marbled chocolate chip cookies

Marbled Chocolate Chip Cookies (adapted from Quaker Oatmeal)

1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 tbs vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour (divided half)
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup cocoa
1 cup quick or old-fashioned oats (divided half)
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (divided half)

1. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl, beat butter and brown sugar until creamy. Add eggs and vanilla, mixing well. Add flour mixture and mix well.
2. Divide dough in half. To one half, add cocoa and mix. Stir into each dough 1/2 cup oats and 1/2 cup chocolate chips. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours.
3. Preheat oven to 180 C. Combine 1 tablespoon of each dough, twisting together to make one cookie. Place 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets. If dough becomes too warm, refrigerate for a few minutes then resume forming cookies.
4. Bake about 10 minutes or until lighter dough is golden brown. Cool on sheets for 2 minutes. Then, remove cookies to wire racks to cool completely.

banana oatmeal cookies

Banana Oatmeal Cookies (adapted from Baking Bites)

1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp butter, very soft
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup mashed banana (1 small/medium)

1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1 cup chocolate chips

1. In a small bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
2. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar. Beat in egg and banana, followed by the vanilla extract. Gradually add in the flour mixture. Stir in the oats and chocolate chips.
3. Drop dough by tablespoonfuls onto prepared baking sheet.

4. Bake in preheated oven at 180 C for 15 minutes until set and lightly browned. Let cookies cool for about 5 minutes on the pan before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.


Coconut Macaroons

3 cups unsweetened desiccated coconut
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbs plus 1 1/2 tsp melted butter
1 cup caster sugar
3 extra-large or 4 medium-large egg whites
1 cup chopped chocolate (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 180 C.
2. In a large mixing bowl, combine coconut, vanilla, butter, and half the sugar.
3. Whip the whites in the bowl of an electric mixer until they begin to get foamy and opaque. Add the remaining sugar in a slow, steady stream and continue whipping until the mixture is pure white and volumized, but just short of holding soft peaks. Fold the whites into the coconut mixture. Add the chocolate, if desired.
4. Using a teaspoon, scoop the batter onto parchment-lined cookie sheets, about 1/2-inch apart.
5. Bake for about 13-15 minutes, until lightly browned, turning the tray once during baking. Cool completely.

Note: The batter can be made several days in advance, and kept covered and refrigerated.

Coconut Shortbread (adapted from Baking Bites)

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup sweetened, shredded coconut (unsweetened is fine, too)

1. In a large mixing bowl whisk flour, sugar and salt together. Mix in butter until dough is crumbly, but starting to come together. Stir in coconut and continue to mix until dough resembles wet sand; there should be large and fine clumps of dough in the mixing bowl.
2. Pour shortbread dough into prepared pan and press it firmly down into a single, even layer. Score shortbread lightly to make it easier to slice later.
3. Bake in preheated oven at 180 C for 30-35 minutes, until edges are golden and top is very lightly browned. Middle of shortbread will be set, but not firm.
4. Cool shortbread for 5 minutes, then use a sharp knife to cut the shortbread into 18 bars. Cool shortbread entirely in pan.
5. When cooled, remove shortbread from baking pan and store in an airtight container.

banana bread with almond streusel topping

Banana Bread with Almond Streusel Topping

2 cups plain flour
1 tsp salt
2 tsp baking soda
1 cup butter
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
3 large very ripe bananas, mashed (or 4 regular ones)

2 eggs
1 cup slivered almonds (or your favourite nuts crushed coarsely)

1. Grease and flour loaf pan (or muffin pan).
2. Stir & toss together flour, salt, baking soda then set it aside.
3. In a large bowl combine butter, sugar, eggs and bananas until well blended.
4. Add the combined dry ingredients until batter is thoroughly blended.
5. Pour into loaf pan or muffin tins.
6. Sprinkle with the streusel topping.

7. Bake in preheated oven at 180 C for 60-70 minutes for loaf pans, 15-20 minutes for muffins.
8. Check center for doneness with a toothpick. If it comes out clean, it's ready. Remove from oven then let cool for 5 minutes before inverting.

Streusel Nut Topping

6 tbs brown sugar
5 tbs plain flour
4 tbs butter

2/3 cup chopped almonds (optional)

In a small bowl, combine the sugar and flour. Then using a pastry blender, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in the almonds. Sprinkle this on top of the loaves or muffins before baking.

austrian raspberry shortbread

Austrian Raspberry Shortbread (from Smitten Kitchen and Epicurious)

2 cups unsalted butter, slightly softened
4 egg yolks
2 cups granulated sugar
4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup raspberry jam, at room temperature
1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar

1. Cream the butter in a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or using a hand mixer) until soft and fluffy. Add the egg yolks and vanilla extract, and mix well.
2. Mix the granulated sugar, flour, baking powder, and salt together. Add to the butter and egg yolk mixture and mix just until incorporated and the dough starts to come together. Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and form into two balls. Wrap each ball in plastic wrap and freeze at least 2 hours or overnight (or as long as a month, if you like).

3. Heat the oven to 180 C.
4. Remove one ball of dough from the freezer and coarsely grate it by hand or with the grating disk in a food processor into the bottom of a 9×13-inch baking pan or a 10-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Make sure the surface is covered evenly with shreds of dough.
5. With a piping bag with a wide tip or a zip-lock bag with the corner cut off, squeeze the jam over the surface as evenly as possible, to within 1/2 inch of the edge all the way around. Remove the remaining dough from the freezer and coarsely grate it over the entire surface.
6. Bake until lightly golden brown and the center no longer wiggles, 50 to 60 minutes.
As soon as the shortbread comes out of the oven, dust with confectioners’ sugar.
7. Cool on a wire rack, then cut in the pan with a serrated knife. I find that for this an all bar cookies, chilling the pan in the fridge makes it a lot easier to get clean cuts.

new york crumb cake

Martha Stewart's New York Crumb Cake

2 tbsp vegetable oil
4 cups all purpose flour, divided
1/2 cup granulated (white) sugar
2 ½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1 large egg
½ cup milk (lowfat is fine)

2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup light brown sugar
1 ½ tsp cinnamon
1 cup butter, melted

1. In a medium bowl, whisk together 1 1/2 cups flour, the granulated sugar, baking powder, and salt.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the egg, milk, canola oil, and vanilla. Mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and spread into pan (you might want to grease your spatula). Set aside.
3. In another large bowl, whisk together remaining 2 1/2 cups flour, brown sugar, and cinnamon (and allspice, if using). Pour melted butter over flour mixture, and stir with a rubber spatula until large crumbs form. Spread evenly over batter in pan.
4. Bake in preheated oven at 175 C for 25-30 minutes, rotating once, until a tester comes out clean. Cool completely on a wire rack before serving in large pieces.

chocolate matcha marble loaf

Chocolate Matcha Marble Loaf

2 cups self raising flour
1/2 tsp salt
tsp instant espresso or coffee powder
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1 cup sugar
1 egg
6 tbs unsalted butter
1 cup low fat yoghurt
tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2
tsp matcha powder

1. Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Set aside.
2. In a smaller bowl, combine espresso powder, cocoa and 1/3 cup of the sugar with 1/4 cup of water. Whisk until smooth. Set aside.
3. Cream the butter and the rest of the sugar in another large bowl. Mix in the egg and vanilla when it's creamed enough.
4. Mix half of the flour mixture with the batter till well combined followed by half of the yoghurt. Fold in the remaining flour mixture and the yoghurt till well combined.
5. Scoop out 1 1/2 cups of the batter and mix into the cocoa mixture.
6. Mix the matcha powder with the rest of the batter in the large bowl.
7. Fill the bottom of the loaf pan with about 3/4 of the matcha batter placed in dollops. Spoon the chocolate batter over the green batter in dollops. Cover the chocolate with the rest of the green batter in small dollops. Use a knife and run the batter through to create a marbling effect in a circular pattern. Be careful not to blend them too much.
8. Bake in the preheated oven at 180 C for 45-50 minutes and the cake starts to pull away from the sides of the pan and a toothpick inserted in comes out clean. Let cool for 10-15 minutes on a rack then slice into thick pieces.

the cookie monster strikes again

Being buried under three batches of different cookies will definitely do something to you if not at least give you a crazy sugar high for a few days. Phew!

Everyone loved them, I am proud to say. My favourite of the bunch was the white chocolate cookies. I loved the crispiness of the cookie's edges and how the inside was slightly chewy but not too much and managed to retain the crunchiness and integrity of the salted bit. The peanut butter cookie was really good too without it being too peanut buttery as I had previously made PB cookies which was almost all peanut butter and no texture at all. I love the krinkly pattern on the cookie that the icing sugar produced too and of course, who doesn't love chocolate chips. The coconut oatmeal cookie was somewhat of a disappointment compared to the rest but it was still alright.

eggless banana chocolate loaf

Eggless Banana Chocolate Loaf

1 1/2 cups plain flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup milk
1 cup mashed banana

2 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup canola oil

1. Whisk flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Whisk sugar, milk, banana, vanilla, and oil in a separate bowl.
2. Fold the banana mixture into the flour mixture till no streaks of flour remains. Do not over mix.
3. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf tin and bake in preheated oven at 180 C for 55-60 minutes till well cooked with a toothpick inserted in the center, it comes out clean. Let cool and slice in thick pieces.