Everyone loves a good cookie. In fact, I haven't met a cookie I didn't like. This is the story of my life. I love to bake. I love to eat. In fact, there usually isn't a day that goes by where I don't bake something. And in our house, cookies are the most requested treat. I think we like them because you don't have to wait to eat them. They are good straight out of the oven. Warm and soft- with a glass of milk on the side.
I often get asked to share my "cookie secrets" during the holidays. First, don't over bake your cookies. Bake them for the smallest amount of time the recipe calls for. If they are still too soft, then bake an additional 30 seconds at a time, remembering they will bake for a few minutes after you remove them from your oven. Cookies go from under done to over done in less than a minute!
Always use real butter. Butter does make everything better. Trust me. Unsalted is my go to butter for baking.
Keep your cookie dough cold until ready to bake. This will give you a tall, fluffy cookie. Warm butter makes your cookie flat and "see through." Make your dough, then refrigerate (overnight is best) before baking.
Use a cookie scoop to get a uniform shape and sized cookie. This will allow you to have all your cookies bake the same, and look more professional.
Don't be afraid to garnish your cookies, much like your cupcakes or cake bites. Drizzle with chocolate, top with nuts, chocolate chips, chopped peppermint candies, etc. Think outside the box. This will take your cookies to the next level and make them gourmet.
Lastly, have fun. Cookies can freeze, so prepare ahead of time. That way your holidays won't be as stressful... or busy with baking.
Here's a link to my latest segment with Studio 5, a local morning show in Utah, where I discuss the topic of butter and show you this great new recipe. Double Chocolate Stuffed Peppermint Cookies. Imagine a sweet chocolate biscuit, with a York peppermint patty inside. It's a 1/4 lb. of sweetness, anyone would love to receive during this holiday season.
How many pounds of butter do you have in your fridge? I really do have 25 lbs.
Author of 101 Gourmet Cupcakes, 101 Gourmet Cookies, and 101 Gourmet Cake Bites
For more information or great holiday recipes, visit her website www.wendypaulcreations.com
Double Chocolate Stuffed Peppermint Cookies by Wendy Paul
2 sticks (1 cup) butter, cold
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup half and half
1 tsp vanilla
2 3/4 cup flour
1/2 cup cocoa
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tbsp. cinnamon or Wise Women of the East
2 cups dark chocolate chips (60% cocoa or half semi sweet and half milk chocolate chips)
12 small York Peppermint Patties (dark chocolate covered)
Mix together flour, cocoa, sugars, baking soda, baking powder, and cinnamon. Stir until combined. Cut your cold butter into tablespoon pieces. Then using a pastry cutter, work the cold butter into your flour until it becomes "pea" sized.
Whisk together vanilla, eggs, and half and half. Pour into flour and butter mixture and combine, until all ingredients are formed together. (Dough will be thicker and sticky. Shape dough with medium cookie scoop and flatten dough with your hand into a thick disc. Place your mint patty in the center and shape the dough, sealing the patty. Then shape your stuffed dough into a round ball and place on a cookie. Repeat until all the dough is used. Freeze for 20 minutes to allow butter to chill.
Remove frozen cookie dough and place on a cookie sheet, 2" apart, baking at 350 for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool completely.