Caramel Kahlua Brownies

Yes, I know that brownies are not cookies.  But seriously.  Caramel + Kahlua + pecans = opportunity that Jillian just could not pass up.    I actually like to make my own caramel by heating sweetened condensed milk, an idea which was inspired by a delicious caramel pie that my friend (and then-roommate), Jackie, made during our freshman year of college.  It is really simple to do (just takes a few hours) and tastes delicious.

In other news, spring has arrived in New York, and it seems to have elevated moods all around the city!  So many people with whom I have spoken have said how happy they are today.  Hurray for spring!

caramel kahlua brownies

Caramel Kahlua Brownies
8 tbs hot melted butter
1 1/4 c granulated sugar
3 oz unsweetened chocolate
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tbs Kahlua
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup  + 2 tbs all-purpose flour, spooned and swept
1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/3 cup chopped pecans

1. To caramelise the condensed milk, place in a pot and cover with water.  Bring to a boil and allow to simmer about 2-3 hours.  Remove from heat and let cool.  Be careful when opening the cans as the heat will have increased the pressure and some caramelised milk may squirt out.  It is best to poke a small hole using a can opener and allow the pressure to decrease before actually opening the can.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8 inch square pan and line the bottom with parchment paper.
3. Spread the pecans in a single layer on baking sheet and toast for about 10 minutes or until fragrant.  Meanwhile, melt the butter in a double boiler over gently simmering water.  Stir in the unsweetened chocolate.  When this is melted, stir in the the sugar and salt until at least partially dissolved and remove from heat.
4. Beat chocolate mixture 20 strokes with a mixing spoon. Beat in Kahlua. If mixture seems very hot, let cool for about 2 minutes, then beat in eggs, one by one. Add flour and stir just until combined. Spread a little over 1/3 of this mixture (enough to cover) over bottom of pan and bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and set hot pan in freezer to cool for 10 minutes.
5. Pour caramel mixture over cooked brownie layer.  Spread until it is about 1/2 inch away from the edges, as it will radiate outward when you add the top layer of brownie batter.
6. Stir half the chocolate chips into remaining brownie better. Carefully drop and spread brownie batter over caramel layer, cover caramel as much as possible. Stir together remaining chocolate chips and he toasted pecans. Sprinkle chocolate chip/pecan mixture over top of brownies. Return to oven and bake on center rack for 30 minutes or until top appears set.
7. Let cool completely on a rack, then chill in refrigerator for at least 1 hour.  Cut into squares.

Makes 12

Chocolate Torte with Blackberry Coulis

Happy Passover, everyone!  Ok, so let me start by saying that this is not a cookie,  but it IS really good.  Anyway, my friends and I had our seder on Friday night (the night before Passover starts) because it was more of a non-denominational seder with fantastic food (no fasting here…).  We started with some smoked salmon and salmon caviar (Kosher, although sturgeon is not) and makeshift matzoh crackers (bad Manischewitz for having a Tam Tam shortage!) and cream cheese and smetana (Russian sour cream).  Then we did our seder and enjoyed our fabulous meal of prime rib with roasted garlic and horseradish crust, beet, onion and horseradish relish, tzimmes, charoset, matzoh ball soup and salad with orange-fennel vinaigrette.  For desert, I brought along this chocolate torte with blackberry coulis (also Kosher for Passover) and the pareve chocolate chip cookies, which I posted earlier this week (I also did the matzoh ball soup and the salad).  The torte and the coulis were both a hit.  In fact, people were actually drinking the coulis, which I take as a compliment.

chocolate torte

Chocolate Torte wtih Blackberry Coulis
(adapted from Epicurious)

For the torte:
16 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped into chunks
14 tbs (1 7/8 sticks) salted margarine, divided
1 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped into chunks [original recipe called for unsweetened cocoa powder, but there seemed to be a cocoa powder shortage at literally every store in my neighbourhood]
1 tsp instant coffee powder
1 c sugar
5 large eggs

For the coulis:
1 lb blackberries (frozen or fresh)
1 c plus 2 tbs semidry white wine (such as Chenin Blanc)
6 tbs sugar, divided
3 whole cloves
2 Turkish bay leaves
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp brandy

For garnish:
Fresh mint sprigs
Fresh blackberries

1.  Prepare the coulis (see below)
2.  Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a  9-inch-diameter springform pan with margarine and line bottom with parchment.
3.  Stir 10 oz semisweet chocolate, the unsweetened chocolate and 10 tbs margarine in double boiler over low heat until smooth. Whisk in espresso. Cool 10 minutes.
4.  Beat eggs and sugar in large bowl on high speed until thick, about 6 minutes. Fold in chocolate mixture. Pour batter into prepared pan.
5.  Bake torte until dry and cracked on top and tester inserted into center comes out with some moist batter attached, about 42 minutes. Cool in pan on rack 1 hour. Do not worry if the centre falls – it is supposed to.
6.  Using spatula, press raised edges so top is level. Cut around pan sides and remove sides. Place plate atop torte and invert onto plate. Remove pan bottom; peel off paper, and cool torte completely.
7.  Stir remaining 1 cup (6 ounces) chocolate and 1/4 cup margarine in small saucepan over low heat until smooth. Whisk in 2 tablespoons blackberry coulis. Cool glaze 15 minutes, then into center of torte. Smooth top with spatula, allowing some of glaze to drip down sides. Refrigerate uncovered until glaze is set, about 1 hour. (Can be made 3 days ahead. Cover and keep refrigerated.)
7.  Cut torte into wedges; spoon coulis alongside. Garnish with mint and berries, if desired.

1.  Place berries in a blender with wine and 4 tbs sugar and puree.  Pour into medium sauce pan.  Add the cloves, bay leaves and allspice and bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally.  Reduce heat, cover and let simmer for about 8 minutes.
2.  Strain into a bowl and discard the solids. Whisk in the brandy and remaining 2 tbs of sugar.  This can be made up to 5 days in advance.

Chocolate Fudgy Peanut Butter Cookies

And here is Part 2.  Not to bias you, but of today’s recipes, I think this one was my favourite.  If you are familiar with the amazingness of Tagalongs (i.e. the Girl Scout cookie), these are a similar concept.  Peanut butter oozing out from under chocolate topping.  Fabuloscity.

fudgy chocolate peanut butter

Chocolate Fudgy Peanut Butter Cookies
1 1/2 c all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
2 oz unsweetened chocolate
1/4 tsp baking powder
7 tbs butter, at room temperature
1 c granulated sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 c peanut butter
1/2 c powdered sugar
1 (6-oz) package semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 c sweetened condensed milk

1. Preheat oven to 350oF.
2. Melt the unsweetened chocolte in a double boiler over barely simmering water and set aside.  Sift together flour, salt, soda, and baking powder in a medium bowl.
3. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar with an electric mixer.  Beat in melted chocolate.  Beat in egg and vanilla. Stir in flour mixture until well mixed.
4. Shape dough into 1 inch balls. Place balls on cookie sheets about 2 ½ inches apart. Make an indentation in the center of each ball of dough with your finger(s).
5. Beat peanut butter and powdered sugar together. Spoon about a  teaspoon of peanut butter mixture into center of each cookie (in indentation).
6. In a double boiler over gently simmering water, melt the chocolate chips.  Remove from heat and stir in condensed milk.  Working quickly before it stiffens, spoon chocolate mixture over center of each cookie so that it covers peanut butter. Use your finger or a spoon to make sure peanut butter is sealed in.
7. Bake cookies for 10 minutes. Let cool on sheets for 2 minutes. Transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

Makes about 20 cookies.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Volcano

This is Part 1 of this week’s baking effort. Why? Well, over the weekend, among my dessert cravings, I was hit with one for chocolate peanut butter. I think peanut butter is great. I like to microwave it for about 10 seconds and then just eat it. Sometimes I add in a little jam or some marshmallows or chocolate. Of course, I like it in other things as well (Thai food, Chinese food, sandwiches, etc.). Anyway, I decided that I wanted to make a cookie involving chocolate and peanut butter. I came across two recipes that I really liked (thanks, Anna): one had a peanut butter cookie with chocolate filling, while the other was a chocolate cookie with a peanut butter filling. I simply could not decide which I would rather make, so I thought, “BOTH!”

chocolate peanut butter volcano

Chocolate Peanut Butter Volcanoes

Lava Part
3 oz (1/2 c) semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 oz unsweetened chocolate
1/2 c sweetened condensed milk
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Cookie Part
1 3/4 c all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp plus 1/8 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
11 tbs (1 stick plus 3 tbs) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 c peanut butter (not crunchy)
1/2 c plus 1 tbs (lightly packed) light brown sugar
6 tbs granulated sugar
3/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 large egg

1. Preheat the oven to 350oF.  Line several baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. Make the lava: Melt the chocolates together in the top of a double boiler placed over simmering water (or  microwave).   Stir the melted chocolate vigorously into the milk until the mixture is smooth and well blended. Whisk in vanilla and set aside.

4. Make the cookie dough: Sift the flour, baking soda, and salt together into a small bowl and set aside.

5.  Cream the butter, peanut butter, both sugars, and the vanilla together in a medium-size mixing bowl until light and fluffy, about 10 minutes.  Add the egg and beat on medium speed until blended, about 1 minute. Scrape down the bowl.   Add the flour mixture and mix on low speed until blended, about 15 seconds. Scrape the bowl and mix several seconds more.

8.  Roll tablespoon-sized lumps of dough into balls and place them about 2 inches apart on the cookie sheets.

9.  Press a deep hole into the center of eah bowl with your finger, and drop about teaspoon of the lava mixture into the hole.  You may need to use your fingers a bit.

10. Bake the cookies until they are lightly golden, about 16 minutes.  Cool the cookies on the sheet.

Makes… oops, I forgot to count!

Pareve Chocolate Chip Cookies

My sister came to visit me today, because she’s looking for a prom dress!  Whee!  So we spent the afternoon perusing East Village boutiques with my roommate’s puppy, Toni.  Then we went to lunch (though, sadly , restaurants were only serving brunch still, at 4pm!!!), but I wanted desert, so I decided to try this Kosher-for-Passover (no leavening agents), pareve chocolate chip cookie recipe, since Passover starts this Saturday.  (My friend, Jackie, and I are having a seder (aka an excuse to go to Zabar’s), and I am super excited!)  Coincidentally, I am watching a PBS documentary, “A Yiddish World Remembered”, as I write this.  Yiddish is apparently experiencing a revival amongst young Americans, which is pretty cool.

Anyway, the cookie is pretty crisp and really spreads.  You could refrigerate the dough to minimize this and make the cookie a bit less crispy, but I tried both ways and preferred the crispy version.  My photos look slightly different because I didn’t really have chocolate chips, so I threw in some sprinkles and pecans.

pareve chocolate chip

Matzoh Meal Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 1/3 c brown sugar
1/2 c plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
3/4 c unsalted margarine (1 1/2 sticks)
2 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
1 c matzo cake meal
1 c potato starch (potato starch flour)
2 c chocolate chips (or approved Kosher type chocolate)

1.  In a large mixing bowl, cream both sugars with butter. Add vanilla.  Blend in the eggs.

2.  Stir in the salt, cake meal and potato starch.  Fold in the chocolate chips.

3.  Chill the dough for 1 hour or overnight for chewy cookies, do not chill if you prefer thin, crisp cookies.
Preheat the oven to 350oF. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

4.  Scoop out generous teaspoonfuls of dough or roll marble sized balls. Place on the baking sheets, leaving plenty of room for the cookies to spread (3 ½ inches).
Press down a little if using chilled dough.

5.  Bake for 12 to 15 minutes- watch carefully- then cool on the baking sheets for 20 to 30 minutes. Use a thin metal spatula to remove the cookies

Makes about 30 cookies


Well, if you’ve visited here before, you may have seen a rather different version of this site.

I’ve decided that a blog format would be more suitable for what I am doing (namely posting a cookie recipe a week). Let’s face it, no one is coming here looking for my artwork from middle school.

So, welcome to the new!? (Such a sexy name!)

Chocolate Sundae Cookies

These are a find from my new hobby of browsing recipe blogs, however, the original recipe apparently comes from a contest held by Pillsbury way back when.  I really, really love marshmallows and maraschino cherries, which these include.  After last week’s Butterscotch Pecan Cookies, I wanted to do something a bit different.  These gave me a chance to experiment, plus they have the added bonus of being rather visually impressive. In keeping with my new pudding obsession, I added some “Chocolate Fudge” into the mix.

chocolate sundae cookie

Chocolate Sundae Cookies
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp soda
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 c brown sugar
1/2 c shortening (I used 6 tbs shortening and 2 tbs butter)
1/2 package instant chocolate pudding mix
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
2 squares unsweetened chocolate, melted
2 tbsp. milk
1/4 c cherry juice
1/4 c maraschino cherries, chopped, plus more for topping
1/2 c walnuts, chopped
A bunch of large marshmallows cut in half
Chocolate Glaze (see options below)

1. Preheat oven to 350350oF. Line a couple of cookie sheets with parchment.
2. Cream the brown sugar and shortening together. Blend in the pudding mix. Add the egg and vanilla and mix until well blended. Add melted unsweetened chocolate and mix well. Add dry ingredients with milk and cherry juice. Stir in the nuts and and cherries.
3. Drop by tablespoon onto cookie sheets and bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes.
4. As soon as the cookies come out of the oven, press a marshmallow half in the center. Let the cookies sit on cookie sheet until sturdy enough to transfer, then move to a wire rack. 5. Spoon glaze over marshmallow, covering it completely. Cap with a cherry half.

Chocolate Glaze
If you do not really feel like making your own topping, you can microwave some prepared chocolate frosting for about 20 seconds and then spoon over the top. Otherwise, here is a recipe for a quick frosting of your own:

6 ounces bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
4 tablespoons butter
4 teaspoons light corn syrup or golden syrup
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a heavy double boiler over barely simmering water, melt butter. When butter is partially melted, stir in chocolate and corn syrup. Continue until smooth. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.

Butterscotch Toasted Pecan Cookies

Ok, seriously? I wrote a whole post for this and then it mysteriously was deleted. Gah! Well, here is attempt #2.

Although I thought that this could never happen, these cookies seem to have supplanted the Chocolate Brownie Cookies as my favourite. They have also created in me an addiction to toasted pecans (so yummy, and they make my apartment smell nice). This was the first cookie that I ever made using instant pudding mix, and let me just say, whoever originally thought to do that was a GENIUS. I will be altering all of my future soft-cookie recipes to include it. The original version of this recipe called for butterscotch flavoured pudding mix (in keeping with the theme of the cookie, obviously), but that seems to be the one pudding type that Key Food (my usually fabulous local grocery) does not stock. I made several batches using different flavours, and the white chocolate ones were voted the best.

butterscotch toasted pecan cookies

Butterscotch Toasted Pecan Cookies
2/3 c pecans, coarsely chopped
2 1/4 c (280 g) all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 c (225 g) butter, softened
3/4 c (150 g) brown sugar, packed
1/4 c (50 g) white sugar
1 package white chocolate pudding mix
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 c butterscotch morsels
1. Preheat oven to 350oF. Place pecans on a cookie sheet and toasted for 8 minutes or until aromatic. Set aside to cool. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. Stir together the flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar. Beat in the instant pudding mix until blended. Stir in the eggs and vanilla. Blend in the flour mixture. Stir in butterscotch morsels and cooled, toasted pecans.
3. Drop cookies by rounded spoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes in the preheated oven. Remove to wire racks to cool.
Makes about 30 cookies