oreo cheesecake cookies

I was feeling a bit crabby last week. I’ve been teaching in the evenings after work, which has fun aspects, but preparing lectures, grading labs, writing exams, and going to class has been seriously cutting into my kitchen time. I can’t remember the last time I baked an impromptu batch of cookies – when I had no one planned to eat my treats, when I saw a recipe and realized I had all of the ingredients lying around, when I had a spare hour or so to make a mess in the kitchen. No wonder I was feeling out of sorts.

Now that the semester is over, I have lofty goals of keeping my house cleaner, exercising more rigorously, and learning everything from the basics of Italian to the ins and outs of Photoshop. But the truth is that I’ll probably spend the bulk of my new spare time in the kitchen playing with butter, flour, and sugar.

And cream cheese, if I’m lucky. As soon as someone says cream cheese, my ears perk up. And it’s all the better if it’s combined with oreos. These cream cheese cookies rolled in oreo crumbs are a fun take on that combination. There’s no egg in the dough, which not only simplified halving the recipe to use the odd bits and ends I had laying around, but gave the cookies a soft texture reminiscent of shortbread. Overall, they were the perfect way to end a baking dry period and put me in a better frame of mind.

One year ago: Bourbon Pound Cake
Two years ago: Cranberry Orange Muffins

Printer Friendly Recipe
Oreo Cheesecake Cookies (rewritten from multiplydelicious)

Makes about 30 cookies

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
3 ounces cream cheese, softened
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup (7 ounces) sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup (4.8 ounces) all-purpose flour
½ cup mini chocolate chips
1 cup oreo cookie sandwich crumbs (about 8 oreos)

1. Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats.

2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a large bowl if using a hand mixer), beat the butter, cream cheese and salt on medium-low speed until smooth and creamy. Gradually add the sugar and continue beating until the mixture is light and fluffy, 1-2 minutes. Beat in the vanilla, and then add the flour and mix on low just until combined. Mix in the chocolate chips.

3. Roll the dough into 1-inch balls. Drop the dough balls into a bowl of oreo cookie crumbs and roll to coat. Arrange the dough balls 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets.

4. Bake the cookies for 8-10 minutes, until the edges just start to brown and the tops are set. Cool for a minute or two on the sheets, then transfer the cookies to wire racks and cool completely.

devilish shortcakes

While I’m grateful to the recent Tuesdays with Dorie recipe choosers for picking seasonal recipes, I miss chocolate. It’s been months – almost four! – since chocolate has played a starring roll in a recipe – and December isn’t looking any better. A few chips here and there in cookies just isn’t going to cut it for the long term.

After Caitlin’s warning that these are “very subtly chocolate”, I decided that the solution was to add chunks of bittersweet chocolate into the biscuit dough. I considered filling the biscuits with ganache instead of whipped cream, but decided that after a holiday weekend dedicated largely to eating, I couldn’t afford either.

Greek yogurt with pomegranate seeds made the perfect compromise. But my favorite bites are still the ones that include bits of pure chocolate.  It’s just been too long.

Tania chose these chocolate shortcakes for the group, and she has the recipe posted. I made half the recipe using 1 whole egg yolk instead of ½ an egg. I split my halved recipe into 8 portions. I mixed 2 ounces of chopped bittersweet chocolate into the dry ingredients (but even more chocolate would have been welcome).

One year ago: All-in-One Holiday Bundt Cake
Two years ago: Linzer Sablés

almost-fudge gateau

If I’m not careful, my sister is going to start to associate visiting me with having to find time for extra workouts after she gets back, and then she won’t visit. Or maybe she’ll associate her visits down here with exceptionally rich desserts, and she’ll bring my nephews here more often. These are things I need to consider.

After the cheesecake extravaganza of her last visit, I resisted my very strong desire to make pumpkin cheesecake this time. Instead, I considered my brother-in-law’s preferences, which are chocolate chocolate chocolate.

So, after the park, after dinner, after bath time, after stories, it was time for grown-up dessert. And it’s just possible that almost-fudge gateau – topped with ganache one evening and raspberry coulis the next – might draw them back here soon. And not just because the kids want to climb on the rocket ship in the playground.

One year ago: Sugar-Topped Molasses Spice Cookies
Two years ago: Thanksgiving Twofer Pie

Almost-Fudge Gateau (adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From My Home to Yours)

5 large eggs
9 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 cup (7 ounces) sugar
5 tablespoon unsalted butter, cut into chunks
2 tablespoons coffee or water
⅓ cup (1.6 ounces) all-purpose flour
pinch salt

Glaze:
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
½ cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons light corn syrup

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9-inch springform pan, line the bottom with parchment paper, butter the paper, dust the inside of the pan with flour, and tap out the excess. Place the pan on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone mat.

2. Separate the eggs, putting the whites in a large bowl and the yolks in a small bowl.

3. Set a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, and add the chocolate, sugar, butter and coffee. Stir occasionally, until the chocolate and butter are melted. Transfer the bowl to the counter, and let the mixture sit for 3 minutes.

4. Using a rubber spatula, stir in the yolks, one by one, then fold in the flour.

5. Using a mixer with a whisk attachment, beat the egg whites with the pinch of salt until they hold firm, glossy peaks. Using the spatula, stir about one quarter of the beaten whites into the batter, then gently fold in the rest. Scrape the butter into the pan, and jiggle the pan from side to side to even the batter.

6. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until the cake has risen evenly (it might rise around the edges, and you’ll think it’s done, but give it a few minutes, and the center will puff, too) and the top has firmed (it will probably be cracked) and doesn’t shimmy when tapped; a thin knife inserted into the center should come out just slightly streaked with chocolate. Transfer the pan to a cooling rack, and let the cake rest for 5 to 10 minutes.

7. Run a blunt knife gently around the edges of the cake, and remove the sides of the pan. Carefully turn the cake over onto a rack, and remove the pan bottom and the parchment paper. Invert the cake onto another rack, and cool to room temperature right side up. As the cake cools, it may sink.

8. For the Glaze: First, turn the cooled cake over onto another rack, so you’ll be glazing the flat bottom, and place the rack over a baking sheet lined with parchment or wax paper to catch any drips.

9. Put the chocolate in a small heatproof bowl. Melt the chocolate in a microwave or over a pan of simmering water.

10. Meanwhile, bring the cream to a boil in a small saucepan. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate, and stir very gently with a rubber spatula until the mixture is smooth and shiny. Stir in the corn syrup.

11. Pour the glaze over the cake, and smooth the top with a long metal icing spatula. Allow the glaze to set at room temperature, or slip the cake into the refrigerator for about 20 minutes. If the glaze dulls in the fridge, give it a little gentle heat from a hairdryer.

peanut butter blondies

I was feeling smug last week about how I don’t crave Halloween candy. Of course, that was until I actually bought Halloween candy. I got my childhood favorite, Reese’s peanut butter cups, because I hadn’t had them in years and was curious about whether they’re as good as I remember. I ate about two-thirds of one, just enough to determine that yup, still good, and then employed my favorite technique for not overindulging – giving the rest of my food to Dave as quickly as possible before I change my mind.

Unfortunately, we only got about ten trick-or-treaters. That leaves me with 17 Reese’s peanut butter cups. I’m doing okay. I haven’t caved. Peanut butter cups are good, but they aren’t cookie dough. I can resist, but I’m certainly not complaining that this week’s Tuesday with Dorie recipe involves chocolate and peanut butter.

It was the best of both worlds – chocolate and peanut butter combined in cookie dough. That was where the self-control got difficult. However, once the cookies were (over-)baked, I was back to eyeing my bowl of candy.

Nicole has the recipe posted because she chose these for TWD. I baked mine for the low end of the range Dorie recommends, and they ended up dry and crisp. So check yours early! I suspect that if I hadn’t overbaked them, these would have lived up to their potential and given those peanut butter cups a run for their money. 

(About that gaping hole in the middle of the pan: Dorie says to check the doneness of the blondies by inserting a knife into the center, but my top was too crisp for that – perhaps a sign that they were already overbaked – so I dug a little hole out instead.  And ate it.)

One year ago: Cherry Fudge Brownie Torte
Two years ago: Rugelach (one of my favorite recipes from the book)

coffee break muffins

I wasn’t in the mood for these the day I made them. What I was in the mood for was the Chocolate Chunk Muffins a couple pages later. If you’ve flipped through Dorie’s book, you must have seen the ones I’m talking about – dark, rich muffins studded with big chunks of bittersweet chocolate. They’re not breakfast, but I bet they’re delicious.

They are, however, not this week’s Tuesdays with Dorie recipe. This week’s recipe is espresso muffins. But I got to thinking about how coffee enhances the flavor of chocolate and wondered if the reverse were true. Could I add just a bit of chocolate to give these another flavor dimension?

I replaced a quarter of the flour with cocoa powder, and, to just a few of the muffins, stirred in some chopped semisweet chocolate. And I was surprised that these ended up tasting just how I’d imagined the double chocolate muffins I’d been craving in the first place. The espresso flavor was timid, hiding behind the dominant chocolate. More chocolate flavor isn’t going to get any arguments from me, but now I’m curious about how the non-chocolate, pure espresso version would be. Next time I’ll have to try harder to resist my urge to eat chocolate for breakfast.

Rhiani chose these muffins, and she has the recipe posted. I replaced ½ cup of the flour with cocoa and added a few chocolate chips.

One year ago: Flaky Apple Turnovers
Two years ago: Dimply Plum Cake

espresso chocolate shortbread

Oh, coffee. I love it. I love how the bitterness offsets anything sweet, especially a scone or the foamed milk of a cappuccino. I love how, because I only drink it on weekends, it’s always a treat. I love that little buzz that makes me feel like life is the most awesome awesomeness of awesome ever.

I do not like when that buzz goes too far, so that my thoughts are too scrambled to go beyond Bzzzzt. I do not like when it irritates my stomach. I do not like lying awake at night regretting the mug I drank ten hours ago.

Coffee and I, we have a complicated relationship. I like it, but I have to be very, very careful with it. Which, come to think of it, is how I feel about dessert too. These crisp-tender distinctively coffee-flavored cookies were no exception, although in this case, I had even more reason to try to resist.  No one wants to be up all night because they ate cookies after dinner!

Donna chose these cookies for Tuesdays with Dorie, and she has the recipe posted.

One year ago: Espresso Cheesecake Brownies
Two years ago: Chunky Peanut Butter and Oatmeal Chocolate Chipsters

chocolate ganache ice cream

I was doubting Dorie when I mixed up the custard for this ice cream. It’s made like any other custard-based ice cream, so I would have sworn that Dorie threw “ganache” in the title just to make it sound fancier and more decadent, when in fact it was just standard chocolate ice cream.

Oh, how wonderfully wrong I was. After the custard had chilled, I found that it had a texture similar to ganache, not like a looser regular ice cream base. So thick and smooth and rich, I was afraid that there was no improving on this, and that churning it into ice cream would just ruin that delicious texture.

Not only did it not diminish its luscious texture, but  when you churn custard into ice cream, you mix in air, giving you more volume. That means more ganache custard. And that is very, very good thing.

Katrina chose this recipe for the group, and she has it posted. I added some vanilla to the custard right before chilling.

One year ago: Brownie Buttons
Two years ago: Blueberry Sour Cream Ice Cream

chewy, chunky blondies

I’m putting myself on a diet. And by diet, I do mean a change in my eating habits that I have no intention of making permanent. Beach Trip is in two weeks, and it’s time to buckle down. My normal eating and exercise habits keep me healthy and slim enough to feel good most of the time. But most of the time, I’m not wearing a bathing suit.

So, for two weeks, I’m eliminating dessert. Sigh. At least Tuesdays with Dorie gives me a bit of an escape clause. I’m required to bake for this group, right? And while I can give the treats away, I am most definitely not going to give away something I haven’t tried myself.

And so I did eat one square of blondie. One little square. One teeny, tiny square. And that one square of thick, chewy, peanut buttery, chocolately cookie will have to hold me over until next week’s TWD recipe. Beach Trip can’t get here soon enough.

Nicole chose this, and she has the recipe posted. For the mix-ins, I used 1 cup (6 ounces) chocolate chips, 1½ cups (8 ounces) miniature peanut butter cups, and 1 cup (5 ounces) peanuts. I also decreased the brown sugar from 1½ cups to 1 cup and used salted instead of unsalted butter.

One year ago: Dorie’s Vanilla Ice Cream
Two years ago: Summer Fruit Galette

brrrrownies

Certain desserts remind me of specific people. Chocolate plus cream plus butter on a big cookie is the perfect dessert for my sister’s husband (although he might pass on the cookie part – and maybe the cream and butter), so I made it a priority to make the tart noire when I saw my family over the 4th of July weekend. He cut himself a slice during the fireworks, then had some for “breakfast dessert” the next morning (as did I).

If I had looked one Tuesdays with Dorie recipe further, I might have made these br(rrr)ownies over the holiday weekend as well. I associate York Peppermint Patties with my sister; she would have been the perfect person to foist brownies with peppermint patty pieces onto. Me, I’m more of a peanut butter cup kind of girl.

These brownies, though, they are perfect for a York Peppermint Patty lover. Or maybe a Junior Mint, with their higher ratio of chocolate to mint, lover. It seems that those pieces of peppermint saturated the whole pan of intensely-fudgy-from-lack-of-any-leavener brownies to make essentially a huge Junior Mint.

Come to think of it, based on her candy choice at the movies, my mom would have loved these too. I really missed my opportunity to get other people to eat these brownies. Ah well…I guess I’ll have to eat them myself then. If I must.

Karen chose these, and she has the recipe posted.  I’m not sure if this makes a significant difference on the outcome, but I mixed my chocolate chip-sized patty pieces into the flour before folding the whole mixture into the rest of the brownie batter.  Otherwise they were too sticky, and I didn’t think they’d disperse evenly into the brownies.

One year ago: Brioche Plum Tart
Two years ago: Chocolate Pudding

tart noire

Sometimes I wish I was one of those people who didn’t like rich desserts. I think it would keep me from eating a lot of rich desserts.

But I am not. I’m prudent enough to cut myself only a modest slice, but not prudent enough to not cut myself another and another modest slice. Never mind that what I’m eating is nothing but a mixture of chocolate, cream, and butter spread over a big cookie.

On the plus side, at least I get to enjoy rich desserts. Because missing out on a mixture of chocolate, cream, and butter spread over a big cookie would be a shame.

Dharmagirl chose this tart for Tuesdays with Dorie, and she has the recipe posted.

One year ago: Tribute to Katharine Hepburn Brownies
Two years ago: Blueberry Pie