Peanut butter white chocolate cookie bars

How long has it been since my last chocolate/peanut butter recipe?  About 5 minutes?  Time for another one then 🙂

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This recipe is sort of like a blondie, however the batter is very thick (exactly like cookie dough), hence the name!  They turn out very dense, chewy and full of peanut butter and chocolate flavour.  My favourite flavour 😀 The light brown sugar gives these bars a lovely caramel taste, which paired with the texture from the crunchy peanut butter is delicious.

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I used a combination of white chocolate and milk chocolate chips in this recipe, however feel free to use all milk or all white.  Now that I’ve had my expedition to the American Sweets shop (and I have family living in the town, so a constant supply, mwhahahaha :-)) I will use peanut butter chips next time in these cookie bars.  Oh yes 😀

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Ingredients (makes 16 squares):

  • 125g plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 100g unsalted butter
  • 150g crunchy peanut butter
  • 175g light brown sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 50g milk chocolate chips
  • 50g white chocolate chips

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to Gas 3/170C.  Grease and baseline a 8 inch square cake tin.
  2. Cream the butter and peanut butter until very soft.  Mix in the egg, sugar and vanilla until incorporated.  Fold in the flour and baking powder, followed by the chocolate chips (dough will be very thick).
  3. Press into the tin and bake for around 25-30 minutes.  Watch the cookie bars carefully, it is better for them to slightly underdone in the centre, as they become dry if overbaked.
  4. Allow to cool slightly in the tin, then take out and cut into squares.

Adapted from ‘Bake!’

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Double chocolate mint poppet cookies

Cookies are back 🙂

Who remembers Poppets?  These are a sweet from my childhood, mini mint cremes covered in dark chocolate.  Delicious.  My fondest memory is buying these in the cinema before a film, managing to spill them down the seat/in my lap/on the floor and being gutted that it was dark and I couldn’t see to rescue them!

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Up until last week, I had no idea that they still made them, until I took a dangerous walk down the sweets aisle of our supermarket.  This walk has got me into trouble before and I’m sure it will again!  I immediately thought that they would work in a dark chocolate chip cookie, adding a minty kick.  Chocolate and mint is one of my favourite combinations 🙂

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These cookies are adapted from a favourite recipe of late, my Chocolate Caramel Cookies.  In order to give them the double chocolate element, 30g of the flour was replaced with good quality cocoa.  It’s really worth buying good quality (even though it is more expensive).  I use Green&Blacks, who also make fantastic chocolate (milk chocolate bar with sea salt?  Genius).  You can probably see from the photos that the cookies baked up higher than the recipe they are based on, this is in part due to the long chilling of the dough and also because these cookies have less large pieces of ‘stuff’ in them, which means the dough can hold them better, whilst still staying puffy.  Taking the cookies out whilst looking underdone also adds to their chewiness, so make sure they have no more than 9 minutes in the oven, as they will firm up on the tray.

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The mint poppets are pretty strong in mint flavour, which is why I chose not to add any peppermint extract, although of course you could choose too if you wish 🙂  I found with my After Eight Cookies that the mint flavour was slightly too strong after adding the peppermint extract.  Another great thing about the poppets is they melt slightly whilst baking, which just adds to the general gooeyness 😀

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Ingredients (makes 12-14 cookies):

  • 125g soft unsalted butter
  • 100g dark brown sugar
  • 75g light brown sugar
  • 50g caster sugar (superfine)
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 195g plain flour
  • 30g cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 50g milk chocolate chips
  • 50g dark chocolate chips
  • 100g mint poppets (or alternative)

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 180C/Gas 4.  Line 2 baking trays with baking paper or liner.
  2. Cream the butter and sugars together until light and fluffy.  Beat in the egg.  Mix in the flour, cocoa, bicarb, baking powder and salt.  Fold in the chocolate chips and poppets..  Chill the dough at this stage for at least 2 hours (I chill mine overnight)
  3. Roll into golfball sized balls and place on the baking tray (leaving some space inbetween), Bake for 8-9 minutes (no longer).
  4. Leave to firm up on the baking tray for at least 5 minutes and then cool on a rack.

Chocolate caramel cookies

I shouldn’t be allowed in the sweets aisle of our supermarket.  There is far too much danger, far too much cookie inspiration, lurking on those shelves 🙂  I promised that I would continue my search for the perfect cookie, and I believe that these are even better than the Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies I blogged about recently.

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Even though I enjoyed my experiment with using bread flour in my cookie recipes, I feel that the cookies turned out slightly more ‘cakey’ than I would have liked.  Not that cakey is a bad thing, but I wanted even more chewy softness.  This recipe uses a mix of white, light brown and dark brown sugars.  The dark brown sugar goes so well with the caramel & chocolate with its treacly flavour and it has the added bonus of ensuring the cookies are really chewy and soft.  Another top tip I’ve learnt for making good cookies, is in most cases you must chill the dough before baking.  It stops the cookies spreading so much in the oven and becoming very flat (although I’m sure they’d still taste great!)

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Bake these cookies for around 7-8 minutes.  It always looks as though they are dangerously underbaked, however it will be ok, trust me 🙂  Give them 5-10 minutes on the baking tray to firm up (don’t follow my impatient self, who tried to take one off the baking tray after 2 minutes and it promptly fell through the gaps in the cooling rack because it was so soft!)  These cookies are stuffed full of caramel chocolate pieces, which melt slightly when baking, which means they end up all squidgy and delicious 😀

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Ingredients (makes around 15 cookies, but you can make them smaller):

  • 125g soft unsalted butter
  • 100g dark brown sugar
  • 75g light brown sugar
  • 50g caster sugar (superfine)
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 225g plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 100g milk chocolate chips
  • 100g chocolate caramel pieces

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 180C/Gas 4.  Line 2 baking trays with baking paper or liner.
  2. Cream the butter and sugars together until light and fluffy.  Beat in the egg and vanilla.  Mix in the flour, bicarb, baking powder and salt.  Fold in the chocolate chips and caramel pieces.  Chill the dough at this stage for at least 30 minutes (I chill mine overnight)
  3. Roll into golfball sized balls and place on the baking tray (leaving some space inbetween), Bake for 7-8 minutes (no longer).
  4. Leave to firm up on the baking tray for at least 5 minutes and then cool on a rack.

Dark chocolate chip cookies

Happy New Year everyone!

I’ve been experimenting with cookies for the new year 🙂  In my quest to find the best method for the perfect chewy (yet crisp on the outside) cookie, I’ve made several adjustments to the recipe I’ve used for years.  Here comes the science people…

In this recipe, I’ve used half strong bread flour and half self-raising flour.  Bread flour is higher in gluten, therefore will produce a better rise and chewier texture compared to just using plain flour.  Self-raising flour is something that I know is not available in all countries, however it is essentially plain flour (all-purpose) with baking powder added.  For around 150g of flour it means adding 1 tsp baking powder.  This recipe also contains a high proportion of brown sugar, which is better at keeping the cookies moist days after baking, compared with white sugar.

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The result of this recipe is a slightly crisp around the edges, but squidgy in the middle cookie.  This recipe is comes pretty close to perfect in my book, but of course I will keep experimenting for you.  The sacrifices I make 😀  I’ve just used dark chocolate chips today, however, they would be just as good with white chocolate, milk chocolate or a mix of all 3!

The trick of chilling the dough for at least an hour (something I’ve learnt from many bloggers) means that the cookies do not spread so much whilst baking.  Taking them out of the oven when they look dangerously close to being uncooked is also important.  They will firm up as they cool. Getting soft, chewy cake like cookies comes from the brownie school of ‘they still look raw in the middle, but I’m taking them out of the oven anyway’ philosophy 🙂

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Using dark chocolate chips means that the overall cookie taste is not massively sweet, which makes these cookies fairly easy to eat.  In fact, I appear to have eaten 3 in the past 5 minutes.  Oops.

Ingredients (makes around 10 cookies):

  • 3oz unsalted butter
  • 3oz light brown sugar
  • 1oz caster sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 3oz self-raising flour
  • 3oz bread flour
  • 6oz dark chocolate chips

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to Gas 4/180C.  Cream the butter & sugars together (with a mixer or by hand) until they become pale and fluffy.  Beat in the egg.
  2. Mix in the flours until you have a stiff cookie dough.  Fold in the chocolate chips.
  3. Chill the dough for at least an hour.  It can even be frozen at this point if you wish, so you have some cookie dough available for baking in a cookie emergency 😀
  4. Drop spoonfuls of the cookie dough onto a lined baking tray.  I used a 1/4 cup measure for this, as it ensured the cookies were fairly even in size.
  5. Bake for around 10 minutes (but check after 9)

Chocolate orange cookies

Happy Christmas Eve everyone!  I wanted to do some baking today, as we’re going to be pretty busy over the next few days, so I won’t have a lot of time to focus on blogging :-(.  It also gave me a perfect excuse not to wrap presents 🙂

Husband, Granny and I are off to the Christingle service at 5pm today.  This is a tradition for us every Christmas Eve.  It is a church service involving a nativity play, carols and a procession of children carrying candles placed in oranges (the orange representing the world).  This got me thinking…about chocolate orange cookies 🙂  I’m sure this wasn’t the message intended, but never mind!

This cookie recipe was a little bit of an experiment as it included bread flour as well as plain (all-purpose) flour.  The intention of the bread flour is to make the cookies extra chewy.  I’m sure there is a scientific reason behind this and I will endevour to find out for you 🙂  This is coupled with this recipe only using brown sugar, which makes the cookies become more chewy over the next few days.  The addition of orange chocolate and the wonderful smelling orange zest to the cookie dough takes these fairly ordinary chocolate chip cookies to another level!

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Ingredients (makes 16 large cookies or 32 small):

  • 125g soft unsalted butter
  • 225g light brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 125g plain flour
  • 25g cocoa
  • 50g bread flour
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • 100g milk chocolate chips
  • 100g orange milk chocolate, chopped

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 180C/Gas 4.  Cream the butter and sugar together until fluffy.  Add the egg and beat again.
  2. Add the flours, bicarb, baking powder and orange zest and stir together to form a sticky dough.  Fold in all the chocolate.  Wrap the dough in cling film and chill for as long as you have patience! (at least an hour)
  3. Roll cookie dough into small balls and place on 2 lined baking sheets.  Bake for around 10 minutes.  Take cookies out when they look slightly underdone.  Leave for a few minutes on the baking sheet, before moving to the cooling rack.

Have a lovely Christmas Eve and holiday everyone.  A very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year 🙂  I’m looking forward to where Baking-Joy is going in 2013!

After Eight mint chocolate chip cookies

I love Christmas.  I know it’s still only November, but I’m right in the holiday mood 🙂  I especially love the myriad of Christmas based chocolate goodness that’s in all the shops right now.  Like a yard of jaffa cakes that Mr Baking-Joy gleefully brought home the other night (I still firmly believe it was the sheer amount of jaffas in one pack that enticed him, not the jaffas themselves.  We have agreed to disagree on that one :-)).  Mint chocolate was on my list yesterday, which meant after eight mints (dark chocolate covered thin mints).  I had the idea that they might be quite nice in the middle of a double chocolate chip cookie…I am pleased to say that I was correct 🙂

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The recipe I used for the cookies has a high proportion of dark brown sugar, which makes the cookies lovely and chewy.  When they are baked, don’t be afraid to take them out of the oven when they look slightly underdone, they will firm up slightly as they cool.  I added a couple of drops of peppermint extract to the mix, you could always leave this out if you like less of a minty kick!

Gooey yumminess.  Happy days.

Ingredients (makes around 12 large cookies):

  • 110g soft unsalted butter
  • 150g dark brown sugar
  • 50g golden caster sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 165g plain flour
  • 2 drops peppermint extract
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 30g cocoa powder
  • 100g milk chocolate chips
  • 100g dark chocolate chips
  • Pinch of salt
  • 12 After Eight mints

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to Gas 5/200C and line 2 baking trays.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.  Beat in the egg and peppermint extract.
  3. Mix in the flour, cocoa, bicarbonate of soda, salt and baking powder.  The mixture will appear very thick (like traditional cookie dough)
  4. Mix in the chocolate chips.  Place a spoonful of mixture onto the baking tray.  Press an After Eight mint gently on top, then add more cookie dough mixture.  Repeat until all the cookie dough has been used.  Make sure to leave gaps between the cookies, as the mixture does spread.
  5. Bake in the oven for around 10-12 minutes.  Take out of the oven when the edges are set, but the middle looks underdone.
  6. Leave to cool on the baking trays for at least 10 minutes, before transferring to a wire rack.

Recipe adapted from ‘Baking Made Easy’ by Lorraine Pascale.

Peanut chocolate chip cookies

So the peanut butter theme continues! 🙂  Chocolate + peanut butter = heaven.  The first time I made these cookies they had no brown sugar, only caster sugar.  Since I started my blog a few short weeks ago, I’ve been reading recipes and blogs even more obsessively than normal 🙂  Most cookie recipes I’ve looked at contain some brown sugar, which helps keep the cookie chewy, the white sugar will add crispness. On another note, I don’t know if you’ll be able to tell from my pictures, but I’ve been experimenting with a Photoshop Elements trial, which I’ve really been enjoying, so along with my much wanted 50mm prime lens, Elements is next on my wish list!

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Ingredients (makes around 12):

  • 125g unsalted soft butter
  • 75g caster sugar
  • 75g light brown sugar
  • 150g plain flour, sifted
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 125g smooth peanut butter
  • 50g salted peanuts
  • 100g milk chocolate chips

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 190C/Gas 5.  Grease two baking trays.  Beat together all the ingredients, apart from the peanuts and chocolate, until smooth.
  2. Stir in the peanuts and chocolate chips.  Place large spoonfuls of mixture onto baking sheets, leaving gaps in between for cookies to spread.  Bake for around 12 minutes, or until brown around the edges.
  3. Leave to cool for 5 minutes on the baking trays, then transfer to cool on a wire rack.