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
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
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
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!
1 stick of unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups flour
2 tablespoons unsweetened dark cocoa powder
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
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
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
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
I hope you’ve enjoyed this week of cookies. I’m ending Cookie Palooza 2017 with an easy no bake cookie that only requires three ingredients, four if you count the sprinkles… Peppermint Chocolate Wafers.
First ingredient… Melted semi-sweet chocolate. I melted the chocolate using a double-boiler. You could melt the chocolate in the microwave (which was always my preferred method,) but I find melting the chocolate in a double boiler minimizes the chance of scorching the chocolate and you can keep it warm while you’re working so it will stay smooth and thin. Whereas when you melt it in the microwave after a few minutes the chocolate begins to thicken. Creating a double boiler is quite simple… fill a medium saucepan about a little less than halfway with water – you don’t want to fill it too much because then when you place the bowl in the water it will spill over. Bring the water to a boil and then reduce the heat so the water is simmering. Place a heatproof bowl in the water, add chopped chocolate and stir occasionally until the chocolate has melted. Once the chocolate has melted, reduce the flame to low to keep the chocolate warm and add in the peppermint extract (the second ingredient), stir to mix in.
Dip the Nilla Wafers (third ingredient) in the chocolate and flip them over to get them fully covered. The process will go much easier if you have candy dipping tools, but if not a fork will work well. Once cookies are covered lift the cookies out of the chocolate and let the excess drip and then place them on a wax paper lined baking sheet and sprinkle them with festive sprinkles or crushed peppermint candy/candy canes (fourth ingredient.)
Once you are done dipping the cookies place them in the refrigerator for about 10-15 minutes so the chocolate can harden.
And that’s it! A simple cookie that’s perfect for the season and best of all, doesn’t require you to turn on your oven.
Peppermint Chocolate Dipped Cookies
8 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, chopped*
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
30 – 36 Nilla Wafer cookies
Melt the chocolate using a double boiler on medium to medium low heat. Once the chocolate has melted add the peppermint extract and stir well to combine. Keep the heat on low for the double boiler so that the chocolate will remain smooth and thin.
Dip the wafers in the chocolate one at a time, making sure to coat the entire cookie. Remove from the chocolate and let the excess drip off before placing on a wax paper lined baking sheet to set.
Sprinkle with sprinkles or crushed peppermint candy. Or let the chocolate set for a few minutes and then drizzle with the left-over melted chocolate. Place in the refrigerator so the chocolate can harden. Store in an airtight container.
*You could also use chocolate chips
**The ratio of peppermint extract to chocolate I used was 1/4 teaspoon per 4 oz.
There are some recipes you see that you know that you must instantly try… As was the case when I got a recipe in my inbox last week from Land O’ Lakes for a Raspberry Almond Shortbread Thumbprint cookie. I pretty much love any pastry / baked item that involves almonds and then when you throw raspberry into the mix you are definitely in for something pretty delicious. Best of all, not only are these cookies amazing, but, they are simple to make and add a festive to look to your holiday cookie platters.
I began by making the dough (obviously… LOL!)… I combined butter, sugar and almond extract in the bowl of my stand mixer and beat it at medium speed until it was well combined, scraping the bowl as necessary. On low speed I added in flour and continued beat the mixture until it was well combined. Once the dough had come together I covered and refrigerated it for an hour or until the dough was firm.
Once it was firm, I rolled dough into 1-inch sized balls – I used approximately 1/2 tablespoon of dough for each ball.
Then using the back of a 1/4 teaspoon (you could simply use your thumb as well, hence the name of the cookie) I made a small indentation into the center of each cookie and then filled them with raspberry jam.
After refrigerating the cookies for about 10 minutes I baked them in a 350 F preheated oven for about 12-14 minutes, until the edges just began to brown. You don’t have to refrigerate the cookies prior to baking, but, I did so so that the dough could firm up again a bit so the cookies wouldn’t spread as much while baking. My cookies did spread some so I probably could have left them in the refrigerator a bit longer. After removing them from the oven I let them sit on the cookie sheet for a minute or two and then transferred them to a wire rack to cool completely.
Once the cookies cooled I drizzled a glaze of water, confectioners’ sugar and almond extract over them.
One word for these cookies… YUM!
Raspberry Almond Shortbread Thumbprints
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 cup raspberry jam
For the Glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
2 to 3 teaspoons water
1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract
Combine the butter, sugar and almond extract in a bowl and beat at medium speed until creamy, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary. Switch to low speed and add in the flour, beating well until all the ingredients have been combined. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 350 F and cover cookie sheet with parchment paper.
Shape the dough into 1-inch balls; approximately 1/2 tablespoon of dough. Place 2 inches apart on prepared cookie sheets. Make a small indentation in the center of each of the cookies and fill with a 1/4 teaspoon of the raspberry jam.
You could place the cookies back in the refrigerator for a few minutes for the dough to firm up again, or place them directly in the oven for about 12-14 minutes, or until the edges are slightly browned. Let stand on the cookie sheets for 1 minute and then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.
Combine all the ingredients for the glaze in a bowl and whisk together until smooth and then drizzle over the cooled cookies.
Recipe from Land O’ Lakes
How is your holiday baking going? I’ve been squeezing it in while trying to finish up Christmas cards, Christmas shopping and Christmas gift crafting (i.e. knitting and crocheting.) I think I am on track to get it all done; if not there will be some late nights in my near future.
Today I am bringing you super simple and delicious Vanilla Spritz Cookies. So customarily when you make spritz cookies you pipe them through a cookie press, well, I tried that once and the results were horrible. So for these cookies I decided to pipe them using a pastry bag and a large star tip instead and the end result was great!
To make the dough I began by beating butter in my stand mixer on medium speed for 30 seconds. Next I added in sugar and baking powder. Once those ingredients were well combined I added in an egg and vanilla bean paste. And finally flour.
Next I transferred the dough to a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip and made simple piped drop cookies which I then sprinkled with festive colored sugar and sprinkles. Now, I went simple and just did simple drop cookies, but, you could get creative and pipe wreaths or different swirl designs.
After baking them in a 375 F preheated oven for 8 minutes I removed them from the oven and transferred them to a wire rack to cool completely. Now, these cookies are of the dangerous variety… On the smaller side and super yummy. Which means you could grab a decent handful and munch away on them absentmindedly. But, since it’s the Holidays it’s okay!
Vanilla Spritz Cookies
***Please note that I halved the recipe. Below is the original recipe with the original measurements. If you would like to make a smaller batch of cookies, i.e. 36, follow the measurements in the parenthesis. To get the 2 tablespoons of egg, whisk the egg and then measure it out. You might be tempted to use the entire egg, but, that would make the dough to watery and prevent you from being able to pipe or form the dough.
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, softened (3/4 cup / 12 tablespoons)
1 cup granulated sugar (1/2 cup)
1 teaspoon baking powder (1/2 teaspoons)
1 egg (2 tablespoons)
1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste* (1/2 tablespoon)
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (1 3/4 cup)
Sprinkles and Sugar Crystals to decorate
*If you do not have vanilla bean paste you can use an equal amount of vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 375 F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
In a large bowl beat butter with a mixer on medium speed for 30 seconds. Add the sugar and baking powder, continue beating until well combined then add in the egg and vanilla bean paste. And finally the flour. Scrape the sides of the bowl as necessary during the mixing.
Transfer the dough to a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip and pipe drop cookies onto prepared cookies sheets. Sprinkle the cookies with decorative sugar and/or sprinkles.
Bake for 7-8 minutes, until the edges are firm but just beginning to brown. Remove from the oven and transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.
Recipe slightly modified from Better Homes & Gardens 100 Best Cookies Magazine