Chef Vance can pretty much do it all, but how could he handle a holiday cookie baking challenge? Vance was given the task to see how many holiday cookies he could make in 4 hours spread over 2 days using two different ovens: Viking Turbo Chef and the Jenn-Air Speed Oven. He rose to the challenge and then some! Below are recipes and feedback from the experience.
Pecan Shortbread cookie
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 2/3 cup powdered sugar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- 5 drops green food color
- 1 ¾ cups Gold Medal™ all-purpose flour
- ½ cup coarsely chopped pecans
- 32 pecan halves
- ¾ cup white vanilla baking chips
- Granulated sugar, if desired
- 32 yellow decorating stars, if desired
- Heat oven to 325°F. Spray or lightly grease 2 large cookie sheets.
- In large bowl, beat butter and powdered sugar with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla and food color. On low speed, beat in flour just until mixed. Stir in chopped pecans.
- Divide dough into 4 equal parts; shape each into ball. Place 2 balls of dough on each cookie sheet, on opposite ends.
- With rolling pin or floured fingers, gently flatten and shape each ball into 6-inch circle. With large knife, divide and cut each round into 8 wedges, slightly separating each cut with knife. Poke tops of wedges with fork, and place 1 pecan half in middle of each outer edge to make tree trunk.
- Bake 15 to 18 minutes or until firm but not brown. While still warm, cut into wedges again. Cool completely on cookie sheets, about 30 minutes.
- Place cooled tree wedges on cooling racks or waxed paper.
- Place baking chips in small resealable freezer plastic bag. Microwave on High 40 to 60 seconds, turning bag over after 30 seconds. Squeeze bag gently until chips are melted and smooth. Cut small tip off one corner of bag, and drizzle side to side over wedges to make tree garland. Sprinkle with sugar Top each tree with star.
The Ideal cookie after baking is no browning, little rise and a maintained shape.
Jenn-Air: Convection Bake, 325 degrees, 15 min. Perfect results.
Viking Turbo Chef: 325 degrees for 12 min. With such a high-speed wind tunnel, the cookies will bake much faster than your traditional convection oven.
The taste of the finished product was the same because I used the same cookie dough for both ovens. In terms of texture, both produced a soft and crumbly cookie, which is what I was looking for.
Peanut Butter Blossoms
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
- 1/2 cup Butter, softened
- 1/2 cup peanut butter
- 1 large Egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/4 teaspoon salt1
- 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 48 milk chocolate candy kisses, unwrapped
- Heat oven to 375°F.
- Combine 1/2 cup sugar, brown sugar, butter and peanut butter in bowl. Beat at medium speed until light and fluffy. Add egg, vanilla and salt; continue beating until well mixed.
- Add flour and baking soda; beat at low speed, scraping bowl often, until well mixed.
- Shape dough into 1-inch balls. If dough is too soft, refrigerate 30-60 minutes. Roll balls in 1/4 cup sugar. Place 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets.
- Bake 8-10 minutes or until very lightly golden brown. Immediately press 1 chocolate kiss in center of each cookie.
- Remove to cooling racks.
Jenn-Air: Convection Bake, 375 degrees, 9 min. I was able to fit 20 cookies on the baking sheet. This is a semi-dense cookie so I wasn’t concerned about the circulating air that convection baking creates. Heat was distributed evenly throughout the oven and there was no need to rotate the pan halfway through baking.
Viking: Convection Bake, 375 degrees, 9 min. This was my first time using this oven, but it was easy to use. There was an even heat distribution, yielding a golden-brown cookie.
The texture and taste were the same.
Kitchen Sink Cookie
- 1 pouch Betty Crocker™ oatmeal chocolate chip cookie mix
- ½ cup butter or margarine, softened
- 1 egg
- ¾ cup mini-pretzel twists, coarsely crushed
- ½ cup chopped pecans
- ½ cup red and green candy-coated chocolate candies
- ½ cup white vanilla baking chips
- Heat oven to 375°F. In large bowl, stir cookie mix, butter and egg until soft dough forms. Stir in pretzels, pecans, chocolate candies and baking chips.
- Onto ungreased cookie sheets, drop dough by 1/4 cupfuls 3 inches apart. Flatten to 1-inch thickness.
- Bake 12 to 14 minutes or until golden brown. Cool 2 minutes; remove from cookie sheets to cooling racks.
Jenn-Air: Convection Bake, 375 degrees , 12 min. I was able to fit 15 1-inch cookies on the sheet. This type of cookie has a lot more going on in them, so achieving the perfect cookie is difficult. This oven passed the test!
Viking: Convection Bake, 375 degrees, 12 min. With the same amount of cookies on the tray, the dough spread out in the oven a little more.
Both ovens produced great results. You might notice a slight difference in texture between the ovens, but you’ll thoroughly enjoy both batches.
And here are a few more recipes to enjoy….
Peppermint Bark Cookies
- 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/4 cups butter
- 2 cups white sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup white sugar for decoration
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
- In a large bowl, cream together the margarine and 2 cups sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then the vanilla. Gradually stir in the dry ingredients until just blended. Roll the dough into walnut sized balls and roll the balls in remaining 1/4 cup of sugar. Place cookies 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets and flatten slightly.
- Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, until lightly browned at the edges. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
- I then melted some white chocolate chip, separate from semi-sweet chocolate chips, and crushed up 6 candy canes. The powdery cane fold into the cookies, the larger cane pieces save for the top. When cookies are fully cooked drizzle white chocolate over the cookies. Do the same with the semi-sweet chocolate. Finish with the candy cane pieces.
- 1 box brownie mix, sifted
- ½ cup melted unsalted butter cooled
- 1 egg
- 1 tbsp. water
- ½ cup peppermint M&M’s
- ½ cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 3 tbsp. powder sugar shifted
- Heat oven to 375 degrees
- Mix brownie mix together with melted butter, water, and egg. Fold in peppermint M&M’s and mini semi-sweet chocolate chip. Bake at 375 for 9 min. let cool for 1 -2 min and transfer to cooling rack to completely cool.