Oct 11, 2011

Milk and Cookies by Tina Casaceli, a Very Tasty Tuesday Indeed

Tina Casaceli, owner of Milk and Cookies Bakery in NYC has just published 89 of her famously yummy recipes for cookies, brownies, shortbreads . . .

These aren't sissy, frilly pretty cookies, these are down home good eatin' cookies.  Casaceli has some specific instructions and precise measurements that she claims are the absolute key to the cookies.  Don't go trying to swap things out or change things up. 

Here's the recipe for a basic cookie dough.  She's very stern about this recipe.  But.... once you get this basic dough built..... she cuts you loose.  Go hog wild with what you mix in the dough to personalize it -- candy, choc. covered pretzels, peppermints, dried fruit, spices, citrus zest, coconut flakes...... she offers amazing suggestions, but you, my friend, are given liberty to put anything you want in that sucker.

Basic Oatmeal-Vanilla Cookie Dough: 
2 1/2 c old-fashioned rolled oats
2 c flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 c (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temp.
1 c sugar
1 c light brown sugar
2 large eggs, at room temp  (details like that are important)
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Place oats in the bowl of a food processor with metal blade and process until finely ground.  Transfer to a large mixing bowl and add flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Set aside.

Put butter in the bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with a paddle.  Beat on low speed until soft, then increase speed to med. and beat until light & creamy, about 3 minutes.  Gradually add sugar and then brown sugar, beating until very light & creamy.

Add eggs, 1 at a time, and beat to incorporate, scraping down sides of bowl with a rubber spatula after each addition.  Beat in vanilla and when blended, slowly beat in the reserved dry mixture.  Stop while dough is still streaky, and scrape it out onto a floured surface.  Divide dough into 2 sections and gently knead each with your hands until just blended.  Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 30 minutes, or up to three days (or freeze for up to a month).  Take out 10 minutes before ready to bake.

To assemble and bake:  Preheat oven to 350.  Cover 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats. For each cookie, take about a 1 1/2-inch ball of dough and knead in flavorings as desired.  For nuts, fruits, adn candy, add what you like as long as there's enough dough to bind together the ingredients.  For intensely flavored add-ins, like extracts, zests, salts, and spices, use a very small amount, less than 1/8 tsp.  (See combination suggestions in the book)

Place cookies evenly on prepared sheets, giving each enough room to spread.  Bake until center sets and cookies are lightly golden, 12 to 15 minutes.

I found a great read on Casaceli - Fabiana Santana's interview with Casaceli. Santana asked Tina what's the most inventive cookie she ever created.  Tina's answer:
"We took the sugar cookie base dough added bananas, walnuts, caramel bits and dark chocolate and butterscotch chips. They were to die for. People still ask when we will make that special again."

1 comment:

Patti said...

I'm gonna try this! Maybe add some raisins...