unsweetened cocoa
1 tsp instant coffee powder (if you are not a coffee lover, cut back to 1/2 tsp, the coffee does flavor the cookie and on the other hand, if you love coffee, use espresso powder) 
3oz (1/2c) chocolate chips (I used semi sweet, use your favorite) 
2 oz (scant 1/2 c) dried cranberries 

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Measure out ingredients. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. 
2. Beat the egg whites at medium high speed until stiff. Add the salt and mix in. Add the cream of tartar if you are using. 
3. Lower the speed and add the sugars in 3 additions. The mixture will become shiny and begin to look like melted marshmallow. 
4. Keep the mixer at slow speed and add the coffee and cocoa powder. Mix until well blended. 
5. Remove the beaters, scrape the beaters so that any batter falls into the bowl. You'll have a thick chocolate batter that will resemble thick frosting. 
6. Mix in the chips and dried cranberries by hand using a mixing spoon or silicone spatula. 

7. Using a tablespoon size cookie scoop, scoop 8-10 cookies, spaced 1- 1.5 inches apart onto the cookie sheet. 

8. Bake 8-10 minutes.The cookies will spread a bit and should not be shiny. Gently press the top of one or two of them, they should feel springy and firm, not "wiggly" or wet. If they are not springy, bake another minute or two. Be careful that they do not burn on the bottom. 

NOTE: the cookies will begin to have cracks while they are baking. The cracks will increase while they cool. The cookies will not completely harden, but rather retain a fudge-like consistency. 

9. Remove the entire sheet of parchment onto a cooling rack and allow the cookies to completely cool on the paper. Repeat with 2 more cookie sheets. Use cool sheets if you have them, otherwise, allow the cookie sheet to cool off before baking the next batch.

Slide a flexible metal spatula under each cooled cookie (one at a time) and move to rack. Let the cookies set for about 30 minutes until the chips are solid again. 

10. Store in a covered container, single layers separated by waxed paper or parchment paper. Or freeze them and serve semi-frozen (they are outrageous served this way).

Yield: approximately 2 dozen cookies 

While your at it, perhaps serve them with a scoop of ice cream...........

Other breadandbabka gluten-free chocolate dessert recipes you may like: Gluten free chocolate nuggets and 

Monday, January 19, 2015

Sesame Crisps

This recipe is adapted from Maida Heatter's Book of Great Desserts (1965) - "Sesame Pennies"

If you are a peanut brittle fan, I think I can assure you that you will love this cookie. It's thin and crunchy and feels nutty as you chew. An improvement on peanut brittle, it won't stick to your teeth quite as much. These cookies are part of a cookie platter that I made for a friend (among the other cookies were pumpkin drop cookies

The cookie couldn't be easier to make: you mix it in one bowl and drop onto a parchment lined cookie sheet. The uncooked batter (more a very thick batter than a dough) will need to be shaped a bit with very wet hands. They spread in the oven, so it's imperative to space them at least 3/4 inches apart. The recipe will make about 3 dozen cookies.

a flat bottom heavy frying pan (for toasting the seeds)
large mixing bowl
measuring cup, spoons, silicone spatula
parchment paper
cookie sheet (s)
spatula for removing (if you have a large cookie spatula, all the better)

1 c (5 oz) sesame seeds, dry toasted in a heavy flat bottom pan
1/2 stick margarine or butter
2 cups brown sugar
4 ex large egg yolks
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
1 scant tsp kosher salt
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder

1. Preheat oven 350 degrees. Set the baking rack in the top 1/3 of the oven.  Assemble your ingredients. Line 3 cookie sheets with parchment. If you have only one, use it, allow it to cool after baking first batch and re-use. These cookies run and spread, so avoid using a hot pan.
2. Combine the flour and baking powder in a small bowl.
3. Toast the sesame seeds in a hot dry pan. Shake/stir to avoid burning. This will take 3-4 minutes, the majority of the seeds should just start to turn golden.
4. Melt the margarine or butter. Pour into a mixing bowl. Add the sugar and mix well. Add the vanilla, salt and egg yolks. Mix well.
5. Pour in the seeds and mix.
6. Add the flour mixture and stir - turning over several times to make sure that the ingredients are well blended.
7. Wet your hands, Scoop out a teaspoon of the batter, roll into a round shape with your wet hands and place on the lined cookie sheet. Leaving about 3/4-1 inch between cookies, repeat (don't overload the sheet, bake 9 or 12 cookies at once).
8. Bake for 12-15 minutes. The cookies should be golden. Remove from oven and cool for 5 minutes before attempting to move them. They will have begun to harden, but will slip off of the parchment when you slide a metal spatula under them. Becareful, they can crack or bend if not cool enough. Cool completely on a cooling rack.
9. While one baking sheet is in the oven, you can prepare another sheet. Don't allow the prepared sheet to stand too long before baking, as the batter will start to spread.
10. The cookies will spread and bake into a 2" disk about 1/4" thick.

Other Bread and Babka recipes you may like include : Cranberry Nut Muffins and Marble Nut Cookies

Pumpkin Drop Cookies: a soft drop cookie filled with fruit, chocolate and nuts.

This cookie is adapted from The Moosewood Restaurant New Classics Cookbook, 2001

I love to cook with winter squash, but when it comes to sweets using pumpkin, I use canned puree and skip the arduous prep. There is no discernible difference in the final product. 

This is a drop cookie - which means, mix, drop onto the parchment lined cookie sheet and bake. No chilling, no waiting. From start to finish this is a 90 minute project (based on using 3-4 cookie sheets, baking one at a time).  The instructions in the original recipe were perfect - if you use a 1 tablespoon cookie scoop, you'll have 42 cookies.

I'm making a cookie platter for a friend today and wasn't planning to upload this cookie (or the subsequent sesame cookie) on the blog and therefore, my apologies about the lack of process photos. I mixed the entire dough by hand, taking care to combine the fat and sugar and then whipping a bit.  I used margarine to keep the cookie pareve and it's wonderful. It may be super-wonderful to use sweet butter. The cookie is soft, with almost a muffin-like texture 

large mixing bowl
medium mixing bowl
pastry blender, hand whisk
large mixing spoon
1 Tbsp scoop (optional, you can use a tablespoon and put off the dough with a silicone spatula)
measuring spoons, cups 
baking sheets 
cooling rack 

1 cup margarine (or butter)
1 cup sugar
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 extra large egg (slightly beaten)
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups (9 oz) all purpose flour 
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2-3/4 c dried cranberries
1/2 c chocolate chips 
1/2 c chopped walnuts (optional)

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Prepare and measure all of the ingredients. Line several cookie sheets with parchment paper. 
2. Cream the margarine and sugar. Add the pumpkin and mix well.  Add the beaten egg and vanilla. Mix well (whip a bit with a whisk if you have one). 
3. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, spices, salt. 
4. Mix the flour mixture into the sugar/fat mixture. Combine well.
5. Add the fruit, chocolate and nuts (if you are using). Mix. 
6. Drop by the scoop-ful or Tablespoon full onto the sheet. Leave space between cookies (drop 9-12 cookies at a time). They will not spread very much, but will puff a bit like a mini muffin. 
7. Bake 12-15 minutes (it will somewhat depend on the cookie sheet itself).  They will be a bit browned at the bottom, but will be springy to the touch on top. 
8. Remove from the cookie sheet immediately. Cool on a cooling rack. Wrap and store at room temperature for no more than a day or two. 

Other Bread and Babka recipes you may like include: Traditional Hamantachen  and Haroset Cookie Bars