Posts Tagged ‘cookies’

Molasses Cookies

February 3, 2013

IMG_9560I don’t know about you, but I have two types of stores that I could literally live in (while handing over my full paycheck in exchange for goods!). Kitchen stores (ie: Sur La Table) and spice stores (ie: Penzey’s). And the funny thing about spice stores is that I don’t even really need to be on the lookout for a spice to spend a good half hour in this olfactory heaven. I just glance at the spices available, and the recipes that they generally display to get your creative juices flowing.

So last time I was at Penzey’s, I spotted a recipe for Molasses Cookies. At first glance I thought to myself, not sure I have ever made those and it has probably been since childhood last time I tasted them. But, I started thinking that a spiced cookie would be delicious in the winter – might even warm me up!

This recipe is originally from Linda Aukerman and to my surprise, has no butter. Apparently, when baking with just shortening (vs butter) it really affects the texture of the cookie. And I have to admit, the crunchy outside and super chewy inside is worth the ingredient switch. And, combined with the warming spice mixture, make this cookie amazing.

These cookies were a clear winner the minute we tasted them – or quite possibly the moment they came out of the oven and we could smell them. They also disappeared at work quite quickly.

Thanks to Penzey’s and Linda Aukerman for sharing a recipe that does warm me up on a cold winter night!

MOLASSES COOKIES
1 1/2 cups shortening, melted and cooled (do NOT substitute butter)
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup molasses
2 eggs
4 cups flour
4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp powdered ginger
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
1/3 cup extra sugar or vanilla sugar for rolling (if you have a Penzey’s or spice shop nearby and can get the vanilla sugar, I highly recommend it!)

To the melted, cooled shortening add: the sugar, molasses and eggs. Beat well with hand mixer. In a separate bowl, sift together the dry ingredients. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, mixing to incorporate. Chill for at least an hour (can make the dough ahead and make the cookies the next day if desired). Preheat oven to 375. Using about a tablespoon of dough, form into balls. Roll in sugar and place on ungreased cookie sheets (although I would recommend a silicone mat or parchment paper), about 2 inches apart. Bake at 375 for 8-10 minutes. Check at 8 minutes. You want them to flatten but still be soft. Let the cookies cool for at least 2 minutes before removing them from the pan, as they can break if you try to pick them up when they are very hot. Cool on a cooling rack.

Baby Ruth Cookies

November 7, 2011

If you are like me, you tell yourself you won’t buy the Halloween candy that you have a weakness for, yet somehow it always ends up in your pantry. And eventually, your stomach. For me, that candy bar is a Baby Ruth. So, every Halloween, I have a bowl full of extra Baby Ruths that I continuously eat during the remainder of the week.

So this year I thought I would get a bit crafty – “what if my favorite candy bar were a cookie?” So, I took my remaining Baby Ruths, chopped them up, and put them in my favorite basic cookie recipe (from The Cookie Book by Peggy Cullen).

So during the 11 minutes the cookies were in the oven, magic happened. The nougat melted and turned chewy and sweet, and the peanuts and chocolate infused the entire dough. These might actually be the best cookies I have ever made.

So, my Halloween experiment turned into a new favorite. And, I would bet that your favorite Halloween candy would also be worth the little experiment of seeing how it translates into a cookie.

So, thanks to my basic cookie recipe and Halloween imagination for inspiring my new favorite cookie!

BABY RUTH COOKIES
2 dozen

2 ounces (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
6 tablespoons granulated sugar
6 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
1/4 salt
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
7-10 fun size Baby Ruth candy bars, chopped

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a medium bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the butter, sugars, salt and vanilla until well combined. Beat in the egg. Scrape down the bowl using a rubber spatula and beat for a few more seconds.

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and baking soda. Add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture and mix on low speed just until absorbed. Combine the Baby Ruth pieces into the dough.

Shape the dough into 1 1/2-inch balls and drop them about 3 inches apart onto baking sheets. For perfectly uniform cookies, scoop the dough using a 1 1/2-in cookie scoop, leveling the dough off across the top before dropping onto the baking sheets. Bake for 11 minutes, or until the edges are golden. Let sit for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

Oatmeal Cookes

March 28, 2011

I have to admit that when I was a child, I wasn’t always the biggest oatmeal cookie fan. It wasn’t that I didn’t like them, necessarily, but when faced with a choice of something people called “healthy” vs. something studded with the terrible-for-you chocolate. Well. You know who won.

But the very reason I avoided oatmeal cookies growing up, seems to be the reason I am starting to become a fan. When eating a cookie, knowing I am getting healthy oats and fruity raisins seems to make me in denial of the plentiful sugar and butter components. And when I made this recipe, the chewiness (due to the brown sugar) and flavorful dough (did someone say butter?) made me wonder if faced with the oatmeal vs. chocolate question, would I still pick chocolate? Jury is still out, but I now add these oatmeal cookies to the “things I crave” list. So, if you need one stand-by oatmeal cookie recipe this is the one. Thanks to Bon Appetit’s Just Desserts cookbook for this perfect oatmeal cookie recipe!

OATMEAL COOKIES
Makes about 2 dozen

1 cup unbleached all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (packed) brown sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 and 2/3 cups old- fashioned oats
1 cup raisins

Position 2 rack in the top third and 1 rack in the bottom third of oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Live 2 heavy large rimmed baking sheets (or cookie sheets) with silicone baking mats or parchment paper. Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in medium bowl to blend. Using electric mixer, beat brown sugar and butter in large bowl until very well blended. Beat in egg and vanilla. Mix in flour mixture, then stir in oats and raisins.

Using trigger cookie scoop and about 2 tablespoons dough per cookie, arrange mounds of dough on prepared baking sheets, spacing 2 inches apart. Bake cookies until golden brown, reversing baking sheets halfway through baking, about 14 minutes total. Transfer cookies to rack and cool completely.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Thumbprints

February 6, 2011

When making cookies for some friends and their two kids, I figured I would make something fun, playful and something that is a sure winner with little ones. Chocolate is always a good bet (and I have plenty of recipes in that arena) but when I saw a recipe for classic peanut butter cookies, I figured that is a kid-friendly recipe as well. Then, when I read that you can make them into thumbprints with jelly to create peanut butter and jelly cookies, I knew I had to try it.

Last I checked, I am much too old to be considered a child, but I personally fell in love with these cookies. The basic peanut butter cookie recipe is hands down the best I have had, and the raspberry jelly I added gave it a great sweetness to offset the salty.

So, if you want to make something kids will enjoy (or the kid in you!), give these a try. Thanks Bon Appetit Desserts for this recipe.

PEANUT BUTTER AND JELLY THUMBPRINTS
Makes about 2.5 dozen

2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup old-fashioned (natural) salted crunchy peanut butter (preferable organic)
Raspberry/Strawberry jam (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Live 2 heavy large rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Whisk flour, baking soda, and salt in small bowl to blend. Using electric mixer, beat butter and both sugars in large bowl until fluffy. Beat in eggs. Add peanut butter and mix just until combined (do not overmix). Stir in flour mixture.

Form dough into gold-ball-size balls and arrange on baking sheets, spacing 1 inch a part. Either use a fork and flatter in a crosshatch pattern OR indent each ball with the back of a 1/4 teaspoon then fill with jam to create thumbprint. Bake cookies until golden brown on bottom, about 20 minutes. Transfer to rack and cool.

Pecan Lace Sandwich Cookies with Orange Buttercream

December 21, 2010

When I first made this recipe, I thought I had done it all wrong. The dough was barely existant (looked like enough for maybe 6 cookies), the texture was greasy and sticky (not like normal dough) and there were no levening ingredients (no eggs, baking soda, etc.). Then, when I read I was only to put 1 teaspoon of dough on the baking sheet per cookie I was certain this was destined for failure.

My fear was clearly unwarranted because I had never made a lace cookie before. Lace cookies are named for the lace-like holes in the cookie when they are baked. They are light, crisp and delicate, and require nothing to leven because they spread (and don’t worry, they really do spread!). So, when you know that what you think feels wrong is indeed right, these cookies are insanely simple to make!

The cookie is flavorful and crispy and the icing is amazing. You don’t need much icing to make them yummy – and too much might make them sickly sweet. Another word of advice is to make all the balls when the dough is warm. So, when you fill your cookie sheet and put it in the oven, roll up the remainder of the balls and place on a place so you have them ready to go before the dough hardens and gets tough to work with.

This is a great holiday recipe and looks so much more complex than it is to make.

So, when you are looking at your dough like you have done something wrong – trust in yourself and throw them in the oven. You too will be surprised to pull a delicious lace cookie out 11 minutes later!

Thanks to Bon Appetit for this one!

PECAN LACE SANDWICH COOKIES WITH ORANGE BUTTERCREAM
Makes about 18

Cookies:
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/3 cup all purpose flour
1 cup coarsely ground pecans (about 4 ounces)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Filling:
1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 tablespoon orange juice
3/4 teaspoon grated orange peel

For cookies:
Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Stir butter, sugar, and corn syrup in heavy medium saucepan over low heat until melted and smooth. Bring to boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Stir in flour. Add nuts and vanilla; stir to combine.

Drop dough by teaspoonfuls onto prepared baking sheets, spacing 2 inches apart. Bake cookies, 1 sheet at a time, until bubbling and lightly browned, about 11 minutes. Cool on sheets 10 minutes. Transfer to rack; cool completely.

For filling:
Whisk all ingredients in medium bowl until smooth. Spread 1 teaspoon filling onto bottom of 1 cookie. Top with second cookie, bottom side down, pressing lightly to adhere. Repeat with remaining cookies. (Can be made 2 days ahead. Store between sheets of waxed paper in airtight container at room temperature.)

Triple-Chocolate Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies

December 17, 2010

It is always a plus when you are making a holiday treat and can include the festive colors of the holiday season. I generally go for taste over presentation for my holiday sweets, but when I saw this recipe, I had high hopes for the best of both worlds.

I have never really baked much with cranberry, but knew this recipe would be so beautiful with the flecks of festive red among the rich chocolate. They turned out not only beautiful (although I will admit I need to work on my chocolate drizzling skills), but very delicious. The cranberry, turns out, isn’t just for looks. The tart flavor cuts through the richness of three types of chocolate – creating a very balanced and delicious cookie!

Thanks to Bon Appetit for this winning cookie recipe – the perfect winter cookie!

TRIPLE-CHOCOLATE CRANBERRY OATMEAL COOKIES
Makes about 30

1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup old-fashioned oats
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup milk chocolate chips
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh or frozen cranberries
2 ounces milk chocolate or white chocolate, chopped (for drizzling)

Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F. Line 2 large rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Whisk flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt in medium bowl to blend. Using electric mixer, beat butter and both sugars in large bowl until smooth. Beat in egg and vanilla. Add flour mixture and oats and stir until blended. Stir in all chocolate chips and cranberries.

Drop batter by rounded tablespoonfuls onto prepared sheets, 2 inches apart. Bake cookies, 1 sheet at a time, until edges are light brown, about 16 minutes. Cool on sheets 5 minutes. Transfer to rack; cool completely.

Stir chopped milk chocolate in top of double boiler until melted and smooth. Using small spoon, drizzle melted chocolate over cookies in zigzag pattern. Let stand until milk chocolate sets, about 1 hour. (Can be made 2 days ahead. Store in airtight container at room temperature.)

Toffee Squares

December 12, 2010

The problem with making cookies for the holidays is that everyone has a different favorite. I can’t go through a holiday season without making jam thumbprints for my husband (his favorite) or brownies for my co-worker (her favorite) and so on and so forth. Every year I make 3 or 4 of the old favorites that without, whining would certainly commence. Then, I always try some new ones to be added to the rotation.

And, before my designated “Christmas Baking Day” (yes, I actually take a day off of work to do it), I had to bake a bit early since our holiday parties seemed to span a 2-week time frame. So, when I saw this recipe on epicurious.com, I thought it sounded like the perfect missing puzzle piece to my cookie line-up.

The original recipe comes from a booked called Very Merry Cookie Party by Virginia Van Vynckt and Barbara Grunes. I made the recipe in the second way suggested – with the inclusion of toffee bits.

I am actually a bit embarrassed to show how easy this recipe is, since only about 30 minutes total gives you an entire 9 x 13 of these sweet morsels. They are so good that only within about 4 days from my first batch, I will be making another for yet more holiday occasions.

Thanks to Very Merry Cookie Party for this amazing recipe – and the newest member of my holiday cookie favorites.

TOFFEE SQUARES
Makes about 48 squares (on 9×13 pan)

Crust:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups all-purpose flour

Topping:
7 to 8 ounces milk chocolate, broken into pieces, or 1 1/2 cups milk chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped almonds, toasted
1/2 cup toffee bits

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with parchment. (or spray a nonstick pan with baking spray)

Prepare the crust. In a large bowl, with an electric mixer, beat together the butter and sugar on medium speed until light, about 2 minutes. Beat in the egg yolk, vanilla, and salt. On low speed, gradually beat in the flour just until mixed. The dough will be stiff. Pat the dough evenly over the bottom of the baking pan.

Bake in the center of the oven until pale gold on top, about 20 minutes.

Remove the pan from the oven and scatter the chocolate pieces evenly over the crust. Return the pan to the oven for 1 minute. Remove the pan again and, using a knife, spread the chocolate evenly over the crust. Sprinkle evenly with the almonds.

Let cool completely in the pan on a wire rack. Using a sharp knife, cut into small squares, then carefully remove from the pan with a small offset spatula or an icing spatula.

Chocolate Toffee Cookies

July 7, 2010

So I realized that this is officially my first cookie recipe on this blog. At this point, it was looking like I either a) didn’t like to bake cookies, or b) didn’t like to eat cookies. I can assure you I love both. The ironic thing about it is I am one of those people who craves cookies at 10pm on a Tuesday night (or my husband does), and I decide to make them – from scratch. I have a few go-to recipes almost memorized, and it constantly amazes me how quickly you can make cookies from scratch (does anyone REALLY need break and bake??).

However, instead of blogging one of my go-to chocolate chips, my chocolate cherry or kitchen sink (I am sure all will follow in due time), I am going to blog one I tried this past week. I had been craving cookies every night for a while week, and after a weekend away eating my mom’s amazing cookies, I was beyond inspired. I love toffee (and who doesn’t like a little run in their cookie) so I figure I would give this one a whirl. I do have one word of warning – they are rich and addictive!

So, next time you are sitting on the couch on a Tuesday night thinking you want cookies, give these a try – guarantee you can have them done in 20 minutes!

Thanks to Bon Appetit for this one (by Ginny Leith Holland). I omitted the almonds it originally called for, but feel free to throw some in if you wish!

CHOCOLATE TOFFEE COOKIES

Makes 3 dozen

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1 large egg
1 tablespoon dark rum
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups crushed chocolate-covered English toffee (such as Heath bar; about 7 ounces) or use one package of toffee bits

Preheat oven to 350°F. Beat butter and sugar in large bowl until fluffy. Add egg, rum and vanilla and beat until well blended. Sift flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt into small bowl. Stir dry ingredients into butter mixture. Mix in toffee and chopped almonds (if using).

Drop batter by heaping tablespoonfuls onto heavy large ungreased baking sheet, spacing 2 inches apart. Bake until cookies puff slightly and crack on top but are still soft to touch, about 11 minutes. Let cookies cool on sheet 1 minute. Transfer cookies to rack and cool completely (cookies will become crisp). Repeat shaping and baking with remaining batter. (Can be prepared 2 days ahead. Store in airtight container at room temperature.)

Jam Thumbprints

December 23, 2009

It is Christmas-time, which means I spend about half the season in my kitchen baking like crazy. It feels like the one time of year I have an excuse to bake large quantities of bad for you goodies and it is ok. I will admit, one or two of them do make it into my mouth despite my wishes of healthy eating, but most end up in the homes of friends, family and coworkers.

I would love to have one staple recipe – the one I am known for. And, every year I could crank out a few batches and all would be well. However, I make the mistake of baking many kinds of cookies – and each friend had a different favorite. So, when they would ask me each year if I was making the “x” again, I always just say yes!

That being said, you will see lots of baking recipes coming from me in the next few weeks. This particular recipe is my husband’s favorite, meaning it will certainly never leave the rotation. I will admit, I am not a huge “fruit in cookie” fan but these jam thumbprints will rock your world. Thanks, Ina Garten!

JAM THUMBPRINTS
3 dozen

3/4 pound (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash
7 ounces sweetened flaked coconut
Raspberry and/or apricot jam

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until just combined, and then add the vanilla. Separately, sift together the flour and salt. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture to the creamed butter and sugar. Mix until the dough starts to come together. Dump on a floured board and roll together into a flat disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes.

Roll the dough into 1 1/4-inch balls. (If you have a scale, they should each weigh 1-ounce.) Dip each ball into the egg wash and then roll it in coconut. Place the balls on an ungreased cookie sheet and press a light indentation into the top of each with your finger. Drop 1/4 teaspoon of jam into each indentation. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the coconut is a golden brown. Cool and serve.


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