Tag Archives: easy baking

One Big Peanut Butter Cookie, Two Ways

One Big Peanut Butter Cookie, Two Ways​

This is my fifth single-serving cookie recipe. Or fifth and sixth, if you want to get technical.

You see, when I set out to make One Big Peanut Butter Cookie, I had just planned to make it one way: the classic cross-hatched way. But then I realized that at least a few of you would ask “can I put chocolate chips in it?” so I got real wild and made a second version, and then I put them together in this one lone post. You’re welcome, super-small-batch cookie bakers of the internet.

One Big Peanut Butter Cookie, Two Ways​

This is yet another twist on the classic three ingredient peanut butter cookie recipe that has been around since long before it ever occurred to me that baking might scratch all my creative itches. You’d think a three ingredient recipe (1 cup peanut butter, 1 cup sugar, 1 large egg) would be pretty difficult to manipulate more than once or twice, but I’ve managed it many times. This is my fifth (?) vegan variation, and as none contains any flour, they’re all gluten-free too.

The method here is simple. Use a fork to whisk together two tablespoons each of peanut butter and packed brown sugar. Add some cornstarch and water to bind, some salt for balance, and a teensy bit of baking soda for lift. Though baking soda cannot be replaced in most recipes, here you can swap baking powder in as the leavener with the only major difference being that your cookie will be a touch lighter in color.

This is where things get exciting (as far as cookie baking goes). You can either roll this dough into a ball, coat it in granulated sugar and crosshatch it with a fork, or you can mix in chocolate chips and flatten it slightly with the heel of your hand. You could even nix the sugar coating or use M&Ms as your mix-in! Do whatever makes your little dessert-for-one heart sing. However you choose to proceed, your cookie will need to bake for about 12 minutes in a 350F oven.

One Big Peanut Butter Cookie, Two Ways​

Once it’s cool enough to handle, your minimal effort will be rewarded with one of *the* peanut butteriest peanut butter cookies you’ve ever had. Sweet, salty, rich & thick, studded with chocolate or not, this is one hell of a dessert for one. Or…two…hells?

Who’s writing this thing?

One Big Peanut Butter Cookie, Two Ways​

Have a great weekend, y’all. Make yourself a cookie (or two).

One Big Peanut Butter Cookie, Two Ways​
One Big Peanut Butter Cookie, Two Ways
makes 1 large cookie, about 1-2 servings

2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter (not natural-style)
2 tablespoons light or dark brown sugar, packed
1/8 teaspoon baking soda*
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon water

If making a classic peanut butter cookie:
2 tablespoons granulated sugar, for rolling (optional)

If making a peanut butter chocolate chip cookie:
2 tablespoons semisweet chocolate chips + more for topping (use dairy-free for a vegan cookie)

Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Set aside.

In a small bowl, use a fork to whisk together peanut butter and brown sugar. Add baking soda, salt, cornstarch and water, and whisk to combine. Use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to make sure your dough is fully combined.

If making a classic peanut butter cookie, place granulated sugar in a shallow dish. Use your hands to form dough into a ball, then gently roll the ball in the sugar to coat. Place on the prepared pan.

If making a peanut butter chocolate chip cookie, use your silicone spatula or wooden spoon to fold in chocolate chips. Use your hands to form dough into a ball and place on prepared pan. Dot the top with more chocolate chips (for aesthetic purposes), if desired. Use the heel of your hand to press down gently on the dough, just so that the dough is a 1-inch thick puck.

For both cookie variations, bake for 12-13 minutes or until puffed and no longer raw-looking.

Let cookie cool on the pan for at least 10 minutes before using a spatula to remove it to a plate. Enjoy warm or at room temperature.

Note:

An equal volume of baking powder will work in place of baking soda. The cookie it produces will be a bit paler, but still delicious. I do not recommend swapping baking soda and baking powder in any other recipes.
One Big Peanut Butter Cookie, Two Ways​

Crispy, Crunchy Double Chocolate Cookies

Crispy, Crunchy Double Chocolate Cookies​

I’ve been a chewy cookie devotee for pretty much my whole life, but I might be coming around to the other side. I mean, I’m not going to swear off soft cookies forever or anything, but let’s just say I get where the crunchy cookie people are coming from.

Crispy, Crunchy Double Chocolate Cookies​

Think about it. We don’t eschew crunchy vanilla wafers or snappy shortbread. Lord knows we love Oreos. But for some reason we all rush to vilify pretty much any other cookie with that texture. And why? What’s so wrong with a light, crispy cookie with a good crunch all the way through?

Nothing. That’s what. Especially when they’re double chocolate and can be yours in less than an hour’s time.

As with other crispy, crunchy cookies I’ve made, these Double Chocolate Cookies are top notch. They’re not a second best, or an “if you don’t have eggs and brown sugar” cookie. They’re their own thing—a double chocolate cookie for the crunchy cookie people. They’re light, crackly-topped, and chocolaty as all get out. If that isn’t enough, you likely have all the ingredients in your kitchen right now.

Crispy, Crunchy Double Chocolate Cookies​

Who knows, with a little elbow grease and working oven, you could become a crunchy cookie person any day now. Welcome to the club.

Crispy, Crunchy Double Chocolate Cookies​
Crispy, Crunchy Double Chocolate Cookies
makes about 2 dozen cookies

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
2 tablespoons light corn syrup (or golden syrup or mild honey)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips + more for topping

Arrange oven racks in central positions. Preheat the oven to 350F. Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

Cut softened butter into 8 pieces and add them to the mixing bowl. Starting at low speed and increasing as ingredients become incorporated, use an electric mixer to mix the butter into the flour/sugar mixture until powdery and wet-sandy. You may need to stop a time or two to break up larger pieces of butter.

Add corn syrup and vanilla and mix to combine. Dough will look crumbly, but should hold together well when pinched.

Add the chocolate chips to the dough and mix/knead them in with a clean hand (or a silicone spatula or wooden spoon) until evenly distributed and the dough is a cohesive unit.

Scoop the dough by the tablespoon, roll into balls and place them 2-3 inches apart on prepared pans (I fit 12 on each half-sheet pan). Bake for 9 minutes, then rotate the pans top-to-bottom and front-to-back. Bake another 8-9 minutes, until a bit puffy and cracked on top.

Let cookies cool for 7 minutes on the pans. Remove to a rack to cool completely. Serve.

Leftover cookies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.
Crispy, Crunchy Double Chocolate Cookies​
Crispy, Crunchy Double Chocolate Cookies​

Funfetti Shortbread

Funfetti Shortbread

I got my second vaccine shot earlier this week, and now it’s time to celebrate (while waiting two weeks for it to kick in) 🎉

Funfetti Shortbread

Is there anything that says “hip hip hooray!” quite like rainbow sprinkles? I think not. They’re just so dang happy, like I am when I book trips to see my family or search for theatre tickets for the first time in forever.

Funfetti Shortbread

These colorful little cookies are as fun to make as they are to eat! Their ingredients list is short & to the point, as most shortbread recipes are. The base of flavor and texture comes from softened butter, flour and sugar (in this case, a mix of granulated and confectioner’s sugar). I’ve added some vanilla and a hint of almond extract for that signature Funfetti flavor, and finished the dough off with a borderline-absurd amount of rainbow sprinkles. That’s my style.

Rather than going the slice & bake route with these shortbread, I prefer to flatten the dough into sheets and briefly freeze it. This means that I can bake/eat cookies sooner than later, and as they will be cut with a cutter, the results will be perfectly uniform.

Funfetti Shortbread

While these sprinkle-speckled cookies need no adornment, I couldn’t help myself. A little drizzle of glaze and a few more sprinkles really make this recipe for me. The extra pops of sweetness and crunch are perfect paired with the buttery shortbread, and give them a bakery-esque quality that I adore.

Funfetti Shortbread

Funfetti Shortbread are good the day they are made, but I think they are actually better as time goes on. By day two, the cookies crisp up a bit, resulting in a super-satisfying texture. I have not shared a single one, and can say with certainty that they’re still wonderful on day seven.

A cookie that’s still great after a week? Now that’s something to celebrate.

Funfetti Shortbread
Funfetti Shortbread
makes about 3.5 dozen

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup confectioner’s sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon pure almond extract or imitation butter extract (optional)
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup rainbow sprinkles (jimmies, not nonpareils)

Glaze & Garnish:
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3-3 1/2 teaspoons milk
1-2 tablespoons rainbow sprinkles (jimmies or nonpareils)

Special Equipment:
rolling pin
2-inch cookie cutter (I used round)

Place softened butter in a medium-large mixing bowl and use an electric mixer to beat it until light and fluffy, about 1-2 minutes. Add dark brown and confectioners sugars and mix until fluffy. Mix in vanilla, optional almond extract (or imitation butter extract), and salt. With the mixer on low, beat in flour. Dough will be crumbly looking, but should hold together very well when pinched. Use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to fold in sprinkles.

Divide dough in two parts. Working with one half at a time, sandwich dough between two pieces of parchment paper and roll until 1/4-inch thick. Transfer to the freezer (on a baking sheet, if desired) for 20 minutes. Repeat with remaining dough. It is okay to stack the sheets of dough in the freezer.

While the dough is freezing, place racks in the center positions. Preheat the oven to 300F. Line two baking sheets with parchment. Set two cooking racks over parchment or wax paper.

Remove one sheet of dough from the freezer. Peel on of the pieces of parchment off. Use a lightly floured 2-inch cookie cutter to cut cookies. Place them close together on prepared pans. Repeat with remaining dough. Scraps can be re-rolled, frozen, and cut.

Bake cookies for 20-22 minutes, or until no longer shiny (not browned). Let cool on the pans for 7 minutes. Use a thin spatula (not your fingers!) to remove cookies to cooling racks to cool completely.

Make the glaze. In a small bowl use a fork to whisk together confectioner’s sugar, salt, vanilla and 3 teaspoons milk. Add more milk by the 1/2 teaspoon, until desired consistency is reached.

Use a fork or piping bag to drizzle glaze over cookies as desired. Top with sprinkles. The glaze will be dry to the touch within 20 minutes and harden after a few hours.

Serve. Leftovers will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for several days.
Funfetti Shortbread
Funfetti Shortbread
Funfetti Shortbread

Coconut Macaroons

Coconut MacaroonsDid you know that the world is still turning and Easter is happening next weekend? How is that even possible?

Ash Wednesday seems like it was five years ago, but it was at the end of February, back when when eggs were not a hyper-precious commodity. It was a time I would have gladly posted a recipe requiring two egg whites and maybe—big maybe—given you an idea of something to do with the yolks. But that was then. Now, the idea of asking you to separate eggs for a non-essential recipe and then leaving you to find something to do with egg yolks is just…well, I’m not going to do it. Not today.Coconut MacaroonsIn keeping with my stay-at-home, work with what you have, waste not/want not approach to baking (and literally everything) right now, I’m taking a note from a recipe I posted last Easter: Chocolate Macaroon Tart. In case you missed it, it’s basically a giant coconut macaroon filled with chocolate ganache…except that it’s not a macaroon at all! Or not the way most people think of a macaroon, anyway. I mean, it’s coconutty and all, but where macaroons are traditionally made with egg whites and sugar, this tart crust is made with sweetened condensed milk. And, since that mixture worked so unbelievably well pressed into a pan, why not mound it like regular macaroons and bake until golden?

Wow, I just said “macaroon” like 478 times.Coconut MacaroonsCoconut MacaroonsAnyway, here is a pantry-friendly version of Coconut Macaroons, a springtime classic. You’d never know these aren’t made with the usual egg whites and sugar—they’re just as toasty-edged, soft-centered and delightfully chewy as their traditional counterparts.Coconut MacaroonsCoconut MacaroonsCoconut MacaroonsCoconut MacaroonsThe ingredient list is short: a bag of sweetened shredded coconut, about half a can of sweetened condensed milk, some vanilla and salt. No vanilla? Leave it out. Wish they had a little lime or orange to offset the sweetness? Zest some into the sweetened condensed milk before mixing. Like your macaroons dipped in chocolate? Cool them and then dip away!Coconut MacaroonsAnd if you, perhaps, have egg whites leftover from—I don’t know—making Lazy Lemon Curd, and are looking for traditional macaroons, you can double this recipe and swap the potato chips for 3 cups of coconut.Coconut MacaroonsAs for this recipe, all you’ll have leftover is a half a can of sweetened condensed milk, and if you’re not already drizzling that into your weekend coffee…well, you’re in a pandemic and this is the time to start.Coconut Macaroons

Coconut Macaroons
makes about 1.5 dozen

3/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
1 14-ounce bag (5 cups) sweetened flaked coconut

Preheat oven to 350F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment. Set aside.

In a small bowl or liquid measuring cup, use a fork to whisk together sweetened condensed milk, vanilla and salt.

Place coconut in a medium mixing bowl. Pour in sweetened condensed milk mixture and stir together with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon. Wet one hand and knead a few times to make sure everything is well-combined.

Wet your hands. Scoop coconut mixture in 1 1/2 tablespoon increments (I used a medium cookie scoop) and form into balls. Place 2 inches apart on prepared pans. Bake 16-17 minutes, or until light golden and slightly puffed. Let cool on pans for 10 minutes before removing to a rack to cool completely.

Coconut Macaroons will keep covered at room temperature for a few days.

Basic Blondies

Basic BlondiesI almost feel silly posting this recipe—how many variations on blondies does one blog need?

But here I am, doing it anyway, because blondies are easy to make, require limited ingredients, and damn near everyone likes them—perfect for this time when all of us are staying at home.Basic BlondiesThis isn’t so much a variation on blondies as it is a back-to-basics. There are no wild flavors or mix-ins, just pure butterscotch flavor and chocolate chips.Basic BlondiesI’ve essentially used the same blondie recipe since 2010, but recently started cutting the flour in an effort to make them denser and chewier. At Christmas, I reduced the usual 1 cup by 2 tablespoons. Now I’ve taken it 2 tablespoons further, so the recipe requires just 3/4 cup flour. Not bad for a whole pan full of blondies!Basic Blondies
As promised last week, this recipe has a bevy of options for substitutions so you can make them with whatever you have in your kitchen. No brown sugar? Mix 1 cup of granulated with a tablespoon of molasses to make your own. In a pinch, you can sub the molasses with maple syrup, honey, agave, golden syrup or dark corn syrup. And if you don’t have any of those, just use your granulated sugar as-is and call them “platinum” blondies.Basic BlondiesBasic BlondiesUse whatever salt you have and are comfortable with. If you only have 1/2-1 teaspoon of vanilla to spare, that’s fine. You could probably get away with nixing it altogether. No parchment for pan-lining? Use foil, or grease & flour the pan.Basic BlondiesRegarding mix-ins, the sky’s the limit! Add whatever you want into your blondies—busted pretzels, chopped nuts, candy bar pieces, swirls of Nutella, a layer of cheesecake—or leave them completely plain. Whatever you want to use is the right thing to use.

As I’ve said many times before, take my recipe and make it yours.Basic Blondies

Basic Blondies
makes one 8- or 9-inch pan, about 16 blondies

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 cup light or dark brown sugar, packed
1 large egg, room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease an 8-inch square baking dish and line it with parchment (or foil), leaving overhang on two sides for easy removal. Grease again. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together melted butter and brown sugar. Add egg and vanilla, followed by flour and salt. Check to make sure the batter isn’t too warm to the touch before stirring in chocolate chips (you don’t want them to melt).

Spread batter into prepared pan and bake for 20-22 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean. Let blondies cool in the pan on a rack until they reach room temperature. Run a small, thin knife around the edge of the pan, then use parchment to lift them onto a cutting board. Slice with a large, sharp chef’s knife, wiping the blade clean between cuts. Serve.

Blondies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.Basic BlondiesBasic BlondiesBasic Blondies