I made: Roll-out chocolate chip cookies

Just another quick mini-post today.  This is a good recipe for a crumbly, shortbread-like cookie that bakes well and isn’t overly fussy.  Because it does have chips in it, I would not recommend using an especially intricate cookie cutter for this particular recipe; however, it worked fine for the crescent moons, and I imagine would be similarly fine for circles, hearts, stars, snowmen, anything else that doesn’t have too many twists or turns.  They taste really good and are buttery and keep well for several days.

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I made: Lemon bars

Lemon bars are honestly one of my favorite desserts, and for some reason I’d never made them before.  I got another excellent, comprehensive recipe from The Kitchn to follow for this one.

How to make:

  • Preheat oven to 325F, coat 11×7 inch baking pan with cooking spray, and line dish with parchment paper “sling.”
  • Zest about 3 lemons (you need a little more than 2 tbsp).  Juice the lemons to get 1/2 cup of juice.
  • Make the shortbread crust: Mix 1 cup flour, 1/4 cup granulated sugar, 1/4 cup powdered sugar, 1 tsp lemon zest, and 1/4 tsp kosher salt.  Cut in 8 tbsp cubed chilled butter.  Use a food processor if you have it; mix until coarse crumbs.
  • Press the crust into the pan using your fingers to really press down.  Refrigerate for at least 15 minutes.
  • Parbake the crust 25-30 minutes until golden brown.
  • Make the filling: whisk together 4 large eggs, 1 large egg yolk, 1 cup granulated sugar, 2 tbsp powdered sugar, 2 tbsp lemon zest, and 1/4 tsp kosher salt.  Then whisk in 1/4 cup lemon juice, followed by 1/4 cup flour until combined.
  • Pour the filling into the crust and bake 15-20 minutes, until light brown around the edges.  Cool completely on a wire rack.
  • Dust with powdered sugar using a fine-mesh strainer.  Cut the bars once completely cooled.

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OVERALL:

  • Good recipe, no major issues in the instructions.  Obviously I don’t understand what it means to “dust” lemon bars with powdered sugar, because these look ridiculous.  (Fortunately, after 12 hours or so, the powdered sugar just absorbs into the top, so they don’t look quite as stupid, although they’re probably overly sweet.)
  • I don’t have a food processor so I just cut in the butter with a fork.  It took a long time and was kind of annoying, but didn’t seem to have any problematic consequences.

NEXT TIME:

  • Aside from the other minor issues mentioned above, I’d like to make this in a smaller pan.  Mine was fine, but the bars looked a little skimpy.

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I made: Shortbread chocolate chunk cookies

These are the chocolate chip cookies you make if you want to impress a bunch of grown-ups and disappoint children.  They’re good–but they aren’t what you expect from a chocolate chip recipe.

This is another one of many Smitten Kitchen recipes I’ve saved, which is a resource that so far hasn’t done me wrong!  It’s pretty simple and straightforward.  I chose these cookies because they do best with a two-day process, and I’m trying to explore more recipes like this, so I can bake on weekday evenings without messing up my sleep hygiene.

Day 1: Make & freeze the dough

  • Mix 1 cup plus 2 tbsp softened butter, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 1/4 cup light brown sugar, and 1 tsp vanilla extract until light and fluffy.  (The recipe calls for salted butter, which I don’t have, so I added 3/4 tsp kosher salt instead.)
  • Add 2 1/4 cups flour and mix until just combined.
  • Add 6 ounces chopped semi- or bittersweet dark chocolate, mix until just combined.
  • Divide dough into 2 parts and shape into logs about 2 inches in diameter, wrap with plastic wrap, and freeze.

Day 2: Bake

  • Preheat oven to 350F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • Lightly beat 1 egg.  Take out 1 cookie log, brush with egg, and roll in turbinado sugar.
  • Cut the log into 1/2-inch-thick rounds using a serrated knife (be careful for chocolate chunks).
  • Arrange onto baking sheet and sprinkle with salt.
  • Bake 12-15 minutes, let cool slightly, then transfer to wire racks.

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OVERALL:

  • Like I said, these taste good, sort of strong and chocolatey and salty.  They are very shortbready in texture, so they’re a tiny bit of a pain to cut, but not too bad.  I discovered that simply pressing the knife down, instead of sawing back and forth, was a better method to keep the cookies intact.
  • I also made a dumb mistake!  I saw that the recipe called for 1 egg but I didn’t see that the egg was for brushing the sugar, so I just tossed it into the dough.  It didn’t really do any damage, although it probably made my version a little less shortbready than it would have been otherwise.
  • I didn’t have semisweet chocolate so I used 4 oz extra dark bittersweet chocolate + 2 oz milk chocolate.  It was actually really interesting this way!
  • I froze the logs overnight.  I think it would be fine to freeze for less time, or probably even longer.

NEXT TIME:

  • It would be nice to do the recipe right and not put an egg in it lol.
  • Also would want to try different combos of add-ins.  I kept thinking about toffee.

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