Thin and Crisp vs Soft and Chewy vs Light and Cakey Cookies

Martha Stewart’s Amazing Guide to Chocolate Chip Cookies – she scientifically explains how the proportion of butter, sugar, and brown sugar affect the texture, taste and loft of the cookies. This advice is EXCELLENT not just for this recipe, but for evaluating any other recipes that you may find in order to get a better idea of how they will turn out and whether that suits your preference — AND, most importantly, how to adapt another recipe to customize it to you and your family!


SOFT AND CHEWY CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES RECIPE

INGREDIENTS

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed light-brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 cups (about 12 ounces) semisweet and/or milk chocolate chips

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and baking soda; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter with both sugars; beat on medium speed until light and fluffy. Reduce speed to low; add the salt, vanilla, and eggs. Beat until well mixed, about 1 minute. Add flour mixture; mix until just combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Drop heaping tablespoon-size balls of dough about 2 inches apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper.
Bake until cookies are golden around the edges, but still soft in the center, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from oven, and let cool on baking sheet 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack, and let cool completely. Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature up to 1 week.


CRISP AND CHEWY CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES RECIPE

INGREDIENTS

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 1/4 cups packed dark-brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

DIRECTIONS

Sift together flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat butter and sugars with a mixer on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Beat in eggs 1 at a time. Add vanilla. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture; beat until combined. Mix in chocolate chips.

Using a 2 1/4-inch ice cream scoop (about 3 tablespoons), drop dough onto parchment-lined baking sheets, spacing about 2 inches apart. Bake until golden around edges but soft in the middle, about 15 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes. Transfer cookies to a wire rack, and let cool completely.

COOK’S NOTE
Dough can be refrigerated for up to 5 days. Cookies can be stored at room temperature for up to 3 days.


THIN AND CRISP CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

INGREDIENTS

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/4 cups (2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 cups (about 12 ounces) semisweet and/or milk chocolate chips

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and baking soda; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter with both sugars; beat on medium speed until light and fluffy.

Reduce speed to low; add the salt, 1/4 cup water, vanilla, and eggs. Beat until well mixed, about 1 minute. Add flour mixture; mix until just combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Drop heaping tablespoon-size balls of dough about 2 inches apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper.

Bake until cookies are golden brown 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from oven, and let cool on baking sheet 1 to 2 minutes.

Transfer to a wire rack, and let cool completely. Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature up to 1 week.


http://www.marthastewart.com/1080540/science-behind-perfect-chocolate-chip-cookies#1080540

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Fudgy Brownies vs Cakey Brownies

Martha Stewart’s Alternate Recipes

Can I just ask – does ANYONE really prefer a cakey brownie to a fudgy brownie? Really?


FUDGY BROWNIES

INGREDIENTS

1 stick unsalted butter, cut into large pieces
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 large eggs
1/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, sifted

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper, leaving a slight overhang on all sides. Melt butter and chocolate in a double boiler or a heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat, and whisk in sugar. Whisk in eggs, one at a time, until combined. Whisk in cocoa and salt. Fold in flour until combined.
Pour batter into pan. Bake until set and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with moist crumbs, 35 to 40 minutes. Let cool slightly in pan, about 15 minutes. Lift brownies from pan using parchment. Remove parchment and transfer to a wire rack. Let cool completely. Cut into 9 squares.


CAKEY BROWNIES

INGREDIENTS

1/2 stick unsalted butter, cut into large pieces
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 large eggs
1/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper, leaving a slight overhang on all sides. Melt butter and chocolate in a double boiler or a heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat, and whisk in sugar. Whisk in eggs, one at a time, until combined. Whisk in cocoa and salt. Fold in flour and baking powder until combined.
Pour batter into pan. Bake until set and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with moist crumbs, about 30 minutes. Let cool in pan on a wire rack about 15 minutes. Lift brownies from pan using parchment. Remove parchment, and transfer to a wire rack. Let cool completely. Cut into 9 squares.


http://www.marthastewart.com/1104666/difference-between-fudgy-and-cakey-brownie-mix#1104666

Strawberry Icebox Pie

From Martha Stewart, Pies

INGREDIENTS

CRUST
10 graham crackers (2 1/2 by 5 inches)
2 tbsp sugar
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

PIE
1/2 cup unsweetened cranberry juice
2 quarts strawberries, hulled and thinly sliced (a few whole berries reserved for garnish)
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 c sugar

TOPPING
1/2 cup heavy cream

DIRECTIONS

CRUST
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a food processor, blend graham crackers with 2 tablespoons sugar until finely ground; add butter and pulse until crumbs are moistened. Press mixture into the bottom and up the side of a 9-inch pie plate. Bake until crust is lightly browned, 12 to 14 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.

PIE
Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, combine 3/4 cup sugar, cranberry juice, 2 cups strawberries, cornstarch, and salt. Using a potato masher, gently mash strawberries. Bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer and cook, stirring frequently, until very thick, about 1 minute. Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Stir in remaining strawberries. Pour into cooled pie crust. Refrigerate until set, at least 4 hours (or up to 1 day).

TOPPING
In a large bowl, beat cream until soft peaks form. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons sugar over cream and continue to beat until soft peaks return (do not overbeat). Spread whipped cream over pie, leaving a 1 1/2-inch border around edge. Garnish with whole berries.

 

Devil’s Food Cupcakes (Makes 6)

Devil's Food Cupcakes Devil's Food Cupcakes

Makes 6 cupcakes

(Filled almost to the top, comes up in a dome shape)

Ingredients:

1/4 c  cocoa powder (dutch process, regular, it really doesn’t matter)

1/4 c hot water

3/4 c all purpose flour

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

3/4 stick butter

1/2 c sugar

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp almond extract or mint extract or orange extract or raspberry extract

1/4 c sour cream

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 F.

2a. Mix flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in one bowl.

2b. Mix cocoa and hot water in second bowl. Let dissolve.

3. Melt butter and sugar in saucepan over medium heat. Remove from heat. Beat till cooled. Add egg. Add vanilla. Add cocoa. Add flour mixture. Add sour cream. Do not overmix.

4. Divide batter evenly among paper muffin cups. Bake 15 min. Let cool completely before frosting.

5. Cupcakes can be frozen for two months in airtight containers.

VERDICT: SO YUM!! Make it as above if you are going to use one of the frostings below.

IF YOU ARE NOT GOING TO FROST THIS CUPCAKE, add chocolate chips to the batter. And marshmallow fluff or a handful of small marshmallows. Maybe some nuts? And some chopped graham crackers? Then serve with Haagen Daaz Rocky Road Ice Cream. Yum yum yum.

NOTE: This is one fourth the original recipe. If you increase the above four times (or follow this recipe: http://www.marthastewart.com/1004063/devils-bundt-cake) you will have enough to fill a 10 c bundt cake pan. Then top it with frosting and sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar and serve for company.

Hostess Cupcake: This cupcake can so easily be turned into a hostess cupcake! Fill it with marshmallow fluff, and top with chocolate frosting. Yum!

Vanilla Frosting

3 T Flour
1/2 C milk (whole milk is best, but I use non-fat when it’s all I have and it’s actually fine)
1/2 C real butter (I prefer salted, but you can use also unsalted and add salt to taste)
1/2 C sugar (that’s granulated sugar, not powdered sugar)
1 t vanilla extract, or other flavor if you wish.

Whisk together the flour and the milk. Heat in a small sauce pan on medium heat.
Whisk continuously until it starts to thicken. Let it cook, while stirring with a rubber spatula, until you can start to see the bottom of the pan. Continue to cook until mixture has the consistency of thick pudding or paste.

Put mixture in the fridge and let it cool completely, it’s fine if it stays in there long enough to get chilly, you just don’t want it warm at all. As it’s cooling, feel free to stir it occasionally to speed up the process and keep it from forming a crust on top.

It an electric stand mixer, beat the butter and the sugar for a minute or two until well combined and fluffy. You’ll want to use the whisk attachment on a stand mixer if you have one, instead of the flat paddle. Then while beating, add in the thickened milk mixture and the vanilla. Beat to combine and then scrape down the sides. Mixture will separate and look messy, keep beating! Continue beating until mixture comes together and is light and fluffy, about 7-8 minutes, but time varies. Take a sample of frosting between your fingers; frosting is done when light and fluffy and sugar granules are dissolved.

Chocolate Frosting

1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup cocoa
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

directions
Mix together. Bring to a boil and boil for 1 minute. Add vanilla. Cool partially, then beat with a mixer for 3 minutes or until spreadable consistency.

Vanilla Cupcakes with Chocolate Ganache

Cupcakes:

Makes 12 cupcakes

Ingredients:

1.5 c all purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
6 tbsp room temperature butter
1 c sugar
2 eggs
6 oz Greek yogurt
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 c water

Mixins (use whatever you like, below is just what I used):

1/4 c dried cherries
1/4 c toasted walnuts
1 tsp cocoa powder (I didn’t use dutch process, I used the ordinary Hershey’s kind)

Directions:

1. Mix butter and sugar on high in kitchenaid until fluffy.

2. Add eggs. Blend on high until fluffy.

3. Add baking soda, baking powder, salt. Blend on low until fluffy.

4. Add greek yogurt, water and vanilla extract. Blend on low until fluffy.

5. Add flour. Blend on low until cohesive dough forms.
6. Stir in mixins. Mix well, but not so well that cocoa powder gets integrated. If it is NOT integrated, there are cool swirls in your finished cupcakes.

Bake 350 degrees for 25 min.

Remove from pan, let cool.

Frost when completely cool.

Lasts 3 days in the fridge, a month in the frozen (unfrosted! or it gets nasty).

Chocolate Ganache:

(This is my amended Martha Stewart recipe because I don’t want to get fat by dumping whipping creme into everything).

3/4 c semisweet chocolate chips
1/4 c milk
1 tsp corn syrup
2 tsp butter

Mix well, microwave on low heat for 15 seconds, stir, microwave for 5 seconds, stir.
Keep microwaving and stirring for 5 seconds until chocolate is melted and shiny.
Use right away.

To save for later: Fridge the extra ganache. When ready to use again, add a splash of milk, and do the microwave routine from the first step again. I’ve kept mine in the fridge before two weeks without problem. YMMV.

As far as how long recipes can be kept without storage: it depends a lot on where you live, humidity in your area, your fridge’s efficacy, and the quality of the products you put into your recipe. I live in Chicago, there is basically no humidity here, the fridge is all right as far as efficiency goes, and the products are standard US supermarket fare. If your circumstances are different, your results will be different too. So, as I say, YMMV.

Vanilla Cupcakes with Vanilla Frosting

Classic, delicious.

Vanilla Cupcake with Vanilla Frosting
Vanilla Cupcake with Vanilla Frosting
Vanilla Cupcake with Vanilla Frosting
Vanilla Cupcake with Vanilla Frosting
Vanilla Cupcake with Vanilla Frosting
Vanilla Cupcake with Vanilla Frosting

Recipe is for 12 cupcakes. I bake in a nonstick 12 cupcake pan with paper liners. Bake time may vary for you if you do something else.

Cupcakes:

Ingredients:

1.5 c all purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
6 tbsp room temperature butter
1 1/8 c sugar
2 eggs
2/3 c buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:

1. Mix butter and sugar on high in kitchenaid until fluffy.

2. Add eggs. Blend on high until fluffy.

3. Add baking soda, baking powder, salt. Blend on low until fluffy.

4. Add buttermilk and vanilla extract. Blend on low until fluffy.

5. Add flour. Blend on low until cohesive dough forms.

Bake 350 degrees for 25 min.

Remove from pan, let cool.

Frost when completely cool.

Lasts 3 days in the fridge, a month in the frozen (unfrosted! or it gets nasty).

Vanilla Frosting:

Ingredients:

1 stick butter, room temperature
1 1/3 c powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:

Blend on high until fluffy.

Putting it all together:

Pile frosting onto cooled cupcakes. Enjoy.

Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart Cupcakes book.

NOTE: If you frost cupcakes the way I do, you will need to quadruple your recipe. ;P

Lebkuchen

Adapted from Martha Stewart Cookies p.192

Lebkuchen (German Christmas Cookies)

Lebkuchen
Lebkuchen

This is the authentic recipe. If you don’t like fruitcake mix, try King Arthur’s Lebkuchen recipe.

Makes 18 cookies

Ingredients:

3/4 c flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon, ground
1/2 tsp ginger, ground
1/4 tsp cloves, ground
1/2 tsp mace or allspice or nutmeg
1/2 c almond flour
2/3 c candied fruitcake mix
4 Medjool dates, pitted and finely chopped
3 oz almond paste, broken into small pieces
1/3 c apricot jam (I used Smucker’s Simply Fruit)
3 eggs
3/4 packed light brown sugar

Directions:

1. Mix dry ingredients.

2. In second bowl, add fruitcake mix and dates. Mix.

3. Add almond paste. Mix.

4. Add jam. Mix.

5. Add eggs and brown sugar. Mix.

6. Fridge mix overnight or up to 3 days.

7. Preheat oven to 325 F. Prepare cookie sheet with silpat on top.

8. Make 2 in diameter rounds, place on silpat. Place 3 almonds close together on top of each cookie, decoratively. (Note: In Germany, they bake these on something called oblaten.)

9. Bake 12-14 minutes. You may need to rotate cookie sheet halfway through.

While baking, make glaze.

GLAZE:

1/2 c + 3 tbsp confectioner’s sugar
2 tbsp whole milk

Mix well.

10. When cookies are cooled all the way, brush glaze on top of the cookies and let set. Cookies can be stored at room temperature for up to 3 days. To store longer, put cookies in airtight box with half an orange or apple (to keep the moisture in).

Note: WOWOWOWOWOWOWOWOWOWOWOWOWOW!! Divided batter into three parts, baked one, froze two. Love Germans. Love!