Category: Cookies

Peanut Butter Cookies

PB&J ice cream sandwiches

Peanut butter cookies are a classic, popular with both children and adults. It’s also a cookie that just screams for a cold glass of milk.

Use my recipe for strawberry ice cream to make PB&J ice cream sandwiches! Scoop 4 ounces of ice cream onto the back of a cookie and gently press down with another cookie on top.

I like to use natural peanut butter, creamy or crunchy. It doesn’t have the added sugar and oil, retaining more of its natural flavor. Natural peanut butter comes separated, the oil on top and the solids on the bottom. It’s not an easy task to mix it together in the jar, so I scrape it into a food processor and in seconds, it’s completely blended.

This peanut butter cookie recipe is quick and easy to make. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line a couple of baking pans, such as this 13-inch by 18-inch half sheet pan with parchment or a silpat mat.

Beat the butter in a mixer on high until fluffy. Add the white and brown sugars and beat until incorporated, stopping to scrape the sides two or three times.

It’s important the sugar become embedded in the butter, which melts in the oven and the steam acts as a leavening agent. The baking powder is a leavening agent, but the cookie is dense and the sugar has more of an impact.

Add the eggs and beat, scraping the sides several times, until well blended. Add the peanut butter and vanilla, beat to combine.

Finally, add the flour and baking powder. Start at a low speed to prevent the flower from spraying all over. Scrape the sides a few times. Once the batter looks blended, scrape the sides one more time and then beat on high for 15 seconds to smooth out the batter.

I like to use a small, 2 ounce or 2 tablespoon, ice cream scoop to form the cookies. It makes the cookies uniform in size. Place each scoop about 2 inches apart on the baking sheet. Recipe makes about 30 two-inch in diameter cookies.

PB&J ice cream sandwiches

Place a spoonful of all-purpose flour in a small bowl or on a small piece of wax paper.

PB&J ice cream sandwiches

Dip a dinner fork in to the flour, shake to eliminate any excess flour or your cookie looks like this!

PB&J ice cream sandwiches

Gently press down on the cookie to impress the fork tines. Be sure to dip the fork into the flour every couple of cookies to prevent sticking.

Turn the baking sheet 90 degrees and press with the fork again to create the traditional crisscross marks on the cookies.

PB&J ice cream sandwiches

Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes. Cool and store in an airtight container.

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Peanut Butter Cookies

PB&J ice cream sandwiches

Peanut butter cookies are a classic, popular with both children and adults. It’s also a cookie that just screams for a cold glass of milk.

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Yield: 30 two-inch cookies
  • Category: Cookies
  • Method: Baking

Ingredients

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
2 large eggs
1 cup salted natural peanut butter (creamy or chunky)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
2 teaspoons baking powder

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line a couple of baking pans, such as this 13-inch by 18-inch half sheet pan with parchment or a silpat mat.

Beat the butter in a mixer on high until fluffy. Add the white and brown sugars and beat until incorporated, stopping to scrape the sides two or three times.

It’s important the sugar become embedded in the butter, which melts in the oven and the steam acts as a leavening agent. The baking powder is a leavening agent, but the cookie is dense and the sugar has more of an impact.

Add the eggs and beat, scraping the sides several times, until well blended.

Add the peanut butter and vanilla, beat to combine.

Finally, add the flour and baking powder. Start at a low speed to prevent the flower from spraying all over. Scrape the sides a few times. Once the batter looks blended, scrape the sides one more time and then beat on high for 15 seconds to smooth out the batter.

I like to use a small, 2 ounce or 2 tablespoon, ice cream scoop to form the cookies. It makes the cookies uniform in size. Place each scoop about 2 inches apart on the baking sheet. Recipe makes about 30 two-inch in diameter cookies.

Place a spoonful of all-purpose flour in a small bowl or on a small piece of wax paper. Dip a dinner fork in to the flour, shake to eliminate any excess flour or your cookie looks like this!

Gently press down on the cookie to impress the fork tines. Be sure to dip the fork into the flour every couple of cookies to prevent sticking.

Turn the baking sheet 90 degrees and press with the fork again to create the traditional crisscross marks on the cookies.

Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes. Cool and store in an airtight container.

Notes

Use my recipe for strawberry ice cream to make PB&J ice cream sandwiches! Scoop 4 ounces of ice cream onto the back of a cookie and gently press down with another cookie on top.

 

 

 

Pie Crust Treats

Pastry Treats

Have you ever wondered what to do with the few little pieces of uncooked pie crust left over after trimming the dough off your pie or tart? Take those scraps and make pie crust treats!

Cut them into a pieces that can be devoured in a bit or two. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet and top with a dollop of your favorite jelly or shake a little cinnamon and sugar on them.

Pastry scraps

Bake in a preheated oven (350 degrees F) with your pie for about 15 minutes, or until golden brown.

Remove, cool, make a cup of tea and reward yourself with these crispy, sweet delights!

Here’s our recipe for basic pie crust.

Gluten-Free Chocolate Peanut Butter Biscotti

Here’s a recipe for gluten-free Chocolate Peanut Butter Biscotti. I also want to share my research and solutions to making a great tasting gluten-free biscotti with excellent texture.

Why Gluten Free?

Eating gluten-free eating is having its 15 minutes of fame. With awareness of celiac disease (an autoimmune disorder where ingesting gluten can damage the small intestine) and other gluten allergies and intolerances on the rise, there are more options than ever for those who want to eat gluten-free. There are also many excellent cooking blogs entirely devoted to gluten-free cooking, such as Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef, Elana’s Pantry, and Celiac Chicks.

I became interested in gluten-free baking when I realized I had a family, friends, and colleagues who either suffer from celiac disease or have a low tolerance for gluten. This means they aren’t able to enjoy my biscotti, which lead to a lot of research on how to exchange all-purpose flour for a gluten-free version.

Baking gluten-free presents a challenge. Without gluten as a binding agent, the chances of the cookies breaking and crumbling increases. Despite some early failed attempts, I persisted, thanks to ample encouragement from my friends, who are always on the hunt for high-quality, good-tasting gluten-free treats. I had a handle on the flavor profiles, but the real challenge with gluten-free biscotti is the texture.

Resources

There are a number of gluten-free flours available and I needed to find out how they work and which is best. King Arthur makes an excellent gluten-free multipurpose flour, which uses both white and brown rice as well as tapioca and potato starches. It has a nice texture and a neutral taste.

Bob’s Red Mill also sells a gluten-free all-purpose flour, which is made from garbanzo bean flour, potato starch, tapioca flour, sorghum flour, and fava bean flour. The beans and sorghum have a noticeable flavor, but I’ve found that the two brands work equally well.

To compensate for the loss of gluten, guar gum and/or xanthan gum are used to stabilize the dough. In my experience, without these gums, the log of biscotti easily crumbles. Use an equal mixture of the two for best results. Too much guar gum can produce a stringy dough and too much xanthan gum may create an unappealing gumminess. One-quarter teaspoon each, per cup of flour is sufficient.

If you want to forgo buying the gums separately, Bob’s Red Mill sells a gluten-free 1-to-1 baking flour that contains sweet white-rice flour, whole-grain brown-rice flour, potato starch, whole-grain sweet white-sorghum flour, tapioca flour, and xanthan gum.

My Results

After some initial trial and error, I’ve honed my techniques for delicious gluten-free biscotti with great texture. Less fillings, such as chocolate and nuts, make a difference. The presence of these chunks prevent the dough from staying connected. Of course, there is no guarantee, even with regular biscotti, that a biscotto or two won’t break, but the likelihood of this happening increases with gluten-free versions.

The real key—a shout-out to Shauna Ahern of Gluten-Free Girl for passing this along—is to let the baked biscotti sit until it has cooled completely before cutting. Shauna recommends letting it sit overnight, but if you’re less patient (as I am), two hours is sufficient. Giving your gluten-free biscotti the extra time to cool helps ensure that they’ll hold together as well as those made with wheat flour.

Following is my recipe for the Gluten-Free Chocolate Peanut Butter Biscotti.

 

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Gluten-Free Chocolate Peanut Butter Biscotti

A delicious, gluten-free biscotti with peanut butter and chocolate that won’t disappoint in taste or texture!

  • Author: Trish Lobenfeld
  • Prep Time: 30
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Yield: 2 1/2 dozen
  • Category: Cookies
  • Method: Baking

Ingredients

Glaze

1 large egg

Biscotti

2 large eggs
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup salted peanuts
3 1/2 to 4  ounces dark chocolate (85% cocoa) or milk chocolate, cut into small chunks
1/2 cup peanut butter, creamy or crunchy
2 1/4 cups King Arthur Gluten-Free Multipurpose Flour, plus more for dusting
1  teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/2 teaspoon guar gum

Instructions

Setup
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Beat one egg until frothy and set aside with a pastry brush.
Line a 17- by 10- by 1-inch  baking sheet with parchment paper.

 Method

Beat the eggs, sugars, vanilla extract and salt in an electric mixer, fitted with the beater attachment, on high until thickened, about two minutes. Mix in the peanuts, chocolate and peanut butter. Add the flour, baking powder xanthin gum and guar gum. and beat on low, scraping the sides as needed, until the flour is moist. Scrape sides and beater once more and mix on medium high until the dough is smooth, about ten seconds.

Place the dough onto a lightly floured surface and form a thick log. Roll the log back and forth, adding bit of dusting flour as needed, until the log is 18-inches long by 2-inches wide. Cut it in half, place on the prepared sheet tray and gently press the log to about a 1/2-inch thickness. Brush each log with the egg wash, place in the preheated oven and bake for 30 minutes. Remove to a cooling rack and let sit for at least two hours or overnight.

Cut the log on an angle into 1/2-inch slices and lay flat on the sheet tray and bake for 15 minutes. Cool and store in an airtight container.

Notes

The recipe calls for 3 1/2 to 4 ounces chocolate because not all chocolate manufacturers sell the same size bars. Don’t fret, use whichever brand you like. My preference is primarily Lindt (3 1/2 ounces).

 

 

Biscotti

I love biscotti. That crisp first bite, the bitter/sweet contrast of a good dark chocolate, the nutty crunch—what could be better? That’s why I’ve written a biscotti cookbook, which is coming late fall 2018 or early spring 2019.

The word biscotti means “twice baked.” The first bake sets the loaf, and after cooling and slicing, the second bake dries the individual biscotto into a crispy cookie. I’ve made numerous attempts over the years at baking my own biscotti, with mostly abysmal results. They crumbled to dust every time I tried to slice them, and soon my favorite treat had become my nemesis. I was tempted to give up, but ultimately I rallied. I’m a culinary-school graduate after all—surely I could rise to the challenge. After many hours of online research and instructional videos, success was mine! Once I mastered that first batch I was hooked.

A Little Biscotti History

Biscotti are ubiquitous at this point—you can find them in just about any bakery or coffee shop you walk into. But the original biscotti weren’t quite as appealing as the version you now munch with your macchiato. They were flat, very dry, and very hard. They were utilitarian; portable with a long shelf life, making them easy to take on long trips. Some versions could last a year with no noticeable deterioration, though they got a little less mileage on the open seas due to animal and bug infestations.

Prior to the Industrial Age, there were few food resources available to travelers and military troops that were suitable for long journeys. Fresh foods were consumed first, and since there were rarely places to restock, especially for those at sea, biscotti became a standby. The original versions were hard as rocks, one had to dip the cookie into hot tea or a warm gruel to soften it up before eating. I imagine sailors gnawing on these like babies with teething biscuits!

Though the oldest recipe dates back to eighteenth-century Italy, twice-baked goods are not unique to that country. Other versions include English hardtack, Jewish Mandelbrot, the Dutch rusk, the German zwieback, and the Greek paximadia.

Happily, after the Industrial Age introduced canned and frozen foods, the original bland biscotti wasn’t discarded entirely but instead turned into a delightful, tasty treat with the addition of sugar, flavorings, nuts, dried fruit, and chocolate.

Biscotti can now be enjoyed at any time of the day: with a latte for breakfast, with tea in the afternoon, or with a glass of Vin Santo in the evening. They also partner nicely with ice cream, gelato, or sorbet. Biscotti are as portable as ever, so take a few with you on your daily travels!cookies1.1024.IMG_3621

Strawberry Ice Cream

PB&J ice cream sandwiches

Ice cream is one of America’s favorite treats and strawberry ice cream is a classic. To celebrate the publication of my cookbook, Endless Summer: 54 quick and creative ice cream and dessert recipes, I’m publishing my recipe for strawberry ice cream.

Here’s the story behind Endless Summer. The Monday before Christmas (2013) I got a call from my client at Zoku LLC. They had a new product, individual ice cream makers, and wanted to know if I’d like to write an ice cream book to accompany this new venture. Having worked with them before, I knew they operate on a tight deadline and this one was particularly challenging. Write the book in six weeks!

Ice Cream Recipe Book

Endless Summer is available  at Williams-Sonoma stores and online, as well as amazon.com and other venues. The book is sold separately from the Zoku Ice Cream Maker and works for traditional ice cream machines. There are 54 recipes for ice cream, gelato, sorbet, granita and some dairy-free frozen desserts as well as recipes for sauces, apple pie, profiteroles, ice cream cones and more. I am particularly pleased with, well all of them, but a couple of favorites are the Pumpkin Pie, White Chocolate & Fudge Swirl, and Coconut Milk, Lemongrass, Ginger & Jalapeño (one of the dairy-free desserts). With Zoku’s permission, here is the recipe for strawberry ice cream.

Check out Zoku’s website to see all their fun individual appliances, such as the Quick Pop Maker and the Slush and Shake Maker. Great recipe books for these, too!

Strawberry ice cream from the ice cream machine.

One and one-half cups strawberries cut into pieces to maximize flavor.

Puree the strawberries, sugar, lime juice, vanilla and salt in a blender or food processor. Add the cream and milk and pulse to combine. Chill ice cream mixture and stir well before using.

 

 

Strawberry ice cream base.

Follow the instructions included with your ice cream maker for churning and freezing.

PB&J ice cream sandwiches

Get our recipe for peanut butter cookies and make PB&J ice cream sandwiches!

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Strawberry Ice Cream

Tip: To maximize the strawberry flavor, cut large strawberries in quarters and small one in half to get a full measure.

  • Prep Time: 20 mins
  • Total Time: 20 mins
  • Yield: 1 quart

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups rinsed and hulled fresh strawberries
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 1/4 cup milk

Instructions

  1. Puree the strawberries, sugar, lime juice, vanilla and salt in a blender or food processor. Add the cream and milk and pulse to combine. Transfer to a storage container and refrigerate for at least five hours or overnight. Stir well before using.

Notes

To make the PB&J ice cream sandwiches, take one cookie and place 4 ounces/1/4 cup ice cream on the backside of the cookie and cover with another cookie and gently press.