Cookie Palooza – No Bake Peppermint Chocolate Cookies

I hope you’ve enjoyed this week of cookies. I’m ending Cookie Palooza 2017 with an easy no bake cookie that only requires three ingredients, four if you count the sprinkles… Peppermint Chocolate Wafers.

First ingredient… Melted semi-sweet chocolate. I melted the chocolate using a double-boiler. You could melt the chocolate in the microwave (which was always my preferred method,) but I find melting the chocolate in a double boiler minimizes the chance of scorching the chocolate and you can keep it warm while you’re working so it will stay smooth and thin. Whereas when you melt it in the microwave after a few minutes the chocolate begins to thicken. Creating a double boiler is quite simple… fill a medium saucepan about a little less than halfway with water – you don’t want to fill it too much because then when you place the bowl in the water it will spill over. Bring the water to a boil and then reduce the heat so the water is simmering. Place a heatproof bowl in the water, add chopped chocolate and stir occasionally until the chocolate has melted. Once the chocolate has melted, reduce the flame to low to keep the chocolate warm and add in the peppermint extract (the second ingredient), stir to mix in.

Dip the Nilla Wafers (third ingredient) in the chocolate and flip them over to get them fully covered. The process will go much easier if you have candy dipping tools, but if not a fork will work well. Once cookies are covered lift the cookies out of the chocolate and let the excess drip and then place them on a wax paper lined baking sheet and sprinkle them with festive sprinkles or crushed peppermint candy/candy canes (fourth ingredient.)

 

Once you are done dipping the cookies place them in the refrigerator for about 10-15 minutes so the chocolate can harden.

And that’s it! A simple cookie that’s perfect for the season and best of all, doesn’t require you to turn on your oven.

Happy Holidays!!!

Peppermint Chocolate Dipped Cookies

Ingredients:

8 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, chopped*

1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract

30 – 36 Nilla Wafer cookies

Sprinkles, optional

Directions:

Melt the chocolate using a double boiler on medium to medium low heat. Once the chocolate has melted add the peppermint extract and stir well to combine. Keep the heat on low for the double boiler so that the chocolate will remain smooth and thin.

Dip the wafers in the chocolate one at a time, making sure to coat the entire cookie. Remove from the chocolate and let the excess drip off before placing on a wax paper lined baking sheet to set.

Sprinkle with sprinkles or crushed peppermint candy. Or let the chocolate set for a few minutes and then drizzle with the left-over melted chocolate. Place in the refrigerator so the chocolate can harden. Store in an airtight container.

*You could also use chocolate chips

**The ratio of peppermint extract to chocolate I used was 1/4 teaspoon per 4 oz.

Cookie Palooza – Lemon Ricotta Cookies

Lemon Ricotta… A flavor combination I first had in the form of pancakes and was instantly hooked so when I saw a cookie recipe using the two I knew I had to try it. A few things to note, these cookies are soft, almost cake-like. They kind of remind me of muffies – aka the top of a muffin. And while I am not one for glazes, I usually leave my baked good unglazed when a recipe calls for it, these cookies definitely need the glaze. Not because they are not delish without it – I tried one before glazing and it was good as is – but when I added the glaze the lemon flavor was kicked up a notch, but, not to the point that it was overbearing.

Lemon Ricotta Cookies Lemon Glaze

  • Servings: 40 cookies
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Ingredients

2 1/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 stick unsalted butter, softened

2 cups sugar

2 eggs

1 15 oz. container whole milk ricotta cheese

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (juice of 1 lemon)

1 lemon, zested

 

Glaze:

1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 lemon, zested

 

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375F.

In medium bowl combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl combine the butter and sugar. Beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs 1 at a time, beat the mixture well so all of the ingredients are incorporate.

Add the ricotta cheese, lemon juice & zest. Beat to combine and then stir in the dry ingredients (the flour mixture.)

Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Spoon the dough – about 2 tablespoons for each cookie – onto the baking sheets. Bake for about 15 minutes, until the edges of the cookies are golden. Remove from the oven and the cookies cool on the baking sheets for 20 minutes.

During the 20 minutes make the glaze: Combine the all of the ingredients in a small bowl and stir until smooth. Spoon about 1/2 teaspoon onto each cookie and use the back of the spoon to smooth the glaze over the cookie. Let the cookies sit for 2 hours so the glaze can harden.

Recipe from Food Network

Cookie Palooza: Key Lime Pie Tassies & Pistachio Cookie Cups

These are definitely not your typical cookies, they’re more like mini tarts, but are cookies nonetheless. I tried to do some research as to how a tassie got its name and what the difference was between a tassie and a cookie cup, but, I came up empty handed… Oh well. If anyone knows feel free to share it in the comments sections below!

These weren’t on my original list of cookies for this week, originally I was planning on an Earl Gray Tea Cookie that called for cardamom. Cardamom became the main flavor of the cookie as opposed to the titled earl gray and while that was fine as the cookie tasted good, after making the cookie 2 different times – following the directions exactly the first time and making some variations the second time – both times the cookie came out too dense. I knew then that the recipe was a fail and searched for something else. Hence these tassies and cookie cups, both of which turned out to be a major hit. On a side note, I had a second fail with another cookie recipe as well. It was for a Maple Pecan Chocolate Cookie that called for maple sugar. I had to do some searching for the maple sugar and while the cookie dough – yes, I eat raw cookie dough from time to time – tasted delish with a maple flavor the cookie itself lost the maple flavor and was flat, chewy in the middle and crispy along the edges. Not at all what I was expecting. I read the directions numerous times afterwards to make sure I added the right amount of ingredients and such and I had. I wonder if anyone tests some of these recipes before publishing them sometimes.

Back to the cookies at hand. When I initially made them I didn’t want to make too many – each recipe calls for 24 – just in case this was another fail. But, after friends tried them it was evident that I needed the full amount so I made them again for Thanksgiving and once again they were a hit.

Here are some tips to make these…

To help divide the dough into 24 somewhat evenly balls I formed the dough into a 6×4-inch rectangle on a lightly floured surface and cut it into 24 squares. I began by scoring it with a pizza cutter and then actually cut it once it had all been scored.

For the Pistachio Cookie Cups to save money, but not time, I opted to buy roasted unsalted pistachios in their shells and shelled and chopped them myself.

Which I then mixed with an egg, confectioners’ sugar and chopped dried apricots for the filling.

Since key limes aren’t always available in my area and I do love key lime pie, I usually have key lime juice in my fridge. You can find it in the juice aisle or oddly enough at some supermarkets they have it in the baking aisle. I can’t say for sure if using the juice from key limes as opposed to regular limes alters the flavor of the tassies since there are other ingredients involved, but, I do know that there is a difference in the flavor between the two of them. It’s all about preference and authenticity to the recipe when it comes to which lime or lime juice you choose.

The Pistachio Cookie Cups are baked filled while the Key Lime Pie Tassies pastry cup is baked first and then filled with the key lime filling and then baked again. Don’t worry, the pastry cup won’t burn or dry out… that’s what I initially thought would happen. Both of these are delicious and it’s hard to choose a favorite and thankfully they are easy enough and quick enough to bake that you could bake them both to enjoy them at the same time.

And while the Key Lime Pie Tassies are good on their own, I decided to add a little homemade whipped cream and lime zest to some of them for a little more sweetness.

Pistachio Cookie Cups

  • Servings: 24 Cookie Cups
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Ingredients:

1/2 cup butter, softened

3 oz. cream cheese, softened

2 tablespoons sugar

1 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon orange zest

1 egg, lightly beaten

1 cup confectioners’ sugar

1/2 cup finely chopped pistachios

2 tablespoons finely chopped dried apricots

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 F. In a medium bowl beat the butter, cream cheese and sugar with a mixer on medium speed until smooth. Beat in the flour and orange zest. Shape the dough into 24 balls and press onto the bottom and sides of mini muffin pan.

To make the filling: In a small bowl combine the egg, confectioners’ sugar, 1/3 cup pistachios and the dried apricots. Spoon into the pastry-lined mini muffin tin. Sprinkle remaining chopped pistachios over them.

Bake 18 to 20 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown and the filling set. Cool in the muffin tin on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove from the pans and cool completely.

Recipe from Better Homes & Gardens

Key Lime Pie Tassies

  • Servings: 24 Tassies
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Ingredients:

1/2 cup butter, softened

3 oz. cream cheese, softened

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon lime zest

1/4 cup key lime or lime juice, but bottled or the juice from 5 to 6 key limes or 2 to 3 regular limes

2 egg yolks

2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk

Sweetened whipped cream for topping, optional

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325 F. In a medium bowl beat the butter, cream cheese and sugar with a mixer on medium speed until smooth. Beat in the flour and orange zest. Shape the dough into 24 balls and press onto the bottom and sides of mini muffin pan. Bake 20 to 25 minutes, or until the edges are golden brown. Cool slightly in the muffin tin on a wire rack.

Make the filling: In a medium bowl beat the eggs with a whisk. Gradually whisk in the condensed milk. Next, whisk in the lime zest and lime juice. Spoon about 1 tablespoon of the filling into each pastry-lined cup.

Bake about 10 minutes, or until filling is set. Cool in muffin tin on a wire rack. Cover and chill for 2 to 3 hours. If desired, top with sweetened whipped cream and additional lime zest.

Sweetened Whipped Cream: Beat 1/2 cup heavy, 1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar and 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract with a mixer on medium speed until soft peaks form.

Recipe adapted from Better Homes & Gardens

Cookie Palooza: Dulce De Leche Thumbprint Cookies

Cookie Palooza continues today with these Dulce De Leche Thumbprint Cookies. Thumbprint cookies offer a delicious double-punch… The cookie itself is great and the filling adds additional flavor to it. Not a fan of dulce de leche, try these with your favorite jam or a chocolate filling.

Dulce De Leche Thumbprint Cookies

  • Servings: 36 cookies
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Ingredients:

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature

2/3 cup granulated sugar

1 large egg yolk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

6 oz. dulce de leche

 

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375 F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, on medium-high speed. Beat in the egg yolk and vanilla extract. Add in the flour and salt and mix until well-blended and dough comes together in a ball.

Form the dough into 1-inch balls and arrange on the prepared baking sheet. Flatten the balls with the palm of your hand and then using a 1/2 teaspoon or your thumb make an indentation in the center of each cookie. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes.

Remove the pan from the oven and gently press the indentation once again to redefine it. Fill each indentation with about 1/2 teaspoon of dulce de leche and return to the oven for 3 minutes. Transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.

Recipe from Love and Olive Oil

 

Cookie Palooza: Peanut Butter Crinkles

It’s the first week of December! Are you even remotely ready for the holidays? Have you thought about what you are baking? If not, I am here to help this week. Welcome to my 2nd Cookie Palooza. A week full of cookies… Kicking it off are Peanut Butter Crinkles. A twist on the more popular Chocolate Crinkles.

Made with peanut butter – of course – and mini chocolate chips these cookies are rolled in granulated and confectioners’ sugar for a little extra sweetness prior to baking. If you’re craving more chocolate in your cookie opt to use regular size chocolate chips as opposed to the mini ones. You do get a chocolate taste with the mini ones, but, it’s more of a hint so little so that you wouldn’t miss it if you omitted them from the batter completely.

Peanut Butter Crinkles

  • Servings: 36 cookies
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Ingredients:

1 1/3 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 cup light brown sugar

3/4 cup creamy peanut butter

1 large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/3 cup mini chocolate chips

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, plus more for dusting

Directions:

Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat to 350 F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Whisk the dry ingredients – flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt – in a medium bowl.

In another bowl, beat the butter, brown sugar and peanut butter with a mixer until creamy on medium speed. Increase the speed to medium high and beat until fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla extract and continue beating until combined. Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture, beat until well blended. Add the chocolate chips and beat until combined.

Put the granulated and confectioners’ sugar in separate bowls. Roll tablespoonful of dough into balls and then roll in the granulated sugar and then the confectioners’ sugar. Place on the prepared baking sheets 2 inches apart.

Bake 15 to 18 minutes, switching the pans halfway through, until the cookies are firm around edges and cracked on top. Let cool a few minutes on the baking sheets before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely. Dust the cookies with more confectioners’ sugar if desired.

Recipe from The Food Network

Almond Horns

If you didn’t know, almond is one of my favorite flavors when it comes to dessert. Give me an Almond Croissant for breakfast and I am a happy camper – although that’s not really a dessert item, but, it could be. LOL! Since I am a fan of almond I regularly get the Odense Newsletter that features recipes using their almond paste. In their latest newsletter they had a recipe for Almond Horns that were super simple, I had most of the ingredients on hand and I figured it was time to bake something sweet.

To make the dough I broke the almond paste into small pieces and added it to the bowl of my food processor along with confectioners’ sugar. I mixed the two until it was the texture of fine crumbs. I then added in an egg white (reserving the yolk) and almond flour. I continued mixing the dough until it became a smooth paste.

Next I turned the dough onto my counter that I dusted with confectioners’ sugar and rolled the dough into a 12-inch log and then divided it into 12 equal pieces and rolled each piece into a ball.

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After that I rolled the balls into 3-inch logs that were slightly tapered toward the ends.

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I added water to the reserved yolk and beat the two and spread thinly sliced almonds, which I crushed slightly, on a plate.

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I then dampened the logs in the egg yolk and rolled them in the almonds bending them into crescents and placed them on a parchment lined cookie sheet that I then placed in the refrigerator for 20 minutes.

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While the Almond Horns were in the refrigerator I preheated the oven to 350F. After the 20 minutes, I baked them for 14 minutes and then let them cool completely on a wire rack.

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Once they were cooled I melted bittersweet chocolate and dipped the ends of the horns in.

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These are so good and so easy and quick to make. The outside is crispy while the inside is moist and chewy.

 

Almond Horns

Ingredients:

1 box Odense almond paste, broken into small pieces

3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar, plus more for dusting

1 large egg, separated and at room temperature

1 tablespoons and 2 teaspoons all-purpose flour*

1 cup thinly sliced almonds, slightly crushed

4 oz. bittersweet chocolate

*Can substitute Almond Flour. Using Almond Flour will make these cookies Gluten Free

Directions:

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper

Using a food processor or mixer combine the almond paste and 3/4 cup of sugar. Mix until the texture is that of fine crumbs. Add the egg white and flour and continue mixing until the dough becomes a smooth paste, it will be slightly sticky.

Turn the dough out onto a confectioners’ sugar dusted work surface and roll into a 12-inch log. Divide the log into 12 equal pieces and roll each piece into a ball. Roll the balls into a 3-inch log that is slightly tapered at then ends.

Spread the almonds on a plate and beat the egg yolk with 2 tablespoons of water. Dampen the logs in the yolk mixture and then rolls in the almonds shaping the logs into a crescent. Place the crescents onto the prepared cookie sheet 2-inches apart and refrigerate for 20 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Bake 14 to 16 minutes, until lightly golden. Cool the cookie sheet on a wire rack for 5 minutes and then slide the parchment paper off of the cookie sheet and onto the wire rack so the cookies can cool completely.

Once cooled melt the chocolate in a double boiler or in the microwave. Dip the ends into the melted chocolate and return to the parchment paper so the chocolate can set. Layer the cookies between sheets of wax paper in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

Recipe from Odense

Cookie Palooza: Chocolate-Mint Thumbprints

I hope you have enjoyed my Cookie Palooza and that one of these cookie recipes will be one that you try or has inspired you to create something totally your own. On this final day of Cookie Palooza I bring you a cookie with a flavor of the season, peppermint. A Chocolate-Mint Thumbprint to be precise. And don’t worry, the peppermint flavor isn’t overpowering as some peppermint-flavored things are.

After sifting flour and cocoa powder together in a medium bowl, I creamed butter and confectioners’ sugar together in a large bowl and then added in vanilla extract and salt. Once the butter mixture was well blended I added in the flour mixture and continued mixing using my handheld mixer on low speed until the dough formed. I chilled the dough for about 40 minutes until it was firm enough to roll into balls, but, not so cold that I would have to “defrost” it once out of the fridge.

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I rolled teaspoonfuls of the dough into balls and placed them on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Next, I pressed straight down the middle of each ball with a floured finger – you could also use the end of a wooden spoon – almost to the cookie sheet to make a deep well. After baking the cookies in a 350 F preheated oven for about 8 minutes, I redefined the indentations with the end of a wooden spoon. I let the cookies cool for a few minutes on the cookie sheet so they could set and then transferred them to a wire rack to cool completely.

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Once the cookies were completely cooled I made the filling. I created my own double-boiler by bringing a pot of water to a simmer and then placed semisweet chocolate chips and unsalted butter in a heat proof bowl and set it over the simmering water. I began stirring the mixture with a rubber spatula and after a few minutes, before the mixture was completed melted, I removed it from the simmering water and continued stirring the mixture until it melted and then stirred in peppermint mixture. I let the mixture cool for about a half hour – until it was warm and slightly thickened…

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And then transferred it to a decorator bottle. You could also transfer the chocolate to a decorator bag with a small tip attached or a resealable bag with a small portion of the corned snipped off. I then piped the chocolate into the wells of the cookies.

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I’ll be the first to admit that my thumbprints came out a bit wonky looking, but, that didn’t detract from how yummy they were with just the right balance of chocolate and peppermint.

 

Chocolate-Mint Thumbprints

Ingredients:

For the Cookies:

1 cup plus 2 1/2 tablespoons flour

1/4 cup Dutch processed cocoa powder

3/4 cup (6 oz.) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted

1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon table salt

For the Mint-Filling:

3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces

1/4 teaspoon pure peppermint extract

Directions:

For the Cookies:

Sift the flour and cocoa powder together into a medium bowl. Using a handheld mixer (or stand mixer with the paddle attachment) cream the butter and confectioners’ sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla extract and salt, continue beating until smooth. Add the flour mixture and beat on low speed until the dough comes together. Chill the dough in the refrigerator until the dough is firm enough to roll into balls, about 40 to 60 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350 F and line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Roll heaping teaspoonfuls of dough into balls and place them on the parchment paper about 2-inches apart. With a lightly floured thumb or fingertip (or the end of thick-handled wooden spoon), press straight down into the middle of each ball, almost to the cookie sheet, to make a deep well.

Bake for 8 to 9 minutes. Gently redefine the wells using the end of a wooden spoon. Let the cookies cool for a few minutes on the cookie sheet and transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.

For the Filling:

Put the chocolate and butter in heatproof bowl over a pot of simmering water. Stir with a heatproof spatula until the chocolate is almost melted. Remove from the heat and continue stirring until melted and smooth. Stir in the peppermint extract. Let cool for about 30 to 40 minutes, until the mixture is slightly warmer than room temperature and it has begun to thicken. Spoon the filling into a pastry bag fitted with a small plain tip or into a resealable bag with a corner snipped off and pipe the filling into the center of each cookie. Let the filling set completely before storing.

Recipe from Fine Cooking