Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Oatmeal White Chocolate Craisin Walnut Cookies

Whew that was a mouthful (insert snide "that's what she said joke" here). But on a more serious note, they really are :) These cookies are chalked full of delight! Think of the most nostalgic oatmeal cookie you've ever had...then multiply that by 10.

nostalgic cookie x 10 = above mentioned cookie
nostalgic cookie < above mentioned cookie

In case your not catching my drift, these cookies are pretty good. I'm very picky about, well if you know me at all, my food in general, but especially with 1.artichoke dip, 2. chocolate cake, and  3.oatmeal cookies. I don't know why I'm so picky with these 3 things, but I'll take it as a good thing and run with it. I've tried countless recipes and gone through numerous sticks of butter to try and find what I think is the perfect oatmeal cookie. Practice made perfect :)  Let's just say I've got your grandma beat! This recipe really masters the perfect balance of what every oatmeal cookie should be in my opinion. These beauties have a soft but chewy bite, they're sweet but balanced well by the nuttiness of the white chocolate chips, have great texture from the craisins and walnuts, and what I think is most important in an oatmeal cookie, have the perfect amount of spice. Drum roll please...

Oatmeal White Chocolate Craisin Cookies
adapted from Your Everyday Mama

1/2 cup unsalted butter, browned
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temp
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1 Tbs pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground clove
3 1/4 cups rolled oats
1 1/2 cups Craisins
10 oz. white chocolate chips
1/2 cup walnuts chopped (optional)

1. Beat eggs and vanilla in a small mixing bowl, add dried cranberries. Allow cranberries to rehydrate for at least one hour, stirring occasionally. Do not skip this step!
2. Brown 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cool in the refrigerator while you wait for the cranberries to finish plumping up.
3. Preheat oven to 350 F
4. Cream butters and sugars with mixer, stand mixer is best as you should cream for about 2-3 minutes. In a medium mixing bowl, combine flour, kosher salt, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and clove. Slowly add your dry ingredients into your cream mixture, scraping sides of bowl as needed, making sure there are no dry patches, but do not over mix. Add in your egg/cranberry mixture, mix on low until just combined.
5. Using a wooden spoon, mix in oats, combining well. Fold in your chocolate and nuts.
6. Refrigerate your dough for about 5-10 minutes
7. Spoon small-medium sized balls onto wax paper covered cookie sheets. Bake cookies for approximately 12 minutes, turning once during cooking. Cookies are done when they are light brown and begin to lose their glossy look. 

Yields: Approximately 30 good sized cookies.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Homemade Oreos

Holy this really a new blog post? OMG it is! I think its been like what? A year since my last post..ugh my bad. To be quite honest, blogging is not my cup of tea, or box of chocolate to be more fitting. It's really hard for me to be consistent with my posts. I go on these runs where I'll post once or even twice a day...then hit a dry spell. Hence the moldy blog you see here. Well, hopefully I can put my mits back on for good this time and keep you a little more updated.

On to the reason your here, my baking! I was invited to a little Sunday get together last night; a little football, friends, and of course, good food. My buddy asked if I would make something delicious to bring. If you know me at all, you know I live for the instant gratification of baking, couldn't pass that up. I decided I wanted to make a couple different kinds of cookies; something to please everyone (or their taste buds anyway). I have been eyeballing this homemade Oreo recipe for far too long, it was the perfect opportunity. Yeowza! These things are unbelievable! Don't blame me for the 5lb increase on your scale, you were for-warned. These guys are really simple to make, and in my opinion, FAR better than a regular oreo! But, don't take my word for it, try them yourself!

Homemade Oreos
Adapted from My Baking Addiction

For the chocolate cookie:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened Dutch process cocoa 
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) room-temperature, unsalted butter
1 large egg
For the filling:
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) room-temperature, unsalted butter
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Preheat to 375°F.
In a bowl of an electric mixer, thoroughly mix the flour, cocoa, baking soda and powder, salt, and sugar. While on low speed, add the butter, and then the egg. Continue mixing until dough comes together in a mass.
Take rounded tablespoons of batter and place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet approximately two inches apart. Slightly flatten the dough. Bake for 9 minutes, rotating once for even baking. Set baking sheets on a rack to cool.
To make the cream, place butter and shortening in a mixing bowl, and at low speed, gradually beat in the sugar and vanilla. Turn the mixer on high and beat for 2 to 3 minutes until filling is light and fluffy.
To assemble the cookies, in a pastry bag with a 1/2 inch, round tip(you can use a zip lock bag as well, just cut a slit from one corner) pipe tablespoon-size blobs of cream into the center of one cookie. Place another cookie, equal in size to the first, on top of the cream. Lightly press, to work the filling evenly to the outsides of the cookie. If you find the cream isn't extending enough to the edges, work the cream with the back of a spoon towards the edges first, then "sandwich" cookies together and press.
Pair with a BIG glass of milk, and enjoy!