Monday, November 21, 2011

English Muffins and Chocolate Cut out Cookies

I wanted to make cut out turkey cookies for the kids to take to school. I made this chocolate cookie recipe and it did not work at all. I could have made it work, but the problem was I had to get so many cookies out of it for the kids to take to school, that it would never had been enough. So, I rolled them into balls and tossed my ideas out the window:( Then Jase decided he didn't like them, so I wound up making chocolate chip for him to take. So, not thanksgiving related, but oh well. They did taste ok, but from not on I'll stick to my normal cutout recipe.

Best Chocolate cutout Cookies
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 1/4 cups white sugar
1 egg
Sift together the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt; set aside. In a medium bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in the egg. Gradually stir in the sifted ingredients to form a soft dough. Divide dough into 2 pieces, flatten and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 2 hours.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to 1/8 inch in thickness. Cut into desired shapes with cookie cutters. Dough is sticky so be sure to add more flour to the rolling surface as needed. Place cookies 1 1/2 inches apart onto cookie sheets.
Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

I made this recipe a while back but decided to try again. We've loved them both times. They don't taste like a traditional Thomas English Muffin, but oh so good. In fact, as I was watching Gui Fieri this morning make eggs benedict, these look like the english muffin recipe he used. This is so easy, I'd never buy them again! (I do use the rings, I tried them with and without and with definetely gets them to rise nicely although it is not necessary). (Note this is very similar to the Alton Brown recipe but has a few modifications)

English Muffins
1 cup reduced fat milk
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt (divided use)
1 tablespoon shortening
1 envelope dry yeast
1/8 teaspoon sugar
1/3 cup water
2 cups of flour (9 oz)
Heat milk in a microwave-safe measuring cup just until it boils. Add sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of salt and stir to dissolve. Stir in shortening and let cool to about 120 degrees F.
In a separate bowl or measuring cup, combine the yeast and 1/3 cup of warm (115 degree) water. Let rest until yeast bubbles (proof).
In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, yeast mixture and milk mixture. Beat thoroughly with wooden spoon. Cover the bowl and let it rest in for 30 minutes in a warm place.
Preheat a lidded sauté pan or skillet to 300 degrees (on my stove, it was low). A pan with non-stick surface won’t cook the bottom quite so much, but if all you have is a regular metal bottom pan, you can use that. I didn’t grease either pan.
Add the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt to flour and beat thoroughly. Place metal (or homemade foil) rings onto the skillet.
Using a heaping 1/3 cup or a little less than ½ cup measure, spoon dough into rings, cover skillet cook for 5 to 6 minutes. Remove the lid and turn rings using spatula (Alton used tongs). Cover with the lid and cook for another 5 to 6 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on a rack. Remove rings and cool. Split with fork and serve.
Note: Make your own rings using non-stick foil or greased regular foil. Take a sheet an 11 by 11 inch sheet of foil and foil it over twice or just mold it until you have a stick that’s about 1 ½ inches high by 11 inches. Fold it into a 3 inch (ish) ring. Secure it with another little strip of foil wrapped around where the ends come together.

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