Thursday, April 7, 2011

Breakfast for Cookies: A Baking Experiment

This is what I eat for breakfast almost every day.
Lowfat plain yogurt with honey and sliced raw almonds.

I haven't baked anything in [gasp] almost a week and I feel like making cookies. But there are no chocolate chips and no brown sugar in the house. Times like this call for improvisation and experimentation!

My mission is to make a cookie that tastes like my breakfast. So, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

I'll start like most cookie recipes do. With 2 sticks of room temperature butter. Wanna know my secret for room temperature butter? The 'Keep Warm' button on my microwave. I put the two sticks still in the wrapper in there and hit Keep Warm. Every couple of minutes I stop it and turn each stick 1 quarter turn and voila! Room temperature butter in 6 minutes or less.

Put the butter in your standing mixer with paddle attachment.
If you don't have a standing mixer, you can use a hand mixer.
But you really should have a standing mixer because it's awesome.
Next comes the sugar. I'd like to use 1.5 cups of white sugar. Except I only have one cup's worth left in the bag. Since this is an experiment I'll just use what I've got. 1 cup of sugar. Turn on the mixer and cream the butter and sugar together for about 2 minutes.

Now, since I want to emulate my breakfast, I'll use honey to make up for the sugar I didn't have in the house. So, add three tablespoons of good quality honey and continue mixing on medium.
Mmm...looks creamy.
Next step for a usual cookie recipe is to add two eggs, one at a time, until well combined. I'm going to do that, but between adding the two eggs I'm also going to add 1/3 cup lowfat plain yogurt.
Add egg. Mix well.
Add 1/3 cup plain yogurt. Mix well.
Add the second egg and mix well. Yes, I know it's the same egg picture again. 

At this point I wanted to take a look at the batter. Remember, I've never made these cookies before. I'm making up this recipe as I go along. So, let's take a look...
Uh oh. I'm scared. It looks curdled and weird. What to do? 

Add 2 tablespoons of good vanilla extract, that's what! And turn the mixer up to medium high and beat for a good two minutes. 

There, that's more like it. Just needed a little beating to come back together.

Now it's time to put together the dry ingredients. Sift together 2.5 cups AP flour, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, 1 teaspoon baking soda, and 1/2 teaspoon baking powder. 

Add the dry ingredients to the wet stuff and mix until combined. Stop and scrape the bowl, then mix again for a few seconds to make sure it's all incorporated. 
Action shot!
Add 1/2 cup raw sliced almonds.

Quite a pretty batter if you ask me. And tasty, too. Yeah, I tasted it. So what?

The moment of truth is almost upon us. Drop the batter by rounded teaspoonfuls onto a baking sheet. I like to use a Silpat baking mat. But you don't have to. I spaced the cookies out pretty well for the first sheet since I wasn't sure what they were going to do as they spread.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 11 minutes.
These cookies look promising!

The end result. Pale golden brown, slightly puffy and cakey. Delicate and not too sweet. And they really do taste like my breakfast! These would be great with a cuppa tea.

Sally loves them! And Tom, the closest thing in this house to a cookie connoisseur, approves as well. We'll be making these again.

To sum up, here are the ingredients and directions all in one place:

2 sticks unsalted butter at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
3 Tablespoons honey
2 eggs
1/3 cup lowfat plain yogurt
2 Tablespoons quality vanilla extract
2-1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp Kosher salt
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup raw sliced almonds

Preheat oven to 350. Cream butter and sugar. Add honey and mix until creamy. Add one egg, mix to combine. Then add yogurt and mix to combine. Add second egg, mix to combine. Add vanilla, mix again well to combine until creamy.

Sift together dry ingredients. Add to butter mixture and mix to combine. Add almonds and mix well. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto a baking sheet (with or without silpat). Bake for 11 minutes or until pale golden. Makes about 3 dozen cookies.