Handle the Heat https://handletheheat.com/ Delightful homemade baking recipes and kitchen experiments Fri, 02 Dec 2022 20:12:08 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://handletheheat.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/cropped-hth-favicon5-32x32.png Handle the Heat https://handletheheat.com/ 32 32 November 2022 Challenge Sweet Results https://handletheheat.com/november-2022-challenge-sweet-results/ https://handletheheat.com/november-2022-challenge-sweet-results/#respond Fri, 02 Dec 2022 20:12:08 +0000 https://handletheheat.com/?p=57387 The post November 2022 Challenge Sweet Results appeared first on Handle the Heat.

]]>
The post November 2022 Challenge Sweet Results appeared first on Handle the Heat.

]]>
https://handletheheat.com/november-2022-challenge-sweet-results/feed/ 0
December 2022 Baking Challenge https://handletheheat.com/december-2022-baking-challenge/ https://handletheheat.com/december-2022-baking-challenge/#respond Thu, 01 Dec 2022 12:00:45 +0000 https://handletheheat.com/?p=56700 Last month for the November Baking Challenge, we made Chocolate Chip Cookies! Thanks so much to everyone who joined in. We loved seeing all your delicious cookies! Once winners are randomly drawn and then personally confirmed, they’ll be announced on the blog and on social media, as always. Each winner has 48 hours to respond […]

The post December 2022 Baking Challenge appeared first on Handle the Heat.

]]>
Last month for the November Baking Challenge, we made Chocolate Chip Cookies! Thanks so much to everyone who joined in. We loved seeing all your delicious cookies!

Once winners are randomly drawn and then personally confirmed, they’ll be announced on the blog and on social media, as always. Each winner has 48 hours to respond before we re-pick a winner, so it sometimes can take a few days to announce.

I am super excited to share DECEMBER’S Baking Challenge recipe pick!

This month, we’ll be making…

Gingerbread White Chocolate Blondies

Gingerbread White Chocolate Blondies are chewy, soft, melty, and a perfect balance of spicy and sweet. These are the perfect easy treat for the holidays – and bonus, they’re ready in just 40 minutes!

I’ve laid out ALL my baking tips for you in the pink tip box on the recipe page + on the challenge landing page.

Here’s how to participate in this challenge:

(Read completely!)

Step 1: Make my Gingerbread White Chocolate Blondies

Step 2: Take a photo of your Gingerbread White Chocolate Blondies and share before December 31st at 11:59pm MST.

Here’s how to share your photo(s):

Click here to access the challenge landing page. This is where you can get all the latest details, enter the challenge, and see other entries.

Click the button that says “SUBMIT YOUR ENTRY” – this will pop up a little widget where you can submit your photo:

  • You can select your entry photo from Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, OR upload directly from your computer, tablet, or smart phone.

There are also a few optional bonus entries to increase your chances of winning!

Prizes

TWO $75 Amazon.com digital gift cards! Available to anyone in the world who can shop with Amazon. I will order the cards in your currency for the USD equivalent of $75.

The winners will be selected randomly, so don’t worry about taking a perfect picture. Your photo may be put on display to share with my entire audience – that’s hundreds of thousands of people! I will email the winners. Winner must reply within 2 business days or a new winner will be chosen. Official rules are listed in the entry widget.

Giving Back

Here at Handle the Heat, we believe in spreading joy in all the ways we can, and making the world a better place one day at a time.

For each valid entry, Handle the Heat will donate $1 to St. Jude’s, a research hospital leading the way the world understands, treats and defeats childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases.

So what do you think? Are you up for the challenge? I can’t wait to see your blondies!

The post December 2022 Baking Challenge appeared first on Handle the Heat.

]]>
https://handletheheat.com/december-2022-baking-challenge/feed/ 0
5 Tips for How to Bake Picture Perfect Cookies https://handletheheat.com/how-to-bake-picture-perfect-cookies/ https://handletheheat.com/how-to-bake-picture-perfect-cookies/#comments Wed, 30 Nov 2022 10:00:05 +0000 https://www.handletheheat.com/?p=33983 Practically every cookie is a good cookie. That’s the beauty of them. As long as something didn’t go catastrophically wrong, you’re usually in for a delicious bite. But not every cookie is a pretty and picture perfect cookie. Whenever I bring a tray of cookies to a party or get-together I’m always asked how I […]

The post 5 Tips for How to Bake Picture Perfect Cookies appeared first on Handle the Heat.

]]>
Practically every cookie is a good cookie.

That’s the beauty of them. As long as something didn’t go catastrophically wrong, you’re usually in for a delicious bite.

But not every cookie is a pretty and picture perfect cookie.

Whenever I bring a tray of cookies to a party or get-together I’m always asked how I make them look so ‘perfect.’ So in today’s post, I thought I’d share a few tips for making your cookies look just as good as they taste. Like bakery-quality cookies.

Because the idea that we eat with our eyes is totally true!

Just take a peek below. The cookie on the left was baked with my cookie baking tips. The cookie on the right was baked without my pretty tips. It takes a few extra minutes but I think the results are worth it for a batch of beautiful cookies!

It was actually really hard for me to go against my instincts to make the cookie on the right. So I think the comparison between the two could’ve been even more drastic.

The key is to beautify the balls of dough before they even hit the oven, and then to reshape the cookies the moment they exit the oven.

See the steps below! They apply to basically any drop-style cookie.

1. Use a spring-loaded scoop

This is KEY to beautiful, evenly shaped cookies. A spring-loaded scoop saves you *so much time* in forming the balls of dough. When using a scoop, you ensure each ball is evenly shaped so the cookies bake evenly. Meaning you don’t have any small overbaked cookies or large underbaked cookies from uneven baking. The resulting cookies will all be very similar in size, so no fighting over the bigger cookie – AND there’s less chance for weird misshapen cookies.

process shots showing step by step how to scoop cookie dough with a cookie scoop

Handle the Heat now has our very own Perfect Cookie Kit, containing three spring-loaded stainless steel cookie scoops, two spatulas, a 6-piece stainless-steel, round nested cookie cutter set with silicone rim, and more! Learn more here.

To use a scoop, press it into your bowl of dough and fill up. Use your fingers to press the dough completely into the scoop. Use one finger or the edge of the bowl to smooth off the top for an even scoop.

TIP: To preserve your scoop’s spring mechanism, avoid allowing it to soak in water for an extended period of time.

2. Roll the balls of cookie dough between your palms

After you’ve used your scoop to form all your balls of dough, take each ball and smooth it out by rolling it between the palms of your hands. This ensures you don’t end up with any craggly cookies.

However, sometimes you want that craggly look for certain recipes, so avoid rolling in those instances. Or in other recipes, the dough’s texture is too sticky to roll. But for chocolate chip cookies and the like, I prefer to roll between my palms!

3. Garnish each cookie dough ball

Dotting each ball with more chips, nuts, or whatever is on the inside makes more beautiful and perfect looking cookies. When doing this with chips or nuts, press them into the top of the ball of dough closer together than you think. They’ll spread apart as the cookie bakes and spreads.

If you’re making snickerdoodles, sprinkle a little extra of the cinnamon sugar right on top of the balls of dough before baking. If you’re making Lemon Poppyseed Cookies, sprinkle extra lemon zest and poppy seeds right on top. It’s this little extra step that makes your cookies look super professional!

4. Reshape with cookie cutters

Once cookies are removed from the oven, using a round biscuit or cookie cutter to reshape into perfect circles fixes any misshapen cookies. Watch this video to see what I mean.

The key is to use a cutter just slightly larger in diameter than the baked cookies. Do this immediately after removing the cookies from the oven while they’re still hot and pliable, before they set.

In Handle the Heat’s very own Perfect Cookie Kit, you’ll find a 6-piece stainless-steel, round nested cookie cutter set with silicone rim (among all the other fantastic tools!), so you’ll always have the perfect size to reshape any cookie! Learn more here.

BONUS: Forever fresh cookies = frozen dough!

Cookies taste and look their best the day they’re baked. Especially chocolate chip cookies, where you want the chocolate to be a little gooey looking.

Once you’ve shaped your perfect balls of dough, you can freeze those balls and bake cookies off whenever you want. Check out my article here on how to freeze cookie dough and bake from frozen.

If you’ve got any frustrations with your cookies spreading out too thin, check out my instructions on How to Bake Thick Cookies here.

What are your pretty cookie secrets?

More Cookie Science Articles:

Cookie Recipes You’ll Love:

The post 5 Tips for How to Bake Picture Perfect Cookies appeared first on Handle the Heat.

]]>
https://handletheheat.com/how-to-bake-picture-perfect-cookies/feed/ 5
Everything You Need to Know About Sugar in Baking https://handletheheat.com/sugar-in-baking/ https://handletheheat.com/sugar-in-baking/#comments Tue, 15 Nov 2022 12:00:10 +0000 https://handletheheat.com/?p=56692 A question I get asked frequently is, “Can I use less sugar in this recipe?”. A common misconception about sugar is that its only role in baking is to add sweetness to a recipe. Sugar actually does a whole lot more in baking than most people know. In fact, reducing or substituting the sugar can […]

The post Everything You Need to Know About Sugar in Baking appeared first on Handle the Heat.

]]>
A question I get asked frequently is, “Can I use less sugar in this recipe?”.

A common misconception about sugar is that its only role in baking is to add sweetness to a recipe. Sugar actually does a whole lot more in baking than most people know. In fact, reducing or substituting the sugar can create unexpected adverse results in your baking!

Let’s dive into the function of sugar in baking!

Quick disclaimer: this post is intended to give insight into the science of sugar’s role in baking. It is not intended to serve as a guide for people who must reduce sugar intake due to medical diagnoses or for weight loss. Here at Handle the Heat, we use sugar, dairy, eggs, and wheat in the majority of our recipes and fully believe dessert is an important part of enjoying life!

What is sugar?

In most baking recipes, you’ll find sugar either in the form of granulated (white) sugar, brown sugar, or powdered (confectioners’ sugar).

These are considered refined sugar products and are typically made by processing sugar beets or sugar cane into pure sucrose (the chemical name for sugar). There are other chemical forms of sugar, such as fructose (fruit sugar) and lactose (milk sugar).

Sugar is simply a carbohydrate.

Quick tip: learn to make your own brown sugar here!

What are the functions of sugar in baking?

Simply put, sugar provides a lot more than a sweet flavor in baking.

It actually contributes a moist and tender texture to many baked goods. When creamed with butter and sugar, it can also assist in leavening recipes like cakes for a light and fluffy texture. Sugar is also involved in the processes of caramelization and Maillard browning which impact both flavor and texture.

Sugar can also reduce iciness and hardness in frozen desserts and even prevent microbial growth (in some cases sugar acts as a sort of preservative!).

This is why altering the sugar in a recipe can have unexpected consequences!

What happens if you decrease the amount of sugar called for in cookies?

In sugar cookie baking, sugar works with the other ingredients to contribute sweetness, moisture, chewiness, and spread.

We recently experimented with my Soft & Chewy Sugar Cookies recipe to see the effects of decreasing the amount of sugar called for by fifty percent.

When you decrease the sugar in a cookie recipe, you won’t just get a result that’s less sweet. You’ll get cookies that are harder, drier, crumblier, and spread far less. It was also interesting to note that decreasing the sugar also yielded 1 less cookie dough ball.

Just take a look at these baking experiment results:

What happens if you increase the amount of sugar called for in cookies?

Conversely, when you increase the sugar in cookies, you’ll get cookies that spread more and have an ultra moist and chewy texture in addition to a sweeter flavor. The cookies in our experiment baked with 125% sugar as compared to the original control recipe were almost candy-like in their chewiness and sweetness, which some of our testers preferred!


Sugar is so essential to many baking recipes! I almost never advise reducing the sugar in a recipe unless you’re willing to alter the taste, texture, and appearance. If you find your baking is just too sweet, it may be that you need to add more salt or use the right kind of salt or balance with ingredients that lend bitterness or acidity.

Have you ever experimented with reducing the sugar in baking? What was the end result?

If you’re interested in learning more about the science of cookie baking, grab a copy of my top selling cookbook The Ultimate Cookie Handbook. In addition to containing 50 of my best cookie recipes, the entire first section of the book is dedicated to the VISUAL science of baking!! It’s a culinary school education and cookie bible all in one. Order your cookbook HERE!

More Science of Baking Articles:

Recipes You’ll Love:

The post Everything You Need to Know About Sugar in Baking appeared first on Handle the Heat.

]]>
https://handletheheat.com/sugar-in-baking/feed/ 5
The BEST Cookie Scoops (Plus How and Why to Use One!) https://handletheheat.com/best-cookie-scoops/ https://handletheheat.com/best-cookie-scoops/#comments Thu, 10 Nov 2022 12:00:32 +0000 https://handletheheat.com/?p=56520 After writing an entire cookbook dedicated to cookies and baking thousands of cookies in my career, there’s a LOT I’ve learned about everything that goes into baking the perfect cookie. One of my biggest insights? Use a cookie scoop when baking cookies! Using a stainless steel cookie scoop when portioning out cookie dough is one […]

The post The BEST Cookie Scoops (Plus How and Why to Use One!) appeared first on Handle the Heat.

]]>
After writing an entire cookbook dedicated to cookies and baking thousands of cookies in my career, there’s a LOT I’ve learned about everything that goes into baking the perfect cookie.

One of my biggest insights? Use a cookie scoop when baking cookies!

Using a stainless steel cookie scoop when portioning out cookie dough is one of the KEYS to beautiful, uniform, evenly shaped cookies. My cookie scoop is one of my most frequently used kitchen gadgets.

I’m sharing everything you need to know about how and why to use a cookie scoop in this article… including everything I learned when I developed my very own cookie scoop product (found inside The Perfect Cookie Kit!).

Why to Use A Cookie Scoop?

A spring-loaded scoop saves you *so much time* in forming the balls of dough. When using a scoop, you ensure each ball is evenly shaped so the cookies bake evenly. Meaning you don’t have any small overbaked cookies and large underbaked cookies.

Plus, the resulting cookies will all be similar in size, so no fighting over the bigger cookie. AND there’s less chance for weird misshapen cookies. If you want to learn more, check out my article for How to Make Picture Perfect Cookies here.

Lastly, using scoopers makes freezing and baking cookies directly from frozen so simple!

How to Use A Cookie Scoop

  1. To use a scoop, press it into your bowl of dough and fill up.
  2. Use your fingers to press the dough completely into the scoop so it forms into a compact ball.
  3. Use one finger or the edge of the bowl to smooth off the top for an even scoop. This will help ensure each ball of dough is the same size not just to avoid fighting, but so that you end up with the same yield the recipe specifies, and every cookie bakes evenly.
  4. Scoop out cookie dough balls onto a prepared baking sheet.

When using a cookie scoop, avoid cold dough!

Your dough should be warm enough to be pliable, but not so warm you run the risk of baking up flat cookies. If you plan to chill your dough, as I highly recommend for chocolate chip cookies, then you’ll either want to scoop your dough before chilling (make sure to cover well with plastic) or allow the dough to sit at room temperature after chilling until it’s malleable enough to safely scoop, which can take over an hour depending on your kitchen environment.

If your dough is too cold, you run the risk of breaking your scoop or even straining your hand or wrist!

What’s the best scoop for cookie dough?

The best cookie scoop is one that is functional, durable, high-quality, and in the correct size as specified by the recipe. In fact, I learned a LOT about cookie scoops due to a very special project I recently spent a year and a half working on…

Here’s the scoop (pardon my pun!): I recently launched my very own Cookie Scoops inside The Perfect Cookie Kit!

I worked with seasoned product experts and our factory to ensure these scoops are strong and durable as well as beautiful in your kitchen drawer. Here are some of my favorite details of each scoop:

  • Comfortable white silicone grip with the HTH monogram embossed on the side handle (that feels truly surreal to see!)
  • More durable steel compared to other scoops on the market
  • Measurements and size listed clearly on the back!

Click here to order your Perfect Cookie Kit!

What size scoop for cookies?

There are many different scoop sizes available on the market to bakers. I find the numeric sizing to be a little bit confusing since it doesn’t translate over to imperial measurements directly (oh the joys of living in the U.S.). Instead, I rely on the tablespoon sizes. The scoops inside The Perfect Cookie Kit include:

  • Small scoop: 1 tablespoon
  • Medium scoop: 1 ½ tablespoons
  • Large scoop: 3 tablespoons

It’s impossible to say how big a cookie will be from each size scoop, since every cookie recipe will spread to varying levels. Generally, the smaller the cookie, the more crisp or crunchy it’ll be. The larger the cookie, the more likely you’ll get crisp edges but a soft, gooey, or more chewy interior.

I use the medium and large scoops most often for cookies. My most popular cookie recipe, my Bakery Style Chocolate Chip Cookies, uses the large scoop size.

How to keep cookie dough from sticking to scoop:

A small amount of dough sticking to the scoop is totally normal and not preventable. As long as the gear-driven ‘arm’ inside the scoop sits relatively flush with the interior, it should effectively scoop out most of the dough each time.

If you’re working with an extremely sticky dough that doesn’t want to fully release, try running your scoop under very hot water, then drying before scooping. Or, lightly spray with nonstick cooking spray before using.

Baking Time for Cookie Scoop Sizes

Always follow the recommended baking time given in the recipe you’re using. Generally, these are the baking times for each scoop size:

  • Small scoop: 1 tablespoon – 8 to 10 minutes
  • Medium scoop: 1 ½ tablespoons – 10 to 12 minutes
  • Large scoop: 3 tablespoons – 11 to 13 minutes

How to Clean Cookie Scoops

I typically hand wash my cookie scoops with soap and warm water, dry, and return to their drawer to extend the life of them. Avoid allowing it to soak in water for an extended period of time to prevent rusting or other damage.

Washing in the dishwasher can degrade the metal and spring mechanism over time, especially if you use a hard water rinse aid, such as Lemishine.

What else can I use a cookie dough scoop for?

  • Shaping candies or truffles (generally the small size)
  • Shaping energy balls
  • Portioning out cupcake batter or muffin batter
  • Portioning out biscuit dough
  • Spooning an equal amount of frosting on cupcakes before smoothing
  • As a melon baller substitute
  • Scooping ice cream
  • Scooping out pancake or waffle batter
  • Spooning out the mixture for fritters or latkes
  • Shaping falafel before frying
  • Scooping out meatballs

My favorite cookie recipes:

Photos by Joanie Simon.

The post The BEST Cookie Scoops (Plus How and Why to Use One!) appeared first on Handle the Heat.

]]>
https://handletheheat.com/best-cookie-scoops/feed/ 7
Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies https://handletheheat.com/peanut-butter-chocolate-chip-cookies/ https://handletheheat.com/peanut-butter-chocolate-chip-cookies/#comments Fri, 04 Nov 2022 12:00:17 +0000 https://www.handletheheat.com/?p=5927 If you read Handle the Heat regularly, you likely know I adore the combination of chocolate and peanut butter. Recently someone asked me why I loved the combination so much and I was taken aback slightly. My first thought was “well why wouldn’t I love this magic duo?” Then I realized that I’ve loved the […]

The post Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies appeared first on Handle the Heat.

]]>
If you read Handle the Heat regularly, you likely know I adore the combination of chocolate and peanut butter.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies are big, thick, chewy, and soft and loaded with peanut butter and chocolate flavor. They are outrageously good! No stand mixer required.

Recently someone asked me why I loved the combination so much and I was taken aback slightly. My first thought was “well why wouldn’t I love this magic duo?” Then I realized that I’ve loved the flavors together since before I could remember. Since childhood two of my favorite foods have been chocolate and peanut butter, so it only makes sense that I absolutely adore them combined!

I’m actually surprised I’m not utterly sick of either of these flavors, let alone enjoying them together. I literally eat peanut butter everyday. I eat chocolate ALMOST everyday (like probably 360 days out of 365). And yet I’m still obsessed with the two, which is good for you because it leads me to share recipes like these Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies.

Easy chewy Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe

These cookies are ridiculously big, thick, and chewy yet soft and have just amazing peanut butter flavor. They are 1000% perfect with a glass of cold milk.

Best part? You don’t even need a stand mixer to make this peanut butter chocolate chip cookie recipe, they’re so easy.

Check out the notes below because I’ve tried to answer all your questions and give you a perfect understanding of how the peanut butter cookie recipe works.

Gooey and soft peanut butter chocolate chip cookies - no electric mixer needed!

How to Make Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients for Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies:

  • All-purpose flour
  • Baking soda & baking powder – learn about the differences between these two leaveners here!
  • Fine sea salt
  • Unsalted butter – always use unsalted butter in baking, so you’re in control of the amount of salt used!
  • Creamy peanut butter
  • Granulated sugar
  • Dark brown sugar
  • Eggs
  • Vanilla extract
  • Semi sweet chocolate chips

How to Make CHEWY Cookies & Not Dry Peanut Butter Cookies!

The recipe is adapted from my Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookies, a recipe I worked very hard to perfect. The high ratio of brown sugar and the extra egg yolk help contribute a rich, chewy, and thick texture with lots of flavor.

Be sure to measure your flour correctly (by weighing or with the spoon and level method) to avoid creating cakey, dense, or tough cookies that don’t spread. Measuring your dry ingredients accurately is one of the best ways to improve your baking.

If you don’t measure your flour correctly, YOU COULD END UP WITH CRUMBLY DOUGH!

Please follow the recipe as written, I craft my recipes carefully so you can have the best results possible!

Image of a perfect cookie with flour measured correctly vs. an image of a thick, hard, and dense cookie with too much flour

The Best Peanut Butter for Baking

For best results, use a standard commercial brand of creamy peanut butter. I used Skippy for this recipe. Avoid any “natural” peanut butters where the oil separates. The dough won’t come together nicely if you don’t use commercial peanut butter with an added oil.

Which Chocolate Chips for Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies?

I prefer the taste of semi-sweet chocolate chips in these cookies, but you could also use milk chocolate chips, dark chocolate chips, or chocolate chunks. Just be sure to use the same amount as called for in the recipe.

Size and Shape

These are large chocolate chip peanut butter cookies, just the way I like ’em! I use my Handle the Heat Perfect Cookie Kit‘s large cookie scoop to form these cookie dough balls (which is a 3-tablespoon sized scoop). You can make use the medium cookie scoop in the Cookie Kit, to make 1.5 tablespoon-sized balls of dough and shave off about 2 minutes from the baking time, if you’d like.

The peanut butter in cookie recipes does prevent normal spreading. After you shape the dough into balls, flatten the balls well with the palm of your hand. This will encourage them to spread more while they bake. Don’t forget this!

Baking Perfect Cookies

I ALWAYS use a heavy duty unlined aluminum half sheet pan for baking cookies. Never use dark colored pans to bake cookies, they tend to overly brown or even burn the bottoms of the cookies. Additionally, I always use parchment paper for baking cookies. I find silicone baking mats produce less of a crunchy exterior crust and are just one extra thing to clean.

Chilling the Dough and Making Ahead

For best results, chill the dough overnight in a large bowl in the fridge. Why on earth would I recommend you delay your cookie satisfaction?

Well, chilling chocolate chip cookie dough is very similar to marinating meat – things just get so much better. The texture becomes chewier and thicker and the flavor intensifies. If you don’t have time, no worries. You can bake the dough off after it’s made.

To freeze: I like to scoop my dough balls out using a Cookie Scoop, freeze them until solid, then remove them to a ziptop bag to store in the freezer. You can defrost the dough overnight in the fridge, or for an hour or so at room temperature before baking. You can bake from frozen, but note that with this recipe the cookies won’t spread as much.

Get all of my tips for freezing cookie dough here.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies are big, thick, chewy, and soft and loaded with peanut butter and chocolate flavor. They are outrageously good! No stand mixer required.

More Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipes

See ALL of my chocolate chip cookie recipes & cookie baking tips here!

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies by Handle the Heat
Print

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies are big, thick, chewy, and soft and loaded with peanut butter and chocolate flavor. They are outrageously good! No stand mixer required. Download my FREE Cookie Customization Guide here.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword easy
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Inactive Time 10 minutes
Total Time 22 minutes
Servings 24 large cookies

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups (318 grams) all-purpose flour, measured correctly*
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 stick (113 grams) unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup (202 grams) creamy peanut butter (I used Skippy)*
  • 1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 cup (200 grams) packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs plus 1 egg yolk, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 cups (340 grams) semi sweet chocolate chips

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
  • In a large heat safe bowl, microwave the butter until melted. Vigorously stir in the peanut butter into the hot butter until well combined. Stir in the granulated sugar and brown sugar until well combined. Add the eggs and yolk, one at a time, stirring well after each addition. Add in the vanilla. Gradually stir in the flour mixture. Stir in the chocolate chips. Dough may be a little loose and slightly crumbly. If it's unbearably crumbly, that's likely due to the brand of peanut butter. Add 2 tablespoons milk if that's the case.
  • OPTIONAL: If time permits, cover the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 24 hours but no more than 72 hours. Let the dough sit at room temperature just until it is soft enough to scoop. 
  • Divide the dough into 3-tablespoon sized balls using a spring-loaded scoop and drop onto prepared baking sheets. Flatten dough slightly into disc shapes with your palms. Dot each disc with a few extra chocolate chips for picture-perfect cookies.
  • Bake for 12 minutes, or until golden brown. Let cool for 5 minutes before removing to wire racks to cool completely.
    Cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Video

Notes

*Be sure to measure your flour correctly or you may end up with super crumbly dough. Only use conventional peanut butter for this recipe with an added oil. Completely 'natural' peanut butter will result in a dry cookie.*

This recipe was originally published in 2014 and recently updated with recipe improvements and new photos. Photos by Ashley McLaughlin.

How to make
Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Recipe By Tessa Arias, Handle the Heat
Yield:
Prep Time:
Cook:

The post Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies appeared first on Handle the Heat.

]]>
https://handletheheat.com/peanut-butter-chocolate-chip-cookies/feed/ 752
October 2022 Challenge Sweet Results https://handletheheat.com/october-2022-challenge-sweet-results/ https://handletheheat.com/october-2022-challenge-sweet-results/#respond Wed, 02 Nov 2022 20:10:02 +0000 https://handletheheat.com/?p=56542 The post October 2022 Challenge Sweet Results appeared first on Handle the Heat.

]]>
The post October 2022 Challenge Sweet Results appeared first on Handle the Heat.

]]>
https://handletheheat.com/october-2022-challenge-sweet-results/feed/ 0
November 2022 Baking Challenge https://handletheheat.com/november-2022-baking-challenge/ https://handletheheat.com/november-2022-baking-challenge/#respond Tue, 01 Nov 2022 12:00:00 +0000 https://handletheheat.com/?p=55960 Last month for the October Baking Challenge we made Jack-o’-Lantern Cookies! Thanks so much to everyone who joined in. We loved seeing all your beautiful cookies! Once winners are randomly drawn and then personally confirmed, they’ll be announced on the blog and on social media, as always. Each winner has 48 hours to respond before […]

The post November 2022 Baking Challenge appeared first on Handle the Heat.

]]>
Last month for the October Baking Challenge we made Jack-o’-Lantern Cookies! Thanks so much to everyone who joined in. We loved seeing all your beautiful cookies!

Once winners are randomly drawn and then personally confirmed, they’ll be announced on the blog and on social media, as always. Each winner has 48 hours to respond before we re-pick a winner, so it sometimes can take a few days to announce.

I am super excited to share NOVEMBER’S Baking Challenge recipe pick.

This month, we’ll be making…

CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES!

We’re celebrating the launch of The Perfect Cookie Kit with a cookie-filled month! Choose between my Bakery Style Chocolate Chip Cookies, and/or my Browned Butter Toffee Chocolate Chip Cookies.

Chewy, gooey, and crunchy, both my Bakery Style Chocolate Chip Cookies and Browned Butter Toffee Chocolate Chip Cookies are loaded with flavor, and will surely become your new favorite cookies!

OPTIONAL: You can also make both cookies for BONUS ENTRIES!

I’ve laid out ALL my baking tips for you in the pink tip box on each recipe page + on the challenge landing page.

Here’s how to participate in this challenge:

(Read completely!)

Step 1: Make my Bakery Style Chocolate Chip Cookies, and/or my Browned Butter Toffee Chocolate Chip Cookies.

Step 2: Take a photo(s) of your cookies and share before November 30th at 11:59pm PT.

You can only upload one photo at a time. You’ll be prompted to submit your second cookie photo (if applicable) AFTER submitting the first photo. After submitting your first photo, you CAN return at a later time to submit additional cookie photos – just make sure to use the same name and email address.

Receive 5 bonus entry points for your additional cookie photo submitted using the same name and email address.

Here’s how to share your photo:

Click here to access the challenge landing page. This is where you can get all the latest details, enter the challenge, and see other entries.

Click the button that says “SUBMIT YOUR ENTRY” – this will pop up a little widget where you can submit your photo(s):

  • You can select your entry photo(s) from Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, OR upload directly from your computer, tablet, or smart phone.

There are also a few optional bonus entries to increase your chances of winning! Include at least one of the Cookie Kit products in your cookie photo for an extra bonus point. You can also leave a review of the kit for a bonus point. All the details can be found in the entry widget!

Prizes

TWO $75 Amazon.com digital gift cards! Available to anyone in the world who can shop with Amazon. I will order the cards in your currency for the USD equivalent of $75.

The winners will be selected randomly, so don’t worry about taking a perfect picture. Your photo may be put on display to share with my entire audience – that’s hundreds of thousands of people! I will email the winners. Winner must reply within 2 business days or a new winner will be chosen. Official rules are listed in the entry widget.

Giving Back

Here at Handle the Heat, we believe in spreading joy in all the ways we can, and making the world a better place one day at a time.

For each valid entry, Handle the Heat will donate $1 to Feeding America, to help support millions of families facing hunger.

So what do you think? Are you up for the challenge? I can’t wait to see your cookies!

The post November 2022 Baking Challenge appeared first on Handle the Heat.

]]>
https://handletheheat.com/november-2022-baking-challenge/feed/ 0
HUGE NEWS!!!!! https://handletheheat.com/perfect-cookie-kit-announcement/ https://handletheheat.com/perfect-cookie-kit-announcement/#comments Mon, 31 Oct 2022 17:00:42 +0000 https://handletheheat.com/?p=56320 Today I’m finally sharing the most exciting news I’ve been waiting OVER A YEAR TO SHARE!! If you’ve followed HTH for any period of time, you’ve probably realized I’m fully cookie obsessed. I’ve written two cookbooks on the subject. I’m currently teaching an entire semester of the HTH Baking School dedicated to cookies. I don’t […]

The post HUGE NEWS!!!!! appeared first on Handle the Heat.

]]>
Today I’m finally sharing the most exciting news I’ve been waiting OVER A YEAR TO SHARE!!

If you’ve followed HTH for any period of time, you’ve probably realized I’m fully cookie obsessed.

I’ve written two cookbooks on the subject. I’m currently teaching an entire semester of the HTH Baking School dedicated to cookies. I don’t even think I could quantify just how many cookies I’ve made in my 31 years on planet earth. It has to be tens of thousands.

In all that baking, I’ve discovered what a difference the right cookie tools make in both your baking enjoyment and the final result.

The only problem?

Much of what was out on the market was either subpar or boring and ugly.

SO I DECIDED TO CREATE MY OWN COLLECTION OF COOKIE BAKING TOOLS!!!!

This has been a massive labor of love and a huge team effort. There’s NO way I could’ve done all of this alone.

There have been MANY months of designing, sampling, tweaking, and testing countless iterations of each item you’ll see inside the kit.

Where we started and where we ended are two completely different places, and I couldn’t be more excited to share the final product!

So, without further ado…

Drumroll please…

ANNOUNCING THE PERFECT COOKIE KIT!!!

What’s inside:

  • 3 spring-loaded cookie scoops
  • 2 silicone spatulas
  • 1 set of six nested cookie cutters
  • Choose Your Own Cookie Adventure Booklet
  • FREE GIFT WITH PURCHASE: QR Code to our exclusive mini Perfect Cookie Course

KIT IS NOW AVAILABLE TO PURCHASE FOR $65.

The total estimated value of the kit is over $100!! We know it’s a crazy time in the world’s economy, so we did our best to make the kit as affordable as possible given everything that’s included.

CLICK HERE TO GET YOUR PERFECT COOKIE KIT!

Here’s everything included inside:

COOKIE SCOOPS

I’m SO excited to be launching my very own cookie scoops within this kit. They’re one of my most used baking utensils! We worked really hard with our factory to ensure these scoops are strong and durable as well as beautiful in your kitchen drawer. Here are some of my favorite details of each scoop:

  • White silicone grip with the HTH monogram embossed on the side (that feels truly surreal to see!)
  • Measurements and size listed clearly! Instead of most scoops on the market where you have to squint to see what size it is, my scoops have the tablespoon size listed clearly on the back of each scoop:
    • Small scoop: 1 tablespoon
    • Medium scoop: 1 ½ tablespoons
    • Large scoop: 3 tablespoons

SPATULAS

Okay, I just about died when we finally nailed the most adorable yet modern and chic terrazzo design of these silicone spatulas! It’s a mixture of confetti and sprinkles in the HTH brand colors. I also love that these spatulas feature a flexible edge so you can easily scrape in and around your paddle attachment and bowl. Also, they’re 100% silicone since many of you have shared with us that spatulas with wooden handles break. so. easily or attract food bits and mold you just can’t clean off. I find myself reaching for these spatulas daily for SO many tasks.

  • 1 small spatula
  • 1 large spatula

COOKIE CUTTERS

Just like the spatulas, the set of 6 nested cookie cutters features the same fun terrazzo design in their silicone grips. The grips are fully removable for cleanup and food safety. Of course, if you’ve followed me for any length of time, you’ll know I love to use round cookie cutters not just for cut-out sugar cookies, biscuits, or even making doughnuts… but to re-shape hot out-of-the-oven cookies into perfect circles. Just like the cookie scoops, each cookie cutter lists its size on the side so you don’t have to guess which is which.

  • Sizes range from 1.5 inches (perfect size for doughnut holes) to 4 inches (perfect size to re-shape large cookies)

CHOOSE YOUR OWN COOKIE ADVENTURE BOOKLET

This little booklet contains a glimpse into the science of cookie baking. I can’t wait for you to thumb through it once your kit arrives!

PERFECT COOKIE COURSE

Each kit contains a special QR code on the inside of the box. Scan it to get access to an exclusive online course where I show you the science of cookie baking. I also demonstrate step-by-step how to make my famous Bakery Style Chocolate Chip Cookies and how to customize the recipe to achieve the cookies of your dreams. This step-by-step course is accessible online from anywhere at any time, and you can rewatch it as many times as you want! I promise you’ll learn something new, and it’s even a fun project to go through with little ones.


Phew! I’m so excited and nervous to finally be sharing this with you!

I hope you’re as excited as I am. Click here to order your own kit for this holiday season.

The products inside the kit will only be available as a kit, not for individual purchase. We’re also only selling on handletheheat.com at this time.

You will be able to order multiple kits or even bundle our HTH Baker’s Apron and/or The Ultimate Cookie Handbook with your kit for a fantastic holiday gift at a special discount!

At this time, we’re only able to launch the kits to customers in the United States. We are working on extending international shipping options and will make an announcement when available.

Happy baking!!!

The post HUGE NEWS!!!!! appeared first on Handle the Heat.

]]>
https://handletheheat.com/perfect-cookie-kit-announcement/feed/ 2
Apple & Sausage Stuffing Recipe https://handletheheat.com/apple-and-sausage-stuffing/ https://handletheheat.com/apple-and-sausage-stuffing/#comments Thu, 27 Oct 2022 11:00:42 +0000 https://www.handletheheat.com/?p=1323 My family never really did stuffing for our Thanksgiving. The first time I tasted it at a friend’s house I remember thinking, “Why would anyone want bland soggy bread?” This Apple & Sausage Stuffing recipe is nothing like that stuffing I originally tasted, happily. It’s actually pretty magnificent! Filled with fresh apples, fresh herbs, savory […]

The post Apple & Sausage Stuffing Recipe appeared first on Handle the Heat.

]]>
My family never really did stuffing for our Thanksgiving. The first time I tasted it at a friend’s house I remember thinking, “Why would anyone want bland soggy bread?”

This Apple & Sausage Stuffing recipe is nothing like that stuffing I originally tasted, happily. It’s actually pretty magnificent!

Filled with fresh apples, fresh herbs, savory sausage, and crusty bread, this is the best sausage stuffing I’ve ever had. It smells incredible while it’s cooking.

I mean, we can all agree that the side dishes are the best part of Thanksgiving (following dessert), right?

Check out all my tips for making the BEST easy sausage stuffing that your whole family will love.

What dish are you most looking forward to eating this Thanksgiving?

How to Make Apple & Sausage Stuffing Recipe

Ingredients for Apple & Sausage Stuffing:

  • Bread – I recommend using sourdough or a country loaf. I like that these breads have a great crust to them! You’ll need a 1-pound loaf, cubed into ¾-inch pieces.
  • Olive oil – to cook the sausage.
  • Italian sausage – the star of the show! You could also use a sage sausage.
  • Yellow onion – diced. You could also use a white onion.
  • Celery stalks – sliced into ¼-inch pieces.
  • Fennel – This complements the sausage wonderfully. Slice it thinly. If you don’t want to use fresh fennel, or can’t find it, check out my note about using dried fennel below or simply omit it altogether.
  • Apple – I like Granny Smith here. Core and dice.
  • Bay leaf, dried – for flavor.
  • Garlic – because garlic, really!
  • Fresh sage – fresh is definitely best here, but I have a note below if you wish to use dried.
  • Salt & pepper – for flavor.
  • Milk – whole milk is best.
  • Low-sodium chicken broth – Make sure to buy low-sodium broth so that you can control the amount of salt used in this stuffing.
  • Butter – use unsalted butter in baking so you’re in control of the amount of salt.
  • Dijon mustard – brings such a delicious zip of flavor to your stuffing!
  • Eggs – You’ll need 3 eggs, whisked together. These help bind the stuffing together.

Instructions for How to Make Stuffing:

  1. Dry out the cubed bread. Spread the cubed bread on a baking sheet in a 300°F oven and toast for about 25 minutes, tossing halfway through. You want the bread to be toasted and crisp, but not hard. Set aside.
  2. Cook the sausage. In a large skillet, sauté the sausage, breaking it up into small pieces, until cooked through. Remove to a large bowl and set aside.
  3. Cook the vegetables. Cook the diced onion, celery, fennel, apple and bay leaf together, and sauté until soft. Add the garlic, fresh sage, salt and pepper.
  4. Discard the bay leaf, and transfer veggies to the bowl with the sausage.
  5. Add the bread. Add the bread to the sausage/vegetable mixture and toss to combine.
  6. Mix the liquids. In a large measuring cup or a medium bowl, whisk together the milk, chicken broth, melted butter, Dijon mustard and eggs together.
  7. Combine. Place the bread mixture in a 9×13-inch pan or casserole dish. Evenly pour the liquid mixture over the top.
  8. Bake. Bake at 350°F for about 50 minutes, or until cooked through and browned on top. Serve warm.

What Is the Best Bread for Stuffing?

This is really up to you and your taste preferences. I prefer a nice crusty sourdough bread, but a country loaf will do nicely. I think the slight tanginess of the sourdough plays well with the earthy aromatics of the sage in this apple sausage stuffing – and I love the crustiness. No need to remove the crust, either.

What Are the Best Apples for Apple & Sausage Stuffing?

I prefer Granny Smith for this Apple & Sausage Stuffing recipe as I like the tartness, and they hold their shape well. Feel free to use your favorite apple – just keep in mind that sweeter apples might not go as well with the savory flavors of sausage and sage in this recipe, and they may also become very mushy while baking.

How do I Prevent Soggy Stuffing? Do You Put Eggs in Stuffing?

Going through the extra step of toasting the cubed bread to dry them out further is one of the best things you can do for stuffing. It’ll help ensure the perfect texture: not too soggy, not too rubbery, with crisp bits on top and at the edges. Be sure not to underbake the stuffing, which can also create a soggy texture.

Why is My Stuffing Dry?

If you don’t use enough liquid and fat in the form of stock, melted butter, and eggs, then your stuffing will dry out quickly. Also avoid overcooking. This is easily done when you make the stuffing in advance, and then heat it again for too long when serving later. See my make-ahead prep tips below.

How to Make Stuffing Ahead of Time:

If you’re bringing stuffing to a friend or family member’s house, cook the stuffing as directed, but shave off about 5-10 minutes from the cooking time. Then when it’s almost time to serve, just pop it back in a 350°F oven to finish it off.

Once the wet and dry ingredients mix, the stuffing should hit the oven soon after. You can prep in advance by drying out the bread cubes and letting them sit uncovered at room temperature. You can also cook the sausage and sauté the veggies a day in advance – just refrigerate until needed. The day you plan to serve, proceed with mixing the bread, sausage, veggies, and wet ingredients together, and bake.

Should You Cover Stuffing When Baking?

We don’t cover the stuffing when baking in this recipe to prevent the stuffing from getting soggy.

How do You Know When Stuffing is Done?

The stuffing should be cooked through the center (no watery bits) and golden brown on the top and at the edges. If you like your stuffing on the softer, wetter side, you may want to shave a couple minutes off the cooking time.

How to Store Stuffing Leftovers:

Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. Reheat, covered with foil, in a 300°F oven or in the microwave until warmed through. Add a little more stock if the stuffing has dried out a little.

Can I Freeze Leftover Stuffing?

I haven’t tried that myself, but I don’t see why not. Place in an airtight container and freeze for up to a month. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before reheating in a 300°F oven or in the microwave until warmed through. Add a little more stock if the stuffing has dried out a little.

More Thanksgiving Side Dishes:

Check out ALL my Thanksgiving recipes here!

casserole dish filled with homemade apple and sausage stuffing
Print

Apple & Sausage Stuffing Recipe

This Apple & Sausage Stuffing recipe is filled with traditional flavors everyone at the Thanksgiving table will love! The savory sausage, celery and onion pair perfectly with the fresh sage and the sweetness of the apples. Best of all, this side dish can be made ahead of time!
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Keyword sausage stuffing recipe, stuffing recipe
Prep Time 50 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 40 minutes
Servings 8 -10 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 loaf (1 pound) of crusty bread, sourdough or country loaf, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound Italian sausage
  • 1 cup yellow onion, diced
  • 1 cup celery, sliced into 1/4-inch slices
  • 1/2 fennel bulb, sliced into 1/4-inch slices*
  • 1 cup Granny Smith apples, cored and sliced into quarter rounds
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh sage, chopped**
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup (227 grams) whole milk
  • 1 cup (227 grams) low-sodium chicken broth
  • 4 tablespoons (57 grams) unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 3 large eggs, lighten beaten
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to preference, to finish
  • Fresh sage leaves, optional, to garnish

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 300°F. Place bread cubes in a single layer on a large sheet pan. Toast in the oven for 25 minutes, tossing halfway through, until toasted but not hard. Set aside to cool.
  • Increase the oven temperature to 350°F. Butter a 9x13-inch glass baking dish, or spray with cooking spray. Set aside.
  • Heat oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat. Add sausage and sauté, until browned and cooked through, breaking up into pieces, about 8 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove the sausage to a large bowl.
  • In the same pan with remaining grease from sausage, add the onion, celery, fennel, apple and bay leaf to the skillet and sauté until the vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, sage, salt, and pepper. Cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Discard the bay leaf. Remove from heat. Remove vegetable mixture to the bowl with sausage.
  • Add the bread to the sausage and vegetables, and mix to combine.
  • In a large measuring glass or medium bowl, whisk together the milk, chicken broth, cooled melted butter, Dijon mustard, and lightly beaten eggs. Pour wet ingredients over the sausage and vegetable mixture and mix together until well combined. Transfer to the prepared baking dish. Lightly season with salt and pepper to preference.
  • Bake uncovered for about 50 minutes, or until cooked through and browned on top.
  • Garnish with fresh sage leaves. Serve warm.

Video

Notes

*Substitute fresh fennel with 1 teaspoon of fennel seed if fresh fennel is hard to find (or eliminate entirely if desired).
**Substitute fresh sage with 2 teaspoons dried sage.

This post was originally published in 2012 and updated in 2022 with new photos and recipe improvements. Photos by Joanie Simon.

How to make
Apple & Sausage Stuffing Recipe

Recipe By Tessa Arias, Handle the Heat
Yield:
Prep Time:
Cook:

The post Apple & Sausage Stuffing Recipe appeared first on Handle the Heat.

]]>
https://handletheheat.com/apple-and-sausage-stuffing/feed/ 6