Category Archives: cookie

blondies

i’ve never made blondies before, but was inspired this time by the cookie of the day recipe in my inbox from martha stewart. if you love cookies and aren’t already subscribed to that, you really should think about it! so anyways i guess a blondie is the opposite of a brownie based on color, but i think it’s basically just a delicious, dense chocolate chip cookie bar. i doubled this recipe because i used a bigger pan, and as i do with brownies, i slightly undercooked them too, so that they are chewy and soft and worth hoarding.

makes about 12-16 blondie bars, in a 8×11 size cake pan, adapted from martha stewart

ingredients:

  • 16 tbsp. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 c. packed light-brown sugar
  • 2/3 c. granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 c. semisweet chocolate chips

directions:

preheat oven to 350°F. grease a 8×11 or 9×13 inch pan with butter or butter spray. in a large bowl, mix together butter and sugars until smooth. whisk in eggs and vanilla. add flour and salt, and mix just until moistened (do not overmix). gently fold in 1 cup of chocolate chips. transfer batter to your prepared pan and smooth the top a little bit. sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup chocolate chips. bake until top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 25-30 minutes. set pan on a wire rack, and let cool completely. 

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coconut macaroons

in the middle of a very gray and brown, un-snowy, but nonetheless cold winter, eating something coconutty makes me really happy. i really do love winter, but i love it more when it’s snowy and fluffy outside. i do not appreciate this blustery drab stuff. so these coconut macaroons are like a tropical escape. if i can’t have a white and sparkly winter, i’ll just distract myself with things that remind me of sunshine and heat.  a few weeks ago i found a bag of coconut in the cupboard, and i waited till most of the christmas cookies were eaten to use it. i enjoy baking and cooking things based on a “found” ingredient too. it feels like a challenge, and i guess my brain likes being able to focus on using up one specific ingredient. i think this just goes back to my inner need to not waste food, which ultimately goes back to my cheapo core. but anyways, these are much easier than i thought to make, and you don’t even need many ingredients. i should make them more often i think. and if winter continues on the way it is now, i definitely will be.

by the way, happy 2012!

adapted from epicurious

ingredients:

  • 2 large egg whites
  • 2 tbsp. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp. almond extract
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 c. sweetened flaked coconut

makes about 12 macaroons

directions:

preheat oven to 300°F, and position rack to middle of oven. line a baking sheet with baking parchment paper. whisk together egg whites, sugar, vanilla, almond extract, and a pinch of salt until combined, then stir in coconut. drop spoonful-size mounds of the coconut mixture on the baking sheet, about 2 inches apart. bake until tops are pale golden in spots, 15 to 20 minutes, then carefully lift parchment paper with cookies from baking sheet and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely, about 15 minutes. peel the macaroons from the paper. 

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sugar cookies with shiny icing

merry christmas and happy holidays and happy new year! being home for christmas after two years away was really exciting. i absorbed a lot of christmasy things to the max, like Elf and The Santa Clause, the new holiday Michael Bublé album, ornament making/house decorating, and of course holiday baking. among the things i made with family and by  myself are lebkuchen (german gingerbread), red velvet cupcakes, chocolate fudge, kolachies and other nut cookies, and these successful sugar cookies. i say successful because normally when i make classic cookies, like sugar and chocolate chip, they some how just get hard and crunchy and homemade-looking in a sad way. my aunt gave this recipe to my family from an old betty crocker cookbook, and this was the first time i’ve tried it. sugar cookies aren’t normally in our christmas cookie lineup, but i was giving sugar cookies as a gift to my sister’s bf because i’m good at baking/possibly too much of a cheapo. but i think these are good enough that i want to make them for every holiday. the icing recipe that i found for this was only by chance. i just googled it and came across this one and thought it was interesting because of the special finish that happens. and also i’m annoyed when i make baked things pretty and then they get destroyed when i cover them or put them in tupperware. so this was perfect since the icing dries completely and is sorta shiny too. in the pictures you’ll actually see that they are not so shiny because i didn’t trust the recipe at first and expected the icing to melt if i left the cookies at room temperature. so i put them in the refrigerator the first night to protect them and the next morning the icing was still hard but all splotchy. since then they’ve been at room temperature and have been just fine, so if you decide to make these, avoid putting them in the refrigerator because you’ll really like the shininess that is supposed to happen.

cookie ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 c. powdered sugar
  • 1 c. margarine or butter, softened
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp. almond extract
  • 1 egg
  • 2 1/2 c. flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. cream of tartar

icing ingredients:

  • 1 c. powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp. milk (have more on hand to add in slowly if the mixture is too thick)
  • 2 tsp. light corn syrup
  • 1/4 tsp. almond extract
  • assorted food coloring
this recipe will make about 36 cookies, depending on your cookie cutter size

directions:

mix the powdered sugar, margarine, vanilla, almond extract and egg. stir in remaining ingredients. cover and refrigerate the dough for at least 3 hours. preheat oven to 375°. when i took the dough back out, i let it sit for about 20 minutes or so because it was too cold to roll out. if you think yours is a bit too hard too, do the same, or if not just go right ahead and begin by dividing the dough it into halves. roll out on a lightly floured surface, until the dough is about 1/4 of an inch thick. cut into shapes using cookie cutters. place on lightly greased cookie sheet. bake until edges are just barely light brown, about 7-8 minutes. remove cookies from the pan immediately and let cool on a wire rack.

for the icing, put the milk in a small or medium bowl, and then slowly whisk in the powdered sugar. if it’s thick, add in more milk at about a 1/2 tsp. at a time. whisk until smooth. if it gets too liquidy, slowly whisk in a bit more powdered sugar. you want it to be smooth and spreadable, but not watery and drippy. then whisk in the corn syrup and the almond extract until it’s smooth and glossy looking. now if you want to have different colors, separate the icing into a few bowls, and add a few drops of whatever colors you want into each bowl. i made green, red, light wintery blue, and kept one white. in the original recipe, it says you can paint the icing onto the cookies, but who has little paint brushes like that? well not me. at least not the kind that haven’t already been dipped in something inedible. i thought the recipe made actually a really great consistency because i was able to use a butter knife to spread it onto the cookies. if it’s too drippy, you may want to add more powdered sugar so you can actually spread it. unless of course you do have nice brushes to do some detail work. for me, the cookies were dry enough to be stacked after about 2 hours. on a few of them, i experimented by adding another layer of icing and this made an even better finish that actually survived the refrigeration. it’s been 4 days since i made them and although there aren’t many left, i imagine these cookies will be good at room temperature for up to a week.

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sweet potato whoopie pies + maple cream cheese frosting

this is my first time making whoopie pies. i always have thought the name is fun, and the actual fluffy sandwich cookie itself is fun to look at too, but until now i was only enjoying them through pictures. it was about time i tested some out for real. i ended up making this recipe because i had sweet potatoes to use up, yet my family didn’t need another pie today. so far we have 2 pumpkin pies and one mincemeat pie. it’s thanksgiving, and we have food traditions that i look forward to every year, and i wasn’t going to add something new to the mix this time. i did make sweet potato pie last year in germany because it was easier than paying a fortune for a can of pumpkin. it ended up being super popular (or i have really polite friends) and it tasted pretty close to pumpkin pie. i was asked for the recipe a few times though, which i still have yet to give (oops!). i promise though that i will make it before christmas and archive the recipe here, but for now i’m not going to crowd today’s dinner table with it. instead i’ll be offering a sample of my new sweet potato experiment, and a small one at that. the recipe that i adapted it from was rather small. it was only supposed to make about 10-12 mini sandwich cookies which i was thinking is maybe good since these are a new thanksgiving addition, but i scooped too big a few times, and now i have 9 mini whoopie pies to share. if it wasn’t thanksgiving and the theme of the entire day wasn’t all about sharing and being thankful for family and friends and whatever else, i might actually hide them in the back of the fridge and thank only myself for being such a good baker. but of course, i am extremely thankful to be with my family again this year. it has been two years since i’ve spent the holidays at home, and i’m quite happy to be able bake for them again. this recipe size is probably perfect for any normal occasion though. i hate when recipes make too much and you feel like you should start googling the nearest bake sale. this will make enough to share with a few people, and you can be sure that none will be wasted. even if you are baking these for yourself, you shouldn’t fear for leftovers in that situation either. have a very happy thanksgiving!

adapted from this recipe. cream cheese frosting recipe adapted from this.

cookie ingredients:

  • 3/4 c. cooked and mashed sweet potatoes (i used 2 big and 1 small potato and had a lot leftover to eat later)
  • 1/4 c. maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 c. flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. grond cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/8 tsp. salt

maple cream cheese frosting ingredients:

  • 3/4 package cream cheese (8oz. pkg)
  • 3 tbsp. butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 c. powdered sugar
  • 2 tbsp. maple syrup

directions:

heat oven to 375° F. line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, or spray a little bit of cooking spray. beat the sweet potato with the maple syrup and brown sugar with an electric mixer until smooth. then add the vanilla and the egg, and beat until well combined.
in a separate bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients (baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and salt).  add this dry mixture to the wet, and stir until fully incorporated. using a mini ice cream scoop or a small spoon, scoop batter onto prepared cookie sheet. try to make the scoops as smooth/round as possible because they will look prettier after they have baked. also note that the cookies won’t spread out when you bake them, but they do puff up. bake until cookies have puffed up and dry to the touch, about 8 or 9 minutes. let cookies rest on cookie sheet for 1 minute, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely (if you try to frost the still-warm cookies, the frosting will melt and be messy. waiting is worth it).
meanwhile, prepare the maple cream cheese frosting. clean the beaters, then beat the cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, and maple syrup together until smooth. when the cookies are cooled, spoon a small tsp. amount of frosting on one half of a cookie, and then sandwich with another piece. you now have a whoopie pie. chill the pies in the fridge until you are ready to serve.

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peanut butter cookies

being away for two years made me appreciate a lot of things lately that i used to take for granted. for example, every morning when i wake up i’m jumping with delight when i realize i can see my cat, spanky, in real life. this is compared to how i used to have to survive hugging him virtually through skype. i can’t say that i ever really took spanky for granted, but the last few weeks i just seriously can’t get over the fact that i can pick him up whenever i want now! he’s so fluffy, and probably so annoyed. in another category of things i never appreciated before i moved away are all of the great things that are sitting around my family’s house. our house was built in the mid 1800’s, and my extended family has lived here for about the last 50 years, so there are quite a lot of random old things scattered about from various decades.  the other day i was going through a kitchen drawer (that has always been there) and looked through some of the old cookbooks we have. they are gems! maybe it’s because i fell in love with madmen over the summer and now i’m smitten with all things vintage, but i feel so excited thinking about making some retro recipes. there was one crisco cookbook from 1959 that is really adorable, and really full of crisco-heavy recipes. did you know you can basically incorporate crisco into almost any recipe? i also found my grandma’s cookbook that is full of really beautiful handwriting and very old-fashioned recipes. now all i have to do is train my eyes to read the skinny cursive. this brings me to why i made peanut butter cookies, which i made with my mom. she received a better homes and gardens cookbook back in the eighties as a wedding present, and to this day she still makes a lot of recipes from this book. there are a lot of classic american recipes, but surprisingly there are lots of foreign dishes i recognized too. i guess i don’t need to search all that far when i’m ready to make stollen this christmas.

recipe adapted from Better Homes and Gardens: New Cookbook ca. 1984

ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 c. flour
  • 3/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 c. butter or margarine
  • 1/2 c. granulated sugar
  • 1/2 c. packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla

directions:

preheat oven to 375° F. stir together flour, soda, and salt. beat butter until light and fluffy. add peanut butter and both sugars, and beat again until fluffy. add egg and vanilla, and beat well. add dry ingredients to beaten mixture, and then beat till well combined. shape dough into 1-inch balls; roll in granulated sugar, if desired. place 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. crisscross the tops of the cookies with the tines of a fork. bake about 10 minutes. remove immediately and let cool on wire rack.

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tea cookies

these cookies have a very holiday taste to them. i made them first a couple of years ago when i was in college at christmas time, and gave them away as presents to friends. i made them again last december while living in germany, also for christmas. they are really delicious, but for some reason this is only the third time i’ve ever made the cookies. to me, they just fit perfectly in the holiday baking category. they look all cute and snowball-y i guess. it’s not technically the holiday season yet this year, but when i made these two weeks ago it was cold and blustery outside and i was feeling all cozy and warm and lazy inside. every time this year i get super excited for the holidays. i always try to make myself wait until after thanksgiving to break out the christmas movies and music, but i don’t think anyone can criticize me for making some festive cookies before then.

adapted from Aida Mollencamp’s recipe

ingredients:

2 c. flour

1/2 tsp. salt

2 sticks butter

1 c. powdered sugar, plus some extra

1 3/4 c. chopped almonds (you can use whatever kind you like)

directions:

preheat oven to 325° F (160° C). arrange the chopped nuts in a single layer on a baking sheet. bake in the oven between 5-7 minutes, and then remove to cool. make sure to keep an eye on them because they will burn really quickly. in a medium bowl, beat butter until light and fluffy. add sugar and continue to mix until whipped and light. add half of the toasted nuts and mix until evenly incorporated. add flour and mix until well combined. stir in remaining nuts. shape the dough into tablespoon size balls about 1 inch apart on a baking sheet. bake for about 25 minutes (it’s helpful to rotate the baking sheet halfway through to get all the cookies evenly baked) and after the bottoms of the cookies should be golden brown. remove from oven and let cool 5 minutes. roll the cookies in the extra powdered sugar, and then let them cool completely. now roll them again the powdered sugar. they should look extra wintery and snowy now.

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snickerdoodles

the name just sounds so cute. tomorrow is my birthday, and while i’m here germany with most of my friends away on vacation, i am baking for myself. birthdays are really good excuses to eat all the sweets i want, including a fresh batch of snickerdoodles. these are my go-to cookies, and when i have to bring food to a party or someone’s house, i make these. they are so easy and quick. i have almost memorized the recipe, and i can make them in under a half hour including baking time! anyways, that’s why i made these for birthday-self. i was considering experimenting with a recipe or finding a way to incorporate the fresh plums i bought yesterday into something sweet and crumbly, but on my birthday i want something that i know tastes really good. and it was going to be impossible to mess these cookies up. these are also one of the first official recipes i learned when i became serious about baking. the recipe is adapted from Nigella Lawson’s book, How to be a Domestic Goddess. they aren’t the traditional looking flat cookies, but little doughnut-texture balls that are more adorable. to birthday-ize these, i added  chopped hazelnuts. I also substituted some of the flour for wheat flour because i have some and need to use it up.  making things with whole wheat flour just sounds more “rustic,” and i love that word.

ingredients:

1 c. all purpose flour

2/3 c. whole wheat flour

1/2 tsp. nutmeg

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

3/4 tsp. baking powder

tiny pinch of salt

1/2 c. butter (at almost room temperature makes things easier)

1/3 c. sugar

1 egg

1 tsp. vanilla

1/4 c. chopped hazelnuts (or whatever type you like)

1 tsp. extra of cinnamon and 2 tbsp. extra of sugar mixed together on a plate

directions:

preheat oven to 350 degrees F. (175 degrees C)

combine flour, nutmeg, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. in a bigger bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth. beat in the egg and vanilla. stir in the nuts. slowly stir in dry ingredients until well mixed. roll 1 inch size (approx.) balls of dough in the cinnamon and sugar mixture (you can also add some chopped nuts to the mixture too) and arrange on a parchment lined baking sheet. bake for 12-15 minutes. the bottoms should be just barely golden brown.

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