Monday, August 1, 2016

Cookie Secrets!

love cookies, but I did not have time to bake several hundred cookies with each round of zone conferences or interviews. That just wasn't using time wisely (PMG Chapter 8)! Fortunately, Costco's triple variety 24-count cookies came in very handy, especially after stumbling on a great secret! After one round of zone conferences our first year, we miscalculated and ended up with a couple of extra boxes. So I decided to wrap them in the original box and freeze them. A month or two later, I took them out of the freezer and also bought more fresh cookies. When they were served, I noticed that the cookies that had been frozen were so much more moist, soft and chewy than the fresh ones! 

From that day on, rather than try to buy fresh cookies for zone conference, I buy them in advance, wrap them in saran wrap, then store them in the freezer. Even one day in advance is enough!

That being said, I always tried to bake treats for smaller meetings and conferences such as DTM, ZTM, MLC, etc. Here are a few favorite cookie & bar recipes that I often used:

Best Chocolate Chip Cookies Ever
Elder Klayton Erekson

1 cup butter (2 sticks)
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar 
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/2 cups of flour
1 teaspoon baking soda 
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups chocolate chips

Bake 8-9 minutes [I generally bake them a little longer] at 375 degrees. 

My Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe
Christine Van Wagenen
September 2014 Asia Area Mission Presidents Seminar

One year when we arrived in our hotel room in Hong Kong for the semi-annual Mission Presidents' Seminar, we found a delightful box of homemade cookies waiting for us. They were heavenly! Sister Van Wagenen, serving a senior mission with her husband in the China Hong Kong mission, shared her recipe with us:

1 cup butter                                                      3 rounded cups flour
1/3 cup shortening (Crisco)                          1 teaspoon salt
1 cup granulated sugar                                  1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup brown sugar                                          1½ - 2 cups chocolate chips
2 eggs                                                                1½ cups chopped pecans
2 teaspoons vanilla

In a large mixing bowl,
·      Cream together the butter and shortening,
·      Add in the sugars and beat well until light and fluffy
·      Beat in the eggs and vanilla.
In a separate bowl,
·      Stir the flour, salt and soda together 
·      Now incorporate the flour mixture into the butter/sugar mixture. 
·      Fold in the chocolate and pecans.
·      Using a cookie scoop, place cookie dough on parchment lined baking sheets
·      Bake at 375 degrees for about 10-12 minutes.  Adjust temperature and baking time as needed.

NOTE:  Dough may also be scooped and placed on unlined baking sheets, placed in freezer until frozen.  Place frozen unbaked cookies in an airtight container to be baked in the future.  For best results, use within 3 weeks.

Ultimate Magic Cookie Bars
Sallys Baking Addiction

This is my best cookie recipe find during our three years in Taiwan! Mind you that graham crackers are not to be found in Taiwan, I always had my family members bring me some when they came to visit! Butterscotch chips are also unavailable in Taiwan, but no worries, I just left them out! They were still heavenly:)

Soft-baked graham cracker cookie bars with butterscotch, coconut, chocolate, and pecans. An ultimate version of the classic magic bar/hello dolly bar.

1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup (150g) packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 cup (125g) all-purpose flour (careful not to overmeasure)
1 cup (100g) graham cracker crumbs (9 graham crackers)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (175g) butterscotch chips

1 cup (180g) semi-sweet chocolate chips 
3/4 cup (50-60g) shredded sweetened coconut
1/2 cup (70g) chopped pecans
8 ounces sweetened condensed milk

Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Line a 8x8 baking pan with aluminum foil, leaving enough overhang on the sides. Set aside.

In a large bowl using handheld or stand mixer, cream the butter and brown sugar together on medium speed. Beat for about 2 minutes until smooth and combined. Add the vanilla extract and egg, beating until combined. Scrape the sides of the bowl down as needed. Set aside.

Toss the flour, graham cracker crumbs, and baking powder together until combined. With the mixer running on low, slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Mix until combined, then mix in the butterscotch chips. Press graham cracker dough into the
prepared baking pan and bake for 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and layer with chocolate chips, coconut, and pecans. Drizzle sweetened condensed milk evenly on top. Sprinkle a couple more butterscotch chips on top (optional).
Bake the bars until set, about 25-30 minutes. Loosely cover the pan with aluminum foil halfway through baking to prevent browning (I baked the bars until they were thoroughly golden brown on top). Rotate the pan a couple times during the bake time as well. Allow to cool thoroughly at room temperature. 

Lift foil lining from pan and cut the bars into squares. Bars stay fresh at room temperature for up to 1 week. Bars may be frozen for up to 3 months.

Cake Mix Cookies

These cookies are moist, chewy, and can be made with your favorite variety of cake mix! Can be made plain or add your favorite mix-in. Try chocolate w/chocolate chips, chocolate w/dried cherries, lemon w/dried cranberries, etc.

1 box cake mix
2 eggs
1/2 cup oil

Mix together above ingredients (I use the flat paddle attachment on my Kitchenaid). Add optional nuts, dried fruit, chocolate chips, etc. Dough should be dry enough to handle. If not, may refrigerate or add additional cake mix. Roll dough into 1" balls. Dip in powdered or granulated sugar (optional). Place 2" apart on baking pan lined with a Silpat (silicone) baking sheet. Bake about 8-10 minutes in oven preheated to 350F.

No comments:

Post a Comment