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
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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: Pumpkin Snickerdoodles

I kicked off Cookie Palooza on Monday with a chai spiced inspired snickerdoodle and here I am a few days later bringing you another snickerdoodle variation, a pumpkin one. I figured snickerdoodles are the perfect cookie for the season since they are rolled in sanding sugar (along with other spices) prior to baking giving them a nice glisten to go with the season so why not share two. And with this pumpkin version you can keep those pumpkin lovers happy and not let them go overboard with the traditional flavor of the season… peppermint.

I began by making the dough for the cookies. In one bowl I whisked together all of the dry ingredients and in another bowl I mixed together the wet ingredients and then I added the dry to the wet to make the dough. I then set the dough aside for a few minutes and combined sanding sugar, cinnamon and allspice in a small bowl to roll the cookie dough in. Using a cookie scoop I scooped the dough and then rolled it in the sugar mixture and then placed it on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Per the directions I placed the cookies about 3 inches apart on the sheet. Truthfully you could get away with 2 inches. While the cookie dough looks small the cookies will rise and spread a little while baking.

Next, I flattened the cookies with a spatula (use could also use the bottom of a glass cup) to about 1/2 inch thickness. I then baked them in a 375 preheated oven for 10 minutes.

After letting the cookies cool on the sheet for 5 minutes I then transferred them to a wire rack to cool completely.

Final verdict… I must say these are probably one of the best cookies I have ever made. They are firm on the outside but have a nice cakey center that isn’t dry. That is thanks to the addition of pumpkin puree. And while pumpkin often results in baked desserts that are super moist, the ingredients are so well balanced that that is not the case here. No one wants to eat a pumpkin cookie that is reminiscent of pumpkin pie.

Pumpkin Snickerdoodles

  • Servings: 30 Cookies
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Ingredients:

2 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

1 stick unsalted butter, melted and cooled

1 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup canned pumpkin puree

1 large egg, at room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2/3 cup fine sanding sugar

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon allspice

 

Directions:

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

In a medium bowl whisk together the dry ingredients – flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, salt and nutmeg.

In a large bowl using a handheld mixer beat together the butter and pumpkin until smooth. Add the egg and vanilla and continue beating until combined. Add the flour mixture and continue beating until combined.

In a small bowl mix together the sanding sugar, cinnamon and allspice. Using a cookie scoop, scoop the dough and then roll it in the sugar mixture and then place it on the prepared cookie sheet 3-inches apart. Flatten the cookies with a spatula to about 1/2-inch thick and then bake in the preheated oven for 10 to 12 minutes.

Let the cookies cool on the sheets for 5 minutes until transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Recipe from Martha Stewart

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
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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: Red Velvet Blossom Cookie

Today’s Cookie Palooza Cookie is a Red Velvet Blossom Cookie. A fun festive twist on the traditional Peanut Butter Blossom Cookie. We all know that cookie, the peanut butter one that has a Hershey Kiss pressed into the center of it and marries that wonderful flavor combination of peanut butter and chocolate… YUM!

I began by prepping the dough for the cookies. In one bowl I whisked together my dry ingredients and set them aside. In another bowl I added in my wet ingredients and beat them until they were well combined. And finally I added in the flour mixture and beat the two together until they were incorporated. At this point the dough was too soft to handle so I covered and refrigerated it for a few hours. Once the dough was firm enough I added about half a cup of confectioners’ sugar to a small bowl and rolled 1-inch shaped balls (I used a cookie scoop to measure the dough) in the sugar before placing them on a cookie sheet I lined with parchment paper. Rolling the cookies in the sugar will give them a nice crinkle effect (another popular cookie around the Holiday’s) and this is reminiscent of a traditional blossom cookie that is rolled in granulated sugar prior to baking. I then baked the cookies in a 350 preheated oven for 9 minutes. While the cookies were in the oven I unwrapped the Hershey Kisses to place in the center of each of them. You need to press these into the cookies while they are still warm before the cookie set so it’s best to have them ready for when the cookies come out of the oven. They might melt a little at the bottom but as the cookie cools the Kisses will firm up again.

And once they cool they are a delicious cookie to enjoy with a cup of hot chocolate. Or pack up in a festive tin to give as a gift, or bring along to a Holiday cookie swap or party.

If you are feeling really festive and ambitious you could easily divide the dough in half and tint one half red and the other half green for Red & Green Velvet Blossom Cookies.

Red Velvet Blossom Cookies

  • Servings: 48 Cookies
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Ingredients:

1 3/4 cups flour

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

3/4 cup light brown sugar

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon red gel food coloring

1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, more as needed

Milk Chocolate Hershey Kisses

 

Directions:

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

Using a handheld mixer, combine the butter, both sugars, and salt in a large bowl and beat on medium speed until creamy. Add in the eggs, vanilla extract and food coloring and continue beating until the ingredients are well combined. Add in the flour and beat on low speed until mixed in. Cover and refrigerate until firm, at least two hours.

Preheat the oven to 350 F and line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. Place confectioners’ sugar in a small bowl. Unwrap the Hershey Kisses and set aside,

Using a cookie scoop shape the dough into 1-inch balls. Roll in the confectioners’ sugar and then place on the prepared cookie sheets about 2 inches apart. Bake in the preheated oven for 9 to 10 minutes, untilt the edges of the cookies are set. Remove from the oven and immediately place an unwrapped Hershey Kiss in the center of each cookie and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Recipe from Land O Lakes

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
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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

Chocolate Truffle Cookies

Are you all set for Christmas? Are your gifts wrapped? Cards in the mail? Cookies baked? Or, are you looking for just one more treat to make? If so, you should try these Chocolate Truffle Cookies.  They are chocolaty without being overly sweet thanks to the addition of unsweetened chocolate, which helps to offset the sweetness of the semi-sweet chocolate and sugar.

One thing you will definitely need to make these cookies is time. Once the batter is made it needs to be refrigerated for at least 3 hours so it can become firm enough to handle, but, it’s worth the time. The final result is a cookie similar to a truffle, firm on the outside and soft on the inside.

These cookies were part of a box of treats I mailed to a friend. Included in the box were the Chocolate Covered Pretzels and Candied Nuts I posted about earlier this week. Also included were Peanut Butter Blossoms. All wonderful homemade treats to gift to anyone on your list and can easily be made this last weekend before Christmas.

 

Chocolate Truffle Cookies

Ingredients:

12oz. bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips

4 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped

1/3 cup unsalted butter, cubed

1 cup sugar

3 large eggs

1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1/2 cup flour

2 tablespoons cocoa powder

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

Confectioners’ sugar for dusting (optional)

 

Directions:

In a microwave, melt 1 cup of the chocolate chips, unsweetened chocolate and butter; stir until smooth and let cool for 10 minutes.

In a large bowl beat the sugar and eggs on medium speed until well blended. Beat in the cooled chocolate mixture and vanilla extract.

In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt. Gradually beat this into the chocolate mixture. Once fully incorporated stir in the remaining chocolate chips.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.

Preheat the oven to 350 F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Using a cookie scoop, scoop the dough (it will be quite firm) and then roll into a ball and place on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until cookies have puffed and are set. Cool on the pan for 3 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Dust with confectioners’ sugar, if using.

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.