Saturday, October 6, 2012

Triple Crown Brookies

So the other night I was listening to the last regular season baseball game and it was announced that Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers won the Triple Crown (leading the league in batting average, RBIs & home runs). This is the first time that's happened since 1967--before I was born! There's not that many things I can say that about any more! At the same time I was just finishing up these Caramel Apple Bars, and was quite fond of the oatmeal base that recipe uses. And earlier in the day I had seen a recipe for "Brooksters" on Serious Eats (a combination of brownie + cookie). I've previously seen this type of bar called Brookies, which I think--in the word-merging scheme of things--is a little more appropriate.

With this extraordinary concurrence of events, I was inspired to try a triple level bar cookie. Instead of following the rather laborious Brookster recipe, however, I just used my favorite brownie recipe and a variation of the Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe. I'm sure I'm not the first person to come up with this combination, but I may be the only one to publish it at the same time as the Triple Crown!

Oatmeal layer (adapted from the Caramel Apple Bar recipe from Bake or Break linked to above)
1 + 1/4 cup oatmeal
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. To make bar removal really easy you can prepare a sling with parchment paper and grease an 8" x 8" pan. I didn't make a sling or even grease my pan, however, and I didn't find it too difficult to get the bars out.  Combine dry ingredients and then pour in melted butter. Mix until crumbly. Pack into pan and bake for 15 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Brownie layer (my original post is here, but I'll include again since it's such a quick recipe)
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1/4 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped nuts (I usually use walnuts)

Melt chocolate and butter over medium heat. Take off heat and stir in sugar, then egg and vanilla (mixture should turn a little glossy). Stir in remaining ingredients and spread over the oatmeal layer. Bake for 20-25 minutes, depending on how fudgy you want the brownie level.

Chocolate Chip Cookie layer (adapted from the Toll House recipe)
6 tablespoons sugar
6 tablespoons brown sugar (instead of measuring each sugar out exactly, I just eye it until the total amount comes to 3/4 cup)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 egg
1 + 1/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Combine sugars, salt and vanilla. Pour in melted butter and egg and mix well. Stir in flour and baking soda--dough will be very soft. (If you make regular cookies with the leftover dough, let it firm up for a few hours in the fridge before cooking.) Spoon over brownie level. I did not cover the whole surface, just plopped several spoonfuls over the brownies and spread them a bit. Cook for another 20 minutes, or until cookie layer just starts to brown.

This recipe is for my dad, who is a big Tigers fan. Also, he's the only person allowed to call me Brookie (or sometimes Rookie). Here's a silly picture of us at a Yankees game a few years ago...

Friday, April 13, 2012

Momofuko Confetti Cookies

I've now made three cookie recipes from the Momofuko Milk Bar cookbook and my conclusion is...they're good...but a bit irritating to make. Each one incorporates a separate "crumb" or "crisp" element that you have to make first. While they're always tasty, I'm not sure how much that element actually adds to the final product (or if, ultimately, it's just a gimmick). In addition, I was recently down in New York and did some "research" at an actual MMB to see how the authentic cookies compared to mine.

The first recipe I made was called Blueberry & Cream Cookies. I made these once before I had the cookbook (via Martha Stewart) and once after--and they turned out dramatically different the second time. (I made a half-recipe the first time and suspect that I messed up some of the measurements since the consistency was so different for each batch.) They were good enough to make a second time, but I'm not sure I need to make them a third time--maybe I'd try them with a different dried fruit or mix-in.  Anyway, these used Milk Crumbs that looked like this:

The cookie looked like this:

The authentic Momofuko version...not too different than mine, but chewier:

Next I made Cornflake-Chocolate Chip-Marshmallow Cookies, which used Cornflake Crunch. I didn't take any pictures of my cookies, but here is Momofuko's cookie. I liked these cookies a lot--the bits of marshmallow made them a little like a cookie version of a Rice Krispies bar. Once again though, mine were not as chewy as Momofuko's.  (Either their baking times are way off or my oven is too hot.)

Which brings me, finally, to Confetti Cookies, which use Birthday Cake Crumbs. They look like this:
I think these came out the best, perhaps because they include a bit of cream of tartar. I don't know if sprinkles really bring much to the party except some color. But they're fun. (These were not available at Momfuko on the day I visited.)

Birthday Cake Crumbs:
1/2 cup sugar
1 + 1/2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
3/4 cup cake flour (I used all-purpose flour with a bit of cornstarch)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons rainbow sprinkles
1/4 cup oil (book called for grapeseed, I used butter)
1 tablespoon (clear) vanilla extract*

Combine first six dry ingredients, then add oil & vanilla and mix until crumbly.  Place on a parchment-lined sheet and bake for 20 minutes, breaking up crumbs occasionally.  Let cool completely.

Confetti Cookies:
1 cup butter (2 sticks)
1 + 1/2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons glucose*
2 eggs
2 teaspoons (clear) vanilla extract
2 + 1/2 cups flour
2/3 cup milk powder
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 + 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt (less if table salt)
1/4 cup rainbow sprinkles

1/2 recipe Birthday Cake Crumbs

Cream butter, sugar & glucose. Add in vanilla & eggs and beat until smooth, about 7 minutes. Stir in remaining ingredients (or mix on low speed if you're using a stand mixer).  Mix in crumbs last, until just incorporated.

Scoop out large spoonfuls onto a parchment-lined sheet. Flatten slightly. (The book calls for 1/3 cup scoopfuls, but that seems like a bit much to me.) Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour and up to onr week.

When you're ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Arrange dough balls so they're several inches apart--the larger the ball, the further it will spread (duh!).  Place in oven and check after 15 minutes--cookies should be slightly browned on the edges. (The book says to cook for 18 minutes, which may be necessary if you actually plop down a whole 1/3 cup!) The book also says to cool on the sheet, but I always remove them to a cooling rack after a minute.

*They recommend using clear vanilla extract to get a sort of fake vanilla flavor.  Whatever...I'm sure regular vanilla is fine too. Glucose is some very strange stuff! It's like corn syrup, but 10X denser and stickier, making it very hard to measure out. You can sub in corn syrup if you don't have this.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Nutter Butters

I should start off by saying that I did not grow up with Nutter Butters, so I don't really know how close this is to the original Nabisco cookie. Nor have I ever had them from Bouchon Bakery (from which this recipe is adapted). But whatever, they're good! Chewy, buttery, not overly peanutty. It does make for a substantial cookie though. I often cut one in half so as to not feel gluttonous...but then end up eating the other half anyway! In any case, it's also a perfectly good cookie without the filling.

A note on peanut butter: the original recipe recommends using creamy Skippy and then adding in chopped peanuts separately. I always have crunchy peanut butter on hand and see no point in adding chopped peanuts separately. (Caveat: using creamy peanut butter might make the filling easier to spread.) Bottom line: use what ever you like...creamy, creamy with separately added peanuts, crunchy or hell, crunchy with even more peanuts added in!

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
1/3 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
(coarsely chopped peanuts)
1 + 1/4 cups rolled oats (orig. recipe calls for "quick cooking"but I only ever have "old-fashioned" on hand)

Heat over to 350 degrees. Beat together butter, peanut butter, sugars, egg & vanilla until smooth and creamy, about 4 minutes. Stir in dry ingredients. Drop rounded teaspoons (or larger if you want) on parchment-lined baking sheets and bake for about 10 minutes, until cookies have spread and turned very light golden brown. Remove from oven and cool on cookie sheet for about 5 minutes, then cool completely on a rack.

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
1/4 cup peanut butter
3/4 cup confectioners' sugar

Beat all ingredients together until smooth. Spread a thin layer of filling (about 1/8 inch) on the underside of a cookie and sandwich with another.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Deana's (soon to be famous) Cream of Broccoli Soup

This is from my friend Deana (whom I love!) who is always after me to post more. So here is her contribution to my recipe box, circa the early '90s. I hadn't made this in a while and was pleasantly surprised at just how satisfying it is, though quite simple. As you can see, the broccoli was bright green but when I added the carrots back in and pureed everything, the soup ended up having a slight orange tinge.

Vegetable stock:
1 tablespoon butter
2-3 carrots, chopped
2 small onions (1 medium?), chopped
(1-2 stalks of celery, chopped--my addition)
5 cups water

Melt butter in a large pot. Add carrots, onion & celery; cover pot and sweat vegetables for 10 minutes. Add water and simmer for 40 minutes. Strain broth, saving veggies.

Broccoli soup:
1 pound broccoli
3/4 cup milk
salt & pepper, to taste

Boil broccoli in vegetable stock until tender, but still green. Let cool. Throw broccoli, stock, and previously cooked vegetables (from stock) into a blender and puree. Serve as puree, or reheat with milk for cream of broccoli. As Deana says, "It's awesome!"