Double trouble – Caramel chocolate shortbread and pretzels

Chocolate and caramel shortbread recipe

I have to confess, the idea for this cookie didn’t come from, as many similar others do, homemade twix. There’s no denying that homemade twix is scrumptious, as is regular factory made twix. (Pretty much anything involving cookies, chocolate and caramel is scrumptious in my book). But as inspiring as that famous candy bar is, the idea for these came from Lille’s Thins. Not as famous, they are impossibly thin cookies with just a sprinkle of sugar, and just the other day I got a tin of them as a gift and, being the cookie monster I am, I opened them right then and there where it was slightly dark. The plastic tray thingy they come in is chocolate coloured, and I of course got super excited because the outside did not advertise any cacao goodness. But to my great disappointment,  it was all a sneaky ruse from the packaging, there was no chocolate involved. But I could not stop thinking as I dunked a couple in a glass of milk, how much more nice they would be if they had a thin thin layer of chocolate as well as that “sprinkle of sugar”. So I set out to make a shortbread thin version covered with chocolate. And in the process thought that an also very thin layer of caramel wouldn’t hurt anyone. And voila! Three ultra thin layers of some of the best components of pastry: caramel, chocolate and shortbread. The result is beyond scrumptious, if that’s possible.

But that’s not all. I knew I’d have some leftover caramel from the recipe, and hence the double trouble: the day you make these you can turn into a two-treat kind of day, because if you have some extra chocolate chips and a few pretzels around, you can also make pretzelcaramelchocolatechunks. (Which don’t have a name that I’m aware of) These both make excellent gifts if you wrap them individually in waxed paper, and they keep very well as long as you keep them away from heat and moisture. So go on, read more for the recipe (s) ! Continue reading

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Crispy rounds of deliciousness – Nutella thins

crispy nutella thin cookies

So I know it hasn’t been that long since I rambled about nutella. And I know that the last time I didn’t just use nutella once in the same recipe, nor twice. It was three times (Yes, because how else would you get nutella cupcakes stuffed with ferreros and nutella frosting?). And yet here I am with another recipe. Our love for each other isn’t special, I know a lot of people out there share the same passion for chocolate-y spread. Our love isn’t secret, I’ve been known to eat spoonfuls of the stuff in front of small crowds. It isn’t fleeting either, I have always loved it and always will. It isn’t moderate…and I don’t need to explain that bit. The one thing our love is, is delicious. Because yes. That’s what nutella is and there’s no amount of elaborate words I or anyone else could say to explain it better. So why not channel that delicious love into a thin, crispy cookie? The kind you put on a scoop of vanilla (or chocolate) ice cream. The kind you store in a tin and when you open it you say “only one” but they’re so thin and crispy that you end up having three (or four). Yes, that kind of cookie. Because apart from being delicious, nutella is so incredibly versatile. From creamy to crispy and all the colors in the rainbow in between. So here’s another recipe for all you nutella nuts (no pun intended) out there. Read more to find it. Continue reading

Chocolate is happiness overload – Cookies, cookies, cookies.

White chocolate shortbread

So I’ve got everything I love: my (very soft and lovable) dog is sitting beside me, it’s raining outside, I’m listening to Stacey Kent, and I’ve got a glass of insanely good wine right next to my computer. Does it get better than that? Mmmm…yes. I also just ate some of the most chocolatey-rich-gooey-intense-cookies I’ve ever made (Can’t say the best ever because that doesn’t really exist. All home made cookies are equally great in the eyes of god just for being cookies. Ahem) with a glass of cold milk. There really is nothing that could top that right? Except maybe two chocolate cookie recipes all in one post. Yup, two. And they couldn’t be more different from one another. Let me tell you about the first one. It’s a a recipe of my own which I can dare to call the perfect cookie to accompany your espresso. A rich in cocoa chocolate shortbread topped by a thick layer of white chocolate, the ideal combo of sweet and chocolate-y, just what you want after a long sip of good dark coffee, right? And not only that, they’re lovely looking AND easy to make. And they keep for more than two weeks. (can’t tell you how much longer because I’ve never actually been able to have shortbread lying around uneaten for that long). Just what you need when you have company over for coffee, trust me. And the second recipe: double chocolate cookies which are gooey inside, crumbly outside, warm from the oven and have to be had with a glass of really cold milk? Yes, a dozen please. That recipe comes courtesy of Kim at Strawberry Ginger, a great blog with tons of delicious recipes. This double choc recipe is one of the best I’ve tried, or at least they turned out really well for me! I highly recommend warming them slightly in your toaster oven before eating them, the chocolate chips will melt blissfully in your mouth. But enough talk about chocolate, go read the recipes.

Double chocolate chip cookies Continue reading

Teatime heavenly bites – Butter and sugar biscuit thins

Teatime Heavenly Bites

I confess that I’ve been saving this post because I couldn’t come up with words good enough to describe these biscuits. As I’ve said before, (and have shown in the shameless invasion of cookie recipes in this blog) I absolutely adore cookies, in any form. And while there’s no such thing as the perfect cookie, because the perfect choice depends on the moment, weather, accompanying beverage, and previous meal, these ones are pretty close to being the perfect teatime bite. (Also could be the perfect coffetime bite, but people never say 5 o’clock coffee, for some reason). I love having something to accompany my tea, and I always childishly try to eat it in as small bites as I can, to see if I can make it last until I see the bottom of my cup. These, for sure, will NOT last until the bottom of your cup. They don’t melt in your mouth; they crumble, ever so thin and light. Buttery-sweet-flakey. The vanilla ones are perfect for tea, and the chocolate ones for coffee. But be careful and serve only a bit, or you’ll find yourself having a whole meal comprised solely of these biscuits. To add to their wonderfulness, they keep very well as long as they’re placed in an airtight container, preferably with a sign on the tin that reads “don’t grab anymore, you’ve already had 10!”) .
They’re a variation on the recipe for the traditional french sablés below, of which I baked about a ton for a special order. These are also delicious, but quite heavier and best served with a glass of cold milk.

Butter sables on platter

Continue reading

Pine nut and dulce de leche cookies

Pine nut - dulce de leche cookies

“A poem begins with a lump in the throat” – so said Robert Frost. And while these cookies are far from being a poem, they also began with a similar lump in the throat. Things have not improved that much since my last rabbit post, hence the lack of recipes. But yesterday, after a day of doing pretty much nothing and pleading guilty to myself of intense wallowing, I decided, with the lump in my throat, that it was time to pay my kitchen a much needed visit. And as I could not muster enough energy to chop chocolate or did not feel adventurous enough to bake a cake, I made up a quick-cookie recipe. Now, these are made with pine nut dulce de leche, (or cajeta, as we call it in mexico) but you could use any dulce de leche you can find, and add the pine nuts, previously roasted. Pine nuts have always been, in my opinion, funny tasting. But these cookies, while different from  any others that I’ve tried, proved to be a success with both my mom and my friends.

Here follows the recipe:

Pine nut and dulce de leche cookies
(Own recipe)
Makes aprox. 24 cookies.

1 cup butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
Pinch of salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 egg
1 1/2 cups  flour
3 tbsp dulce de leche
2 tbsp roasted pine nuts

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Lightly flour two baking sheets.

In a bowl, mix the flour, salt, and baking soda. Separately, using the whisk attachment of your mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the egg. Slowly incorporate the flour mixture. When fully mixed, using a spatula, mix in the dulce de leche and pine nuts, not mixing entirely but leaving it in swirls. Drop by spoonfuls on your cookie sheets and bake until golden brown, about 12 minutes.

These are really good served with vanilla ice cream.

Pine nut cookies before baking

 

Earl Grey Square Cookies

Earl Grey Square Cookies

Everyone loves cookies right? I don’t think I’ve ever actually met someone who doesn’t. At least some kind of cookie. Either crunchy, chewy, healthy, sugary, buttery…there’s a cookie for everyone. Me, I’m not hard. I love them all. (except possibly any cookie with aniseed. I just think it’s one of those flavors that ruins everything else) And I really love these. I’d been wanting to make tea cookies ever since I tasted them on a teashop in Switzerland, and since I tried out a matcha cookie batch with a couple of friends last week, I decided to give a try to earl grey. The recipe is my own invention after the fiasco with the matcha cookies, and apparently a good one, because out of the 40-something I made only 5 remained after an afternoon of tea with my friends from school. (Who, I think is worth mentioning, are forever on a diet).I used earl grey from a huge tin my mom bought a couple of years ago and we just cannot seem to finish it, probably because we keep buying more, but I’m pretty sure you can use the stuff in the teabags. Anyhow, on to the extremely easy recipe.


Earl Grey Square Cookies

(Own recipe)

1/4 cup brown sugar
1/8 cup icing sugar
2 tsp. earl grey, finely ground (you can do this with your fingers)
125 g. butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
Pinch of salt
1 egg

 

 

Directions

In a mixing bowl, mix together the earl grey, salt and flour. In the bowl of your mixer using the whisk attachment, cream the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add the icing sugar and beat some more, until lighter and fluffier. Switch to the paddle attachment and add, in two or three steps, the flour mixture. As soon as it’s all  incorporated, add the egg and mix until just combined. (do NOT overmix). Place your dough in the work surface and finish giving it shape, until you can turn it into a long log, about 4 cm thick. (If it’s too soft you can stick in the fridge for a bit) Place the log of dough on a long rectangle of wax paper, and covering it with it, flatten the sides against the work surface until they are square. (You can use a big knife, or a pastry scraper, to help  you flatten the sides) Place the dough, still wrapped in the wax paper, in the freezer for about 20 to 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 360ºF.

Remove the square log of dough from the freezer and using a paring knife, cut slices of about 1 cm (or a pinky finger) and place them directly on a baking sheet. Let the sliced cookies rest for 5 minutes, and then bake until slightly golden brown.

Serve with hot tea and milk.

Earl Grey Square Cookies

Chocolate chip cookies – for a break up

Chocolate Chip Cookies

There’s nothing more comforting than chocolate. Especially when it comes right out of the oven after having been mixed with sugar, butter and flour. I made these just after finding out one of my best friends was in need of some of the aforementioned comforting – after a break up. It is so far the best recipe I’ve tried for chocolate chip cookies (probably because its my own recipe, after several modifications to several recipes). Crunchy on the outside but very soft on the inside, tons of chocolate, and just the occasional walnut bit -every other bite or so.

They’re quick to make, quick to bake, and quick to put a smile, even if a small one, on a sad face.

Anyhow, here’s the recipe:

Chocolate chip cookies
(Own recipe)

Yield: 36 medium cookies

2  1/2  cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened

1  1/3 cup brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 large eggs

1 tablespoon milk

2 cups roughly chopped semi-sweet or milk chocolate (keep the chunks big)

2/3  chopped walnuts

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 360ºF
Place the softened butter along with the brown sugar in the bowl of your mixer, and using the whisk attachment, beat on medium speed until light and fluffy. While this happens, sift together the salt, baking powder and flour in a separate bowl. Return to your butter (now light and fluffy) and add the eggs, one at a time, and finish with the milk and vanilla. Switch to low speed and add, a little at a time, the flour mixture. Using a spatula, mix in the chocolate and walnuts, until evenly spread out.

Using your hands, form medium sized balls and flatten slightly on baking sheets. Bake until slightly golden at the edges. (I don’t use times, since each oven is extremely different! If yours tends to heat unevenly, like mine, rotate the baking sheets after about 5 minutes in. I think mine took about 10 in total)