Roasted Banana & Toffee Cookies…


h1 November 8th, 2010

My best girlfriend got married this year. We celebrated her last days as a bachelorette at the Mondrian in Los Angeles.

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While the hotel didn’t impress, the Cielo De Coco dessert at Asia de Cuba, the hotel’s restaurant, did!

I left that weekend with roasted banana and dulce de leche on my mind for the next cookie recipe. But after extensive web research I didn’t see much along these lines that was of interest - I didn’t want to make traditional alfajores, which let’s face it, can’t really be improved, and I didn’t want to make just some weird cookie-hybrid of banana bread.

I finally came across two recipes near these flavors that had oddly similar ingredients, one from Hershey’s Kitchen and the other from All Recipes. Then Godiva taught me how to roast bananas. I combined all of my findings and adapted a few things to create the following recipe:

Roasted Banana and Toffee Cookies
(A.K.A “Anniebananies”)

Ingredients:
2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1 stick butter
¾ cup sugar
¾ cup light brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
8 oz crushed toffee
3 roasted bananas
Optional sea salt

Preparation:
1. Roasting bananas: Slice ripened bananas in half and place skin-side-down on cookie sheet. Lightly spread tops with melted butter and crumble brown sugar. Roast in the oven at 350 degrees for 15 - 20 minutes. Scoop out entire banana into bowl and set aside.
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before roasting

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after roasting

2. Crush toffee
3. Blend dry ingredients: Combine flour, baking soda and salt (set aside).
4. Blend wet ingredients: Butter, sugar, vanilla, roasted bananas and eggs.
5. Blend dry and wet ingredients: Slowly add flower mixture, stir until batter is smooth.
6. Add toffee chunks and mix thoroughly.
7. Use a tablespoon to round dough and place on greased cookie sheet.
8. Optional: Add a pinch of sea salt to the top of each dough ball.
9. Bake at 350 degrees for 9-11 minutes.

Yields 4 dozen cookies

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These were a favorite of all my cookie tasters (my dad even called them “heavenly”) but they are so moist they end up in a big cookie clump after a few days. If I ever give these cookies as a gift in a stack, I’d be sure to separate each cookie with parchment paper.

You can vote for these cookies in the LA Times Holiday Bake Off!

Red Velvet Gone Wrong…


h1 November 7th, 2010

Hey I’m a girl, and I like velvet. My 8th grade dance dress was velvet. My first solo dance routine costume was velvet. Velvet is style.

Hey, I’m a Mexican-American and my people like velvet. We happily hang “velvet Elvis” oil paintings as if they are fine art. Velvet is class.

Hey, I’m a Southern Californian, and I like red velvet cupcakes. (Thanks for the new addiction Sprinkles ). Velvet is irresistible.

But after making Bakerella’s Red Velvet Sandwich Cookies last year, I have to say the redness of red velvet sort of grosses me out (for reasons I am too much of a lady to discuss on this blog).

So I was left with two questions:
1. How do I translate the deliciousness of a red velvet cupcake into a cookie?
2. What color would the cookie be if I didn’t add the food coloring?

Well sadly, I found out the answer to only question #2, the cookies were okay, but a little on the dry/flavorless side, so I tried dressing them up with some chocolate, white chocolate and macadamia nut toppings which did help. But you know what they say: “You can’t polish…” um, velvet?!

I started with two recipes in mind:

This one from Paula Deen for Red Velvet Sandwich Cookies. I was still after a stackable cookie, so I was forgoing the sandwich portion of this, hoping the cookie itself would be delicious enough on its own.

Ingredients:

* 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
* 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
* 1 teaspoon baking powder
* 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1/4 cup butter, room temperature
* 1 cup sugar
* 2 eggs
* 2 tablespoons buttermilk
* 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 1 tablespoon red food coloring

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
2. Mix together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a small bowl.
3. Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs 1 at a time. Then beat in the buttermilk, vinegar, vanilla and red food coloring. Once combined, add the dry ingredients to wet. Mix until thoroughly combined.
4. Onto a parchment lined sheet tray, drop batter using an ice cream scoop, forming 2-inch round circles.
5. Bake for 10 minutes, until baked through. Cookies should be cake-like and light. Allow to cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

I also had the white chocolate portion of this recipe from Better Homes & Gardens in mind. I was hoping the food-colorless cookie would be white enough to call a “white velvet cookie” and the white chocolate topping would make sense, but the cookies were a faint brown color.

The sweet/salty addition of the mac nuts and chocolate did almost save these cookies… almost.

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I Like My Butter Like I Like My Skin – Brown…


h1 November 7th, 2010

Anyone who knows me knows my FAVORITE pastime is sunbathing, but this year was a busy one for me and the agency so there were no Summer seaside vacations to be had. However there was sea salt of another sort – Brown Butter & Sea Salt Cookies.

This Summer marked the start of my search for the perfect gift-giving cookie for the holiday season and Brown Butter has long been one of my favorite flavor profiles.

I began with a recipe I found online at Maple Sugar Lyrics inspired by the Brown Butter Cookie Company.

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Brown Butter & Sea Salt Cookies

Ingredients:
1 cup salted butter
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 Tbs sugar
2 tsp vanilla
2 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
Sea Salt

1. In a small saucepan, melt butter on low to medium heat, stirring occasionally, until browned. Stir in sugars and vanilla and remove from heat.
2. Let the sugar mixture cool to room temperature.
3. In a mixing bowl add flour and baking powder. Stir in sugar mixture until combined.
4. At this point I recommend letting the mixture rest for at least an hour to let the flour absorb all the butter. The mixture may be stiff afterwords and crumbly- microwave handfuls of dough for 10 seconds. The dough will be easier to roll.
5. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
6. Roll 1 inch balls of dough and dip in sea salt. Place on cookie sheet with sea salt on top.
7. Bake for 15 minutes.

These were pretty yummy, but I was looking for less of a crumbly shortbread, and more of a chocolate chip cookie-like moistness. So I went on to try a recipe I found on All Recipes. I did make the frosting as well (which was fabulous) but I wanted stackable cookies for the holidays, so I also tried them with sea salt.

I’ve made this recipe on two separate occasions and learned that refrigerating the dough prior to baking creats a thicker cookie. Baking without refrigerating the dough creates a thin chewy cookie.

I also never added nuts, but did replace them with chocolate chips the second time around which was a nice addition for chocolate fans.

Also the cookies really take on the shape of how they are placed on the cookie sheet so be sure to round them.

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Ingredients

* 2 cups butter
* 2 cups brown sugar
* 2 eggs
* 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
* 1 teaspoon baking soda
* 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 3 cups all-purpose flour
* 2/3 cup chopped pecans
* 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
* 3 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
* 1/2 cup hot water

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
2. Heat butter over medium heat for 5 minutes or so, until it turns nut brown in color. The foaming and bubbling is part of the browning process, but watch it carefully so that you don’t burn the butter. Remove from heat, and cool slightly. Reserve 1/2 cup of the butter for the frosting.
3. Pour remaining browned butter into a large mixing bowl. Beat browned butter with brown sugar until the butter is no longer hot. Mix in eggs, 2 teaspoons vanilla, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Beat thoroughly. Mix in flour and chopped pecans. Drop tablespoons of dough onto ungreased baking sheets.
4. Bake for 10 minutes in the preheated oven, or until light brown around the edges. Cool.
5. In a medium bowl, mix the reserved 1/2 cup browned butter with 2 teaspoons vanilla, confectioners’ sugar, and hot water. Beat until smooth, and use to frost cooled cookies.

Accidental Foodie…


h1 November 7th, 2010

By far the most unexpected addition to my resume is that of “published recipe developer.” My first two recipes were designed for agency client King’s Hawaiian and was utilized in their 60th anniversary recipe booklet. The booklet is available for FREE online at www.kingshawaiian.com and my recipes for Sweet Bread Dessert Sushi and Paradise Pudding Puffs are below:

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Paradise Pudding Puffs

Ingredients
• 1 (12 pack) King’s Hawaiian Original Sweet Rolls
• 2 (3.5 oz.) pudding cups
• 1/2 (7 oz.) container whipped topping
• 1 pkg. ready-made chocolate frosting (or chocolate hazelnut spread)

Preparation
1. Separate rolls by slicing gently with a bread knife.
2. Peel off the outer browned crust from the top and sides of the refrigerated King’s Hawaiian rolls.
3. With a small knife create a finger-width hole in one side (not top or bottom) of the roll.
4. Place handle of wooden spoon inside the hole and gently hollow out the roll center by lightly scraping the inside walls of the roll. Dispose of excess crumbs through the hole.
5. Repeat process with remaining rolls.
6. In a small mixing bowl mix pudding snack packs and whipped topping to create puff filling.
7. Place filling mixture inside a medium-sized sandwich bag. With scissors cut a corner off of the sealed bag.
8. Place cut corner of bag inside hollowed roll and pipe the filling mixture into center.
9. With a small piece of bread plug the hole on each puff.
10. Refrigerate filled puffs for 10 minutes.
11. Heat frosting for 10 seconds to create a spreadable texture.
12. Spread frosting on filled puffs.
13. Refrigerate until serving.

Makes 9-11 servings

Sweet Bread Dessert Sushi

Ingredients
• 1 (12 pack) King’s Hawaiian Original Rolls
• 1 pkg. ready-made vanilla frosting
• 1 pkg. gummy candies cut in chunks
• 12 strips green fruit leather

Gummy Squares
• 1 4-pack King’s Hawaiian Original Rolls
• 8 Fish-shaped gummy candies
• 8 strips green fruit leather

Preparation
1. Peel off the outer browned crust from the top and sides of the refrigerated King’s Hawaiian rolls.
2. With a sharp paring knife cut rolls into cylinder shapes by moving knife in a circle along roll top.
3. With a small knife, make an indentation in bread cylinders; try to avoid puncturing the roll bottom.
4. Fill indentation with pre-made frosting.
5. Cut gummy candies into small chunks and insert appealingly in frosting filling.
6. Cut bread cylinder to match fruit leather strip width.
7. Carefully wrap green fruit leather strip around filled bread cylinder.
8. Repeat for remaining rolls.

Gummy Squares Preparation
1. Peel off the outer browned crust from the top and sides of the refrigerated King’s Hawaiian rolls.
2. Cut roll into halves.
3. Cut halves into rectangle shapes.
4. Place Fish-shaped gummy candy on top of bread
5. Wrap bread/candy stack with green fruit leather strip.

Makes 12 round pieces
Makes 8 square pieces

Creative Note: Use green frosting to simulate wasabi, dried mango as ginger and chocolate syrup as soy sauce.

The Blog Is Back, And This Time It’s Bakeable…


h1 November 7th, 2010

Hi Everyone!

By way of introduction, my name is Ann Moreno, a 30-something public relations professional living and working in South Orange County, California.

While my agency has clients from a myriad of industries, we’re especially dialed in to all things food-related. To that end, I’ve been inspired to transform this site to discuss what now consumes my world, and every once in a while I may throw in some other fun stuff – like babies (that aren’t mine), music, dance, fashion and general Anniepantsish goodness.

Thanks for stopping by! Hope all is well in your world!

xAnnie

Morenitas…


h1 January 11th, 2010

As you likely know, my current last name is Moreno. As you may also know, Moreno means brown in Spanish. So if I were to adopt a “brownie” cookie recipe as my own, it would be logical that the resulting cookies should be known as Morenitas.

In my search for the perfect brownie-like cookie, worthy of my namesake, I tried two separate recipes. The first I found on My Baking Addiction, and attempted to incorporate the Paula Deen Symphony Bar in the center trick, which is delicious in actual brownies. However this recipe was lacking in salt, and was a little too bitter for my taste (but I do continue to check out her site - beautiful pics and great baking ideas!)

I then went on to discover this recipe on Martha Stewart, and it is a definite winner – by far Bob’s favorite recipe to date.

Here is the recipe with my minor adaptations:

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Morenitas

Ingredients

• 1 cup all-purpose flour
• 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
• 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
• 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt, more if desired for tops of cookies
• 1/2 pound milk chocolate, 4 ounces coarsely chopped or chips, 4 ounces cut into 1/4-inch chunks or chips
• 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
• 1 1/2 cups sugar
• 2 large eggs
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
2. Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
3. Melt 4 ounces coarsely chopped chocolate or chips with the butter in a small heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water; let cool slightly.
4. Put chocolate mixture, sugar, eggs, and vanilla in the bowl, mix by hand until combined.
5. Gradually blend in flour mixture and fold in chocolate chunks or chips.
6. Using a rounded tablespoon, drop dough onto parchment-lined baking sheets, spacing 2 inches apart.
7. Optional: Add a pinch of course salt to tops of cookies
8. Bake until cookies are flat and surfaces crack, about 15 minutes (cookies should be soft).
9. Let cool on parchment on wire racks.
10. Store cookies in airtight containers at room temperature up to 4 days.

Makes about 2 dozen

The odd thing about these cookies is that each batch turns out a little different as the chocolate begins to re-solidify, but all batches turned out great, and were excellent for stacking/gift giving!

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Nutella + Brown Butter = LOVE!


h1 January 8th, 2010