Cookie Palooza: Cranberry Pecan Chocolate Chip Cookies

Welcome to day 4 of Cookie Palooza. Today’s cookie is basically a kitchen sink cookie. Don’t worry, there are no food scraps in this cookie, but, there are a bunch of add-ins, hence the kitchen sink analogy. There are pecans, dried cranberries, semi-sweet chocolate chips, milk chocolate chips, oatmeal and coconut. And while I know many people are not a fan of coconut (it seems people either love it or hate it) don’t fear, this cookie does not have a coconut flavor. The coconut adds texture to the cookie. And I am sure I may have lost some of you already as I know people are not always fond of a cookie with texture, especially a cookie like this that already has so much going on, but, trust me, all of the ingredients work so well together you will forget that there may be an ingredient or two you don’t like. Unless you have an allergy to one of them of course.

I got this recipe from Food Network’s 50 Chocolate Chip Cookies, and while there were quite a few among those 50 that sounded yummy I opted to make this one because it reminded me of another cookie I like to make around the holidays, a White Chocolate Chip Cranberry Cookie, that I just realized I have never posted about. I’ll have to do that this holiday season as I am sure I will be making it again. Something I did realize though going through some old posts, I need to stop taking pictures at night. Unfortunately I do a lot of baking at night, but, I will have to refrain from taking picture then because they just do not post well.

The recipe called for 1/4 cupfuls of dough (about an ice cream scoop size) to make about 10 cookies, I opted to use a cookie scoop to make mine. Which yielded about 30 cookies. A nice amount to gift or to have on hand for a holiday guests.

 

 

Cranberry Pecan Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups flour

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

10 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 cup brown sugar

1 large egg, at room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

2/3 cup milk chocolate chips

2/3 cup old fashioned oats

2/3 cup sweetened shredded coconut

2/3 cup dried cranberries

2/3 cup chopped pecans

 

Directions:

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

Whisk the flour, baking soda and salt together in a medium bowl and set aside.

In a large bowl beat the butter and sugar with a mixer on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg and vanilla. Reduce the speed to low and beat in the flour mixture until just combined. Stir in the remaining ingredients.

Using a cookie scoop, drop the dough 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until set around the edges. Let cool for 10 minutes on the cookie sheets then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Recipe from Food Network

Cookie Palooza: Bakery Style Butter Sandwich Cookies

Welcome to Day 2 of Cookie Palooza 2018! Today I am bringing you a traditional butter bakery cookie. Not the round ones covered in sprinkles, but the long sandwich ones that are filled with jam, dipped in chocolate and then rolled in sprinkles. YUM! It’s actually one of my favorite cookies, but it wasn’t always. I used to buy a package of butter cookies from my local Costco and I would always eat the round ones with the sprinkles from the package, leaving the sandwich ones for my parents to eat. Then one day I tried them and realized that they tasted much better than the other ones. Unfortunately Costco changed their supplier and the new ones they carry do not taste half as good. They taste more artificial. Thankfully this homemade version fills the void.

You may be slightly intimidated to make these cookies, but don’t be. They are super simple and don’t require any special ingredients. The hardest part is squeezing the dough out of the piping bag onto the prepared baking sheet. But after a few squeezes the dough softens up and it becomes easier and you soon get the hang of it. Using a Wilton 6B Tip I piped the dough into 2-inch pieces on a parchment lined cookie sheet. To end the dough for each cookie you can cut them with a knife or scissors. What I did is a little harder explain. I kind of nudged the tip into the cookie sheet to end it. I tried using a knife and it just wasn’t working for me. After you have piped all of your cookies bake them in a 350 F preheated oven for about 12 minutes. Let them cool completely and then the fun begins, the assembling.

Before assembling I did my best to par up similar sized cookies. If they were off a little in length I dipped the mismatched end in the melted chocolate so no one would be the wiser. Next, I filled a piping bag with about half a cup of seedless raspberry jam to a piping bag (you could also use a small sandwich bag) and snipped off a small piece of the end. I piped a single line of jam down the center of one half of each cookie. I didn’t want to add too much jam as I didn’t want the jam to ooze out of the sides once the cookie was pressed together.

Once I had all of my cookies sandwiches together I melted a bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips in the microwave in a deep enough bowl that would allow me to dip the cookies at least a third of the way in. To ensure that I didn’t scorch the chocolate, I melted it at 30 second intervals and stirred between each. Once the chocolate was about 3/4 quarters of the way melted I continued stirring it to melt the rest of it. You could also melt the chocolate in a small saucepan on your stovetop if you choose. Just keep an eye on it so it doesn’t burn. In a shallow bowl I poured out some sprinkles- you will need a decent amount. I also lined two baking sheets with wax paper to place the cookies once they were decorated. I began by dipping a cookie in the chocolate, allowing the excess to drip off. I actually used a knife to wipe off some of the excess. If you leave too much chocolate on the sprinkles will just slide off. Next I rolled the cookie in the sprinkles and placed it on the prepared baking sheet. Once I was done I placed the baking sheets in the refrigerator for a few minutes so the chocolate could set.

And there you have it…. Easy to make fancy bakery cookies that will impress everyone you share them with!

Butter Sandwich Cookies

Ingredients:

2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature

2/3 cup sugar

2 large egg yolks

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 cups flour

Filling & Decorating:

1/2 cup jam (flavor of your choice)

1 cup sprinkles

12 ounce bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions:

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

Combine the butter and sugar in a large bowl and beat on medium speed with a hand mixer until well combined. Add the egg yolks, vanilla extract and salt and beat until combined, scraping the bowl as necessary. Add the flour and mix until just combined. Fit a star tip with a 1/2-inch opening on a piping bag and snip off the end. Transfer the batter to the bag.

Pipe the dough into 2 inch long segments about 1 inch apart on the prepared baking sheet. You can use a knife or scissor to cut the pieces. Bake the cookies for 11 to 13 minutes, until they are golden at the edges.

Let them cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Set aside the parchment lined baking sheets.

Place the jam in a sandwich bag (or another piping bag) and place the sprinkles in a shallow dish.

Once the cookies are cool, flip half of them over and snip a small corner of the jam filled bag. Squeeze a little jam down the center of each flipped cookie. Don’t squeeze too much jam on the cookies as you don’t want it to ooze out when sandwiched. Top with the other half of the cookie.

Melt the chocolate chips in the microwave or a small saucepan until they are three-quarters of the way melted and then stir to melt it completely. Place the chocolate in a bowl deep enough for dipping the cookies about a third of the way in. Dip the sandwiched cookies into the melted chocolate, letting the excess drip off, and then roll in the sprinkles. Place on the baking sheet. Once all cookies have been decorated place the cookie sheets in the refrigerator so the chocolate can set.

Recipe from Smitten Kitchen

Happy Holidays!

How was your Thanksgiving? Mine was good… Surrounded by loved ones, delicious food and sweet-tooth satisfying desserts. Of course, I did my fair share of baking… Key Lime Pie, Pumpkin-Brownie Swirl Pie, Pumpkin Pie, a Pumpkin Tiramisu Cake and the below Pear Cranberry Pie, just to name a few things.

 

I’ll admit that I took some major shortcuts when it came to making the crust for this pie. First off, I used a frozen deep dish pie crust as the base and for the lattice pattern I used refrigerated pie crust that I cut into strips to weave and braid and then added a decorative border with leaf cut-outs. I decided to brush the pie with milk prior to baking – I usually use an egg, but, after all of the baking I did I was feeling lazy and didn’t feel like cracking and whisking an egg – so I made sure to dab a little milk under the leaf border so to that the leaves and the lattice and braided strips would adhere to the crust. One other thing to note, I let the frozen crust sit out at room temperature for a few minutes after filling it so that it would be easier for my top crust stick to it. As for the filling, if you’ve never had pear pie you should definitely try one. For me, pear pie isn’t as sweet as apple pie and while I do bake a lot I actually don’t like things that are overly sweet. If you want the best of both worlds, try this Brown Butter & Vanilla Pear Pie I made last year for Thanksgiving. While the filling consists mainly of pears, there is 1 apple in the mix. As for the recipe for this or, I got it from the premiere issues of Magnolia Journal last year. You can find the recipe here.

Now that Thanksgiving is over I am looking forward to Christmas and New Year’s. I can’t believe how quickly the year has flown by. Fourth of July honestly feels like it was just a few short weeks ago, but, it was more like 5 long months ago. Today marks my three-month anniversary at my new job, oh yeah, I never mentioned that, I got a new job. I was working part-time before but I am now working full-time, which has given me some challenges when it comes to writing blog posts and sometimes baking, but, not really. I can always squeeze in some time for baking.

Next week I will be bringing you my 3rd annual Cookie Palooza… Hopefully you’ll try at least one of the recipes and just maybe it will become one of your staples. One of the cookies is actually one I am planning on making and gifting later this month, oops, later next month – we are still in November. I kind of like that Thanksgiving was early this year. I feel like it cuts down on the panic of realizing that the next set of holidays are just around the corner. Although, I was at Walmart a few weeks ago and seeing people shopping for what seemed like Christmas gifts already had me panicking a bit. Like I was short on time to get things done. Yikes! I have to-do lists everywhere I look.

The second week in December I am bringing you something new… A Holiday Cake Week. The idea came about last year when I never seemed to get the time to post about a Yule Log Cake I made and then some Snickerdoodle Cupcakes I made. So, I figured I would save the write-up for both and create a special week for them this year. Rounding out the five is a Pull-Apart Cupcake Christmas Wreath, a Rum Cake and a Rainbow Cookie Cake. Yum!

So, sit back, enjoy this last month of the year and don’t forget to indulge in some delicious treats. ‘Tis the season!

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
  • Print

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