Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Pretzel Scotch Cookies

Yesterday was my Dad's birthday. If he was alive, he would have been 68 years old. He blessed me with so many wisdoms and good traits. Maybe a few crazy ideas once in a while. My Dad ALWAYS loved a good dessert. And when it was his birthday, that meant he could have doubles. What was his Favorite??? Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter frosting, Butter Pecan ice cream, Peach Pie, Sour Cream Raisin Pie (Thanksgiving only), cookies and anything else. Some of my family got together last night for a wonderful summer dinner on the patio at my Moms. It was a good evening. My Dad would have smiled, but we had no dessert...

My Dad would have loved these cookies. Actually we all love them. My second sister, her children and my Mom are going out of town this weekend to see some extended family. I decided that they needed travel cookies. My sister was all over my idea. I am still on the pretzel kick, but these are a completely different spin on cookies. I love the whole brown butter concept for Chocolate Cookies. I made the Cooks Illustrated recipe so many times, I knew it by heart.

This recipe is a combination of nutty butter melded with sugars. Chocolate Chips. Butterscotch Chips and Pretzels.  It is a montage in your mouth. So very good.  These cookies are the best if they have been refrigerated for at least 8 hours. This is why you really need to READ through a whole recipe before you start. I chilled them for an hour. They still spread out, and that is why my cook time was only 9 minutes per batch.

Pretzel Scotch Cookies
Slightly adapted from
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/4 cups brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup broken or crushed pretzels
1/2 cup butterscotch chips
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Place butter in a medium heavy bottom sauce pan over medium heat . The butter will melt and start to foam. As it foams, a wonderful nutty aroma will develop. Continue swirling the pan as the butter continues to cook. The butter will start to turn brown. When it has turned brown, but not burnt, remove from heat. Pour buter into your bowl for your stand mixer. Add both sugars and mix by hand thoroughly.  As the butter cools, the melding of the sugars with the butter is amazing. Somewhat caramel like.

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, salt and baking soda. Set aside.

Once your butter has cooled, attach to the stand mixer and beat the butter and sugars at medium speed of  2 minutes. Add the eggs and continue to beat. Add milk and vanilla and beat at medium until well mixed. Slowly add the flour mixture, beating on low speed until combined. Using a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, stir in pretzels, butterscotch chips and chocolate chips until combined.

Cover bowl for a least eight hours. Really very important

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheet with a Silpat or parchment paper.
Remove the chilled dough from the fridge. Scoop out a rounded tablespoon size piece of dough. Place on lined sheet. Leaving about one inch space between cookies. Chilled cookies will not spread out very much. Leave more room if not chilled long enough. Bake between 9-11 minutes or until barely brown. Remove from over and allow the cookies to cool on the sheet for 2-3 minutes and transfer to cooling rack.

This dough was chilled for only one hour. Still soft

Happy Birthday Dad. Safe travels to my Mom and Sister. Enjoy these yummy cookies.
These cookies would be very good with Ice Cream... Vanilla or Chocolate

Monday, July 23, 2012

Peanut Butter, Chocolate Chip & Pretzel Cookies

Last week as I want hunting around, looking for something for dinner, I can across this wonderful cookie recipe. All of my favorites, Chocolate chips, peanut butter and pretzels. Ohhh what a heavenly combination of chocolate, sweet and salty. And my love for good cookie dough.  OMG, I could just sit and eat the whole bowl. Just a few nibbles. You have to taste what you make.

Today is my youngest sister's boyfriends Birthday. He is a Cookie Monster to the MAX. He could eat a whole batch of cookies and NOT gain an ounce. He is so wonderful to my sister, so I made him cookies. I know he likes Chocolate Chips, I was not sure about Peanut Butter, but I think all will be good.  My oven had been out of working order for over a week. But it was finally fixed on Saturday. It is still so freaking HOT here, almost to Hot for a batch of cookies. I do not believe it will ever rain again. (YES, we still watering and have green grass)

I love cookies. My Mom always made cookies for us when we were kids. She would make batches of cookies and freeze them. I believe are favorites were always Chocolate Chip and Peanut Butter Cookies. AND, that is what I made these and added a Cup of Pretzels.

These cookies came together easily. I really like the texture of these cookies. They were not heavy like a regular Peanut Butter cookie. They had a bit shortbread crumble to them.

Peanut Butter, Chocolate Chip and Pretzel Cookies
followed from

1 1/4 cups all purpose Flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup softened butter (1 stick)
1 cup creamy peanut butter
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup peanut butter chips
1 cup chopped pretzels

Preheat over to 350 degrees F.
Line a large baking sheet with a Silpat baking mat or parchment paper. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and sea salt. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter and peanut butter together until fluffy. Add both sugars and beat until smooth.  Add the egg and mix until just combined. Add the milk and the vanilla extract and mix again.
Add the flour mixture and beat until flour disappears. Stir in chocolate chips, peanut butter chips and pretzels.
Drop cookie dough onto prepared baking sheet.
Bake for 10 minutes, or until cookies are barely brown on the bottem edges.
Cool cookies on the baking sheets for 2-3 minutes. Then move to a wire rack to cool completely

I love using my cookie scoop. My Mom bought it for me for Christmas one year AFTER I had made several batches of Christmas cookies. Your cookies again look the same, and cook the same. I also love my Silpats. A great investment. Your cookies never stick.

These are such a great cookie. They would be great warm with a bowl of Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream. Why do I give my cookies away??

My Husband gave me the Seal of Appoval. Fabulous as always. Another cookie to add to the List.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Vanilla Ice Cream and Cherries

I realized that it had been over a week since my last post, and what had I made. NOTHING. Well, I have been cooking, but just Summer stuff. Burgers and Dogs. Nothing special. Though it is only the middle of July, we have had a very HOT summer. So I decided we needed an ice cream break. I purchased an ice cream maker about four years ago. It probably took three years prior to actually decide to buy one. My family loves ice cream, I love ice cream, but my diet does not. I have made so many different flavors of ice cream throughout the years. I cannot tell you my favorite.  I also like the different styles of ice cream. Cooked or Philadelpia style. It usually depends on how much time I want to spend and what I have a taste for. Usually though when it come down to it, I like to make Vanilla Ice Cream. I have tried many different variations, really you just need your cream, milk, sugar and good vanilla.

Making ice cream is very easy. The cherries were the work. As I pitted my cherries, I always remember why I do not buy cherries. These were very good tasting, but what a pain in the butt.

The ice is only four ingredients. Whipping Cream. milk, white sugar and vanilla. Your texture of ice cream will vary if you alter the cream and milk. Heavy Cream and Whole milk make a thicker ice cream. Mix the ingredients together, make sure the sugar is dissolved.

Pour into the ice cream maker. I always keep my bowl in the freezer. You NEVER want to fill the ice cream maker to the top. As the ice cream churned it freezes and grows. Believe me, the mess you get then, a lesson learned.

I could really just start eating here, but there was dinner to be made first....

Can you taste delicious..... I can.....

When you are short on time, place ice cream into a pie plate, it will freeze faster. The ice cream should freeze for a least 4 -6 hours, or even overnight. That is the beauty of having ice cream for dessert. It can be made in advanced and it is EASY.

Pitting cherries is not a hard job, just very mind numbing. I understand why people buy frozen cherries. I had over two cups of cherries for my topping.

I added a cup of water and 1 1/2 tablespoons of white sugar. Depending on the tartness of the cherries, please vary the sugar. Bring to a boil and let cook down. I added my tablespoon of corn starch, mixed in and reduced the heat to low. And let cook until thickened.

Vanilla Ice Cream with Cherry Sauce
Ice Cream - Adapted from The Ultimate Ice Cream Book Bruce Weinstein
2 cups Whipping Cream
3/4 cup of Sugar
1 cup of Milk
2 teaspoons Vanilla

Mix whipping cream and sugar. The sugar needs to dissolve. Add milk and vanilla. Pour into frozen bowl and mix according to the manufacturers instructions. When done, place in a freezer safe bowl and chill.

Cherry Sauce
2 cups of pitted Cherries
1 cup of water
1 1/2 - 2 tablespoons of white sugar
1 tablespoon of corn starch

Pitt cherries. Place cherries in a pan, add water and sugar. Bring to a boil and reduce heat. Sauce will form and cherries will cook down. After about 5 - 10 minutes, add corn starch and mix until no lumps are seen. Cook on low until thicken. Remove from heat and let cool.

Scoop ice cream and spoon cherries over top. Easy, delicious and a great part of summer.

                                                                          or you can eat  Snap Peas all summer...

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Malted Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

Happy 4th of July, well one day late. My Husband and some of my neighbors like to put flags in our front yards. We put out 230 flags this year. It is very cool to drive down our street and see the patriotism.  It is also STILL very HOT here. We are still experiencing record heat. It is truely amazing that we have had so many hot days.  We are experiencing drought like conditions. (A side note: My husband likes having green grass)

On Tuesday while I was checking out, I came across this Fantastic Bar Recipe. I love making bars. They are easy to make and take so much less time than cookies. I really like making cookies, but there are millions of bar recipes. I love to look through old church cookbooks for something a little different.

This recipe jumped out at me, screaming MAKE ME!!! And I had all the ingredients.

I made these early in the morning on the 4th. My family picniced out at the beach that day. We were lucky and found shade. Burgers, Brats, Dogs, Chips, some fruit and these fabulous bars. The plate was almost gone when we left. Actually, I probably could have eaten the whole pan by myself. There is a lot of chocolate chips in these bars, but is there ever TOO much chocolate. This recipe is quick to throw together. The recipe called for a 9x9 pan. I do not have one, so I started with an 8x8. Pulled the parchment paper and batter out and placed into a 10x10 pan. Worked perfectly. Since I used the 10x10 pan, I started at 22 minutes cooking time. I added two more minutes. I feel that the edges were slightly dark. These bars were very moist 23 or 24 minutes. The cooking time would matter depending on the thickness.

Malted Chocolate Chip Bars
Perfectly made from

1 cup of room temperature butter
1 1/4 cups packed brown sugar
1/2 cup malted milk powder
2 Tablespoons chocolate syrup
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
1 egg
2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup milk chocolate chips

1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the butter, brown sugar, malted milk powder, chocolate syrup and vanilla for two minutes. Beat in egg until well combined.
2. In a small bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt. Stir together
3. Gradually add the flour mixture to the wet mixture and mix well
4. Stir in all the chocolate chips
5. Line a 9x9 or 10x10 baking dish with parchment paper. Press the dough into the pan.
6. Bake at 375 degrees for 22 -30 minutes. (DEPENDING on the size of pan)
7. Cool the pan on a cooling rack.

The batter is a smooth and stiff.

I really fit into my pan nicely. The 8x8 pan was just to full. You could use a 9x13 pan and probably only cook for 18 to 20 minutes

My kitchen just smelled amazing when these come out of the oven

Bars ~~ got to LOVE them