Compost Cookies

It seems like a lot of people at my job have been baking lately. There are a lot of cookies and bars laying around the workroom and people have really been judging me for not eating other people’s baked goods. I go to the gym almost every day and I am constantly in a swim suit on most of my few days off… I cannot just eat whatever baked goods are laying around. If I am going to eat a calorie laden treat, it is going to be the absolute best. And maybe I am being a little ostentatious about my own baking. But I will tell you that these compost cookies are better than any other cookie, maybe in the entire world. You do have to be a bit adventurous and you should appreciate them for what they are with their long list of random ingredients.

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Momofuku Milk Bar has blown our minds again, these cookies are insane!!! They are not even difficult to make. Which is a relief considering the Momofuku crack pie I made the other day did not turn out all that perfect. This recipe actually contains the remaining portion of the graham crust that we made for our Brownie Pie. The extra graham crust can be stored in the freezer for 1 month. So next time you are making dessert to take to a summer party… make the brownie pie. Then make the compost cookies and keep them all to yourself. I actually froze some of these compost cookies in their ball shape and baked them from the freezer, they were just as good! You will absolutely not regret eating these calories.

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Graham Crust
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup milk powder
2 tbsp sugar
3/4 tsp kosher salt
4 tbsp butter, melted
1/4 cup heavy cream

Toss together the graham crumbs, milk powder, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the butter and cream. Use a fork to mix this into the dry ingredients.

Compost Cookies
2 sticks unsalted butter at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup light brown sugar
2 tbsp glucose (can substitute 1 tbsp corn syrup)
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/3 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp kosher salt
3/4 cup mini chocolate chips
1/2 cup mini butterscotch chips
1/4 recipe graham crust (85 g or 1/2 cup)
1/2 cup old fashioned rolled oats
2 1/2 tsp ground coffee
2 cups potato chips
1 cup mini pretzels

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set this aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter, sugars, and glucose. Cream together on medium-high for 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add in the egg and vanilla. Beat for another 8 minutes.

Decrease speed to low and add in the flour mixture. Mix this just until combined, for less than 1 minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

On low speed, mix in the chocolate chips, butter scotch chips, graham mixture, oats and coffee. Mix until just combined, less than 30 seconds. Add the potato chips and pretzels, mix for just 20 seconds more.

Use a 4 tbsp cookie scoop and portion the dough onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Flatten the balls of dough a little bit. Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 357 degrees. Arrange the chilled dough balls on parchment lined baking sheets, giving them plenty of space to expand. Bake for 18 minutes, rotating pans halfway through. The cookies should be just slightly brown around the edges when done.

Adapted from Momofuku Milk Bar.
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Macarons

I am sure you are wondering how many egg whites were thrown away last weekend to prepare the massive amount of french buttercream for the wedding cake / cupcakes not to mention the chocolate custard and other such egg yolky components. The answer is none. They were all placed in freezer bags. Sometimes we like to pretend to be healthy and have egg white omelets (bacon, cheese, and egg whites mind you) but mostly I like to use these egg whites for desserts. Meringues, pavlova shells, certain fluffy cupcakes… but today we will consult Thomas Keller for his chapter on Macarons in Bouchon Bakery. I have eaten these iconic macarons in NYC and Napa Valley. They are insanely delicious and can be made in a variety of eye catching colors. I am having thoughts of red, white and blue macarons for the 4th of July. The tricky thing about macarons is the batter consistency. It must be thin enough to smooth out the tops of the cookies but thick enough to hold its shape. If you have questions about beating egg whites and are unsure what soft vs stiff peaks are, here is a nice video. This is the reason why you absolutely need to use a kitchen scale, it is the most accurate way to measure the ingredients for this delicate batter. There are actually two methods to make macarons, there is an amazing diagram here comparing the Italian and French techniques. I encourage you to take a look at this before following the recipe below.

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You will need almond flour for this recipe. It is a bit expensive but I have found it is the most reasonably priced at wal-mart. I like to use Bob’s Red Mill Flour Almond Meal but not all wal-mart locations will carry this, luckily it is available on amazon. You should invest in almond flour for your pantry, it truly changes the quality of tarts and other pastries. And when you decide to take the plunge and start baking from Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Bakery, you will def need the almond flour. You will not regret it! We are actually learning together today, I have never made macarons. But I just did it and they are fabulous! I filled mine with leftover lemon mascarpone buttercream but I have some seedless raspberry jam as well. There are some great combinations and recipes in Bouchon Bakery for lemon buttercream and lemon curd, also raspberry filling. I am definitely planning on making the raspberry macarons sometime soon but for now, just use whatever you have on hand like I did today! Fill your macarons with some tasty jam or buttercream you have stored in the freezer. If you don’t have egg whites in the freezer and you are wondering what to do with those yolks, please I beg you, make the Robicelli’s Buttercream.

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Macarons

212 grams almond meal
212 grams powdered sugar
82 and 90 grams of egg whites, divided
236 grams of granulated sugar
158 grams water

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment and trace two inch circles, leaving one inch of space between. In a large bowl combine the almond meal and confectioner’s sugar, whisking to break up any large clumps. Pour the 82 grams of egg whites into this bowl and mix them in with a spatula.

In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and water, cook over medium-high heat with a candy thermometer in place (or be very careful and use a thermapen, frequently checking the temperature). Place the 90 grams of egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk. When the temperature is around 200 degrees, add a pinch of sugar to the egg whites in your mixer and whip on medium speed. Whip until they form soft peaks. If you see soft peaks before the syrup reaches 248 degrees, turn the mixer down to low and keep them moving. Prepare to move quickly when the syrup reaches the target temperature.

When the syrup reaches 248 degrees, remove from the heat and increase the mixer speed to medium. Pour the syrup down the side of the bowl in a slow and steady drizzle until it is all mixed in. Increase the speed to medium-high and whip the meringue until stiff peaks form, it will look very glossy (kind of like when you make buttercream). Add in any coloring at this point, use gel color if at all possible.

Take one third of the meringue and fold it gently into the almond flour mixture with a spatula. Gently fold in the rest of the meringue in small amounts. The batter will be very smooth so that after piping the surface texture with smooth away.

Transfer the batter to a pastry bag fitted with a plan half inch tip. Hold the bag perpendicular to the prepared baking sheets and pipe the batter into the traced circles.

Place the baking sheet into the oven and decrease the heat to 325 degrees. Bake for approximately 10 minutes until the tops are smooth and set and the macarons have feet underneath them. Allow them to cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet and then transfer to a cooling rack.

Repeat the last two steps until all the batter is baked. Bring the oven temp back to 350 degrees before you continue baking the rest of the cookies. Store them in an airtight container, they may even taste better tomorrow after sitting overnight. Match the cookies up by size and pipe your filling with a plain tip (or just place the filling in a ziploc and snip off then end).

Recipe adapted from Bouchon Bakery.

Apple Oatmeal Cookies

November has been extremely busy and not left me much time for cooking, baking, or blogging! I literally bought an apple from the hospital cafeteria so I could bake these cookies after a night shift. And I am glad I did because they are so easy. Not to mention, they are unique and stand out among the usual holiday baking. These oatmeal apple cookies are also pleasantly light in calories. So whatever you have to do, go buy an apple and some apple sauce. If you have been reading Bubbly Kitchen for long, your pantry should be stocked with the other ingredients. Applesauce (unsweetened) is my new fall pantry staple. It is a calorie cutting workhorse in my baked goods this fall. These cookies will disappear from your work holiday potluck in no time.

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The holidays are a funny and frightening time to work in a hospital. Not because you are trapped in the hospital instead of being with your family. Not even because of all the death and despair. The baked goods and potluck dishes that people bring to work are shocking. I don’t have room in my day for calories that aren’t fabulous. I literally do not eat any treats offered to me at work. Trust no one. Someone may say “oh she makes the most fabulous cupcakes,” don’t believe them! You will be sorely disappointed when you find out you just wasted precious calories on a boxed cake mix and icing that you want to scrape into the trash. I don’t want to sound pretentious but I am perplexed by boxed cake mixes.  It takes 5 minutes more to make things from scratch and you actually know what your eating.

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Apple Oatmeal Cookies

2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
1 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp cinnamon
4 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1/4 tsp vanilla bean paste
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
2/3 cup peeled and chopped Granny Smith apple (1/8th inch pieces)
1/2 cup roughly chopped pecans

In a medium bowl, whisk together oats, flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.

In a large bowl, whisk together butter, brown sugar, and sugar until smooth. Whisk in egg and vanilla, and then the applesauce. Mix in the dry ingredients. Add apples and pecans and mix u tip just combined. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for one hour.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Drop rounded tablespoons of dough onto cookie sheets, approximately 2 inches apart. Bake until the cookies are golden around the edges, 15 minutes.

Let cookies cool completely on the pan. Store in an airtight container, place wax paper between cookie layers.

Adapted from Serious Eats.

Pecan Pie Bars

I will go as far to say that these bars are better than a pecan pie. And they are way easier to make than a pie! They also slice up so perfectly and transport well to any holiday party. Pecan is second only to pumpkin on the list of top fall flavors and this dessert is all about the pecans. Depending on what pan you use, you may need to shorten the initial baking time on the crust. A metal pan will brown the crust more quickly. Lining the pan with foil is an amazing trick that you can use for many recipes besides this one. You will lift your dessert right out of the pan and cleanup is so much easier. As far as dark brown sugar versus light brown sugar, I have not noticed much difference in my recipe results in the past. Only recently did I start specifying. If light brown sugar is all you have, just use that. Take these to your next fall party with a few bottles of Southern Tier Pumpking. This is absolutely the best pumpkin beer. It is extremely smooth with a flavor close to pumpkin pie. It is not the easiest to find so if you see it, do not hesitate!

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Pecan Pie Bars

Serves 20

Shortbread crust:
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp kosher salt

Pecan filling:
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup honey
2 tbsp heavy cream
2 cups chopped pecans

Prepare a 9×13-inch pan by lining with foil, leaving enough for an overhang on all sides. Preheat the oven to 350ºF.

Make the crust. In a stand mixer, cream together the butter and brown sugar until fluffy. Mix in the flour and salt until the mixture is crumbly. Use your hands to press the crust into the pan prepped with foil. Bake for 20 minutes (watch closely especially if using a metal pan.)

Prepare the pecan filling. Combine the butter, brown sugar, honey and heavy cream in a saucepan on medium heat. Simmer the mixture over medium heat for 1 minute, add in the chopped pecans.

Remove the crust from the oven. Pour the pecan filling over the hot crust. Bake for another 20 minutes. Let the bars cool in the pan and then lift them via the foil. Slice the bars on a cutting board.

Glamorous Chocolate Chip Cookies

One great thing about Kansas City was the fabulous public library. You could get pretty much any book there, for free! They had all the Cook’s Illustrated books. If you want to learn about cooking and baking, those books have by far the most detailed recipe instructions. These chocolate chip cookies from Cook’s Illustrated are unbeatable. I have always wanted to produce those glossy looking cookies in bakeries, these are them! And I knew they were good when my husband endorsed them as the best chocolate chip cookies he had ever eaten. These produce quite large cookies but it makes them quite glamorous.

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I am pretty picky when it comes to chocolate chip cookies. I hate to consume calories that do not taste extraordinary. There is nothing I despise more than when people offer me cookies that don’t taste fabulous. It’s simple to make delicious cookies, these have more complex steps but are well worth the extra work. I still managed to make these in under an hour despite the multiple whisking and resting steps.

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Glamorous Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
14 tbsp. unsalted butter
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. vanilla bean paste
1 large egg + 1 large egg yolk
1 1/4 cups semisweet chocolate chips or chunks

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Combine the flour and baking soda in a medium bowl and set this aside.

Heat 10 tbsp. of the butter in a 10 inch skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the butter for 3 minutes, swirling the pan constantly, until the butter is golden brown and has a nutty aroma. Immediately transfer the browned butter to a large, heatproof bowl. Add the remaining 4 tbsp. of butter, stirring until it is all melted.

Mix in the brown sugar, granulated sugar, salt and vanilla extract into the butter, whisk until well incorporated. Add the egg and egg yolk, and whisk until completely smooth, 30 seconds. Allow the batter to sit for 3 minutes, whisk the mixture again for 30 seconds. Repeat the resting and whisking two more times through, until your mixture is thick, smooth and shiny.

Mix in the flour/baking soda with the wet mixture, stir for one minute with a rubber spatula. Add in the chocolate chips, and stir the dough one last time to make sure it is well combined.

Scoop out the cookies in 3 tbsp. measurements and roll the 3 tbsp. of dough into a ball. (I simply used this 3 Tbsp scoop.) Place the dough approximately 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Bake the cookies, rotating the pan halfway through, until the cookies are golden brown, 10-14 minutes. Place the cookie sheet on a wire cooling rack, allow them to fully cool.