Archive for the ‘cookies’ Category


I’m not known for my self-control around desserts (or any food, for that matter) in general, but there are a few extreme cases. One is lemon. I almost never make lemon desserts, because I will eat them, all, until they’re gone, within a very short period of time. The other, which I only realized recently, is cheesecake. When I made cheesecake in a mini muffin pan, I had no resistance to grabbing just one more tiny cheesecake.


And then I saw this recipe, which is a combination of those two things. I was in trouble. I made them for the SuperBowl, thinking that was as good an excuse as any to overeat.

Except I didn’t overeat them. Because surprisingly, these did not knock my socks off.


The base is a standard shortbread lemon bar base. The filling is similar to a regular lemon bar, including lemon juice, zest, eggs, and sugar, but includes cream cheese and sour cream, and leaves out the baking powder included in most lemon bar recipes.


Of course they were good – there’s no way to go wrong with this combination of ingredients. But other than a texture that was a little creamier, I didn’t notice a significant difference between this and a regular lemon bar. The difference in fat content, however, is significant. It looks like I’ll be keeping my lemon bars and my cheesecake separate.


One year ago: Julia Child’s French Bread

Lemon Cream Cheese Bars (adapted from recipezaar)

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
pinch salt
¼ cup powdered sugar
¾ cup (3.6 ounces) unbleached flour
1 tablespoon cornstarch

10 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
½ cup (3.5 ounces) sugar
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
5 tablespoons sour cream, room temperature
6 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
powdered sugar for dusting

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Beat butter with an electric mixer on medium-low speed until creamy. Add sugar and salt and mix until it’s thoroughly combined. Add the flour and cornstarch and mix on low until the mixture forms large curds. Press the dough evenly over the bottom of an ungreased 8 by 8-inch baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Remove the crust from the oven and set it on a cooling rack while you finish the filling.

2. Using an electric mixer on medium speed, cream the cream cheese for 2 minutes, until it’s completely smooth and creamy. Add the sugar, and lemon zest and beat until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Stop the mixer once or twice to scrape the bowl with a rubber spatula. Add the sour cream and lemon juice and beat the mixture on medium speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Scrape the bowl. Add the eggs and vanilla and continue mixing until the filling is smooth and creamy, about 30 seconds. Spread the topping evenly over the cooked crust. It’s okay if the crust is still hot.

3. Bake the bars until the top is slightly golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out dry, about 1 hour. If the topping bubbles up during baking, prick the bubbles with a toothpick or a thin knife.

4. Allow the bars to cool completely on a rack. Dust them with powdered sugar. Cut them with the point of a thin sharp knife that is dipped in hot water and wiped dry before each cut.

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I haven’t missed a Tuesday with Dorie since I joined the group last April. There were a few times, when I was traveling or something, where it was close, but for the most part, it’s been easy. I never really understood what the big deal was with people who only made half the recipes. It’s not like I wouldn’t be baking every chance I got anyway.


Oh, did I mention that I was unemployed for most of the last year, and had an easy part-time job for the remainder? Yeah, that makes a difference. Everything seems so easy when you don’t have to actually work.


Now that I have a much more demanding job, I’m getting each TWD recipe done just by the skin of my teeth. I’ve gotten in the habit of finishing the recipes Monday night, and I’m lucky if I can get the blog entry done by the end of Tuesday.


As I’m more rushed to finish each recipe, I find myself diving into the baking before I read it through. I was halfway through making these before I realized that they were basically fancied-up chocolate chip cookies. Woohoo!


The base is a cinnamon- and espresso-enriched shortbread version of a chocolate chip cookie. Once that’s baked, it’s topped with finely chopped chocolate that quickly melts, then finished off with toffee bits. The cinnamon and espresso were pretty subtle – I couldn’t pick them out, but there was a little spice in the cookie. Overall, I really enjoyed these and wouldn’t change anything next time I make them.

Whitney has the recipe posted.

One year ago: Challah


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This week, I’m one of those reviewers – the ones who tweak the recipe beyond recognition, then say the recipe sucks and no one should bother making it.

Except for the ‘beyond recognition’ and ‘the recipe sucks’ parts, at least. For whatever reason, I took it upon myself to, um, improve upon this recipe. Yes, the World Peace Cookie recipe that has gotten one shining review after another.


But a few Tuesdays with Dorie members said the dough was so crumbly they could hardly roll it into a log, and that trying to slice cookies off of the log was a mess. So I added an extra tablespoon of butter. And then I figured that what’s a chocolate cookie doing without espresso powder? So I added some. And I forgot to buy fleur de sel, so I used some coarse sea salt that I’ve had forever.


And the result was good. Not mind-blowing, but good. I don’t think the espresso was a good idea – the bitterness didn’t really blend into this cocoa-flavored cookie. The extra butter seemed like it was a good thing, because the dough was still pretty crumbly. On the other hand, there was a bit of a spreading problem during baking. (Maybe a higher temperature would solve that?)


Actually, I’m not sure shortbread is really my thing. I’m not against it, mind you, but my ideal cookie is chewier. I like them; I just like these chocolate cookies better.

Jessica (along with a lot of other people) has the recipe posted.

One year ago: Chocolate Cupcakes


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Due to an email mishap, I found out that I was going to get a mini muffin pan for Christmas a few weeks early. It was great; I had lots of time to get excited about it and think about exactly what I wanted its first use to be. Bite-sized cheesecake!


By the way, bite-sized cheesecake is a very bad idea. Even though post-Christmas detox is otherwise on in full force, I was hopeless in the face of these tiny cheesecakes. I ate one to make sure they were cooked through, then one when they had cooled a bit to make sure the consistency was right, then two that broke when I took them out of the pan, then one when I was taking the pictures, and one more after adding the strawberry sauce. Then two for dessert. <burp>


One thing I really like about Dorie’s cheesecake recipes is her initial step of beating the cream cheese alone, before even the sugar is added. What a great way to ensure that there are no lumps in the final batter. I’ve started doing this with all cheesecakes.


The recipe calls for either heavy cream or sour cream to be added to the batter. I used sour cream. I’m far from an expert, but in my experience, heavy cream dulls and dilutes the cream cheese flavor, while sour cream enhances it.

The cheesecake was really really good (obviously,  if my uncontrollable snacking is any indicator). It seems like almost everyone in Tuesdays with Dorie loved it. The texture was kind of light and fluffy, which I liked, and the taste was spot on – the cream cheese flavor is balanced nicely between tart and sweet.


The recipe is posted on Anne’s website. For the minis, I used the same amount of crust ingredients, just pressing them into the muffin cups with the bottom of a small container. I made a fourth of the recipe, and I divided the cheesecake batter among 24 mini muffin cups, but this might be a little underfilled – you could probably fit the same amount of batter into just 18 cups. I baked the cheesecakes at 300 degrees (no water bath) for about 15 minutes, until they seemed fairly set. Then I left them in the oven, turned the oven off, and propped the door open. This seemed to keep them from sinking in the middle. I found it easiest to remove the cheesecakes from the pan when they were at room temperature, although last time I tried something similar, freezing them seemed to work too. When they were chilled from the refrigerator, they clung to the pan and broke apart when I tried to remove them.


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I’m a member of Tuesdays with Dorie because it encourages me to bake often and to keep trying new recipes. But I also like how it challenges me to be creative about presentation. When I’m writing a blog entry about the same recipe as hundreds of other people, I want to think of some sort of display that will look impressive or original. This is the real challenge for me.


Not that square cookies is the most unique presentation ever. I’d heard that the cookies hold their shape in the oven really well, so I thought this might be a good cookie to use a cookie stamp on. But I don’t have one. My almost-3-year-old nephew is just starting to learn shapes, so this idea came from him. For the circles, I used spoonfuls of dough like the recipe calls for, and for everything else, I rolled the dough into about a ½-inch thickness and then used a knife to cut the shapes.


The recipe was very easy. Just like a standard cookie recipe, the butter and sugar are creamed together, the egg and vanilla are added, and then jam is added before the pre-mixed dry ingredients are mixed in just until blended. The dough tasted pretty good, which is always a good sign.


The cookies were decent. As soon as I saw that the recipe only called for ¼ teaspoon of salt for 2 cups of flour, I was concerned. I’m finding that I like my baked foods on the salty side. I added more, about ⅛ teaspoon, but I still would have liked the cookies to be saltier. They seemed a little bland. It didn’t help that I couldn’t taste the ginger at all. My powdered ginger is very old, so I’m sure that’s why. I suppose I should break down and replace it with fresher stuff.


So they didn’t knock my socks off, but I’m glad I tried them. Dorie has a lot of fun ideas for cookies that I wouldn’t think of on my own. Heather has the recipe posted.

One year ago: Braised White Beans with Tomatoes, Zucchini and Garlic.   This is still one of my favorite meals.


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Believe it or not, I had all of November’s Tuesdays with Dorie recipes baked by November 1st. (And somehow my freezer was still full of desserts by the end the month.) December has been a different story. I did make these cookies last week, but I only finished them one day before leaving to spend a week with my parents. The rest of the month is characteristically busy for December, so I’m sure this trend will continue.


Fortunately, none of the recipes this month seem to be long involved projects. These sugar cookies are a pretty basic cookie dough recipe with a bit of chilling, then the standard rolling and cutting. And baking and decorating. So I suppose there’s a fair bit of work, but I kept it as simple as possible.


Keeping in mind that I prefer my sugar cookies super tender, I baked these for a little less time than the recipe indicates. Not wanting to struggle with my annoying clingy cookie cutters again, I was left with only one other option (two if you include Halloween cookie cutters, which I don’t in this case) – round biscuit cutters. Dorie suggested a simple cinnamon sugar coating for these cookies, which sounded a little plain. I didn’t have time for elaborate decorations, so I compromised with an easy powdered sugar glaze.


The cookies were pretty good. I added a bit of lemon zest, although a lot less than the lemon variation recommended. I wasn’t looking for a lemon cookie, just a little flavor besides sweetness. I liked the lemon, although next time I’ll add even less. I do prefer the sugar cookie recipe I made last month to this one. Dorie says in the recipe’s introduction that these are crispy, and even with the shorter baking time, they weren’t as soft as I like. But they were very tasty.

Ulrike has the recipe posted.


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I think Tuesday snuck up on a lot of the Tuesdays with Dorie members this week. I know it did for me. I’ve been holding onto last week as much as possible, with the long weekend and the holiday largely dedicated to food (oh yeah, and being thankful) and the turkey and the pie and mostly the long weekend. But going back to work yesterday made it hit me that I better get crackin’ on making this week’s recipe.


I’m glad Dennis picked a fairly simple recipe this week, so I could get the whole thing done Monday after work. Fortunately, I happened to have three bags of walnuts in the pantry that each had just a little bit left, and together made just enough ground nuts for me to make this recipe.


Some people who made the recipe before me suggested rolling out the dough thinner than Dorie’s recommended ¼-inch, so I took that advice. I’m glad I did, because I can see how that would have made some pretty thick cookies. The only other issue I had was a result of my super cheap cookie cutters, which were determined to hold onto the cut cookie dough instead of releasing it onto the baking sheet. I will be adding cookie cutters to my Christmas list.


I really enjoyed the cookies. The spice was a really nice addition, and the texture was this great tender-crisp combination. I don’t know that crisp is the right word, but they’re definitely not soft and chewy. Sablé, meaning sand, is really the right name for these cookies. I didn’t add enough jam to mine, but that wasn’t a big deal. Dave and I agreed that they’re a very nice cookie for Christmas.

You can find the recipe on Dennis’ blog.

One year ago: Crockpot Rice and Beans – I really love this meal.  We’re actually having it for dinner tonight.


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lime meltaways


I’ve gotten into the annoying habit of buying a bag of limes when I only need one lime because they’re so darn expensive if you buy them singularly. And then I have to get creative trying to use up the rest of the limes. See, I was practically forced to make lime cookies.


There’s nothing complicated about the recipe, although for a few seconds, I wasn’t sure whether the lime juice was going to mix with the butter. You know, fat and water repelling and all. It mixed in.


Once the cookies come out of the oven, the recipe recommends putting them in a bag with powdered sugar and doing some shaking, until they’re evenly coated with sugar. I don’t know about this. They’re pretty fragile. Seems like you’re asking for broken cookies with this method. I just gave each one a quick dip in a bowl of powdered sugar.


I love lime-flavored stuff, and these were no exception. I wouldn’t have minded if they had been a little more limey – I might add just a little extra lime zest next time. Another great thing about these – this is one of those convenient recipes where you can leave the dough in the freezer until you need it. Fresh cookies with no effort!


Key Lime Meltaways (adapted from Martha Stewart via Smitten Kitchen)

Makes 5 dozen

You can use either regular or Key limes.

The dough, shaped into logs, can be kept in the freezer for up to 2 months.

12 tablespoons (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup (4 ounces) powdered sugar
grated zest of 4 tiny or 2 large key limes
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons (9.375 ounces) all-purpose flour (a.k.a. 2 cups minus 2 tablespoons)
2 tablespoons cornstarch
¼ teaspoon salt

1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, cream butter and ⅓ cup (1.33 ounces) powdered sugar until fluffy. Add lime zest, juice, and vanilla; beat until fluffy.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, and salt. Add to butter mixture, and beat on low speed until combined.

3. Between two 8-by-12-inch pieces of parchment paper, roll dough into two 1¼-inch-diameter logs. Chill at least 1 hour.

4. Heat oven to 350F. Line two baking sheets with parchment. Place remaining ⅔ cup sugar in a resealable plastic bag. Remove parchment from logs; slice dough into ¼-inch-thick rounds. Place rounds on baking sheets, spaced 1 inch apart.

5. Bake cookies until barely golden, about 15 minutes. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool slightly, just three or four minutes. While still warm, place cookies in the sugar-filled bag; toss to coat. Bake or freeze remaining dough. Store baked cookies in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.


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Everyone is always talking about what the best chocolate chip cookie recipe is. Last year, it seemed like everyone was making the Best Big Fat Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie. A few months ago, Cooks Illustrated’s Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie was all the rage. These days, people are testing out the New York Times recommendation to chill the dough for 36 hours before baking.

Until recently, I stayed out of this discussion. I knew that my favorite was unpopular among food bloggers – good ol’ Tollhouse, with just a bit more flour. I’ve made it so often that I don’t bother getting out the recipe anymore. When I lived alone, I made it nearly once a week. I would eat two cookies each night with tea, and then give the rest to Dave when I saw him over the weekend. He’d eat the rest of the batch in one day.


But eventually, curiosity got the best of me. It was the New York Times recipe that did it. I can never seem to resist making things more complicated – a required 36 hour rest was just up my alley, right? And then once I tried one new recipe, it was like a dam opened, and suddenly I wanted to be part of this quest to find the perfect recipe.

Because, let’s face it, just about all chocolate chip cookies are good (and certainly the ones I was making would be), Dave and I decided we would need to do side-by-side comparisons to discern differences between the recipes. I decided to try four of the most popular recipes – Tollhouse, NY Times, Cooks Illustrated, and Alton Brown’s The Chewy.


I wanted to publish this entry with conclusive results. I wanted to come to you and say “This recipe is the one you should make. It is the best. The most butterscotchy, the most tender, the best dough, the most fun to bake.” I wanted to let you know unequivocally that the overnight rest was or was not important.

But I just don’t think it’s going to happen. The more cookies I eat, the more indecisive I get. I even made each recipe again, hoping to try again with fresh cookies. (Thank god for BakingGALS.) I had bags and bags of carefully labeled cookies in my freezer. It’s out of control. It’s time to stop the insanity and tell you what I did learn from this.


Regarding the overnight rest – it certainly doesn’t hurt, and I find it pretty convenient actually. You can bake one cookie sheet of cookies at a time, and you have fresh cookies every night. (You also have dough in the fridge available at all times, and I have no self-control.) Does it make a difference? Maybe. I think it gives cookies a more pronounced butterscotch flavor, and sometimes I think it helps even out the texture. But it’s pretty subtle.


Of the four recipes, Dave and I had two favorites, and the bake-off between those two was inconclusive.

My favorite was Alton Brown’s The Chewy. I am, sadly, not kidding when I say that I ate ten of these the first time I made them. <blush> Self-control-wise, I’m usually pretty good with cookies once they’re baked. This must have been a bad morning. It had a great butterscotch flavor, and a nice soft texture – tender without being too chewy or crisp. However, Dave had a few complaints about them being greasy, and I see his point, although I’m not bothered by this as much.


We were also very fond of the New York Times recipe. It was soft, with just a bit of crispness to the edges, which I like. However, they were a little dry and bready, and didn’t have as much flavor as Alton’s. They definitely weren’t greasy though.

I definitely wanted to like Cook Illustrated’s Thick and Chewy recipe. Over and over, I hear people say that it’s their absolute favorite, and usually I love CI. But not this time. These took chewy to the extreme. It was like cookie flavored bubble gum, although the cookie flavor was weak. I made them again, convinced that I must have done something wrong the first time, but I still couldn’t get excited about these cookies.


Dave wasn’t a fan of the Tollhouse cookies at all – too greasy, he says. I still like their flavor, which is intensely buttery. I also like the crispy edges and tender middles. But they could definitely benefit from some extra flour (which is how I made them for years, but I followed the recipe exactly this time).

This shouldn’t be, but is, an issue to consider as well – the doughs made from melted butter (Alton’s and CI’s) were not nearly as good as those made from softened butter. That’s sad. Tollhouse’s dough is the best, but NY Time’s is nothing to scoff at. The NY Times recipe is the most fun to make – lots of mixer use with that one.


I wish I could provide a solid answer to the “which is best” chocolate chip cookie question, but I’m not sure it’s that easy. For one thing, every one has their own preferences – I only had two testers and we couldn’t agree! However, keep in mind that chocolate chip cookies are pretty much always good. Any of these recipes will give you something delicious. But if I have to recommend one, it would be Alton Brown’s The Chewy.


The Chewy (from Alton Brown)

2 sticks unsalted butter
2¼ cups bread flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ cup sugar
1¼ cups brown sugar
1 egg
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons milk
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips

Ice cream scooper (#20 disher, to be exact)
Parchment paper
Baking sheets

Heat oven to 375F.

Melt the butter in a heavy-bottom medium saucepan over low heat. Sift together the flour, salt, and baking soda and set aside.

Pour the melted butter in the mixer’s work bowl. Add the sugar and brown sugar. Cream the butter and sugars on medium speed. Add the egg, yolk, 2 tablespoons milk and vanilla extract and mix until well combined. Slowly incorporate the flour mixture until thoroughly combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Chill the dough, then scoop onto parchment-lined baking sheets, 6 cookies per sheet. Bake for 14 minutes or until golden brown, checking the cookies after 5 minutes. Rotate the baking sheet for even browning. Cool completely and store in an airtight container.

Chocolate Chip Cookies (from the New York Times)

1½ dozen 5-inch cookies.

2 cups minus 2 tablespoons (8½ ounces) cake flour
1⅔ cups (8½ ounces) bread flour
1¼ teaspoons baking soda
1½ teaspoons baking powder
1½ teaspoons coarse salt
2½ sticks (1¼ cups) unsalted butter
1¼ cups (10 ounces) light brown sugar
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (8 ounces) granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons natural vanilla extract
1¼ pounds bittersweet chocolate disks or fèves, at least 60 percent cacao content
Sea salt

1. Sift flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Set aside.

2. Using a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars together until very light, about 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla. Reduce speed to low, add dry ingredients and mix until just combined, 5 to 10 seconds. Drop chocolate pieces in and incorporate them without breaking them. Press plastic wrap against dough and refrigerate for 24 to 36 hours. Dough may be used in batches, and can be refrigerated for up to 72 hours.

3. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat. Set aside.

4. Scoop 6 3½-ounce mounds of dough (the size of generous golf balls) onto baking sheet, making sure to turn horizontally any chocolate pieces that are poking up; it will make for a more attractive cookie. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt and bake until golden brown but still soft, 18 to 20 minutes. Transfer sheet to a wire rack for 10 minutes, then slip cookies onto another rack to cool a bit more. Repeat with remaining dough, or reserve dough, refrigerated, for baking remaining batches the next day. Eat warm, with a big napkin.

Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies (from Cooks Illustrated)

Makes 1½ dozen 3-inch cookies

CI note: These truly chewy chocolate chip cookies are delicious served warm from the oven or cooled. To ensure a chewy texture, leave the cookies on the cookie sheet to cool. You can substitute white, milk chocolate, or peanut butter chips for the semi- or bittersweet chips called for in the recipe. In addition to chips, you can flavor the dough with one cup of nuts, raisins, or shredded coconut.

2⅛ cups bleached all-purpose flour (about 10½ ounces)
½ teaspoon table salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
12 tablespoons unsalted butter (1½ sticks), melted and cooled slightly
1 cup brown sugar (light or dark), 7 ounces
½ cup granulated sugar (3½ ounces)
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1-2 cups chocolate chips or chunks (semi or bittersweet)

1. Heat oven to 325F. Adjust oven racks to upper- and lower-middle positions. Mix flour, salt, and baking soda together in medium bowl; set aside.

2. Either by hand or with electric mixer, mix butter and sugars until thoroughly blended. Mix in egg, yolk, and vanilla. Add dry ingredients; mix until just combined. Stir in chips.

3. Form scant ¼ cup dough into ball. Holding dough ball using fingertips of both hands, pull into two equal halves. Rotate halves ninety degrees and, with jagged surfaces exposed, join halves together at their base, again forming a single cookie, being careful not to smooth dough’s uneven surface. Place formed dough onto one of two parchment paper-lined 20-by-14-inch lipless cookie sheets, about nine dough balls per sheet. Smaller cookie sheets can be used, but fewer cookies can be baked at one time and baking time may need to be adjusted. (Dough can be refrigerated up to 2 days or frozen up to 1 month – shaped or not.)

4. Bake, reversing cookie sheets’ positions halfway through baking, until cookies are light golden brown and outer edges start to harden yet centers are still soft and puffy, 15 to 18 minutes (start checking at 13 minutes). (Frozen dough requires an extra 1 to 2 minutes baking time.) Cool cookies on cookie sheets. Serve or store in airtight container.

Original Nestle Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies (slightly adapted)

Makes 60 cookies

2¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
¾ cup granulated sugar
¾ cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 cups (12-ounces) chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375° F.

Combine flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in morsels. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.

Bake for 8 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

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wheatmeal shortbread cookies


I’ve only recently started to appreciate whole grain food as anything other than a healthy alternative that requires a compromise in flavor. For some foods, this is true – pizza crust is less tender and the dough harder to work with when whole wheat flour is substituted for a portion of the white flour; many rustic breads get most of their flavor from a slow fermentation of white flour; and certainly I’m not interested in making chocolate chip cookies with whole wheat flour.


But that doesn’t mean that whole grain food can’t be enjoyed for what it is, and not just as a healthy substitute. These cookies are unabashedly whole grain, and that’s part of their charm. But don’t worry – I wouldn’t call them healthy.


The recipe is straightforward and I had no real problems. I did rework it to be baked in a square pan because I don’t have the 10-inch springform pan that it calls for. Who has all these crazy pans that Martha’s recipes always call for? One step that I followed, but didn’t really understand the point of, was scoring the edges of the cookies halfway through baking. Also, my skewer pricks in the cookies got covered by the granulated sugar sprinkled on top. In retrospect, I could have repricked the cookies after the sugar was added to keep the design.


Besides that small nitpicking, the recipe was easy. And the cookies were so good! They’re really tender from all that butter. I’m having trouble describing the flavor; all I can think of is “earthy” but that doesn’t sound like a compliment. But the bran really added an extra dimension of flavor that was balanced wonderfully by the butter and sugar.


Wheatmeal Shortbread Cookies (from Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook, slightly reworded)

MS note: Be sure to sprinkle the shortbread with granulated sugar as soon as it comes out of the oven; this will help the sugar adhere to the cookie.

1 cup (5 ounces) unbleached flour, plus more for dusting
¾ cup whole wheat flour
¼ cup wheat bran
¾ teaspoon salt
14 tablespoons (1¾ sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
½ cup (3.5 ounces) packed light brown sugar
granulated sugar, for sprinkling

1. Preheat the oven to 325F. Have ready a 10-inch round springform pan or a 10-inch tart pan with a removal bottom. Alternatively, line a 9-inch square pan with parchment paper.

2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix both flours, the bran, and the salt on low speed just to combine. Add the butter and brown sugar, and beat until all the ingredients come together and form a smooth dough, about 3 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.

3. Turn the dough out into the pan. Using your fingers, spread out the dough evenly while pressing it firmly into the pan. Use a spoon to flatten the edges.

4. Place pan in oven, and reduce temperature to 300F. Bake until the edges just begin to turn golden, about 30 minutes. Remove pan from oven; using a bench scraper or long, sharp knife, score the cookie into 8 wedges (if using round pan) or 16 squares (if using square pan). Using the tip of a wooden skewer or the tines of a fork, prick the shortbread all over in a decorative pattern, if desired. Return pan to oven, and bake until golden all over, about 15 minutes more.

5. Transfer pan to a wire rack. Sprinkle shortbread with granulated sugar. Remove the sides of the pan (if using pan with removable bottom/sides) or use the parchment paper to lift the cookies out of the pan (if using a square pan). Let stand until completely cool before cutting into wedges. Shortbread can be kept in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.


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