Tag Archives: cookies

cookie batter

Fall Baking Has Begun Again: Eggless Cookies

It came as a bit of a shock this morning that it was so chilly and windy outside. It shouldn’t have since it’s already October, but it’s been so beautiful for so long that I forgot it was fall and no longer summer! After a morning coffee date (and before visiting some potential new apartments this afternoon), I threw together some oatmeal chocolate chip cookies.

To be perfectly honest, the reason I went with oatmeal cookies was because I had a huge tupperware container of oatmeal taking up WAY too much room in the cupboard and I had to get rid of it.

The recipe I adapted from allrecipes is an eggless one, which is perfect because I don’t have any eggs, AND because I can eat the batter guiltlessly. A word to the wise though: don’t eat too much batter if raw oatmeal makes your tummy upset.

While the recipe doesn’t call for eggs, it does mean the cookies are a bit drier than a typical moist oatmeal cookie.

A few adaptations and tips:

  1. Use all brown sugar to keep the cookies chewier
  2. Use dark chocolate chips for a richer flavor (and to be slightly healthier depending on how dark you go)
  3. Add a pinch of cinnamon for a fall flavor
  4. Skip the oatmeal altogether, add the chocolate chips, wrap the uncooked dough in plastic wrap and keep in the refrigerator to snack on. Why must the cookies be baked to enjoy?

 

Here’s the recipe with my changes:

Ingredients & Procedure:

1 cp butter (slightly softened)

1 cp brown sugar (light or dark)

1 tsp vanilla extract

Beat the above ingredients until well-blended.

cookie batter
cookie batter

In a saucepan, boil 1/4 cp water and dissolve 1 tsp baking soda into that.

To the butter-sugar-vanilla mixture, add: 1.5 cp flour and 1 tsp salt  (optional pinch of cinnamon) and stir.

Add the water-baking soda mixture and stir.

Add 2 cps oatmeal and at least 1 cp chocolate chips (to taste based on the darkness of the chocolate and how chocolatey you like your cookies).

oatmeal cookie batter
oatmeal cookie batter

Bake teaspoon-sized balls on parchment lined cookie sheets at 350 for 10-12 minutes, until golden brown

That’s it! Enjoy!

chocolate chip oatmeal cookie
chocolate chip oatmeal cookie

 

ICE CREAM SAMMIE

Making Sugar Cookie Ice Cream Sammies

Down in Houston a few weeks ago, I got the urge to bake, so while my mom and sister were napping one afternoon, I drove over to Kroger and bought all the materials to make simple sugar cookies (plus some ice cream).

I was craving crispity crunchity sugar cookies, a la middle school recess snack, so after Googling “crispy sugar cookies” I landed on this easy-peasy recipe from Taste of Home.

Sugar cookies really are the best because they are generally so easy. This particular recipe calls for rolling out the dough super thinly and using a cookie cutter so that all the cookies are the same size, shape and cook evenly.

Me, being the lazy baker I am, decided against this method, and instead went with the Scoop and Pat Method (trademark pending…jk). This is where I 1. take a scoop of cookie dough from the bowl with a teaspoon, 2. pat the ball to flatten it between my fingers.

chillin' sugar cookie dough
chillin’ sugar cookie dough
me, scooping
me, scooping
mounds of sugar cookie dough, pre-patting
mounds of sugar cookie dough, pre-patting

It doesn’t yield the thinnest, crispest, prettiest cookie (in fact, the cookies are none of those things), but darn it if they don’t taste just like sugar cookies!

sugar cookies
completed sugar cookies

Being the sharp shooter that my sister is, she took that vanilla ice cream, spread it between two lopsided cookies, rolled the whole thing in rainbow sprinkles and BAM: delicious ice cream sandwich achieved!

ICE CREAM SAMMIE
ICE CREAM SAMMIE

Done and done. Now you go try the Scoop and Pat and let me know what you think. Be sure to pat as thin as possible to achieve that crunch!

Martha Stewart coconut pecan caramel cookies

Me & Martha: Pecan Caramel Cookies

Really these are called Coconut Pecan Caramel Sandwich Cookies in Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook (that I’m baking my way through), but since I couldn’t really taste the coconut and actually forgot I had put coconut in the cookie dough, I’m leaving that descriptor out as it could be misleading.

Yes, I followed the directions pretty thoroughly this time through, apart from cutting the recipe in half, yet again. (Either this book is written specifically for people who entertain or have large families, or they create recipes to fall into convenient quantities…like 1/4 cup of coconut…since an 1/8 cup of coconut hardly seems worth mentioning, right?)

Well anyway, I toasted up my unsweetened shredded coconut (actually the recipe calls for sweetened so maybe that’s why I can’t taste anything in the finished product) and pecans, pulverized them and mixed them into the shortbread dough.

pecan and coconut cookie dough
pecan and coconut cookie dough

After the multiple rounds of chilling, cookie cutting, and rechilling, my pecan shortbread hearts were on the wire rack cooling and I could get down the best part: the Caramel Filling!

final caramel sauce!
final caramel sauce!

I never use a candy thermometer, preferring instead to rely on my senses and sense of timing…which is probably why I don’t make a lot of candy products.

So I love that this recipe doesn’t instruct with a candy thermometer, but rather just color and texture cues.

In the end, making this caramel sauce was quite easy. Here’s what I did:

  1. Boil water and and about 4x more sugar until it starts turning a deep amber color, not stirring. [And this part from Martha I really like: continually “wash down” the sides of the pot with a wet pastry brush to avoid crystallization. It ensures that you are paying a lot of attention to not let the caramel burn or create a nasty mess on the sides of your pot.]
  2. Remove from heat and slowly pour in some heavy whipping cream.
  3. Then quickly stir in little chunks of butter until the whole thing becomes creamy and smooth and glossy.
  4. Really keep stirring to avoid clumping.
  5. Once it’s totally smooth, let it cool just a bit before drizzling over your cookies.

In the book, the cookies were adorable spring flower shaped with holes punched out of the middle so that the caramel sauce would peek through the top of the sandwich cookie.

In my reality, I only have a heart cookie cutter and, as I learned from the Linzer Heart Cookies, cutting a hole out of the middle of shortbread cookies is a time-consuming and pain-staking task that I was not up for doing again. So my cookies are straight up sandwich cookies, no cute hole. And frankly, I only made half of them into sandwiches…the other half I’m dunking into my bowl of caramel sauce. And that is perfect.

caramel sauce over pecan cookies
caramel sauce over pecan cookies

Even the cookies on their own are delish – they remind me of the Pecan Sandies that my mom used to love back when she could eat nuts.

Chai tea with a smidge of milk works really well with these. And now I’m going to buy ice cream so I have a reason to keep making this yummy caramel sauce!

final cheesecake thumbprint cookies - fully baked

Martha Stewart Cheesecake Thumbprint Cookies

As I bake my way through Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook this week’s cookie is the cheesecake thumbprint. Sugary (but not overly sweet) and tangy – combining the silky creaminess of cheesecake and the easily edible size of a mini cookie into one delicious bite.

I’m not one to typically have cream cheese or sour cream in the house (since Mark and I both shun most creamy food of this texture…i.e. mayonnaise), so these were some specialty purchases specifically for the cookies.

Overall the cookies were fairly straightforward, however this is another one of those multi-step process confections.

After making the cream cheese filling in the stand mixer and putting it in the fridge to chill, I had to wash out the mixer to then use it for the bottom cookie part.

You make the cookie, which is a standard butter/flour/sugar/egg yolk kind of flaky-crumbly cookie, slightly indenting the top prior to baking, which is where the cream cheese filling will go.

thumbprint cookies with indentations prior to baking
thumbprint cookies with indentations in between baking stints

Bake for 10 minutes, pull out of the oven and RE-indent, and bake for another few minutes.

THEN you have to bring the cookies out to allow to cool.

Fill with the chilled cheesecake batter and pop those suckers back in the oven for a few more minutes until fully baked.

filled cookies ready for baking
filled cookies ready for baking

Et voila! Oh wait, not quite yet, you then have to chill the cookies for at least 4 hours, or even better, overnight, before serving.

Store in a container with wax paper in the fridge.

In these end, these were fairly easy and straightforward, but it is one of those recipes where you are moving and shaking and need to be on top of the baking. Definitely not a set it and forget it drop cookie.

I would definitely make these again for a March Madness party or potluck dinner since you can quickly and easily churn out a fair number. They don’t take up a lot of space and they don’t spread when baked so you can pop them out in a tiny kitchen no problem!

final cheesecake thumbprint cookies - fully baked
final cheesecake thumbprint cookies – fully baked

Black coffee and cheesecake thumbprints sound like a perfect breakfast for me! Enjoy.

Martha Stewart Linzer Hearts (Part II)

I’ve submitted this post to the monthly link up party Our Growing Edge. This event aims to connect food bloggers and inspire us to try new things. This month is hosted by Chinelo from Good Cake Day. The theme is LOVE IN ALL ITS FORMS. our-growing-edge-badge

In Part I of this cookie recipe from Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook, I blanched hazelnuts to grind into hazelnut flour for our Valentine’s Day Linzer Heart cookies. I made three variations on this cookie: plain hazelnut shortbread cookies, Nutella sandwich cookies and strawberry jam-filled heart cutout cookies.

After my trials and tribulations with making the hazelnut flour, I was then on to making the actual cookie dough. FINALLY!

Mixing the hazelnut flour, all-purpose flour, cinnamon, salt and baking powder was easy enough. Beating the butter and sugar, egg yolks and vanilla extract also went smoothly.

I combined the dry ingredients into the wet in the stand mixer, and then turned the dough out onto a floured work surface to form into disks for refrigeration. This is where I feel I kind of got tripped up. The dough was pretty dry and crumbly. I think it was generally supposed to be, but perhaps mine was even drier than necessary.

Nonetheless, I got it formed into disks and into the fridge overnight.

The next morning I took it out to roll it think to start cutting out my heart shapes. The dough crumbled apart.

It split all over the place I couldn’t get it to roll smoothly.

I left it for about 30 minutes to warm up a bit and tried again, more successfully, but still with some struggle.

Unfortunately or fortunately, I doubled the recipe so that I would have enough cookies to bring to the art show. But working in a small NYC kitchen, this meant I was manipulating about 1/5 of the dough at a time – rolling it out, cutting it into hearts, placing those hearts on a baking sheet in the freezer while rerolling the dough scraps to cut more hearts to place on a second sheet to put in the freezer. Now mind you, I only own two cookie sheets to my name.

So once the first sheet went in to the oven, I worked more dough on the counter. Pulled the cookies out of the oven, moved them onto a wire cooling rack, and turned around to place a fresh sheet of cut dough hearts on the hot pan and put it in the freezer to chill before repeating the process again and again.

This literally took me ALL DAY.

I could only work with so much dough at a time and was limited by the number of cookie sheets and space. It was like a well-choreographed dance of shifting dough and baked cookies around the room from counter to pan to rack to plate.

piles of plain hazelnut shortbread cookies, awaiting jam or Nutella
piles of plain hazelnut shortbread cookies, awaiting jam or Nutella

The other problem I encountered cutting out the hearts was that my two heart cookie cutters were too close in size. Basically I needed to cut 2 types of hearts: big ones that would be the bottom half of the cookie, and big ones with a heart cut out of the middle to go on top so that the jam can shine through.

Well my “smaller” heart cookie cutter was only slightly smaller than my “big” cookie cutter, so every time I tried to punch out a smaller heart from the bigger heart, the bigger cookie would break apart (remember my dough was already dry and crumbly).

So I did two things: 1. I simply (not so easily though) used a knife to cut out tiny heart shapes from half of the big hearts to be the top part of the cookie; 2. I decided to cut some stand-alone small heart cookies and make them into Nutella sandwich cookies – no middle hole included.

linzer heart cutouts
Baked heart cut outs

All in all, it worked out for the best. I had a TON of cookies in various sizes and flavors, which was fun. They were: big strawberry jam-filled cookies with heart-shaped holes in the middle for the jam to peek out; small heart sandwich cookies filled with Nutella; big heart cookies ~ as is, plain; and teeny tiny heart cookies (created when I used a knife to cut out the tiny hearts from the bigger cookies) tossed in powdered sugar.

Thanks to everyone who tried the cookies and gave rave reviews. They were about 24 hours in the making, my back hurt when I was done, and while I’m proud to have accomplished such an in-depth recipe, I don’t think I’ll be making them again for a long while (unless someone sends me some pre-made hazelnut flour).

jam-filled Linzer Heart Cookies

Martha Stewart Valentine’s Day Cookies

As it’s Monday, it’s time for another recipe recap from Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook from which I’ve been recreating recipes. This time I tackled some sweet heart shaped cookies just in time for Valentine’s Day.

Martha Stewart's Linzer Heart Cookies
Martha Stewart’s Linzer Heart Cookies – my final outcome

As you may or may not recall, I’ve been drawing and painting pretty much my entire life, however I’ve just recently gotten the kick in the pants I needed to buckle down and paint regularly, in the form of an opportunity to exhibit some paintings in an art show in Brooklyn.

Since the art exhibit was put on by a collaborative collective of women artists and entrepreneurs, self-funded, and all of that good stuff, I figured I would also contribute some snacks to the event. Any why not some Valentine’s Day Linzer Heart cookies from Martha Stewart?

The cookies are essentially hazelnut shortbread cookies filled with jam and dusted with powdered sugar. While the original recipe calls for raspberry jam, I substituted strawberry jam, and to be frank, by the end of the whole process I kind of gave up and made a few sandwich cookies with Nutella and left some cookies plain instead of working with the jam.

I knew the dough needed to be chilled overnight, so I started on Thursday with the intention of finishing up the cookies on Friday.

I have to tell you, these were probably the hardest, most time-consuming cookies I’ve ever made, including French macarons, which should tell you something.

First, there was the matter of the hazelnut flour. I really should have thought ahead and purchased pre-made hazelnut flour, but I didn’t. Instead, I wanted to stay true to the recipe, which calls for grinding blanched hazelnuts in a food processor to create the flour.

All well and good, except I didn’t really account for the incredible annoyance that is blanching hazelnuts (in other words, removing the skins).

You see, I ordered regular, whole hazelnuts from Amazon. No problem, right? Wrong.

While these were fine and dandy as far as hazelnuts go, they weren’t blanched. Honestly I glazed right over the “blanched” direction in the cookbook the first time I read it. Like, “What’s that? Who cares?”

When I sat down to actually make the dough, I reread “blanched” and thought, ehhh whatever. So I Googled “Do I really have to blanch hazelnuts?”

Turns out the answer is Yes. Damn it. If you don’t blanch the nuts the skins can cause a seriously bitter taste. So I Googled “How to blanch hazelnuts.”

In theory, it’s a fairly straightforward process: boil water and baking soda, add nuts, boil for a few minutes, drop nuts in cold water and gently rub the skins off. Voila! Blanched hazelnuts.

Here’s what really happened: Boiled water and baking soda – no sweat. Added nuts. Water turned pink-black (as forewarned) and boiled over. Turned off heat. Mopped up puddles of water everywhere.

pot of water and baking soda boiling over pink water from hazelnuts
pot of water and baking soda boiling over with hazelnuts

Turned heat back on medium. Pot immediately boiled over.

how to blanch hazelnuts
boiling hazelnuts to blanch them – removing the skins

And so on and so forth until I couldn’t take it anymore and I scooped out the nuts to dunk them in a cold bowl of water. (PS. My white pot will never be white again. After many washes, it is still stained yellowy-pink.)

cold water turned black from hazelnuts
hazelnuts in bowl of cold water

Then came the tedious process of rubbing the skins off of the hazelnuts in the bowl of water. Fine. But what to do with the sticky skins? I could barely get two nuts clean before having to shake my hand violently over the trash can to get the skins to break loose.

I moved on to rinsing the nuts under running water, which worked okay, but not having a garbage disposal, the sink quickly filled with water and the drain was clogged with particles of skins that fell apart when I tried to grab them.

Ugh. All in all, I would NOT do this again. Take the shortcut, Hannah. Buy the hazelnut flour.

hazelnut flour
hazelnut flour

Okay, fine, got the hazelnuts where I need them in the form of powder. Now onto the dough….in Part II.

warm Lebkuchen with icing

German Spice Cookies: Lebkuchen with Icing

This holiday season, my mom and I baked up a batch of these Lebkuchen ~ traditional German Christmas cookies that taste like gingerbread, but surprisingly have NO ginger in them! (Is that a fair description, Oliver?)

finished German spice cookie
yummy cookie!

The cookie recipe we tried was actually one that she received from Viking River Cruises (I guess mom’s on that mailing list).

They Lebkuchen cookies were chewy and certainly extremely spicy and rich. Definitely to be enjoyed with an English Breakfast or Earl Grey tea, or perhaps a light German beer like Paulaner or Spaten.

The ingredients and steps are fairly straightforward, but be warned that you need to plan ahead because the dough is to be chilled overnight. Have fun!

Ingredients:
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup molasses
(We didn’t end up having enough honey so we added more molasses to make up 1 cup of these two ingredients ~ 1 to 1 substitution)
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest
2 + 3/4 cup flour (plus more for dusting)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon nutmeg

German spice cookies ingredients
German spice cookies ingredients

The recipe then also calls for 1/3 cup of candied citron and 1/3 cup of hazelnuts ~ We omitted both of these.

Okay, side note here: I did not know what citron was…I assumed it was candied lemon peel. Ooops. No. It is not. It is a fruit unto itself. There are different varietals and guess what one of them is? Etrog!!! As in Lulav and Etrog! (Staples in the Sukkot holiday for my non-Jewish friends.) So that’s a fun factoid for ya! Here’s a recipe for making your own candied citron.

To make the icing, you will need:
1 cup of sugar
1/4 cup of milk (or water)
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1/2 cup of powdered sugar

To Make:
1. Bring honey and molasses to a boil and then remove from heat


2. Stir in the brown sugar, egg, lemon juice and zest
3. In a large bowl, whisk together the 2 + 3/4 cup flour, baking soda, and spices
4. Stir the molasses mixture into the flour mixture (also this is when you would add the candied citron and chopped hazelnuts)


5. Cover & chill overnight

Next day:
6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper
7. Roll out a bit of your dough on a floured surface until about a 1/4 inch thick, adding more flour if the dough is too sticky
8. Use a cookie cutter or clean glass to cut circular cookies out of the dough [Repeat #7 and #8 with the rest of the dough]


9. Move the cookies to the baking sheets and cook for 10-12 minutes
10. Transfer the cookies to a rack for cooling and brush with icing while still warm
11. Decorate with almonds, candied citron or crystallized ginger

While the cookies are baking, make the icing as follows:
1. Heat sugar, milk (or water) and vanilla on the stove but do not boil


2. Remove from heat and whisk in the powdered sugar
3. Reheat as needed to maintain the liquid state as you brush it over the top of the warm cookies

 

Toffee Crunch Cookies

My sister made these AH-mazing toffee cookies and took some great photos too, so just had to share ASAP.

She adapted the “Classic” chocolate chip cookie recipe I sent her from The Joy of Cooking (1997 edition). She did half chocolate chips and half toffee bits and said the chocolate kind of overpowered, so in doing it again she’d do 100% toffee. So that’s the recipe we’ll share here!

Love you, sis!

Ingredients:
1 cup + 2 tbps flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 stick of butter (she microwaved it for 30 seconds at 50% heat to get it semi-melted…this will produce a flatter-crunchier-edged cookie)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 egg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup Heath toffee chunks

heath toffee

To Make:
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and grease cookie sheets
2. Whisk flour and baking soda together and set aside
3. Cream butter, sugar and brown sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy
4. Into the butter/sugar, beat egg, salt and vanilla
5. Stir flour mixture into butter/sugar/egg/salt/vanilla mixture until smooth and totally incorporated
6. Gently stir in toffee bits
7. Use a cookie scoop or tablespoon measure to drop balls of dough 2 inches apart on baking sheets
8. Bake 1 sheet at a time for 8 minutes (go a little longer if the edges of the cookies aren’t yet browning). Rotate the sheet 180 degrees at 4 minute mark for even baking.
9. Remove from oven; taste test; maybe let them cool; maybe eat them all immediately 🙂

toffee chunk cookies

Martha’s Oatmeal Raisin Cookies (Or, Recipe #1 and I’m Already Not Following Directions)

Welcome to Recipe #1 from Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook: Oatmeal Raisin Cookies. Now, in theory, as I bake my way through this Martha Stewart cookbook, I would like to do these recipes in order, but since New Year’s Eve called for cookies instead of biscuits, I skipped right on ahead to Chapter 3: Cookies!

oatmeal raisin cookies

My first recipe in, and already I’m unable to fulfill all of the ingredient requirements (this might be a longer journey than anticipated). So I’m doing what I do best: adapting!

The original recipe called for shredded coconut. WELP, don’t have that and not going to buy it, so that’s out.

Also the original recipe called for maple syrup. Again, don’t have any of that, so I’ll sub in molasses. Well I’ll be darned if I don’t even have enough molasses! So some molasses and some honey it will be.

Okay, well other than those two things, I did *pretty much* follow the recipe and the cookies turned out great! Dense and sweet with just the right amount of oatmeal to raisin ratio.

Oh, I also used salted butter when it called for unsalted. *Grimace face emoji*

Whatever, they were delicious. I’m confident that however you choose to sweeten these or how much or little salt you use, you’ll do just fine.

So here’s the scoop (get it, like scooping cookie dough? no? okay fine) on how I re-created these.

Ingredients:
1 & 1/2 cup flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 sticks butter at room temp (I softened a little bit more than room temp in the microwave for 5-10 seconds on high)
1 cup light brown sugar (mine was hard as a rock so I put a few drops of water on it in a bowl and microwaved it for 10-15 seconds on high and then mashed it up with a spoon…it was about 1 cup *wobbly hand motion to indicate “more or less”*)
1/3 cup molasses and honey mixture
1 egg
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups oatmeal
1 cup raisins

To Make:
1. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper
2. Preheat oven to 325 degrees
3. Mix flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt in a bowl (aka “dry”)
4. Cream butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy (in a separate bowl duh) (aka “wet”)
5. Add molasses & honey to wet and mix
6. Add egg and vanilla to wet and mix
7. Mix the dry into the wet with the mixer on low speed – add it in two pours so it incorporates well and you don’t spin flour all over yourself and the kitchen by just dumping it in all at once
8. Once flour is integrated, mix in the oatmeal and raisins gently

martha stewart oatmeal raisin cookies batter
9. Use a small cookie scoop (or spoon) to scoop balls of dough onto the baking sheets and cook for 15-18 minutes, swapping the top and bottom pans halfway through for even baking.
10. Cool on the pans and then transfer cookies to a cooling rack.

Enjoy!

My Suggested Drink Pairing: Coffee with milk and cinnamon

My Suggested Adult Drink Pairing: Port

cookies and coffee

 

spice cookies with icing

Home for the Holidays

Happy almost New Year! I can’t believe how quickly this year went by and everything that happened from getting married, moving, my sister’s wedding, major process improvement at work and more!

I hope you all are enjoying some time with loved ones, relaxing, eating lots of cookies and generally enjoying life.

I had a lovely week at home with my parents in Maryland. I caught up with old friends, baked cookies, colored in adult coloring books, found nail polish from high school that still was good (!) and listened to my mom practice her Beatles’ songs on guitar (she just started taking lessons again after 30+ years).

What did you do? Share pics!

See you in the new year!