Sunday, March 26, 2017

Mini Egg Cookies

 Another year is flying by and it is somehow already that time when the grocery stores are filled with delicious tempting easter chocolatey delights.  It used to the cream eggs that would lure me in, however one of my friends in vet school let me in on the Cadbury mini chocolate egg secret (I blame you Hannah!).  Last month I somehow convinced myself I should save money by buying a large bag instead of the smaller snack size bags.  Which shockingly led to me consuming way too many each night after work.  So in my usual logic, I figured I should bake them into cookies to limit my consumption.  While I'm grateful that decision led me to a new delightful cookie recipe, it also led to buying another bag of eggs (research and development!), which doesn't help in my laughable quest to eat healthy.

This recipe is a mild adaptation of my new favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe.  (I seem to switch up my recipe each year...).  The recipe is a winner because it has a higher ratio of chocolate chips to batter, and provides a nice thick chewy cookie.  I also added in a dollop of peanut butter - which adds a complexity to the flavor of the cookie without overpowering it.  While you can taste its presence, it is mild enough that even the Europeans at work approved (they tend not to like peanut butter).  Of course it is the baked mini eggs on top that make this cookie amazing and so popular.  I suspect this would be a good cookie base for other candies as well (peanut butter M&Ms sound delicious!), but I doubt I will try that till after the easter season has passed.

Over the years many people have asked me for recipes, but then told me how they terrible they are at baking.  I'm often surprised, as I feel that baking is really not that hard as long as you have a good recipe.  However in hindsight, there are probably a number of little tricks and tips that I've picked up over the year, that I just assume everyone knows.  So as I draft recipes I'm going to try to add in more tips for the novice baker.

This recipe follows a very common pattern for most cookies (cream the butter and sugar, add the eggs, add the dry ingredients).  I suspect that the first step, creaming the butter and sugar, may be where many people go wrong.  Make sure that before you add in your eggs the batter is soft and creamy.  If it is still even a little lumpy, then likely your butter was too cold.  But don't worry, just beat it longer and be patient!  If your butter is not really soft at the start, then you may need to beat with electric beats for 5 or so minutes.  Don't add your eggs in until your butter and sugar is really creamed!  If you forgot to soften your butter, put it in the microwave at half power for 15 second increments, till it is soft but not melted.

One more note - I think the most useful thing I have in my kitchen is an oven thermometer!  I don't trust any oven anymore without one, and they are <$10 at most grocery/kitchen stores.

Mini-Egg Cookies
Adapted from: Not without salt
Makes 2-3 dozen cookies

- 1 stick unsalted butter (113 grams) at room temperature
- 1/4 cup white sugar
-  ¾ cup + 2 Tb packed brown sugar
-  ¼ cup peanut butter (crunchy or smooth) - optional
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ¾ tsp baking soda
- 1 ¾ cup all purpose flour
- 1 cup chocolate chips
- Mini eggs

Make the cookies:
Preheat the oven to 360f (180c) and line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  1. Using an electric mixer or stand mixer cream together the butter, peanut butter, and sugars until light and fluffy.  This takes about 5 minutes unless your butter is very soft.
  2. Mix in the egg and vanilla, followed by the baking soda, then the flour.
  3. Fold in the chocolate chips.
  4. Scoop 1-2 tablespoon balls of cookie dough out (I use an ice cream scoop, it is amazing!).  Press 2-3 mini eggs on top of each cookie.
  5. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until lightly golden around the edges, but slightly under cooked in the center.  (Err on the side of under cooking of course!).  Note - rotate your cookie tray half way through baking, this benefits almost every recipe.
  6. Cool on a wire rack.

As always, if you want to save some for later then form your balls of cookie with mini eggs, and freeze them.  I tend to put them in the fridge on a plate for 20 minutes, then pile them into a zip lock and freeze for later use.  They take a few extra minutes in the oven if cooked from frozen.

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