As I get back into baking and cooking, I am revisiting the old sites I used to frequent. Williams-Sonoma has the best line of cookbooks around. Everything I have ever made from there is fabulous.
One of my favorite things about their recipes is that they give you background. Sure the recipes are by no means easy, especially the cooking ones, but you learn something, whether it be terminology or a technique.
So I wanted to bake some cookies and decided to hit up their website. I made buttery pecan cookies & chocolate crinkle cookies. I decided to do two different types because you cannot bring nuts into Jayson's daycare.
Buttery Pecan Cookies-- Talk about quick and easy! These reminded me a lot of the pecan sandies you buy in the store and taste great with coffee!
16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup chopped pecans
In a large bowl, combine the butter, sugar, salt and vanilla. Using an electric mixer, beat the mixture on medium speed until it is smooth. Turn off the mixer a few times so you can scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Add the flour and nuts. Continue mixing until the dough looks like moist pebbles, then turn off the mixer.
Gently squeeze the dough together with your hands. When the dough comes together in a mass, place it on a large piece of plastic wrap. Using your hands, shape it into a log 10 inches long and about 2 inches in diameter. Wrap the log in the plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, about 3 hours.
Preheat an oven to 350°F. Line 3 baking sheets with aluminum foil.
Unwrap the dough and place it on a cutting board. Using a sharp knife, cut the log into slices 1/4 inch thick. Arrange the slices about 1 inch apart on the foil-lined baking sheets.
Place 1 baking sheet in the oven and bake the cookies until their edges are golden brown, 14 to 16 minutes. Using oven mitts, remove the baking sheet from the oven and set on a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat with the second and then the third baking sheets.
Lift the cooled cookies off the baking sheets with your fingers. Store the cookies in an airtight container. Makes about 40 cookies.
Chocolate Crinkle Cookies -- Jayson's teachers said "these were like brownie cookies something just delicious!"
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room
1 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat an oven to 350°F. Grease 2 baking sheets with butter.
Put the confectioners' sugar into a bowl and set aside.
Mix the ingredients
In another bowl, using a wooden spoon, stir together the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until creamy, about 3 minutes. Turn off the mixer and scrape down the bowl with a rubber spatula. Add 1 egg and beat on medium speed until blended. Add the other egg and vanilla and beat until blended.
Turn off the mixer and add the flour mixture. Beat on low speed just until blended.
Form the cookies
Using a tablespoon, scoop up a rounded spoonful of dough. Scrape the dough off the spoon into the palm of your other hand. Roll the dough into a ball. Roll the ball in the confectioners' sugar until covered. Place the balls on a prepared baking sheet. Repeat, spacing the balls about 2 inches apart.
Bake the cookies
When 1 baking sheet is full, put it in the oven and bake the cookies until they are crackled and puffed, 10 to 12 minutes. Using oven mitts, remove the baking sheet from the oven and set it on a wire rack for 15 minutes.
Using a metal spatula, move the cookies onto the rack and let cool completely. Repeat with the rest of the cookies. Makes about 24 cookies.