Easy Stamped Cookie Dough Recipe

Copy of UNICORNThis video doesn’t even begin to convey the surprise and excitement that I felt when someone in Lyon, France recognized me from the old YouTube videos I used to make for my old job! We live in a small world – let’s all be nice to each other because you never know who you’re going to meet!

Shout out to Marwen at Scrapcooking – you’re awesome!

Here’s the recipe for the cookie dough I make in the video. It’s a great recipe that holds its shape extremely since there is which is great for stamping, and it doesn’t need to be chilled in between mixthe dough and rolling it out, so it gets extra points as a time saver.

Easy Cut Out Cookie Recipe

10 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 egg at room temperature
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2-1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon teaspoon salt
1/4 cup whole milk at room temperature
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar together on medium speed until very light and fluffy. Add the egg and beat well to combine, scraping down the bottom and sides of the bowl as needed. Add the vanilla and almond extracts and beat until well combined.
Stir together the flour and salt. Add the flour mixture alternately with the milk in 3 additions, scraping the bowl well after each addition, stopping after the last of the flour has been incorporated.
On a heavily floured countertop, roll out the cookie dough to 1/4 inch thickness. Imprint and cut into desired shapes, and transfer to the parchment lined baking sheets, leaving about 1 inch in between cookies. Bake for 7-10 minutes depending on the size of the cookies. The cookies will not brown much, but they are done when the middle of the cookie looks matte instead of slightly greasy.

The Walloping Teaspoon Crew

Sean McShane: videographer, editor, and resident stand up comic

Music by Joakim Karud http://youtube.com/joakimkarud

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Totally Homemade Smores

 

Totally Homemade Smores

I am not a camper, but I can totally get down with s’mores, especially if they’re made with ooey-gooey homemade marshmallows and crispy from-scratch graham crackers! That’s right – mine are totally homemade smores and crazy delish! You don’t even need a campfire!

If you like this video, subscribe to my YouTube Channel! I post a new baking video every Wednesday.

 

Totally Homemade Smores
Graham Crackers
2-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, softened
1 cup dark brown sugar, lightly packed1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup milk
1-1/2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract

Stir together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Whisk together the honey, milk, and vanilla.

In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add half of flour mixture and beat until partially combined. Add the wet ingredients and beat until fully combined. Add the rest of the flour and and beat until fully incorporated, scraping bottom and sides of bowl as needed. Divide the dough into 2 disks about 1 inch thick and refrigerate at least 2 hours.

When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Dust the countertop generously with flour and roll one disk of dough at a time to 1/8 in. thickness. Cut into squares and pierce with a fork. Place on a baking sheet and chill for at least 20 minutes to help retain their shape. Bake for 14-18 minutes or just until the edges of the cookies darken slightly.

Toasted Coconut Marshmallows
2 cups sweetened shredded coconut
3 envelopes unflavored gelatin
1 cup ice water, divided
2 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon coconut extract
Nonstick spray

Cover the bottom of a 9 x 13 in. pan completely with shredded coconut, leaving no bald spots.

In a mixing bowl, stir together the gelatin with 1/2 cup of the cold water. Have the whisk attachment standing by.
Combine the remaining 1/2 cup water, sugar, corn syrup and salt in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium high heat, then cover and cook for 3 more minutes. Uncover,the pot and attach a candy thermometer to the side of the pan. Continue to cook until the mixture reaches 240 degrees F (softball stage), approximately 7-8 minutes. Immediately remove from the heat.

Turn the mixer fitted with the whisk attachment to low speed to break up the set gelatin. With the mixer still running on low, slowly pour the sugar syrup down the side of the bowl into the gelatin mixture. When all of he syrup has been added, increase the mixer speed to high and whip until the mixture cools to lukewarm, about 15 minutes. It will become more voluminous, thick, and very sticky. Add the vanilla and coconut extracts during the last minute of whipping. Pour the mixture into the coconut lined pan, using wet hands to spread it evenly. Sprinkle additional coconut over the top to cover the marshmallows completely. Let them sit uncovered for at least 4 hours to set up. To cut, gently loosen the sides of the marshmallows from the pan before removing the entire sheet. Spray a pizza wheel with nonstick cooking spray and cut into large squares. Dip the sticky sides into more shredded coconut. Store in an airtight container until ready to eat.

The Hottest Gingerbread Boy

D.J.’s favorite Christmas cookie is gingerbread, and I thought that we could have a little holiday fun with it. Can you guess who’s is who’s?

Beth and DJ as Gingerbread People

I baked out a couple of giant gingerbread cookies using Wilton’s Grandma’s Gingerbread Cookies recipe.

Nudie Gingerbread Peeps

The regular-sized gingerbread boy is there for size reference, and as a snack to bolster our energy and merriment during the decorating process. They were made from the same gingerbread dough, which rolls out like a dream and has a great blend of spicy flavor with a strong molasses background.

I pulled out my aresnal of icings, gels, and chocolate, and we got busy. Sprinkles were spilled. Tongues stained blue.  For a few minutes, we got to be kids, except for the bourbon that was mixed into my eggnog. We laughed a lot, and it was fun.

Check out that sparkly grill!

D.J. nailed it, don’t you think? The resemblance is uncanny, right down to the rainbow-starred shirt and unfortunate sixth toe. Ok, maybe the extra toes are not true-to-life, but they are good for a chuckle. Either way, that is the hottest gingerbread boy I’ve ever seen.

Twin Blondes!

Wishing you and yours a joyous Christmas with lots of opportunities to reconnect with your inner child!

 

Browned Butter and Smoked Cinnamon Snickerdoodle Cookies

I’ve been invited to a cookie exchange this weekend, and I’m fantastically excited because:

  1. It’s being held in a bar that doubles as an arcade. You’ll find me by the pinball machines,  cocktail in hand.
  2. There are hundreds of people invited, which means thousands of cookies. If the words “thousands of cookies” don’t get you excited, you might be reading the wrong blog.

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It takes me forever to decide what foods to bring to share at parties. As a professional baker and an overly-competitive person, I feel a weird, self-inflicted pressure to over-perform. Mediocre cookies will not be tolerated. My struggle is real.

This holiday cookie exchange is no different. I waffled for too long, sifting through tried-and-true recipes only to shun even the best ones. I racked my brain trying to invent brand new cookies with never-heard-before flavor combinations.

And then I realized that I was trying way too hard.

You’ve heard it a million times before, and it’s true: The best food is made from a few great ingredients and really simple techniques. Christmas cookies are no different. So why not take a classic cookie and up its “cool factor” with a couple of easy tweaks?

Helloooooooo, Browned Butter and Smoked Cinnamon Snickerdoodles. You are the current apple of my eye.

Who doesn’t love a snickerdoodle cookie with its crisped edges leading to  crackled, chewy centers, all encrusted in a fragrant coat of cinnamon and glimmering sugar? They are beloved and delicious just as they are. But browning the butter first gives a toasty complexity, and using smoked cinnamon enforces that.  The traditional vanilla is purposefully omitted to let the caramelized, nutty, and smokey notes shine on their own.  These changes are subtle but worthwhile, taking the humble snickerdoodles of your youth and classing them up a notch. Yup, these cookies are totally “exchangable.”

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Browned Butter and Smoked Cinnamon Snickerdoodle Cookies

2 sticks unsalted butter
2-3/4 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening*
1-3/4 cups granulated sugar, divided
2 eggs at room temperature
2 teaspoons smoked cinnamon**

Fill a large bowl with ice cubes and place a smaller bowl inside, resting on the ice. In a small saucepan, cook butter over medium heat until it is very brown and smells like roasted nuts. Expect the butter to bubble and spatter audibly for a while as it cooks. When it quiets down, start watching the pot so that it doesn’t burn, but the butter should get quiet dark, like really good caramel. Pour the butter into the small bowl over the ice, stirring every few minutes to cool it to room temperature. Don’t let the butter get so cold that it hardens completely. It needs to be soft, but not liquid, to make the cookies.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a couple of cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Sift together the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt.

Measure out 3/4 cup of browned butter; reserve the rest for another use.***

In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the browned butter and shortening until it is smooth and creamy. Add 1-1/2 cups of granulated sugar and beat on medium speed until it is light in color and very fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, scraping the bottom and sides of the bowl very well after each egg to get everything well combined.

Add the dry flour mixture in 2 parts, beating on low speed and scraping the bottom and sides of the bowl often. Beat just until a dough is formed.

In a bowl, combine the remaining 1/4 cup of granulated sugar with the smoked cinnamon Roll cookie dough into 1-1/2 inch balls and roll in the cinnamon sugar mixture to coat completely on all sides. Place on parchment-lined cookies sheets 2 inches apart.

Bake for 8-10 minutes until until centers of cookies are set. Remove from the hot pan to the cooling grid immediately.

Makes about 3 dozen cookies.
*Oh, you’re opposed to vegetable shortening, huh? Well, good for you. Feel free to substitute for all browned butter, but you need to know that your cookies will be much crunchier as a result. The shortening keep the cookies moist and soft, especially at days 2 and 3, if they last that long.

**Looking for smoked cinnamon, or any other delicious spices in the Chicago area? Check out Epic Spices at 1725 W. Chicago Ave. You’ll never meet a more friendly, knowledgable, or accomodating spice guy than Stephen, the shop owner.

***Awesome on pasta, fish, chicken, bread…Actually, I can’t think of a single thing that wouldn’t be better with a little bit of browned butter. Make it your new refrigerator staple.

Perks of Working in a Test Kitchen – Part 1

Sometimes the homemade pates de fruits you make for your boyfriend turn out more like dark, amorphous sugar-coated blobs than the gem-toned, sparkling squares of gummy perfection they were meant to be. Shit. Valentine’s Day is ruined!

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Slouchy. Super slouchy.

It’s times like these (and lots of other times, really) that I am thankful for my job. In the Wilton Test Kitchen, there’s always extra cake batter or cookie dough. In just a few minutes, I can go from candy failure to cookie savior and still bring something sweet to my sweetie on Valentine’s Day.

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Never too old for sprinkles. Ever.

I love, love, love Wilton’s Roll Out Cookie recipe, and I’m not just saying that because I work there. It doesn’t have to be chilled before rolling, which is a huge time saver, but if they are rolled, cut, and chilled for just a few minutes, the cookies hold on to their shape really well. It’s flavored with vanilla and almond extracts and a healthy pinch of salt. The cookies are crisp at the edges, and as a crunchy cookie person, I can appreciate that.

Thank you Test Kitchen job, for saving Valentine’s Day!

I’ll be back for those pathetic pates de fruits soon.

The Chemistry of Cookies

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Baking is the tastiest form of science.

Check out this great Ted-Ed video for a fun and informative rundown of the chemical changes that happen as cookie dough changes to cookies. Pretty sweet! (pun intended)

Snow Day In Chicago

Digging out his parking space in the back of the gingerbread condo.

This is what Chicago looks like, but with more sludge and yellow snow.

I’ve shoveled twice today, but other than that, I’ve been hunkered down in the house for over 24 hours, giving me ample time to clean both bathrooms, watch too many episodes of Dexter on Netflix, and mess with the tiny gingerbread houses that went untouched on Christmas day. No candy. No decoration. Just snow, and lots of it.

Tomorrow morning, I’ll be digging out my car to get to the test kitchen, just like the poor guy in the photos. The holidays are officially over, and it’s back to work we go!

And speaking of holidays, and work, and gingerbread, I played with some Gingerbread Houses on ABC7 in Chicago just before Christmas. They were much prettier than this one, so you should check it out! Stay warm and dry!

Making A Gingerbread House.