Food & Drink

November 28, 2012

Holiday cookies, naughty and nice

When you’re baking cookies, should you be naughty or nice? We’ve picked a recipe for each one of your baking moods

It’s holiday baking season, and the big question is: should you be naughty or should you be nice?

We’ve picked a cookie recipe for each one of your baking moods.

Saveur magazine took the nice Nestle Toll House chocolate chip cookie recipe and made it a bit naughty, adding a technique that layers the chocolate between fine layers of cookie dough, giving it a puff pastry effect.

The healthy chocolate-dipped meringue drops, developed by chef Sara Moulton, uses egg whites to bind together coconut and dried cranberries without adding fat.

Santa will find either tasty.

Saveur's Chocolate Chip Cookies

About 2 dozen cookies

2 1/ 4 c. flour, plus extra for rolling dough

3/4 tsp. baking soda

3/4 tsp. kosher salt

1 c. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature

3/4 c. packed dark brown sugar

3/4 c. granulated sugar

1 tsp. vanilla extract

4 egg yolks

9 oz. bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped

1 egg, beaten, optional

Sea salt, optional

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt.

In a bowl of an electric mixer on medium-high speed, combine butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar and vanilla and beat until smooth and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add yolks, two at a time, beating well after each addition. Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture, mixing until just combined.

Transfer dough to a work surface and divide into three equal pieces. Flatten each piece into a 4- by 6-inch rectangle; wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line baking sheets with parchment paper. Lightly flour a work surface. Place one dough rectangle on prepared work surface and sprinkle with half the chocolate. Top with another rectangle, sprinkle remaining chocolate and cover with last rectangle.

Using a floured rolling pin, flatten stacked rectangles into a 6- by 9-inch rectangle that is 1 1/2 inches thick. Using a 2-inch round cutter, cut out cookies and transfer to prepared baking sheets, spacing cookies 3 inches apart. Gather scraps, re-roll into a 1 1/2-inch thick disk and cut out more cookies, repeating until no dough remains. (At this point, you can brush the tops of the cookies with a beaten egg, and sprinkle a few grains of sea salt on each cookie).

Bake, rotating baking sheets halfway through baking, until cookies are lightly browned and set, about 15 minutes. Remove from oven, cool 2 minutes and then transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.

Note: This recipe must be prepared in advance. From the October 2012 issue of Saveur magazine; contributed by Sarah Copeland, author of “The Newlywed Cookbook.” She wrote, “The beauty of making classic Toll House cookies is discovering how malleable the recipe can be. Once I'd learned that layering sheets of butter into dough makes puff pastry irresistibly flaky and rich, I resolved to create a chocolate chip cookie with equal textural appeal. I tried layering pieces of chocolate into cookie dough in a similar style, and I was delighted with the results: crisp around the edges, moist and tender inside, and so marbled that every bite contained the consummate balance of sweet dough, melting bittersweet chocolate and crystalline salt.”

Nutrition information per serving: Calories: 230; Fat: 12 g; Sodium: 100 mg; Carbohydrates: 28 g; Saturated fat: 7 g; Calcium 17 mg; Protein: 3 g; Cholesterol: 50 mg; Dietary fiber: 2 g; Diabetic exchanges per serving: 2 other carb, 2 1 / 2 fat.

Chocolate-Dipped Coconut Meringue Drops

5 dozen

1 cup dried cranberries

2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut

4 large egg whites, room temperature

Pinch of salt

Pinch of cream of tartar

1 / 2teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup sugar

6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or spray with cooking spray and dust with flour, shaking off the excess.

In a food processor, pulse the cranberries until finely chopped. Set aside.

Spread the coconut on a third baking sheet or in a roasting pan. Bake on the oven’s middle shelf until golden, about 5 minutes. Let cool. Reduce the oven to 275 degrees.

Once the coconut has cooled, in a medium bowl combine it with the cranberries.

In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the egg whites with the salt, cream of tartar and vanilla until they form soft peaks. Add the sugar, 2 tablespoons at a time, beating until stiff peaks form. Fold in the coconut cranberry mixture. Drop rounded tablespoons of the batter, 1 inch apart, on the prepared baking sheets.

Bake for 25 minutes, or until the meringue drops are beige (they will be soft at the center). Put the sheet pans on cooling racks and let the meringue drops cool completely.

Bring a small saucepan of water to a gentle simmer. Set a larger stainless bowl over the saucepan, then add the chocolate. Heat the chocolate, stirring occasionally, until melted. One at a time, dip the bottoms of the cookies into the chocolate, then set chocolate side up on parchment to cool. To set the chocolate faster, the cookies can be refrigerated.

Store the cookies in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 1 week.

Note: Meringues on these cookies are meant to be beige and chewy, not white and crispy. Likewise, the note of tangy bitterness provided by the dark chocolate is meant to offset this confection's overall sweetness.

Nutrition information per serving: 50 calories; 25 calories from fat (50 percent of total calories); 3 g fat (2 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 0 mg cholesterol; 7 g carbohydrate; 1 g fiber; 5 g sugar; 1 g protein; 10 mg sodium.

Recipe provided by Sara Moulton, via The Associated Press

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