Peanut Blossom Cookies

Adapted from Cook’s Country Magazine

Makes about 4 dozen

Any Hershey’s Chocolate Kiss—dark, milk, white, or “Hugs”—works in this recipe. For best results, the cookies should be baked on the middle rack, one baking sheet at a time. This recipe can be cut in half.

- 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

- 1/2 teaspoon table salt

- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

- 1 cup roasted salted peanuts

- 16 tablespoons unsalted butter (2 sticks), softened

- 3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar

- 3/4 cup granulated sugar

- 1 cup creamy peanut butter

- 2 large eggs , at room temperature

- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

- 48 Hershey’s Chocolate Kisses, ready-to-use or wrappers removed

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. Whisk 1 3/4 cups flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder together in medium bowl. Process remaining 1 cup flour and peanuts in food processor until ground, about fifteen 1-second pulses, then stir into flour mixture.

3. Beat butter and sugars together in large bowl with electric mixer at medium-high speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add peanut butter and continue to beat until combined. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition, until incorporated, about 30 seconds, then beat in vanilla, stopping to scrape down sides of bowl, if necessary. Reduce speed to low, add flour mixture in two batches, and mix until incorporated. Cover bowl and refrigerate dough until stiff, about 30 minutes.

4. Roll 1-inch balls of dough and space 2 inches apart on baking sheet. Bake until just set and beginning to crack, 9 to 11 minutes, rotating baking sheet from front to back halfway through baking (while cookies are baking, place additional balls of dough on second baking sheet).

5. Working quickly, remove baking sheet from oven and firmly press one Kiss in center of each cookie. Return baking sheet to oven and bake until lightly golden, about 2 minutes. Transfer baking sheet to wire rack to cool for 5 minutes, then transfer cookies directly to wire rack to finish cooling. Repeat rolling and baking remaining cookies. Cool completely. (Cookies will be cool enough to eat after about 30 minutes, but Kisses will take 2 hours to set completely.)

Chewy Sugar Cookies

Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated.

Note:  The final dough will be slightly softer than most cookie dough. For the best results, handle the dough as briefly and gently as possible when shaping the cookies. Overworking the dough will result in flatter cookies.

Ingredients

  • 2 1/4cups (11 1/4 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 1 1/2 cups (10 1/2 ounces) sugar , plus 1/3 cup for rolling
  • 2 ouncescream cheese , cut into 8 pieces
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter , melted and still warm
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 large rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Whisk flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together in medium bowl. Set aside.
  2. Place 1½ cups sugar and cream cheese in large bowl. Place remaining 1/3 cup sugar in shallow baking dish or pie plate and set aside. Pour warm butter over sugar and cream cheese and whisk to combine (some small lumps of cream cheese will remain but will smooth out later). Whisk in oil until incorporated. Add egg, milk, and vanilla; continue to whisk until smooth. Add flour mixture and mix with rubber spatula until soft homogeneous dough forms.
  3.  Divide dough into 24 equal pieces, about 2 tablespoons each (or use #40 portion scoop). Using hands, roll dough into balls. Working in batches, roll balls in reserved sugar to coat and evenly space on prepared baking sheet, 12 dough balls per sheet. Using bottom of drinking glass, flatten dough balls until 2 inches in diameter. Sprinkle tops evenly with 4 teaspoons of sugar remaining in shallow dish (2 teaspoons per tray), discarding any remaining sugar.
  4. Bake, 1 tray at a time, until edges are set and just beginning to brown, 11 to 13 minutes, rotating tray after 7 minutes. Cool cookies on baking sheets 5 minutes. Using wide metal spatula, transfer cookies to wire rack and cool to room temperature.

Chocolate Chip Muffins

I caught a small break the other day.  The baby went right back to sleep after a morning feeding and I had a chance to make some muffins.  My mother used to make chocolate chip muffins for us when I was a kid.  She was a great cook when it came to Albanian food but American cuisine….ehhh….not so much.  She used a hand mixer for the muffins and she used regular sized chocolate chips.  Over-mixing made the muffins tough and the chocolate chips were too heavy and sunk to the bottom of the muffin.

I love this recipe from The America’s Test Kitchen Baking Book.  I used the Mocha-Chip variation for my recipe but left out the coffee flavor.  There are about seven variations to this recipe like Lemon-Blueberry, Banana-Walnut and Raspberry Almond but Chocolate Chip is my favorite so that’s the one I’m including today.

Chocolate Chip Muffins

3 cups (15 ounces) all-purpose flour

1 cup (7 ounces) sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon table salt

1 1/2 cups whole or low-fat plain yogurt  (I make my own yogurt which I prefer over the store-bought brands)

2 large eggs

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

1 cup mini chocolate chips

1.  Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 375 degrees.  Grease a 12-cup muffin tin. (Try not to use paper liners because the muffins don’t bake up as tall and you lose a fair amount of muffin goodness to that liner)

2.  Whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl.  In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs and then whisk in the yogurt until smooth.  Gently fold the yogurt mixture into the flour mixture with a rubber spatula until just barely combined, then fold in the melted butter followed by the mini chocolate chips.

3.  Using a greased 1/3-cup measuring cup, portion the batter into each muffin cup.  Bake until golden brown and toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out with just a few crumbs attached, 25 to 30 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking.

4.  Let the muffins cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then flip out onto a wire rack, and let cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Hello World! I’m back!

I’ve been taking a break from blogging since last year.

Here’s the reason why:

I had terrible morning sickness the first few months of pregnancy last fall so I gave up cooking and blogging for a while.

Our baby boy is now 3 months old and a sweetheart but a handful as well.  That means I won’t be able to blog and cook as much as I’d like but I hope you will bear with me.

Update

Hello Everyone!

I am so sorry that I have been unable to post anything new for several months.  I was ill for over two months and then my husband received orders to work in Northern California (which is a vast improvement from TX) last month.  We have been crazy busy with the move and living out of our suitcases for weeks.  We finally moved into our townhome last week…well, sort of……the movers lost our mattress and boxspring as well as parts to my son’s bunkbed and my computer desk.  We spent three nights in a hotel until our new mattress arrived last night.   Our new home is in chaos right now until we organize and put things in their place so unfortunately I cannot post any new recipes until my kitchen has some semblance of order.  The kitchen is my first priority to get into order because I am so tired of eating out everyday.  I miss cooking for my family.  So hopefully by the end of January or early February, I will be able to post regularly to my blog.

Thank you all for your well wishes and your patience.

-B.

My apologies

I want to let my readers know that I am sorry for the lack of new posts in the past month.  I have been feeling ill and the thought of food has been stomach-churning for me.  As soon as I start to feel better, I will return with new posts and recipes.

Thank you for your patience.

Pancakes

Pancake stack

Pancake stack

Since I discovered this recipe in my ATK cookbook, I have not bought another box of pancake mix again.  These pancakes are easy to make and taste better than any boxed mix.  There is one change that I insist upon in this recipe.  The original recipe says to use vegetable oil in the skillet when cooking the pancakes but I use butter because it tastes much better and it makes this crisp edges that are so addictive.

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