Archive for the ‘Desserts’ Category

Chewy Chocolate Brownie Cookies

February 10, 2009

I recently got together with some long-time friends for a mid-winter women’s getaway. We came prepared with the essentials: lots of wine, other libations, and enough food to sustain us for days in case we were snowed in. Of course we didn’t need to bring any food as we were eating all of our meals out, but as women always do we came prepared and ready to nourish! One of the goodies I tucked away in my bag was a tin of homemade chocolate cookies. They were opened and passed around before we even got to our destination. Friends, laughter and chocolate—three keys to the perfect getaway!

With Valentine’s Day coming up, these cookies would make a great treat for anyone you love. They’re like bite-size brownies: shiny and crackly on top with a soft fudgy center.

Chewy Chocolate Brownie Cookies

I first tasted these cookies last year while in New Orleans for a food conference. They were the winner of the Louisiana Cookin’ magazine’s Reader Recipe Contest. I’ve changed the name of these cookies and adapted the recipe slightly. If you’re like me and really love dark chocolate, I suggest using 8 oz. bittersweet chocolate, cut up, in place of the semisweet chocolate chips. Whenever I use chocolate I always splurge and buy the best chocolate available. It does make a difference.

8 oz. semisweet chocolate chips
4 tablespoons butter, cut up
⅔ cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
2 eggs
¾ cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 (12 oz.) pkg. bittersweet chocolate chips

Heat the oven to 350°F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper. Combine the semisweet chocolate chips and butter in a small microwave-safe bowl and microwave on high in 20-second increments, stirring every 20 seconds until the chips are almost melted. Stir until smooth. Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt in another small bowl.

Beat the eggs, brown sugar and vanilla in a large bowl on medium speed for 3 minutes or until the mixture is light and fluffy. Reduce the speed to low and beat in the melted chocolate. Beat in the flour mixture just until blended. Stir in the bittersweet chocolate chips.

Drop by 1½ tablespoons (a tiny ice cream scoop works perfect) onto baking sheets. Bake, one sheet at a time, for 9 minutes or until the tops are shiny and cracked and the centers are soft. Place the cookie sheet with cookies on a cooling rack and let sit for 3 minutes to allow the cookies to firm slightly. Remove the cookies to the cooling rack and cool completely.

4 dozen cookies

Salted Ginger Crisps

January 04, 2009

I’ve been busy baking our holiday favorites the last few days. Every year I make family classics but always add a few new recipes to the mix. This year I’ve added a couple that I developed using Wisconsin butter: Salted Ginger Crisps and Espresso Chocolate Squares. I hope you enjoy them.

Salted Ginger Crisps

I developed these ginger cookies for the Wisconsin Butter Board and they’ve now become one of my favorites. The sea salt brings out the spicy ginger flavor. Check out this recipe and other great recipes on their website http://www.eatwisconsincheese.com/recipes/article.aspx?rid=2659.

Cookies
2¾ cups all-purpose flour
2½ teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon ground allspice
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
¾ cup (1½ sticks) butter, softened
1¼ cups dark brown sugar, packed
¼ cup mild molasses
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1 egg
2 teaspoon coarse sea salt

Icing
1 cup powdered sugar
½ tablespoon butter, melted
½ teaspoon light corn syrup
1 to 1½ tablespoons milk

Cooking Directions:

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda, allspice and cloves; set aside. With an electric mixer, cream together ¾ cup butter and brown sugar until fluffy. Add molasses and ginger; mix. Add egg; beat until blended. On low speed, slowly add flour and spice mixture, beating until blended. Divide dough in half; shape each half into a flat round. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 3 hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. On lightly floured surface, roll 1 dough round to 1/4-inch thickness dusting with additional flour, as necessary, so dough does not stick. Cut dough into desired shapes and place on prepared baking sheets. Sprinkle cutouts with salt; press lightly to adhere salt.

Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until slightly darker in color. Remove to a cooling rack; cool completely (cookies will crisp as they cool). Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.

Icing

In a medium bowl, whisk powdered sugar, butter, corn syrup and 1 tablespoon milk until smooth. Slowly add additional milk, if necessary, for desired consistency. Drizzle over cookies; let stand until icing is set.

Espresso Chocolate Squares

January 04, 2009

A chocolate base and coffee filling combine the best of both worlds in this riff on a great cup of mocha java. I developed this recipe for the Wisconsin Butter Board. Check out this recipe and other great recipes on their website http://www.eatwisconsincheese.com/recipes/article.aspx?rid=2659.

Espresso Chocolate Squares

Crust
1¼ cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup confectioners’ sugar
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
¾ cup (1½ sticks) butter, chilled and cut into pieces
½ cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips

Filling
¼ cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon instant espresso coffee powder
2 (8 ounces) packages cream cheese, softened
¼ cup (½ stick) butter, softened
¾ cup sugar
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon ground allspice
2 eggs

Glaze
6 tablespoons miniature semisweet chocolate chips
1 tablespoon heavy cream
½ tablespoon butter
¼ teaspoon instant espresso coffee powder

Cooking Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 9×13-inch baking pan with foil; butter bottom of foil.

Whisk together 1¼ cups flour, confectioners’ sugar and cocoa together in medium bowl; add 3/4 cup butter. Using a pastry blender or 2 knives, cut in butter until butter is the size of small peas. Stir in ½ cup chocolate chips; press into bottom of pan. Bake 20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean; cool slightly.

Meanwhile, stir ¼ cup cream and 1 tablespoon instant espresso together until coffee is dissolved. Using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese and ¼ cup butter together. Add sugar, 1 tablespoon flour and allspice; beat until blended. Slowly beat in cream and coffee mixture. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until smooth. Pour batter over crust.

Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until edges are slightly puffed and center is set; set pan on a cooling rack.

Glaze

Melt 6 tablespoons chocolate chips with 1 tablespoon cream, ½ tablespoon butter and ¼ teaspoon instant espresso in medium saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly. Drizzle over bars and refrigerate until set. Cover and store bars in refrigerator for up to 1 week.