Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner…

unnamed-3

It’s National Cookie Day, and to celebrate this grand occasion (I think it’s worth a day off from work and school, whattya think?) I wanted to share a recipe much similar to the one my half-Italian grandmother made during Christmas. If you love the taste of anise (licorice) then you’ll certainly love these.

nanny

Pictured above with my Aunt Sandy, my Grandma Irma always had her coffee table adorned with platters of various cookies and fudge she made during the holidays. Us kids would run to that table before having Christmas dinner and nosh on the sweet treats despite our parents’ scolding. But she didn’t mind. She loved it that we loved them so much. She, too, was a cookie monster, and devoured them with us when the parents weren’t looking. I’m pretty sure I got my sweet tooth and love of baking from her.

==

Italian Anisette Cookies
Recipe adapted from Vittles and Bits
Yields about 2 1/2 dozen

FOR THE COOKIES
INGREDIENTS
3 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 eggs
2 teaspoon pure anise extract

FOR THE ICING
INGREDIENTS
1 1/2 C. powdered sugar
4-5 T. milk (first try 4, then add a little at a time if necessary)
1/2 t. anise extract
1/2 cup nonpareils aka “Jimmy” sprinkles

METHOD
Preheat oven to 400 degrees, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a medium-sized bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and baking soda.  Set aside.

In large-sized bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter, sugar, and eggs on medium-low speed until combined. Lower the speed and gradually add in the flour mixture, scraping the sides with a rubber spatula as needed. Increase the speed to medium-low, and whip till a dough forms. It may be a little dry. That’s OK.

unnamed-1

Using a small ice cream or cookie scoop or tablespoon, scoop the balls of dough and roll them into uniform-sized balls.

unnamed-2

Place the dough onto a prepared baking sheet, and bake for about 7-10 minutes (depending on your oven’s convection) till puffed and lightly golden.  Allow the cookies to cool for one minute before transferring to a wire rack.

unnamedunnamed-6

Once the cookies have completely cooled, sift your powdered sugar through a sifter till all clumps are gone. This way, the icing doesn’t come out chunky. Whisk in the milk and anise until smooth. Check for consistency, it should be somewhat runny.

unnamed-5

Now dip the tops of the cookies into icing, and then finish with Jimmy sprinkles.  Allow for the icing to set completely.  Cookies can be stored in an airtight container.

The Cookie Project

pmslead

So I’m a bit of an oversharer. I’ve been described as being kind of like Mindy Kaling’s title character on her eponymous show, The Mindy Project. And after watching the show obsessively for the past 3 seasons, I must say, I slightly agree. If you don’t already watch the show: Mindy is a hilarious, hopeless romantic, oversharing OB/GYN, who puts all of her business out there for her co-workers–regardless if it’s welcomed or not. (For instance, Morgan, the funny and always inappropriate ex-con male nurse, has her menstrual cycle memorized.)

I’m kinda the same way. Working in a kitchen full of guys, I often find myself talking about my personal life (solicited or not) and never hesitate to let them know when it’s “that time of the month.” (It’s actually in their best interest to know, so as to not make a rather hormonally charged emotional woman even more irritated.) When I am actually PMS-ing, the following occurs: a long, dragged-out, piercing headache; bouts of random crying spells watching television shows and/or movies that don’t necessarily require a tissue box on-hand (like that time I was watching Sister Act and started balling my eyes out during the scene when they were singing “Salve Regina”); and an uncontrollable craving for chocolate and baked goods. During the latter symptom, I’m often found in the kitchen scrounging up any ingredients I have to create something on the fly to nourish that sudden and unstoppable craving. For the last two cycles, I’ve been repeating the following recipe which I’ve affectionally dubbed my “P.M.S Cookies.” It’s the perfect name for them, actually, considering their origins and the fact that they’ve got pretzels + milk chocolate chips + salt in ‘em.

==

P.M.S Cookies
(Pretzels + Milk Chocolate Chips + Sea Salt)

INGREDIENTS
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon of sea salt
8 tablespoon unsalted butter (1 stick), at room temperature
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup light brown sugar
2/3 cup Nutella (chocolate hazelnut spread)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 large egg
1/2 cup milk chocolate chips
1/2 cup lightly crushed pretzels

cookiebatter

METHOD
In a bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and sea salt. Set aside.

In another bowl cream together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Mix in the Nutella and vanilla extract. Add the egg.

Add the flour mixture to the sugar mixture and mix until just incorporated. Fold in the chocolate chips and pretzels.

(If you’ve got the time and patience, keep reading. For all cookie emergencies, scroll down to the following paragraph.)
Portion dough with an ice cream scoop or heaping tablespoon onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap and place into the freezer overnight.

Portion dough (using an ice cream scoop or heaping tablespoon) 2 inches apart onto parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake at 350-degrees Fahrenheit for about 10 minutes until the center is fully cooked.

Allow cookies to cool on the trays for 3-5 minutes then carefully place onto cooling racks.

pms

leaningtower

Whopper Cookies

image-1

These cookies were inspired by my selfish desire to make a cookie that I could use to sandwich between this ice cream recipe. Continue reading HERE to check out the full ice cream sandwich recipe.

Whopper Cookies
Yields about 18 (1.15 ounces or 32 grams) cookies

INGREDIENTS
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon honey
1 1/2 cups Whoppers, crushed

METHOD
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place the Whopper candies in a Zip-Lock bag and seal it. Lightly crush the candies into chocolate chip-size bits with a meat tenderizer or a Mason jar (I happened to have one on-hand). Set aside.

Place butter and sugars together in a mixing bowl and mix on medium-high until fully incorporated. Add in the egg with the vanilla extract and mix for 30 seconds.

In a separate bowl add the dry ingredients together and mix with a spoon. In 3 batches slowly add in the bowl of the dry ingredients together. The dough will be very crumbly, almost like pie dough, that’s the texture you want. (I prefer to have my ice cream sandwich cookies a bit softer, so that when you bite into them it’s like BUTTAH! Remember, these will be frozen!)

whoppercook

Use an ice cream scoop to get equal-size portions

You can generously scoop the cookies with a 1-ounce ice cream scooper right onto a Silpat- or pachment paper-lined baking sheet and bake in the oven for 14-16 minutes, depending on your oven’s heat.

Remove the cookies from the baking sheet and allow to cool completely.

whoppercook2

Slightly under-bake your cookies if you’re planning on ice cream sandwich-ing ’em later.