oatmeal cookie recipe = perfect summertime munching

July 7th, 2018 thecookieblogger Posted in daily cookie diary | No Comments »

it wouldn’t be summer without munching on a freshly-made oatmeal cookie, served alongside a tall glass of lemonade. i make these pretty regularly, and they are one of my most requested cookie recipes.

thin oatmeal cookies
http://www.thecookieblogger.com/cooks-illustrated-thin-crispy-oatmeal-cookies/

this recipe is direct from america’s test kitchen. I can honestly declare that they have never, ever steered me wrong with their recipes. maybe it’s their intense testing practices. maybe it’s because their new england kitchens are filled with magic. whatever the reason, you can’t go wrong with cookies originally developed by atk.

that being said, i’ve decided to challenge myself over the coming months, to crawl through atk’s the perfect cookie cookbook, and get through all of its recipes between now and the winter holiday season. partly to find some inspiration for my holiday cookie trays, and partly because i do love a good challenge. i’ll post results here on the site and let you know how i’m making out over the next few months. please, stick around to share my successes – and not-so-successes, and perhaps find a little inspiration yourself!

happy cookie baking!

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oh, those mini muffins!

May 13th, 2018 thecookieblogger Posted in daily cookie diary | No Comments »

yep, those banana chocolate chip mini muffins are one of my most requested baked goods. people love them. and when i say people, i mean my hubby. because he actually gets pretty delighted when he sees those bananas on the kitchen counter starting to turn all brown and ugly-looking. because it means that those mini muffins can’t be too far off!

i’ve found that organic bananas seem to take a bit longer to get brown and smooshy, which is really where you need them for this recipe. so i often will place them in a brown paper bag, just to speed up the process a bit. it really works – give it a try.

another way to get the bananas just the way you need them? check in with your local grocer! it’s likely they have bananas that have ‘passed their prime’ and are too brown to be out on display. they will happily give them to you at a discounted price. and you’ll have bananas in exactly the perfect state for this recipe!

check out this tried and true recipe for banana chocolate chip mini muffins. it’s an oldie, but definitely a goodie!

http://www.thecookieblogger.com/banana-chocolate-chip-mini-muffins

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eggnog cookies

December 12th, 2017 thecookieblogger Posted in daily cookie diary | No Comments »

who doesn’t love the taste of eggnog? well, lots of people, from what i’m told! but to me, eggnog signifies that the holidays are officially on their way. i’m the only one in our house that drinks the stuff, and even when i buy the smallest container i can, i try not to down the whole quart in one sitting.

now, i actually have found a way to re-purpose some of that eggnog so i don’t have to apply it directly to my thighs. it’s a great add-in flavor for holiday cookies! and i actually sprinkle a tiny bit of sifted nutmeg atop the cookies to finish off that holiday scent.

these are cutout cookies, so be sure to have your cookie cutters ready to go. and i used a simple royal icing on them for decoration. for those adventurous bakers in the group, see my second photo. instead of my white drizzle and sifted nutmeg, i went with a marble effect of white, red and green royal frosting as an experiment. not my usual style, but sometimes you just gotta be adventurous in cookieland, no? and special thanks to a cookie decorating workshop at sur la table for the frosting ideas!

eggnog cookies

  

ingredients:

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature

1 cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs

2 tablespoons, plus 2 teaspoons of eggnog (use the full fat version for the best dough consistency)

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon finely ground sea salt

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon finely ground nutmeg

flour for rolling

royal icing for drizzle

sifted nutmeg for light dusting

 

instructions:

  1. in your mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes.
  2. beat in eggs, one at a time.
  3. beat in the eggnog until it is well combined.
  4. add the flour, salt, baking soda and nutmeg to the creamed mixture, and mix on lowest speed until well-combined.
  5. cover and refrigerate overnight to firm up dough for easy handling.
  6. preheat oven to 375 degrees. line your baking sheets with parchment paper.
  7. lightly dust your rolling area with additional flour. roll dough to 1/8″ thickness, and using your cookie cutters, cut our your desired shapes.
  8. transfer your cutout cookies to the parchment-lined baking sheets, about 1 1/2″ apart, leaving some room to spread slightly.
  9. place in oven and bake for 10 minutes, or just until edges begin to brown. remove cookies from sheet and let cool on wire rack.
  10. when cookies are completely cool, drizzle icing atop the cookie, and prior to the drizzle drying, lightly sprinkle sifted nutmeg atop cookies.
  11. enjoy!

<yield: about 40 cookies>

 

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honey pillows

December 10th, 2017 thecookieblogger Posted in daily cookie diary | No Comments »

these light and tasty cookies are close cousins to the ever-popular snickerdoodles. but instead of that crispy crunch of a snickerdoodle, these honey-sweetened delights are soft and airy. the dough itself is quite soft, so it’s best to use a small scoop to set them on your parchment-lined baking sheet – that will be much easier than trying to roll them between your palms. and just a sprinkle of cinnamon sugar (or in my case, i used king arthur flour’s cinnamon sugar plus, which is *awe-some*!) adds some terrific flavor!

also, i am a big fan of purchasing and using local honey, especially with its health benefits in helping build up allergy immunities. and in this case, i used one of my favorite local honeys (the honey hole honey company), with their beekeeper and his hives being only 2 blocks from my home! can’t get much more local than that!

honey pillows

ingredients:

1/3 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature

2/3 cup honey

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 large egg

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 tablespoons cinnamon sugar plus (or make your own 1 1/2 tablespoon baker’s sugar combined with 1/2 teaspoon ground vietnamese cinnamon

instructions:

1. preheat oven to 375 degrees. line baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. in your large mixing bowl on medium speed, beat butter for about 1 minute.

3. add the honey, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt, beating at medium speed until well combined. be sure to scrape the bowl from time to time.

4. add the large egg, beating until well combined.

5. turn off your mixer, add the flour to the wet ingredients, and begin on low speed, combining the flour until it is just combined and there are no dry ingredients visible in the bowl. don’t be tempted to overmix!

6. with a small teaspoon scoop, drop dough 2 inches apart onto your parchment-lined baking sheet.

7. sprinkle each mound of dough with cinnamon sugar.

8. bake for 8-9 minutes until edges are just starting to firm up.

9. remove from oven, letting cookies stay on baking sheet for about 1 more minute. then remove cookies to wire rack for complete cooling.

10. enjoy!

<yield: 34 cookies>

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red velvet spritzies

December 9th, 2017 thecookieblogger Posted in daily cookie diary | No Comments »

red velvet cake doesn’t seem to be as popular a cake nowadays as when i was young. i remember having non-italian friends who always requested it for their birthday cakes (seriously, us italian kids loved rum-soaked sponge layer cakes with whipped buttercream and sprinkles or toasted almonds around the outside!)

a few years ago, i spotted this spritz cookie recipe and couldn’t resist. the color was perfect, and though this photo looks darker and more like chocolate cookies, they really are a deep red with hints of cocoa in the color. their texture is traditional spritz and their flavor is gentle – not too sugary, just enough buttery flavor to make them rich, yet light.

the nonpareils on top add a little crunch along with a festive look. and though it’s a bit late tonight, in the morning i may dip the bottom of these cookies in a melted rich dark chocolate glaze. i’ll let you know if i do (and i’ll upload a photo, because we all know it didn’t happen unless there’s a photo to go along with it, right?) (**editor’s note: i did dip and the cookies are even more perfect now! see the photo on the right for dipped versions!)

give these a try and let me know what you think. frankly, they’re easy to bake and i think you’ll be pleasantly surprised!

red velvet spritzies

  

ingredients:

1 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
3 oz. cream cheese, softened to room temperature (use the full-fat cream cheese)
1 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg, separated yolk from whites
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon red paste food coloring
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon dark cocoa powder
1 tablespoon water
white nonpareils

instructions:

1. preheat oven to 350 degrees. do not grease or add parchment paper to your baking sheets. spritz cookies bake better on plain baking sheets.
2. cream butter, cream cheese and sugar until light and fluffy.
3. add egg yolk, vanilla, and food coloring to the buttery mixture. beat until completely combined.
4. add flour and cocoa, adding slowly into the butter mixture at low to medium speed on your mixer.
5. using a cookie press fitted with a flower disk (or whichever disk you wish!), press dough approximately 1″ apart onto the baking sheets. (these cookies don’t spread, so they can be fairly close together)
6. in a small bowl, combine the egg white and the water, and using a pastry brush, lightly brush over each cookies. be careful not to place too much egg white mixture on the cookies, and don’t let it drip down onto your baking sheet, as that may cause the cookies to stick to the sheet.
7. sprinkle the nonpareils lightly atop each cookie.
8. bake for 10-12 minutes until the cookies are just set, but not brown.
9. remove from oven. cool for 2 minutes on the baking sheets, then remove cookies from pan and cool completely on wire racks.
10. enjoy!

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classic sugar cookies

December 7th, 2017 thecookieblogger Posted in daily cookie diary | No Comments »

are you looking for a traditional sugar cookie that’s easy to make with the kids? these cookies are easy to bake, and the perfect palette for your decorating magic!

yesterday, i visited a nearby sur la table store, which thankfully for my pocketbook, isn’t too nearby! i love everything this store sells, but i am especially drawn to their regularly-scheduled cooking and baking classes. if you have one of these stores nearby, i urge you to take a look at their class schedule and sign up for one. you will not be disappointed.

well, yesterday’s workshop was all about decorating holiday cookies. chef marianna was a whiz at giving us all the ins-and-outs of royal icing, which, up til yesterday, truly evaded me. my baking skills are pretty darn good, but my decorating skills? they leave a bit to be desired. but after three speedy hours in the kitchen with chef marianna and my fellow bakers, i am feeling optimistic about this year’s decorated sugar cookies!

for today, let’s bake up some sugar cookies. and then break out the royal icing (or the store-bought stuff) – this is all about having some fun!

and special thanks to chef marianna and sur la table for this great recipe – and for an awesome class!

classic sugar cookies

ingredients:

3 cups all-purpose flour, plus a bit more for rolling

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature

1 1/4 cups granulated sugar

2 large eggs

1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste

instructions:

  1. in the bowl of your stand mixer, using the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes.
  2. add the eggs, one at a time, mixing until well blended, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  3. Add vanilla bean paste and mix for 30 seconds.
  4. turn machine off and add the flour, baking powder and salt. on very low speed, beat the dough, continuing to scrape the sides of the bowl as needed.
  5. divide dough into two circles and wrap in plastic wrap, refrigerating until chilled and firm, at least one hour.
  6. when you’re ready to bake the cookies, preheat your oven to 350 degrees, and line your baking sheets with parchment paper.
  7. roll the dough on a lightly floured surface. the dough should be approximately 1/4″ thick. cut out shapes with your cookie cutters. carefully transfer the cookies onto your baking sheets, leaving about 1″ between each cookie (i will sometimes use an offset spatula to help me move the cookies from cutting surface to baking sheet.)
  8. bake approximately 8-10 minutes, rotating the baking sheets midway through. remove the baking sheets from the oven when the cookies are pale, but set. transfer cookies to a wire rack for cooling.
  9. cool completely before decorating. (cookies can be stored in airtight containers for up to one week.)
  10. enjoy!

<yield: approximately 36 cookies>

 

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walnut and brown sugar rugelach

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

oh, i’ve been thinking of making these cookies for awhile. the dough is light and tender, the filling rich and delicious. making rugelach sometimes seems daunting, but don’t let the few extra steps deter you from making these. the cutting and shaping really isn’t more complex than cutting a pizza pie, and doing a quick roll-up of the filled dough really is quick and painless. they are worth the tiny bit of extra effort!

hoping to be a bit more helpful than usual, i’ve added some additional photos today to show you the steps. you’ll see i used a metal ruler – that’s my kitchen ruler! it cleans up well and doesn’t get damaged when i run a knife along its’ edge when cutting the rugelach dough.

walnut and brown sugar rugelach

ingredients:

1 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature

8 oz. (1 large package) cream cheese, softened to room temperature (be sure to use full-fat and not reduced-fat cream cheese)

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 – 1 cup of all-purpose flour (for rolling out dough)

1 large egg

1 teaspoon water

1 cup walnuts, finely chopped

1/2 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed

instructions:

1. in a food processor, blend the butter, cream cheese, granulated sugar and salt until very well combined.

2. add 2 cups flour and pulse just until ingredients come together and dough forms.

3. divide dough in half. flatten into disks and wrap each disc in plastic wrap.

4. refrigerate overnight (or up to 2 days in fridge; 2 months in freezer)

5. preheat oven to 350 degrees. prep baking sheets with parchment paper.

6. in a small bowl, combine the egg and water to create a simple egg wash.

7. on a lightly floured board (or lightly floured parchment paper), roll out one disc of dough into an 11 inch circle. it’s easy to do if you just use a dinner plate as your template. once the dough is rolled out, place the dinner plate on top of the dough, and with a sharp knife, cut a circle, using the dinner plate as your guide. trim scraps (you can use them later to make a smaller circle and some mini rugelach!)

 

8. brush the circle with the egg wash, then sprinkle walnuts and brown sugar over the egg wash.

9. using a sharp knife or pizza cutter to cut, and using a metal ruler to guide you, cut your circle into 16 equal triangles. start

ing from the wide end, roll up the triangle, placing the seam side down on the prepared baking sheet.

10. brush each rolled triangle with the egg wash.

11. bake until golden brown, approximately 30 minutes.

12. transfer rugelach to wire rack. cool completely.

13. enjoy!

<yield: 40 cookies>

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savory pinwheels

November 29th, 2017 thecookieblogger Posted in daily cookie diary | No Comments »

sometimes, my cookie baking goes in a slightly different direction! today we’re talking savory, and there’s nothing yummier than these savory pinwheels. easy to make, and even easier to eat! four simple ingredients, a little bit of fridge time, a little bit of oven time, and these little slices of heaven are ready to pop in your mouth.

what four ingredients, you may ask? puff pastry, genoa salami, dijon mustard and grated parmegiano reggiano cheese come together to create a simple, yet tasty delight!

okay, so maybe i’m stretching it a bit, saying it’s a cookie. but it’s baked, it’s got pastry dough, and it’s yummy. i’m calling it a cookie! that’s my story, and i’m sticking to it!

let me know what you think? savory appetizer or savory cookie? whichever way you choose, i do hope you’ll enjoy it!

 

savory pinwheels

ingredients:

2 sheets of puff pastry (you can make your own, or use the ready-to-bake ones from pepperidge farm)

1 lb. genoa salami, very thinly sliced at your deli counter

2 tablespoons country dijon mustard

3 tablespoons grated parmegiano reggiano cheese

flour to dust rolling surface

small bowl of warm water to ‘seal’ dough

 

instructions:

  1. on a lightly floured board, roll out 1 sheet of puff pastry to approximately 12 x 9 rectangle.
  2. spread a thin layer of dijon mustard to cover the pastry.
  3. add the salami, overlapping the slices so no portion of the pastry is showing.
  4. sprinkle the grated parmegiano reggiano lightly over the entire surface.
  5. working with the longer edge, roll tightly until the entire pastry sheet is rolled up into a log. using a pastry brush, lightly work the warm water along the ‘finished’ portion of the roll, basically using the water as a ‘glue’ to seal the edge of the pastry to itself.
  6. repeat steps 1-5 with second sheet of puff pastry.
  7. roll tightly in aluminum foil, and refrigerate for about 30 minutes to let the pastry ‘seal’ set and make the dough more manageable to slice.
  8. preheat your oven to 400 degrees. line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  9. remove logs from fridge, and on cutting board, lightly sprinkled with flour, slice into 1/8″ to 1/4″ slices. place the slices onto your prepared baking sheet.
  10. bake for 14-17 minutes, depending on your preference (lighter/chewier or a bit darker/crunchier)
  11. remove from oven, placing pinwheels on wire rack for cooling.
  12. can be eaten warm out of the oven, or at room temperature.
  13. enjoy!

<yield: about 75 pinwheels>

 

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raspberry chocolate linzer cookies

November 28th, 2017 thecookieblogger Posted in daily cookie diary | No Comments »

oh, the combination of raspberry jam, buttery biscuits and dark chocolate drizzle. linzer cookies look like they’re difficult to make, but really, they’re simple. you’ll use the same dough for both the top and bottom cookies, with the only difference being the ‘hole’ in the top cookie so you can see that luscious jam oozing through it! i use linzer cookie cutters, but you can easily use a large cookie cutter for the basic cookie, and either a smaller cookie cutter or even a straw, to cut out the ‘centers’ of the top cookies. and if you just choose to make a sandwich cookie, you can skip cutting out the hole in the top cookie!

i made these especially for my hubby, who loves a good cookie, is very partial to raspberry flavor and loves his chocolate. i’ll report back on if he thinks these cookies are keepers. check back in the next day or so for ‘the hubby report’!

raspberry chocolate linzer cookies

ingredients:

1 1/2 sticks of unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

confectioner’s sugar for dusting
1/2 cup raspberry jam/preserves
1/4 cup dark chocolate chips

instructions:

1. with your electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
2. add eggs and almond extract, mixing until well blended.
3. on low speed, add 2 cups flour, baking powder and salt. mix just until blended (do not overmix.)
4. turn dough out onto a lightly floured board, and knead in the remaining 1/4 cup of flour, creating a firm dough. wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
5. preheat oven to 350 degrees. prepare your cookie sheets, lining them with parchment paper.
6. roll dough on lightly floured board to 1/8-inch thick. using a cookie cutter (approximately 2″), cut dough into chosen shape (circle, star, etc.) using a 1/2 cookie cutter, cut out the center of half of the original cookies so you have an even number of tops (with holes) and bottoms (without holes). place cookies on parchment-lined cookie sheets.
7. bake for 9-10 minutes, or until edges just begin to brown.
8. remove cookies from the oven and let cool on cookie sheets for about 2 minutes. transfer cookies to wire rack to continue cooling. cool completely before the next step!
9. it’s cookie assembly time! pair cookies of similar size tops and bottoms. dust the bottom layers with a light coating of confectioner’s sugar. using an offset spatula or your butter knife, spread a small amount of jam/preserves onto the bottom cookie. place a top over the jam/preserves and press gently. dust top of cookie very lightly with confectioner’s sugar.
10. melt dark chocolate chips in microwave until smooth. either fill decorating bag with the smallest tip you have, or dip a fork into the melted chocolate, and lightly create thin lines atop your cookies.
11. let the jam and chocolate set for a few hours.
12. enjoy!

<yield: approximately 32 cookies>

helpful equipment for this recipe:   linzer cookie cutters

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peanut butter squiggles

November 26th, 2017 thecookieblogger Posted in daily cookie diary | No Comments »

a silly name, for sure! but these little morsels are a yummy peanut butter spritz cookie, fancied up with a dip of dark chocolate and some crushed peanuts. they’re light and tasty, and the peanuty flavor shines through with each bite.

you may be tempted to use a chunky peanut butter, but the chunks will make it a bit difficult to go through your cookie press, so opt for the creamy peanut butter. and though they look much prettier and bake more evenly when shaped by the cookie press, you can certainly roll them by hand, cut them, and use a fork to ‘draw’ a decorative texture on them.

the other very helpful tool when making this tool is a nut chopper. king arthur flour sells the one i swear by here: https://www.kingarthurflour.com/shop/items/nut-chopper.  again, if you don’t have this tool, don’t let that stop you from baking these cookies! place them in a bag or between some parchment paper and smash them with the back of your chef’s knife or a rolling pin! you’ll need a bit more ‘elbow grease’, but the nuts will be just as crushed!

if you give this recipe a try, please let me know what you think. happy baking!

peanut butter squiggles

ingredients:

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed well

1 large egg

1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

12 oz. melted dark chocolate (i use ghiradelli dark chocolate chips)

1 cup finely chopped unsalted, roasted peanuts

instructions:

  1. in a large bowl, cream the butter, peanut butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar, about 4 minutes, until they are well-combined and light and fluffy.
  2. beat in the egg and the vanilla extract.
  3. add the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. on very low speed, begin to mix the dry ingredients into the butter mixture. as dry ingredients get incorporated into the butter mixture, raise the speed to medium on your mixer. be sure your ingredients are thoroughly combined.
  4. cover dough and refrigerate overnight.
  5. preheat oven to 350 degrees. line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  6. using your cookie press fitted with the star attachment, press dough 2″ apart on a parchment-lined cookie sheet. cut each strip into 2″ pieces. (as you can see, mine were a bit varied, and no matter the size, they all cooked the same and tasted just as good!)
  7. bake for 9 minutes or until golden brown. remove cookies to wire rack to cool.
  8. once cooled, prepared to dip! melt your chocolate in the microwave, stirring until smooth. have your crushed peanuts in a separate bowl nearby.
  9. dip one end of each cookie into the melted chocolate. immediately dip the chocolate-covered end into the bowl of crushed nuts. place the dipped cookies on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, allowing the chocolate and nuts to set/cool.
  10. enjoy!

<yield: about 60 cookies>

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