Saturday, May 21, 2011

Cowboy Cookies - Leave Your Link

While everyone seems to agree these are delicious cookies it's difficult to find out how they originated .  The closest I have come in my research was something I found on a blog called Mangez Brioche and she sums up the history with this :  Cowboy cookies are the original Powerbar. History states, cowboys used to make them for riding the trails. They were a quick, easy way to get a lot of nutrients and they kept well for travel.

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups rolled oats
14 tbsp (1 3/4 sticks) unsalted butter
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp instant Espresso powder
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup salted pretzel sticks, broken into tiny pieces but not crushed into dust.

  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add the oats and stir to combine.

  • In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment , beat the butter and sugars together until smooth and creamy. Add the egg and egg yolk, beating until the mixture looks light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides and the bottom of the bowl, add the vanilla, and beat for 5 seconds. Dissolve the espresso powder  in 1/4 cup hot water and add it to the bowl, mixing until combined.

  • Add half of the dry ingredients and mix for 15 seconds. Add the remaining dry ingredients and beat until just incorporated. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and fold in the chocolate chips and ½ cup of the pretzel pieces.

  • Cover the bowl tightly and refrigerate the dough for at least 4 hours.

  • Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

  • Use a small ice cream scoop with a release mechanism to scoop out dough in 2 tablespoon-size balls (or use a tablespoon measure) and place the dough balls onto the prepared baking sheet about 1 inch apart. Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup salted pretzel pieces over the dough balls. Use the palm of your hand to press the dough down lightly; don't smash the cookie-you just want to slightly flatten the ball and push the pretzel pieces into the dough.

  • Bake for 11 to 13 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through the baking time, until the edges of the cookies are golden brown or just start to darken.

  • Set the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes to cool. Use a spatula to transfer the cookies on the rack to cool completely. They can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

  • Baked Notes
    This recipe calls for cool, but not cold butter.  To be specific, I am suggesting you remove the butter from the refrigerator, cut it up into cubes, and plan to use it within 15 to 20 minutes.  Using colder (i.e. not room temperature) butter will prevent your cookies from spreading.  Conversely, if you prefer thinner, slightly crispier cookies, let your butter come to room temperature.

    Saturday, May 7, 2011

    Tomato Soup Cupcakes with Mascarpone Frosting-Leave Your Link

    Did you know these have been around since the Great Depression ?  Did you also know that M.F.K Fisher was a fan, and was quoted as saying that "This is a pleasant cake, which keeps well and puzzles people while you are cooking other things, which is always sensible and makes you feel rather noble, in itself a small but valuable pleasure" ?  Want to learn more about the history of these head over to Cakespy and she will tell you everything you were afraid to ask and more ! Looking forward to what you thought of these and how every ones turned out. Anxious to see who tried the savory version and what you thought.

    Tomato Soup Cupcakes
    Makes 24

    2 (10¾ oz.) cans condensed tomato soup, preferably low sodium
    1 tsp. baking soda
    3½ c. all-purpose flour
    1½ tsp. cinnamon*
    ½ tsp. freshly grated nutmeg*
    ½ tsp. ground allspice*
    ¼ tsp. salt
    1 tsp. baking powder
    ¾ c. (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, at room temp.
    1 c. granulated sugar
    1 c. firmly packed light brown sugar
    4 large eggs

    *For a  more savory cake? Replace the cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice with 1 tsp. freshly ground pepper and increase the salt to ½ tsp.

    1. Preheat oven to 325°. Line two twelve-cup cupcake pans with paper liners.
    2. In a large bowl, sprinkle baking soda over the tomato soup and stir well. Set aside.
    3. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, salt and baking powder.
    4. Beat butter and sugars together on medium speed until fluffy, three to four minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, and beat until just combined. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and beat for a few seconds. Turn the mixer to low. Add the flour mixture in three parts, alternating with tomato soup, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Scrape down the bowl again, and mix on low speed for a few more seconds.
    5. Fill the prepared cupcake pan about three-quarters full. Bake the cupcakes 25-28 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean.
    6. Allow the cupcakes to cool for 30 minutes in the pan, then turn them out onto wire racks to cool completely.

    Mascarpone Frosting

    Ingredients¾ c. (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, softened
    12 oz. mascarpone cheese, softened
    4 c. confectioners’ sugar, sifted
    1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
    1. In the bowl of a standing mixer beat softened butter until it is completely smooth . Add mascarpone and beat until combined.
    2. Add sugar and vanilla and beat until smooth. Be careful not to over beat; this will cause the frosting to lose structure. (At this point, you can tightly cover the frosting and refrigerate overnight if you want. Let it soften at room temperature before using.)
    3. Fit a pastry bag with the largest tip, fill with frosting, and cover each cupcake with a big mound. If you do not have a pastry bag, use an ice cream scoop with a release mechanism; scoop the frosting and dispense it onto the top of the cupcake. You can also use an offset spatula to frost the cupcakes.
    4. Refrigerate any leftovers in an airtight container for up to three days. Bring the cupcakes to room temperature before serving.