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Snickerdoodles

17 May

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These are the cookies of my childhood. And they make me so very happy — butter, cinnamon and sugar. What else could you want?

INGREDIENTS
2¾ cups flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1½ cups sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon

DIRECTIONS

1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or a baking mat.

2. Whisk together the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.

3. Cream together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla.

4. Gradually stir in the flour mixture, beating on low speed just until the flour is blended. (I sometimes use my hands to help bring the dough together.) Chill the dough for at least 30 minutes.

5. While the dough is chilling, mix together the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl.

6. Form 1-inch balls of dough and roll in the cinnamon and sugar mixture to coat. Place on cookie sheet about 2 inches apart and bake 8 to 10 minutes, or until set but not too hard.

7. Let cookies set on baking sheet for 2-3 minutes and then remove to a cooling rack. Store cookies in an airtight container.

Adapted from Allrecipes and Brown Eyed Baker

Chocolate Banana Bread

17 Apr

INGREDIENTS
3 large ripe bananas (easily mashable)
1/3 cup melted butter
3/4 cup brown sugar (packed, light or dark)
1 teaspoon salt (1/2 a teaspoon if using salted butter)
1 large egg, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C) with a rack in the middle. Butter or spray with cooking spray the inside of a 5×9-inch loaf pan.
  2. With a fork, mash the bananas until smooth (you can also use a blender or food processor to purée bananas). You should have 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 cups of banana purée. Whisk to break up any clumps of brown sugar. Stir in the beaten egg and vanilla extract.
  3. In a separate bowl, vigorously whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and allspice.
  4. Add the flour mixture to the banana mixture and stir until just incorporated. Stir in the chocolate chips.
  5. Pour batter into the prepared loaf pan. Place in a 350°F (175°C) oven and bake for 1 hour. (Note that because of the chocolate chips that melt in the bread as it cooks, it’s hard to check for doneness using a tester that you insert. One way to test is to gently push the center top of the chocolate banana bread down with your finger. If it feels relatively firm and bounces back when you release your finger, that’s a good sign that it’s done.)

Recipe adapted from Simply Recipes

No-Bake Oatmeal, Peanut Butter, and Chocolate Cookies

1 Mar

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INGREDIENTS

½ cup unsalted butter
2 cups granulated sugar
½ cup milk
4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
Pinch of salt
½ cup peanut butter
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups oats (both quick-cooking and old-fashioned oats will work)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. Add butter, sugar, milk, cocoa powder, and salt to a 4-quart saucepan. Bring to a rapid boil and let boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat.
  3. Stir in the peanut butter and vanilla extract until smooth, then stir in the oats.
  4. Using a medium cookie scoop (or 2 tablespoonfuls), drop onto prepared baking sheets.
  5. Let cool until set, about 30 minutes. Cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature (or in the refrigerator) for up to 2 weeks. Makes about 2 dozen cookies.

Recipe adapted from Brown Eyed Baker

Butter Pecan Cookies

10 Feb

INGREDIENTS

3/4 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/3 cup sugar, plus more for coating
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. On a baking sheet, toast pecans until fragrant, about 6 minutes. Let cool completely; finely chop.
  2. With an electric mixer, cream butter for about a minute. Add 1/3 cup sugar and cream until light, about 1 minute more. Beat in vanilla, salt, and flour, scraping down sides of bowl, just until dough comes together. Fold in pecans.
  3. Using your hands, shape the dough into balls about 1 1/2 inches wide (should make 12-14 cookies). Roll dough balls in sugar and place 3 inches apart, on a baking sheet.
  4. Gently flatten with the bottom of a glass or measuring cup (reshape sides if necessary). Sprinkle with sugar.
  5. Bake until golden brown, rotating sheet halfway through, about 15 minutes. Sprinkle with more sugar. Cool cookies on a wire rack.

Recipe adapted from Simply Recipes

Brownies

26 Aug

These were my first attempt at making brownies from scratch. Overall, they were good, but I thought they were a little sweet. It’s also important to cook them for the full time (may a couple minutes more) or they can turn out overly soft.

INGREDIENTS
1/3 cup Dutch-processed cocoa
1½ teaspoons instant espresso (optional; I didn’t use)
½ cup plus 2 Tablespoons boiling water
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter, melted
½ cup plus 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2½ cups (17½ ounces) sugar
1¾ cups (8¾ ounces) all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon salt
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, cut into ½-inch pieces (I used semi-sweet chocolate chips)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9×13-inch baking pan with foil, leaving about a one-inch overhang on all sides. Spray with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Whisk cocoa, espresso powder, and boiling water together in large bowl until smooth. Add unsweetened chocolate and whisk until chocolate is melted. Whisk in melted butter and oil. (Mixture may look curdled.) Add eggs, yolks, and vanilla and continue to whisk until smooth and homogeneous. Whisk in sugar until fully incorporated. Add flour and salt and mix with rubber spatula until combined. Fold in bittersweet chocolate pieces.
  3. Scrape batter into prepared pan and bake until toothpick inserted halfway between edge and center comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached, 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer pan to wire rack and cool 1½ hours.
  4. Using foil overhang, lift brownies from pan. Return brownies to wire rack and let cool completely, about 1 hour. Cut into 2-inch squares and serve. Brownies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days.

(From Cook’s Illustrated, March & April 2010 issue; found on Brown Eyed Baker)