Posts tagged cookies
Just crisped on the outside, chewy on the inside–that’s what oatmeal cookies should taste like. After doing extensive research (grueling for my kids, as you might imagine), I’ve discovered a few easy tweaks you could use with your favorite oatmeal cookie recipe to make it even better.
Toss the raisins. Instead of your standard raisins that come in the little, red boxes, I like to use golden raisins or craisins to mix things up.
Soak ‘em. My tried-and-true oatmeal cookie recipe involves soaking the raisins for an hour in egg spiked with vanilla and almond extract. Once cooked, the raisins are plumped with flavor.
Toast the oatmeal. It takes a few extra minutes, but it gives the oatmeal a boost of nuttiness. I place the oatmeal in a nonstick pan at medium-high heat and stir them until they begin to just barely brown. Watch the oatmeal carefully so it doesn’t burn.
Add in coconut. I substitute some of the oatmeal in the recipe with coconut–instant chewy factor!
Shred the oatmeal. I pulse half of the oatmeal a few times in the blender. Sure, you want a few big pieces of oatmeal in your cookies but the shredded pieces blend more easily into the dough and make your final cookies less crumbly.
We made cookies for Santa over the weekend. Here’s the recipe for Chocolate Nutella Orange Pinwheels that Santa will be munching on tonight.
As far as the mix for the “raindeer” I have no idea what my youngest tucked in the bag of “healthy treats” for Rudolph and company.
Sure gingerbread cookies are tasty, but why not add chocolate chips? Oh yeah. Digging around online, I found a recipe on Rachael Ray that tweaked a Joy the Baker recipe to do just that–marry chocolate and chewy gingerbread cookies.
I put my own spin on these cookies by ditching the traditional dip in sugar and upping the spiciness. Intrigued?
Prep time: 10 minutes + baking
Servings: I think 3 dozen my kids kept eating them before I could count
2 1/4 cups flour
2 tsps. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsps. cinnamon
1 1/2 tsps. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
Pinch of cayenne powder (opt.)
1 tsp. dark cocoa powder
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 sticks (12 tbsp.) butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar (dark preferred)
1/4 cup molasses
1 cup chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Mix together the dry ingredients in a baking bowl, except for the brown sugar.
- In another bowl, cream together the brown sugar and butter until well combined. Add the molasses, then the egg and vanilla.
- Stir the dry ingredients into the creamed butter. Mix in the chocolate chips.
- Roll the cookie batter into 1 – 1 1/2″ balls.
- Bake on a parchment-lined cookie sheet for 9 minutes.
- Allow the cookies to cool on the pan for 3 minutes before removing.
*These are better on day 2!
For Easter I wanted to pass along a couple ideas I came up with while roaming through our neighborhood Italian shop, Alesci’s. Over the holidays, the bakery puts out their version of pupa cu l’ova, or basket cookies, a traditional Italian Easter treat. The idea behind the cookies is to bake an egg tucked into a cookie dough “basket.” Roaming online recipes, I found various ways to do this–sometimes the egg was hard-boiled, other times it wasn’t. Sometimes the egg was already dyed, others went sans color.
The sizable basket cookies at Alesci’s are made with a stiff biscotti dough that’s thickly glazed with powdered sugar and then tossed with multi-colored sprinkles. From what I could tell (and I’d have to happily research this by eating more), the cookies are baked, glazed, and then while still warm the hard-boiled egg is pressed into the cookie. Some recipes call for baking the cookies with the egg inside. My thought is if you want to try this at home, you could make a regular sugar cookie dough spiked with a little bit of anise. I’m going to have to try that for next year.
But what I did make with my kiddos is some bunny bread. We used pizza dough to create our edible bunnies. I rolled out the dough and then had the kids use a biscuit cutter for the bunny heads and simply cut the ears out with a kitchen knife. For the eyes we used black beans, but olives would work well too. We experimented with the nose and teeth. An overturned mushroom stood in for teeth on a couple of our bunnies. My daughter made a pepperoni smile for another. We did make one big bunny by stretching the dough out into a circle but in the end my teen noted it looked more like a pig than a bunny. Ah well, I wanted some sort of Easter treat for my kids that didn’t involve sugar and this one turned out tasty–and fun. Happy holidays everyone!
From simple cookies to rich cakes, here are some ideas to make your holidays a little sweeter.
For all of the flavor of Linzer cookies without the work, try check out this version I came up with for Wandering Educators.
Make these beautiful cookies in minutes to give away to neighbors–or to eat with your kids.
Loaded with hazelnut flavor, Nutella is one of my favorite holiday ingredients (okay, I use it all year, but around Christmas I buy it in bulk.)
Last minute school party that you need to take treats to? These whip up in minutes and kids love ‘em.
Brownies and Bars
These dessert waffles are great with berry sauce or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Make a pan of these sweets to serve at your next holiday party.
These little treats pack big, creamy flavor!
This is a Christmas tradition around our house.
You literally throw the ingredients together for this dessert that tastes like German Chocolate cake.
Add mint chips to the batter to make this cake even tastier.
Instead of decorating the usual sugar cookies for Halloween–what about starting with a chocolate dough? I used this recipe to make my Harry Potter sorting hat cookies, but the intense chocolatey, workable dough is perfect for any kind of cookie cut-outs. I used my Halloween linzer cookie maker to craft my cookies.
I’ve been packing these in my kids’ lunch bags all week.
Here’s the recipe:
Chocolate butter cookie dough
*Adapted from King Arthur Flour’s Baking Companion Cookbook
1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cocoa (*see note below)
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 butter at room temperature (not margarine)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 Tablespoon water
1/2 Tablespoon honey or agave
1/2 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
- Cream the butter and sugars together.
- Add the egg, water, honey and extract (if using) to the butter mixture. Blend well.
- In a separate bowl, mix together the dry ingredients. *Note: to get the dark color try using Hershey’s special dark cocoa at the grocers or order dark cocoa powder from King Arthur Flour.
- Gently mix the dry ingredients gently into the batter just until incorporated.
- Place dough on waxed paper, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 4 hours or until solid.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line your cookie pans with parchment paper.
- Working with 1/3 of the dough at a time and leaving the rest refrigerated, roll out the dough, using flour (or cocoa) and a rolling pin, to 1/8″ thick.
- Bake the cookies for 7 minutes and then check on them. You don’t want to overcook them!
- Remove the pan and allow the cookies to cool ON the pan.
- Decorate with frosting, sprinkles…
Your turn–making any Halloween sweet or meals this weekend?
After posting about kumquats last week I just wanted to pass along a cookie recipe that was a big hit with my kids. You use the kumquat puree to give the cookies a boost of citrusy sourness. The cookies puff up more like pumpkin ones than dense chocolate cookies. I pulled this right from the Kumquat Growers website but made a few changes. (White chocolate chips–nope, dark chocolate!)
I also made another change, the dough isn’t very sweet. I like that but on half of the cookies I sprinkled Lavender Vanilla Sugar (thanks for the care package mom!). The floral aroma and flavor boosted the kumquats’ tanginess. Plus, my kids liked sharing them with their friends outside so they could say, “Would you like a Lavender Kumquat Cookie?” You just don’t have those everyday.
2/3 cup margarine or butter
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 1/2 cups oatmeal
2/3 cup dark chocolate chips or chunks
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup kumquat purree
- Cream the butter and sugar together until fluffy.
- Beat the eggs into the creamed butter one at a time.
- In a small bowl combine the remaining dry ingredients.
- Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture, combine.
- Add the kumquat puree, combine, then stir in the chocolate chips.
- Refrigerate the dough for 1 hour until stiff.
- Bake at 375 degrees on lightly greased cookie sheets for 10-12 minutes or until just browned.
Makes 2 dozen cookies.
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups, quick cooking oatmeal
1 1/2 cups dried tart cherries
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- Preheat the oven to 350.
- Cream the butter and sugars together. Whip in the eggs and vanilla.
- In a separate bowl mix together the flour, baking powder, salt and oats.
- Mix the dry ingredients in with the wet. Stir in the cherries and chocolate chips.
- Use a tablespoon to drop dough balls onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes.
- Makes 4 dozen cookies.
These are the most peanutty cookies I’ve ever made–or tasted. This recipe comes courtesy of the Koeze company.
Prep time: 15 minutes + baking
Servings: 20 cookies
1 cup flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup Cream-Nut peanut butter
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
1 stick butter, room temperature
2 Tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon vanilla
5 ounces semi-sweet chocolate (chips are fine)
- Preheat the oven to 350.
- Cream the peanut butter and butter together in a large bowl. Add the sugars and then the egg and vanilla.
- In a smaller bowl, mix together the remaining dry ingredients (except the chocolate).
- Add the dry ingredients slowly to the creamed ingredients. Mix just until moistened. Stir in the chocolate.
- Place small dough balls onto the cookie sheet and bake for about 10 minutes or until just barely browned. Let the cookies cool on the pan before transferring.
I’m a sucker for kitchen gadgets. I couldn’t live without my mini-frother, my digital meat thermometer, or my muffin whisk (it’s a crazy contraption that looks more like a rug beater but ensures that “just moist batter consistency recipes call for). So when I saw a cast iron cookie pan for sale, I thought, Well I’ve gotta try that out. Did I mention I’m a sucker for sales too?
In my defense, my thought was to use it to make a creamy cheese dish that I’d had in an Italian restaurant. You need a small cast iron pan to do it and I figured this one would work–and it would also make perfectly crisped cookies (cue TV personality voice while you say that). But here’s what happened–I tried the cookie mix that came with the pan, I didn’t expect much with the flavor and I wasn’t disappointed. It tasted like cakey chocolate chip brownies, not anything like a good, chewy cookie. But hey, that’s a mix. With my cookie recipe, it would turn out beautifully, right? I mean, I love my regular-sized cast iron pan.
Well, despite coating the pan with plenty of baking spray, the cookie batter stuck to the pan. Worse, it cooked unevenly leaving the center of the cookie doughy and the outside burnt to a crisp. Sigh. The cast iron cookie pan was in the realm of TV infomercials, not essential gadetry, as I’d hoped. I even burned my hand on the pan when I thought it was cool and of course the pan was still plenty hot 10 minutes after coming out of the oven.
I thought about my gadget fixation while taking an online quiz on what kind of cleaning personality I have on Motherboard. Did my penchant for gizmos mean I’d be destined to be a micro-cleaner, obsessed with ridding my kitchen of spots? Or did I have a closet hoarder habit that manifests itself in the kitchen? Well, I fell squarely into the good-enougher, center-of-the-road category. As far as cleaning goes that means I’m not likely to dust until you can write your name in the specks and when it comes to filling up the dishwasher, I cram it. But what does it mean in the kitchen? I think I need to develop my own version and call it, What kind of meal maker are you?
Here’s my kitchen tweak:
When it comes to cooking are you…
A) A domestic diva! who whips up souffles no problem.
B) A good-enougher who’s willing to take a few shortcuts as long as dinner is still delicious (hello, canned tomatoes!)
C) A cable show candidate who throws in whatever ingredients are handy figuring it will either taste okay or land you a spot on America’s Worst Cooks.
I figure, I’m a good-enougher–with a healthy dose of creative cooking steam mixed in–what about you?