little puffs of snow!

January 2nd, 2017 thecookieblogger Posted in daily cookie diary | No Comments »

for beginner bakers, i always suggest trying out a meringue cookie early on in their experimenting! meringue cookies look like they should be difficult to make, yet they are easy-peasy, as long as you follow the instructions! they are also the perfect ‘end of baking day’ cookie, because you basically preheat the oven, prep the cookie trays, place the trays in the oven, turn off the oven and go to sleep. when you wake up the next morning, you’ll have beautifully baked meringues waiting to pop out of the oven!

you can certainly pipe these to make them look fancy, but as you can see by my photo, i just dropped them from a rounded teaspoon scoop. i like that they look like little ragged-edged puffs of snow. and they taste just as good whether they’re fancy or not! light as a feather, a bit sweet, and the perfect cookie for chocolate and walnut lovers alike!

i’d be remiss if i didn’t mention that the original recipe for these came from emeril lagasse on the food network site, but i tweaked some of the ingredients so these cookies would be a bit less sweet, and heavier on chocolate chips than walnuts. either emeril’s or my version will give you delightful results, so why not give them a try. you’ll thank me for it!



‘little puffs of snow’ meringue cookies

ingredients
2 large egg whites, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
2/3 cup minus 2 teaspoons of superfine granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup semisweet mini chocolate chips
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts

instructions
1. preheat oven to 350 degrees. line your 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. with your stand mixer, beat egg whites until foamy. (make sure your mixing bowl is cool, dry and free of any oily residue.)
3. add the cream of tartar, beating until the egg white/cream of tartar mixture is fluffy. do not overbeat.
4. add the sugar gradually. 2-3 tablespoons at a time. when 1/2 of the sugar’s been added, add the vanilla extract.
5. continue adding the sugar in small increments until all the sugar has been added and is dissolved. your meringue should be very shiny, almost tight looking. it will form amazingly beautiful peaks at this time!
6. gently, gently, gently, fold in your chocolate chips and walnuts. do not overwork the batter!
7. with a teaspoon scoop, gently place your cookie dough onto your parchment-lined baking sheets. leave about 1″ of space between each mound of dough.
8. place baking sheets into the preheated oven, close the oven door and turn the oven off.
9. without opening the oven, leave the cookies in the oven for at least 2 hours, maximum 7 hours, or until cookies are crisp and dry.
10. enjoy!

yield: about 40 cookies

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bob’s red mill asks: what holiday cookie are you?

December 16th, 2016 thecookieblogger Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

which holiday cookie are you? well, bob’s red mill will help you figure that out with this silly and speedy little quiz that can be found at their web site :
https://www.bobsredmill.com/blog/featured-articles/holiday-cookie-quiz/

i discovered i’m a peppermint hot chocolate cookie, which is quite telling, since i just received some great crushed peppermint from king arthur flour and wasn’t sure what i was going to use it for! seems i’ve found the perfect recipe for it! (and p.s., they happen to be gluten-free, so bonus points for sharing with gf friends!)

peppermint hot chocolate cookies
courtesy of bob’s red mill

ingredients

2-1/2 cups bob’s red mill gluten free 1-to-1 baking flour
2 tsp baking bowder
2 cups bob’s red mill organic coconut sugar
1 cup cocoa powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup olive oil
4 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
2 tsp peppermint extract
powdered sugar
crushed peppermint candies

instructions

1. combine sugar and oil in a large bowl until blended then beat in cocoa powder, eggs, peppermint and vanilla.
2. in a separate bowl, combine gluten-free flour, baking powder and salt.
3. slowly beat dry ingredients into wet ingredients until completely blended.
4. cover and refrigerate for 2 hours.
5. preheat oven to 350 degrees.
6. line a baking sheet with parchment paper and drop spoonfuls of dough about 1-inch in size onto sheet, about 1-2 inches apart. sprinkle crushed peppermint candies atop each cookie, lightly pressing down so that they are ‘stuck’ to the dough.
7. sprinkle powdered sugar lightly over cookies.
8. bake 12-15 minutes until springy.
9. cool and enjoy.

yield: approximately 24 cookies

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announcing: the 2016 holiday cookie platter!

December 15th, 2016 thecookieblogger Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

each year, i prepare a number of cookie platters to give as gifts to friends, family and those who have gone the extra mile for us each year. i am currently baking the cookies to grace this year’s platter, and i thought i’d share it with you, cookieblogger readers, so you can get an idea of what types of cookies should ‘make the cut’ for your holiday cookie platters.

since there’s a lot of stacking on the platter, i find it best to include cookies that can stand up to the pressure of being surrounded by other cookies. i also try not to add cookies that have a strong scent, since i don’t want all the other cookies on the platter to be infused with that scent. in all honesty, however, i do have a number of anise-flavored cookies this year – but they are lightly scented and should do no harm to the rest of the platter!

lastly, i’m still working on getting recipes up here on the blog for a few of this year’s cookies… so stay tuned!

and it goes without saying, it would be delightful if you added a comment or suggestion to any recipe page where you either liked that specific cookie or thought something could make it even better! i’m all about the feedback, you know…

thanks for visiting! happy cookie munching and happy holidays!

2016 holiday cookies


First Cookie Tray of 2016

almond snowballs
almondsnow

anise biscotti
anise1

anise christmas cookies
recipe to come
anise christmas cookies

karen’s signature blondies
blond2

chocolate brownies
recipe and photo to come

chocolate chip sand cookies
chochipsand1

chocolate dipsydoes
recipe to come
dipsydoes

crackly fudge cookies
cracklychoc2

espresso crescents
espres2

ginger shortbread stars
ginger shortbread stars

jeanne’s sugar cookies
recipe to come
naked sugar cookies
naked sugar cookies!
updated photo with frosting and sugar to come!

lemon crunch cookies
lemony

molasses spice cookies
recipe and photo to come

oatmeal cookies
cook's illustrated thin & crispy oatmeal cookies

dreamy almond cookies
recipe and photo to come

owen’s chocolate chip cookies
chocchipowen

pecan icebox cookies
butpec1

pignoli cookies
recipe and photo to come

pizzelles
PIZZELLE

pudding cookies
pudding

snickerdoodles
snick1

spritz cookies – chocolate
recipe and photo to come

spritz cookies – vanilla
Spritz 2014

condensed milk cookies
recipe and photo to come

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know your butter!

December 13th, 2016 thecookieblogger Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

there’s a whole lot of baking going on over here today. i’m currently in the midst of trays of lemon crunch cookies at the same time i’m prepping my annual anise pizzelles. and there’s a whole lot of butter moving through the kitchen today!

when it comes to butter, i usually go unsalted and organic. it works best for my cookie recipes, and i like the taste and the texture of it. i also love its rich, pale yellow coloring.

this article “a baker’s golden rule: not all butter is created equal” by andrea strong is a quick, worthy read. i promise it will make you a better butter connoisseur!

happy baking, my friends!

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chocolate spritz cookies to brighten your day!

November 5th, 2016 thecookieblogger Posted in daily cookie diary | No Comments »

spritz cookies are delicate, tasty and easy to bake! add some cocoa to the mix, and you’ve elevated this simple cookie to the status of superstar. because, now it’s delicate, tasty, easy to bake — and it’s chocolate!!!

this is also a recipe with a yield of more than 80 cookies per batch, so it’s a good, quick, homemade chocolate fix.

a baker’s note: do not attempt to line your cookie sheets with parchment when you use your cookie press with this recipe. the cookies will cling much better to the bare metal pan. and there’s enough butter in the recipe to keep the cookies from sticking.

i’ll be curious to know what the cookieblogger nation thinks about these fabulous cookies! i’d love to hear from you, so please let me know!

chocolate spritz cookies


choco-spritz

ingredients:
1 1/2 cups butter, softened
1 cup baker’s white sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (i use king arthur flour’ dutch process cocoa in this recipe and have never been disappointed!)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 egg
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (king arthur flour creates a dough that’s a bit easier to handle through your cookie press than bob’s red mill or any of the other popular brands.)

instructions:

1. preheat oven to 375 degrees
2. beat butter using an electric mixer until light and creamy
3. add sugar, cocoa powder and baking powder, beating into butter until all four ingredients are well combined.
4. add egg and vanilla extract into your butter mixture, blending well (but be careful not to overbeat)
5. add flour. mix until combined.
6. fill your cookie press and press cookies (preferably with the flower disc) onto an ungreased baking sheet
7. add a chocolate chip into the center of your flower
8. bake for 8-10 minutes until cookies are set and edges start to lightly brown.
9. enjoy!!

yield: approximately 80 cookies

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it’s been a year…

October 7th, 2015 thecookieblogger Posted in daily cookie diary | No Comments »

first off, i need to apologize to my faithful readers for my long-term absence these past months. 2015 has been quite the year, but i believe as surely as fall has arrived that i am on the mend and moving toward health and wellness. to make a very long story short, i went in for my annual mammogram at the end of january (go get your girls checked annually, my friends!) and was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer. the months between that initial diagnosis and today were filled with surgery, chemotherapy and radiation treatments. i was surrounded by so much love and so much healing energy throughout my journey, and now, eight months later, i am feeling strong and optimistic! i continue with some ‘chemo light’ which will stay with me into 2016, but overall, life is returning to what i now coin as my ‘new normal’ and with that comes the promise of more baked goods. because, as we all know, baking cookies makes me feel good – and sharing cookies with others make the world a better place. and we could all use a more peaceful, more beautiful earth, no?

so, let’s get started again, shall we? into the kitchen we go…

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auntie barb’s almond snowballs

December 9th, 2014 thecookieblogger Posted in daily cookie diary | No Comments »

previously here on cookieblogger, i included the almond snowball cookie recipe that my mom and i have baked over the years. but there’s another family version that comes from my auntie barb, mom’s twin sister, that shines as well.

here’s my auntie barb, circa 1950’s:

k_family 328

though these cookies look similar to the snowballs i usually make, their taste and texture differ greatly, with mom’s being a more understated and melt-in-your-mouth cookie, while auntie barb’s, with the addition of ground almonds, have a bit of crunch and a nuttier flavor. for those who can’t eat nuts, my original almond snowball recipe works well with just almond flavoring and no nuts. but for those of you who like a little authentic nuttiness in your cookie, these are for you!

auntie barb was not known for her baking prowess, but every christmas, she pulled out her one cookie sheet and put her all into these snowballs. This recipe, originally from her sister-in-law, has been passed down to her daughters and granddaughters, so the tradition continues.

we lost my auntie barb last year, and words can’t describe the loss. but when i make these cookies, she is right here with me, though it’s likely she’s watching reruns of murder, she wrote, while i do the baking!

almond_snowballs

auntie barb’s almond snowballs

ingredients:
1 cup butter
1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups sifted flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup ground almonds
1 cup confectioner’s sugar (for rolling cookies in, post-baking)

instructions:
1. pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.
2. with your mixer, cream butter, sugar and vanilla very well until light and fluffy.
3. add in flour and salt; mix well, but do not overmix.
4. stir in ground almonds.
5. roll into balls about the size of walnuts. place on cookie sheets about 1 inch apart.
6. bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes (cookies will still be light in color).
7. remove from cookie sheet.
8. let completely cool, then roll in confectioner’s sugar.
9. enjoy!

yield: approximately 70 cookies

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40 cookies in 10 days!

December 6th, 2014 thecookieblogger Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

it’s true. i’ll be spending the next 10 days baking 40 different types of cookies (because variety is the spice of life, no?!) many are cookies that i’ve already included here on cookieblogger, but some are new, and i’ll be posting those recipes over the next few days.

a friend asked me why would i bake so many cookies, and it was easy to respond. we give cookie platters as gifts to some of our friends and relatives here in seattle as well as shipping some back east to my family back there. for family, especially, there are long-held memories and traditions in some of these cookies that go back generations. for friends, it is a way to share our love in a time when gift-giving often loses its meaning. and for me, baking centers me like yoga or meditation does for many.

but that’s a lot of cookies to bake, you may ask? yes, but i like to give cookies at the height of their freshness, so for me, i know by baking in these next 10 days guarantees that they’re the freshest and best cookies i can give. every cookie leaves my home with a little piece of my heart. and i think my cookie recipients know that. it’s what makes them extra-special, no?

so, if you’re like me and gearing up for a baking binge, enjoy yourself and have fun. and crank up those holiday tunes!

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chewy fudgy cookies

December 2nd, 2014 thecookieblogger Posted in daily cookie diary | No Comments »

brrrr. it’s unseasonably cold here in seattle, with the temps expected to dip into the teens tonight. this is not our typical thanksgiving weekend weather, so there’s been a bunch of ‘indoor’ time, imbibing lots and lots of hot tea. i can’t seem to warm up without it!

looking for a cookie to accompany those pots of tea didn’t take much digging in my recipe box. these chewy fudgy cookies are perfect – just the right amount of chocolate and chewiness; hearty, yet not filling. there’s also a hint of java in these cookies, brought to you directly from that smidge of espresso powder. these are good. and addictive! i haven’t included these in past holiday cookie trays, but this may be the year for this cookie to shine!

fudgecookies

chewy fudgy cookies
ingredients:
6 ounces of bittersweet chocolate, chopped finely
1 ounce of semi-sweet chocolate, chopped finely
3 tablespoon unsalted butter, cut in chunks
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons dark cocoa
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1/3 cup baker’s fine sugar
1/3 cup light brown sugar (packed)
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon espresso powder

instructions:
1. preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
3. combine chopped chocolate and butter in microwaveable bowl; melt in microwave, stopping to stir 3 time.
4. in a small separate bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa and salt. set aside.
5. in your mixer, whip the eggs, sugar, brown sugar, vanilla and espresso powder for 10 minutes at medium speed. the mixture will get frothy, light in color and double in bulk.
6. with your silicone spatula, fold the melted chocolate/butter mixture into the egg mixture, being careful not to overwork the mixing.
7. add the flour mixture to the mixer bowl, again gently folding in the dry mix until it is completely combined with the wet ingredients.
8. using your 30 scoop (approximately 2 tablespoons worth of batter), drop the cookie dough onto the prepared pans. They spread a tiny bit, so leave a bit of space between them, approximately 2″ apart.
9. bake for 5 minutes; then rotate the pan in the oven and bake for another 4 minutes. the cookies will puff up and have a crackled appearance, yet will still be pliable and soft.
10. remove from oven and let rest on cookie sheet for approximately 15 minutes.
11. remove cookies from tray and and transfer cookies to wire rack for remainder of cooling.

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for the gluten-free crowd…

September 28th, 2014 thecookieblogger Posted in daily cookie diary | No Comments »

i have a number of friends who have been dealing with gluten-free lifestyles, and i’ve found myself apologizing more than once for the heavy gluten influence in most of my baked goods. this weekend, i met a lovely new friend who happens to have both a gluten-free and vegetarian palate, and i wanted to send her home with some baked goods to thank her for her help. alas, my usual repertoire of baked goods just wouldn’t do. so, i scoured the internet to find something that would meet her needs and be tasty – and i think i hit the mark with this variation of gluten-free and vegan brownies. they didn’t have the grit or dryness that past attempts at gluten-free desserts had, and the chocolate didn’t taste chalky. still not perfect, but better than earlier tries, so i’ll call this a ‘win’! i played around with this recipe a bit, but the original must be credited to oh she glows a recipe site that often has some really great ideas with twists to conventional recipes.

gluten-free & vegan brownies

ingredients
1.5 tbsp ground flax + 3 tbsp water, whisked
3/4 cup + 2 tbsp brown rice flour
1.5 cups almond flour (i use bob’s red mill – it has the best consistency of almond flours)
2 tbsp arrowroot powder
3.4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup + 1 tbsp butter
1 cup baker’s sugar
1/2 cup + 1/4 cup non-dairy chocolate, divided
1/4 cup (full fat) almond milk
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts

instructions
1. preheat oven to 350F. grease a 9 inch square pan.
2. in a small bowl, whisk together the ground flax and water and set aside.
3. in a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients (flours, arrowroot, cocoa, salt, baking soda).
4. in a large microwave safe bowl, add chocolate and butter and melt in microwave for about 20-30 seconds until melted. Stir well and add in flax egg, sugar, vanilla, and milk. Whisk.
5. pour wet mixture over dry mixture and stir well. this mixture will be very dry, but that is the way it should be.
6. fold in the walnuts and remaining 1/4 cup chocolate chips.
7. using a silicon spatula, scrape batter into prepared pan. Spread with hands or a pastry roller until smooth and even.
8. bake for 35 minutes at 350F and allow brownies to cool in pan for about 1.5 hours. let brownies cool in their baking pan and on a wire rack for at least 90 minutes.
9. separate edge of brownie from pan with a butter knife and place on a cooling rack. cool completely before attempting to cut them.
10. store in an air-tight container for no more than 2 days.

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