Mint Chocolate Salted Cookies


These mint chocolate cookies come with a surprise little bite. A little salt in the batter gives them an unexpected savory “wow factor”. I took them to a party last night and kept hearing throughout the room… “Oh my gosh! Have you tried these cookies? And that’s what I was going for…

Ingredients
(makes 2 1/2 dozen)
1 cup Unsalted Butter (room temperature)
¾ cups packed brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-½ teaspoon mint extract
2 whole eggs
1-¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1-¾ cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon Kosher sea salt – generous
1 cup Turbinado sugar for dusting cookies

Preparation
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large bowl or stand mixer, cream together the butter, brown sugar and white sugar until light and fluffy (use the whisk attachment on your stand mixer). Add the vanilla and mint extracts and then add the eggs one at a time, beating thoroughly with each addition. Combine the cocoa, flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt and gradually stir into the creamed mixture.

The dough is rather sticky so I find it easiest to use an ice cream scooper to scrape about a walnut-size ball of dough from the bowl. Roll dough into a smooth ball and then roll in Turbinado sugar. Place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Flatten cookies slightly with the palm of your hand. Space about two inches apart.

Ready To Cook?
Bake 8-10 minutes or until the cookies are puffy and the tops are cracked, but still soft. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

The Perfect Bite
Um, it’s a delicious cookie. Every bite is perfect. Warm from the oven of course.

The Perfect Pairing
Oh just do it – dunk it in milk and call it a day.

The Perfect Health
Well, it IS a cookie. And it IS made with a full cup of butter. So let’s just say… enjoy these in moderation. 🙂

Browned Butter Chocolate Chip Biscuits


…or cookies. They’re technically cookies but they look like, and have the texture of, biscuits. Plus, if I call them biscuits then I can have one for breakfast with less guilt. So yes, browned butter chocolate chip biscuits is what I’m officially calling them.

Wait… browned butter? What exactly is that?

Because I didn’t take photos while browning my butter I’ve found this great site that shows you exactly how. But making browned butter is fairly simple… you basically melt butter in a small sauce pan and continue it on a medium to low flame until it builds a froth on top.  You’ll begin to see light browning spots in the froth and it will take on an earthy, nutty aroma. You have to watch it so it doesn’t burn… but the perfect browning happens right before it’s about to burn. The browner the butter, the better the flavor. Chill in the fridge until it becomes solid. You want it to be soft, but not melted. If it cools too hard, let it come back to room temperature before using. This will become your new secret ingredient that brings that “wow” factor to whatever you’re making.

Ingredients
Makes 2 1/2 dozen cookies

1 cup browned butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups (1 pound) semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preparation
Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line a sheet pan (or two) with parchment paper.

Beat the brown butter, sugar, and brown sugar on medium high speed with an electric mixer until light and creamy, about 4 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing after each. Add the vanilla.

Add the flour, baking soda, and salt and mix until just combined on medium speed. Add the chocolate chips and mix until incorporated.

The batter will be soft and fairly sticky. This is when I pull a large sheet of saran wrap out and put the dough in the center and roll it into a long tube-like shape, roughly 2″ in diameter. Twist the ends of the plastic wrap and put in the refrigerator for 30 minutes until it becomes more firm.

Ready to Cook?
Remove dough from the fridge and unwrap. Slice into 3/4″ dials, leave whole or  divide in two for smaller biscuits. Place on baking sheet leaving 2 inches in between each biscuit. (I divided the dials in 2 with the biscuits pictured above and below). Bake until golden brown, 12-14 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

The Perfect Bite
Of course, hot out of the oven is the best bite for any baked good and it’s the same for these. But please, let it cool enough so as not to burn your palate for good!

The Perfect Pairing
Most people, including my roommate who jumped right into the kitchen as soon as these were done, prefer a cold glass of milk. But I’m a coffee and biscuit fan myself. But it’s all a personal preference when it comes to desserts. Heck, have a glass of Merlot with your browned butter chocolate chip biscuit if you want. This is America after all.

The Perfect Health
Butter, browned or not, should be consumed in moderation. I would recommend not using butter substitutes, I mean, do we really know what’s in that stuff? But butter, real butter, tastes better and is a “real food”. But moderation is key, regardless of what Paula Deen says.

Crystallized Ginger Molasses Cookies


I’m so excited about these cookies.  I haven’t had them in years and have never made them before… so after some research and a few friends sending me their Mom’s favorite recipe and Aunt Sue’s Fail Proof Tips… I came up with what I think is the perfect Ginger Molasses Cookie. It’s perfect, because I like it. Because it made me exclaim, “Oh. My. Gosh!” when I took my first bite.

What makes them special and gives them that “wow” factor… is using the crystallized ginger (which I found at an Asian market), and grinding fresh cloves and nutmeg (versus using pre-ground spices from a jar). The freshness was unbelievable and I love getting a surprise little bite now and then of the spices.

They’re perfect because they’re perfect for me. It’s a rainy day and I’m under the weather and this is exactly what I needed.

You decide for you.

Ingredients
1 cup dark brown sugar
2.5 oz. vegetable oil (I use Smart Balance)
3.5 oz. molasses
1 large egg
2 tsp freshly ground cinnamon stick (use a plane or zester)
1 tsp freshly ground cloves (use a mortar and pestle or spice grinder)
1 tsp freshly ground nutmeg (use a plane or zester)
1/2 tsp  ginger powder
1/4 tsp sea salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup roughly chopped crystallized ginger
1/2 cup granulated white sugar, for rolling cookies in

Ready To Cook?
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit

In a stand mixer (or use a hand mixer), blend together on medium speed, the sugar, oil, molasses, spices, and salt for about 3 minutes.

*Grinding fresh spices will take these cookie from good to fabulous. It’s worth the extra time – I promise you!

Add in egg and mix on medium speed for another 2 minutes.

Add in baking soda and flour 1/2 a cup at a time. Mix on medium speed until all the flour is incorporated. Add the chopped ginger and mix until blended.

Roll the dough into about 1 inch balls, and drop into sugar. If dough is stiff, flatten each ball on the cookie sheet. I found it flattened fine on its own. Dough will be VERY sticky – so I use prep gloves powdered with flour.

Put into preheated oven for 13 minutes. Cool on the cookie sheet for 3 minutes before removing to rack to cool completely. Makes 16 regular-sized cookies, or 8 jumbo-sized ones.

The Perfect Bite
Of course, the perfect bite is when they’re hot fresh and gooey out of the oven! These cookies should stay soft but if they start to get hard, put a piece of sandwich bread in with the cookies (in a Zip Lock or Tupperware) for about 24 hours. The bread will come out like a crouton and your cookies will be soft again. Magic!

The Perfect Pairing
A glass of cold milk or a cup of steamy coffee is be the perfect thing to sip with these sweet and tangy treats.

The Perfect Health
Ginger has been used as a natural remedy for many ailments for centuries. Now, science is catching up and researchers around the world are finding that ginger works wonders in the treatment of everything from cancer to migraines. Here are ten health benefits of this powerful herb.