November 12, 2009

Vote for me on Bon Appetit!

Recently, I was asked by the web editor of Bon Appetit to submit a recipe for their Holiday Blog Envy Bake-off. I decided to share the recipe I use for coconut macaroons with chocolate ganache - yum! Now, I need your help!

Vote for my recipe! The first part of the contest is open to readers to vote on their favorites in each baking category (my recipe is in the Cookie, Brownies, and Bars category). The recipes with the most votes from each category move onto the second round which involves Bon Appetit testing each recipe. From there, a winner is chosen. The grand prize is a dinner with Bon Appetit Editor-in-Chief Barbara Fairchild! This could be my opportunity to get down on my knees and beg for a food writing opportunity (part-time, of course)!

When I signed up to vote, I had to register on Bon Appetit. It's easy to do (and free!) and you can opt out of receiving anything via e-mail, so don't worry aboutr spam mail. Please please please please please help me get to the second round of the competition! If I do, I promise to bake all of you cookies! And tell all your friends to vote too!

You can find the site here. All you need to do is look for the Coconut Macaroon with Chocolate Ganache recipe from Puff and Choux (that's my blog).

November 2, 2009

Sometimes you just have to bake some cookies

I've been in a baking funk lately. It's been a combination of a somewhat new (and inferior) kitchen and just lack of time, but I won't lie and say my inspiration hasn't been at a dribble too.

This past weekend, I caught a cold and couldn't go out for Halloween. I was bummed as a good friend of mine was throwing her annual Halloween party, and instead of having a great time with friends and dressing up as a Day of the Dead doll, I was lying on the couch watching So I Married an Axe Murderer and wondering what my life would have been like if I had been my age now in 1993 and when exactly Mike Meyers became NOT funny.

After I wrapped up Axe Murderer, I found myself bored. I wasn't tired as I had been sleeping all day. I didn't feel like getting online and playing around on Facebook, so I was left with few options. I went into the kitchen and began what has become my routine the past two months - opening the fridge with the brief hope that somehow it has filled itself magically with ingredients so I could whip up a sweet feast. What did I have? Two onions, half a stick of unsalted butter and black truffle butter. A feast I did not have.

Before meandering back into my bedroom, I remembered the peanut butter and jelly I had bought a couple of weeks earlier. I had bought these household mainstays with the idea of making a cookie recipe I had seen in Martha Stewart Living. I was craving some sweets, so making these comfort cookies became my mission for the night.

To call this recipe a "mission" is a bit dramatic. Time-wise, these bad boys took me less than an hour to make, and that includes bake time.

Even though I'm still getting over this cold, I have to believe that the chicken noodle soup and PB&J cookie combo is what's really speeding along the healing process.

Peanut Butter & Jelly Thumbprint Cookies
Makes 40

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup smooth peanut butter
4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup packed light-brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar, plus more for rolling
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup raspberry jam

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Beat peanut butter and butter with a mixer on medium speed until smooth. Add sugars, and beat until pale and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla, and beat until incorporated. Reduce speed to low. Add dry ingredients, and mix until combined.

Scoop level tablespoons of dough, and form into balls. Roll each ball in granulated sugar, and transfer to parchment-lined baking sheets, spacing about 2 inches apart.
Bake until cookies are puffy, about 10 minutes. Remove from oven, and make indentations in centers by pressing with the handle end of a wooden spoon. Return to oven, and bake until edges are golden, 6 to 7 minutes more. Transfer sheets to wire racks, and let cool completely.

Heat jam in a small saucepan, stirring, until loosened, about 30 seconds. Spoon about 1/2 teaspoon into each indentation. Cookies can be stored in a single layer for up to 1 week.
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