Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Sister1's Wedding: Cookies! (Chocolate Chip, Snickerdoodles, Lemon Burst, and Macaroons)

Cupcakes are fabulous and trendy and yummy (especially when they come on a tower of awesomeness!), but sometimes you just want a cookie. And who’s to say that cookies can’t be fabulous too? They sit in the palm of your hand, portable little discs of happiness. I love a chewy cookie, one you can bite into and savor, one that makes me lick the chocolate off my fingers, one that I can’t eat just one of!

For her wedding dessert table, Sister1 made not one, not two, not three, but four different delectable cookie varieties for her guests to sample. (And sample we did! I mean, who can resist trying one of each???)

For the traditionalists she made chocolate chip. But these aren’t just any chocolate chip cookies. Jacques Torres calls for huge chunks of chocolate and pastry flour, making them some of the best chocolate chip cookies I’ve ever had (though not quite as good as these).

(I just wish I had been around to stick my fingers in that bowl of cookie dough awesomeness!)

Jacques Torres’s Secret Chocolate Chip Cookies (from Martha Stewart)

Makes twenty-six 5-inch cookies or 8 1/2 dozen 1 1/4-inch cookies.

1 pound unsalted butter

1 3/4 cups granulated sugar

2 1/4 cups packed light-brown sugar

4 large eggs

3 cups plus 2 tablespoons pastry flour

3 cups bread flour

1 tablespoon salt

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

2 pounds Jacques Torres House (60 percent cocoa) Chocolate or other best-quality semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or nonstick baking mats; set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugars. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Reduce speed to low and add both flours, baking powder, baking soda, vanilla, and chocolate; mix until well combined.

Using a 4-ounce scoop for larger cookies or a 1-ounce scoop for smaller cookies, scoop cookie dough onto prepared baking sheets, about 2 inches apart. Bake until lightly browned, but still soft, about 20 minutes for larger cookies and about 15 minutes for smaller cookies. Cool slightly on baking sheets before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

For the non-chocolate-lovers (bah! who are these people anyways???) she made Snickerdoodles (click here for the recipe), and Lemon Burst Cookies.

The Lemon Burst Cookies were interesting. They have the flavor of lemon bars (yum!), but the texture of a cakey cookie. (So it’s a bit of a bait-and-switch situation.) They use cake mix for the texture and flavor, and are really cute. Sister1’s came out looking just like the original recipe.
Lemon Burst Cookies (from Brown Eyed Baker)

1 (18.25-ounce) package lemon cake mix

2 eggs

1/3 cup vegetable oil

Zest of 2 lemons

2 Tablespoons lemon juice

½ teaspoon lemon extract

1/3 cup confectioner’s sugar

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone baking mat.

2. Pour cake mix into a large bowl. Stir in eggs, oil, lemon zest, lemon juice and lemon extract until well blended.

3. Place confectioner’s sugar in a bowl.

4. Drop heaping tablespoonfuls of dough into balls and roll in confectioner’s sugar until lightly coated and place on baking sheet.

5. Bake for about 10 minutes or until the edges are lightly browned. Cool for 2-3 minutes on the cookie sheet and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

And finally, my mama’s all-time favorite, Coconut Macaroons. Sometimes macaroons can be too tough and chewy, but these ones came out so well! They’re coconutty and rich and just the right amount of chewable. (Even my dad ate one, despite the fact that he “hates coconut”!)

Coconut Macaroons (from Brown Eyed Baker)

Yield: 3 dozen cookies

2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk

1 large egg white

1½ teaspoons vanilla

1/8 teaspoon salt

3½ cups sweetened flaked coconut

1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper or a silicone mat.

2. In a large bowl, stir together the sweetened condensed milk, egg white, vanilla and salt until combined. Stir in the coconut until well blended.

3. Drop the dough by tablespoonfuls about 2 inches apart onto the cookie sheets. Form the cookies into loose haystacks with your fingertips, moistening your hands with water as necessary to prevent sticking.

4. Bake, one sheet at a time, until the cookies are light golden brown, 15 to 2o minutes.

5. Cool the cookies on the baking sheets until slightly set, about 2 minutes; remove to a wire rack with a wide metal spatula.