Saturday, November 7, 2009

A cookie a day...

I have mentioned Real Simple magazine before in this blog as the ultimate housewife magazine. I just love it but my favorite time of the year to really delve into the recipes and focus on the suggestions and factoids is during the November and December issues. They have all sorts of clever things for the holidays. This year on their website you can sign up for a daily email newsletter of a cookie recipe. Knowing full well no good could possibly come from getting a new cookie recipe every day of the week I immediately signed up.

I love giving homemade food goodies as small gifts anytime of the year but especially around the holidays. What could be better than a two month long arsenal of cookie recipes. Thus, this weekend begins holiday cookie fest.
Before we get started though I will mention that you can freeze this dough up to a week although I think it is easiest to work with while fresh. I tend to allow only 12 homemade cookies in my apartment at a time just in case I get a sweet tooth. Thus, I routinely freeze 1/2 of the dough in order to not have too many sweets readily available. Just put it in a Tupperware container and pop it in the freezer for a few days. You get two batches of fresh cookies with only one working session.

I am starting out with a fairly basic and simple recipe that will be sure to please anyone. Again this a variation pulled from The original recipe calls for 2 tbsp of corn syrup which I never use while cooking so it is excluded from my version. I also substituted 3/4 C of white flour with bran for my piece of mind. Doing this increases the fiber content and makes the cookies a bit healthier or at least more filling. (ie You should be able to stop after one and feel satisfied, notice the use of should and not will.)
Chocolate Chunk cookies with almonds
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temp.
1 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg
2 c white flour
3/4 bran flakes
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
12 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped or chips
1 C toasted almonds, chopped
Preheat over to 375 degrees. Prepare baking sheet with nonslip mat or parchment paper.
In mixer cream butter with brown sugar, granulated sugar, and vanilla. Scrap down bowl and add egg. Cream until well combined.
In separate bowl combine flour, bran, salt, and soda with whisk. Turn mixer on low and slowly add dry ingredients to mixer. When just combined scrap down bowl again.
Add chocolate and almonds. Turn mixer on low and combined until integrated into dough.
Form dough into same size balls and place on cookie sheet. Bake until lightly brown, 12-15 minutes. Cool and eat.
For this batch, I only had 6 oz of the mini chocolate chips and it was the perfect amount. I like the mini chips any way but this is a great way to cut back on the calorie count per serving but still get the same taste. I also had an additional step since I only have on hand whole raw almonds. This is a quick transformation though. Throw in a cup into the Cuisinart and chop for about 30 seconds to a minute, pulsing. Then throw into a pan on the stove top for about 7 minutes. They cook fast so make sure you keep an eye on the pan. You will know they are toasted when you begin to smell them.

The batch is suppose to make some 40 cookies if you make the balls approximately tablespoon size. As you can see by my picture above I would say mine are about double that size. I cooked off 12 and probably have enough dough left for 10 more of a similar size. I say if you are going to make cookies you might as well make them big enough to enjoy. Plus the smaller you make them the more you have to make. I tend to loose patience after the second tray goes into the oven; I have a great tendency to burn the third batch.

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