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!

Cookie Palooza: Sea Salt Chocolate Chip Cookies

Over the summer I went to a pop-up shop celebrating Kitchen Aid’s 100th anniversary. While there I got to try different treats, saw a life-sized Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer (unfortunately it was just for show), got a free customized tote bag and stocked up on recipe cards. One of the recipes is today’s Cookie Palooza cookie… A Sea Salt Chocolate Chip Cookie.

If you are hoping for a sweet and salty cookie I am sorry to disappoint you but that’s not what you are getting with this cookie. What you do get is a cookie that is thick, chocolatey and perfect for any add-ins. I love walnuts in my chocolate chip cookies and this would be the perfect chocolate chip cookie for just that. And while this recipe is not ideal for cookie swaps since its only 12 cookies, it’s perfect for gift giving in a festive holiday tin.

A few things to note about these cookies. The original recipe called for smoked sea salt, I searched and couldn’t find smoked sea salt so I opted to use regular sea salt. I did come across sour sea salt which had me wondering what recipe would call for that. I also swapped out using chopped semi-sweet with chocolate chips. I used Ghirardelli chocolate chips since I knew theirs were a tad bit bigger than Nestle’s Toll House, although, if you can find these Nestle Toll House Chocolate Chunks they would be perfect.

 

Sea Salt Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • Servings: 12 cookies
  • Print

Ingredients:

1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/4 cup dark brown sugar

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups flour

3/4 teaspoons baking soda

3/4 teaspoons sea salt*

1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips**

3/4 cups chopped walnuts (optional)

 

*Original recipe called for smoked sea salt

**Original recipe called for 8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped

 

Directions:

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

Add butter and sugars to a large bowl and beat on medium speed with a hand mixer until the mixture is smooth. Add in the egg and vanilla extract and continue mixing until well blended.

Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and beat on low until just combined. Add in the chocolate chips and walnuts (if using) and continue mixing on low speed until just combined. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper. Using a 1/4 cup measuring cup (or a trigger ice cream scoop) scoop the dough* and place it on the prepared cookie sheets. Bake for 12-15 minutes until the cookies are set and no longer shiny on top. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

*You may have to let the dough sit at room temperature for a few minutes before scooping.

Recipe from Yummly / KitchenAid

Cookie Palooza: Cinnamon Chip Chai-Spiced Snickerdoodles

Welcome to Cookie Palooza 2019. For the past couple of years I have dedicated the first week of December to bringing you cookie recipes that would be a perfect addition to your cookie swaps, dessert tables, office parties, get togethers and so forth for the holidays. This year I have a fun batch of cookies to bring you, starting with a nice twist on your traditional snickerdoodle. A Cinnamon Chip Chai-Spiced Snickerdoodle. If you can’t find cinnamon chips in your neck of the woods, the only brand I’ve come across that sells them is Hershey’s, it’s totally okay to leave them out. These cookies will still be delish thanks to the homemade chai-spiced sugar that’s added to the dough and that the cookie is rolled in prior to baking.

After making the dough I refrigerated it for at least an hour so it could firm up. The dough will be too soft to handle otherwise and what will ultimately happen is that the cookies will spread too much during baking or they will be a mess when trying to roll in the sugar.

Once the dough was firm enough I used a cookie scoop to scoop the dough and rolled it between my hands to round it off before rolling it in the spiced sugar. I then placed the dough on cookie sheets that I covered with parchment paper. After baking the cookies for about 11 minutes I removed them from the over and transferred them to a wire rack to cool completely. Don’t worry if you think the cookies are too soft, they will harden as they cool. One thing to note, the recipe states the dough will make 6 dozen cookies, but, I was only able to get 4 dozen out of it. I thought maybe my dough balls were larger than the 1-inch mentioned in the recipe but, I measured them and they were just about 1-inch.

I’ll just say, if you love chai tea you are going to love these cookies. Thanks to rolling the cookies in the spiced sugar every part of the cookie will have the flavors of the spices. Warm spices that are perfect for this time of year.

Cinnamon Chip Chai-Spiced Snickerdoodles

  • Servings: 4 Dozen Cookies
  • Print

Ingredients:

Chai-Spiced Sugar

1/2 cup sugar

2 teaspoons cardamom

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ginger

1/2 teaspoon cloves

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

 

Dough:

1/2 cup butter, at room temperature

1/2 cup shortening

1 cup sugar

2 large eggs, at room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 3/4 cups flour

2 teaspoons cream of tartar

1 teaspoon baking soda

Pinch of salt

1 10 oz. bag cinnamon baking chips

 

Directions:

Combine the ingredients for the spiced sugar in a medium bowl and set aside.

In a large bowl cream together the butter, shortening, sugar, and 2 tablespoons of the spiced sugar using a hand mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in the vanilla extract and eggs.

In another bowl combine the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt and whisk together.

Gradually beat the flour mixture into the butter mixture until well combined. Stir in the cinnamon baking chips.

Cover the bowl and refrigerate until the dough is firm enough to shape, about 1 hour.

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

Once the dough is firm, using a cookie scoop scoop the dough and shape into balls. Roll the dough into the remaining spiced sugar and then placed on the prepared cookie sheet. Leave space between each as the cookies will spread while baking.

Bake for 11-13 minutes, until the cookie starts to set around the edges. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Recipe from Taste of Home

Freezing Cookie Dough

I knew I would be pressed for time this year when it came to baking cookies for Christmas, so, I decided to do something I’ve never done before and was always skeptical of doing… freezing cookie dough. I normally have a good day or two to bake, but, the way things are falling this year I am only going to have one good full day to bake all of my cookies and I just knew that it wouldn’t be enough time due to the fact that I have a few other things to take care of that day as well. So, currently there are about 6 or 7 different batches of drop cookies in my freezer along with the dough for these Checkerboard Cookies . And, there is also a batch of Gingerbread People ready to be popped in the oven. I also went out and purchased some extra-large baking sheets. I am sure you have seen them, the Wilton Mega-Sized Baking Sheet. As you can tell, I am serious about baking these cookies in record time.

So, let’s talk about freezing cookie dough. Were or are some of you skeptical like me about it? Or, is it something you have been doing for years and are shocked to read my apprehension about it? The best cookies to freeze are drop cookies and slice and bake cookies. You can also freeze the dough for roll out cookies (sugar cookies, gingerbread people, etc.), but, I would suggest rolling out the dough and cutting it into your desired shapes first and then freezing it. That’s exactly what I did with the Gingerbread ones. Using a freezer-safe container, I lined it with two pieces of plastic wrap lengthwise and widthwise leaving a few inches of overhang. I layered the cookies in the containers making sure they were flat and placed a piece of parchment paper between each layer and on the top layer. Once filled, I wrapped the plastic wrap over the top layer making sure to press out any air. Topped the container with the cover and placed it in the freezer. You could freeze the entire disk of dough as well, but, I personally think that the time spent waiting for it to defrost would be better spent just making the dough to use immediately. My plan for these is to let them thaw a little and then press mini M&M’s into them before baking and then ultimately decorating them with royal icing.

 

Back to the drop cookies and slice and bake variety…. For the drop cookies I simply made the dough, rolled the dough into balls (scooping it with a cookie scoop) and then placed it on a baking sheet. Since the dough was going in the freezer and not in the oven I was able to place the dough really close together on the baking sheet. I just made sure none of them were touching which could ultimately lead to them freezing together. I then placed the sheet in the freezer for a few hours until the dough was thoroughly frozen. Once frozen, I transferred the dough to a freezer-safe plastic zip bag. I labeled the outside of the bag with the type of cookie it was. Since I wasn’t planning on leaving it in the freezer too long I opted not to include the date, oven temperature and baking time on the bag as well. The suggested length of time for leaving dough in the freezer is 3 months. I actually baked a batch of one of the cookies this weekend and I am happy to say it was a success. To bake them, I placed the dough on a parchment lined baking sheet 1 to 2 inches apart and increase the suggested baking time by 1 to 2 minutes to account for the dough being frozen. The cookies baked perfectly and tasted like I had just made the dough that morning. That’s really what my fear was (and still is to a certain extent), that the cookies will somehow have a weird flavor from the dough being frozen.

 

For the slice and bake cookies, you can follow your directions and form the dough into a log, wrap it in a few layers of plastic wrap, place it in a freezer-safe bag that has been labeled and then freeze it. It’s not necessary to refrigerate the dough prior to freezing as most slice and bake cookies require prior to slicing. To bake these cookies, let the dough sit at room temperature unwrapped for 10 to 15 minutes. The dough should feel cold to the touch, but soft enough that you will be able to slice it. Slice and bake per the directions, once again adding an additional minute or two to the time.

Since my test batch was a success I am little less unnerved by the process. Fingers crossed I will still be singing high praises come Sunday when I bake quite a few more batches.

Cookie Palooza: Key Lime Crinkles

How about some crinkles for Mr. Kringle? Sorry for corniness, but, I couldn’t resist. While crinkles are customarily a chocolate cookie I decided to switch things up a bit and bring you Key Lime Crinkles for the last cookie of Cookie Palooza week. And in case you didn’t know, crinkles are a drop cookie that is rolled in confectioners’ sugar prior to baking. The sugar draws moisture out of the cookie while it’s baking allowing the cookie to crack and dry out. Leaving the exterior of the cookie with a bit of a crust and the interior soft and yummy. This key lime version is a great cookie for someone who wants something sweet but not with all the decadence of chocolate.

The search for these cookies came about because I recently asked some friends what cookie they wanted for Christmas and one friend said rugelach and a key lime pie. So, I started searching for key lime cookies since I wasn’t planning on making a pie during my weekend of cookie baking in a few weeks. The first cookie I came across was a thumbprint cookie that actually has a key lime filling, I was all set to make that one for Christmas and then I came across this recipe and decided that I would share this recipe with you as my final cookie for Cookie Palooza week. While I normally share a no-bake cookie as my final cookie, I just couldn’t find one this year that I liked 100%. My friend who wants the key lime pie tried these and he said that while they are good and they do have the key lime flavor he likes, he was hoping for a key lime filling, a la the aforementioned thumbprint cookie. So, I will be making the pie after all since that is quicker and easier than the cookies.

It may be hard to find key limes this time of year, so, you can use bottled key lime juice. I usually find this key lime juice in the baking aisle of my supermarket. This is the same juice I use to make my key lime pie when I am short on time to squeeze key limes, or they are not available at my supermarket. In all honesty, I’ve made key lime pie with fresh limes and with this juice and the taste is exactly the same. And if all else fails, you can use regular limes. I actually used the zest of a regular lime in this recipe. And speaking of zest, if you want more of a lime flavor I suggest adding in more zest. I would avoid adding in more lime juice as that will alter the consistency of your dough.

I hope you’ve enjoyed Cookie Palooza 2018 as much as I enjoyed baking the cookies and bringing you the recipes. Check back next week for Holiday Cake Week. I’ve also got some other Holiday treats hitting the blog soon as well… Chocolate Covered Pretzels, Slow Cooker Spiced Nuts (they are really Candied Nuts) and a Chocolate Truffle Cookie (which I initially was thinking would be cookie #5 for this week).

 

Key Lime Crinkles

  • Servings: 30 cookies
  • Print

Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon key lime zest

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 1/4 cups granulated sugar

2 large eggs

1 tablespoon key lime juice

1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted

Directions:

In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, zest and salt.

In a large bowl combine the butter and sugar and beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each one. Mix in the lime juice.

With the mixer on low speed, gradually add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and beat until just combined. Cover the dough and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Place the confectioners’ sugar in a small bowl.

One chilled, use a cookie scoop to scoop the dough and roll into balls and then roll in the confectioners’ sugar. Place on the prepared baking sheets and bake for 15 to 18 minutes, or until the cookie begin to brown along the edges.

Cool on the pans for 5 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Recipe from Bake or Break

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: Checkerboard Cookies

It’s Day 3 of Cookie Palooza and once again I am bringing you a cookie that looks difficult to make but really isn’t, a Checkerboard Cookie. Normally I avoid making slice and bake cookies. Mine never end up looking like a perfect circle, but more like an oval. They taste good, but, the shape is off. I prefer drop cookies and occasionally I will make roll-out cookies. But, I am trying to step up my baking and challenge myself a little more and figure out ways to overcome the pitfalls that I encounter when I try different things in the kitchen. Sounds a little silly since I am just talking about simple cookies, but, it’s a good attitude to adopt to face other challenges that life may throw at you. So, I figured these Checkerboard Cookies were a good way to overcome my avoidance of slice and bake cookies. They are simple to make, are pretty forgiving in terms of their shape once sliced and are pretty impressive looking.

To make the dough I combined butter, sugar and vanilla extract and beat it until it was light and fluffy. I then added in flour and an egg and continued mixing until the dough came together. Finally, I divided the dough in half and transferred one half to a piece of parchment paper and left the other half in the bowl I made the dough in. To the bowl I added unsweetened dark cocoa powder and used a rubber spatula to fold the powder into the dough making sure it was fully incorporated and no streaks of the plain dough remained.

Next, I divided the plain dough in half and rolled each piece into a 12-inch log. I did the same with the chocolate dough. I placed one plain log and one chocolate log next to each other on the piece of parchment paper and then placed the remaining 2 logs on top of them alternating the dough. I then wrapped the dough in the parchment paper and rolled it a few times to smooth the dough and to make sure all 4 pieces were pressed together well. Finally I placed the dough in the refrigerator until it was firm, at least an hour.

Once firm, I removed the dough from the refrigerator and sliced a small piece from both ends of the log so it would have straight ends. Next, using a ruler and a sharp knife I scored the dough before actually slicing the cookies. You want to work pretty fast as the dough will begin to soften and your slices will become more oval-like than square as the dough warms up. If this happens you can place the dough back in the refrigerator for a few minutes to firm up again, or, simply flip the log so the bottom is now the top.

 

I placed the slices on a parchment lined baking sheet and placed it in the refrigerator for 10 minutes before baking in a 350 F preheated oven for 12 minutes.

While some of my cookies didn’t have a perfect checkerboard look to them – partly because each of my logs wasn’t the same width – they did taste delicious and the shape wasn’t completely off.  These would be a nice addition to any cookie platter you are making this holiday season. Here’s a fun idea, instead of mixing half of the dough with cocoa powder you could tint one half of the dough red and the other green for a real festive checkerboard cookie!

Checkerboard Cookies

  • Servings: 40 cookies
  • Print

Ingredients:

1 stick of unsalted butter, at room temperature

3/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 3/4 cups flour

1 egg

2 tablespoons unsweetened dark cocoa powder

 

Directions:

In a large bowl beat the butter, sugar and vanilla extract with a hand mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.

Sift the flour 3 times and add half of it to the butter mixture, beating until just combined. Add the remaining flour and the egg and beat until combined, about 2 minutes.

Divide the dough in half and transfer one piece to a sheet of parchment paper. Leave the other half in the bowl and add in the cocoa powder. Using a rubber spatula, fold the dough and cocoa powder together until no streaks of the plain dough remain.

Divide each piece of dough (plain and chocolate) in half. Roll each of these pieces into a 12-inch log. Place one plain and one chocolate log next to each other on the piece of parchment paper. Place the other two logs on top of them, alternating the pattern to create the checkerboard pattern. The chocolate log should be on top of the plain log and the plain log should be on top of the chocolate one. Wrap the log in the parchment paper and press each of the logs together while rolling and smoothing the edges. Place in the refrigerator until firm, at least an hour.

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

Remove the dough from the refrigerator and unwrap it. Using a sharp knife (and a ruler if necessary) slice the log into 1/4 inch slices and place on the parchment lined cookie sheet, about 2 inches apart. Refrigerate for 10 minutes.

Bake until the cookies are just beginning to turn golden brown around the edges, 10 to 15 minutes. Let cool on the baking sheets for five minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Recipe from Nik Sharma