Geek Chef

I cook, I talk, I geek

Vanilla Bean and/or Orange Shortbread Cookies January 31, 2013

Filed under: Food — geekchef @ 5:11 pm
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I made some super fantastic cookies for my mom on her birthday.

The vanilla bean shortbread is great on it’s own or can be doctored up in many ways. You can opt out of the vanilla bean part and just use the vanilla extract, but you would be missing out on a really awesome taste.I made a huge batch and split it in half, adding orange zest and juice to one of the halves. I would also recommend a shot of espresso or a packet or two of  Starbucks via. I think they make a Blonde roast that is far less bitter than the regular roast.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • Interior scrapings of 1 split vanilla bean
  • 3-4 cups flour depending on moisture and altitude
  • ** for orange version**
  • 3 teaspoons finely grated fresh orange zest
  • Juice of ½ orange
  • Juice of ½ lemon

Preparation

In a mixer or with electric beaters mix butter, sugar and salt until creamy.

Continue mixing; add the egg yolks one at a time, then add the vanilla extract and scrapings from the vanilla bean, orange zest and citrus juice.

Reduce speed on mixer and add flour one cup at a time, allowing flour to incorporate before adding more. Add flour until the dough starts to look dry, but still soft.

Remove dough from mixer, roll into a log and wrap in wax paper or plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour.  

Preheat oven to 375°F and unwrap dough. Slice the dough to create rounds about ¼ to ½ inch thick and place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.

Bake until cookies look dry and lightly golden.

 

 

Cranky Cookies January 3, 2010

Filed under: Food — geekchef @ 10:58 pm
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I’ve been in a bad mood today. I think it’s the cold weather and the fact that my vacation is over and I have to go back to work tomorrow. So to cheer myself up, I decided to make chocolate chunk cookies. I enjoy comfort eating, but I prefer comfort cooking (then eating), I feel like I accomplished something, burning a few calories and having something yummy to eat.

Chocolate Chunk Cookies

1 1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 stick butter, softened
2 eggs
1 large bar of dark chocolate
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
pinch of baking soda

Unwrap one of your favorite brands of chocolate and chop into chunks. Mix dry ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.

Beat butter and sugar in a large bowl until blended and creamy. Add vanilla and eggs and mix well, add chocolate chunks and then fold in flour mixture.
Place bowl in fridge to chill for 30 min. Preheat oven to 350 and drop spoonfuls of dough onto a baking sheet, allowing room for dough to spread. Bake for about 10 min or until cookies or golden.

 

Cookie Overload December 28, 2009

Filed under: Food — geekchef @ 4:25 pm
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Tis the season for sweets and goodies…Ok, well the holiday season is almost over and I am up to my ears in cookies and candies – but I still love them and I’m sure you do too. So this year, instead of trying to finish up the last of them before New Years so I can fulfill my resolution of losing the weight gained from holiday indulgences. I’m making a more productive resolution – perfecting my recipes and sharing them with my readers. To misquote ZeFrank, “indulging, so you don’t have to”, enjoy!

Today’s recipe was a cookie invention of necessity, sort of. I made crème brûlée (recipe coming soon) using several egg yolks, which left me with several unused egg whites.  Meringue seemed like the answer to my question “what do I do with all these fracking egg whites?!”

Once you have gotten the hang of beating egg whites these cookies are a snap to make. They do require a long time in the oven, so keep that in mind when making them.

Mocha Meringue Cookies

6 egg whites
1 cup granulated sugar, baker’s sugar or fine grain works best
1 1/2 cup bittersweet or semi sweet chocolate, chopped or in chip form
2 packets of Starbucks Via instant coffee or 4 tablespoons of instant coffee
pinch of cream of tartar

Preheat oven too its lowest setting, about 200 degrees. Mix sugar and instant coffee (I like Via for flavor and the fine crystals dissolve quickly) in a small bowl and keep handy. Whisk cold egg whites and cream of tartar in a large metal bowl until it starts to become white and frothy.

Continue to whisk eggs and slowly add sugar mixture, a little at a time. Meringue is done when you can make stiff peaks when you pull the whisk out, it should look like shiny chocolate mousse. The sign of a great meringue is if the meringue stays in the bowl when turned upside down. I don’t suggest you try that unless you are sure it’s going to stay put and even then, do it over the sink.

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or a non stick silicone baking mat and drop spoonfuls of meringue with minimal spacing, cookies will not spread much. For more attractive cookies, you can pipe them using a fun tip. The meringue will hold its shape when handled well, over handling will make it deflate and become watery.

Place cookie sheet on the middle rack of the oven and let cook for about 20 minutes, more or less depending on the size of your cookies. They should be a nice golden color and dry to the touch, keep an eye on them to make sure they do not burn. Set aside to cool, while warm they are soft and can collapse with handling.

After the cookies have cooled for about 15 minutes, you can start melting the chocolate. Place chocolate pieces in a pot (preferably nonstick, it’s easier to clean) on a low temperature and slowly stir. Continue to stir until the chocolate is completely melted. Turn off the heat but keep the pot on the burner and stir once in a while, scraping the sides, you want to keep the chocolate melted but you don’t want it to burn.

The cookies should be cool enough to handle and easily pop off the parchment. Carefully pull the cookies off one by one and dip the bottoms in the melted chocolate and place them back on the sheet. Once all the cookies have been dipped, place the entire cookie sheet in the refrigerator to harden the chocolate, about 5 minutes.

 

C is for Cookie March 26, 2009

Filed under: Food — geekchef @ 4:53 pm
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I was in the mood to bake last night. Which is a little rare for me, I’m more of a chef than a baker. I am happy with these cookies, so I’m passing on the recipe. Enjoy!

Anise Seed Cookies

1 1/2 cups butter, softened
2 cups white sugar
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon anise (or fennel, same thing) seeds
1 teaspoon anise extract

Cream butter and sugar together then add eggs and extracts and anise seeds. Then add remaining ingredients and fold together until mixed. Cover bowl and refrigerate at least an hour. If you are looking for uniform cookies try pouring the batter onto a piece of parchment or wax paper and wrap it up in a tube shape. When it’s set you can slice it into shape.

I baked mine at 400 degrees for about 12 min, but each oven is slightly different. SO I hesitate to instruct any further that bake until golden.

I glazed the cookies with a powdered sugar and milk paste and sprinkled goodies on them. They are pretty good by itself, but more sugar is always better 🙂

 

Tea Party January 21, 2009

Filed under: Food — geekchef @ 5:08 pm
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1232586487-hr-68This year for my birthday, I’m having a tea party. Complete with funny hats and a few characters from Alice in Wonderland.So in the spirit of the celebration, here are some tea cookie recipes:

Lavender and Lemon Sugar Cookies

1/4 tsp. dried lavender buds
1/4 cup sugar1 cup soft butter
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 large egg
2 1/8 cup flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp.lemon extract

In a food processor or blender, grind lavender with sugar. Cream sugar with butter and powdered sugar, and add egg. Stir in lemon extract, then flour, soda, tartar and salt; blending well. Place a tablespoon of dough on a greased cookie sheet. Flatten dough with the bottom of a glass that has been dipped in sugar, and sprinkle with additional sugar. Bake in preheated 375 degree oven for 10-15 minutes or until golden.

Cream Cheese Cookies

3 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter
1 cup all-purpose flour
raspberry or strawberry preserves

Combine the cream cheese, butter and flour and blend completely. Chill. Roll out the dough, half at a time, to about 1/4 inch thick. Cut into small rounds or other dainty shapes. Make a small depression in the center of each cookie and place 1/2 tsp. preserves. Bake on an ungreased cookie sheet at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes. Cool, and dust with confectioners’ sugar if desired. Makes about 2 dozen.

Old Fashioned Anise Seed Cookies

2 cups granulated sugar
2 medium eggs
1/2 cup molasses
1 1/2 cups shortening
2 tsp. finely crushed anise seeds
4 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
4 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cloves
1 tsp. ginger

Cream the sugar, eggs, molasses, shortening and ground anise until it resembles a smooth paste. Sift the dry ingredients remaining three times and add to the anise mixture. Mix well. Roll the dough into balls and coat each one in granulated sugar. Place on lightly greased baking sheet and bake at 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes. Remove from oven and cool for 5 minutes. Makes 3-4 dozen.

Lemon Basil Cookies

1/4 cup butter
3 ounces cream cheese
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons dried basil, crushed
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tsp. grated lemon peel
1 package lemon cake mix
1/2 cup crushed walnuts or pecans

Mix together the butter, cheese, yolk and juice. Add the cake mix, and blend well. Stir in the nuts, peel and basil. Chill for 1/2 hour or more. Roll into small 1/2 inch balls and place on greased cookie sheet. Parchment paper works well. Flatten with a fork dipped in sugar. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 10-15 minutes.

Cream Cheese Coconut Cookies

1(8 ounce) package cream cheese
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 egg
1/4 teaspoon coconut extract
1 (18.5 ounce) package yellow cake mix
Optional:
1/2 cup coconut
1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, cream together the cream cheese and butter. Stir in the egg and extract. Add cake mix, and stir until well blended. Roll into 1 inch balls and coat in the confectioners’ sugar. Place 1 inch apart onto an ungreased cookie sheet. (I used parchment paper). Bake for 10 to 13 minutes in the preheated oven. After a few minutes remove from baking sheets to cool.

 

My favorite cookie August 8, 2007

Filed under: Food — geekchef @ 9:42 am
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I went to Dianda’s Italian bakery the other day and loaded up on cookies. Usually I go straight for the cakes – rum and custard, so good. But that day I kept it ‘lite’. Among the mixed bag o’ yummy was one of my favorites – Amaretti, after having Dianda’s version it IS my favorite. It was perfect, light and sweet but not too sweet, delicate crispy outside and chewy in the center. MAN, I’m in love.

Don’t ask me why I haven’t tried baking Amaretti myself, I couldn’t tell you. But it’s so easy! Here is the recipe , make some and send me a sample or 5. 🙂

Amaretti Cookies

2 large egg whites
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2 cups (8 ounces) finely ground, blanched almonds
1 teaspoon cornstarch

Beat egg whites until foamy, gradually beat in sugar and almond extract. Continue beating for several minutes until whites form very stiff, shiny peaks.
Stir in almonds and cornstarch until well combined.

Drop generous tablespoon of batter into small mounds about 2″ apart on parchment-lined, baking sheets. Bake at 350° for 17-22 minutes until firm and lightly browned. Cool on wire racks. Makes 30 cookies.

Chewy Variation:

Beat egg whites with a fork until broken up and slightly frothy. Stir in sugar until combined; then mix in remaining ingredients (and 1/4-1/2 teaspoon optional cardamom if desired) to make very stiff paste.

With moistened hands, form scant tablespoons of paste into 11/4″ balls. Arrange 2″ apart on baking sheets. Use moistened fingertips to flatten each ball slightly. Bake at 325° for 15-20 minutes or until firm and very lightly browned. Cool on wire racks. These are like traditional macaroons.