Posted by: Brian on |
Life evolves. I love my brownies but I am increasingly intrigued by blondies, with that butterscotch flavor that comes from a rich, eggy brown sugar batter.
I still like chocolate. As in chocolate chips.
And I’m now increasing fond of dulce de leche.
So, when I opened up Simply Sensational Cookies by Nancy Baggett and found all three of them combined, what could I do? I already had a supply of dulce de leche on hand, homemade but of course. I had all the other ingredients just sitting on my kitchen island, so off I went.
As with many of Nancy’s new cookies, this is a one-pot wonder, made with minimum fuss and mess. The recipe does not call for coconut but that would surely be a welcome ingredients, say 1/2 cup.
When I baked, I was by myself, upstate. Suzen was working in the city. I drove back to the city and came into our apartment. I smiled at her and put a piece of paper towel on the kitchen island. Suzen has a very good nose. Beautiful, of course. But also highly functional. She can sniff me out in a flash.
She unfolded the paper towel to reveal one of these cookies. She took a bite and sighed. She had just experienced this rich amalgam of sugar, chocolate, brown sugar, and, of course, the dulce de leche.
“Are there more?” she asked.
“Negotiable,” I said. I meant it.
Dulce de Leche Swirl Congo Bars
Yield: 18 2”-by-3” bars
- ¾ cup [1 ½ sticks] unsalted butter, cut into chunks
- 1 ½ cups packed light brown sugar
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3 large eggs, at room temperature
- 2 cups unbleached all-purpose white flour
- 1 cup chopped nuts, walnuts or pecans
- 1 cup chocolate chips [semisweet, milk, …]
- 1 cup dulce de leche
Baking Preliminaries: Position a rack in the middle of the oven; preheat to 350°F. Generously grease a 9 by 13-inch baking pan or coat with nonstick spray.
In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat, stirring, until mostly melted and runny. Stir until completely melted and free of lumps, then set aside until cooled to warm. Stir in the sugar, baking powder, salt, and vanilla until well blended. One at a time, vigorously stir in the eggs. Stir in the flour just until evenly incorporated. Fold in the nuts and chocolate morsels until evenly distributed.
Spread a generous half of the mixture evenly in the pan. Put evenly spaced heaping tablespoonfuls of the dulce de leche over the batter. Then drop spoonfuls of the remaining batter over the top. Using a table knife held vertically, swirl the two together to produce a slightly rippled effect; don’t blend them too much.
Bake (middle rack) for 25 to 30 minutes, until nicely browned on top and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely on a wire rack before cutting. Cut lengthwise into thirds and crosswise into sixths (or as desired).
Source: Simply Sensational Cookies by Nancy Baggett
Posted by: Brian on |
Maxines are these wonderful cookies we make only at Christmas time. It’s past Christmas, and I’m not planning on making more unless Suzen caves on our only-once-a-year rule, but this season’s version were particularly good. Good tasting as always but this time good looking too. Here’s a trick you can use to get those refrigerator cookies round, or at least closer to round.
Maxines consist of a chocolate-nut center that is wrapped in a brown sugar dough. The whole package is chilled, then cut and baked. The trick is do do that wrapping and not have any “holes” that expand when baking. And, you want the whole thing to be round.
We’ve tried different techniques, including wrapping the log in waxed paper, putting a ruler edge next to the base, on pulling on the free end of the wax paper. That kinda works, but not always.
This technique is better. When you finish off a roll of paper towel, you are left with that cardboard core. Cut it lengthwise, put the log inside, seal it up, then press and roll. I’ve found it’s best to do the wrapping with the brown sugar dough and then do an first chill. You want that dough to have a little resistance so you can shape it without simply squishing it. The picture tells the tale. The cookies look solid, no holes between filling dough, and they don’t look like a machine stamped them out. Homemade, with some minor departures from perfection, can be quite exceptional.
Oh, you want a Maxine now? Just search on this blog and you’ll find this wonderful recipe.
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