Sweet Melissa Sunday: Pistachio Linzer Thumbprints

sweetmelissasundays See!!…I told you I’d be baking for Sweet Melissa Sunday this week!! And I did!!!…:)

This week’s recipe was chosen Dawn of Growing Up (And Having Fun) After 40 and hosted by Tracey of Tracey’s Culinary Adventures. Thank you Dawn and Tracey for choosing and hosting this week’s recipe. The full recipe can be found on Tracey’s blog here.

This recipe can be done with either Pistachio or Hazelnuts, and I actually bought both. Right before starting, I asked Steven if he’d prefer pistachios or hazelnuts, and he said pistachios (although I would’ve preferred hazelnuts), so we used pistachios (this time).

I made two changes to the recipe…

1. Instead of using preserves/jam as the filling, I used chocolate chips. Everything is better with chocolate…:)
2. I didn’t use lemon zest (or any kind of zest) in our cookies. We just don’t like zest…:P

I refrigerated the dough for a little toooo long (4 hours) so it was a little too firm when I did the thumbprint part of the process. On some of the dough-balls, when I pressed my thumb into the ball of dough, a chunk of hard dough separated from the rest of the ball. The second and third batch was a lot easier as it started to soften.


I also didn’t have enough pistachios to roll all the dough-balls in. I think I had enough for about half of the dough. I’m thinking it’s because I didn’t chop the pistachios fine enough(?).


The balls of dough look a little like fishballs…:)

I think I would decrease (or omit) the amount of cinnamon next time. I’m not sure if I’m too fond of it. I think I like the traditional buttery thumbprints more, I still like the nuts…just not too sure about the cinnamon. After tasting both versions of with and without the exterior nuts, I think I like it without the nuts more…

All in all, this was a good recipe. I think I’ll make it again…probably with hazelnuts and without the cinnamon. 🙂

Be sure to check out the other bakers’ experience with this week’s recipe!!

My Staple Chocolate Chip Cookies with Roasted Almonds

The chocolate chip cookies I made last week were really good the same day, but once the next day rolled around, they were really hard and really chewy. However, I really really liked the roasted almonds, so I went back to my staple chocolate chip cookie recipe and made it with the roasted almonds. These were so good, just the right soft-&-chewy-ness!

My staple chocolate chip cookie recipe can be found on AllRecipes. The key ingredient to this cookie is the vanilla pudding mix (I believe). If you love soft & chewy chocolate chip cookies, then these are a must try!!

My Staple Chocolate Chip Cookies with Roasted Almonds (adapted from AllRecipes)
Ingredients:
2 1/4 cup All-Purpose Flour
1 tsp Baking Soda
1 cup Butter, softened
3/4 cup Packed Brown Sugar
1/4 cup Sugar
1 (3.4 oz) package Instant Vanilla Pudding Mix
2 Eggs
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
2 cups Semisweet Chocolate Chips
1 cup Chopped Roasted Almonds

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Sift together the flour and baking soda, set aside.
2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar. Beat in the instant pudding mix until blended. Stir in the eggs and vanilla. Blend in the flour mixture. Finally, stir in the chocolate chips and nuts. Drop cookies by rounded spoonfuls onto parchment paper-lined cookie sheets.
3. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes in the preheated oven. Edges should be golden brown.

Sweet Melissa Sundays: Chocolate Chip Cookies with Toasted Almonds

sweetmelissasundays I, once again, have cheated because I didn’t make this week’s Sweet Melissa Sunday recipe. This week’s recipe for Sweet Melissa Sunday is actually Strawberry Rhubarb Cobbler Pie, which was chosen by Tracey of Tracey’s Culinary Adventures (the recipe can be found here). Since we’re not fans of pie, and I really don’t think we’re ready to make the leap into what looks like red celery, I decided to skip this week’s recipe and traveled back in time to June 14th, 2009 when the recipe was Chocolate Chip Cookies with Toasted Almonds chosen by the Sweet Melissa herself!

I’ve baked chocolate chip cookies way too many times, but have always used walnuts/pecans as the nut-of-choice. It is sooo good with toasted almonds!! I love Haagen Dazs’ Vanilla Swiss Almond Ice Cream, and I love chocolate covered almonds; I don’t know why it never occurred to me that almonds in chocolate chip cookies would work wonders!!

I’m glad that I went back before my time and baked this today!! It is the best Chocolate Chip Cookie I’ve made and had!! I can’t wait till I make more of this!!

Update: These cookies are definitely consume-same-day cookies. Once the next day rolled around, they were stale (REALLY hard and REALLY chewy).

Dorie Greenspan’s My Best Chocolate Chip Cookies

I mentioned in my last post that I baked two different kinds of cookies for Henry…chocolate chip cookies were the other kind. Although these also seemed to be well-liked, I didn’t really like them. I prefer softer, thicker cookies. These flattened out a lot while baking and came out almost crispy. These cookies just won the title of “Ugliest cookies EVER” from the Pecan shortbreads. I guess it didn’t help that I baked them in overly large scoops so after flattening out, they became one giant cookie. Overall, they were still good, because they were Chocolate Chip Cookies, but these will not be my go-to recipe for Chocolate Chip Cookies.

Dorie Greenspan’s My Best Chocolate Chip Cookies
From pg. 68 of Baking From My Home to Yours
Makes 45 cookies (I made 36 cookies)
Ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup (packed) light brown sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs
12 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped into chips, or 2 cups store-bought chocolate chips or chunks
1 cup finely chopped walnuts (optional) or pecans (optional) (I used Pecans)

Directions:
1. Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
2. Combine the flour, salt, and baking soda in a large bowl.
3. Working with a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed for about 1 minute, until smooth. Add the sugars and beat for another 2 minutes, until well-blended. Beat in the vanilla. Add the eggs one at a time, beating for 1 minute after each addition.
4. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients in 3 portions, mixing only until each addition is incorporated. On low speed, or by hand with a rubber spatula, mix in the chocolate and nuts.
5. Spoon the dough by slightly rounded tablespoonfuls onto the baking sheets, leaving about 2 inches between spoonfuls.
6. Bake the cookies for 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool on cooling racks.

Sweet Melissa Sundays: Snickerdoodles

sweetmelissasundaysI know I know…it’s not Sunday, nor was this week’s selection Snickerdoodles. This Sweet Melissa Sunday’s selection of Sweet Potato Bread with Cinnamon-Rum-Orange Glaze was hosted by Lorelei of Mermaid Sweets. Since we’re not big fans of quick breads, I skipped this recipe and made something before MY Sweet Melissa Sunday days — the August 9, 2009 selection of Snickerdoodles which was hosted by Spike of Spike Bakes — the recipe can be found here.

It was our friend Henry’s birthday BBQ on Saturday, so I baked him two kinds of cookies — this was one of them. 🙂 They seemed to be pretty well-liked. I’ve been known to be critical of my own food, so here goes. I feel that it wasn’t buttery enough. I’ve had snickerdoodles where I just taste a full-on cinnamon-sugar-buttery goodness. I’ve never been able to achieve that baking Snickerdoodles at home.

I need to find a way to increase the butter flavor in this, but I have to admit, this is the best Snickerdoodle I’ve baked!! 🙂

Sweet Melissa Sundays: Pecan Shortbread Cookies

sweetmelissasundays

The recipe for this Sweet Melissa Sunday is Pecan Shortbread Cookies chosen by Lara of The Lab.

These cookies are really easy to make…all you need is a food processor. I first used my food processor to chop up the pecans, then I poured those out and set it aside. I then proceeded with the rest of the recipe. Also, the “rolling in powdered sugar” part really didn’t work for me, so I just dusted the powdered sugar on top…
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I tend to make bigger cookies…so instead of 3 dozens…I made 18 cookies. Each cookie is about two tablespoons. After scooping the cookies out, I rolled them into balls.
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After they came out of the oven…
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These cookies have got to be the LEAST photogenic cookies ever. I even tried adding a filter to “soften” them…
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…still didn’t work…

These cookies kind of remind me of these Snowballs I made Christmas 2008…
Snowballs
but these Snowballs tasted better…:/ These Pecan Shortbread Cookies were, in my opinion, a little on a hard side. The snowballs I made before had a melt-in-your-mouth quality to them…mmmMMM

the best sugar cookies

Couple weeks ago, I came across a Sugar Cookie recipe on Cookie Madness.

Now, I don’t particularly like sugar cookies because i feel that they’re nothing but sweet! They’re usually topped with LOADS of frosting to decorate the plainness of the cookie. And biting into it just gives a sugar rush (hence the name). However, Anna of Cookie Madness stated that these were “perfect!” And she’s “always disppointed with sugar cookies.”

Being on the same boat as Anna, I had to give these a try! These WERE perfect!! These didn’t JUST have the sugarness…it also had a buttery(good)ness…a vanilla-y(good)ness. It has flavors! And best of all, they melt in your mouth! And even Steven’s daddy was a fan, and he usually hates non-Asian foods. 🙂

The recipe yields 7 dozens. I (of course) didn’t take a look at the yield amount and made the full recipe. I made 2 dozens on a Sunday, then put the rest of the cookie dough in the fridge. Took it back out later in the week (Wednesday/Thursday) and used the rest to make two more dozens (one of the dozens was a THICK dozen). The cold cookie dough was MUCH easier to mold. Now, if I’m doing my math right, I’m going to say that my cookies were quite a bit larger than Anna’s (even if you divide the THICK dozen to two thin dozens). These were really good, I made no changes to the recipe (other than the bake times cuz of my larger cookies). This is a definite must-try!