December 28, 2010
A Cookie Extravaganza: Lime Shortbread, Homemade Peppermint Oreos, and Salted Toffee Crisps
Yes, I know - it's basically blasphemy to post a cookie recipe after Christmas, let alone three recipes. But, get this: It's still 2010. That means you have another few days to gorge yourself until your new years detox begins. And any one of these three recipes is totally worth it. Plus, we all know those new year's resolutions regarding healthy eating only last until February, so go ahead and make these once your resolve starts to fade.
Us here at Union Street Eats are not actually on Union Street because we've been snowed out of Brooklyn. We were supposed to fly out this morning, but this season's version of Snowpocalypse has forced us to prolong our vacation for a few more days. It's a tough life we live.
These delicious lime shortbread cookies are from Kevin over at Closet Cooking. The lime adds a really fun twist to the otherwise traditional shortbread recipe - I love watching people's faces after they pop one into their mouths and find themselves pleasantly surprised with the refreshing lime. I chose to make them bite-size, which was great and all, but definitely encourages throwing them back like a bag of popcorn. So do so at your own risk.
Next comes the homemade peppermint Oreos, which are nothing short of amazing. The basic Oreo recipe comes from Deb at Smitten Kitchen, and trust me, they taste just like Oreos! It's like magic. I added peppermint flavoring to them because, as many of you remember from my last post, I am obsessed with the Trader Joe's Peppermint Joe-Joe's, and I wanted to replicate them to the best of my ability. And yes, I'm going to say it - these are even better! Next time I may even roll them in crushed candy canes to make them that much more awesomely gluttonous.
And last, but most certainly not least, are these utterly fantastic salted toffee crisps from Nessie at Baking Equals Love. Now trust me on this - bring these to your next work function, dinner party, social gathering, etc and sit back and watch. Although they taste fancy and complicated, they are in fact the easiest thing to make ever. The secret ingredient is Saltine crackers! Remember those? You may recall them best from atop tomato soup, or from eating them with peanut butter when you were 7.
The Saltines together with the toffee and chocolate flavors creates that wonderful sweet and salty mix. Seem weird? I once was a salted caramel skeptic, but then I tasted some of the smoky gray sea salt caramels from Fran's based on Obama's recommendation, and I was completely won over. Try it. You'll be a convert and will love me forever.
From Closet Cooking
12 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
1 cup powdered sugar, divided
Zest of 2 limes
2 Tbsp lime juice (I used slightly more)
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
1 3/4 cup + 2 Tbsp all purpose flour
2 Tbsp cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt
In the bowl of an electric mixer with paddle attachment, cream butter and 1/3 cup of the powdered sugar until lightened in color. Mix in the lime zest, lime juice, and vanilla. In a separate bowl, whisk or sift together the flour, cornstarch, and salt. Add dry ingredients into butter and sugar mixture, and beat until combined.
Form dough into a log about 1 1/2 inches in diameter (more if you want larger cookies), cover in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least one hour.
Remove dough from fridge and preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Slice dough into 1/2 inch thick rounds. Place on cookie sheet about one inch apart. Bake until edges begin turning golden brown, about 13-15 minutes. Remove and let cool on wire rack. While cookies are still warm, toss in remaining powdered sugar. Let cool completely before serving.
Homemade Peppermint Oreos
Slightly adapted from Smitten Kitchen
For the cookies:
1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 cup granulated sugar
10 Tbsp butter, softened
1 large egg
For the filling:
4 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp peppermint extract
Preheat oven to 375 degrees, and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
In bowl of an electric mixer with paddle attachment, mix flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Make sure ingredients are thoroughly mixed before continuing. While on low speed, add butter a couple tablespoons at a time. Then add the egg. Continue mixing until the dough comes together in a mass - likely around the paddle attachment.
Place rounded teaspoons of the batter on baking sheets about 2 inches apart. Moisten your hands and slightly flatten each mound. Bake for about 9-10 minutes, rotating halfway through. Remove from oven and let cool.
For the filling - cream butter and shortening in bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle attachment. Gradually beat in sugar, vanilla, and peppermint. Turn mixer to medium-high and beat for 2-3 minutes until filling is light and fluffy.
To make the oreos - put filling in a pastry bag (or ziploc bag with corner snipped with scissors) and pipe filling onto flat side of cookie. Top with another cookie of the same size and press down. Continue until you have used up all your cookies and filling. Enjoy!
Salted Toffee Crisps
From Baking Equals Love
8 Tbsp butter, cubed
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips (I've made this recipe with bittersweet as well - it's good both ways)
About 25 (1 packet) Saltine crackers
1 tsp flaked or coarse sea salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and line rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
Arrange Saltine crackers on baking sheet. Lay them as close as possible to each other without overlapping.
Meanwhile, melt butter and brown sugar in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Once boiling, allow to cook for another 3 minutes without stirring, and then remove from heat. Add vanilla extract and swirl to mix.
Pour caramel over crackers and put in oven. Bake for 5-7 minutes. Remove baking sheet and sprinkle chocolate chips on top and let rest for 5 minutes. You do not need to melt the chocolate before hand - the heat of the caramel and crackers will do that for you. Once melted, spread chocolate into an even layer with spatula. Sprinkle the top with sea salt.
Allow to cool for 2-3 hours at room temperature, or 1-2 hours in the refrigerator. Once chocolate is hard, cut pieces into triangles with sharp night.
Can keep stored in airtight container for up to one week. Enjoy!