Whole wheat Oatmeal cookies

1oatmeal_chocochips BM #105: Week 2, Day 2
Theme : One country, One category

Here is another popular sweet treat from USA- cookies! My son is a big fan of homemade cookies. I used to bake these a lot when I was in India, but after moving to US, I find it easier to buy this from Costco than to make it at home. The main reason I hesitate to make is that the quantity is almost always huge. It’s hard to overcome the temptation when you have to spend the whole day at home with these delicious treats right in front of you!

Anyway, these cookies are also from my drafts folder. I had made these awhile back. It was a Christmas gift for some of our friends. Home baked treats make excellent gifts in my opinion. We had received whole flour oatmeal cookies with coconut as a gift from my husband’s colleague that year. Those cookies were delicious and that was the trigger for me to bake the ones here. I have followed the recipe from King Arthur Flour and didn’t make any changes to it.

Read on for the recipe.

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Recipe source: Basic Whole grain cookies

Makes : 4 dozen plus cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup (113 gms) butter, at room temp.
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup oats
  • 2 cups nuts, and/or dried fruit, optional

Method:

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, using paddle attachment, beat the butter, both the sugars, salt, baking powder and soda until the mixture is smooth and fluffy.
  2. Add the egg and vanilla extract and beat again until well combined.
  3. Add flour and oats, combine at the lowest speed possible, or better- fold it in using a spatula. That prevents the flour from spreading all over the kitchen.
  4. Add the dry fruits and /or nuts, if using. I have used chocolate chips here. Refrigerate the dough if not baking right away.
  5. When ready to bake, heat oven to 375F. In a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, drop a tablespoon of dough leaving enough space to spread. Don’t crowd the pan. The cookies might spread and fuse together otherwise.
  6. Bake one sheet at a time for about 10-13 minutes or until the edges start to turn brown in color. Take of the oven, let it cool on the pan for a few minutes. Move to an airtight container once it’s cool. Repeat the baking with the rest of the dough.

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Sending this entry to Kid’s Delight – Anniversary party.

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Nutella cake with Nutella frosting

BM #105: Week 2, Day 1
Theme : One country, One category

For this week’s theme, I have chosen three dessert recipes from USA. I am beginning the series with a Nutella cake. The recipe is from the book Erin Bakes Cake, which I borrowed from the library. It’s one of the best baking books I have come across. The book gives base recipes for cakes, but with numerous options to try different flavors. The recipe I am sharing is a base recipe for any “butter” cake (Nut based butter). The version here is for Nutella, but say if you want a peanut butter cake, make the substitution. You will also need to increase the sugar by one more cup as Nutella has sugar and peanut butter doesn’t.

I had made this cake last summer for a friend’s birthday. Between the cake and the frosting, there is some serious amount of Nutella here :-). The flavor was amazing and I decided to go for a very simple decoration with a chocolate drip and some cherries on top.

Read on for the recipe.

Recipe source: Erin Bakes Cake

Makes two 8″x3″ cakes

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups butter (~340 gms) , at room temp
  • 1.5 cups Nutella
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 9 eggs
  • 1.5 cups flour

Method:

  1. Pre Heat oven to 350F/ 180C. Grease and line two 8″ x 3″ pans.
  2. Beat the butter, Nutella, sugar, vanilla, baking powder and salt using a stand mixer or hand mixer. Beat until it’s a smooth and fluffy mixture. Scrape the sides of the bowl in between to make sure everything mixes well.
  3. Add eggs one at a time and beat it in.
  4. Stop the mixer and add the flour in. Fold the flour in, using a rubber spatula. This prevents the flour from going all over the place.
  5. Divide the batter between the two greased pans. Bake for about 40-45 minutes, the cake is done when a skewer inserted to the middle comes free of crumbs.
  6. Take off the oven, let it rest in the pan for ten minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack.
  7. Once the cake is completely cooled down, prepare the frosting and decorate the cake as you wish.

For the Nutella buttercream,

  • Beat 4 sticks (16oz/450gms) softened butter and a pinch of salt for about 5 minutes in a stand mixer bowl.
  • Turn off the mixer, Add 7 1/2 cups (2 lbs bag) powdered sugar, 1 tablespoon vanilla extract and 2-4 tablespoons milk. Mix it in with a spatula to prevent sugar flying all over the kitchen.
  • Switch the mixer ON at the lowest setting and beat it until it reaches a creamy consistency. To make Nutella buttercream, add 3/4 cup chilled Nutella. Beat it in until creamy. Makes about 6 cups of frosting.

Sending this entry to Kid’s Delight – Anniversary party.

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing this Week

Cupcake recipe

BM# 100: Week 4, Day 3
Theme : Pick an alphabet 

Like I mentioned earlier, I have a go to recipe for chocolate cakes. And I have another one for Vanilla cakes. I always use the Hot Milk Cake recipe from The America’s Test Kitchen Family Baking Book be it cakes or cupcakes.Its a  very tasty and sturdy cake and it freezes very well too.

I chanced upon a Craftsy (now BluPrint) DVD at the library couple of years back. Craftsy/BluPrint has a lot of online classes for various topics. I found excellent classes for Baking and cake decorating there, so I took the membership. I found their decorating videos to be more useful, its really helped me a lot.

The recipe for cupcakes here is from The Perfect Cupcake by Jennifer Shea . I never knew that there is so much more you can do with the cupcakes, there is a section on adding crusts to your cupcakes which I found very interesting. She suggests serving cupcakes on the day of baking for maximum freshness. Since cupcakes don’t take too much time to bake, I found it to be excellent advice. The recipe can be baked as a cake as well, you will need to adjust the baking time according to the size of the pan used.

This is the last recipe under the alphabet C. Read on for the recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup cake flour*
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3/4 cups half and half **
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (227 gms/2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 2 3/4 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs

Method:

  1. Pre heat the oven to 350F/180C. Line two 12 cup muffin pans with cupcake liners. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk flour, cake flour, baking powder and salt.
  3. In a smaller bowl, mix the mik, half and half, vanilla. Set aside.
  4. Using a stand mixer or a hand mixer, beat the sugar and butter until it becomes light and creamy. Add eggs, one at a time and mix well, scraping the bowl after each addition.
  5. Add the dry ingredients mix in three parts, alternating it with wet ingredients in two parts, keeping the mixer at a low speed. Once everything is added, using a rubber spatula, mix everything well and let it sit aside for 15 minutes. Stir gently before using.
  6. Fill upto 2/3rd of the cupcake liners and bake for about 20 minutes until the tops are firm and a skewer inserted to the center of the cupcakes comes free of crumbs. Let the cupcakes cool in the pan for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack.
  7. Frost once the cupcakes are completely cool.

Notes:

*Substitute all purpose flour for cake flour.

**I use a mix of heavy cream and whole milk or whole milk alone for half and half.

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing this BM#100

Checkerboard Cookies

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BM# 100: Week 4, Day 2
Theme : Pick an alphabet

I make cakes regularly. Cookies – not so much, but I used to make it often earlier. The main reason was that my recipe sources were my cookbooks. I had excellent baking books and it was my habit to go through those regularly. I would try out the recipes and my first baking book – The Essential Baking, got me hooked to cookies. I never knew it was so easy to make cookies.

I have made checkerboard cookies also many times, but I haven’t had great success with the shape ever. I prefer making spiral cookies using the same recipe. The simple reason that it’s easier to make the spiral cookies. The shape doesn’t require you to bring out measuring tools.

Now a days, the recipe source for me has shifted from books to the Internet. So sometime back when I came across this recipe online for checkerboard cookies, I decided to give it a try. These were made as a gift and were well received.

Read on for the recipe.

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Recipe source: Taste of Home

Makes about 4 dozen cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 sticks ( ~140 gms) butter, softened
  • 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tbsp chocolate chips, melted and cooled or 1 tbsp cocoa powder

Method:

  1. Using a stand mixer or hand mixer, cream the butter, sugar, baking powder and salt until light and fluffy. Add in the egg and vanilla. Beat everything until its combined well. Slowly add in the flour in batches beating at a low speed until everything is well mixed.
  2. Divide the dough into two batches. Add the melted chocolate or cocoa powder to one part and mix it in.
  3. Follow this video for instructions on how to shape the cookies. Pictures or videos explain the process a lot better than words.
  4. Clingwrap and Refrigerate the dough until the time of baking.
  5. Pre heat oven to 350F/180C. Slice the cookie log into 1/4″ thick cookies. Spread them evenly on a baking pan, leaving some space between the cookies. Bake for 8-10 minutes until the cookies are set and edges start browning a bit. Take off the oven and let them rest in the pan for 5-10 minutes before removing to a cooling rack. The cookie hardens as it cools.

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