Blueberry & Cream Cookies

Blueberry & Cream Cookies

I’ve owned the Momofuku Milk Bar cookbook for just over a year, and it’s taken me that long to finally make these cookies. Here’s the thing about this cookbook: while everything looks so delicious, and the flavors are so creative, almost all the recipes consist of smaller recipes that you then put together. For example, for these cookies you first have to make a batch of Milk Crumb before you can make the cookies. Not that I think it’s a big deal—I actually find these kinds of recipes fun (yes, fun!). But that also means they are not the kinds of things you might throw together on a whim. (Not to mention the fact that the recipes in this book require lots of unique ingredients and equipment. But since I’ve made a few things already, I’m fairly well stocked in those.)

This past weekend we celebrated Purim. One of the ways Purim is celebrated is by giving out baskets of food. While there is nothing wrong with using store-bought treats (most people do), I like to use it as an opportunity to try a bunch of new recipes. That way I can taste everything, but not eat it all!

When I sat down to figure out what goodies to make this year, this was the first recipe I decided on. Soft, chewy, and buttery, studded throughout with dried blueberries and the addicting Milk Crumb, these are one cookie that I’m definitely glad I finally made!

Blueberry & Cream Cookies

Blueberry & Cream Cookies

Milk Crumb

40 g (1/2 cup) dry milk powder

40 g (1/4 cup) all-purpose flour

12 g (2 tablespoons) cornstarch

25 g (2 tablespoons) granulated sugar

2 g (1/2 teaspoon) kosher salt

55 g (4 tablespoons, 1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted

20 g (1/4 cup) dry milk powder

90 g (3 ounces) white chocolate, melted

1. Preheat oven to 250°F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper or a Silpat liner.

2. Combine the 40 g (1/2 cup) dry milk powder, flour, cornstarch, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl. Toss with your hands to mix. Add the melted butter and toss, using a spatula, until the mixture starts to come together and form small clusters.

3. Spread the clusters on the prepared sheet pan and bake for 20 minutes. Cool the crumbs completely.

4. Crumble any milk crumb clusters that are larger than 1/2-inch in diameter, and put the crumbs in a medium bowl. Add the 20 g (1/4 cup) dry milk powder and toss together until it is evenly distributed throughout the mixture.

5. Pour the melted white chocolate over the crumbs and toss until your clusters are coated. Then continue tossing them every 5 minutes until the white chocolate hardens and the clusters are no longer sticky. Store in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer for up to 1 month.

Makes about 260 g (2 1/4 cups)

Blueberry & Cream Cookies

225 g (16 tablespoons, 2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature

150 g (3/4 cup) granulated sugar

150 g (2/3 cup tightly packed) light brown sugar

100 g (1/4 cup) glucose

2 large eggs

320 g ( 2 cups) bread flour

2 g (1/2 teaspoon) baking powder

1.5 g (1/4 teaspoon) baking soda

6 g (1 1/2 teaspoons) kosher salt

1/2 recipe Milk Crumb

130 g (3/4 cup) dried blueberries

1. Combine the butter, sugars, and glucose in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, and cream on medium-high for 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the eggs, and beat for 7 to 8 minutes (do not try to shorten this step!).

2. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix just until the dough comes together, no longer than 1 minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula.

3. With the mixer on low speed, add the milk crumbs and mix until they’re incorporated, no longer than 30 seconds. Add the dried blueberries, again mixing for no more than 30 seconds.

4. Using a 2 3/4-ounce ice cream scoop (or a 1/3-cup measure), portion out the dough onto a parchment-lined sheet pan. Lightly pat down the tops of the cookies, just to flatten out the domes (you don’t want to flatten them too much). Wrap the sheet tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or up to one week (do not skip this step!).

5. When ready to bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 350°F.

6. Arrange the chilled dough a minimum of 4 inches apart on a parchment- or Silpat- lined sheet pan (keep remaining dough in the fridge). Bake for about 18 minutes. the cookies will puff, crackle, and spread. When they are ready, they should be faintly browned on the edges but still bright yellow in the center. Bake an extra minute or two if that’s not the case.

7. Cool the cookies completely on the sheet pans before transferring. In an airtight container, the cookies will keep fresh for 5 days at room temperature or 1 month in the freezer.

Makes 12-17 cookies

*From Momofuku Milk Bar, by Christina Tosi

Vanilla Sugar Cookies

Vanilla Sugar Cookies

Tomorrow morning we are heading up to Las Vegas to visit family, and I wanted to write a quick post about these cookies I made for us to have during the drive.

The recipe for these is from one of my favorite new cookbooks, Pure Vanilla. I’ve always loved vanilla, and when I saw that there was going to be a cookbook coming out that was devoted to that awesome flavor, I immediately pre-ordered it. However, I’ve not had a chance to make more than one recipe until now. But I was determined to make something else from the book before our trip, and I chose these since I figured they’d survive the trip relatively intact.

Vanilla Sugar Cookies

Oh my goodness, these are good! The texture is perfect. And since there is lots of vanilla extract in the cookies, and vanilla sugar on top of the cookies, the flavor really shines.

Heirloom Vanilla Sugar Cookies

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup vegetable oil (I used grapeseed oil)

1 large egg, at room temperature

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1/4 cup Vanilla Sugar (see below)

Coarse rainbow sugar or other decorative sugar, for sprinkling (or sprinkles)

1) Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat oven to 350°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

2) Whisk together the flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt in a large bowl. Whisk together the oil and egg in a medium bowl.

3) In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, granulated sugar, confectioners’ sugar, and vanilla extract on medium-high speed until fluffy and pale in color, about  2 minutes. Stop mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Turn mixer to low and gradually beat in the oil-egg mixture until smooth. Slowly add the flour mixture and mix on low speed until smooth. The dough will be soft.

4) Roll the dough into balls, about 2 tablespoons each, and place 2 inches apart om the prepared baking sheets. Pour the vanilla sugar onto a plate. Spray the bottom of drinking glass (a flat-bottomed glass), and dip the bottom of the glass into the vanilla sugar to coat. Press into each ball to flatten to about 1/4-inch thick, re-sugaring the glass each time.

5) Sprinkle the flattened cookies with decorative sugar, if desired. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, rotating the sheets from top to bottom and front to back about halfway through, until pale golden and just beginning to turn golden brown around the edges. Let cookies cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Makes about 3 dozen cookies

Vanilla Sugar

Fill a lidded container with about 2 cups of granulated sugar. Bury a vanilla bean or two, split lengthwise, in the sugar. Tighten the lid and shake the container well. Store in a cool, dark place for at least 2 days.

*Adapted from Pure Vanilla by Shauna Sever

Notes:

—I found that the dough was easier to roll into a ball with wet hands (it keeps the dough from sticking to your hands too much.

—I refrigerated the trays of cookies before I baked them because I was worried about them spreading too much. If you choose to do this they will take longer to bake, so keep an eye on them to see when they are done.

—For some of the cookies I used a small scalloped cookie cutter to imprint the cookies with a design. Simply push the cutter partially through the dough after flattening with the glass.

Butterfly Grahams

It’s been cool and rainy here in LA, which is totally making me want to bake. Okay, yeah. I pretty much always want to bake, but this weather makes me want to bake even more. So yesterday I decided it was finally time to try this graham cracker recipe I’ve been pushing off for weeks now. I’m not a big fan of making cutout crackers/cookies, because it’s so much more time-consuming than a simple drop cookie, so I rarely make them.

But these were worth it. They taste like boxed graham crackers, except a million times better. And they made the house smell amazing. And butterfly graham crackers are just so much cuter than boring old rectangles. Am I right?

You can find the recipe HERE.

Note: I made the process of making this a bit longer by refrigerating them in between rolling them out and cutting them into shapes, and again between shaping them and baking them. I do that with all the cutout cookies I make (on the rare occasion that I actually make them) because it helps them keep their shapes much better.

Maple Meringues

I had some extra egg whites that needed to be used up, and a bag of maple sugar in the pantry just begging to be used. Lucky for me, just days ago I came across a recipe for maple meringues in a cookbook I had checked out from the library. I make meringues quite often, and am always trying new flavors, yet somehow it never occured to me to use maple sugar instead of regular sugar. Of course, it seems so obvious now.

Maple Meringues

2 large egg whites

2/3 cup maple sugar

1) Preheat oven to 275°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

2) Place egg whites into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (you can also use a handheld mixer or a plain old whisk). Beat until stiff (when you lift the whisk out of the egg whites, the should keep their shape). Gradually whisk in the sugar, beating until the mixture looks satiny and is very stiff.

3) Using a piping bag, squeeze out meringues onto the baking sheet. You can also just place dollops of the mixture onto the baking sheet with spoons.

4) place the baking sheets into the oven and bake for about 1 hour. Turn the oven off, leaving the baking sheets in the oven until completely cooled (I made mine at night, and just left them in the oven overnight).

*Adapted from How to Eat, by Nigella Lawson

Chocolate Wafer Cookies

Crisp, buttery, and very chocolatey, these wafer cookies are delicious and versatile. They can be used as a base for other desserts – ground up for a chocolate pie crust, sandwiched with buttercream for an Oreo-type cookie or with your favorite flavor of ice cream for an ice cream sandwich – or you can do what I did, and just eat them plain.

(Note: The only thing I did differently was to roll the dough out in between pieces of parchment paper instead of on a floured surface. I prefer to do that to avoid adding too much flour and ending up with tough cookies.)

Chocolate Wafer Cookies

1 3/4 cups (9 ounces) all-purpose flour

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (2 ounces) Brut or natural unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Cacao Barry Extra Brute)

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) granulated sugar, plus extra for sprinkling

2 tablespoons lightly packed light brown sugar

3 tablespoons honey

1. Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, and salt into a bowl. Set aside.

2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the butter,, granulated and brown sugars, and honey and beat until fluffy, about 4 minutes.

3. Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture in three additions, beating just until combined after each. Wrap the dough tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or for up to 2 days. You can also freeze the dough for up to 2 months.

4. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

5. Unwrap the dough. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough to about 1/4-inch thick. Using a 3 1/4-inch round cookie cutter with a scalloped edge, cut out the chocolate wafers (This works best with really chilled dough, so if your dough softened too much while rolling it out, put the rolled out dough into the fridge for about 15 minutes to chill). Arrange on the prepared baking sheet, placing the cookies about 1/2 inch apart. Sprinkle each cookie with granulated sugar. Bake until firm, 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. (They should snap crisply when cooled.)

6. Gather up the dough scraps, reroll, and cut out to make more cookies. Bake as directed and let cool. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

Makes about 24 cookies

*Adapted from Miette, by Meg Ray