Category Archives: Cookies

Maple Macadamia Milk Chocolate Cookies

Milk and Cookies 3My husband arrived home from work last week with a gift for me. From the sound of my squeal when I opened the package, you would have thought the box held a large square cut diamond ring. Nope. Just a jar of maple salt.

Yes, I said maple salt!! Who knew? My mind was reeling with the possibilities. Maple glazed chicken thighs finished with a sprinkle of  maple salt, salmon with a maple soy glaze and strewn with a light dusting of maple salt, maple salted pecans? I settled on maple macadamia milk chocolate cookies, finished with a fine mist of maple salt. mise en place 2Maple syrup would be the natural addition to give these cookies a serious maple bent, but too much syrup would make the dough too soft and liquidy. The solution was to add maple extract to the dough. I added almost 1 1/2 teaspoons and it was perfect.

This recipe was adapted  from the Lindt chocolate web site.  The dough came together quite quickly in my stand mixer.adding flourI formed one round log and one square log (check out this video if you need help forming a square log). If you are impatient like me, freeze for 2 hours. If not, chill dough in fridge for 6 hours or even overnight. rolling into a logforming square logSlice, top with maple salt or just regular fleur de sel, and bake.slicing 2sprinkling with maple saltBe patient and let them cool completely before tasting. They spread quite a bit in the oven. They are quite thin and you will be utterly surprised that such a thin and delicate cookie can pack such a wallop of deep maple flavour. Buttery and crispy, these cookies are really unique. The tiny crystals of maple salt crunch delicately between your teeth and keep you craving more. Milk and Cookies 1You can find maple salt online at Saltworks (in the USA), or at Maison Côté in Canada.

Click here to print recipe for Maple Macadamia Milk Chocolate Cookies.Milk and Cookies 2

Lime Coconut Squares

with milkA really good lime square should have more than a whisper of citrus flavour. It needs a big shout-out of lip puckering sourness. The base is usually quite sweet, so the topping needs to be really tart. The key to achieving this balance is not as simple as adding more lime juice.  When baking, the juice and zest of citrus fruits react differently. The flavour compounds in the juice are suspended in water, so they evaporate during baking and you are left with only a mild citrus flavour.  Zest, on the other hand, contains essential oils that do not dissipate with the heat of the oven, so the pucker power remains strong.

Lime and coconut is a perfect pairing for summer, and these bars pack a serious pop of lime flavour. mise en placeCitrus squares typically have a shortbread-like base. I decided to mix things up a bit and added some oats to my base. The dough comes together quickly and can be patted into the pan with your hands, no rolling necessary.mixing basepressing base into panThe filling is mixed in one bowl. Fast and easy.pouring filling on crustspreading filling evenlyLet it snow!let it snowcut into perfect squaresWhile small in stature, these squares are mighty in flavour. The edges of the crust are crunchy but the center remains slightly chewy. The filling is loaded with tart lime and tropical coconut flavours. A dusting of icing sugar provides just the right sweet counterpart to all that pucker.

Click here to print recipe for Lime Coconut Squares.on green plate

Cookie Butter Hazelnut Chocolate Chunk Biscotti

stacked up 625 D sqBefore we get down to biscotti business, can we just chat for a few minutes about the PBS series “The Great British Baking Show“. Is anybody else as obsessed with with it as I am? I can’t seem to get enough of it. These are supposed amateur bakers who are blowing my mind with their sweet skills. Plus, the drama and controversy is really quite riveting to watch. The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills have nothing on these Brits!

I was totally “Team Martha” until sadly, she was eliminated last week, Only 17 years old and already so accomplished. Creative, artistic and cute as a button, I predict big things ahead for her.

OK, now onto more important matters, Cookie Butter Biscotti! When I mentioned to my husband that I was planning to blog about biscotti this week he got very excited. Then I had to gently break it to him that I wasn’t planning to make those biscotti, but a new recipe instead, since I already posted about those biscotti already a few years ago. “Why bother making a different kind of biscotti, when your white chocolate, dried cherry, coconut biscotti are the ultimate?” he asked me. Not sure he really gets the concept of a food blog. You can’t post the same recipe over and over again. Oh well, I was convinced that once he crunched into one of these sweet and spicy babies, he’d come around.

tied up 2The inspiration for this recipe came from my sister Bonnie. She is always sending me recipe ideas and photos. The original recipe was for peanut butter chocolate biscotti. But since I had lots of cookie butter in the cupboard, left over from making these, I decided to substitute cookie butter (speculoos spread) for the peanut butter.

Cookie Butter is just ground up Speculoos or Biscoff cookies (a gingersnap type Belgian cookie), sugar and oil. If you live in the U.S., Trader Joe’s carries their own brand. In Canada, the Lotus brand is available at Loblaws.trader-joes-and-lotus

 

I thought that the buttery rich flavour of toasted hazelnuts would really complement the spicy ginger in these biscotti. And of course, bittersweet chocolate is always invited to any cookie party.hazelnutsHazelnuts come with a thin skin on them, which can taste bitter. Removing the skin is simple. Toast hazelnuts on a baking sheet in the oven 10 to 15 minutes, or until lightly coloured and skins are blistered. Wrap nuts in a kitchen towel and let steam 1 minute. Rub nuts in towel to remove loose skins. Don’t worry about any stubborn skins that don’t come off. Let cool completely.

The dough gets divided into thirds and using your hands, form 3 flat logs. forming logs 2The logs spread quite a bit, so give each log its own baking sheet. Here’s a before and after shot of the first bake.
before first bakingafter first bakingCool the logs for at least 30 minutes and then slice on the diagonal into 1/2 inch thick biscotti.slicing biscottiBack into the oven for a second bake (Hence the name biscotti – or twice baked!) ready for second bakingWhile the cookies are baking, melt some bittersweet chocolate and grind up some Speculoos or gingersnap cookies. crushing speculoos cookies

dipping
Click here to print recipe for Cookie Butter Hazelnut and Chocolate Chunk Biscotti.tied up 1

 

 

 

Salted Skor Bar Shortbread

diagonal on black 3If a cookie could be my Spirit Animal, (and in the fertile playground that is my mind, why the hell not), Salted Skor Bar Shortbread would be mine. These cookies embody everything that I aspire to be. Well balanced, little bit sweet, a little bit salty, with a bittersweet surprise mixed in.

The recipe is based on Martha’s Holiday Shortbread. In December 2012, my blogger friend Bobbi, over at Bob Vivant, wrote about her sister’s adaptation of them, which included the addition of lots of coarse sea salt and chocolate chips. She called them “addictive little buggers.” I deleted the chocolate chips and added chopped up Skor Bars (Heath Bars if you live in America). I think thay are cookie perfection.

If my husband and kids are reading this, please make sure that these cookies are served at my funeral. I am thinking that they could be passed around just before the eulogy starts. If they can pass out candies to throw at Bar Mitzvahs, why not Salted Skor Bar Shortbread at a funeral? I think that a little nibble while listening to all those funny, touching stories about me, would be quite fitting.

My girlfriend Sandy was helping me make these cookies last week. She is a curious person and asks lots of questions, a very endearing quality! She asked me why her oatmeal raisin cookies spread so flat in the oven and mine, using the exact same recipe, spread only slightly. The problem, I suspect is with her butter. Most cookie recipes call for room temperature butter. That does not mean butter that has been sitting on the counter all day. Take the butter out of the fridge and cut it into 1/2 inch cubes. Let it sit for about 30 minutes and it will be at the perfect temperature. Cool butter creams perfectly with sugar, trapping and holding onto air, allowing you to create a better dough. mise en placeOnce the dough is made, form it into a log and chill. You can make a round log or a square log. Square logs are simple to form.

These square cookies look so neat and tidy after slicing.tidy squaresThen all hell breaks loose in the heat of the oven and rogue bits of toffee escape from the dough, forming delicious nooks, crannies and tails of very deeply flavoured toffee, just on the verge of being burnt, providing a wonderful bittersweet flavour and very crunchy texture. rogue melted skor bits have escaped

Click here to print recipe for Salted Skor Bar Shortbread.

with tea 1 625 sq

 

Oatmeal Lace Speculoos Sandwich Cookies

cookies and milk jug 1F 625 sqI was first introduced to Speculoos over 20 years ago by my Belgian neighbour Brigitte.  These were the cookies of her childhood. Imagine if you can, a gingersnap on steroids. Bolder and much more aggressive than typical gingersnaps,  Speculoos are brimming with dark brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, cardamom and white pepper. A few packages of these crunchy thin biscuits always made it into her suitcase to bring back to Ottawa to share with us after a visit home with her mom. Brigitte speaks with a bit of an accent and the first time she served us the cookies I thought I heard her say “Speculum.” Kind of an odd name for a cookie I thought! Sometimes my mind wanders to strange places. Lotus speculoosThen in 2007, something wonderful happened. Els Scheppers, a very creative Belgian woman,  crushed up some Lotus brand Speculoos cookies and mixed them with sugar and oil to create a sweet, creamy cookie butter spread. Hearing about this delicious concoction, Lotus Bakeries got in touch with Els and collaborated to perfect her creation. When it was released for sale to the Belgian market, it promptly sold out. People went bonkers for this stuff. Reminiscent of Nutella or peanut butter, but way more delicious! There is no end to the creative uses for Speculoos Cookie Butter. I have also heard that some people just eat it straight from the jar. 

Trader Joes jumped on the bandwagon in 2011 and Speculoos Cookie Butter was born. In 2013 they launched Speculoos Cookie and Cocoa Swirl and pretty soon after that they had to start limiting customers to 1 jar each. It got a bit crazy there for a while. Luckily, it has become so mainstream that you can find several brands of speculoos cookie spread on most supermarket shelves, right beside the peanut butter and hazelnut spreads. trader joes and lotusThese oatmeal lace sandwich cookies are the creation of cookie wizzard Nick Malgieri. I may have mentioned him in a previous post! He sandwiched them with chocolate ganache. I decided to use speculoos cookie butter.mise en place 2

mixing batterThe batter for these gossamer thin lacy cookies gets mixed by hand in a bowl. Leave lots of room on the baking sheet as you form them. They really spread. dough spreadsOnce cooled, pipe a generous dollop of speculoos cookie spread on half the cookies and then sandwich them. filling cookiesin white tray

Click here to print recipe for Oatmeal Lace Speculoos Sandwich Cookies.