Friday, September 15, 2017

Reese’s Peanut Butter Chocolate Cookies

The weather is finally starting to turn cooler, school is starting, and I am more than ready for fall. I am fully back at work now after working fewer hours in the summer. I decided I wanted to bring cookies the first full day back, which is a long day full of meetings, and having a treat helps a lot. I couldn’t figure out what to bake, some of the recipes were too Christmassy, others too fussy to make. I had pinned this recipe a while ago, and you can’t go wrong with chocolate and peanut butter.

I thought that I had sprinkles like the original blogger, but I ended up only having purple bat sprinkles or something odd like that. I did have the fall leaves sprinkles, which I figured would work well. You don’t really have to use sprinkles, but they add a nice touch. This recipe as written here is double the original. The original recipe said it had a one dozen cookie yield. If I’d read further I would have realized that their cookies must have been very large. Doubled, this recipe made 4 dozen cookies.

This dough is very soft and fluffy, and don’t even try to bake these before refrigerating. I refrigerated the dough for 6-7 hours, and it was still quite soft. They bake up nicely, and these cookies are better a little underdone rather than over baked. I think that I would prefer these cookies with more peanut butter cups, so next time I would add the entire 8 ounce package of mini peanut butter cups. These were enjoyed at our first day meeting and it was great to be back at work with anyone.

Reese’s Peanut Butter Chocolate Cookies
2-1/3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup cocoa powder
1 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 cup peanut butter
2/3 cup sugar
1-1/3 cups packed brown sugar
2 eggs
½ teaspoon instant coffee granules
2 teaspoons vanilla
5 ounces Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups Minis, cut in half
Seasonal sprinkles

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder; set aside. In a large mixer bowl, beat the butter, peanut butter, sugar, and brown sugar on medium until light. Add the eggs, instant coffee, and vanilla and mix again on medium until combined. With the mixer running on low, gradually add the flour mixture, stirring until just mixed. Stir in the peanut butter cups with a spatula.

Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least two hours.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with silicone baking mats.

Scoop the dough onto the prepared baking sheet, forming 1-1/2 inch mounds. Sprinkle the cookies with seasonal sprinkles and then slightly press down with the palm of your hand.

Bake for 10-12 minutes, until set. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheets for 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

Recipe from The PKP Way

Friday, September 8, 2017

In the Chips Cookies: Toffee, Butterscotch and Chocolate

This is another recipe that I found recently in a cookbook of slice and bake refrigerator cookies. They are great for a number of reasons: you can make the dough ahead and bake them when you want to. It makes two logs of dough so you can share them with others. They use a couple of different types of chips, so it’s a good recipe from cleaning out the cupboard.

The recipe calls for 1-1/2 cups chocolate chips, 1 cup butterscotch chips and 4 ounces (about 2/3 cup) of toffee bits. I had all of those ingredients, perhaps not in the exact perfect quantities, but it all works out ok. I used instant espresso powder rather than instant coffee, as that’s what I have around. I use a little less than a teaspoon as it is much stronger.

This dough is very sticky, even after overnight refrigeration. I think the dissolved coffee in the dough makes the dough extra wet and sticky. The dough may look a little curdled after adding the coffee, but it does come together. The cookies bake up puffy and cakey, which is very unusual for a refrigerator cookie, which is typically more shortbread-like. I baked one log in my oven and one at my cousin’s house where I was visiting. They turned out about the same, despite being different sized ovens and using different pans. I don’t often have time to experiment when baking, but it’s fun the little I can do. These cookies are soft and decadent, and the combination of flavors is a winner.

In the Chips Cookies: Toffee, Butterscotch and Chocolate
2 cups flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon instant coffee
1 tablespoon water
¾ cup butter, room temperature
¼ cup sugar
½ cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1-1/2 cup chocolate chips
1 cup butterscotch chips
2/3 cup toffee bits

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. In a separate small bowl, dissolve the instant coffee in the water. In a large mixer bowl, bear the butter, sugar, and brown sugar on medium until smooth. Add the eggs, vanilla, and dissolved coffee and mix on medium to incorporate. With the mixer running on low, add the flour mixture, stirring just until combined. Add the chocolate and butterscotch chips and the toffee bits and stir on low to distribute throughout the dough.

Divide the dough into halves. Shape each half into a log, about 11 inches long. Wrap the dough logs in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least three hours, or overnight. You can also wrap the dough in aluminum foil and freeze for up to 2 months. If baking from frozen, allow the dough to thaw in the refrigerator overnight.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with silicone baking mats.

Unwrap the dough and slice into ½” slices. Place on the prepared baking sheets. If the cookie is misshaped, press the dough into a rounder shape.

Bake for 10-12 minutes, until lightly golden. Allow to cool on the baking pans for 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack.

Recipe from Slice & Bake Cookies by Elinor Klivans

Friday, September 1, 2017

Pina Colada Cheesecake Cookie Cups

It’s the last bit of summer and what’s more summery than pina colada? These don’t require too much of the oven, which is nice for summer. There are multiple steps, but nothing too complex. I suppose you could just skip the whipped cream on the top, but they look a lot fancier with the whipped cream, and it makes it easier to add the decorative pineapple and cherry on top.

This recipe uses regular-sized muffin cups, which makes for large cookies. This recipe yields about 20 cookies. You could probably adapt the recipe for a mini muffin pan, which might be better if you needed to share with lots of folks. It’s a bit frustrating that you use both crushed pineapple and pineapple tidbits, and a small amount of both, so I have leftovers. You could always finely chop the pineapple tidbits and use that in place of the crushed pineapple.

The cookie recipe is simple and the whipped cream is simple too. It’s a little tricky to whip ¼ cup of whipped cream, as my mixer is better suited to larger quantities! I wasn’t sure that I had the cheesecake filling right. You add the thickened pineapple/cornstarch mixture, but mine never really thickened all that much. I thought the filling was too thin after it was mixed, so I added more powdered sugar. It thickens up when it’s refrigerated, so it worked out. These are lovely, whether you consider them a big cookie or a petite dessert. Although they contain no coconut, they have all the flavors of pina colada.

Pina Colada Cheesecake Cookie Cups
3/4 cups butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 egg
2 teaspoon coconut extract
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons cornstarch

1/4 cup pineapple juice
1 teaspoon cornstarch
12 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
2 cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons crushed pineapple, drained

1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon coconut extract
Pineapple tidbits
Maraschino cherries

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray two muffin pans with nonstick cooking spray.

In a large mixer bowl, beat the butter and sugar on medium until light. Add the egg and coconut extract and stir to combine. Add the flour, baking soda, and cornstarch and mix on low until the dough comes together.

Shape the dough into 2 tablespoon balls of dough. Place one ball in each of the muffin pans. Press the cookie dough into the bottom and half way up the sides, forming a cup. Bake for about 10 minutes, until lightly browned along the edges.

Allow the cookies to cool in the pan for 5 minutes, and then press the dough down with a tart tamper or a spoon, to deepen the indentation. Allow the cookies to cool completely, then gently remove from the pan and place on a wire rack.

Make the cheesecake filling: whisk together the pineapple juice and cornstarch in a small bowl. Microwave until thickened, about 30 seconds. In a large mixer bowl, beat the cream cheese and powdered sugar on medium until smooth. Add the pineapple juice mixture and the crushed pineapple and stir to combine. If the mixture is too thin, add in additional powdered sugar. Spoon the mixture into the cooled cookie cups. Refrigerate.

Make the whipped cream: in a large mixer bowl, using the whisk attachment, beat the whipping cream, powdered sugar, and coconut extract on high until stiff peaks form. Pipe the whipped cream on top of the cheesecake filled cookie cups. Decorate with pineapple tidbits and maraschino cherries. Store in the refrigerator.

Recipe from Life, Love, and Sugar