Saturday, February 6, 2016

Valentine's Day Baking

Valentines day is exactly one week from today.  Do you know how you are going to celebrate it yet?  Are you going to bake for a valentines?  Are you going to bake for friends?  How about for yourself? Me, I am going to bake for my favorite valentines: my father!  What better way to bake then with the Valentine's day M & M's, and heart shaped (chocolate chip) cookies.

I am going to apologize in advance for my lack of pictures of some of the cookies and steps.  I accidentally pulled out the USB before I had finished uploading the pictures and lost half of them....

3/4 cup unsalted butter (softened)
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups (minus 1 tbsp) all-purpose flour
1/3 cup instant vanilla pudding mix
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 package M & M's (I recommend picking the holiday packages :) )

Beat butter and brown sugar in a mixer until combined.  Make sure to scrape down the sides of the mixer as needed.  Then add the granulated sugar.  Next, add in the egg and vanilla extract.  Add in the pudding mix, followed by the baking soda and flour.  You want just under 2 cups of flour (see my picture for below).  I recommend taking out 1-1.5 tbsp flour so that you can create a dome in your cup.  Next add in 1/2 cup of chocolate chips and 3/4 cup M & M's and mix in by hand.  Roll out the dough as follows: use ~1.5 tbsp of dough or 1/4 cup dough and take out 1 tbsp.  Roll the dough and place on the cookie sheet.  Place the side with all of the M & M's down on the cookie sheet (trust me on this!).  Chill the dough in the fridge for at least 2 hours.  Bake at 350 for about 10 minutes.  Pull the cookies out and add more M & M's to the top and bake for about another 2 minutes, or until browned.

This is what my second cup of flour looked like:

The cookies with the M & M's face down.

The first round of M & M addition.

Can't you see the difference already in the number of M and M's?

The final product, already packaged to be sent in the mail!

Have you ever wanted to make shaped chocolate chip cookies before?  They are not easy to make, and I can't imagine rolling out chocolate chip cookie dough and then baking it only to have it spread out and lose shape!  So, I went about making shaped chocolate chip cookies, or really blondies, in another way.

2/3 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs, beaten
2 tbsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup chocolate chips, plus a few tbsp
1 cup peanut butter chips, plus a few tbsp

Melt butter, and then add the butter and brown sugar to a mixer.  Once all combined add in the granulated sugar.  Next, add in the egg and vanilla.  Mix in the baking soda, baking powder, and flour.  Last, add in the chocolate and peanut butter chips and mix by hand.  You can substitute the chips with any flavor that you want.  Line a 9x11 baking pan with parchment paper and evenly spread out the dough.  Bake at 350 for 15 minutes, then pull out and lightly press in more chips to the top of the blondies.  Bake for another 10-20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Let cool until the cookie is warm, and then use cookie cutters to cut out shapes!

This is what the cookies looked like after I cut out all the hearts.

Happy baking (and dough eating)!