Welcome to The Cookie Monster, a blog about the most marvelous, versatile, and beloved bakeable item in the land: The cookie. You may see occassional forays into pies, bars, and other sweet treats, but my main focus is and has always been on the bite sized genius behind my very favorite snack. Happy Baking!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Tiny Shortbread-and-Jam Cookies

January is almost over and this is my first actual cookie post of the month! Terrible! It's been very busy folks, between wedding stuff, my Grandma's passing, and just the daily grind, but never fear, here is a new fun yummy recipe I got from allrecipes.com :)

3/4 cups butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg yolk
1 1/2 cups flour
2 tablespoons strawberry preserves
Confectionery sugar

First off, cream together your butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer, and separate your egg. Add in the egg yolk, and then mix until well combined...

Add in your flour and mix by hand. This is to ensure that you don't over work the dough. The cookie texture will be flaky and pastry-ish as a result.

The recipe said to knead the dough on a lightly floured surface for 2-3 minutes. I maybe kneaded for 30 seconds. Just enough so that the crumbly dough comes together a little bit more.
Form your dough into little 1 inch balls. And place them on a parchment lined cookie sheet. (Shout out to my future sister-in-law Vickie who gave me these awesome new cookie sheets for Christmas. THANK YOU!)

Using the end of a wooden spoon, poke a little hole in the middle of each ball. You may need to reshape them a bit after doing this, as the dough will still be a bit crumbly. (No worries, crumbly = Yummy).

I whisked together some strawberry preserves and a little bit of Grand Marnier for my filling.

Then I carefully filled my little cookies. I mixed way too much Jam. You really only need 2 Tablespoons....

Bake these little babies at 350 degrees for about 12 minutes.

Then Sprinkle with Confection Sugar. I really need one of those sugar sifter things so my sugar doesn't clump all over my cookies. Sigh. Wedding registry!

Happy Baking!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Homemade Bread

Hi Blog readers! Sorry I've been so MIA as of late. It's been a busy couple of weeks, but I am back with my first post of 2011. It it not a cookie, not a pie, not even a sweet dessert experiment.....I decided while getting snowed in, I would make some homemade bread from scratch....

I've intended to try this for quite a long time, so many times in fact, that I frequently purchase yeast packets in anticipation. Here is the yeast in my cupboard that had expired....

And here's the yeast that was still good. whew. At least I had one.

I busted out my trusty bread hook.

And activated the yeast (my one lone packet) in some warm water.

1/4 cup milk
1.5 tablespoons sugar
1 tsp salt
2 tablespoons butter
1 package yeast
3/4 cups warm water
2.5-3 cups flour
cheddar cheese

First off, activate your yeast in the warm water, and melt together the butter, milk, sugar and salt over low heat...
Then, in the bowl of your mixer, mix 2.5 cups of flour, the yeast mixture, and the milk mixture with the bread hook for one minute or so.

Once the dough starts to come together, add the remaining flour a 1/4 cup at a time, until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl.

Continue kneading for about 2 minutes on a low speed. I timed this on my iphone....

Lookin' good.

place the dough in a greased bowl and let rise for about an hour. I went and watched some tv....

once the dough has doubled in bulk, punch it down, then pull it out to shape your loaf...

Roll it out in a rectangle-ish shape...

Add some yummy fillings if you like (I went for some sharp cheddar cheese).

The roll it up into a little loaf of yumminess.

Place it in a greased loaf pan, cover, and let it rise again for another hour....

until it doubles in bulk...

I sprinkled on a little cheese....

Then baked it at 400 degrees for 30 minutes while I shoveled.....

Hooray for multi tasking :)

It came out pretty fantastic :) It's a nice hearty bread that goes great with.....

Some homemade chili.... Happy Baking!!!!!