Archive for the 'cookies' Category

Chocolate Drizzled Coconut-Almond Macaroons

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These cookies do not require any of the following:

  • Butter
  • A stand mixer
  • Even a sliver of baking expertise

Yet they  look fancy, taste great and only appear like you slaved in the kitchen.

I made these for the first time when I was 14 years old and fell in love with them. I really don’t even remember where the recipe came from, but I’d like to give a probable shout out to Cooking Light magazine. If you’re not familiar with coconut macaroons, they really aren’t a typical cookie. You have to really like coconut and the flavor of almond extract. They’re meaty and chewy in texture, and the almonds in this recipe give them a much needed sporadic crunch. If any of that sounds good to you (why wouldn’t it?), give them a shot.

Have a nice weekend!

Chocolate Drizzled Coconut-Almond Macaroons

2 2/3 cup sweetened shredded coconut
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
4 large egg whites
1 cup sliced almonds
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. almond extract
8 oz. bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate
1/4 cup sliced almonds pulverized for garnish (optional)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Combine all ingredients except for the chocolate in a bowl. Form balls from rounded tablespoonfuls and place 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets. Bake 20-25 minutes, rotating half-way if you have uneven heat in your oven like I do, until edges of cookies are a light golden brown. Remove from pans while hot and allow to cool.

Meanwhile, melt chocolate in a double boiler. If you don’t have a double boiler, make your own by nestling a heat safe bowl (glass or metal work great) over a sauce pot simmering with water. Once the chocolate is melted and smooth, remove from heat and allow to cool just slightly. You can dip half of your macaroons in the chocolate, or to drizzle, fill a plastic sandwich bag with chocolate and snip off the tip of one of the bottom corners (be ready to drizzle immediately, as the chocolate will be-a-flowin’) and quickly zig zag over the baked and cooled macaroons. Finish by sprinkling with crushed almonds.

Chocolate Cut-Out Cookies

Last year, for Marlo’s preschool Valentine exchange I made cute little fish cards made out of paper hearts. There were only 8 or 9 kids in her class then, and crafting those was not much of a commitment.

This year is an entirely different story. She goes to school five days a week and is in two separate classes. She has over 20 classmates and 4 teachers. Making two dozen cards would take hours. Double that time if I can conjure up some sort of patience to include Marlo in on the crafting. And let’s face it, the valentines will wind up in the trash after the period of politely putting up with it around the house ends. Here, that’s about a day. Maybe two days.

Instead, I decided to make treats. If I’m going to slave for a few hours, I’d rather make something that will actually be consumed. I was stumped as to what exactly to make when Ree, The Pioneer Woman, showed up on my television last Saturday morning with this recipe for chocolate cookies. Thanks Ree.

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On the Food Network show, she cut her cookies into rectangles and dipped them in melted chocolate and almond bark and then into various crushed up candy toppings. I didn’t have any of that lying around, but I did have white baking chips and pink sprinkles.

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A few left over for the adults got dipped into this tasty espresso sugar I picked up from the Salt Table in Savannah, Georgia.

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These cookies resemble the texture of gingerbread cookies – soft and crumbly. The flavor itself is not going to knock your socks off, it’s a very mild chocolate flavor but it is perfect for jazzing up without creating a treat that’s a little too rich for a kid to enjoy. The dough was a breeze to roll out and manipulate, and the cookies set up in the oven in less than 10 minutes.

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This might be a good one to keep in your back pocket.

Chocolate Cut-Out Cookies
Adapted from Food Network

2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
1 whole egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 bag white baking chips
pink sanding sugar

Cream the butter with the powdered sugar. Add the egg and vanilla and mix to combine. Add the flour, cocoa powder and salt, and mix together until the dough comes together. Place plastic wrap on the surface of the dough and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line baking sheets with baking mats or parchment.

Roll out the cookie dough and cut out the cookies using a cookie cutter, re-rolling the scraps in order to use as much of the dough as possible. Place the cookies onto the prepared baking sheets. Bake for 7 to 9 minutes, in batches if necessary, being careful not to burn. Cookies will remain the same general size and shape after they bake.

Melt white baking chips in a heat proof bowl nestled over a pot of simmering water. Dip cooled cookies into melted chips and immediately dunk in bowl with pink sand sugar. Set on cooling rack until hardened.

Extra Spicy Gingersnaps

If I had a signature cookie, I guess this would have to be it. I make these every Christmas, and they’re always a big hit. Why? Because they have a ton of flavor, they are perfectly chewy, and the cayenne sets your throat on fire. Of course you can adjust or omit the red pepper to suit your taste. When I make these for others, I cut the cayenne in half and it still gives you some noticable heat. These will not disappoint.

Extra Spicy Gingersnaps
Adapted from Food Network

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger, or more to taste
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or to taste)
8 tablespoons (1 stick) cool unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/2 cup granulated sugar, plus extra for rolling
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/3 cup molasses (not blackstrap)
2 large egg whites

Combine the flour, baking soda, and spices in a mixing bowl and set aside. Cream the butter until smooth and fluffy in a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or using a hand mixer). Add the sugars and mix. Add the molasses and mix. Add the egg whites in 2 batches, mixing to combine after each addition. Add the dry ingredients in three batches, mixing to combine after each addition.

Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spread a few tablespoons of granulated sugar on a small plate.

Roll the dough into 3/4-inch balls, then roll each ball in the sugar until lightly coated. Transfer to parchment lined cookie sheets, leaving 1-inch of space between the cookies. Bake until browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Let cool on wire racks and store in an airtight container.

Cranberry Almond Biscotti

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The first biscottis I ever made was a Giada recipe. She uses corn meal as well as flour in the dough. This creates a more coarse and crumbly texture to the cookies.

I thought I liked it.

Then I made these. Just a regular old all flour recipe. Still traditional with no fat, but the resulting texture is smoother and more pleasant. Sorry Giada, I’m usually on your side with everything. But not with biscotti.

I found the flavor of these also very pleasant. Light and pleasant. Perfect for your afternoon cup of tea or coffee.

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Cranberry Almond Biscotti
Adapted from Joy of Baking

2/3 cup granulated white sugar
2 large eggs
grated zest of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon Anise seed
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole almonds coarsely chopped
1/2 cup dried cranberries or cherries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and place the oven rack in the center of the oven. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.

In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the sugar and eggs on high speed until thick, pale, and fluffy (about 5 minutes). (When you slowly raise the beaters the batter will fall back into the bowl in slow ribbons.) At this point beat in the vanilla extract and lemon zest. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, anise seed and salt. Add to the egg mixture and beat until combined. Fold in the chopped almonds and cranberries.

Transfer the dough to your parchment lined baking sheet and form into a log, about 12 inches long and 3 1/2 inches wide. You may have to dampen your hands to form the log as the dough is quite sticky. Bake for 25 minutes, or until firm to the touch. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack for about 10 minutes. Transfer the log to a cutting board and cut into 3/4 inch slices, on the diagonal. Place the biscotti, cut side down, on the baking sheet. Bake 10 minutes, turn slices over, and bake for another 10 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool. Store in an airtight container.

Well, La Di Da.

Fancy cookie time!

After my impulse buy of lavender from the spice aisle at Meijer, I was determined to make a lemon and lavender something. Would it be pound cake? Biscotti? Then I stumbled across the recipe for these cookies.

I wasn’t sure if I was worthy of them. Their simplicity ultimately is responsible for their almost obnoxious sophistication. Would I have to get dressed up to eat them, I thought. The answer is no, in case you were wondering the same thing. A cup of tea doesn’t hurt though.

Now, you may be like me and may never have tried lavender anything before. Or maybe it’s old news and I’ve been living in a cave the past 20 years. Either way, don’t be afraid of it. These cookies are delightful, mild, lemony and addictive. Take my advice and portion yourself out two cookies because one’s just plain not enough and three, well you might feel guilty and these aren’t the cookies you want to use up that emotion on.

Lemon & Lavender Cookies
Adapted from When Harry Met Salad

¾ c. sugar
2 T. grated lemon zest + 2 T. juice from 1-2 lemons
2 t. dried lavender (optional, but then they’d just be lemon cookies)
1¾ c. flour
¼ t. baking powder
¼ t. salt
12 T. (1½ sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into ½” cubes
1 egg yolk
½ t. vanilla extract

1) In a food processor (Click here for instructions on how to make the cookies by hand or with a stand mixer), process the sugar, lemon zest and lavender until the sugar looks damp and the zest and lavender are fully incorporated, about 30 seconds. Whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt, then add to the sugar mixture; pulse to combine, about 10 1-second pulses.

2) Scatter the butter pieces over and pulse until the mixture resembles fine cornmeal, about 15 1-second pulses. In a measuring cup, beat together the lemon juice, egg yolk and vanilla. With the machine running, add the juice mixture in a slow stream (should take about 10 seconds) and continue processing until the dough forms into a ball, 10 to 15 seconds longer.

4) Turn the dough and any dry bits onto a clean work surface and gently gather into a ball. Working quickly, roll the dough into a cylinder about 12″ long and 1½” in diameter. Center the dough on a piece of parchment or plastic wrap and wrap tightly, twisting the ends together to seal. Chill the dough until firm and cold, about 45 minutes in the freezer or 2 hours in the refrigerator.

5) Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

6) Remove the dough log from its wrapper and use a sharp knife to slice the dough into 3/8″ thick rounds. Place the rounds on the prepared baking sheets, spacing them 1″ apart. Bake until the centers of the cookies just begin to color and the edges are golden brown, about 10-12 minutes (the recipe actually says 14-16 minutes, but 10 minutes was plenty for me and my wonky oven), rotating the baking sheet halfway through the baking time. Cool on sheets about 5 minutes, then transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.


Oatmeal Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Sounds good right?

Almost any oatmeal cookie sounds good to me. Especially Oatmeal Chocolate Chip cookies. My favorite cookies in the whole world are Potbelly’s Oatmeal Chocolate Chip cookies. I might be willing to give my right arm for the recipe. You’d have to catch me on the right day (or wrong day – which is it?) I sent these to work with Jeff when I made them, and apparently they went over well. There was some positive feedback. Personally, I found the flavors really interesting. Nothing about the cookies really shouted “peanut butter!!” or “nutmeg!!” or even “cinnamon!!!” All the flavors just merge and played well together, and make you go “hmmmm” and then “mmmmmm.”. Make these this weekend for your kids, or your sig other, or yourself. Everyone will be glad you did.

Oatmeal Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
As seen on Two Peas and Their Pod. Originally from Dorie Greenspan.

3 cups old fashioned oats
1 cup all purpose flour

1 tsp baking soda

2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp freshly ground nutmeg

1/4 tsp salt

2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup sugar

1 cup (packed) light brown sugar

2 large eggs

1 tsp pure vanilla extract
9 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped into chunks, or 1 1/2 cups store-bought chocolate chips or chunks

Getting Ready: Position the racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment or silicone mats.

Whisk together the oats, flour, baking soda, spices and salt. Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter, peanut butter, sugar and brown sugar on medium speed until smooth and creamy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating for 1 minute after each addition, then beat in the vanilla.
Reduce the mixer speed to low and slowly add the dry ingredients, beating only until blended. Mix in the chips.

If you have the time, cover and chill the dough for about 2 hours or for up to one day. (Chilling the dough will give you more evenly shaped cookies.) If the dough is not chilled, drop rounded tablespoonfuls 2 inches apart onto the baking sheets. If the dough is chilled, scoop up rounded tablespoons, roll the balls between your palms and place them 2 inches apart on the sheets. Press the chilled balls gently with the heel of your hand until they are about 1/2 inch thick.

Bake for 13 to 15 minutes, rotating the sheets from top to bottom and front to back after 7 minutes. The cookies should be golden and just firm around the edges. Lift the cookies onto cooling racks with a wide metal spatula – they’ll firm as they cool.

Makes a TON of cookies.

Almond & Lemon Biscotti

When paying for my Starbucks coffee long ago, I made a uncharacteristic impulse buy at the counter. A little cellophane wrapped biscotti cookie with some irresistable flavor combination said to me, “if you buy me, you will look super sophisticated.” So I snatched it up, unwrapped it, took a bite, and promptly threw it in the trash. Little did my little sophisticated ass know, biscotti’s are meant to be dunked. Dunked in coffee, dunked in tea, dunked in hot cocoa, dunked in wine (oh yes!).. whatever the beverage of your choice, the little biscotti’s would like a drink, too. Many years passed before biscotti’s crossed my mind again. It’s possible that you, too, haven’t thought of biscotti’s for years, before now. But my friends, I am here to introduce you to the perfect afternoon snack.

This biscotti business started for me when Jeff and I gave up coffee for tea. I was initially resistant to this change and continued to brew myself a half pot of coffee every morning and drink the whole thing within hours. Then my stomach started hurting, so I jumped on board with Jeff and went tea full time. The thing about tea is…there’s just not much of a buzz. After months of drinking just tea, I still feel in a fog every morning and by the afternoon I’m hurting. So like a proper English Lady, I have myself a spot of tea everyday around 3:30 PM. It’s my afternoon ritual. I put Marlo down for a nap, and she cries herself to sleep just in time for my tea to cool down enough for sipping. But something was missing. I was always a bit hungry (ok a lot hungry, I am nursing after all). The English enjoy crumpets with their tea, but what on Earth is a crumpet – right? Then I saw Giada making these lovely sounding biscotti’s, and thought they were just what was missing in my life.

You would think they were hard to make, but trust me – they couldn’t be easier. You just need a lot of time, but not hands-on time. They just spend about an hour total in the oven, so you can’t just whip them up quickly some afternoon – but almost. Another good thing is there aren’t many ingredients and the ingredients are far from exotic. You should know by now that I appreciate this. Giada’s original recipe calls for the cookies to be dipped in chocolate, but to me, that didn’t sound tea-friendly. So instead, I made a lemon glaze to drizzle over them. Remember – dunk. I’m not gonna lie, even these cookies are gross “undunked” so brew up some tea and enjoy the experience!

Almond & Lemon Biscotti

2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup corn meal
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
1/2 tsp. almond extract (optional)
grated lemon zest from 2-3 lemons
3/4 cup whole almonds coarsely chopped
3 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 1/2 cup confectioners sugar

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt.

In another large bowl, beat the sugar and eggs with an electric mixture until pale yellow, about 3 minutes. Mix in the lemon zest, almond extract and then the flour, and beat until just blended. (The dough will be sticky). Stir in the almonds. Let the dough rest for 5 minutes.

Divide the dough evenly into 2 equal mounds and place on the prepared baking sheet. With moist hands, space the dough evenly apart and form into 2 (9 by-3-inch) logs. Bake for 35 minutes until lightly browned. Cool for 5 minutes. Using a serrated knife, cut the logs crosswise into 3/4-inch-thick diagonal slices. Arrange the biscotti cut side down on the same baking sheet. Bake until the cookies are pale golden, about 25 minutes. Let cool completely.

To make the glaze, whisk together the lemon juice and confectioners sugar. Drizzle over cookies and let dry before storing cookies in an airtight container.

Biscotti will keep for at least a week.



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