5 Minute Brownies, revisit an old favorite!

I have been making these brownies for ages! They originally came from the side of the Hershey’s can, I think, but no matter they are delicious, easy, economical and we made them again last night. They aren’t much more difficult than a box mix, so, make some already!

I have them titled in my aging recipe binder as 5 Minute Brownies, which leads me to believe they were part of a recipe series. Not too long ago I shared a delicious 5 Minute Chocolate Cake. And they really don’t take much more time than that. All mixing is done by hand.

Brownies
adapted from Hershey’s (I think)
makes 1 9X13 pan
350 degree oven

3/4 c cocoa
1/2 t soda
2/3 c oil – divided
1/2 boiling water
2 c sugar
2 eggs
2 t vanilla
1 1/2 c flour
1/2 t baking powder
1/4 t salt

1 c broken walnuts – if desire

In a large bowl, combine cocoa, soda and 1/3 c of the oil.

Add boiling water. Mixture will foam up.

Add the remaining 1/3 c oil, and sugar beating well. Add eggs and vanilla, beat again.  Add flour, baking powder and salt. Mix in until mixture is smooth and no dry pockets remain.

Turn into a prepared 9X13 pan, sprinkle with nuts.

Bake 35 – 40 minutes or until done in your oven. Let cool, cut into bars.

Enjoy!

As always, thanks for taking a moment to stop and say hello. We appreciate your time and your wonderful comments!

For more great recipes, come and visit us at Our Sunday Cafe!

Oatmeal Cookie Dough for the freezer

Recipe rewind, because in the beginning there is a blogger who has no readers. She still posts great food in hopes that the readers will come……….you can also view it here in the archives, Sunday, January 17, 2010.

 

Even though I have been cooking for over 40 years, I am still learning to be better prepared in the kitchen. Being prepared can have a different meaning to each cook; or for that matter any special needs for your own family. But being prepared is a skill worth having and developing to the maximum potential.

Also I like to play. Everyone needs to play, it keeps us happy and young in spirit. Playing in the kitchen is fun for me. Sometimes it even results in a tasty surprise or improved technique. I like to think about and employ ways to be better prepared in the kitchen and through the house. These usually revolve around the kitchen, but not all the time. This morning however, the kitchen is once again my playground.

We have a cookie problem in this house. You see, we love cookies! But We are only two people. And yes we could eat the whole batch of cookies, while they are still fresh and moist. We have been tempted to just eat cookies until they are gone. It would be fairly easy. You come home tired, hungry and just want to eat, now.

“I know lets have cookies and milk for dinner!”
“OK!”

But we usually act all grown up and so, cookies and milk for dinner is not usually the menu selection of the evening. But we still want cookies! Fresh cookies. Delicious cookies. Homemade cookies. So I got to thinking………

Slice and bake cookies, with a twist. Some cookie recipes lend themselves to the traditional log shape. These are sugar cookies, gingersnaps or any cookie dough that does not have chunky ingredients. Other cookie recipes will lend themselves to a “slab” shape that is cut into squares before baking, allowing for the chunky ingredients. Like chocolate chips, broken nut meats, raisins and other dried fruits. Any drop cookie recipe will work in the “slab” shape.

Here is the best part, for each dozen cookies the recipe states, you make a separate molded portion of dough for freezing. When you want a fresh batch of cookies, you simply pull a portion of dough  from the freezer, let it thaw for a few minutes, cut into 12 pieces and bake.And this goes without saying, with 2 or 3 different kinds of cookie dough in the freezer, drop in guests or that needed cookie plate are not such a problem.

I have noticed that most cookies bake at the same temperature for about the same time, 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes. If your cookie dough needs a different temperature and or baking time, simply put a little note on the wrapper. You can use any family favorite recipe, I personally love the oatmeal cookie recipe on the side of the oat barrel. It is sooooo very delicious, adaptable and dependable. I did notice one little thing about freezing dough for cookies, you need to add the tiniest bit of water. I have adapted that wonderful cookie recipe to be freezer friendly.

Oatmeal Cookie Dough for the freezer
adapted from: the Quaker barrel
makes 4 dozen

1 1/4 c butter ( 2 1/2 sticks) – cut into thick slices, this helps keep the mixture from hanging up on the beaters
3/4 c brown sugar
1/2 c sugar
1/2 t salt
1 t vanilla
1 egg
1 t water – don’t leave this out

Cut butter into thick slices, add sugars and salt. Beat until creamy. Add vanilla and egg, beat until fluffy, beat in water.
Combine and whisk together:
1 1/2 flour
1 t soda
1 t cinnamon
1/4 t nutmeg
3 c oats
1 1/2 c raisins
Beat flour mixture into the butter sugar mixture. When smooth, reduce beater speed and add the oats and raisins. Mixing gently until oats and raisins are mixed in evenly.
Scrape the beater clean, smooth the dough into the bottom of the workbowl. Divide into 4 sections. Pack dough into your mold.
Place a square of waxed paper over your mold, add 1/4
portion of the dough. Using another piece of wax paper, cover
over the top of the dough, pressing firmly to make a compact
evenly shaped “slab”. Remove top piece of waxed paper, fold
the extended portion over dough, turn out. Repeat.
Tidy and packaged for the freezer.
To bake, remove one portion from freezer, let thaw a few minutes (or remove the day before and place in refrigerator), cut into 12 pieces and bake. Yum!
Now lets talk chocolate!
To make chocolate chip cookies, eliminate the spice and raisins, add 2 c chocolate chips. Proceed as shown above.

How about Maple Walnut?
To make Maple walnut, substitute maple flavoring for the vanilla, and walnuts for the chocolate chips.

Life is good, especially with a warm cookie from the oven!

As always, thanks for taking a minute to stop by. We appreciate your time and your wonderful comments!

Christmas Cookie Exchange, yummy favorites

If there is one treat that is a symbol of Christmas, it is a the cookie. Preferably a plate or tray of cookies so everyone gets some! Because everyone wants one, or two or more. Years ago I hosted a cookie exchange and it was a lot of fun.

More recently I had a cookie exchange of a different kind, we did not share baked cookies, we share prepared cookie dough. Then each person could bake when fresh cookies were needed. And today I am going to share a cookie exchange of yet a different type, virtual cookies.

I have had a love affair with cookies my whole life, I even wrote about it in this delicious recipe for Cranberry Bliss Bars, yep just like Starbucks.

I like to have a variety of cookies for my family and guests. Something with chocolate, something with spice and something a little more festive. The festive is taken care of with the Cranberry Bliss Bars, but if you are looking for something different, how about Brownies? 
Yes I know Brownies are usually considered to be rather tame, and one of those everyday foods that we have come to rely upon. But add a special ingredient and Brownies are upgraded to first class. I used some very happy cranberries when I made these, but chopped candied cherries would make a great substitution.
Every cookie tray needs a chocolate chip cookie. Now speaking for myself, it took me many years to make a chocolate chip cookie that I was proud of. Yes I always made the cookie recipe on the back of the Nestle package and they were tasty, but they did not bake up attractive. And sometimes the dough would “run” and the cookies would be more taffy than cookie. Yet I made the recipe the same, each time. Then one day I found this recipe and knew I had struck gold. 
And now for a bit of spice. I am a fan of gingerbread and gingersnaps. Yet for some that is too much spice. For those that prefer a softer spice flavor, I offer Cinnamon Flats. Not only are these delicious, they are fun to make with the little ones in your family. After rolling in cinnamon sugar the dough balls are “pressed” with a potato masher before baking. 
Let’s see, something special, something with chocolate, something with spice, ahh yes, now something with nuts. How about Saucepan Salted Pecan Squares or maybe Grandma’s Peanut Butter Bars….because not only are these delicious they are a no-bake cookie. Perfect to whip up when your oven is already in use.
How about at your house? What do you put out for family and guests? I would love to have your recipes also, leave a link in the comments. 

As always, thank for taking a moment to stop and say hello. We appreciate your time and your wonderful comments.

For more great recipes, come and visit us at Our Sunday Cafe!

Green Tea Shortbread Cookies – (a little green for today)

Matcha or green tea powder is used in many recipes across the board…I’ve seen it used in pasta, cakes, breads and many cookies, including shortbread cookies. I first bought the green tea powder meaning to add it to drinks and such to help incorporate this healthy tea into my diet. Well to be honest, green tea is not one of my favorite drinks. So the ideas have been collecting for other ways to use it. I was able to find it in my local Asian market, I also saw it at Whole Foods, so I know you shouldn’t have much trouble finding it.

The other day I was reading the Mountain Rose news letter and they had a recipe for Matcha Shortbread Cookies on the Mountain Rose Blog and I thought these would be perfect for my post here since it is on St Patrick’s Day

Matcha Green Tea Shortbread Cookies
2 cups organic flour
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 cup organic powdered sugar
3 tablespoons organic matcha powder
2 sticks (1 cup) organic unsalted butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon my home made vanilla extract, instead of almond extract
Directions

Sift the dry cookie dough ingredients together in a small bowl. In another bowl, whip the softened butter by hand or with an electric mixer until just smooth. Add the extract to the butter and then combine with all of the dry ingredients. Divide the dough in half and shape into two discs. Wrap the dough in plastic and chill the discs for an hour or two in the refrigerator until completely firm.

Lightly flour your work surface, as well as the top of your dough, and roll out to about an 1/8”. Cut rolled dough with your favorite cookie cutters and place them on parchment paper lined baking sheets. They don’t expand much at all, so don’t worry about creating lots of space between the cookies. Bake them in a preheated oven at 325°F for 10-15 minutes or until lightly golden at the edges.

I really liked them so tasty good, and they have a strong green tea flavor, but if you don’t like that and want to cut back on the matcha powder add in a little more powdered sugar. I think had it in the refrigerator for too long, because it was so hard and I had to wait a while so it would be soft enough to roll out. By the time I had them on the baking sheet they were a little too soft, but they still tasted good. I think next time I won’t roll them so thin, or you could shape it in a log and just slice them off from that to make the cookies.

Even though they are not really an Irish dish, I think I’ve made a Cultural Connection! 🙂

Happy St Patrick’s Day!!

MAPLE VANILLA CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

One of hubby’s favorite cookies is chocolate chip.  I’ve experimented for years on getting the right combo of flavors.  According to hubby I’ve finally done it.
MAPLE VANILLA CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES
3 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 1/3 cups butter, softened
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 Jumbo eggs
4 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon maple extract
pinch cinnamon
12 ounce package milk chocolate chips

  • Preheat oven to 375˚,
  • Sift together the flour, salt and baking soda.  Set aside.
  • Cream butter.
  • Add sugars and cream again.
  • Add eggs and cream again.
  • Add vanilla and maple, beating until smooth.
  • Gradually add the flour mixture until we blended.
  • Add chocolate chips and nuts if desired.
  • Drop by spoon fulls onto ungreased cookie sheet.
  • Bake 10 minutes.

White Chocolate Chip Macadamia Nut Cream Cheese Cookies–Save Room for Dessert

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday with family and friends.
White Chocolate Chip Macadamia Nut Cream Cheese Cookies
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
8 oz package of cream cheese, softened
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
12 oz bag of white chocolate chips
2 cups macadamia nuts
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt. Whisk to combine and set aside until later.
  • Beat the cream cheese and the butter on medium speed until creamy and light, should take about 2 minutes.
  • Add the brown sugar and then mix well.
  • Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed and add the egg and vanilla. Beat on medium speed for 1 minute.
  • Slowly, add the flour mixture a little at a time, until well combined.
  • Fold in white chocolate chips and macadamia nuts.
  • I suggest placing the dough in the freezer or refrigerator for a few hours. In my experience the cookies come out better. But, this step isn’t necessary. Roll dough into walnut size balls then place on a greased cookie sheet.
  • Bake for 12 minutes, or until the edges are golden in your pre-heated oven. Let rest on cookie sheet for 5 minutes then move to a wire rack to cool completely

Poppy Seed Pinwheel Cookies


Last year I picked some up poppy seed filling from a German/European Specialty store, thinking I would find some way to use it, besides in a strudel, then saw some spiral cookies with poppy seed. It seems Eastern European countries like poppy seeds and all seem to have their version of poppy seed cookies… From Kolache, pinwheels, logs and just poppy seeds mixed in the cookies. . .these are similar to Hungarian Pinwheel Cookies.

Poppy Seed Pinwheel Cookies

Ingredients:
-1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened or 1 stick
-1/4 cup granulated sugar
-1 tsp grated lemon peel
-1 large egg
-1 Tbsp sour cream
-1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
-1 tsp baking soda
-1/4 tsp salt
-1/4 tsp ground cloves
-1 tsp vanilla (I used my homemade vanilla extract)
-*Poppy seed filling ¾ cup ( I bought mine made at the German Store and used the whole tub)

*You can use canned or make your own, I bought mine at Geier’s Sausage Kitchen a German meat market and food store. If you make your own, here are a couple of recipes:
•1/2 cup milk
•1 Tablespoon honey
•1 cup ground poppy seeds
•2 Tablespoons sugar
•1 teaspoon ground allspice
or:
1 cup poppy seed
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup honey
1/3 cup chopped dates
1/3 cup chopped nuts
Dash of cinnamon

Make the Dough:
With an electric mixer, beat together the butter, sugar, egg, and sour cream in a large bowl. Stir in the flour, salt, cloves (I added a little mace to mine too) and lemon zest to make a soft dough. (The dough may be made ahead and refrigerated covered, for up to two days.) I wanted to say I had to make mine by hand because my electric mixer burned up making my molasses gingerbread cookies. It can be done!
I don’t think my dough was stiff enough, but I rolled it in between two sheets of waxed paper into a…err…rectangle..

… which is easier said than done, so I adjusted it with a a little cut and paste.

Spread the filling on the dough, which went on quite easy. Yes, it’s not the neatest, but you can get picky with yours if you like.
When you roll it up start to peel back the waxed paper as you go. You can use parchment paper instead if that’s what you have. Some suggested to refrigerate before rolling… probably a good idea.

At this point I tried to cut the cookies and the dough was just too soft, the end just mushed. So I refrigerated it for a bit until it was easier to cut. When you are ready, preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, and line cookie sheets with parchment paper.


Then cut roll into ½-inch slices and arrange them about 1 inch apart on prepared cookie sheets (or just use your stoneware jelly roll pan like I do). Bake for about 10 minutes or until edges are light brown.


Cool pinwheel cookies on baking sheets for a couple of minutes before transferring them to wire racks to cool completely. Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar before serving if desired. That end piece is great for sneaking a taste of the cookies, and save the pretty ones for guests!

These are now a seasonal regular with cookie baking in full swing!

Cheers!