Category Archives: Cookies

Gluten Free Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bites

Cookies

Gaaah!  James posted this photo on Facebook last week, and people were clamoring for the recipe:

“Seems like there was a lot of interest in this recipe so here it is. You don’t taste the chick pea at all and they are REALLY delicious. I will be making them again.

Giving credit where credit is due I found this recipe from an email from Pinterest. It took me to the site of Texanerin.com”

Hmm, the phrase “You don’t taste the chick peas at all” strikes fear into my heart, especially in connection with cookies.  But since it’s from James and we trust him, here’s the recipe.  I’m still trying to get up the courage to make them.

UPDATE 9/3/2017:  I made them and you know what?   They really are good!  You absolutely would not know they contained the dreaded chickpea.  (Dreaded only because chickpeas have no place in a cookie.  Yes, I’m judgey that way.)  I would recommend NOT pressing the balls down to look like cookies because they do not have a cookie crispness at all and you will be disappointed.  They really should look like dough balls because that is what they are!

Gluten Free Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bites

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups roasted and salted peanuts (or 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons of all-natural peanut butter)*
1- 15.5 Ounce can of chickpeas, well-rinsed, drained and patted dry with a paper towel
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup honey (agave or maple syrup for vegan)
1 teaspoon baking powder
a pinch of sea salt
1/2 cup chocolate chips (use vegan and dairy-free chocolate chips, if desired)

Method:
Preheat your oven to 350°F.

Put the peanuts in a food processor (a blender will NOT work). Process for one minute then scrape down sides. Continue processing and scraping at one minute intervals. In four minutes, you should have delicious, amazing peanut butter. NOTE:  At the 2 minute, 30 second mark or so, the peanut butter will be extremely thick. Do NOT be tempted to add oil or liquid, just keep processing.  You can also use store bought natural peanut butter (1/2 cup plus 2 Tablespoons).

Leave 1/2 cup plus 2 Tablespoons in the food processor (store any remaining in the refrigerator). Add all the other ingredients except for the chocolate chips  and process until very smooth. Make sure to scrape the sides and the top to get the little chunks of chickpeas and process again until they’re combined.

Add the chocolate chips and stir them in. The mixture will be very thick and sticky. At this point, I put the bowl of dough in the freezer to firm up the dough.

With wet hands, form into 1 1/2″ balls. Place onto a Silpat- or parchment paper-lined cookie sheet. If you want them to look more like regular cookies, press down slightly on the balls. They don’t rise much.
Bake for about 10-12 minutes. Do not overbake. The dough balls will still be very soft when you take them out of the oven. They will not set like normal cookies. The bottom of the cookies will brown. Cool on wire racks.

Store in an airtight container at room temperature (or in the fridge) for up to 1 week.

IMPORTANT NOTES:

*1.  If you opt for not making the peanut butter do NOT use regular peanut butter! The cookies will come out too oily. You MUST use natural peanut butter.

2.  If you need grain-free baking powder, you can use 1 part cream of tartar + 1 part baking soda + 2 parts arrowroot.

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Indecent Lemony Almond Macaroons

Lemony ALmond Macaroons

Okay, so macaroons can’t really be indecent as they are thoroughly inanimate objects, but James made these for the pre-opening Wine and Unwind of Indecent last Sunday, so I thought the title was apt.  (FYI, Indecent, Paula Vogel’s play, opens at the Cort Theater on Tuesday, April 18.  Check it out here.)  These are also suitable for Passover.  I think.

Indecent Lemony Almond Macaroons

Ingredients:

1- 14-ounce package sweetened shredded coconut
1 cup sliced almonds
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
4 large egg whites
3-4 ounces dark chocolate

Method:

Heat oven to 325 F. In a large bowl, combine the coconut, almonds, sugar, lemon zest, and salt. Mix in the egg whites.

Drop mounds of the mixture (each equal to 2 tablespoons) onto 2 parchment-lined baking sheets, spacing them 1 inch apart.

Bake, switching the baking sheets halfway through, until the edges begin to brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Or bake one pan at a time. Cool slightly on baking sheets, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

Melt chocolate by boiling water in a pot and then putting chocolate in a stainless steel bowl and placing the bowl over the boiling water.  Stir frequently until almost completely melted, then remove pot from water and stir until smooth.

Dip cooled macaroons in the chocolate and place on waxed paper (Or be green and place them on the parchment paper they were baked on!!!) Drizzle remaining chocolate over the tops of the macaroons.

Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.

Ancho Chile Brownie Cookies

The Backstage Baker is still in San Diego at the Old Globe Theater.  But now that tech and previews for Rain are over, he’s had time to bake again.  As he told me, “Inspired by the tastes and flavors of being so close to Mexico I made some Ancho Chili Brownie Cookies.”

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Ancho-Chile Brownie Cookies on the tech table.  (Headset, God mic and Altoids to the right.)

Ingredients

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons salt
2 healthy teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 -3/4  teaspoon ground ancho chile pepper (depending how much heat you like)
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup margarine, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups semisweet chocolate pieces
1 cup slivered almonds, toasted

Method:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl stir together flour, cocoa powder, salt, cinnamon, and ground chile pepper. Set aside.

In a large bowl beat butter and margarine. Add brown sugar, granulated sugar, and baking soda. Stir until combined, scraping bowl occasionally. Beat in egg and vanilla until combined. Add the flour mixture. Stir in chocolate pieces and almonds.

Drop dough by rounded tablespoons about 3 inches apart onto prepared cookie sheet. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until edges are firm.

Cool on cookie sheet for 1 minute. Transfer cookies to wire racks; cool.

Makes about 4 dozen

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Cast members Betsy Morgan, Marie-France Arcilla, Jeremy Davis, Rusty Ross, Mike Sears, Eden Espinosa the final day in the rehearsal room. Rehearsal set in the background.

 

Hamantaschen

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Caroline here, hijacking the Backstage Baker’s blog to share a recipe I’m baking right now.

I’ll celebrate any holiday if it involves baking.  And today is one of my all-time favorite holidays – Purim – because it features the delectable pastry (pictured above) called hamantaschen.  (For those unfamiliar with them, hamentaschen are a sweet pastry/cookie filled with apricot, prune or poppy seed jams.)

Now, in case you don’t know, Purim is a Jewish holiday.   Described in the book of Esther, it celebrates the escape of the Jewish people from the annihilation planned by the evil Haman.  Long story short (and the long story involves people named Ahasuerus, Xerxes, Zeresh and many, many others) Haman was hanged on the very gallows that he’d built to exterminate the Jews, so Purim is a joyous holiday, full of festivities, costumes and fun.  I’m not quite sure why triangular pastries have such significance – some say they represent Haman’s ears, others that they resemble the pyramidal dice Haman used to decide the day of destruction, and still others say they look like popular hats worn back in 500 BC.  Regardless, they are unique and delicious!

Hamen Taschen
(Note, you’ll get the best results if you can refrigerate this dough overnight.  I’ve only been that organized once, but it really is worth it.)

Ingredients:

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
2 teaspoons orange zest
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice (extracted from above orange)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 large eggs
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
Apricot, prune, poppy seed fillings (you can find these in the baking section of your grocery store)

Method:

1. Cream together butter and sugar until fluffy.

2. Add orange zest, orange juice, vanilla extract and 2 eggs.

3. Sift together flour, baking soda and salt.  Slowly add to butter mixture until just combined.

4. Divide dough into thirds, wrap tightly in plastic and refrigerate for at least an hour.

5. Remove each chunk of dough one at a time and roll to 1/8” thickness.  With a 3” round cutter, cut out as many circles as possible and place on a cookie sheet. Whisk remaining egg and brush on edges of circles.  Put one teaspoon of filling in the middle of each dough circle and fold in sides to form a triangle.  Pinch the corners well to ensure the pastry keeps its shape when baking.  Put in refrigerator for 30 minutes to chill.

6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.   Bake until golden, 12 – 15 minutes.  Cool on baking sheets for 5 minutes, then remove to racks.

Makes about 40.

ANZAC Biscuits

I’m hijacking the Backstage Baker to blog a recipe I have been meaning to blog for years.

ANZAC biscuits are the traditional cookies baked to celebrate ANZAC day, April 25.   My excuse is that it’s a holiday we don’t celebrate here in the US, so I never have fair warning.  Luckily, one of my Antipodean cousins reminded me in time to get it together this year.  And perhaps it’s appropriate that I’ve waited until the 100th anniversary of the battle it commemorates to share this recipe.

ANZAC Day memorializes the sacrifices made by the Australian-New Zealand Army Corps who fought against the Turkish Army at Gallipoli in April 1915.  Landing on April 25, the ANZACs were tasked with capturing the peninsula as a first step to capturing Constantinople so that Britain could have free access to the Black Sea, thus neutralizing the Ottoman Empire for the rest of WWI.  (Writing this seems like such ancient history. World War 1? Constantinople? The Ottomans? Is Helen of Troy going to show up too? Oh yeah, actually this was also near where ancient Troy was located. War has been an enduring theme for this area.  But I digress)

Mother England spearheaded this campaign and used the troops from Down Under to do their dirty work.  But they didn’t reckon on the fierce resistance of Kemal Ataturk’s Army, and what was supposed to be a quick, decisive battle dragged out for months.  Both sides suffered heavy casualties (over 450,000 by some counts) and the remaining ANZACs were finally evacuated eight months later.  It was all very complicated and futile.  (Perhaps you remember Gallipoli — Peter Weir’s 1981 film starring Mel Gibson?  It’s about this battle.  You should watch it.)

Gallipoli is also a battle in which my great-Uncles Frank and Maurice Loftus fought, so this holiday is about a little more than cookies for me.  Great Uncle Frank corresponded regularly with his mother, and sent these letters home.  His Kiwi understatement combined with his sharp observations of battle are incomparable, and we’re so lucky these letters were preserved.  So read them.  If you want.

(Just an aside:  Frank survived Gallipoli, then served further in France, where he suffered a mustard gas attack. He was wounded three times during the war, and received the Croix de Guerre and a kiss from the King of the Belgians.)

My mother once told me a story about visiting a New Zealand veterans’ home with her Catholic School choir.  There was one man there, she said, who had been dreadfully wounded at Gallipoli and lost his arms and legs.  He was carried into the room in a small basket, and had the most beatific smile on his face as the girls sang.  My mother always felt guilty that she broke down in tears when she saw him and was unable to sing.

(You’ll excuse me as I go read some light poetry by Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon.)

Anyway, the story behind these biscuits is that they were baked and sent by the wives of the ANZACs to the soldiers because they travel well and don’t spoil easily.  I think this explains why they have never been a particular favorite of mine, but if you ever need to send biscuits to soldiers overseas, these are the ones to make.

Below is my mother’s recipe for ANZAC Biscuits. I’ve adapted it below for American ingredients, but don’t you just love the neat handwriting my mother had!!

ANZAC recipe

ANZAC Biscuits
(recipe from Margaret Loftus Ranald)

Ingredients:

1 stick butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons Golden Syrup (you can find this in most grocery baking sections, or substitute light corn syrup.  I’ve used honey with fine results.)
3/4 cup oatmeal (quick or original, either is fine)
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda (dissolved in 1 tablespoon hot water)
3/4 cup chopped walnuts
3/4 cup flaked coconut
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Method:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a stand mixer, cream butter, sugar, vanilla and Golden Syrup.  in a separate bowl, whisk oatmeal, flour, and salt.  Add dry ingredients and baking soda solution to creamed mixture and mix until just combined.  Stir in walnuts and coconut by hand.

Roll about a tablespoon of dough into a ball and place on lined cookie sheet, flattening slightly.  (NOTE: I always use a Silpat, but parchment paper is fine too.  Or just grease the cookie sheet.  It’s all fine.)

Bake for approximately 10 minutes.  Remove from cookie sheets and let cool.

ANZAC biscuits

Valentine’s Day Cookies — Reprise

vday cookies

First, a Hamilton update:

They’ve extended the run at the Public a third time (or is the fourth?) to May 3, and even before it’s opened, the show is the talk of the town.  Check out last Sunday’s NY Times article in the Arts and Leisure section.  If you still remember hard copy newspapers, this article was on the first page of the section and above the fold, which is a big deal in theater press agent land:

Above the fold

And since I’m on the topic, check out this New Yorker cartoon  (you know you’ve made it when the New Yorker mentions you in a cartoon!!):

 

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But now for the cookies:  I blogged this recipe back in February of 2013, and I’ve been making these treats for years, ever since James shared the recipe with me.  James tells me he too is making a batch of these for Valentine’s Day this year, so I figured I might as well re-blog it for the holiday.  (James, I must mention, has these nifty little cookie presses that put the words in his cookies.  No idea where he got them from (Sur la Table?  Broadway Panhandler?) and I have never seen them anywhere, but I love them!)

With a recipe this simple, using the best quality ingredients you can find/afford really makes a difference.  For example, I like to use Kerrygold Irish Butter, 100% pure vanilla extract, Ghirardelli baking cocoa, and Nestle’s chips.  But don’t let this list deter you from making these cookies — it’s always better to choose to bake no matter what ingredients you have on hand!  (And, full disclosure, I never have all those ingredients on hand anyway.  Someday, though, I will.  And the cookie presses!)

Valentine’s Day Cookies

Ingredients:

1 1/4 cup butter softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened baking cocoa
1 cup vanilla chips
2 Tablespoons shortening
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Method:

1.            Cream butter and sugar, beat in vanilla.  Combine flour and cocoa in a separate bowl and gradually add to creamed mixture.

2.            On lightly floured surface roll out dough to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut with heart cookie cutter. Place on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 375 for 8-10 minutes.

3.            For icing, melt vanilla chips and 1 tablespoon of shortening.  (I do this in the microwave in short, 10 second bursts, stirring between each zap.)  Dip both end of cookies into melted mixture. Heat chocolate chips and remaining shortening and drizzle over dipped cookies.  (I find the best way to drizzle is to scrape the slightly cooled, melted chocolate into a zip top bag, seal it, snip off a tiny corner and squeeze.)

Better than Crack Oatmeal Cookies

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It’s tech time for Hamilton, and James miraculously has found time to bake!

What exactly does tech time entail?  I’ve often mentioned it before, but I realize I’ve never really explained it thoroughly.  So, here goes:

During the two-week period consisting of the workweek preceding and the workweek including the first paid public performance, rehearsal may include no more than a total of 5 days of not more than 10 out of 11 1⁄2 hours; any other rehearsal days in this period shall be no longer than 7 out of 8 1⁄2 hours except that rehearsal on any performance day may not exceed 4 hours. [Actors’ Equity Association Rulebook, Off-Broadway, 54 (c) (5)]

In plain English, it means that James and the entire cast and crew of the show are spending at least 12 (and for many, probably more like 15) hours per day at the theater.  As the production stage manager, James is the one keeping everyone — actors, directors, designers, crew, musicians – on track and focused at the task at hand.  (The task being, of course, to marry all the different aspects of the production into a finished product.)

Here’s a photo of James’ calling script — twelve more songs to tech and he’s already on light cue 1002!  For those of you who aren’t stage managers, that is A LOT!

Lts 1002

So, it puts his ability to bake 5 dozen cookies during this time into sharp perspective, don’t you think?

There’s always time to bake . . .

Better than Crack Oatmeal Cookies

Ingredients:

2 sticks margarine
2 sticks butter
2 cups brown sugar
2 cups white sugar
4 eggs
4 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 T vanilla
4 cups Rice Krispies
4 cups oatmeal
1- 12 oz pkgs chocolate chips
12 oz of flaked coconut
2 cups dried cranberries

Method:

Preheat oven to 350*F.

1.  Cream the margarine, butter and sugars well.  Then add eggs and vanilla.  Mix thoroughly.  (I use a standing mixer for this.)
2.  In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and baking soda.  Add to wet ingredients.  Mix just until combined.
3.  Using a spatula or a wooden spoon, mix in Rice Krispies, oatmeal, chocolate chips, coconut and cranberries .
4.  Drop by tablespoonful on parchment-lined pans and bake in a 350 degree oven for 10 – 15 minutes (I usually only bake them 11 minutes.)

NOTE FROM JAMES:  This makes a huge batch. I usually cut it in half and still get 5 dozen!!! I originally got the recipe from my mom and did some modifications.