Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Back to School Treats...for kids and moms

I know some children may already be back at school, but in our area, Tuesday marked the day. I have a couple of selections to share, one for kids and the other...well, for Mom when they're in bed! I found these Circus Cookie Cutters at Williams-Sonoma over a year ago. I've made them one other time when our grandson, Ari Isaiah, was born last June. I decided to make them again and yes, I sent him some because he's old enough to eat them now. The recipe, on the back of the box, is a simple "sugar cookie" and it makes easily 3-4 dozen cookies, depending on the shapes you cut out. Paired with a glass of milk, it's the perfect after-school-snack before they have to start their homework. I used a Silpat on my baking sheet, but you can easily use parchment as an alternative. No icing is needed on this crunchy cookies. These easy to make cookies bring back such fond memories...biting the heads off first or sometimes the legs. Surprise the kids and try these; I'll bet they're a big hit!

Now, for the grown-up cookies. This is my own recipe, that I put together after seeing the musical play, "Wicked" for the second time this past Sunday, I've named these: Wicked Awesome Fudge Cookies! As you can see, a glass of Cabernet or Shiraz goes oh so well with dark chocolate, but I had mine with a Diet Lime Coke and it was just as good. Enjoy!

Preheat oven 325F-degrees/Convection
In a double boiler, or microwave safe bowl, melt 4T unsalted with one package (9.7-ounces) Scharffen Berger Bittersweet Chocolate, chopped.

In a KitchenAid mixer, using the paddle, beat 3 large eggs and 1 1/4 cups sugar on high for 3-5 minutes. Add 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla and 1/4 tsp. coconut extract. Mix into sugar/eggs. Add the slightly cooled chocolate/butter mixture and blend well.

Fold in: 1/4 cup coconut milk powder, 1 cup All-purpose flour, 3/8 tsp. baking powder, 1/4 tsp. salt, 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut (if you use sweetened coconut, decrease sugar to 3/4 cup) and 3/4 cup semi-sweet mini chocolate chips. Let the dough rest on the counter top for 7-10 minutes to firm up. Use a scoop equivalent to a tablespoon and drop the cookies onto the prepared baking sheet, allowing about 2 inches between cookies. Bake 10-12 minutes. Tops
should be shiny; don't overbake because you want that fudgy center. Remove from the oven and place a chocolate wafer (E. Guittard Semi-sweet), nonpareil, or Kiss in the center and allow to set 3-5 minutes before removing them to a cooling rack.
If you're not a coconut fan like me, and these honestly do taste like an "Mounds bar", then, substitute the coconut extract with 1 1/2 tsps. espresso powder, increase the flour to 1 1/4 cups, and increase the chocolate chips to 1 cup.

I have great memories of coming home from school and having homemade cookies. My favorite were Snickerdoodles and I loved helping my Mom by rolling the tops into the cinnamon/sugar before putting them on the baking sheet. Take the time to bake with your kids and make some great memories.
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