It’s sunny, it’s beautiful, but there is a decided nip in the air. The kind of slight chill which makes you reach for that cozy blanket even in the day. At times like these what is a girl supposed to do, but crave cookies. And when a girl wants a cookie what is she supposed to do, but bake some. If she has been baking for the bulk of her 35 years then she probably knows what kind of cookie she craves. Something choclatey (because duh), but with a cheesecake-y depth and tenderness. Something like these Triple Chocolate Cheesecake Cookies below. Is she the stuffing cookies with bits of cheesecake filling type? Nope. Clearly she is the speaking in third person for no damn reason type. Ok then, will stop now.
There is no question in my mind that I am an emotional eater. I am not sure what the mechanisms there are – is it because chocolate floods your brain with all those positive feel like love chemicals or is there more to it? Note to self: ask husband, he knows everything.
The Story of Quick Strawberry Nutella Hand Pies:
Once upon a time there was a girl who is now a woman, but still calls herself a girl. In her head she is the kind of person who makes everything from scratch, it is her dream to make her own bread. The only reason she doesn’t is because she would eat it all. She pins the same Strawberry Nutella Hand Pie recipes over and over ooh-ing and aah-ing over the variations in crust. She has done this for two years.
And then one day she does something scary: she walks into a store and buys a premade pie crust. After that something wonderful happens – with five minutes of work she makes these delicious little hand pies, cute as a button, their flaky crust oozing with strawberry and nutella, their tops crackly and finished with a sprinkling of cinnamon sugar. One bite and she stops judging herself, but just to be safe she took two (hand pies not bites) and now plans to live happily ever after. The Beginning.
These cookies were born from a craving – I really wanted something chewy and peanut buttery, but the more I thought about it there have been few stand out peanut butter cookies in my life. These slim beauties are a notable exception. All the other cookies I have eaten have been more or less the same. That got me thinking about cookies in general and the ones I consider to be home runs and right at the top of that list are these Salty-Sweet Butterscotch Pecan Cookies . What makes them so special? The outstanding flavor combo aside it is that little sugar salt roll around and I knew that’s what my peanut butter cookies needed.
It is good to be right. These sweet salty chewy undeniably peanut buttery cookies with M&Ms thrown in are just so darn fun to eat. So much so that I even hid them from myself. True story.
Unlike the usual recipes which seem to make a hundred or so cookies these produce 2 dozen moderately sized cookies. I used my inch cookie scoop to scoop out the dough, but you can just as easily drop it off by the spoonful or go bigger and make a dozen huge cookies with a little under a quarter cup of dough per cookie.
This cookie dough like all others improves considerably after ‘resting’ in the fridge. If you are baking with kids though then cookery science doesn’t really resonate so I would suggest baking off a few cookies to appease little tummies and refrigerating the rest of the dough to bake another time.
When Oreos meet Rice Krispies magic happens. Okay so maybe that is a little dramatic, but I am happy to say deliciousness definitely does. This riff on a childhood classic is more delicious than you remembered it and with only 5-ingredients it isn’t so hard to convince yourself to make them. The fact that this recipes makes half the ‘usual’ amount of Rice Krispie treats is also a bit of a blessing.
This is also a kid friendly treat that is easy for kids to make. My 5 year old can measure the ingredients out, melt the marshmallows (with supervision) and help get the mixture in the pan. The pressing in is the only persnickety part where an adult will need to do most of the work. I like to get a mini oreo snack cup for these, that way I am not ‘forced’ to eat the better part of a box of oreos 😉
I wasn’t going to make this. Nope, not me. You see I usually like my christmas treats to be complicated and require at least an hour of labor. But then I had my second kid and she hit the terrible twos and now …well… now I am a lot more open to trying quicker things. But in all honesty I would not have tried this delicious recipe if it wasn’t for my all-things-food-person Marium. She made it and raved about it and then I had to. Yes folks, after all that resisting, all it took was someone I think is cool to make it and I turn into a big ol’ copycat.
The first time I made it I messed up a little (oops), but by the second I had learnt my lesson. The right sized baking sheet is key, otherwise the whole caramel to cracker ratio is off. The recipe is definitely very very sweet so adding instant coffee to the caramel helped temper that overt sweetness. Also please please stick to semi sweet chocolate or darker, anything sweeter is too much.
You could add anything you want to the top and I toyed with christmas-sprinkes, but then I decided that this delicious delicious beauty didn’t need to get any sweeter and I stuck to toasted flaked almonds as suggested by Deb at Smitten Kitchen.
When we were little my brother Murtaza decided that we need to eat peanut butter. It was hardly a staple in our Pakistanis-in-Saudi Arabia household, but my parents promptly obliged by buying an imported jar of the stuff. We tried it and all of us unanimously thought it sucked. My mother then tried the back of the jar cookie recipe for peanut butter cookies, but with no success. Not for a lack of talent mind you, my mother was quite the baker. We just didn’t like peanut butter.
Somehow I went from being that kid to the adult who eats it off a spoon as a snack, whose kids do the same, who doesn’t believe in peanut butter and jelly because it gets in the way of the peanut buttery goodness and who can’t say no to a peanut butter cookie. How did this happen? Beats me.
When I recently acquired Tara O’Bradys Seven Spoons cookbook I marked a whole variety of things to try, but a late afternoon craving had me turning to her Whole Wheat Peanut Butter Cookies first. Whole Wheat Flour, Natural Peanut Butter, 2 tbsp honey, I didn’t think that these changes off the usual would make such a difference, but suddenly it was like I was eating a cookie that had grown up. It is less cloyingly sweet than previous ones, but has a deeper flavour. I added 1/3 cup of skor bits and while they weren’t noticeable in a warm cookie, they definitely added interest to cooled ones.
As you can see my cookies were slim at best despite the freezing and I blame that on my overfull freezer. I am sure if you follow the freezing instructions yours won’t be so slender. They are in their thin form the perfect candidate for a filling. Strawberry Jam, Dulce de leche, vanilla cream, or perhaps a dollop of Nutella with a little Sea Salt?
Quite recently a fellow transplant from Pakistan reached out and commented on how “exhilliratingly high the aroma of vanilla and sugar emanating from my oven makes me (her)”. The entire time these cookies were baking all I could think of was how perfect these would be for her, a fellow lover of butter and sugar. E, I hope you make them and know just how much I appreciate your kind words 🙂
If vanilla has soft beauty then butterscotch packs a sweet punch. It’s tempered by a subtle amount of coffee and a healthy smattering of chopped, toasted pecans. The real piece-de-resistance though is the sweet and salty sugar that these cookies roll around in before making their way on to the baking sheet. I more or less kept the original name (i.e. Salty-Sweet Butter Pecan Cookies) for the recipe out of deference to the awesome people at King Arthur Flour, but really these are Crack Cookies.
You can’t have just one.
Especially when they’re warm.
Decorated sugar cookies are so pretty aren’t they? I frequently see them in bakeries and cafes. The pretty colors and designs always make my older girl ooh and aah then beg and plead and most of the time she winds up not liking them. I can’t blame her because neither do I. Then a few years ago I discovered this cookie. This cookie has real bona fide flavor. People like it even without the icing and that says a lot.
There are two things that make this cookie a little extra special – one the inclusion of cream cheese and the second the few drops of almond extract which give it a fresh undertone without it tasting overtly like almonds. Mind you, I don’t always use the extract especially if I am taking them somewhere that is nut free and they are delicious without.
My favorite part about making these cookies was decorating them. My royal icing skills were pretty pathetic, but then youtube came to the rescue and now I love it and can’t wait to try different designs and techniques!
For those of you keeping track this is now my 8th out of 10 (hopefully) posts as part of the South Asian Blogger Networks two week blogging challenge! I see more and more of you are coming back here and I just wanted to say a big THANK YOU!
Pretty much every bakery in Karachi sells Palmiers or French Hearts. They are one of those things that I can rarely resist picking up when I am back in Karachi, but am frequently disappointed by. The thing is they are just a little… boring you know?
In one of my recent nostalgic moods I pulled out a sheet of all butter puff pastry from my freezer and looked around for inspiration. It came quickly in the form of two lackluster oranges lying in my fruit bowl. Remember the citrus sugar I had made for beignets? I zested the oranges, rubbed the zest into some granulated sugar, added a teensy bit of salt and wow, these were really good. The orange zest brightens the flavor of these flaky petite puff pastry treats and transforms them into something extraordinary.
They’re also really pretty (if I do say so myself) and would make great hostess gifts or a very welcome addition to the usual smorgasbord of Christmas cookies.
I don’t know about you all, but we have been having a moody few days in Toronto. Dark skies, snow storms, rain, and then the one sunny/warm day we had was accompanied by forceful winds. My body is already craving summer. Since there is little I can do about the weather I decided to revisit a favorite in the form of these deeply chocolaty cookies with salty subtle pistachios and chocolate chips.
So. Freaking. Good.
I had my concerns you know – especially since I pretty much made these from memory. My recipes disappear on me sometimes. They’re sneaky like that. Fortunately, my memory hasn’t failed me entirely and these babies were pretty darn delicious.
They are also extremely customizable. With the Holidays upon us they would be a great hostess gift and you can make them more Christmas-y by using red/green M&Ms or white chocolate chips and mint extract. The possibilities are endless.