Archive | April, 2008

ooey gooey cookies

29 Apr

as far as my top cookies go, this one is way up there.  i first made these over christmas vacation, when i yanked my brother from his lair/computer to be my indentured servant for the afternoon.  it took a bit of persuasion to convince him to get his hands dirty (i don’t even know what to do with the kid sometimes), but he proved to be quite the baker.  i wanted to make them for santa.. i am convinced that if i tell my 18-year-old brother he believes in that jolly man with enough fervor and assertion, he suddenly will.  but since i had to face the facts that my childhood was gone forever, i decided to have my parents take them to a christmas party they were going to.  let’s just say, the cookies did not make it there.  because once you eat one, you just can’t stop.  kinda like pringles. 

i got the recipe from probably the cutest southern lady on the planet (other than my darling mother of course)… ms. paula deen.  she really is adorable.  i want to pinch her cheeks. and hug her. and to have her be my auntie. that is all that i want.  ….well, and to eat her food and not gain an ounce.

but, these babies above are her chocolate gooey butter cookies. or ooey gooey cookies as i like to call them, because i suck at names and this is what i came up with when i was fumbling about trying to remember when my many adoring fans (cough. let me live the dream.) were demanding to know.  they are not necessarily ooey… nor gooey…  but still delightful.  and smooshy (a technical baking term). now enough rambling, and more baking.

what you’ll need: 1 8-ounce brick cream cheese, 1 stick butter (room temp), 1 egg, 1 18-ounce box of moist chocolate cake mix, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, confectioners sugar

1. preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. in a large bowl, cream the cream cheese and butter together until smooth.  i had to do this cradling my bowl and hand mixer while standing in the pantry so as not to wake up my sleeping roommates.  (have i mentioned that i bake at odd times?) it was awkward and somewhat unpleasant.  i recommend against this.

3. beat in the egg.

(don’t forget to check for shell and other grossness! i say this, because i definitely would forget.)

(a thing of dairy beauty? or a vegan’s worst nightmare?)

4. beat in vanilla extract.

5. beat in cake mix.

when cookie dough attacks!  once you get to the cake beating portion… the cake tends to fight back.  and it almost won.  i kept having to pause to remove its gooey tendrils from ensnaring my mixer entirely.  you pretty much just have to keep at it.  because it will ultimately be worth it.

this will be your lovely dough.

6. paula says to refrigerate your dough for 2 hours so that it will firm up and be easier for ball rolling.  but as we all know, since it seems to be a theme of this blog, i am laaaazy.  so i threw it in the freezer for however long it took me to do the plethora of dishes stockpiled in my kitchen (about 30-40 minutes. i’m a slow washer.  i tend to boogie to the music at the same time.)

7. roll dough into tablespoon sized balls and then roll in confectioners sugar.

8. place on an ungreased cookie sheet 2 inches apart. bake for 12 minutes.  let them cool and then sprinkle some more confectioners sugar on top. i think it is impossible to have too much confectioners sugar.

paula’s recipe said that this should yield about 2 dozen cookies.  but, i must have magical powers, because i came out with about 5 dozen.  if only these powers extended to other things, like money and bobby pins.

the verdict: i took these to work, and my pirahna coworkers ate them within seconds.  they are that yummy.  again, pringle cookies.

minty chocolate shortbread cookies

23 Apr

i get intense desires to bake at odd times.  it will be midnight, and i will be struck with an overwhelming need to bake tasty treats.  but, i am also extremely lazy, and refuse to go to the store for supplies… in which case i have to get creative with what i have on hand… this has lead to both amazingness (ie: naked cupcakes of last summer) and disaster (ie: bisquick cookies… believe me, no matter how much frosting you put on “cookies” made from bisquick mix, water and eggs, it will always taste awful.  well, unless you are really, really drunk. or have no taste buds.)

the point of this story is that this past weekend, at around 8am monday morning (thanks mass for marathon monday), the mood struck.  and i was not, under any circumstances, going to the store.  so i scrounged around the cabinets and from the contents i found, decided on a nice shortbread cookie.  since i seem to have cocoa coming out the wazoo, and i wouldn’t hesitate to have babies with chocolate were it possible, i decided to throw some of that in there.  and since the only extract i have currently is peppermint… i threw some of that in there too.  i personally think you can never go wrong with mint.  the entire ingredient gathering process was quite exciting.  i enjoy making it up… it makes me feel creative and oh so clever.  (seriously, bisquick cookies.  quite clever, even if baked pancakes = extremely unpleasant).

i couldn’t find any chocolate shortbread recipes that really sang to me.. so i mixed and matched a bit.  borrowing martha stewart‘s basic recipe, and then sticking in different baking times.  i wasn’t in a pie shaped mood…

what you’ll need: 1 stick unsalted butter, 3/4 cup all-purpose flour, 1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar (let’s imagine the above is not just regular sugar.. i told you, i’m lazy.), 3 tablespoons cocoa powder, 1/2 tsp peppermint oil

1. beat your stick of butter (room temp.) until creamy.

 

(i really need a fancy mixing bowl contraption.  because at this point in the program, my bowl went careening about the table, splattering butter everywhere.)

2.  ….make your own confectioner’s sugar… ahem…  alright, i figured, what is confectioner’s sugar, but really fine, wispy looking sugar?  why on earth can’t i stick regular sugar in a food processor?  then i’ll be amazing, and won’t have to go to the grocery, right?  well, apparently, confectioners sugar actually contains other fun stuff like cornstarch. (thanks wikipedia!) but whatever, i did it anyways, and it still worked nicely.

(even though sugar ended up coating my counters, floor, and myself… and the bugger woke up my roommates.  i guess not everyone gets up at 8:30 am to bake cookies. who knew?)

3. mix ingredients all together. i put a little under half a tsp of mint oil.  i didn’t want it to be overpowering (hence “minty” chocolate shortbread cookies.)

 (mmm, pretty ingredients.)

 now, i mixed it using a spoon, then giving up on my slightly less than room temperature creamed butter (did i mention i was lazy?) and its unwillingness to properly mix, i whipped out the hand mixer again.  my dough was pretty much just a bunch of crumbles.  i was convinced i had screwed up somehow, so i went to the old stand by and dug my hands in there.  suddenly, miracles!  it started sticking together!  so that was a long way of saying, don’t be concerned if it is crumbly and un-doughlike.  just use your hands and squish it together.  it will all work out.

4. roll dough into a ball and wrap in parchment paper.  place in freezer for a bit.  this will help it harden, so that it doesn’t crumble when you roll it out.

5. roll dough out (i rolled between the parchment paper so that it didn’t dirty my rolling pin). then you can cut out shapes.  i really wanted to use a christmas tree cookie cutter, but my now-fully-awake roommates vetoed that idea…

next best thing… shot glass turned cookie cutter!  creativity abounds.  these cookies are terrier shot sized.

i decorated a couple too.  i’m cute like that.

6. Bake at 325 degrees for 20-25 minutes.  mine took a nice 23.  which is also, coincidentally, about how many cookies this made…

then voila… minty chocolate shortbread cookies… 

the verdict: this tasting session taught me that everyone is a critic.  i like your opinions people, but really.  just enjoy your damn cookie.  tester b recommended i add more mint, thereby dueling the girl scouts for cookie supremacy.  but tester r thought they were “super delicious.”  i like tester r.  he eats and appreciates, like a good little tester should.

oreo truffles (more balls?)

16 Apr

i absolutely love this recipe.  if i could become a recipe, this is one i would seriously consider.  i made these the other night along with the carrot cake balls.  i can never make up my mind as to what i want to make, so i tend to try and bake a hundred different things at once. rather than post this with the other recipe, i decided to prolong the excitement/make it seem like i had a lot more to talk about at the beginning of this achy bakey blog. i found both recipes on bakerella‘s site.  i’ve recently become an obsessive/compulsive food blog reader, and when i stumbled across her site and saw the plethora of ball variations, i knew i had to try them… immediately. i was impressed with how easy and quick this recipe was. (excluding chocolate hardening time). plus, i actually managed to pull off a fancy-esque look.  i mean, come on, admire those crumbles on top.  i MADE that! alright, horn tooting is over.

what you’ll need: 1 package oreos, 8oz. block of cream cheese (i went with fat free, because now the calories basically don’t even count.  haha, yeh right.), 2 baking chocolate bars (i used dark chocolate)

1. finely crush about 3-4 oreo cookies in the food processor, and put aside.  you will use this later as a topping.  (when crushing up your oreos, definitely go with the food processor if you can.  i have tried the ziplock bag/rolling pin trick before with them and found that the cream just gets mushed around and doesn’t get mixed in with the cookies and you pretty much just have a messy bag.)

 

(this is how fine it should be)

2. eat a cookie or two.  because oreos are yummy.  now crush up the rest of your cookies and mix in the softened cream cheese.  you can use a spoon, but i used my hands, since as you could see from the last post… that is just how i roll.

3. …and speaking of rolling… roll your mixture of oreo/cream cheese goodness into 1 inch balls and place on a wax paper covered cookie sheet.  you might want to stick the mixture in the freezer for a minute first so it is easier to work with.

4. melt chocolate bars according to the directions on the wrapper.  then drop a ball into the chocolate, roll around, and tap off excess chocolate.  place back on wax paper and repeat with the rest of your balls.

i melted the chocolate about half a bar at a time, so it would be easier to work with.

before the chocolate melts, sprinkle some of the oreo crumbs you saved earlier on top.  it will make your truffles (balls!) even prettier.

5. let them dry a bit and then keep them in the refrigerator.

oh yeh…

enjoy!

the verdict: i am in love.  i tried to spread the love, i really did.  but when you really love something…it’s hard to let go of it.  that being said, i had only a few taste testers.  because my roommates and i hoarded them.  hips and waists be damned.

tester m: “mmm, oreo truffles are a good breakfast.”

tester w: “hey, um, can i have another one of those?”  and then later “pleeease say you brought me more of your balls!”  (he is lucky that i reward those who play to my ego)

tester c: “next time, you should make an extra batch.”

i’m thinkin’ that deserves two thumbs up.

 

carrot cake balls

15 Apr

alright, i will admit it.  i made these specifically so that i could say balls often and at seemingly inappropriate times.  they bring out the 12-old-boy in me.  if asking a coworker/friend/random passing stranger to sample your balls doesn’t make you chuckle…well, then you are probably much more mature than i am.  that being said, this was my attempt at bakerella‘s red velvet cake balls.  i arrived at the grocery store extremely pumped for an evening of baking balls (ha, still gets me), only to discover no red velvet cake mix.  back up plan: call a trusty friend for the ingredients to make it from scratch.  but alas, i had forgotten my cell phone.  i contemplated for a moment what they would have done back in the day without cell phones, all the way back in 1982.  and realized i had no idea.  so i just decided to go with a carrot cake ball instead.  now, im not exactly a big carrot cake fan.  but i am of the belief that you can train yourself to like anything if you taste it enough, so why not carrot cake balls?

what you’ll need: 1 box carrot cake mix, 1 can cream cheese frosting, 3 eggs, vegetable oil, several baking chocolate bars (i made the mistake of getting too little, and ended up rummaging throughout my cabinets and melting any chocolate i could find, which proved interesting, but is not recommended.)

 
1. bake cake as directed on cake mix box (for a 13×9 cake). once cake is cooked, allow it to cool completely.

(i just had to give it a taste test.  make sure it isn’t poisonous…)

2. now crumble the cake into a bowl, and mix thoroughly with 1 can of cream cheese frosting. (make sure you use your hands.  trust me, it will change your life.  or just feel super fun.)

(pre-sticky hands)

 
3. stick the mixture into the freezer for a bit, that way it will be easier when you start rolling.

4. roll mixture into small balls (about an inch) and lay on a wax paper lined cookie sheet.

5. put the balls in the freezer for a bit.  i tried refrigerating one batch over night, and freezing another batch for about 30 minutes, and the frozen balls were much, much easier to work with.

(but please notice the missing ball!  one of these babies escaped in the dead of night… most likely into the stomach of a hungry roommate…)

6. melt baking chocolate in microwave per directions on package. (i did half a bar at a time.  i figured it would be easier to work with, and not harden on me.)
7. roll balls in chocolate and lay on wax paper until firm. (basically, you just plunk your ball in the chocolate bowl, and then use a spoon to roll it about and tap off the extra chocolate.)

* patience before sampling. these tasted much better once they hardened up/chilled in the refrigerator.

the verdict: interesting…  but, not my favorite.  looks like it will take more taste testing to train myself to like carrot cake.  but my taste testers seemed to approve. 

tester a (several balls later): “alright, i think i might like these after all.”

tester k: “um, can i have some more of your balls?”