Every week, a DIY expert spares us a trip to the grocery store and shows us how to make small batches of great foods at home.
Today, Lara Ferroni shares a make-at-home version of one of her favorite Pepperidge Farm cookies. Lara is the author of Doughnuts: Simple and Delicious Recipes to Make at Home. Her new book, Real Snacks: Make Your Favorite Childhood Treats Without All the Junk, comes out on October 30th.
When I was seven months pregnant with my daughter, I got itchy. Turns out, I have a slight allergy to cottonseed oil that went into hyperdrive and, simultaneously, I had huge cravings for Pepperidge Farm cookies. Yep, one of those foods that may or may not contain cottonseed oil. I rolled the dice and as a result spent a lot of time soaking in oatmeal baths. What I would have given to have had this recipe then!
That's one of the reasons that I wrote my new cookbook, Real Snacks: Make Your Favorite Childhood Treats Without All the Junk. We all get cravings now and then for junky snack food. While I'm not saying that sugar and butter and flour are exactly health food, I think a little indulgence is good for the soul. But I hate the fact that those snacks also are packed with industrial oils, flavorings, and colors that really provide no pleasure and, in many cases, even a small amount can be debilitating.
These crisp Brussels cookies are super easy (and forgiving) to make. They not only skip the hydrogenated oils, but also add a bit more nutrition from whole wheat flour and oat bran. I like a little honey in the mix for flavor, but you can also skip it and increase the sugar by 2 tablespoons.
Makes about 20 sandwich cookies
1/2 cup cane sugar
2 tablespoons honey
7 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons milk
1/2 cup white whole wheat flour
1/2 cup oat bran
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 ounces dark or semi-sweet chocolate
1 teaspoon cream
Heat the oven to 325°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a bowl, cream the butter, sugar and honey until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Stir in vanilla and milk. Sift in the flour, oat bran, baking powder and salt; mix the dry ingredients into the butter mixture, on low, until well blended.
Scoop rounds (1 teaspoon for 2 inch round cookies; a bit more if you want yours larger) and place on the prepared baking sheet, leaving at least 3 inches between the cookies (they will spread!). Bake for about 10 to 12 minutes, until the cookies are golden around the edges. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 1 minute. They will flatten considerably as they cool. Then carefully move to a wire rack. Cool completely.
Place the warm, melted chocolate in a bowl and stir in the cream until well combined, slightly thick, and glossy. Spread the melted chocolate on the flat side of one of the cookies, and then sandwich with another. Let the cookies set before serving.
Note: Add little mint or orange peel to the chocolate for new flavors, or try drizzling a tiny bit of salted caramel sauce on the chocolate before sandwiching the cookies for an insanely delicious bite. If you want to only bake a few cookies at a time, you can store this dough well covered in the refrigerator for a couple of days. Just be sure to bring it to room temperature before baking, or your cookies won't spread properly.
Save and print the recipe here.
Lara will be answering questions about Brussels cookies on the Hotline for those of you who want to take on this project at home. For the quickest response, go to her recipe and ask a question from there -- we'll email her your question right away!