Friday, February 18, 2011

Troop 1499 and Thin Mint Cookies

I was a member of Girl Scout Troop 1499 for many years. The troop number may have changed as I moved through the ranks, but it was the same group of girls. I loved everything about Girl Scouts. Crafts, lots of crafts, camping, some cooking, a few community projects mixed in and annual cookie sales. I did pretty well hawking cookies thanks to my parents and relatives. I even did a little door to door sales in my neighborhood, back when it was okay to do that kind of thing. I'm thankful I never had to stand outside the Giant and push cookies like they do today. The Girl Scouts outside of my Giant must be working on their "Relentless Badge." They hit me up going in and coming back out. And then again at the WaWa. Geeze.

I decided to put all those badges to work and make my own Girl Scout cookies. First on the list - Thin Mints, everyone's favorite, so much that I have friends who will hide a box or two from spouses. I chose to use chocolate that was 70% cocoa which made the cookies a little darker and much more flavorful than the traditional thin mints. Mine were also a bit thicker, next time I will go just a bit thinner -- keeping with the thin mint moniker.

Thin Mints
2 1/4 c AP flour
1/4 c cornstarch
6 T Dutch process cocoa powder
1/2 t salt
1 c sugar
1/2 c butter, room temp
1/3 c milk
1/2 t vanilla
1 t peppermint extract

Combine flour, cornstarch, cocoa and salt in bowl, whisk to combine. Set aside.

In bowl of standing mixer, cream butter and sugar, until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add milk, vanilla and peppermint. Add flour mixture in 3 installments. Mix until fully incorporated. Shape dough into two logs about 1 1/2" in diameter, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate several hours.

Preheat oven to 375F. Line baking sheets with parchment or Silplat. Slice dough into rounds no more than 1/4 inch thick. Cookies will not spread, you can put them fairly close together. Bake 13-15 minutes. Cool on wire rack.

Dark Chocolate Coating
10 oz dark chocolate, broken into chunks
1/2 c butter, room temp

1/4 t peppermint extract

Combine chocolate, butter and extract in microwave safe bowl. Place in microwave and heat on high, stirring every 45-60 seconds until smooth. Chocolate should have a consistency somewhere between chocolate syrup and fudge for a thin coating. Using a fork, dip cookie in melted chocolate coating both sides. Tap fork on edge of bowl to remove excess. Place cookies on parchment lined cookie sheet to set-up. If chocolate becomes thick re-heat in microwave.

Makes 4 dozen cookies.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Cookies gone bad

I love the internet, sometimes, most times. It brings the whole world to my fingertips. Zillions of recipes from cooks and bakers around the world and in my back yard. Cooks with varying skills levels and tastes. And cooks who might even have typos (eek) in their recipes. I was invited to a gathering on Sunday. As my M.O. I like to bake a tasty treat to bring along. Cautioned early on the hostess' kid is allergic to eggs I was left with a bit of a baking challenge. I was thinking cookies, so I do what I do when I'm contemplating what to bake/cook. I googled "cookies without eggs" and got many, many pages of options. I like to look for familiar blogs and websites when I randomly search for recipes, after three or four pages I didn't see anyone I know. I then started to check out recipes, weeding out the ones that looked wonky or ingredients I didn't have or won't use, like lard. No lard on hand, not baking with lard. Feel free to voice your opinion, but I doubt I'll sway. And by wonky, sometimes people post recipes that only make sense to a select few or method is so disjointed that you know things will go bad quick. At face value my chosen recipe looked spot on. I went to work. I even opted to double the recipe, lots of yummy cookies! I swapped lemon for almond in the flavoring. I added some purple sprinkles (pixie dust to ensure a Raven's win) and then.... "Preheat oven to 450." My gut said "NOOOO!" My head said "NOOOO!" My fingers dialed up 450 and we baked. In case you are wondering, a temp that high yields a very cake like cookie, that stays soft and limp. The texture not very cookie like. But I baked on, in my happy place, hoping the next cookie sheet or the sheet after would be better. Not so much. Guess I could have dialed the oven down, didn't. I kept baking.

Rule of thumb, don't trust everything you find on the internet, especially that email requesting $2,000 wired to Jamaica and you will get $100,000 in return. Some things just aren't right and this cookie recipe was one of them.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Yummm.... Eggnog cake

I don't usually make resolutions, New Years' related or otherwise. I more commitment phobic preferring to make more subtle promises and set "life improvement" goals. One such goal is go back to my blog. I have not stopped baking and cooking, I only stopped writing about it. Not sure why. Something to do with cupcake frosting, I got tired of making frosting and the whole thing came to a halt. Crazy, right? So I'm back and I promise to hang out for a while, maybe even embrace frosting again, who knows. Its a whole new year!

First recipe of the year, Eggnog Cake. Fitting right? We had the better part of a container of Nog left over and I kept tripping over it in the refrigerator. (Rob had one glass of said eggnog and deemed it much thicker than he remembered and moved on. Isn't thickness part of the eggnog charm? Maybe thinned with a wee bit of rum?) For me, often its a single ingredient that spurs an entire recipe. I like to make the most out of my groceries, hating to let ingredients go to waste. It makes me crazy to have my refrigerator bogged down with items not in "active duty." So, Eggnog Cake. Tasty and pro ported to be good with coffee too. Thank you Nancy for the recipe.

For the record I baked two loaves, one with rum flavoring and the second with a bit of actual rum, Kracken.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Not enough time.

Behind again, sorry. I'm baking, just have blogging block. Will catch up this week

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Cupcake 88 - Madmen returns, a tribute cupcake

I've been thinking about a cupcake for Madmen for several seasons. I toyed with some boozy goodness, but it seemed too easy. And a scotch flavored cupcake did not really appeal to me. I debated the classics -hot milk cake and red velvet, still not "Madmen" enough. I tried to channel my inner Betty and all thoughts of cupcakes came out slightly angry and confused. Maybe a Joan cupcake, it would need to have a rather pointed top. Trying to be fair to all Madmen , I opted for Coffee and cigarettes, the mainstay of most Ad agencies in the 60's.

Cupcake 82 - Strawberry black pepper

Black Pepper, Chocolate and Strawberry Cupcakes

1 c butter, room temperature
1 c sugar
1/2 c salt
1 t baking powder
2 c self rising flour
1 t freshly ground black pepper
4 eggs 1 t strawberry extract
1 t vanilla 1/2 c chocolate chips

Combine flour, salt, pepper, baking powder, set aside. In bowl of standing mixer beat butter until light and fluffy, add sugar, extracts and eggs. Mix well. Add flour mixture in two increaments, mixing well. Stir in chocolate chips. Fill wells of cupcake pan 3/4 full. Bake 350, 15-20 minutes. Cool on wire rack.

1 c cream cheese, room temperature
3 T butter, room temperature
1 t vanilla pinch of salt
1 1/2 c confectioners' sugar
1/4 c strawberry preserves

In bowl of standing mixer, combine cream cheese and butter, whip until light. Add salt and vanilla, mix to incorporate. Add confectioners' sugar in three increments, scraping down sides of bowl. Add preserves, mix on high 3 - 4 minutes.

Cupcake 84 - Red hot and blue (with pop rocks!)

Forth of July cupcakes with Pop Rocks! Red Hots and pop rocks and chocolate.