Monday, December 15, 2008

Oatmeal CRAIsin Cookies

Raisins are tired boring old things. Enter the magical, plump, colorful CRAISIN!
As if craisins are something new and unusual. On the contrary, Native Americans gathered cranberries for food a very long time ago, and cranberries made a great (I suppose) addition to something called pemmican, a mixture of animal fat and dried meat. Pemmican was used for centuries as an emergency food. Sir Ernest Shackelton's men survived on pemmican for quite some time on during their 1914 epic voyage/distaster tour of the Antarctic. But I have no idea whether or not their pemmican contained cranberries, and pemmican is a far cry from delicious cookies! Sorry forthis disgusting detour. Back to cookies...

This recipe is based on the Cook's Illustrated Best Light Recipe recipe for oatmeal raisin cookies. Yes, it is a light recipe, which leads you to believe, this could either be a miracle: tasty and low calorie, or: a sad, carboardesque excuse for a cookie.
I added walnunts to this batch, but they still have fewer calories than a standard oatmeal rasin cookie recipe that may contain up to 2 sticks of butter. Trust me, they are soft, chewy and delicious!!

Yield 2 doz.


1 c. old fashioned rolled oats
3/4 c. all purpose flour
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 stick of melted butter, cooled
1 egg
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 c packed brown sugar (light or dark, I used light)
1/2 c craisins
1/3 c chopped walnuts, lightly toasted


Adjust oven racks to middle and upper middle or upper, just make sure you don't have one on the bottom. Preheat oven to 350. Line 2 baking sheets w/ parchment paper.
Whisk flour, oats, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.
In the bowl of a standing mixer, combine brown sugar and melted butter, beat until it begins to become lighter in color and is well combined.
Ad egg and vanilla, mix on medium speed until well-incorporated. Turn mixer to low and gradually add dry ingredients. Lastly, add craisins and walnuts.
Drop on cookie sheets using small scoop. You should have abougt 12 on each sheet. Bake 11-13 mins, or until cookies begin to lightly brown on edges.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Xmas / Holiday Cookies

Seasons Greetings...

Raspberry Jam Cookies

Left to Right: Coconut vanilla cookies, Raspberry Jam cookie, Chocolate Hazelnut cookie, Double Chocolate cookie sandwiches.

Yep, it's that time of year again! Bust out your cookie cutters and rolling pins. Spread cheer to your friends and neighbors in the form of butter cookies and drippings of chocolate and white vanilla glaze!
Cut-out cookies can be finicky. If the dough gets too soft or too dry you're in trouble. Either your cookies will be poorly shaped or the dough won't hold together when you roll it out. I used (of course), the America's test kitchen butter cookie recipe for these cookies. Don't trust any other recipe for something as technical as christmas cookies! You want a butter cookie recipe that has been tested over and over again. The only advice I can give when using this recipe is that if you have granite countertops, do not sandwich the dough between two pieces of parchment paper as directed. It will slide efverywhere and you will feel like a total baking reject! Instead use plastic wrap.
Make whatever fillings you want. The Baking Illustrated cookbook has recipes for things like vanilla glaze and coconut lime. I used nutella and toasted hazelnuts. Go wild! Go crazy! Happy Holidays. :)

Way Better than a Reeses...

Baking Illustrated's Chocolate Icebox cookie recipe w/ Peanut Butter filling...

Let's face it. Either you love peanut butter or you hate it. Australians hate peanut butter, but I'm not about to make a Chocolate Vegamite sandwich cookie.
This recipe is a cinch. Make the dough, roll it into logs, refrigerate it, take it out whenever you feel inclined, slice and bake.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Rosemary Raisin Walnut Bread

I got this rosemary olive bread recipe when I took a bread-baking class at CSCA. If you live in the Boston area, I highly recommend taking one of their recreational classes.

Although this time I baked the bread as a loaf, it is a great recipe for fancy dinner rolls too. It lends itself to many different flavor combinations. For example, subtract the rosemary and add dried apricot and pecan, or dried cranberry walnut. You could do basil and sundried tomato, or candied shallots and thyme, the list goes on.

*Warning: allow at least 3 extra hours beforehand to make the sponge...



2 tsp dry yeast
1/2 c warm water
1/2 c milk, room temp
1 tsp honey or maple syrup
2 c all purpose flour

In a large bowl, sprinkle yeast over warm water, stir to dissolve. Add sweetener, milk, and flour. Whisk ingredients until combined. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let stand at room temp for 3-12 hrs. Refrigerate up to 1 week.


1 tsp dry yeast
2 c warm water
1 Tbsp salt
2 eggs
2 Tbsp sugar
1/2 c olive oil
2 Tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 c raisins, plumped for about 10 mins in a dish of very hot water, then drained
3/4 c toasted walnuts (toast them in a frying pan over low heat or toasted oven at low setting for a few minutes until fragrant)
5-6 c all purpose flour

Egg Wash:
1 yolk
1 Tbsp milk

To make bread dough:

In a large bowl, sprinkle the 1 tsp yeast over the 2 c warm water and stir to dissolve. Add eggs, salt, sugar, oil and 1 + 1/2 c flour. Whisk to combine, then add the sponge. Whisk again. Add rosemary.

Add remaining flour 1 c at a time, stirring with a wooden spoon. The dough will be sticky. Flour your work surface and keep extra flour on hand to prevent dough from sticking.
Knead in walnuts and raisins. Knead dough until soft but elastic, adding small amounts of flour to prevent sticking.
Put dough in a large bowl or rising container and let rise until tripled in bulk, about 2 hrs.
Turn dough out onto floured surface and gently deflate. Shape into 2 rounds or small rolls. Place on parchment covered baking sheet or 9x13 glass baking dish sprayed with cooking spray. Colver in plastic wrap.
Allow dough to proof x 30-45 mins.
Meanwhile, prepare egg wash and preheat oven to 400.
When dough is proofed, slash tops, glaze with egg wash and bake x 40-50 mins.

Dark Chocolate Explosion Cookies- for the True Chocaholic!!

An Evie's Kitchen original...


2 c bread flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 c cocoa powder

2 sticks melted butter
1/2 c granulated sugar
1 c light brown sugar

1 egg + 1 yolk
2 Tbsp milk

1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp instant coffee
8 oz bittersweet chocolate (I recommend 2 x 4 oz bars of Ghirardelli 60% cacao)
4 oz semisweet chocolate (again, a 4 oz bar of Ghirardelli)


Finely chop 4 oz bittersweet and 4 oz semisweet chocolate as shown. Set aside.

Break remaining 4 oz bar of bittersweet chocolate into about 20 pieces. This will be used as molten chocolate centers later.

Whisk together flour, baking soda, salt and cocoa powder. Set aside.
Cream butter and sugars in a standing mixer. Add egg, yolk, vanilla, milk and instant coffee. Slowly add dry ingredients. Add the 8 oz finely chopped bittersweet and semisweet chocolate.
Refrigerate dough for at least 20 mins to chill. Meanwhile
preheat oven to 350 and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
Remove dough from refrigerator, scoop out 8-10 cookies on each sheet. Flatten gently and place a small square of chocolate in the middle as shown:

Then place another flattened dough ball on top of that, press gently so they stick together:

Press each cookie in a small dish of granulated sugar if desired to coat the cookie tops. Bake at 350 for 12-15 mins until tops look dry and slightly cracked.
Serve warm, or allow to cool and store in tupper ware at room temp, but microwave at medium power for 20 seconds before eating to enjoy the molten centers!

Guava Coconut Cookies

Guava and coconut are both cultivated throughout the tropics. What grows together goes together so I tried this flavor combination in a cookie and the results were tantalizing. Besides, I had to figure out how to use that random jar of guava jelly taking up space between the soy sauce and blue cheese dressing in the door of my fridge!
Another variation on ATK's Baking Illustrated sugar cookie recipe...


2 c flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 sticks butter, softened
1 c granulated sugar
1 Tbsp light brown sugar
1 egg + 1 yolk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup toasted sweetened coconut
1 jar of guava jelly, such as Goya brand, sold in most supermarkets


Toast coconut: spread coconut in an even layer on a baking sheet and place in oven at 375 for 1-2 mins, shake pan and toast 1 min longer until coconut is light brown. BE CAREFUL NOT TO LET IT BURN.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.
In a standing mixer, cream the butter and the sugars. Add egg and vanilla.
Slowly add dry ingredients to combine.
Add coconut until combined.
Using small ice cream scoop, scoop onto 2 cookie sheets covered in parchment paper.
Bake at 375 for 12-15 mins.
Meanwhile, have jar of guava jelly ready.
Remove cookies from oven, immediately press each cookie gently with the back of a spoon to make indentations. Spoon 1-2 tsp jelly into each indentation. Transfer to wire rack and allow to cool.