Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Ruth Wakefield's Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

I'm starting to think it might be appropriate to change the name of my blog from For the Love of Bread to For the Love of Cookies. It seems to be that's all I've been making these days. I've been meaning to make bread, I just haven't gotten around to it. Even though I love it and enjoy it so much, it's just far more time consuming than say, these Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars. M, the director of SFW had told me that I had better bring baked goods to our next staff meeting. But seeing as how I had hung out with S all day and walked in minutes before the meeting, these bars weren't yet ready for eating. At that point it was just batter chilling in the fridge. She was disappointed but I made up for it by bringing her a plate fresh from the oven a couple hours later. She practically lunged for them when she saw them. And consumed almost the whole plate. Truthfully, these were actually delicious. I didnt have time to let them chill in the fridge for two days or even a full one but six hours I felt was enough to make these the most awesome bars ever. Like the Vintage Butterscotch Bars, these are easy to make in just one pan. They look perfect too. They turned out nice and chewy with ooey gooey melted chocolate. This pan feeds alot, but cut them smaller if you prefer to ensure that everyone gets a bit. I'm not going to lie, making these was in part an effort to teach the girls the difference between brownies, blondies and chocolate chip cookie bars. They think I'm nuts but rest assured by the end of this year, they will all be baking whizzes. At least in the knowledge department.

Ruth Wakefield's Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
KAF Cookie Companion

2 3/4 cups flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 cup margarine or butter
2 1/4 cups brown sugar
3 eggs
2 cups chocolate chips

If you're planning on baking these bars right away, preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line a jelly roll pan with parchment paper. Set aside.

Place the margarine or butter in a saucepan,
and melt over medium heat.
Add the brown sugar,
and stir until thoroughly combined.

Add the eggs one a time,
blend thoroughly after each.
Add the dry ingredients and the chocolate chips,
and stir until until the batter is combined and uniform. If not baking right away, place in the fridge for a few hours until ready to bake. Once ready to bake, pat the batter into the prepared pan. If it is chilled, it might be a bit difficult but just wet your hands and do the best you can.

Bake the bars for 24-26 minutes until the top is shiny and looks like the above photograph. Dont overbake! You dont want dry cookies! A cake tester inserted wont come out clean. Cool before cutting!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Vintage Butterscotch Bars

At the beginning of last week, the second year students at SFW went on a tiyul, or a trip. As I've been becoming increasingly closer to them and they've become increasingly enamored of my baking, I decided to send them off with a plate of cookies. I decided to make the Vintage Butterscotch Bars from the Cookie Companion. (I think I should just make it a project to make every cookie in the book.) These cookies wouldnt win any beauty competitions with their dull, brown, uninteresting exterior but those who can see passed it will be rewarded with yummy, delicious, chewy, candy-like dense bars. The cookies were gobbled up so fast, they didn't even make it out the door. I kid you not. Adding to the ease and simplicity of this recipe is the fact that they can be assembled in one pan. This recipe yields 24 bars but feel free to cut them even smaller as they are pretty rich.

Vintage Butterscotch Bars
from KAF Cookie Companion

1/2 stick butter or margarine
2 cups brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

Preheat your oven to 350 and lightly grease a 9x13 inch pan or line with parchment.
Place the margarine in a saucepan and place over low heat.Cook until melted completely.

Remove the pan from the heat and add the brown sugar.Mix until well blended and cool to lukewarm.Add the eggs,and stir until blended.Add the salt, vanilla and leavening,and blend.Add the flour,and combine to make a smooth batter.Spread the batter evenly into your prepared pan.
Bake for 20-24 minutes. Dont overbake! Bake until the edges just start to pull away and a tester inserted into the center has moist crumbs. Cool completely before cutting.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Chocolate Peppermint Cookies

The secret is out. After Shabbat, all my girls discovered that I can bake. And well, if I do say so myself. They follow the scent of baked goods down my hall and end up in my room. Conveniently in time for curfew, too. I encouraged one of the second year students, and an ardent fan and supporter of what I do, to make a list of things that she wants me to bake. She wasted no time on that assignment, let me tell you. The first item on the list was something chocolatey and minty, a classic combination that, depending on who you are, is either a hit or miss kinda thing. I knew just where to look. Having made the mint bars already from the Cookie Companion and thinking that bars arent as suitable for out of hand eating as individual cookies are, I settled for cookies. I made the Chocolate Peppermint Cookies that appear at the end of the Chocolate Chip Cookie chapter. These cookies were delicious and soft and chewy and chocolatey with the perfect hint of mint. One of the girls said, is this a brownie in a cookie? The answer is obviously no, but they were that good. So good they disappeared in no time- not enough time, in fact, to photograph the flat discs of chocolate-mint nirvana. And so, I happily crossed off Chocolate Mint Cookies from the list and am contemplating the next bake...

Chocolate Peppermint Cookies

3 sticks butter or margarine
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
2 tsp peppermint extract
3 cups flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa (I used Dutch process with perfect results)
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups chocolate chips

Preheat your oven to 350. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
In a bowl, place the fat and sugars.
Cream until light and airy.Add the egg and extracts,and blend until combined.
Add the dry ingredients and the chocolate chips at once,
and beat to form a cohesive dough.
Scoop cookies by the tablespoon on to the cookie sheets. Bake for 12-15 minutes until the cookies appear flattened and set. Remove from the oven and cool completely before transferring to a wire rack. Unfortunately, they disappeared before I could snap a photo.....

Monday, September 7, 2009

Vermont Maple Cookies

It's been ages since I've sat down to properly post. Once again, it's not for shortage of posting material. I'm settled in SFW and the girls have been here for a week. I've been meeting and getting to know them and helping them settle in. I love being here and I love what I'm doing. Thank G-d, I'm content and happy and in a much better place than I've been in the last couple of years. That's not to say that this experience won't be intense and overwhelming at times. In fact, today, my co-counselors and I attended a seminar that addressed depression and suicide and eating disorders. Now, I'm familiar with some of those things, but hearing about it at length made it scary. Annnnyway. So now that I have an oven, I have been baking alot. I baked a ton for our first in Shabbat. Everything I made got eaten and the catered stuff didnt. I got tons of compliments and now have a reputation here. My room didnt stop smelling like baked goods for days. In any case, seeing as how I love to feed people, the girls know that Ill always have baked goods for them. They keep telling me their parents will kill them for getting fat... So last night, I baked these Maple Cookies from the Cookie Companion for the girls to nibble on when they come in for curfew and just to chill. Let me just say the mapley scent that permeated the room and hall was worth it. They were all devoured within minutes. These were not only delicious but fast to whip up. I used my precious maple sugar, acquired on my last trip to New York. I figure what's it here for if not to be used? It just made these cookies shine. They were soft and and a bit cakey and a lot yummy. I omitted the glaze because I think that would have been over the top. Please get your hands on maple sugar and make these.

Vermont Maple Cookies
from the Cookie Companion

1 cup margarine or butter, softened
1 cup pure maple sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp maple extract
2 3/4 cups flour

2 tbsp maple sugar
2 tbsp granulated sugar

In a bowl, place the margarine and sugars and cream until combined. Add the cream of tartar, salt, eggs, baking soda and maple flavor.Mix to combine.Add the flour,
and mix to make a cohesive dough. Refrigerate the dough for half an hour.

While the dough is chilling, combine the sugars in a bowl and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Scoop balls of dough and coat them with the maple sugar mixture. Place them on the sheet of parchment.

Bake the cookies until lightly golden about eight minutes.
Remove from the oven and cool before placing on a plate for your girls to devour.