Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Versatile (Egg Free) Chocolate Cookies

Here I am doing my holiday baking.  I've been having so much fun!  I've got my Christmas music turned up, the lights on the Christmas tree turned on, my house smells like Scentsy Snowberry.  

I've got a small confession to make.  

First off, I have to admit I am pretty out of it when it comes to pop culture.  Mostly I just don't care.  The only time I know what is going on is when I read the covers of the magazines while I'm in the check-out line.  So I don't know who's who or who's cool anymore.  So I'm listening to my Christmas music over the past couple weeks and every now and then a song would come on and I'd think "Ooh.  I wonder who sings this.  I like this song."  So I'd go look (I play my music though the tv and it tells me the artist/song title) Each time I go look:  Michael Buble.  Michael Buble.  Michael Buble. 

Oh my gosh!  I've just realized that I like Michael Buble.  Then I wondered, do I really admit that to anyone?  I mean, who the heck is Michael Buble (he's brand new to me).  Is he even cool? He has a funny last name.  Are all the young girls swooning over him or is it the mom crowd?

But after hearing his version of "All I want for Christmas is You" again today, and confessing to my husband that I like his voice I've come to accept my that I totally think Michael Buble has a dreamy voice.  So classic like a modern day Bing Crosby or Dean Martin or something. 

Baking.  Christmas Music.  Oh Yes.  Back to backing now.  A few months ago I posted a recipe for chocolate chocolate chip cookies.  I am revisiting this recipe again with a few twists.  I made a double batch and experimented with different variations.  That way, I'm just making one dough but getting several different kinds of cookies.  But as with all things "Life doesn't always turn out the way you plan" (Name that show!  Ok, I know it's old, so 90's.)  But that's how it was with my cookies.  Not all my variations turned out the way I planned. So on to the ones that did turn out.

Exhibit A:

The Base Cookie.  You can even just leave these as is if you'd like ,or since I omitted the chocolate chips from the recipe for my purposes this day, add them back in. Or you could add white chocolate chips or mint chips. 

Chocolate Cookies
From Egg Free Bakery

4 ounces cream cheese, softened
12 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-3/4 cups plus 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cocoa power

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F and line baking sheets with parchment or silpat liners. In a large bowl or the bowl of an electric stand mixer, cream together the cream cheese, melted butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Mix in the vanilla. Add the dry ingredients and mix until mostly incorporated but a few dry streaks remain. Add the chocolate chips and mix until combined and no dry streaks remain. Roll the dough into 1 to 1 1/2-inch balls and place about 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Slighlty flatten each ball with the palm of your hand. Bake the cookies for 12-14 minutes until set. Let the cookies cool for ten minutes on the baking sheet and then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely. Makes about 2-3 dozen cookies.  

Exhibit B:

The Oreo.  To make Oreos, scoop out 1 heaping teaspoonful of dough and roll it into a ball.  Place on an ungreased baking sheet.  Flatten each dough ball slightly with your hand or the bottom of a cup.  Bake as directed.  Let cool completely.  To assemble, prepare your favorite buttercream frosting (I like this one).  Place a heaping teaspoonful or so of frosting on the flat side of one cookie. Place another cookie on top and press gently together.  You could even add peppermint extract to the frosting if you wanted to.  (Me, I don't want to).   

Exhibit C:

The Peppermint-Topped Glazed Chocolate Cookie. To make, I made a simple glaze of 1 cup powdered sugar, 1 to 1-1/2 tbsp milk and 1/4 tsp vanilla.  Spread the glaze on top of cooled chocolate cookies and while the glaze is still wet, sprinkle with crushed candy canes.  Let icing set completely before storing. (Here's another confession for you:  I don't really like peppermint all that much.  I want to like it.  I'm going to give it another shot this year.  I just couldn't help making something with candy canes because it's so festive and so Christmas and Spangler's brand of Candy Canes are like everything allergen free!  How could I not make something with candy canes in it!)

So now do you want to hear my failures?  I wanted to make a chocolate crinkle cookie.  So I rolled the dough in confectioner's sugar before baking, but unfortunately with this recipe (I blame all the butter) the confectioner's sugar just seemed to melt right in with the cookie while baking so it didn't have the crinkle cookie look I was going for.  I'll keep working at it.

And then, I wasn't able to try this one.  I love how tootsie roll company is pretty allergy safe and friendly and remembered they make junior mints.  So I got all excited and thought I'd incorporate a junior mint somehow in my cookies, maybe in the center or as a little thumbprint-button on top, but that's as far as it got.  Just thinking.  Because when I went to buy some junior mints it had a "may contain statement" for eggs.  Super bummer! :(

Wow.  I think this is the longest post I've ever written.  Hope you enjoy these cookies as much as we do.  Happy Baking!

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