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 |
The introduction to Simply Sensational Cookies by Nancy Baggett has three subpoints:
- · Times change.
- · People change.
- · Cookies do, too.
This is not just another cookie book. This is a very wonderful, refreshing, and important book. It’s about more than mere change. This book revolutionizes cookies. And in the course of doing that, you’ll find an array of absolutely fantastic new cookie concepts.
A distinguished writer, Nancy recounts the cookie culture she grew up in. The same as mine. You’d make chocolate chip cookies, maybe a double batch, but use just a few chocolate chips because, as Nancy says, those were frugal times. This book has a “scandalous” recipe with 1 pound of chocolate for 30 chocolate chip cookies.
And they happen to be very good.
Nancy has looked at old cookie ideas and recipes and reworked them. The flavors are bigger and better. To save time, she has many easy one-bowl recipes. A food processor is a vital tool for her, both to save time and to create textures that were simply unknown a generation or two ago.
Ah, texture. Nancy is very big on texture. She wants cookies that snap when they should, shatter properly if they are supposed to be brittle, and are dangerous to your clothing if they are of the gooey variety. She has many of those.
Literally, Nancy has tackled cookies from every perspective: look, feel, taste, ingredients, preparation, and flavor components. The recipe below, One-Pot Honey-Oatmeal Cookies, is a great example. First of all, they taste wonderful. Second, they are damn near indestructible. These are the perfect cookies to put in your backpack or bicycle pack and take on a journey. Two hours in, when you need energy, these are lovely ways to boost you up. And, they are beautiful.
When you make them, there’s a step there to let the dough just rest for 5-10 minutes. That’s the top left picture up there. I never saw that in a cookie recipe before, and it’s quite the example of how Nancy has truly developed new techniques here to bring these cookie flavor and textures to perfection.
Oh, flavors? Here are some of the recipes I have marked to try [and to blog, don’t worry]:
- · Best Every Dulce De Leche Bars [they are!]
- · Cranberry Orange Spice Shortbreads
- · Crispy Soft Cinnamon Vanilla Monster Cookies
- · Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies
- · Chocolate, Grapefruit and Tarragon Wafers
- · Cranberry and Fig Conserve-Stuffed Blue and Cheddar Cheese Cocktail Sandwich Cookies
There are sweet cookies here, savory. Dessert items and wonders to grace an appetizer tray. The final section on Frostings, Filling, and Finishing Touches is filled with ideas to last a lifetime.
You’ll see many of Nancy’s cookies here over the next year. But, why wait? Get your copy of Simply Sensational Cookies now and join the revolution.
One-Pot Honey-Oatmeal Cookies
Yield: 40 2 ½ inch cookies
- 1 ½ cups [3 sticks] unsalted butter, cut into chunks
- 1 ⅔ cups packed dark or light brown sugar
- ⅓ cup clover honey or other mild honey
- ¼ teaspoon regular table salt or ¾ teaspoon coarse salt, divided
- 4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- 1 ¾ cups unbleached all-purpose white flour
- 2 cups of water
Baking Preliminaries: Position a rack in the middle of the oven; preheat to 325°F. Generously grease several large baking sheets or coat with non-stick spray.
In a very large saucepan or pot, melt the butter until fluid over medium heat, stirring. Remove from the heat. Stir the sugar, honey and salt into the butter. If using regular table salt, add it all; if using coarse crystal salt, add ⅛ teaspoon and reserve the remainder for garnishing the cookies.
Continue stirring the mixture, mashing out any lumps of sugar until completely smooth. Thoroughly stir in the oats and baking powder. Let the dough stand until cooled slightly.
Stir the our into the dough until evenly incorporated. Let it stand to firm up for 5 to 10 minutes. Using soupspoons or a1 ½-inch diameter ice cream scoop, scoop up the dough and drop in even 1 ½ inch mounds, spacing two inches apart. Pad down the mounds into 2-inch rounds. If garnishing with coarse salt, add a few crystals to the cookie tops.
Bake [middle rack] one sheet at a time for 10 to 13 minutes or until the cookies are brown at the edges and lightly tinged on top. Watch carefully, as they may brown very rapidly at the end.
Transfer the baking sheets to wire racks. Let the cookies firm up for about 2 minutes. Using a wide spatula, transfer the cookies to the wire racks. Let cool completely.
These can be stored airtight for up to 1 week. They can be frozen, airtight, for one month.
Source: Simply Sensation Cookies by Nancy Baggett
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