Tuesdays with Dorie: Chocolate Espresso Shortbreads

Yay!  We’re home!  Things have gone back to normal and everyone’s time zones have settled in the correct region.  Things have been a bit tough because the Little Rocker has been at home since we got back to Israel.  Unfortunately, Israel follows the European custom of taking off for the month of August.  This means that there is no daycare, no camp, no nothing.  The assumption is that parents will take off as well.  When I first encountered this, I was shocked.  Coming from America, where everyone works all the time, I couldn’t conceive of an entire country taking off at once.  On top of that, August is one of the busiest seasons at my office as that’s when publicly traded companies report their second quarter earnings, or losses as the case may be.  Thankfully, Rocker Dude is a high school English teacher (they don’t know about his dudeness, we are trying to keep it under cover) so he is also off for the summer.  He has really been stepping in and taking care of the Little Rocker while I go to work.  But she starts daycare today!  Okay it’s only a couple of hours and tomorrow is only half a day, but then on Thursday – full day and life goes back to normal!  Besides, I think she would have more fun playing with kids her age and doing all the arts and crafts than staying home with us.

Mixing up the dough.

Since things have gone back to normal, I obviously had to keep up my Tuesday with Dorie-ing.  This week’s recipe was chosen by Donna of Life’s Too Short Not to Eat Dessert First – so true!  She chose Chocolate-Espresso Shortbread cookies.  Dorie added another option of making Oatmeal Spice Shortbread cookies.  I really wanted to try that – I love oatmeal cookies, but after a decision-making summit with Rocker Dude, I went with his choice and made chocolate-espresso.

I have never made shortbread cookies before.  I love being a part of this group because it forces to make things that I would not normally make.  So even though I could not make the cookies that I preferred, hey, how could chocolate chip cookies go wrong?

I prepared all the ingredients.  I did not have espresso powder, so I used instant coffee – I think the coffee flavor was still nice and strong.  I mixed it all up in the Kitchen -Aid and then added the chocolate chips.  They were not exactly evenly distributed, but it looked okay.

Rolling out the dough in a bag.

Then the cool part.  I stuck all the dough inside a ziploc bag and rolled it out – no mess!  I got the dough to be pretty rectangular, just one rough edge on the side.  I didn’t have time to let it chill in the fridge for two hours, so I stuck it in the freezer while I watched an episode of Monk, love that show!

Cutting up the cookies - almost perfect squares!

Rocker Dude reminded me that I had cookies that needed to be baked when he said, “Wait a minute, wasn’t I supposed to be getting cookies to try tonight?”  Whoops!  I cut up the cookies into squares and baked them.  Because there was no leavening agent in the dough, I was able to put a lot on one pan.  I baked all the cookies in two batches.

Shortbread cookies!!

We decided to bring them to Rocker Dude’s parents for the weekend, they were well received there.  On Friday night, when I asked Rocker Dude for a review, we had an interesting little conversation.

Me:  So, how did you like the cookies?

RD: Are you happy with the way they came out?  Texture-wise? (If that’s not a leading question I don’t know what is.)

Me:  Well they are supposed to be sandy…

RD: Then you succeeded in your goal admirably.  You made them exactly as they should be made, I just don’t like them that much.  Everyone else liked them so I trust that they were good, I just didn’t like them so much.

Me: Why?!?!

You can see where it went from there.

So verdict: great!  But I definitely want to try the oatmeal spice version, I mean, if Rocker Dude isn’t going to like it anyway, why use his choice?

Chocolate Espresso Shortbread cookies

Check out the recipe at Donna’s site here and see what other TWD bakers did here.

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Tuesdays with Dorie: My Best Chocolate Chip Cookies

It’s springtime, at least here in Israel, and Passover is coming.  Just the thought of this sends shivers down my spine.  The laws of Passover state that there must be no leavened bread in the house – and that includes the stale Cheerios and that S. so kindly left in the couch cushions.  I mean, you can’t expect any more from a one year old, but it does make life a bit more difficult.  We also have to teach her not track her snacks into all the other rooms of the house.  Well, that’s for another day.  Last night I started the gargantuan job of cleaning the house.  This probably falls more under the category of spring cleaning rather than Passover cleaning because who hides food with their clothes, but it needs to be done.  I decided to start with our closet.  So last night I pulled a chair into the bedroom and began.  M. was very reluctant at first, he thinks I am way too quick to get rid of things.  M. has this situation where he has more clothes than I have ever had, put together, and takes up the lion’s share of the closet space.  I finally had enough with not being able to get to my side of the closet so I told M. that he could only leave the clothes that he actually wears in the closet.  Everything else had to go.

So after two hours of trying on clothes and sorting piles, we had a closet with space on the shelves and three large trash bags filled with clothes to be donated.  Not bad for a couple hours’ work.  While going through my clothes I realized that I actually have a lot, but I just don’t fit into them.  So now my new goal is to lose weight.  I know, I know, who doesn’t have that goal?  But this time I really need to work on it.  My brother will hopefully get married soon, so I need to look good for the wedding, and also, M. said that we can’t have another baby until I lose all the baby weight (okay there are some other factors as well).  So not only do I want to continue with this baking blog, and I obviously have to taste what I make to see if it tastes good, I have to lose weight.  I will keep you posted.  Good luck to me!

This week’s recipe for the Tuesdays with Dorie group was Chocolat Chip Cookies.  These cookies were touted to be chewy and delicious.  I have obviously made chocolate chip cookies in the past, but I have never been happy with the result.  The recipe that I normally use gives me thick cookies that get crispy once they cool.  I love chewy cookies so I have been looking around for other options.  The note on these cookies said that they would be chewy and flatter.  My husband has always like flat cookies that are perfect circles, so this time I decided to refrigerate the dough before I scooped them onto the cookie sheet.  I also rolled the dough into balls so that they would be perfect circles.

Cookie Dough

According to my husband they are the best chocolate chip cookies I have made yet, though I prefer them a bit less, well, flat.  I saw a few people posted similar comments on the site, and suggested adding another 1/2 cup of flour.  I think that next time I make them (when I can consume calories again) I will add that 1/2 cup. The recipe below includes the change.

Here’s what’s left:

Cookies!

Recipe (based on the recipe from Baking from My Home to Yours):

1 cup butter or margarine
3/4 cup sugar
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract or paste
2 large eggs at room temperature
2 1/2 -2 3/4 cups flour (more for caky-er cookies)
1 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. baking soda
12 oz. chopped chocolate or chocolate chips
1 cup finely chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, 325 degrees if your oven is fan-forced.

Cream the butter/margarine in a stand mixer.  Add the sugars and continue to cream the mixture until fluffy.  Add eggs one at a time, beating for one minute on medium after each addition.  Add vanilla and continue to mix. Stop mixture and add the salt and baking soda. Mix for a few seconds until incorporated. Add the flour in one shot and mix until just combined. Add chocolate chips and nuts (if using). Mix until just combined.

Drop the cookie dough by teaspoonful onto a parchment paper lined cookie sheet leaving about 2 inches between each cookie. Bake for 8-10 minutes, rotating the cookie sheets halfway through. Let the cookies rest on the cookie sheet for a couple of minutes and then put them on a cooling rack to cool completely.

If you want more uniformly sized cookies, or it is super hot where you live, refrigerate the dough before the first batch and between subsequent batches.

Note: Theunappreciatedbaker fan E. has tested the recipe with oil instead of margarine and the cookies come out wonderfully using vegetable oil instead of all the margarine – 1 cup for 1 cup – as long as you use 2 1/2 cups flour.