Food for Thought
December recipes 2014: Big batches of cookies

 

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Big Batch Cookie Shopping List: If you're going to make all these cookies—and why wouldn't you?—be sure to print out this handy shopping list.

 

Big Batch Chocolate Chip Cookies


Frozen Chocolate Chip Cookies

 

Makes 9 dozen.

2 cups butter, softened
1 cup shortening
3 cups brown sugar, firmly packed
1 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons vanilla
4 eggs
1/3 cup milk
6 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons salt
4 cups (24 ounces) chocolate chips

  1. Heat oven to 375 F.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, shortening, brown sugar, granulated sugar, and vanilla until smooth and creamy.
  3. Add eggs and milk and beat until well combined.
  4. Add flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Stir well.
  5. Stir in chocolate chips.
  6. Use a cookie scoop, or drop by rounded tablespoons onto ungreased baking sheet, 1 1/2 inches apart.
  7. Bake 10–11 minutes, or until the cookies turn light brown around their edges.
  8. Move the baking sheet to a cooling rack for 3 minutes. Transfer cookies to the rack to cool completely.

To freeze the dough, scoop closely together on baking sheets. Place in freezer until the dough is hard, then transfer to a freezer container or heavy plastic zipper bag. Remove as much air as possible. This dough will store well in the freezer for at least 3 months. Cookies may be baked without thawing—just allow a couple of extra minutes to the baking time.

 

Big Batch Peanut Butter Cookies


Frozen Peanut Butter Cookies

 

Makes 9 dozen.

1 28-ounce jar peanut butter, smooth or crunchy (about 3 cups)
2 cups shortening
2 cups granulated sugar
2 cups brown sugar, firmly packed
1 tablespoon vanilla
6 eggs
4 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
6 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt

  1. Heat oven to 375 F.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together peanut butter, shortening, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla until smooth and creamy.
  3. Add eggs and beat until well combined.
  4. Add baking soda, baking powder, flour, and salt. Stir until well mixed.
  5. Use a cookie scoop, or drop by rounded tablespoons onto ungreased baking sheet, 1 inch apart. Press with a fork to flatten dough.
  6. Bake approximately 10 minutes, or until the cookies turn light brown around their edges.
  7. Move the baking sheet to a cooling rack for 3 minutes. Transfer cookies to the rack to cool completely.

To freeze the dough, scoop individual cookies onto baking sheets and flatten with a fork. Place in freezer until the dough is hard, then transfer to a freezer container or heavy plastic zipper bag. Remove as much air as possible. This dough will store well in the freezer for at least 3 months. Cookies may be baked without thawing—just allow a couple of extra minutes to the baking time.

 

Big Batch Soft Molasses Cookies


Frozen Soft Molasses Cookies

 

Makes 8–9 dozen.

Note: If you're freezing this cookie dough for gifts, make sure you include small freezer bags of glaze with each gift. The recipients can thaw the glaze in a glass of warm water, cut the tip off the bag, and drizzle it on each baked cookie.

1 1/2 cups butter, softened
2 cups granulated sugar
3 eggs
7 cups all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons ginger
4 teaspoons cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 cups molasses
1 1/2 cups sour cream
3 teaspoons baking soda

Glaze
3 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoon meringue powder (optional, to make a firm glaze)
4-5 tablespoons water

  1. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar.
  2. Add eggs and beat well, until light and fluffy.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, ginger, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together the molasses and sour cream. Add the baking soda and stir until combined.
  5. Add the dry ingredients and the molasses mixture alternately to the large bowl, beginning with the dry ingredients and ending with the wet. Add 1/3 of each at a time, scraping the sides of the bowl often. Stir just until well blended.
  6. Use a cookie scoop, or drop rounded tablespoons of dough 1 1/2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 10 minutes. Don't overbake; they will feel slightly soft to the touch, but will firm up as they cool.
  7. Allow the cookies to cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet and then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely. Again, they will feel slightly soft to the touch, but will firm up as they cool.
  8. When cool, combine the powdered sugar, meringue powder (if using), and water to make a thick glaze. Brush glaze over the top of each cookie with a pastry brush.

To freeze the dough, scoop closely together on baking sheets. Place in freezer until the dough is hard, then transfer to a freezer container or heavy plastic zipper bag. Remove as much air as possible. This dough will store well in the freezer for at least 3 months. Cookies may be baked without thawing—just allow a couple of extra minutes to the baking time.

 


Molasses plus sour cream plus soda equals bubbles.

 

Big Batch Soft Sugar Cookies


Frozen Soft Sugar Cookies

 

Makes 8–9 dozen.

Note: If you're freezing this cookie dough for gifts, make sure you include small freezer bags of glaze with each gift. The recipients can thaw the glaze in a glass of warm water, cut the tip off the bag, and drizzle it on each baked cookie or brush it onto the cookie with a pastry brush.

2 cups butter, softened
3 cups granulated sugar
4 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla
9 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 cups sour cream
Raisins, sugar, or glaze (optional, for decoration)

Glaze
3 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons meringue powder (optional, for firmer glaze)
5 tablespoons water

  1. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar together well.
  2. Add eggs and vanilla, beating until light and creamy.
  3. In a small bowl, sift together the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and nutmeg.
  4. Add the dry ingredients and the sour cream alternately to the large bowl, beginning with the dry ingredients and ending with the sour cream. Add 1/3 of each at a time, scraping the sides of the bowl often. Stir just until well blended.
  5. Cover and refrigerate the dough for at least one hour.
  6. Heat oven to 375 F.
  7. On a floured surface or between two pieces of parchment, roll the dough out to a thickness of 1/4 inch. Cut into circles using a round cookie cutter or biscuit cutter and place 1 inch apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Press one raisin directly in the middle of each cookie. (Sprinkle with sugar if desired, but skip the sugar if you'd prefer to glaze them later.)
  8. Bake 11–12 minutes, until barely golden on bottom edges.
  9. Cool on a rack.
  10. If you would like to glaze the cookies, whisk together the glaze ingredients and brush over each cooled cookie with a pastry brush.

To freeze the dough, lay circles of dough in freezer containers or heavy plastic zipper bags, separated by layers of parchment. Remove as much air as possible. This dough will store well in the freezer for at least 3 months. Cookies may be baked without thawing—just add an extra minute to the baking time if necessary.

 

French Toast Bagels


The stages of forming French Toast Bagels

 

Makes 12 large bagels.

1 1/2 cups very warm water
4 teaspoons sugar, divided
1 package active dry yeast
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon molasses
3 1/2 teaspoons maple flavoring (like Mapleine), divided
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, divided
4 1/2 cups bread flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
4 quarts water
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 egg and 1 teaspoon water, beaten together (egg wash)

  1. In a large bowl (use a stand mixer if you have one), combine water and 1 teaspoon sugar. Sprinkle the yeast over the liquid and let it sit for 5 minutes.
  2. Add remaining 3 teaspoons white sugar, brown sugar, molasses, 2 teaspoons of the maple flavoring, vanilla, egg, 1/4 teaspoon of the cinnamon, and 3 cups of the flour. Mix well.
  3. Add remaining flour and salt. If you are using a stand mixer, switch to your dough hook. This will be very stiff dough. If your mixer is strong enough, let it knead the dough for 6–7 minutes. Otherwise, drop the dough onto a very lightly floured surface and knead by hand for at least 8 minutes. It's important to knead this dough well to achieve a chewy bagel.
  4. Place dough in a large greased bowl, turning once or twice to coat the dough. Cover with a slightly damp towel and let rise until double—approximately one hour.
  5. Cover two baking sheets with parchment, or lightly grease them. Set aside.
  6. Remove 1/4 of the dough and place it in a small bowl. Add the remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons maple flavoring and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon. Knead with your hands briefly. Don't try to get an even color—just distribute the flavoring as evenly as possible.
  7. Place the large, light-colored dough on a smooth surface and put the flavored dough on top of it, then bring the light dough over the flavored dough and fold several times to create a rustic, marbled effect.
  8. Cut dough into 12 equal pieces. If you have a kitchen scale, each piece will weigh between 3 and 3 1/4 ounces.
  9. Working with one piece of dough at a time and keeping the others lightly covered with a slightly damp towel, roll each piece into a ball. To keep the surface tension tight, scoot each ball toward you on an ungreased surface, turning and tucking as you go. This will make a very smooth ball of dough.
  10. Flour your thumbs. With the ball of dough sitting on the hard surface, poke your thumb directly through the middle. Pick up the dough and poke your thumbs through opposite sides of the ball, then "twiddle them" (circling your thumbs around each other) to stretch the hole out a bit. Try to make the hole 1 1/2 inches wide; it will close up quite a bit as the bagel rises.
  11. Place all of the formed bagels on one of the baking sheets. Cover with the damp cloth and let them sit for 10–15 minutes.*
  12. Heat the oven to 450 F. while the bagels are resting.
  13. Fill a large stock pot with 4 quarts of water and turn the burner to high. Bring to a rolling boil and add the baking soda.
  14. Drop in a few bagels at a time, with their rounded tops down. Let them boil for 1 minute. Flip over and let them cook for 1 minute on the other side. Lift each with a slotted spatula and place briefly on a paper towel to absorb extra water. Lift and place on prepared cookie sheet (using the empty sheet first), 6 to a sheet. When one sheet is filled, brush the bagels very lightly with egg wash . . . just barely damp. Put the pan in the oven on the middle rack and let the bagels bake until they are a rich golden brown—about 12–15 minutes. While they're baking, boil and egg-wash the remaining bagels. Set aside until the first batch is finished, then bake.
  15. Cool thoroughly on racks.

* At this point you can cover the bagels with plastic wrap and place them in the refrigerator to rise overnight. In the morning, 90 minutes before you plan to bake them, take out the bagels and let them rest on a counter while you preheat oven and fill stockpot with water.

 


Fold flavored dough into regular dough.

 

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