Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cheesecake Bars

I know the title alone makes you want one of these. I don’t blame you. This dessert takes two of my favorite sweets and combines them perfectly. This is an easy recipe to whip up but does create quite a few dishes and is multi-stepped. You need to make the crust, cheesecake filling and the cookie dough. You could use store bought cookie dough to save some time if you are in a pinch but really, if your making a crust and filling why not just whip up some dough as well (plus you can eat it raw since there are no eggs in it! BONUS!!).

I suggest using mini chocolate chips for the dough as it makes these bars easier to cut and eat, plus you get a little more chocolate in every bite! Yeah!

I whipped each component up  by hand but you could use a mixer if you want. I found with melted  butter and room temperature ingredients there was no need to lug out my stand mixer.

If you do make these I suggest making them a day before you need them. Like cheesecakes these get better with a day of rest. I highly recommend eating these chilled (as I do a cheesecake). They will be creamy and crumbly and just so satisfying that a small piece will do. Everyone at work loves these and these were the first to sell out at our bake sale. I think the name draws people in but the flavor kept them coming back for another!

I can’t wait to make these for easter using some pretty colored sprinkles and Holiday colored M&M’s on top. How irresistible will that be??

Before easter, I may make these again with some peanut butter cheesecake filling and peanut butter cookie dough. To top it off I think some chopped Reese’s PB cups on top would be phenomenal! If you try it, let me know!

I rate this recipe an 9

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cheesecake Bars
adapted from here

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
4 TBS butter, melted
1 TBS sugar
2/3 cup mini chocolate chips

5 TBS butter, melted
1/3 cup brown sugar
4 TBS sugar
1/8 tsp  salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup flour
1 cup mini chocolate chips

8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 325.
Grease a 8×8 pan with butter, line pan with parchment paper and butter the paper, leaving enough to extend over the sides.
Crush graham crackers into crumbs to make 1 & 1/2 cups. Add sugar and mix. Stir in butter and mix until crumbs are moistened. Stir in chocolate chips.
Press crust mixture into bottom of pan. Bake for 6 minutes. Set pan on wire rack to cool.

In a medium bowl stir together the butter, brown sugar, sugar, salt, and vanilla extract at medium  until smooth. Gently fold in flour. Mix just until incorporated. Stir in chocolate chips. Set aside.

In a small bowl stir cream cheese until soft. Add sugar and stir until smooth. Add egg and vanilla extract, stir just until blended.

Pour batter into cooled, baked crust. Drop cookie dough by teaspoonfuls over the top of the filling. Sprinkle a few more mini chips over the top and gently press down (this makes it look pretty)

Bake about 30 minutes, or until set. Transfer to wire rack to cool completely. Place in the refrigerator to chill several hours.

Brownie and Mini Chip Roll Out Cookies

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone! Today you get a treat and get TWO recipes in one post! How sweet is that? Ok, enough with the bad puns.

I chose to veer away from the ordinary this Valentine’s Day and not make the usual sugar cookies. I knew I still wanted to be able to make them into cute hearts and decorate them up with frosting and sprinkles if time allowed. After searching for a while I decided on two roll-out cookie recipes.This chocolate one from Smitten Kitchen and a chocolate chip version from Very Best Baking.

Both recipes were whipped up in no time, about 10 minutes each. They both did require an hour chill in the fridge before being ready to get rolled and baked. That gave me plenty of time to wash up some dishes and get prepared with my rolling pin and cookie cutters.After an hour chill both doughs were firm yet easy to work with and roll. I had no problems with either dough sticking to the counter or pin. This may because I lightly covered the counter and the pin with cocoa powder for the chocolate roll-outs and powdered sugar for the chocolate chip roll-outs. Both recipes call for a 350 degree oven making it super simple to transition from one batch to the next. I have to say that I am very pleased with both versions of cut-outs.

The chocolate version had a slight chocolate flavor (I was wishing for more), tender texture and was sturdy enough to decorate after baking. Likewise the chocolate chip cookie was tender, a bit more delicate while warm but firmed up nicely after baking. Though sturdy and firm, neither cookie became crisp after cooling (a plus in my book).  Everyone at work loved these, especially the chocolate chip version. What’s better than a tender, chewy fun shaped chocolate chip cookie?

I will admit, I enjoyed the Chocolate chip version better than the chocolate brownie one which surprised me. I just felt the chocolate flavor wasn’t quite there to be called a ‘brownie’ cookie. My expectations could have been too high, these are good, don’t get me wrong, but they weren’t as good as I had hoped. Maybe if I would add some more cocoa powder and mini chocolate chips next time that would up them a bit.  The chocolate chip roll-out had a more delicate flavor than a chocolate chip cookie, almost shortbread like texture and the mini-chips just added that oomph that made me swoon. Maybe I was just in the mood for these or maybe it was the mini chips, but these made me smile.  I would recommend both recipes, especially if you want to try something a bit more fun than the basic sugar cookie.
These were both great plain but held up well when decorated with some frosting and sprinkles.

I rate the Brownie Roll-out Cookies an 8
I rate the Mini Chip Cut-out Cookies an 8.5

Brownie Roll-Out Cookies*Recipe from Deb’s mom
Smitten Kitchen
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup lightly salted butter, softened (Deb note: I don’t really see “lightly salted” much these days, so I used one stick salted, one stick unsalted)
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa

Preheat oven at 350 degrees. Whisk dry flour, salt and baking powder in bowl and set aside. Mix butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla and cocoa in mixer. Gradually add flour mixture, and mix until smooth. Wrap in plastic and chill for at least one hour.

Roll out cookie dough on floured counter. Cut into desired shapes, brushing extra deposits of flour off the top. (It does disappear once baked, though, so don’t overly fret if they go into the oven looking white.) Bake on a parchment-lined baking sheet for 8 to 11 minutes (the former for 1/8-inch thick cookies, the latter for 1/4-inch cookies) until the edges are firm and the centers are slightly soft and puffed.
Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Mini Chip Roll-Out Cookies
Very Best Baking
1 cup butter or margarine, softened (I used butter)
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg yolk
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour1 cup NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Semi-Sweet Chocolate Mini Morsels

Beat butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, vanilla extract and salt in large mixer bowl until creamy. Beat in egg yolk. Gradually beat in flour. Stir in 1 cup morsels. Divide dough in half; cover. Chill for 1 hour or until firm.

Roll half of dough to 1/4-inch thickness between two sheets of waxed paper. Remove top sheet of waxed paper. Cut into shapes using cookie cutters. Lift from waxed paper; place on ungreased baking sheets. Chill for 10 minutes. Repeat with remaining dough.
Bake in preheated 350° F. oven for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Decorate as desired after cooling. Store in an airtight container.

Thick and Chewy Triple Chocolate Cookies

May 026While searching for a new brownie recipe to try I came across this recipe that I had bookmarked from one of my favorite cookbooks, America’s Test Kitchen. This has been a great all-around-cookbook. It has everthing from salads to desserts and I have been more than pleased with the outcome of each recipe I have tried. These cookies are no different.  I am usually not a fan of chocolate cookies, there are a few exceptions, but really I would rather have a brownie any day than a chocolate cookie. These, however, satisfied me more than any brownie could have. 

My oh my. These cookies are like a  rich, chocolatey, chewy brownie only in cookie form. Each cookie is studded with chocolate chips which only serve to intensify the chocolatey flavor. I adapted the recipe a bit based on what I had in my kitchen and my own preferences (with my changes they are more like a quintuple chocolate cookie).  These cookies take a little longer to make than most, first you have to melt and cool chocoalte before adding it to the butter/sugar mixture, then after mixing the dough you need to let it firm up for at least 30 minutes (could be sped up by chilling in the fridge) at room temperature. Let me tell you though, if your sweet tooth is calling, these will surely answer and are well worth the little extra time and effort making the dough. 

The dough itself is rich and fudgelike and gives you a sweet glimpse of what the finished cookies will look and taste like. Chocolate is the star of the show so I would suggest that you use a fair to good quality chocolate for melting and adding to the dough. The chocolate flavor is only deepened and enhanced by the addition of Instant Espresso powder. I know some people may be leary about adding it, but as noted, I added less than called for and could not taste it one bit, neither did anyone who ate devoured inhaled these little gems.  These kind of remind me of Outrageous Brownies, only in cookie form. 

The cookies bake up soft with slighlty shiny tops after they cool. They are fragile right out of the  oven so it is best to let them rest a bit before transfering them to a rack to cool. With chocolate cookies it is hard to tell when the cookies are finished baking many bakers tend to overbake them resulting in tough, hard, dry cookies. I baked mine for 10 minutes and 30 seconds and they came out PERFECT. Chewy, chocolatey, rich and gooey from the chunks of chocolate in each cookie. I could not have asked for more from a brownie or cookie. 

After storing these at room temperature overnight in a sealed container they are still chewy; firmer, but chewy none the less. Next time I might add some chopped Reese’s Peanut Butter cups because that is how me and my peeps like to roll: on the Peanut butter train all the way to chunky town.  These would also be great with chunks of Oreo cookies or toasted walnuts added to the batter. 

If you love chocolate and are looking for a nice and rich, flavorful brownie or cookie recipe, I highly recommend you give this recipe a try and see for yourself the glorious chocolateyness that they behold.

I rate this recipe a 9 

 

Double-Chocolate Cookies, Thick and Chewy Cookies
Makes about 3 1/2 dozen cookies
To melt the chocolate in a microwave, heat at 50 percent power for 2 minutes, stir, then continue heating at 50 percent power for 1 more minute. If not completely melted, heat an additional 30 to 45 seconds at 50 percent power. We recommend using a spring-loaded ice cream scoop to scoop the dough. Resist the urge to bake the cookies longer than indicated; they may appear underbaked at first but will firm up as they cool.
Ingredients:
2 cups (10 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
16 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons instant coffee or espresso powder
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups packed (10 1/2 ounces) light brown sugar
1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) granulated sugar
Directions:
Sift together flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt in medium bowl; set aside.
Melt chocolate in medium heatproof bowl set over pan of almost-simmering water, stirring once or twice, until smooth; remove from heat. Beat eggs and vanilla lightly with fork, sprinkle coffee powder over to dissolve, and set aside.
In bowl of standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat butter at medium speed until smooth and creamy, about 5 seconds. Beat in sugars until combined, about 45 seconds; mixture will look granular. Reduce speed to low and gradually beat in egg mixture until incorporated, about 45 seconds. Add chocolate in steady stream and beat until combined, about 40 seconds. Scrape bottom and sides of bowl with rubber spatula. With mixer at low speed, add dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Do not overbeat. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature until consistency is scoopable and fudgelike, about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, adjust oven racks to upper-middle and lower-middle positions and heat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Leaving about 1 1/2 inches between each ball, scoop dough onto parchment-lined cookie sheets with 1 3/4-inch ice cream scoop.
Bake, reversing position of baking sheets halfway through baking (from top to bottom and front to back), until edges of cookies have just begun to set but centers are still very soft, about 10 minutes. Cool cookies on sheets about 10 minutes, slide parchment with cookies onto wire racks, and cool to room temperature. Cover one baking sheet with new piece of parchment paper. Scoop remaining dough onto parchment-lined sheet, bake, and cool as directed. Remove cooled cookies from parchment with wide metal spatula and serve.
Variation — Thick and Chewy Triple-Chocolate Cookies:
If you like bursts of warm melted chocolate in your cookies [and who doesn’t? —Alex], include chocolate chips in the batter. The addition of chips will slightly increase the yield of the cookies.
Follow recipe for Thick and Chewy Double-Chocolate Cookies, adding 12 ounces (about 2 cups) semisweet chocolate chips to batter after dry ingredients are incorporated in step 3.
 Thick and Chewy Triple Chocolate Cookies
2 cups AP flour
1/2 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped (the original recipe calls for all semi-sweet chocoalte) 
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons instant coffee or espresso powder (I used 1 1/2 teaspoons)
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups packed (10 1/2 ounces) light brown sugar
1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) granulated sugar
1 cup Milk chocolate chips
1/2 cup Semi-sweet chocolate chips 
*Could use all semi-sweet or milk chocolate chips, whatever you have on hand. The original calls for all semi-sweet chips
In a small bowl wisk the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. 
Melt the semi-sweet and bittersweet chopped chocolate in medium heatproof bowl. Be careful not to scorch or burn chocolate. Set aside to cool.
In a small bowl wisk the eggs, vanilla and Espresso powder until combined. 
In a mixing bowl, beat the butter until smooth and creamy. Add sugar and beat another minute. Add the egg mixture until well mixed. Gently add the melted and cooled chocolate and beat until combinedMay 029 

Slowly add the flour mixture and beat until just combined. Do not overbeat.
Cover with dough with lid or plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature until consistency is scoopable and fudgelike, about 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350.
 Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Scoop dough onto sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes or until edges are set but centers are soft. 
Allow cookies to cool on sheets about 10 minutes before transfering to racks to cool completly. 

Alton Brown’s Chocolate Chip Cookie

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Oh yes, the Chocolate Chip Cookie. I may have found my new Go-To recipe!!
Many bakers seem to be searching for the perfect chocolate chip cookie. I too, have been searching for the ‘perfect chocolate chip cookie’ I do have a tried and true recipe that I fall back on that I know will not fail me but like many bakers, continue to seek out and try new versions of this classic. I have received almost a dozen emails from my blog readers requesting I try another chocolate chip cookie recipe and several have requested this recipe in particular. It comes from my beloved Alton Brown.

Several bloggers have already tried other versions of his chocolate chip cookie recipe so I decided to go with a recipe that I have had saved for over a months now. I was emailed the recipe by a friend and I do not own the book from which it originates, if my citing is wrong, please drop me a line and let me know.

I chose this recipe for a few reasons. It calls for no special ingredients,  it calls for an unusual method of mixing the ingredients and it implements the use of unconventional baking temperatures. Like my last cookie recipe, no mixer is needed to whip up this recipe, however, a little arm power is essential for adequatley mixing the chips into the dough. The dough came together in less than 15 minutes and after a short chilling in the fridge (the recipe does not require this but I feel it enhances the flavor of the baked cookie) these were ready to bake.  As stated before, unlike usual cookie recipes that call for one constant baking temperature, this one starts the cookies out at a higher temperature and then has you lower the temperature right after placing them into the oven to bake. I am asuming the higher initial temperature helps set the edges and the lowering of the temperature ensures consistent baking (no burnt bottoms and underbaked centers) producing a cookie with crisp edges and soft, chewy centers. What better combination in a cookie??

The texture of these cookies is great, everything I would look for in a cookie, phenomenal actually. They are slighlty crisp around the edges and soft and chewy in the middles.  They taste great out of the oven (after cooling for 10 minutes). I can’t wait to try them after they cool completly.
The depth of the flavor is also phenomenal, the perfect combination of brown sugar and butter. I was surprised that the cookies came out as chewy as they were and that thebrown sugar flavor was as pronounced as it was, given I used equal proportions of white and brown sugar. Once again I used a combination of milk and semi-sweet chocolate chips and found that proportion was just perfect in my opinion, sweet but not overly so.

I do have two complaints about this cookie. First, the finished cookies were too greasy in my opinion.  After realizing this with the first pan, I allowed the cookies to cool for 5 minutes on the sheet and then transferred to paper-towel lined cooling racks to cool completly. This seemed to help soak up a bit of the grease. Second, you really need to monitor the cookies closely while baking as you need to constantly increase and decrease the temperature of the oven. This was fine today as I was in the kitchen cleaning, however, these may not be ideal for those who are multi-tasking and want to bake up a batch of cookies quickly (it took my oven 5 minutes to reheat to 375 between baking the batches).

Overall I loved these cookies. So much so that I am going to make another batch tomorrow for a party. I will decrease the butter by a 1/2 stick to see if that helps with the greasiness of the baked cookies. If I can make these less greasy while maintaining the flavor these may be my new favorite cookie. If you try adapting this recipe with great results PLEASE leave me a comment and let me know!

One last thing, Alton also gives directions on how to bake the dough as one large pan cookie which would be perfect for birthdays, anniversaries and parties. I would love to try baking it this way and then decorating with a little buttercream frosting!

I rate these cookies an 8
Only because I thought they were too greasy in my opinion, these would be at least a 9 for flavor and texture alone

Chocolate Chip Cookie #10 
Alton Brown’s I’m Just Here for More Food Cookbook

2 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt (I only used 1/2 tsp and felt that was enough)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 egg yolks, slightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup un salted butter, melted and slightly cooled (I used salted butter, like always) **
2 cups chocolate chips (1 used 1 cup semi-sweet and 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees*.

In a large mixing bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
In a medium mixing bowl whisk together the melted and cooled butter, sugars, egg yolks and vanilla until may-128combined. 

Make a well in the center of the flour mixture, pour in the butter mixture and  fold the ingredients together just until combined. Add the chocolate chips and fold to combine. Do not overmix.
I chilled my dough for 2 hours because I always do, but Alton does not call for this step.

For individual cookies, use a spoon or a disher and dish out your cookies, 2 inches apart, on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. *

Bake for 12-15 minutes (Mine were done in 12).
Let cool on the baking sheet for 2 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack or paper towel-lined counter top.

*As soon as you put the cookies or cookie cake into the oven, turn the temperature down to 350 degrees. Alton Brown swears by this initial temperature boost.

Alternate Option:
For a cookie cake, dump the dough into an ungreased pizza pan or whatever kind of pan you have and gently press down until the dough is evenly distributed around the pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or light golden brown.

**UPDATE: 5/4/09:
I made these again, only this time I used only 1 1/2 sticks butter (12 TBS) and found the baked cookies to be less greasy without sacrificing the flavor. I did chill the dough overnight so that may help keep and enhance the flavor of these cookies. I highly recommend chilling the dough at least a few hours before baking.
I also allowed the cookies to cool on paper-towel lined cooling racks for about 5 minutes and then transferred them to a regular cooling rack to cool completley. I found the paper towels to help absorb any grease from the warm cookies while the regular cooling rack allowed the bottoms of the cookies to firm up alowing the edges to become crisp upon cooling achieving the texture I  desire.
All in all I would recommend this recipe and suggest you play around with butter amounts and cooking/cooling methods that suit your tastes and preferences. I can’t wait to make them again!

Magic Make it Your Way Cookies

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I had a can of sweetened condensed milk to use up and decided to search the Eagle brand website for a cookie recipe. Usually I make 7-Layer bars but was in the mood to try out something new today. Well, needless to say I was under-impressed by this recipe as a cookie but it is promising as a muffin top cookie, read on.

One plus is this dough comes to together quickly, infact the directions don’t even call for a mixer. I did however have a difficult time stirring the dough as it was very sticky and I think a mixer would have helped a great deal. (but who couln’t use a little work out while baking?)

I decided to divide the dough into two batches and added chocolate chips to one batch and 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 cup toasted chopped nuts and 1/2 cup cinnamon chips to the second batch. Boy am I glad I experimented a bit with the ingredients, it was the saving grace for these babies.  I chilled the dough for 20 minutes as I felt it was way to sticky to bake right away.

The first sheet of cookies I just dropped on the sheet using my cookie scoop. This resulted in cookies that baked up puffy and very cake-like with rounded pale tops and golden bottoms. After trying a chocolate chip one I felt they had no flavor (I believe because their is no  sugar in the recipe, only what is in the sweetened condensed milk). The second sheet I again used my cookie scoop to scoop the dough, this time, however, I rolled the dough balls in a cup of sugar and placed them on the sheet. I pressed down slighlty with a cup to flatten the tops. I enjoyed these results much more when prepared this way (the chocolate chip version is still lacking deep flavor however but looked better). The cookies are still more cakey than cookie but I feel the roll in sugar is a welcomed flavor boost, especially in the cinnamon nut version. 

I enjoyed the cinnamon nut vfebruary-124ersion of the cookie much better than the chocolate chip version (little flavor and too cakey for my liking). The cinnamon nut cookie was almost like eating a cinnamon nut muffin in cookie form. The nuts, cinnamon and cinnamon chips really shined through and made up for the lack of flavor in the dough itself.
I would not reccomend the chocolate chip version but think adding coconut, dried fruits, almond extract, nuts etc. may have potential if cakey cookies are your thing.

Overall these were not horrible cookies and would work in a pinch if you are out of sugar and desperate to bake something. Needless to say these will not be taking the place of my favorite chocolate chip cookie any time soon.  However, I did enjoy the cinnamon nut version and may make them for brunch as I think these are better as ‘muffin’ top cookies than traditional cookies.

I rate this recipe a 5 (chocoalte chip version)
I rate this recipe a 7 (cinnamon nut muffin top version)

Magic Make it Your Way Cookies
adapted from Eagle
 3 cups all-purpose flour
 3 teaspoons baking powder
 3/4 teaspoon salt
 3/4 cups (1 1/2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened
 2 eggs 
 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
 1 (14-ounce) can EAGLE BRAND® Sweetened Condensed Milk (NOT evaporated milk)
 One favorite ingredient (ingredients below) 
1 cup sugar for rolling dough (can add some cinnamon for the cinnamon nut version)

*I divided the dough and added 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips in half the dough and
   1/2 cup cinnamon chips, 1 tsp cinnamon and 1/2 cup toasted walnuts in the other half of the        dough
   
 Preheat oven to 350°F.
Line baking sheets with parchment paper. february-123
If using nuts, spread on baking sheet and bake in preheated oven for 10-15 mintues stirring every 5 minutes for even toasting. Do not burn. Take out and allow to cool.

 In large bowl, combine dry ingredients. Stir in butter, eggs, vanilla and EAGLE BRAND®. Fold in one of your “favorite” ingredients.

 Using a cookie scoop drop dough balls into a bowl of sugar and roll to coat.
Place on prepared baking sheet and press down slightly with the bottom of a cup. 
Bake  10-12 minutes or until edges are slightly browned.

Remove at once from baking sheet. Cool. Store leftovers covered at room temperature.
 
 
Notes: “Make It Your Way” with your favorite ingredient (pick one): 1 cup (6 ounces) semi-sweet chocolate chips 1 1/2 cups raisins 1 1/2 cups corn flakes 1 1/2 cups toasted shredded coconut

Toasted Pecan, White Chocolate and Toffee Chip Cookies

january-034

Anyone who reads my blog regularly knows that I have tasted several cookies in my time. Let me tell ya, I have found my new favorite cookie. I have been craving my favorite blondies all week but was in the mood to make cookies. Not only because I did not want to end up eating the whole pan of blondies by myself (I have done this more times than I can count) but because I wanted needed to freeze some dough for later baking (or so the scale has told me). I decided to adapt my go-to chocolate chip cookie recipe to include my all-time-hands-down- favorite blondie add-ins.

I pride myself in baking goodies that any home cook/baker/mom/dad/sister/brother can make. I am a firm believer that you don’t need super fancy or expensive ingredients to bake up mouth-watering, jaw dropping, family pleasing treats! I am proof of this. My recipes are usually straight forward, require few steps or fancy ingredients to pull off and no special equipment to make. These cookies are no exception. I took a basic recipe and kicked it up a notch by doing a few easy steps that anyone can do.

First, I toasted the pecans and allowed them to cool before adding them to my dough. Toasting the nuts creates a deeper and richer flavor which is noticable in baked goods, especially those with simple flavors. Secondly, I use dark brown sugar. There is more molasses added to dark brown sugar giving it a deeper and richer flavor and color than its lighter counterpart. Dark brown sugar will give the cookies a darker color after baking, which I also find more attractive visually. Lastly, I made my dough but chilled it overnight before baking. Allowing the dough to chill before baking further deepens the flavor profile of the dough and the finished cookie as documented in this article (though my grandma has been doing this for years!). These small, easy steps will take your cookie from good to great, by giving them a richer, deeper flavor and color.

So, back to my cookies. Let me tell you, these are phenomenal!  The white chocolate is creamy and smooth,  which compliments the flavors of the toffee pieces and toasted nuts all contained by a rich toffee flavored dough. I had a difficult time not eating all of the dough! The thing I love about this recipe is not just the fact that it taste rich and chewy just  like my blondie recipe but unlike my blondies, I was able to freeze several dough balls to bake later when my sweet tooth screams for a treat. YUM!

I rate this recipe a 9.5

Toasted Pecan, White Chocolate  and Toffee Chip Cookies
adapted from America’s Test Kitchen Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
12 Tbsp (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted & cooled until warm
1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg plus 1 yolk
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2  cup Heath Toffee Pieces
3/4 cup Toasted Pecan Pieces
1  cup White Chocolate, chopped (I recommend using white baker’s chocolate, not white chips)

Toast the Nuts:
Adjust oven racks to upper & lower -middle positions & heat oven to 350.
Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
Spread nuts on a baking sheet.
Bake in oven, stirring occasionally, for about 10 to 15 minutes until fragrant.
Remove from oven and allow to cool. Turn off oven.

Whisk dry ingredients together; set aside.
With electric mixer, or by hand, mix butter & sugars until thoroughly combined.
Beat in egg, yolk and vanilla until combined. Add dry ingredients & beat at low speed just until combined.
Gently fold in toffee pieces, pecan pieces and white chocolate chunjanuary-035ks.

Cover bowl tightly and place in refrigerator until ready to bake (at least 12 hours but up to 72 hours).

When ready to bake allow dough to come to room temperature.
Preheat the oven to 350.
Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

Using a spoon or medium cookie scooper, place dough balls on prepared sheets about 2 inches apart.
Bake for 9-12 minuts until cookies are light golden brown and outer edges start to harden yet centers are still soft & puffy. Do NOT overbake!

Cool cookies on sheets until able to lift without breaking and place on wire rack to cool.

*Instead of baking all of the dough at once you can drop dough balls onto a cookie sheet and chill until firm. Place in Freezer bag and freeze for later baking. Allow to come to room temp and bake as usual watching carefully not to overbake.

Cream Cheese Chocolate Chip Cookies

december-045

Lucky me, I have no food allergies that I know of making cooking and baking (and consuming all of that food) a breeze.
I got the idea for these cookies after a friend of mine asked me to bake some cookies for her son Jake’s  birthday party.  The only request she made was that they be egg free (I guess one of his cousin’s is allergic to them). Knowing that Jake loves my chocoalte chip cookies I really wanted to make them for his birthday. The only problem is that they contain eggs. Well, after reading some cookbooks at the library I discovered several cookie recipes that do not call for eggs but instead use cream cheese (not necassarily as a substitute).

I decided to give it a whirl and use cream cheese in place of the eggs in my chocolate chip cookie recipe. Eggs are usually used in a recipe to provide moisture (the yolk) and structure (the whites). The cream cheese adds the moisture and helps create the structure needed in the cookie without drying them out (as egg whites do).

The result? Wonderful! They came out much better than I ever could have expected. Just like the original, their texture is spot-on.  A slightly crisp outside gives way to a chewy interior that is far from cake-like.  They sport a paler color than their egg-using-counterparts making it very easy to overbake them. I removed mine from the oven when the bottoms began to tan and the edges were pale yet set. I noticed that the cookies had a somewhat shiny gloss to them after they had baked making them hard to resist! You could not taste the cream cheese at all but they did have a slightly different flavor than the original (not in a bad way).
These also stayed soft (with a slight crisp exterior) for two days in a covered container. They did not last after that but I am sure with the cream cheese in them, they would stay soft for several days.

I can’t wait to try substituting cream cheese for the eggs in a few more cookie recipes!

I rate this recipe an 8

Cream Cheese Chocolate Chip Cookies
adapted from America’s Test Kitchen

2 cups plus 3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
12 Tbsp (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted & cooled until room temp
5-6 oz. cream cheese softened
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

*I chilled the dough overnight before baking, which I recommend.

Adjust oven racks to upper & lower -middle positions & heat oven to 325. (Don’t do if chillindecember-0442g overnight)
Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Whisk dry ingredients together; set aside.With electric mixer, or by hand.
Mix butter and cream cheese together with a mixture until smooth. Add sugars and beat until thoroughly combined.
Beat in vanilla until combined.
Add dry ingredients & beat at low speed just until combined. Stir in chips. Chill dough overnight. OR

Drop dough onto parchment lined baking sheets and bake for 12-14 minutes or until edges are set and bottoms are light brown. Do NOT overbake!

Cool cookies on sheets until able to lift without breaking and place on wire rack to cool.

 

*Update: 12/26/08:
After a bit of searching on the internet, I found that someone else has tried this as well!