Friday, January 12, 2018

Mocha Fudge Snaps

It’s hard to go wrong with a chocolate cookie. This one has the added zest of espresso powder, which is even better. Many chocolate recipes add coffee to the mix, which make chocolate taste richer. This recipe calls for a good amount of espresso powder, so you can certainly taste the coffee in these!

I wanted to make these cookies dairy free, so that my friend at work could enjoy these as well. While I am an enormous fan of butter, there are other options. In this case I substituted coconut oil for the butter. Since you melted it together with the chocolate, I figured the coconut oil would look perfectly. I also purchased dairy free chocolate chunks, which thankfully aren’t too hard to find at the grocery store. The substitutions worked great, although I ended up refrigerating the dough for too long. It became very hard and I had to let it sit at room temperature a bit before baking the cookies.

The dough does soften considerably as you shape it into balls, so that helps. I rolled the cookies in regular granulated sugar, but you could use sparkling or decorative sugar if you’d like. The sugar didn’t stick to the cookies that much, but I got enough of a coating to work. They bake up nicely, but are fragile until they have cooled at least 10 minutes. They have a wonderful fudgy consistency and the coffee flavor is clear. I think these turned out fantastically!

Mocha Fudge Snaps
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
5 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1/2 cup coconut oil or butter
1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 teaspoons espresso powder
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
Additional sugar

Combine the unsweetened chocolate, semisweet chocolate, cocoa powder and coconut oil in a medium bowl. Microwave, stirring every 30 seconds, until the mixture is smooth. Set aside to cool slightly.  

In a large mixer bowl, beat the sugar and eggs on medium for 4 minutes, until the mixture becomes pale yellow. Add the vanilla and espresso powder and stir to combine. Add the chocolate mixture and mix on low to incorporate. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. With the mixer running on low, gradually add the flour mixture, beating just until combined.

Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.

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

Shape the dough into 1-1/4” balls and roll in sugar. Place on the prepared baking sheets.

Bake for 8-10 minutes, until set. The cookies will be puffy, but will settle and crack as they cool. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheets for 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

Recipe from Sweet Recipeas

Friday, January 5, 2018

Chai Almond Cookies

It’s a challenge to pick cookies after the new year. Many folks have had so many sweets during the holidays that they don’t want so many sweets. This was not the week to choose a super decadent treat. I always like a good spiced cookie, and this recipe was featured in a recent King Arthur Flour baking catalog. I usually look through the catalog once and then recycle it, but I tore out this recipe since I knew I would be making it.

This recipe calls for chai spice, which King Arthur Flour sells, but I didn’t use that. I looked at the ingredients in the chai mix and I had most of them on hand. I ended up using Chinese five spice, which contains cinnamon, anise seed, star anise, ginger and cloves. I added some pepper and additional ginger. I could have added cardamom, but I don’t really care for it so I left it out. Any combination of these types of spices would work for this recipe.

These cookies are easy to make, and bake up perfectly! They bake for a longer time that you would expect, I imagine that is due to the almond flour which makes for a more robust dough. For the glaze, the original recipe says that it should be the consistency of molasses, so quite thick. These cookies have a nice crispness, and the almond flour adds a good texture. I like the mix of spices I used, it’s just a little different than the typical cinnamon/ginger combo. Don’t be afraid of using pepper, a tiny bit adds so much!

Chai Almond Cookies
1 cup butter, room temperature
¾ cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon chai spice*
1 cup almond flour
1-1/2 cups flour

1 cup powdered sugar
½ teaspoon chai spice
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla
1-2 tablespoons milk

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

In a large mixer bowl, combine the butter, sugar, vanilla, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and chai spice. Mix on medium until light. With the mixer running on low, gradually add the almond flour and then the regular flour.

Scoop the dough onto the prepared baking sheets, using about 1 tablespoon dough per cookie. Leave about 2 inches between each cookie.

Bake for 13-15 minutes, until set and golden. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack. Cool completely before glazing.

Make the glaze: in a medium bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, chai spice, butter, vanilla and 1 tablespoon milk. Add additional milk if needed to reach the right consistency. Drizzle the glaze over the cooled cookies.

Recipe from King Arthur Flour

*You can purchase this from King Arthur Flour, or make your own by combining 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 teaspoon ginger, ¼ teaspoon cardamom, ¼ teaspoon allspice, ¼ teaspoon anise and a pinch of black pepper.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Coconut Cherry White Chocolate Bars

It’s still the holidays, and one of my favorite times is the week between Christmas and New Year’s, as it seems like is a time that most people have off and folks are wrapping up the year and looking forward to the new year. It’s a little hard to decide what to bake this time of year, as most folks have had a lot of decadent food and perhaps are looking to eat a little simpler.

This cookie could be a Christmas cookie. When I found the recipe, it was marked as a Christmas cookie, with a combination of dried cranberries, white chocolate and coconut. I used dried tart cherries instead, as I like the tart/sweet flavor that they add to recipes. You can use whatever is easiest for you. What first drew me to this recipe was the original photo I saw, which had big, huge flakes of coconut topping the bars. You could use regular shredded coconut, but if you can find the big coconut flakes, it will really add a lot. I found them at the regular grocery store, in the natural food section.

I really like recipes from King Arthur Flour, classic, but typically with a little twist. This recipe uses melted butter, and I have had times where the bars using melted butter don’t cook quite right, but that wasn’t an issue with these cookies. With the coconut topping the bars, it’s difficult to tell when the cookies are done. The coconut browns and becomes golden as the bars bake. I baked the bars until they were a deep golden brown, and were set in the middle. Had I taken them out of the oven when there were what I would typically consider golden brown, then were under baked in the center. The cherries pair so well with the sweet which chocolate and the toasty, buttery flavor of the coconut.

Coconut Cherry White Chocolate Bars
3/4 cup butter, melted
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 3/4 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups white chocolate chips
1 cup dried tart cherries
1 cup coconut flakes, divided

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9” x 13” pan with foil and spray the foil with nonstick spray.

In a large mixer bowl, combine the melted butter and brown sugar. Mix on medium until smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time, stirring for one minute between each addition. Add the vanilla and stir to incorporate. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. With the mixer running on low, gradually add the flour mixture. Stir in the white chocolate chips, dried cherries and half of the coconut flakes with a spatula.

Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan. Sprinkle the dough with the remaining ½ cup coconut flakes.

Bake for 25-28 minutes, until golden brown. Allow the bars to cool completely before cutting into bars.

Recipe from King Arthur Flour