Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Cookie #69 - Wisconsin Cheddar Cheese with Hot Pepper Jelly

I was so excited about this cookie! 

Maybe not as excited as that guy, but still pretty excited. 
I was excited to make my first real savory cookie of this experiment. 
Yes, I've used savory ingredients before, but those cookies still had a sweetness to them. 
This cookie uses NO sugar.  I took a basic cookie recipe and subtracted all that was sweet. 
No sugar, no vanilla. 
I then started to stack savory flavors that I thought blended well together.  My thought was to mimic the flavors of a cheeseball (awesome recipe, by the way), so I used similar ingredients.  Knowing that green peppers and pimentos probably wouldnt' translated well into a cookie, I left them out. 
I also used almonds instead of pecans, but that's personal preference. 
Knowing that a plain cheese cookie might be just that, I remembered a recipe I had seen quite a while back that paired a cheese base with some hot pepper jelly
Totally not my thing, but I knew my husband would love it so I bought a jar. 
Now, I'm going to share something with you all and I don't want it to discourage you from making these cookies.  My husband LOVED them, I on the other hand didn't taste them and here's why:
The night I made these I was in the middle of making a few other cookies - all of them sweet.  My kitchen was filled with the delicious aroma of sugar and cinnamon, chocolate and vanilla.  It was heavenly. 
Then I put these puppies in the oven.
Suddenly the wonderful sweet smells I was enjoying her taken over by the smell of cheese and pepper.  It was an assault on my nose and my nose didn't like it.  My husband, on the other hand, thought they smelled delicious.  I took the offending cookies out of the oven and moved them immediately out of my kitchen to the dining room where the smell couldn't reach me anymore.  After they had cooled and I went to sandwich the hot pepper jelly between, I felt sick to my stomach.  I couldn't bring myself to eat one. 
The sense of smell is a very powerful thing - much more so than we give it credit for. 
I can promise you this - these cookies did get the Corey seal of approval.
Then again, he's like Mikey - he'll eat anything. 

Wisconsin Cheddar Cheese Cookies
with Hot Pepper Jelly

2 cups sharp cheddar cheese (for authenticity us Wisconsin cheddar)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (hey - use the real stuff, not the stuff in the green can, kay?)
1/2 cup butter (make sure it's softened, but not melted)
1 egg yolk
1/4 teaspoon white pepper (you can use black pepper, I chose white so you don't see the flecks in the dough)
1/8 tsp cayenne, if desired (kind of defeats the purpose of using white pepper, doesn't it?)
1 cup finely chopped nuts (I used almonds, but you can use pecans, walnuts, or whatever you like)
1/2 cup hot pepper jelly (room temperature, please. These cookies are soft, so don't try spreading cold jelly on them or they'll break)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Mix cheeses, nuts, butter and egg yolk together until well combined.  You really want an even mixture here, so please make sure your butter is softened.  If you forgot to soften it, just put it in the microwave for a few seconds to soften it up.  Usually, I cut it into cubes, place on a microwave safe plate and nuke for about 10 seconds.  Cutting it into cubes is essential. If you leave the stick whole, the outside will melt before the inside gets soft.
Next, sift together the flour and peppers.  Add to butter & cheese mixture until well combined.  Roll teaspoons full of dough into small balls and place 2" apart on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Press the balls flat using your fingers or the well floured bottom of a glass. 
Bake for about 13-15 minutes, or until golden brown.
Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
Right before serving, sandwich a teaspoon of hot pepper jelly between two cookies.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Cookie #68 - West Virginia Apple Butter Rolls

My very first trip to West Virginia was 5 years ago, when my husband (then boyfriend) took me to Canaan Valley to ski and meet his father.  I was so nervous, I remember begging him to take me back home, promising him Thai food and nudity (a line from one of my favorite chick flicks, Bed of Roses). 
My nerves only escalated as I put on skis for the first time in fifteen years.  He and his sister tried their hardest to get me to go down the bunny slope, but I just couldn't do it.  I signed up for professional one-on-one lessons, but chickened out last minute.  I rested my skis outside the lodge and went into the ladies room and cried.  I cried because I couldn't put aside the fear and just do it.  I cried because I was afraid my boyfriend wouldn't want to date me anymore because I couldn't ski.  It was something that he loved to do and I couldn't be an active part of it.  I dried my tears and spent the remainder of the day drinking Bud Light and listening to Bon Jovi in the ski lodge.  Needless to say, my lack of ski skills didn't matter after all. 

West Virginia's state fruit is the golden delicious apple. Rather than just use apples in the recipe, I chose to use apple butter.  According to my mother-in-law and other West Virginians apple butter is commonly found at many WV fairs.  For this recipe, I utilized my mother's recipe for rugulah.  I added some apple pie spices to the dough and rolled it up apple butter and walnuts inside.  The result - delish!  Dare I say, better than my mom's rugulah!

West Virginia Apple Butter Rugulah

1/2 cup butter
4 ounces cream cheese
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 1/4 cups flour
1/4 cup apple butter
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water
2 tablespoons turbinado sugar

Cream butter, cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla together until smooth.  Sift together flour, cinnamon, and nutmeg together.  Add to butter mixture all at once and beat until smooth.  Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and knead gently until smooth.  Divide dough in half and wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least two hours. 

After dough is chilled, remove one piece of dough and roll out between two pieces of well floured wax paper into a rectangle roughly 12 x 7", or about 1/8" thick.  Remove the top piece of wax paper and spread half the apple butter over the dough, leaving a 1/2" border along the edges.  Sprinkle half the walnuts over the dough and press lightly. 

Starting with the long edge of the rectangle closest to you, roll the dough away from you to form a roll.  Press the seam lightly.  Wrap the roll in the waxed paper and transfer to the fridge, seam side down.  Repeat process with remaining dough.  Chill for 30 minutes

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Remove chilled rolls from the fridge brush each roll with egg wash and sprinkle with turbinado sugar.  Slice each roll into 1" pieces.  Place each slice onto parchment lined baking sheets about 1" apart.  Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown.  Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Cookie #67 - Virginia Salted Peanut Cookies

Virginia has always had a special place in my heart, as a child and now as an adult.  My father was born and raised in the Richmond area.  When I was younger, my older brother enlisted in the Navy and was stationed in Norfolk.  Now, as an adult, I'm married to a Virginia Tech alum.  As a  season ticket holder, he makes a few trips back every fall to see the Hokies play football in Lane Stadium. 
Most of my Virginia family worked for Phillip Morris.  Since I wasn't about to try a tobacco cookie (see it here in a cupcake), I opted for Virginia peanuts instead. 
I found this recipe clipping in one of my mom's many recipe books.  I'm not sure where or when it's from - I'm guess sometime in the late 60's early 70's.  The recipe was cut off, so I didn't have the exact baking time.  I watched them closely and found that 8 minutes in my oven was perfect. 
The cookies are crisp, rather than soft like a traditional peanut butter cookie.  They're very sweet, being rolled in sugar, and very crunchy, having corn flakes, oats and salted peanuts mixed it.  I guess if you want them softer, you need to bake them a little less.  I used real Virginia peanuts that I was lucky enough to have found at Wegmans.  I decorated the cookies with a little colored sugar, trying to mimic Virginia Tech's colors.  The cookies kind of reminded me of Planter's Peanut Bars, one of my father's favorite candies.  I'm sure he would've loved this cookie. 

Virginia Salted Peanut Cookies
source unknown

1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup vegetable shortening
2 eggs
1 cup corn flakes
1 cup oatmeal
1 cup salted peanuts
1 tsp baking soda
2 cups flour
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 
Cream shortening and sugars.  Mix in vanilla and eggs.
Sift flour and baking soda, add to shortening mixture.  Stir in oats, corn flakes and peanuts.  (I ran the mixer a little longer at this point, hoping to break up the cornflakes and nuts a bit)
Roll tablespoons full of dough in sugar and place 2" apart on parchment lined baking sheets.  Flatten each cookie slightly with the bottom of a glass.  Decorate with colored sugar, if desired.
Bake for 8 minutes or until the edges just start to change color.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Cookie #66 - Vermont Ben & Jerry's Everything But The... Cookies

When I looked at my recipe list for the state cookies, I had jotted down maple next to Vermont. 
I'm sorry Vermont, but I really don't like maple flavored anything. 
Don't get me wrong, I love maple syrup on pancakes, but that's where my maple love stops. 
I just couldn't bring myself to do a maple cookie.  I wrote a few recipes using maple, but I just wasn't feeling it.
So I consulted my good friends, Ben & Jerry
I immediately went to the Vermont based creamery's website to find a flavor that would translate well into a cookie.  One of my favorites is Everything But The.... 
This ice cream really has everything.  Chocolate and vanilla ice cream with toffee bits, white chocolate and chocolate covered almonds.  I've drowned many a sorrow in a pint (or two). 
This cookie starts with a simple chocolate base and then  then has white chocolate, semisweet chocolate, chopped almonds and toffee bits mixed in.  It really is a super delicious, chunky, chocolatey cookie.  If they had lasted, I think they would be even more fabulous with some vanilla ice cream sandwiched between two. 

Vermont Ben & Jerry's Everything But The... Cookies

1 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped almonds
1 cup toffee bits

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cream shortening and sugars together.  Mix in eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Mix in vanilla.
Sift together flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt.  Add gradually to shortening/egg mixture until just combined.  Mix in white and semisweet chips, almonds and toffee bits.
Drop by rounded tablespoons full onto parchment lined baking sheets.  Bake for 12 minutes. 
Allow to cool for a few minutes onto the baking sheets and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. 

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Cookie #65 - Washington Chocolate Espresso Bean

After only four days of dreary, rainy weather her in northeastern Pennsylvania, I can't imagine living in the Pacific northwest

Every part of my body hurts
I've had a headache since Sunday. 

To quote Milli Vanilla, "blame it on the rain." 

Aside from grunge music and vampires, Washington State is also known for another pop
culture icon that has rocked the world: 
The largest coffeehouse company in the world with over 17,000 stores in close to 50 countries.
Knowing immediately that my Washington cookie would incorporate coffee,
I decided to try chocolate covered espresso beans.

Side note:  when I was in college, I took an evening biology class.  A classmate friend of mine discovered the cafeteria sold bags of chocolate covered espresso beans and would sometimes eat an entire bag during class.  One day, she complained to me that she was having trouble sleeping.  I asked her if she thought it had anything to do with the fact that she was eating handfuls of coffee beans during class.  She never put two and two together. 

Back to the cookies. 

Since I used actual chocolate covered coffee beans in this recipe, I didn't want to do a dark chocolate cookie.  I was afraid that the bitterness of the chocolate would compete with the bitterness of the coffee beans.  \I also didn't use any brown sugar in this cookie as I initially planned.  I wanted the cookie to be soft and chewy, so I planned on using half white sugar and half brown.  Instead, I used all white sugar and the cookie, once cooled, was crisp and almost melted in your mouth.  I was quite happy with the overall texture.  I think that if it was a softer cookie, the sudden crunch of the espresso beans would give the cookie and odd feel.

Washington Chocolate Covered Espresso Beans

1 cup butter
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 eggs
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
3 tbsp espresso powder
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup chocolate covered espresso beans (I used Gertrude Hawk)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Cream butter and sugar together.  Add in vanilla and eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.  Mix in espresso powder.  Sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt.  Add slowly to butter and egg mixture, stirring until just combined.  Mix in chocolate chips and espresso beans.
Drop by rounded tablespoons full onto parchment lined baking sheets about 2" apart.
Bake for 10 minutes.  Let cool on sheets for about 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

A very fashionable cookie...

On our way home from vacation, my husband surprised me with a stop at Tyson's Corner in McLean, Virginia so I could visit the Vera Bradley store.  . 
By surprised, I mean I begged and pleaded and played the "but, it's my birthday week" card. 
C'mon ladies...you know what I mean. 
You see, besides cookies, I have a deep rooted love for the quilted fabric handbags that come in a wide variety of bright colors.
When we arrived at the store, I was in heaven.  I've never seen so much paisley in one place. 
The store was having some Seventeen Magazine event with some stylist giving fashion tips, make-overs, give-aways, and, most important, cookies
Vera Bradley cookies. 
I snatched one up and gave it to my husband with strict instructions NOT to eat it. 
It was just too beautiful. 
This was over a week ago and the cookie is still sitting on my kitchen counter. 
I just can't bring myself to take a bite.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Cookie #64 - Utah Salted Caramel

Despite the fact that Utah's state snack is Jell-O,
I knew I wanted to do a salted caramel cookie to represent the state. 
The result is an ooey-gooey, sticky, sweet cookie with just a hint of salt

There were a few things I'd do differently with this cookie.

First of all, I'd cut back the amount of sugar I used in the crust. 
The caramel and chocolate topping are enough sweet.

Second, I wouldn't use so much milk to thin down the caramel.  It was a bit runny.

Third, I would make a ganache as the chocolate topping rather than just melted chocolate.  The chocolate was too hard causing it to shatter when cutting.  A ganache would solve this problem and probably be a better texture to complement the caramel. 

Below is the recipe as I made it without the adjustments mentioned above.

Utah Salted Caramel Squares

Cookie base:
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
2 1/2 cups flour
2 tsps baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

Caramel layer:
2 cups caramels*
4 tablespoons of milk

Chocolate layer:
2 cups chocolate chips
2 tablespoons vegetable shortening

1 tablespoon coarse sea salt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Cream butter and sugar together.  Mix in vanilla and eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Sift together flour, baking powder and salt.  Add in small batches to butter & egg mixture.
Press the dough evenly into an ungreased 13x9" pan.
Dock the dough by pricking with a fork all over the dough.
Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the edges are golden. 
Melt caramels and milk in the microwave at 30 second intervals, stirring well in between.  It will seem like the caramels and milk will never come together, but just keep stirring - they'll cooperate.  Once melted and smooth, pour over the cookie crust and transfer to the fridge to cool completely, about 1 hour.
Melt chocolate and shortening in the microwave on half-power at 30 second intervals, stirring well in between.  Be careful not to scorch the chocolate.  You can also do this in a double boiler if you'd like, but if you're careful, you can do it in the microwave.
Pour melted chocolate over the caramel and spread evenly.
Sprinkle with sea salt and refrigerate.  Once chocolate has hardened, cut carefully into squares.

*I used Kraft Caramel Bits.  They're little chips of caramel and you don't have the hassle of unwrapping all those caramels. 

Monday, August 23, 2010

Cookie #63 - Texas Chocolate Cowboy Cookies

Yee haw! 
When I floated my first Texas cookie idea to a few Texans I know, I got the big thumbs down.  You see, my original idea was to make a sweet onion cookie
Something savory, of course. 
So, I reluctantly abandoned the idea and moved on.
Most Texans said:  "You have to use pecans!" 
"You have to make Cowboy Cookies!"

Cowboy cookies? 
Never heard of 'em. 

So I researched them and discovered they're basically a chocolate chip cookie with pecans and a myriad of other things thrown in.  Some have oats, some have coconut. 
These have cocoa powder, pecans, chocolate chips and toffee bits. 
After baking my version of the Cowboy Cookie, my husband declared they were the best chocolate cookie he's ever tasted.
Now, I know he's biased. 
I did make one sans pecans so I could taste it and it was a pretty darn good cookie.

Texas Chocolate Cowboy Cookies

1 cup vegetable shortening
1 cup sugar
1 cup packed light brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup toffee bits

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Cream shortening and sugars together.  Mix in eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Mix in vanilla.
In a small bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt and baking powder.
Add flour mixture to shortening mixture 1/2 cup at a time, mixing well after each addition.
Stir in pecans, chocolate chips and toffee bits until well encorporated.
Drop by rounded tablespoons full 2" apart on parchment line baking sheets.
Bake for 10-12 minutes.
Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Cookie #62 - Tennessee Whiskey Cookies

When I first think of Tennessee, I'm not reminded of
Nashville, the Grand Old Opry or Dolly Parton

I'm reminded of the number 7.
My old friend Jack Daniels.
We have a love-hate relationship. 

One of my favorite ways to used alcohol in cookies is Italian Anisette Cookies
They're soft and cakey with a strong anise flavor. 
They immediately came to mind when I was on the search for a whiskey cookie.  Then, I came across this recipe for Orange-Whiskey cookies. 


After some slight tweaking, I'm super happy with the way these cookies came out.  They have the same texture of the anisette cookies I love, but with a subtle orange flavor, rather than anise. 
The whiskey does get lost after baking, but the overall flavor is divine
If you really want that whiskey flavor, you could glaze the cookies with a simple glaze of powdered sugar, corn syrup and whiskey. 

Tennessee Whiskey Cookies
1/2 cup butter
1/3 cup shortening
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 medium orange
2 tablespoons Jack Daniel's Tennessee Whiskey
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup salt
3 cups flour
1 egg, lightly beaten with 2 tablespoons cool water
Nonpareils for decoration

Cream butter, shortening and sugar.  Beat in eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. 
Zest the orange and then juice to yield about 1/4 cup.  Combine juice, zest, whiskey.  Add to butter mixture and mix well. 
Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together.  Add to butter mixture, 1/4 cup at a time, until well mixed.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 
Roll tablespoons of dough into balls and place on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Brush each cookie with egg wash and sprinkle with nonpareils.  Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the edges are golden.
Let sit on baking sheets for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool.

Cookie #61 - South Carolina Puffed Rice Shortbread with Peach Filling

While vacationing in South Carolina, I had some of the best peaches I've ever tasted. 
I've always associated peaches with Georgia, but the peach is also
the state fruit of South Carolina
Rice is also one of the major agricultural outputs of the state. 
When I first set out to make this cookie, I intended on just making a shortbread
Then I got the idea to integrate peaches in the filling. 
I pressed the shortbread rather thin, making a crispy wafer, and added some peach preserves in between.
My husband loved them, declaring them one of the "top five" cookies I've made. 
The puffed rice in the cookie adds to the crispness of the wafer and the peach preserves bring the necessary sweetness to the party. 

South Carolina Puffed Rice Shortbread Cookies with Peach Filling

1 cup butter
2/3 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cup flour
1 1/2 cup puffed rice cereal
Peach preserves

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Cream butter, sugar and vanilla.  Stir in flour until just combined.  Stir in rice cereal.  Don't worry about crushing the cereal too much. 
Roll heaping teaspoons of dough into balls and place 2" apart on a parchment lined cookie sheet.
Press each cookie flat using either the bottom of a glass or the heal of your hand.*
Bake for 9 minutes.  Don't over bake. 
Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool.
Once cool, top half of the cookies with about a teaspoon of peach preserves (or less if your cookies are small).  Top with remaining cookies. 

*This dough is thick enough if you want to roll it out and cut with cookie cutters.  Just don't work the dough too much or you risk it getting tough.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Cookie #60 - South Dakota Flax Seed Cookies

South Dakota gave me some trouble. 
I had a difficult time finding something that South Dakota is known for that would translate well into a cookie.  Then, a native South Dakotan (is that a word?) told me that the state grows and abundance of
soy beans and flax seeds. 

I immediately started researching the use of the Omega-3 fatty acid rich flax seed and it's usage in baking.  It's very commonly used in breads - both sweet and savory. 
The ground seed can also be mixed with water and used as a replacement for eggs. 
I also read that using flax seeds tend to draw the moisture out of whatever you're baking and the wet ingredients need to adjusted accordingly. 

I, personally, think flax seeds look like bugs.  I just can't get past that.

I knew I wanted to try to bake a healthier cookie - one you could eat for breakfast. 

I love cookies for breakfast

Right away I thought of oatmeal.  I then started to craft a simple oatmeal cookie with the addition of nutrient rich ground flax seeds.  The seeds need to be ground to fully release those Omega-3 fatty acids.

Then I fell victim to the desiccant powers of the flax seed.

After mixing the dough, it was far too dry and crumbly.  I clumsily formed it into balls and put it in the oven.  I was so disappointed with the dough,
I only baked half and threw the rest in the garbage

These cookies were such a waste of good ingredients.
Or so I thought.
Immediately upon taking them from the oven, my husband was chomping at the bit to try one. 
The cookie was surprisingly moist and chewy.  Slightly sweet and a little crunchy. 
He loved them
I think his heart sank a little when I told him I discarded the rest of the dough. 
I still wasn't convinced.  The texture was fabulous, but I wasn't impressed with the flavor.  I think the next time I make these I may up the sugar and add in some spices, like cinnamon and nutmeg, to the the mix. 

South Dakota Flax Seed Oatmeal Cookies

1 cup butter
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 cups ground flax seed*
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
3 1/2 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking soda
3 cups oats
2 cups chocolate chips (I used dark chocolate)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
Cream butter and sugars together.  Mix in ground flax.
Add in eggs and vanilla, mix well to combine.
Sift together flour and baking soda.  Add gradually to butter and egg mixture, stirring well after each addition.
Add in oats and chocolate chips, mix well.
Roll tablespoons of dough into balls and place 2" apart on parchment lined cookie sheets.
Bake for 10-12 minutes or until edges are lightly golden.
Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

*I ground my whole flax seeds in my coffee grinder. 

Cookie #59 - Rhode Island Cinnamon Snails

No cookies yesterday. 
It was my four year wedding anniversary and I was busy out to dinner. 
My wonderful husband took me to a local restaurant called The Marblehead Chowderhouse
It was delicious and so refreshing to have a nice, quiet dinner with adult conversation. 

Back to cookies....

The "Ocean State," Rhode Island, has many foods that are rarely found outside the state.  Their foods have a strong Portuguese influence and utilize a lot of seafood. 
Fitting, since 30% of the state's total area is made up of bays and inlets. 

One of the dishes that is found at many restaurants across the state - snail salad

The second I read that, I immediately thought of a recipe I had tucked away for cinnamon snail cookies. 

Fear not, no snails were harmed
in the making of these cookies. 

This is a soft, cinnamon dough that is rolled into long ropes and then formed into little snail shapes.  They're then brushed with an egg wash and sprinkled with cinnamon sugar.

At least they're supposed to be.
(I seemed to have forgotten that part with this batch.)

I was interrupted by my very sweet one-year old daughter several times during the making of these cookies and I guess my mind was elsewhere.  That is one of the reasons I don't normally bake when my girls are awake.  I save my baking for during naps or after 8 pm.  I guess tonight I felt like breaking my own rule.

I didn't realize this until I tasted the cookie and thought: 
"They're not very sweet, are they?"

My darling husband said they'd be perfect with a cup of coffee, which they would. 

They just left me wanting something more.  

I also tweaked the recipe slightly.  I didn't feel the original recipe had enough flavor, so I increased a few of the ingredients.  I was happy with the overall cookie flavor, but they really need that cinnamon sugar.

They are awfully cute, though, aren't they?

Rhode Island Cinnamon Snails

1 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 egg
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tablespoon granulated sugar*
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 egg white, lightly beaten

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. 
Cream butter and brown sugar.  Mix in cinnamon and baking powder.  Add egg and vanilla extract, mix until well combined. 
Add flour slowly, mixing until just combined.
Roll heaping tablespoons of dough into approximately 6" ropes 1/2" thick.  Coil each rope into a snail shape with one small coil on one end for the head and a larger coil at the other end forming the body.  Place 2" apart on parchment lined baking sheets.
Combine 1/2 tsp cinnamon and 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar together in a small bowl.
Brush each snail with the lightly beaten egg white and then sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. 
Bake for 8 minutes and transfer to a wire rack to cool.

*If I had remembered this part, I probably would've used turbinado sugar for some added crunch.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Cookie #58 - Pennsylvania Hershey's Special Dark Double Chocolate Cookies

In 1903, Milton Hershey began construction of a chocolate plant in his hometown of Derry Church, Pennsylvania - now Hershey, Pennsylvania,
"The Sweetest Place on Earth."
While on vacation last week, my family and I stopped in Hershey to visit Hershey's Chocolate World.  I was excited.  I hadn't been there since I was a little girl and my family vacationed in Pennsylvania Dutch Country one summer.  In the shadows of the roller coasters of Hershey Park, my husband, two daughters and I learned all about the Hershey Process
Well, my husband and I did. 
My girls cared more about the singing animatronic cows. 

The whole thing is quite neat. 
As you walk through the halls to get to the tour, the smell of chocolate is rich in the air. 
My mouth was watering
Upon exiting, each of us was given a small Hershey bar.  Sydney, my three-year-old, devoured hers.  After the tour, you enter the Hershey shop where you can buy anything and EVERYTHING Hershey - including bulk packages of Hershey products. 
If it wasn't 95 degrees out that day, I can almost guarantee I would've left there with a lot of chocolate. 
When it came to my home state of Pennsylvania, I originally thought about doing a regional cookie called a Kiffle.  I then learned that most of PA doesn't actually eat Kiffles. 
They are regional to the Allentown area.  I wanted to do something that was a little more recognizable for Penna, so I moved on to Hershey.
For these cookies, I used Hershey's Cocoa and Hershey's Chocolate Chips. 
When I went to the grocery store to buy some ingredients, I discovered they have a Special Dark version of both.  I've never tried them before and was excited to try them in this cookie. 
The result is a deep, dark, almost black cookie
They are very rich and chocolaty, but not bitter, like some dark chocolates can be. 
Not nearly as dark and bitter as the Ghirardelli cookies
These cookies also held their shape surprisingly well.  I was expecting them to spread like a traditional chocolate chip cookie, but they didn't.  They stayed quite puffy and thick.  Because of that, they stay quite soft and don't get thin and crunchy - I like them that way. 

Pennsylvania Hershey's Special Dark Double Chocolate Cookies

1 1/4 cups butter
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
1 cup Hershey's Special Dark Cocoa
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups Hershey's Special Dark Chocolate Chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Cream butter and sugar.  Add eggs and vanilla, mix well.
Sift together flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt.  Add gradually to butter mixture, beating well after each addition.  Stir in chocolate chips.  Dough will be very stiff.

Drop tablespoons full of dough onto parchment lined cookie sheets about 2" apart.  Bake for 10-12 minutes.

Cookie #57 - Oregon Hazelnut Sandwich Cookies

Oregon is one of the four major hazelnut growing regions in the world. 
Oregon produces 95% of the domestic hazelnuts in the United States. 
I came across quite a few hazelnut cookie recipes, but when I went shopping to buy ingredients I couldn't find hazelnuts. 
No hazelnuts? 
What's up Oregon? 
After trips to three different grocery stores (this happened once before with key limes) I decided I'd have to resort to using something hazelnut based. 
Of course!
Rich, chocolaty, velvety, nutty Nutella

So, I crafted a delicious, sugary butter cookie and sandwiched the Nutella in between.  Scrumptious! 
I've eaten three already. 
My hips are gonna hate this project....

Oregon Hazelnut Sandwich Cookies

2 3/4 cups flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup toasted & chopped hazelnuts*
Extra sugar for coating cookies

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Cream butter and sugar.  Add egg and vanilla until well mixed.
Sift together flour, baking soda and salt.  Gradually add to butter mixture, beating well after each addition.  Roll teaspoons full of dough into small balls and place on a parchment lined cookie sheet, about 2" apart.  Dip the wet bottom of a glass into sugar and then press each cookie until about 1/4" thick.  Top half the cookies with the hazelnuts.
Bake for 8-10 minutes.  Don't let the cookies brown too much on the edges.  You want them to be soft and delicate, yet firm enough to handle the Nutella.
Transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.
Once cooled, spread a small amount of Nutella on the cookies that don't have the nuts.  Top with the nut topped cookie. 

*Though I didn't use hazelnuts in this batch, I included them in the ingredients.  Since I don't know exactly how many chopped hazelnuts the recipe will use, I used the typical measurement for a bag of hazelnuts for baking.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Cookie #56 - Cleo's Oklahoma Buffalo Chip Cookies

I'm so excited about these cookies! 

Why you ask? 
Because they come with a story! 

I LOVE stories!!

This recipe was sent to me by a member of the NSBR message board at Two Peas in a Bucket.  I've been a member of this community for over 7 years.  It's an interesting mix to women (and some men) .  They've offered me some great, and not so great, advice over the years.  They were there with words of encouragement when I was first dealing with my daughters developmental delay.  They make me laugh, they make me cry.  It's a great place and I'm happy to be part of it. 

When I first started this blog, I asked my friends, the "Peas" as they're called, for help coming up with the recipes for the states.  I was so excited when one member sent me this lovely story about her grandmother, Cleo Holloman, who made these cookies for Oklahoma State 75th Anniversary Celebration.  She writes:

"This was my grandmother's recipe that she made for the Oklahoma state 75th anniversary celebration. From what I understand each county extension homemakers group did a special tribute at their county fair booth and she made these cookies. That's one reason the recipe makes so darn many cookies.  She sent these to church camp and 4-H camp with the kids from my hometown as snacks for years as well."

Cleo passed away last September at almost 93-years old. 

When I read this recipe and the story that accompanied it, I knew, without a shadow of a doubt, that THIS was my Oklahoma cookie.  I can tell you, Cleo's recipe doesn't disappoint. 
These are FANTASTIC cookies.  I made them tonight and the smell of them is still fresh in the air.  I'm fighting the urge to get up and get another one. 
They're sweet and soft in the middle with crunchy edges and, oh yeah, 
They only advice I received when making these cookies was to make them BIG.  So I did. 
The cookies spread to a whopping 5 or 6"!! 

Cleo's Oklahoma Buffalo Chip Cookies

2 Sticks margarine (I used butter because I had it on hand)
1 cup shortening
2 cups sugar
2 cups brown sugar
4 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
4 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
2 cups oats
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup pecans
2 cup cornflakes
1 cup coconut

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Melt together butter and shortening. Cream in brown sugar, sugar, eggs and vanilla. Sift together flour, soda & baking powder. Mix in oats, cornflakes, coconut, chocolate chips and pecans. Mix all together until well combined.
Drop by 1/4 cups full onto a parchment lined baking sheet.  You will only be able to fit 6 cookies per sheet (I used full sized sheet pans).  Bake for 15 minutes or until the edges are golden.

Cookie #55 - Ohio Buckeyes

"In old Columbus there's a team
That's known throughout the land
Eleven warriors brave and bold
Whose fame will ever stand
And when the ball goes over,
Our cheers will reach the sky
Ohio Field will hear again
The Buckeye Battle Cry! "

Never heard of a buckeye?  It's a type of chestnut:


It's also the Ohio State mascot, Brutus:

It's also a delcious type of peanut butter candy:

Those peanut butter candies were also my inspiration for these cookies.  Rather than a mixture of peanut butter, butter and powdered sugar, I made a peanut butter cookie.  After dipping them in chocolate, they look just like a buckeye nut:

Their rich and peanut buttery, yet crumbly like a good buttery cookie.  I do think they next time I made them, I'll add some crushed peanuts to the mix just to change up the texture. 

Ohio Buckeye Cookies

2 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoons vegetable shortening

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Cream butter, peanut butter and sugar together until smooth.  Mix in vanilla.
Sift together flour and salt and add to butter mixture until just combined.
Roll dough into 1" balls and place on a parchment lined cookie sheets.  These cookies don't spread, so you can place them about an inch or so apart.
Bake for 10-12 minutes.  Allow to cool completely on a wire rack.
Meanwhile, melt semisweet chocolate and shortening together in a double boiler until smooth.  Dip cookies about 3/4 of the way and place on either parchment or a wire rack.  Transfer to the fridge to set the chocolate.