Time to Cook!

Inspiration for wholesome weeknight & weekend cooking.

Posts from the ‘dessert’ category

This is a tasty oatmeal chocolate chip cookie that’s simple to make.  It’s a nice combination of crunchy, chewy, sweet and salty.  If you prefer not to use the vegetable shortening, you can substitute with coconut oil.  Also, instead of bittersweet chocolate, you can use any chocolate you prefer (I use bittersweet or dark chocolate).  Enjoy!

Salted Oatmeal Cookies with Dark Chocolate

Recipe from Real Simple Magazine.

Salted Oatmeal Cookies with Dark Chocolate

Makes about 2 dozen cookies.

Ingredients:

cups old-fashioned rolled oats (not quick-cooking)

cup all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

teaspoons flaky sea salt (such as Maldon)

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature

tablespoons vegetable shortening

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

large egg

teaspoon pure vanilla extract

ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 375° F with the rack in the upper and lower thirds. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment.
  2. Combine the oats, flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and 1 teaspoon of the salt in a medium bowl; set aside.
  3. Beat the butter, shortening, granulated sugar, and brown sugar with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until lightly and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Beat in the egg and vanilla. Reduce the mixer speed to low and gradually add the flour mixture, mixing just until combined (do not over mix). Stir in the chocolate.
  4. Drop heaping tablespoonfuls of the dough onto the prepared baking sheets, spacing them 2 inches apart. Sprinkle with the remaining 1 teaspoon of salt.
  5. Bake, rotating the pans halfway through, until lightly brown around the edges, about 10 to 12 minutes. Cool slightly on the baking sheets, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  6. Storage suggestion: Keep the cookies at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

 

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A trip to the farmer’s market might inspire you to bake this simple summer dessert.  The night before we went berry picking, I happened to watch an episode of “Pioneer Woman” on The Food Network and I was drawn to Ree’s simple, down-home country style of cooking (and life!)  She seems so cheery and at peace, despite jugging quite a lot.  Anyway, this dessert looked so simple to pull together that I just had to try it.  We came home from berry picking with pounds of boysenberries, so I used them instead of blackberries (I’m sure juicy blueberries would taste great too).  This couldn’t have been easier, the kitchen smelled so good, and served warm, this cobbler was crispy on the top, a little cake-y in the middle, and the warm fruit melts in your mouth.  Served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, this was an awesome summer treat.  Enjoy!

Blackberry Cobbler

Recipe from The Pioneer Woman show.

Blackberry Cobbler

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 1 hour

Ingredients:

1/2 stick butter, melted, plus more for greasing pan
1 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1 cup self-rising flour
1 cup whole milk
2 cups fresh (or frozen) blackberries
Whipped cream and/or ice cream, for serving

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 3-quart baking dish with butter.

In a medium bowl, whisk 1 cup sugar with the flour and milk. Whisk in the melted butter.

Rinse the blackberries and pat them dry. Pour the batter into the baking dish. Sprinkle the blackberries evenly over the top of the batter. Sprinkle 1/4 cup sugar over the blackberries. Bake until golden brown and bubbly, about 1 hour. When 10 minutes of the cooking time remains, sprinkle the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar over the top. Top with whipped cream or ice cream … or both!

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I know what you’re thinking.  “You really think I’m going to take the time to brown butter for some homemade cookies?”  I know it seems like one more step, but it’s worth it!  These cookies are amazing!  Crunchy, nutty, buttery, salty, sweet, and wholesome.  What I do as a time-saver is I make a double batch, roll up all of the cookie dough balls, and freeze half in a freezer ziplock bag.  The balls won’t stick to each other and you’ll have them ready to go for when you need a fresh, baked dessert.  Just bring them to room temperature and follow the same baking directions … and it’s like you’ve just been slaving away on them!  Note: I use dark chocolate chunks because I prefer dark chocolate.

 

Brown Butter Oatmeal Chunk Cookies

Recipe from the blog How Sweet It Is.

Brown Butter Oatmeal Chunk Cookies

Makes about 15-18 cookies.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup unsalted butter

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup loosely packed brown sugar

1 large egg

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour

3/4 cups rolled oats

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 cup chocolate chunks

optional: 1- 2 tablespoons milk, if dough is crumbly

Directions:

Heat a small saucepan over medium-low heat and add butter. Whisking constantly, cook butter until bubbly and until small brown bits appear on the bottom of the pan – about 5-6 minutes. Watch closely and immediately remove the butter from the heat, whisking for an additional 30 seconds or so. Set aside and let cool COMPLETELY. Note: It does not need to solidify at all, but it should not be warm to the touch.

In a bowl, combine flour, salt, baking powder, oats and cinnamon, mixing, then set aside.

Once butter has cooled, add to a large bowl. Whisk in sugars, stirring until smooth. Add in egg and vanilla, whisking until smooth once again. Slowly begin to stir in dry ingredients, using your hands if necessary (I always do) to bring dough together. If you find that the dough still won’t come together, add in milk 1 tablespoon at a time (I rarely have to do this.) Fold in chocolate chips, distributing them evenly. Refrigerate dough for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Using an ice cream scoop or your hands, form dough into 1 1/2 inch balls. Place about 2 inches apart on a nonstick baking sheet, then bake for 10-12 minutes, or until bottoms and edges are golden. Let cool before serving.

 

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This is hands-down my favorite chocolate cake recipe.  It’s rich and moist and delicious.  Apparently, the cake is better when made the day before (so I’ve always done that).  The chocolate frosting is delicious too (although not pictured below).  This recipe makes two 8 inch round cakes, which you can stack with a layer of frosting in between – or one single layer rectangular cake.  Enjoy!

Mom's Chocolate Cake

Recipe from Food & Wine (contributed by Marcia Kiesel.)

Mom’s Chocolate Cake

This is a real old-fashioned American chocolate layer cake. It’s very moist, very chocolatey, a snap to make and best baked the day before serving. Marcia Kiesel acquired the recipe from her friend Joyce Cole, who got it from her mother.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
Directions:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter and flour two 8-by-1 1/2-inch round cake pans. Line the bottoms with wax paper. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; set aside.
  2. In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar with 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil over high heat and stir until the sugar dissolves; then pour into a large bowl. Add the chocolate and butter and let sit, stirring occasionally, until melted and slightly cooled. Stir in the vanilla.
  3. Beat the eggs into the chocolate mixture at medium speed until combined. Add the dry ingredients all at once and beat at medium speed until smooth. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans and bake for about 25 minutes, or until the top springs back when pressed lightly and a cake tester comes out clean. Cool the cakes in their pans for about 25 minutes, then invert onto a rack to cool completely.
  4. Set one cake, right-side up, on a serving platter. Using a metal spatula, spread one-third of the Chocolate Frosting evenly over the cake. Top with the second cake and frost the top and sides with the remaining frosting.

Chocolate Frosting recipe also from Food & Wine (contributed by Marcia Kiesel.)
Servings: Makes about 3 1/2 cups.

The inspiration for this frosting technique comes from dessert maven Maida Heatter’s Book of Great Chocolate Desserts (Alfred A. Knopf).

Ingredients:

1 1/3 cups heavy cream

1 1/2 cups sugar

6 ounces unsweetened chocolate

1 stick (4 ounces) plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Pinch of salt

Directions:

  1. In a medium saucepan, bring the cream and sugar to a boil over moderately high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the liquid reduces slightly, about 6 minutes. Pour the mixture into a medium bowl and add the chocolate, butter, vanilla and salt. Let stand, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate and butter are melted.
  2. Set the bowl in a larger bowl of ice water. Using a hand-held electric mixer, beat the frosting on medium speed, scraping the sides occasionally with a rubber spatula, until thick and glossy, about 5 minutes. Use at once.
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These cupcakes are delicious and because of their all-white coloring and coconut topping (which looks like confetti), they are perfect for a special celebration (birthday party, baby shower, engagement party, Easter, etc.)  They are always a hit.  I did learn a lesson while making these once though.  While making my batter, I was cracking the eggs directly into the bowl, and I got a little shell in there.  For the life of me, I could not fish it out.  I just continued on, forgetting all about it… My husband ended up bringing in some cupcakes to work (so we didn’t end up eating all of them ourselves) and later that day, his future boss appeared at his door.  He said he really enjoyed the taste of the cupcakes, but next time would prefer them with no egg shell.  I was pretty mortified when this got relayed to me!  Ever since then, I’ve taken the time to crack my eggs into their own little bowl before adding them to my mixture!

Note: if you don’t like the taste of almond extract (I don’t), you can substitute with more vanilla extract.

Coconut Cupcake

Recipe from The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook by Ina Garten.

Coconut Cupcakes

Ingredients:

3/4 pound (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
5 extra-large eggs at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons pure almond extract
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup buttermilk
14 ounces sweetened, shredded coconut

For the frosting:

1 pound cream cheese at room temperature
3/4 pound (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
1 1/2 pounds confectioners’ sugar, sifted

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. With the mixer on low speed, add the eggs, 1 at a time, scraping down the bowl after each addition. Add the vanilla and almond extracts and mix well.

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In 3 parts, alternately add the dry ingredients and the buttermilk to the batter, beginning and ending with the dry. Mix until just combined. Fold in 7 ounces of coconut.

Line a muffin pan with paper liners. Fill each liner to the top with batter. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes, until the tops are brown and a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Remove to a baking rack and cool completely.

Meanwhile, make the frosting. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, on low speed, cream together the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla and almond extracts. Add the confectioners’ sugar and mix until smooth.

Frost the cupcakes and sprinkle with the remaining coconut.

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Tate’s chocolate chip cookies have always been my favorite store bought cookies (and they’re now pretty widely distributed – you can find them at Whole Foods and major grocery stores).  They have nicely shared their wonderful recipe so we can make them at home!  I think it’s the perfect chocolate chip cookie – thin, chewy yet crispy, salty and buttery…  You can cook them anywhere from 8-12 minutes (8 minutes make chewy cookies, 12 minutes make crispy cookies).  I like to cook them for 10 minutes.  Try them with dark chocolate chips too sometime.  Enjoy!

Tate's Choc Chip Cookie

Recipe adapted from Tate’s Bake Shop and posted on Gwyneth Paltrow’s blog Goop.

Tate’s Chocolate Chip Cookies

Makes about 40 cookies.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) lightly salted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1 teaspoon water
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips (Nestlé can’t really be beat)

Preparation:

1. Preheat the oven to 350º.

2. Whisk the flour, soda and salt together in a bowl.

3. In another large bowl, mix the butter with a wooden spoon to lighten it a bit and then mix in the sugars.

4. Add the water, vanilla and eggs to the butter mixture.

5. Stir in the flour mixture until just combined and then fold in the chocolate chips.

6. Using two soup spoons, drop the cookies 2″ apart onto two nonstick or greased cookie sheets.

7. Bake for 8 minutes, rotating the sheets after 4 minutes.

8. Remove the cookies to a wire rack to cool, and repeat the process with the rest of the batter.

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