Hey guys, so this post is going to be a little different, but it’s okay because it’s going to be fun. I know I had fun. And I needed some fun. Are you with me?
Kristin from Baker Bettie – one of my favorite food blogs, actually the first food blog (besides PW) that I followed when I first started Cait’s Food Therapy.
She has a series called “Cookies are the new Cupcakes” which is awesome. Please tell me you will check it out! She has some amazing recipes! Her food photography is gorgeous too, really gorgeous.
When I saw that she was holding a contest, Cookie Wars 2012, I was a little intimidated at first because I’m not really the competitive type, plus I’m a total cupcake girl. Have you seen my kitchen?
However, I do love cookies too! In my opinion, I think that cookies are one of the most difficult desserts to make – mostly because it really depends on the oven, I think. It’s a little bit of a science experiment for me. Also, I love when they first come out of the oven, but after they harden they are just..not so good. I love chewy cookies and never realized that you could make them chewy at home. I thought it was a processed, bad for you kind of chemical going on in there, but you can make them chewy at home too! So…I thought that this contest would be a great way to experiment again with chewy cookies!
Also, when I looked at her list of must-use ingredients (choose at least 2), I pictured myself opening up my Chopped basket and getting to work. Baker Bettie has some pretty cool and unique ingredients on the list, several of them being savory as opposed to sweet. Whoever can make a cookie combining savory ingredients is a serious pro! Me, on the other hand, cookie pro? Not so much, but there were some ingredients that I was more comfortable with.
If there’s one thing that I love with a cookie it’s COFFEE.
My night shift co-workers, Zebaysh & Cornelius will tell you that my lunch most nights consists of an iced coffee and a cookie from the hospital’s 24/7 coffee shop. Thank you Cornelius for brainstorming with me and Zebaysh for actually making grocery shopping FUN! “We are in it to win it!” Did I say I wasn’t competitive?
I dedicate this cookie to them <3
- Dark Chocolate
- A Chewy/Soft baked cookie – the trick: use a higher ratio of dark brown sugar!
- Dark chocolate covered espresso beans – love.
- Pulverized Hazelnuts
- French Vanilla Extract
So originally I was going to go with hazelnut extract, but we could not find it, so I decided to pulverize the hazelnuts in the food processor to get that hint of flavor. Instead of the typical vanilla extract, I decided to go with french vanilla to go with the theme.
How would you like your coffee? Original, mocha, hazelnut, french vanilla….or do you want them ALL!? Oh yea.
- 2 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tbsp salt
- 2 1/2 sticks room temp. unsalted butter
- 1 3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs at room temp.
- 2 tsp French Vanilla Extract
- 1/2 cup chopped hazelnuts, pulverized to fine
- 1 cup dark chocolate covered espresso beans
Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. (Sifting incorporates air to make the cookies soft)
Place 1/2 cup chopped hazelnuts (or I’m sure whole would work too) in a food processor
Pulse until the hazelnuts are fine like this: Add this to the dry ingredients and set aside.
In another bowl (of the mixer) combine the butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar
and using the mixer’s paddle attachment, beat it on medium-high speed until the dough becomes pale and fluffy:
Next, Beat in the eggs and the french vanilla extract – this is when it starts to smell like that coffeehouse.
Reducing the mixer to low speed, slowly add in the flour mixture in two batches. Meanwhile grab your dark chocolate espresso beans – I found these delicious organic ones from Whole Foods. Try to save some for the cookies!
Pour in 1 cup of dark chocolate espresso beans into the cookie dough and mix with a spatula
Roll the cookie dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. I just chilled them in the freezer for 1 hour (you’re not surprised.)
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F and place a heaping tablespoon of the cookie dough onto a silpat (or parchment paper) lined baking sheet.
I cooked 6 cookies at a time (it makes about 30!) for 8 minutes or until golden brown on the rim of the cookie. Depending on your oven, it could be anywhere between 8-12 minutes. It is okay if the cookies are soft – they will be chewy! and will harden after removal.
This is when I packed up my props and freshly baked cookies, wrapped my camera around my neck and took the elevator down to our apartment’s laundry room. I have been fantasizing about this for weeks, every time I go down to do laundry. Also, my talented, carpenter dad gave me some kitchen tiles that he used in remodeling our kitchen for props that I couldn’t wait to use. This is what they call developing your style. I think it’s happening…!
In my apartment I have one large window that is up pretty high and I do not have a table that is on the same level with the window and besides the lighting is terrible, it is either too harsh or the sun is completely blocked by buildings. The laundry room is located on the opposite side of the building from our apartment and I had a theory that the light would be better. Luckily, no one was doing laundry and my theory was correct. I love the lighting. Boom!
It doubles as a laundry room studio (shh…don’t tell anyone.): See, I had to pair it with some Starbucks Iced Coffee
So I dare to you make these and review my recipe! I promise that you’ll take one bite and you’ll feel like your sitting in a “coffeehouse”. Just know that your going to get that crunchy bite in between all of that chewiness!
Now I get to play who stole the cookie from the cookie jar with my husband ;)
Ps. Thank you Baker Bettie for the motivation, I appreciate it! This contest was so much fun!
This post will always be dear to my heart, so I have to document it!
I finally (after several attempts and helpful feedback) got a photo accepted by the big ones:
Check it out here or by clicking the links here or on my badges! –>
Foodgawker.com ! http://foodgawker.com/post/2012/04/15/158729/
and TasteSpotting.com !
and Dessert Stalking!
I am almost certain that this will never happen again ;)
I am in no way a professional baker, chef or food photographer, or even remotely close, but meeting this goal feels pretty darn good!
I have practiced and practiced and feel that I am developing my food photography style which I am really proud of. I really appreciate those in my life who have supported my hobby – my readers and friends, thank you <3
and my husband and my family who have had to wait to eat so that I can attempt a good shot ;) for cooking with me for fun, for their ideas and for encouraging me. Blogging has been so fun for me. Food therapy works!
A slice of life.
Check out the results of Cookie Wars 2012!
Thank you for coming up with such a FUN contest. From the brainstorming, baking, (eating) and reading this post and seeing all of the photos, it has been such a blast! I can’t believe how much effort went into judging for this contest, I give you and your husband some serious credit! Plus, I am blown away by these gorgeous entries! Amazing guys! I can’t wait to bake the winning recipe it looks incredible. Now when are you doing this again? ;)