Friday, November 12, 2010

Cookies! - 11/12

Dominique Haller

On today's show, we'll dive deep into the cookie kingdom! Sara Moulton, former executive editor at Gourmet Magazine and spokesperson for the new Gourmet Cookie Book, will let us in on all the secrets of cookiebaking collected by Gourmet Magazine over 68 years! If you want to try some of the recipes, here's a selection of our favorites:

Mocha Cookies
- makes about 3 dozen cookies

4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
3 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 stick (1⁄2 cup) unsalted butter, cut into bits
1⁄2 cup all-purpose flour
1⁄2 teaspoon double-acting baking powder
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 1⁄2 cups sugar
1 1⁄2 tablespoons instant espresso powder
2 teaspoons vanilla

In a metal bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water, melt the unsweetened chocolate, 1 1⁄2 cups of the chocolate chips, and the butter, stirring until the mixture is smooth, and remove the bowl from the heat. In a small bowl, stir together the flour, the baking powder, and the salt. In a bowl, beat the eggs with the sugar until the mixture is thick and pale, and beat in the espresso powder and the vanilla. Fold the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture, fold in the flour mixture, and stir in the remaining 11⁄2 cups chocolate chips. Let the batter stand for 15 minutes. Drop the batter by heaping tablespoons onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper and bake the cookies in the middle of a preheated 350°F oven for 8 to 10 minutes, or until they are puffed and shiny and cracked on top. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets, transfer them to racks, and let them cool completely.

Recipe Notes
1. Err on the side of underbaking these cookies. They are meant to be soft and rich.
2. Cool for 1 minute on the baking sheet before transferring the cookies to racks.

Aunt Sis’s Strawberry Tart Cookies - makes about 8 dozen cookies

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
3 sticks (11⁄2 cups) cold unsalted butter, cut into bits
2 large egg yolks, beaten lightly
1 cup strained strawberry jam

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, the sugar, and the salt, add the butter, and blend the mixture until it resembles coarse meal. Stir in the egg yolks, blend the mixture until it forms a dough, and chill the dough, wrapped in plastic wrap, for at least 2 hours, or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Let the dough soften slightly, roll level teaspoons of it into balls, and arrange the balls about 2 inches apart on lightly greased baking sheets. Using your thumb, make an indentation in the center of each ball, being careful not to crack the dough around the edges. (If the dough cracks, reroll it and try again.) Fill each indentation with about 1⁄4 teaspoon of the jam and bake the cookies in batches in the middle of the oven for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the edges are pale golden. Let the cookies cool on the sheets for 2 minutes, transfer them to racks, and let them cool completely. The cookies may be made 1 month in advance and kept frozen in airtight containers.

Cottage Cheese Cookies - makes about 8 dozen cookies

Cream together 1⁄2 cup softened butter and 1⁄4 cup cottage cheese. Blend in thoroughly 1 cup sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and 1 egg. Stir in 2 cups sifted flour sifted with 1⁄2 teaspoon each of baking soda and salt. Drop the dough from a teaspoon onto a buttered baking sheet, and bake the cookies in a moderately hot oven (375°F) for about 10 minutes, until they are golden brown.

Recipe Note
Use either large- or small-curd cottage cheese (do not drain it).

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