Cookie Palooza: Apricot Walnut Triangles

Welcome to day two of Cookie Palooza 2020. Today I am bringing you a cookie bar that I would say is like shortbread cookie topped with the filling of a rugelach cookie. If you like either one of those cookies or even better both, you will love these cookie bars. Best of all, they are super easy to make and lot quicker than rugelach.

To begin I made the dough for the crust. After making it I pressed it into an 8×8 baking dish I greased with butter.

Next, I spread a few tablespoons of apricot preserves over the dough.

And finally, I combined melted butter, sugar, water and chopped walnuts in a small bowl and then spread it over the apricot preserves.

I baked it in a 350 F preheated oven until the edges began to brown and the center was set, about 35 minutes. After letting it cool in the dish for about a half hour on a wire rack, I cut the cookies into 4 equal parts and then removed it from the dish and cut each square into 4 2-inch squares and then cut those squares into triangles. I then placed them back on the wire rack to cool completely.

And to finish the cookie bars, once they were completely cooled, I melted a cup of dark chocolate chips in the microwave and dipped the corner of each cookie in the chocolate.

I placed them in the fridge for a few minutes so the chocolate could set and then it was time to enjoy. As I mentioned, the crust is reminiscent of a shortbread cookie and the topping that of the filling for rugelach. With a combination like that you can’t go wrong! What’s also nice about these cookie bars is that the flavors can be switched around just by using a different jams/preserves and/or nut. To make these extra festive for the holidays you could swap out the apricot preserves with raspberry jam and use white chocolate in lieu of the dark chocolate.

Apricot Walnut Triangles

  • Servings: 32 Triangles
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Ingredients:

1/3 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 cup sugar, divided

1 large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/4 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

3 tablespoons apricot preserves

1/3 cup butter, melted

2 tablespoons water

3/4 cup finely chopped walnuts

1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

 

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Spray an 8-inch square pan with baking spray, or, grease with butter. Set aside.

In a bowl, using a handheld mixer, cream together the room temperature butter and 1/2 cup of the sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg and vanilla extract. In another bowl whisk together the flour and baking powder and gradually beat it into the butter mixture. Once the dough has formed, press it into the prepared 8-inch square pan.

Spread the preserves over the dough. In a small bowl mix the melted butter with the water and remaining sugar. Stir in the walnuts and then spread the mixture over the preserves.

Bake in the preheated oven for 30 – 35 minutes or until the edges are golden brown and the center is set.

Cool for 30 minutes on a wire rack and then cut into sixteen 2-inch square and then cut each square in half to create triangles. Remove from the pan to a wire rack to cool completely.

Place a piece of wax paper on a baking sheet. Melt the chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl in 30 second intervals, stirring between each. Once melted dip the corner of each triangle into the chocolate and then place on the prepared baking to set. If you find that the chocolate is not setting place in the refrigerator for 10-15 minutes.

Store in an airtight container.

Recipe from Taste of Home

Cookie Palooza: Kitchen Sink Oatmeal Cookies

While many aspects of the holidays will be different this year due to COVID, one thing can remain the same… the baking. While cookie swaps may have to take a back seat this year that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the holiday goodies yourself and with those in your quarantine circle. With that being said welcome to Cookie Palooza 2020. Each day this week I will bring you a new cookie recipe that will hopefully make it on your holiday baking list. Up first a loaded oatmeal cookie. While the recipe called these a White Chocolate Chunk Cookie, I decided to refer to them as a Kitchen Sink Oatmeal Cookie for the title of this blog post thanks to the walnuts, coconut, golden raisins, white chocolate chips and of course oatmeal added to the dough. That’s quite a mouthful. And while the recipe for these cookies makes 4 dozen, you could easily halve the recipe to suit your needs.

Here’s a look of all of the add-ins together before I added them to the dough…

And what the dough looked like after stirring them all in.

And while these cookies do have a lot going on, not one thing overpowers the other. And don’t worry, if you are not a fan of coconut, you won’t even notice the coconut in the cookies. Or, you could just leave them out to be on the safe side.

White Chocolate-Chunk Cookies

Ingredients:

1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup light brown sugar

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt

2 cups old-fashioned oats

12oz. bag white chocolate chips

1 cup sweetened coconut flakes

1 cup golden raisins

1 cup chopped walnuts

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.

In a large bowl cream the butter and both sugars together with a hand mixer on medium speed until creamy. Mix in the eggs one at a time until combined and then stir in the vanilla extract.

In a medium bowl sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Gradually add the flour mixture into the butter mixture until combined. Stir in the oats, chocolate chips, coconut, raisins and walnuts.

Using a cookie scoop, drop the dough onto the prepared cookie sheets about 2 inches apart. Flatten the dough slightly. Bake in the preheated oven for 14 to 16 minutes, or until the cookies are golden. Transfer the cookies to wire racks to cool completely.

Recipe from Martha Stewart’s Cookies

Orange Cardamom Madeleines

With the holiday’s just around the corner I have been going through some cookbooks and a few old magazines looking for cookie recipes to share with you during my Cookiepalooza week right after Thanksgiving. I was really hoping to create a few cookie recipes myself, but time is getting away from me and I am much better at creating cake recipes than cookie ones. In my search for recipes I flipped through an old Martha Stewart cookie cookbook and I came across a recipe for some interesting Madeleines… Orange Cardamom Madeleines. And I’ll admit cardamom is not the spice that everyone has in their pantry. It can be a bit pricey, but, it’s worth the money if you like the taste and a little goes a long way. The first time I bought it was to make Kheer, Indian Rice Pudding, and I have had it in my pantry ever since. Not the same bottle of course.

Initially when I made these I wasn’t planning on adding the orange glaze to them. I am not a big fan of glazes. Ultimately, I decided to glaze half of them and I learned that orange and cardamom go together very well. The unglazed cookies had a stronger cardamom flavor, which was fine with me, but the hint of orange from the glaze took them up a notch. My only complaint though was that the glaze was absorbed by the Madeleines as opposed to coating them. So, when you look at them you couldn’t really tell that they had a glaze, whereas the picture accompanying the recipe showed the Madeleines which a thick glaze similar to an iced cookie. Oh well… the important thing is that they were delicious!

Orange Cardamom Madeleines

Ingredients:

For the Madeleines:

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for the pans

1 tablespoon honey

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3/4 cup flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoons ground cardamom

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup sugar

2 large eggs

 

For the Glaze:

3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar

1 teaspoon orange zest

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice

 

Directions:

Melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Remove from the heat and stir in the honey and vanilla extract. Let cool for 10 minutes.

In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, cardamom and salt. In a large bowl stir together the eggs and sugar. Fold the flour mixture into the egg mixture until combined. Add the butter mixture and continue folding until combined. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 325 F. Brush molds of Madeleine pan with the additional butter.

Transfer the batter to a piping bag and fill each crevice of the pan about halfway. Bake in the preheated oven for 7 to 8 minutes, or until the cookies are puffed and the edges are golden brown.  Transfer to a wire rack to cool slightly. Unmold the cookies onto a wire rack and let cool completely.

To make the glaze, combine the confectioners’ sugar, orange zest, and orange juice in a medium bowl and stir together until the glaze is smooth and thick. Using a small pastry brush, coat the ridged sides of the Madeleines with the glaze. Let stand for 15 minutes.

Cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for 3 days.

Recipe from Martha Stewart’s Cookies cookbook

Pumpkin Sugar Cookies

While I was hoping to bring you pumpkin recipes right up until Thanksgiving, sadly I think this may be my last pumpkin recipe for the season. I’ve unfortunately tired out all of the people in quarantine circle with pumpkin treats. Today’s cookies and the Butterscotch Pumpkin Fudge from last week I actually sent to a friend out of state for her birthday and my friends near me didn’t want any part in trying some of the extras. Oh well! It was a good run and who knows maybe I’ll sneak in one more. So, for my possible last pumpkin recipe of 2020 I bring you Pumpkin Sugar Cookies. A nice twist on the traditional sugar cookie.

I was a bit skeptical about these cookies when I saw the recipe. Mainly because they seemed to easy to be good, but I was wrong. They came together super quick and only required a short time in the refrigerator to chill the dough before scooping it and rolling it in sugar before baking. And yes, they are slightly orange thanks to the addition of pumpkin puree in the dough, but you know you are getting authentic pumpkin flavor here and not just pumpkin pie spice.

Pumpkin Sugar Cookies

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups sugar, plus more for rolling

2 1/2 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

14 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 egg yolk

1/2 cup pumpkin puree

 

Directions:

In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Set aside.

In a large bowl combine the butter and sugar and beat with a hand mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add in the yolk, then vanilla extract and finally pumpkin. Continue mixing until the ingredients are well combined.

With the mixer on low, slowly add the flour to the butter mixture and continue mixing until the two mixtures are well combined. Refrigerate the dough for 20* minutes.

While the dough is in the refrigerator preheat the oven to 350 F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Add sugar to a small bowl.

Once the dough has chilled, use a cookie scoop to scoop the dough. Roll into a smooth ball and then roll in the sugar before placing on the prepared cookies sheets. Place the cookies 2-inches apart and flatten slightly before placing in the oven for 15 minutes.

Let the cookies cool on the pan for two minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Store in an airtight container.

Recipe from Wine and Glue

Chocolate Peppermint Chunk Cookies

Today we are celebrating Christmas in July with Ghirardelli’s Chocolate Peppermint Chunk Cookies. I always pick up a few bags of Ghirardelli’s Peppermint Chunks during the holiday season and I always end up with one stray bag that I don’t use. I am sad to say that sometimes it ends up getting tossed in the trash because I don’t use it before the expiration date, but, this year I made it a point to use it and to try out the recipe on the back of the package… their Chocolate Peppermint Chunk Cookies.

Before we get to the cookies though a little history on where Christmas in July came from.  You might quickly just think that it’s the halfway point to Christmas, but, it’s not, that would be back in June.

According to legend, Christmas in July dates back to 1933 at Keystone Camp in Brevard, North Carolina. They decided to dedicate two days (July 24th & 25th) to the holiday with fake snow, a tree, gift exchange and of course Santa. In the 1940’s there was the movie “Christmas In July”. The plot, a man’s coworkers prank him into thinking he won a $25,000 cash prize. He ends up going on a shopping spree and finally proposes to his girlfriend. By the 1950’s retailers got in on the action. I wonder if this was the catalyst to many people starting (and some completing) their Christmas shopping during the summer months. Nowadays Amazon Prime has their Prime Day in July, unfortunately due to Covid-19 this year it will be held in the Fall. Speaking of shopping this year, I was watching the news last week and there was a segment on the best things to buy during the month of July and at the end of it the two reporters began to discuss when a good time to start Christmas shopping is and they agreed that now might be the best time since there’s no way of knowing what the situation will be come the Fall/Winter. There is that possibility that stores will be closed again, and shipping times may be delayed again.

Even television has gotten in on the action. Hallmark channel takes full advantage and airs their original Christmas movies across their networks, and it coincides with the release of their Keepsake Ornaments in their stores. I won’t lie, I have been enjoying my fair share of Christmas movies these past few weeks.

I always have the great idea to make my Christmas cards during the month of July as a way of celebrating and to have one thing off my list come the holidays. But it never happens. I came close this year. I had a design all picked out and I started working on them, but quickly decided I didn’t like them. So, it’s back to the drawing board. Maybe I can get another design narrowed down by the end of the month. I got an email the other day with the top 10 reasons as to why you should start preparing for Christmas now and it makes total sense. Especially if you make handmade items and you do a lot of baking.

And now, back to the cookies. One thing I like about this recipe is that it’s only for 2 dozen cookies. Sometimes you need 3 or 4 dozen cookies and other times, you just don’t. Granted, these wouldn’t be great for a cookie swap, but they are the perfect amount for a get together with friends or to snack on while you are decorating your home for the holidays. And they are the perfect combination of peppermint and chocolate, without the peppermint being to overpowering even with those huge chunks!

Merry Christmas in July!

 

Ghirardelli Chocolate Peppermint Chunk Cookies

  • Servings: 24 Cookies
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Ingredients:

1 cup Ghirardelli 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Baking Chips

1 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

1 cup light brown sugar

2 eggs, at room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 10oz. bag Ghirardelli Peppermint Chunks

 

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

Melt the bittersweet chocolate chips in the microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring between each until completely melted. Set aside to cool.

Sift together the flour, baking soda & salt in a medium bowl.

In a separate bowl cream together the butter and sugar using a hand mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Add in the cooled melted chocolate and vanilla extract and continue mixing until well combined. Fold in the flour mixture and stir in the peppermint chunks.

Using a cookie scoop, scoop the cookie dough onto the prepared cookies sheets about 2 inches apart.

Bake in the preheated oven for 9 minutes, do not overbake. The cookies should be soft and fudgy. Let them cook on the cookie sheets for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Lemon Oatmeal Sugar Cookies

These cookies have a little bit of everything. A nice light lemon flavor, a tad bit of oatmeal and the soft chewiness of a sugar cookie. While they are perfect for the warmer months ahead, they would also be a nice addition to your holiday cookie baking. Since I wasn’t sure how they were going to taste, I halved the recipe and ended up baking only 24 cookies. Big mistake! These cookies were such a hit I should have baked the full amount. But just in case you don’t need 48 cookies, you can easily halve the recipe below.

Lemon Oatmeal Sugar Cookies

  • Servings: 4 Dozen Cookies
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Ingredients:

1 cup butter, at room temperature

2 cups sugar

2 large eggs, at room temperature

2 teaspoons grated lemon zest

3 tablespoons lemon juice

2 3/4 cups flour

1 cup quick-cooking oats*

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

Additional sugar to roll the cookies

*Can also use old-fashion oats

 

Directions:

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

In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, oats, baking powder and salt and set aside.

In a large bowl, using a handheld mixer on medium speed cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, lemon zest and lemon juice. Gradually add in the flour mixture.

Pour additional sugar into a small bowl. Use a cookie scoop to scoop the dough and then roll in the sugar and then place on the prepared cookie sheets. Using the bottom of a glass flatten the cookie about halfway down.

Bake in the preheated oven for 10-12 minutes, or until the edges are beginning to brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Recipe slightly modified from Taste of Home

DoubleTree Chocolate Chip Cookies

Truth be told there’s nothing like a perfectly baked chocolate chip cookie! It’s comforting and familiar. And if you’ve ever stayed at a DoubleTree Hotel you more than likely have been welcomed by their signature chocolate chip cookie, I know I have. Last month they finally made the recipe for their iconic cookie available so at-home bakers can bake up a batch themselves to find some comfort in these crazy & unfortunate times.

There are quite a few reasons to love these cookies. First and foremost they are delicious. They only require 1 bowl (no need for mixing the dry ingredients separately and then incorporating it into the dough) and they have walnuts! I love chocolate chip cookies with walnuts!

As I mentioned they only require 1 bowl. So, I began by creaming together the butter with the sugars and then adding in the eggs, vanilla and lemon juice. Yes, you read that right. Lemon juice in a chocolate chip cookie. Don’t worry, the cookies will not have a lemon flavor whatsoever, what the lemon does do is brighten the flavor of the cookie. I continued mixing until the dough was light and fluffy. Next, I added in the dry ingredients – flour, oats, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. After mixing the dough on low to incorporate these ingredients I then used a rubber spatula to fold in the chocolate chips and walnuts.

Now, these cookies aren’t your typical chocolate chip cookies that use about a tablespoon of dough, these require about 3 tablespoons of dough. I ended up using an ice cream scoop to scoop the dough. Since my ice cream scoop is slightly more than 3 tablespoons I ended up with less cookies than the recipe indicated; 20 as opposed to 26. I placed the mounds of cookie dough on parchment lined baking sheets 2 inches apart.

I then baked them for 20 minutes in a 300 F preheated oven and once I removed them from the oven I placed the baking sheet on a wire rack for an hour so the cookies could cool right on the sheets. The cookies were golden brown around the edges and quite soft in the middle when I removed them from the oven, but, as they cooled they firmed up nicely.

Once cooled it was time to enjoy them. And they definitely did not disappoint. I know I will be baking these cookies up for years to come. Also, they are sturdy and large enough that they could be the base for the perfect ice cream sandwich.

 

DoubleTree Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • Servings: 26 Cookies
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Ingredients:

2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature

3/4 cup + 1 tablespoon sugar

3/4 cup light brown sugar

2 large eggs

1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 1/4 cups flour

1/2 cup rolled oats*

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt**

Pinch of cinnamon

2 2/3 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips***

1 3/4 cups chopped walnuts

 

*These are the old-fashioned oats, not the quick-cooking ones

**I used kosher salt

***This is about 16 oz. of chocolate chips

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 300 F. Line three baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

In a large bowl cream together the butter and both sugars using a handheld mixer on medium speed for about 2 minutes.

Add the eggs, vanilla and lemon juice to the butter mixture and mix on low for 30 seconds and then on medium speed for 2 minutes, or until the mixture is light and fluffy.

Add the flour, oats, baking soda, salt and cinnamon to the mixture and beat on low speed for 45 seconds. Don’t overmix.

Stir in the chocolate chips and walnuts using a wooden spoon or rubber spatula.

Portion the dough with a scoop (about 3 tablespoons) onto the prepared baking sheets about 2 inches apart.

Bake in the preheated oven for 20 to 23 minutes, or until the edges of the cookies are golden brown and the center of the cookie is still soft.

Remove the cookies from the oven and place the sheet on a wire rack to cool for 1 hour.

Recipe from Hilton

 

Black & White Cookies

Black & White Cookies… The perfect cookie for those individuals who cannot decide between vanilla and chocolate. And also for those who prefer a cakey cookie instead of crunchy or crispy one. I attempted to make Black & White Cookies a few years ago and it was a fail. Granted, I decided to be a bit adventurous and instead of making traditional ones I opted to make a red velvet version. But, once the cookies were done baking and cooled I decided to try one before going through the trouble of making the icing and it tasted horrible. Needless to say those cookies got tossed in the trash and the icing wasn’t made. And since I am not a big fan of icing on cookies I never thought again of attempting to make them. A few months ago while spending the day with my oldest niece we saw Black & White Cookies at a bakery and she casually mentioned to me that she liked those cookies. Being the auntie that I am I told her that I would make her some. I just needed to find a recipe that wouldn’t be a fail again. Before turning to Google to do a search for a decent recipe I decided to scour some of my cookbooks. There was one book in particular that I was sure I would find a no-fail traditional Black & White Cookie recipe, Martha Stewart’s Cookies Cookbook . And I was right. In there was a recipe for a mini version of this classic bakery cookie.

The cookie itself doesn’t require any special ingredients, well, unless you count buttermilk, but, since it’s so easy to make your own at home with just milk (I use whole milk) and white vinegar the ingredient list is filled with things you more than likely already have in your pantry. Back to the buttermilk for a second, if your skeptical about making it at home and think it’s best to buy the real deal I can assure you that after making my own for quite some time now and using it in recipes that I used to buy buttermilk for I haven’t noticed any difference with the finished product.

The dough for the cookies came together pretty quickly and while the recipe I was following stated to roll the cookies into balls before dropping them onto the prepared cookie sheets, the dough was just too sticky to do so. Instead I used a cookie scoop to scoop and drop the dough onto the sheets. I then baked them for about 10 minutes until the bottoms were a golden brown.

Once the cookies were cooled – and I tried one to make sure it tasted good – I made the icing. In a medium bowl I combined the ingredients to make the icing and then transferred half of it to a small bowl to add cocoa powder to it. While the consistency for the white icing was spot on, once I added cocoa powder to the other half it was much too thick to be able to spread onto the cookies so I added a few teaspoons of water to it to thin it out. Working on the flat sides of the cookies, I spread the white icing on half of each of the cookies.

I waited a minute or two for the icing to set and then I spread the chocolate icing on the other side of each of the cookies.

And while my cookies didn’t come out looking perfectly they tasted awesome!

Mini Black & White Cookies

  • Servings: About 24 Cookies
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Ingredients:

Cookies:

1 1/4 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/2 cup sugar

1 large egg

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/3 cup buttermilk*

 

Icing:

2 cups confectioners’ sugar

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon light corn syrup

2 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon water

1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder

 

*I made my own buttermilk by combining 1/3 cup whole milk with 2 teaspoons white vinegar in a measuring cup. I stirred to combine the two and then let it stand for 10 to 15 minutes. The buttermilk will be ready when mixture begins to curdle.

 

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In medium bowl sift together the dry ingredients (flour, baking soda salt) and set aside.

In a large bowl, using an electric hand mixer, mix the butter until creamy. Add the sugar and continue mixing until the mixture is fluffy. Add in the egg and the 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla and continue mixing until well incorporated. Mix in the flour in 3 batches, alternating with the buttermilk.

Using a small cookie scoop, scoop the dough and place it on the prepared cookie sheets 2 inches apart. Bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes, or until the bottom of the cookies turn golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

While the cookies cool make the icing. In a medium bowl combine the confectioners’ sugar, corn syrup, lemon juice, remaining 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract and the tablespoon of water. Mix together until the mixture is smooth. If the mixture is too thick add more water, a little at a time (the icing should be a bit thicker than the consistency of honey). Transfer half of the mixture to a small bowl and stir in the unsweetened cocoa powder. Once again, if the mixture is too thick thin with water.

Once the cookies are completely cooled, spread the white icing on half of the flat side of each cookie and the spread the cocoa icing on the other half. Let the cookies rest for 30 minutes so the icing can set and then enjoy!

Recipe from Martha Stewart

Valentine’s Day Cookies

While I enjoy decorating cakes one thing I rarely do is decorate cookies. Around the holidays I always have this grand idea of making sugar cookies and decorating them with royal icing. I actually have a mitten shaped cookie cutter that I have been meaning to use for the past two Christmases to make decorated cookies and it just hasn’t happened. Part of the reason is that I run out of time and the other part is that I am not fond of royal icing. I think it goes back to when I was taking Wilton decorator classes and one of the courses involved making flowers with royal icing. While I liked that the flowers would harden because of the royal icing, which meant you could make them ahead of time to decorate with them later, I just didn’t like the way my flowers looked. And I found working with the royal icing to be a bit of a headache. You have to keep it covered so it doesn’t harden and so forth. Because of all these little things I just avoid it. It’s actually been years since I’ve made royal icing, but, I decided that this year I wanted to make Valentine’s Day cookies that were decorated not just with sprinkles.

I began by making sugar cookies (I also made a batch of Gingerbread Cookies that you can see in the pics as well). I actually took a major shortcut in making the cookies. I purchased Pillsbury’s Sugar Cookie Dough, the one that comes in a roll not the pre-cut ones, and per the instructions on the wrapper I kneaded in flour before rolling the dough out on a floured surface. I then used a heart-shaped cookie cutter to cut out the cookies. I placed them on a parchment-lined cookie sheet and placed them in the refrigerator for a few minutes before baking them. I was hoping that chilling the cookies for a few minutes would help the cookies keep their shape while baking – cold cookies don’t spread as much while baking. Unfortunately this wasn’t the case. Some of my hearts ended up looking like circles or wonky shaped hearts. The two arches at the top weren’t as noticeable as I hoped they would be. I just figured I would make them look like hearts by decorating them. I ended up reading some reviews about the cookie dough and quite a few of them were negative and expressed what I had experienced. The dough spread way too much while baking. Oh well, I know for next time.

While the cookies were cooling I made a batch of royal icing. I removed about 1/2 cup of the icing and transferred it to a piping bag fitted with a small round tip. I then added in 2 tablespoons more water to the remaining icing to thin it to a syrup consistency. I then removed half of it and transferred it to another piping bag fitted with a small round tip and tinted the remaining icing a light pink and then transferred it to another bag, with, you guessed it, another small round tip. I used the thicker consistency icing to pipe the outline of the hearts on each cookie. After letting that set for a few minutes I then used the thinner consistency to flood the cookies. I didn’t go too crazy with my decorating. I piped horizontal lines in the contrasting color on some of the cookies and made a heart design in other. For both, I piped the secondary color on the icing while the first one was still wet this way the icing would dry together and be smooth. To create the heart designs I piped dots onto the cookies and then used a toothpick to drag a vertical line down the center of the dots. If you want to create a 3-D design on your cookies wait until the flooded icing dries and then pipe whatever design you would like onto the cookies.

I must say, decorating these cookies with royal icing was a lot easier than I remember it being. Or it could be that I find it easier compared to some of the cake decorating I do. I remember when I first started baking making some things seemed so daunting. Just last week I was working on a cake. I had just finished filling and crumb coating it and was about to make another batch of frosting to decorate it when I realized I had a major fail so I had to toss the cake and start over. I was able to bake and decorate another 3-layer 9-inch cake in just a few short hours. Thankfully I didn’t freak out and was able to manage my time to get it done. Had this been a few years ago I wouldn’t have been so calm.

So, will I attempt to make cookies decorated with royal icing again? Absolutely! Although next time I will be making the sugar cookies from scratch or possibly using a store-bought mix I only have to add a few ingredients to in hopes that they will keep their shape better. My gingerbread ones baked up perfectly, but, I also had made the dough a few weeks back and then rolled, cut and froze them until I was ready to bake them.

Cookie Palooza: Chocolate Dipped Shortbread Cookies

I hope you have enjoyed this year’s Cookie Palooza cookies. Today I am bringing you a no bake option for those of you who are not fond of baking, just don’t have the time, just don’t want to but have somehow got roped into “baking” something and everyone else in between. It’s a shortbread cookie dipped in chocolate and then sprinkled with either jimmies, nonpareils or crushed candy canes.

I opted to use two different types of shortbread cookies… Pepperidge Farm’s Shortbread cookies (which I had some trouble finding, I am wondering if they are only available around the holidays) and Keebler’s Sandies Classic Shortbread Cookies (I found these in the cookie aisle at my local supermarket.

I melted 8 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate using the double boiler method (fill a pot with a few inches of water and then place it on the stove over medium heat, place a bowl over the water making sure the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the bottom of the pot, and then fill the bowl with the chocolate) I normally melt my chocolate in the microwave, but, have decided to switch back to doing it on the stove since there is less of a risk of burning the chocolate and truthfully it works just as quick. Once the chocolate had melted I stirred in a tablespoon of shortening to keep it smooth.

To prep my workspace I placed the melted chocolate on a trivet, poured the sprinkles and crushed candy canes into small bowls and lined two large cookie sheet with wax paper. And then I was ready to start dipping.

I dipped half of each cookie into the melted chocolate then placed it on the prepared cookie sheet and then topped it with either the sprinkles or the candy. Once the sheet was full I placed it in the refrigerator for a few minutes so the chocolate could harden.

Once the chocolate was set I arranged the cookies on a platter. These would be the perfect addition to any dessert table, as a gift wrapped in cellophane, or just to snack on while you are getting your last minute decorations or wrapping done.

And while I went with sprinkles and crushed candy canes to decorate the cookies, you could also do chopped nuts, crushed pretzels, or drizzle the chocolate part with more chocolate in another color.

If you’re looking for more no-bake options click on the links for the cookies below…

Peppermint Chocolate Cookies

Cannoli Wafer Sandwich Cookie 

Hope you have enjoyed this year’s Cookie Palooza. Happy Baking!

Chocolate Dipped Shortbread Cookies

  • Servings: 30 cookies
  • Print

Ingredients:

8 oz. semi-sweet chocolate*

1 tbsp. shortening

Shortbread Cookies**

Assorted toppings: sprinkles, crushed candy canes, chopped nuts, crushed pretzels

 

*You can use baking bars or chocolate chips, I used a combination of both

**I used 1 package of of Keebler’s Sandies Shortbread Cookies (about 20 cookies) & 1 package of Pepperidge Farm Shortbread Cookies (12 cookies)

 

Directions:

Line two large baking sheets with wax paper and set aside.

Pour your toppings into individual small bowls to make them easily accessible.

Melt the chocolate using your preferred method. If using a double boiler stir the chocolate as it melts from the bottom. If using the microwave, microwave the chocolate in 15 second intervals until melted, stirring between each. Once melted add in the shortening and stir to incorporate.

Dip half of each cookie in the melted chocolate then place on the prepared baking sheet and sprinkle with your desired topping. Place the cookies in the refrigerator for 15-20 minutes until the chocolate is firm. Enjoy!

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