smitten kitchen’s unfussy sugar cookies

December 1st, 2021 thecookieblogger Posted in daily cookie diary Comments Off on smitten kitchen’s unfussy sugar cookies

there are a handful of blogs i loyally follow – and smitten kitchen is at the top of my list.

today’s deb’s baking up holiday cookies, and these unfussy cookies are worth adding into this year’s cookie tray! they are easy to make, even with the kids, they look good, and they taste, well, positively dee-lish! there’s nothing unfussy about the taste of these cookies, i promise you that. they’ll fit well right there alongside the pizzelles and the gingerbread men!

for deb’s video, to watch her create these gems, visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V2VggcVm1tg

to sign up for deb’s daily blog or to get her weekly newsletter, visit: https://smittenkitchen.com/ it’s well worth a visit!

happy baking!

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ready, set, bake those holiday cookies!

November 29th, 2021 thecookieblogger Posted in daily cookie diary Comments Off on ready, set, bake those holiday cookies!

a cookie tray from a few years ago…

if you’re like me, you’ve been counting down the days to start baking those holiday cookies! have you made your list and checked it twice? have all the ingredients on hand in your kitchen? do you know who gets the big cookie platters, and who gets their own private stash of pizzelles?

this year’s a bit different for me, because instead of baking in my own seattle home kitchen, i’ll be baking up my holiday cookies in my parents’ home, which also happens to be my childhood home, and where i first learned to bake cookies! one of my very first cookies that i made in this kitchen: mrs. panzer’s pudding cookies!

as you embark on this season’s cookie baking, take a look at this article over on king arthur baking. it’s a good way to give you a jump start on making dough a few days earlier than baking, and even a few days may help your busy kitchen during the holidays.

my recipes for this year’s cookies are coming your way soon. it’s been a challenging year for so many of us – let’s try to share some love and warmth with the world through our cookie baking, ok?

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deep, dark, chocolate frosting…

February 24th, 2021 thecookieblogger Posted in daily cookie diary Comments Off on deep, dark, chocolate frosting…

deep, dark, chocolate buttercream frosting

oh, there are so many people that think frosting only belongs atop cakes or cupcakes. but, why shouldn’t the beautiful cookie also get a chance to be topped with this amazing confection? often used to simply dress up a sugar cookie, or as a ‘dip’ for the homemade graham cracker, this deep, dark, chocolate frosting is just sweet enough and just rich enough to elevate even the plainest cookie to a delicacy!

this frosting works beautifully for cakes and cupcakes as well, so feel free to share the frosting love!

deep, dark, chocolate buttercream frosting

ingredients:

3 sticks unsalted butter

2/3 cup dark cocoa powder

1/4 teaspoon king arthur baking espresso powder

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

4 cups powdered sugar, sifted

1 cup half and half (or whipping cream will work well also)

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

instructions:

  1. melt the butter and the chocolate chips in either a saucepan atop your stove, or in the microwave (25 second increments, whisking in between until almost completely melted, then whisk the rest of the way to liquid.)
  2. place the melted butter/chips concoction into your mixing bowl, adding the dark cocoa powder. on medium setting, whisk until smooth.
  3. add the vanilla extract until completely mixed into the batter
  4. alternating between the half and half and the sifted powdered sugar, add these to the batter in three batches, until you’ve incorporated all of it. after each addition of sugar, taste your frosting to insure it’s not too sweet for your taste. sweetness is a highly personal thing, and you should taste-test to get to your optimum flavor level.
  5. once all your ingredients are combined, whisk on medium-to-medium-high for about four minutes, allowing this rich frosting to get as fluffy as it can.
  6. enjoy!!
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shipping cookies this holiday season? let king arthur baking give you some hints!

December 4th, 2020 thecookieblogger Posted in daily cookie diary, Uncategorized Comments Off on shipping cookies this holiday season? let king arthur baking give you some hints!

as most of you know, i trust king arthur baking for many of my baking products. they also have regular blog posts on their site that are helpful for all kinds of baking tips and recipes.

today, they’re featuring helpful hints for shipping your holiday treats. take a look – you may learn a thing or two! and your cookies will arrive looking as good as when they left your kitchen!

king arthur flour presents: shipping your holiday treats

happy baking! happy shipping!

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a favorite among kids and adults: chocolate sprinkle cookies!

November 14th, 2020 thecookieblogger Posted in daily cookie diary Comments Off on a favorite among kids and adults: chocolate sprinkle cookies!

cookies that are easy to bake and delicious to eat!

if you’ve been following me for awhile, you’ll know i have a soft spot in my heart for baking chocolate sprinkle cookies. i found a cookie recipe on old-faithful king arthur baking company (originally king arthur flour! 2020 is the year they changed their name!), and played around with it until the cookies melted in my mouth!

a word of warning: instead of using regular sprinkles, i used deruyter chocoadehagel puure, which are dark chocolate sprinkles from holland, and because they are real dark chocolate, they get very soft and smooshy when they come out of the oven. give them time to set and cool down, or be prepared to lick your fingers after you’ve eaten one of them!

dark chocolate sprinkle cookies

Ingredients:

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter

3 ounces cream cheese, softened

1 and 1/2 cups granulated sugar

1 extra large egg (large egg will work, if that’s all you have!)

2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

2 cups pure dark chocolate sprinkles (i used these deruyter chocolate sprinkles)

Instructions:

  1. pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. combine cream cheese, butter, and sugar in your mixing bowl until light and fluffy.
  3. add egg, vanilla extract, and almond extract to the mixture, and beat in until well-mixed.
  4. combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl, then add the mixture to the wet ingredients. do not overmix. just mix until your dry ingredients are incorporated.
  5. refrigerate your dough for about 30 minutes, to help you with handling.
  6. use a #40 scoop, which is a little shy of 2 tablespoons, i roll a scoop of dough between my palms, creating a ball that then gets dredged in a bowl of the dark chocolate sprinkles.
  7. roll around, and don’t be afraid to press too hard. you want the whole ball to be completely covered with those delicious sprinkles!
  8. place on a parchment-lined cookie sheet, about two inches apart. with a flat-edged glass or spoon, press down on the dough until it’s about 1/2 tall. you want a nice flat top, but don’t want the cookie to be too thin.
  9. bake for 10 minutes, until cookies look set. remove from oven and place entire cookie sheet on wire rack. let cookies cool and set for 5 minutes on the cookie sheet, then transfer them carefully too the wire rack to cool completely. remember, if you use real dark chocolate sprinkles, they will be very soft, so give them some time to set!
  10. enjoy!

yield: 40 cookies

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sugar cookie perfection

October 19th, 2019 thecookieblogger Posted in daily cookie diary Comments Off on sugar cookie perfection

if you needed a cookie that meets the demands of every holiday season, the sugar cookie would definitely be in the running. they are easy to make, can be shaped into pumpkins for halloween, autumn leaves for thanksgiving, dreidels for chanukah, and santas for christmas. design-wise, they certainly fit the bill.

but often those sugar cookies end up dense, tough, and tasteless. maybe because they’re overworked by the continuous rolling out of the dough. or maybe it’s just too much flour added in to keep them from sticking to the rolling pin. whatever the cause, they often look terrific, but taste pretty blah.

well, i promise you, with this sugar cookie recipe, the blahs are long gone, and you’ll have a tasty cookie that can look good too! this is my go-to recipe for the holidays, but it also does great with a simple sugar sprinkling on top. and you’ll note, i bake some a bit longer, giving a richer color and a crispier cookie, while baking some a bit less for the soft cookie-lovers in my circle. then, everyone is happy!

please give these a try, and let me know what you think. feel free to substitute 1/2 teaspoon of almond extract in place of 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla, and see how just that simple swap changes the flavor exponentially! it’s worth experimenting!

looking forward to hearing how these work for you! happy baking! and if you’re looking to start making your holiday cookie baking list, take a look at one of my past year’s cookie trays for inspiration!!

perfect sugar cookies

ingredients:

1 and 1/2 cups butter, softened

2 cups granulated sugar

4 eggs

1 tsp. vanilla

5 cups all-purpose flour

2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

instructions:

  1. in a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until smooth.
  2. beat in eggs and vanilla
  3. stir in flour, baking powder, and salt.
  4. cover and chill at least 1 hour (or up to 24 hours)
  5. preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  6. roll out dough on lightly floured surface, 1/4-1/2 inch thick.
  7. cut out shapes using cookie cutters or free-hand with knife
  8. place 1 inch apart on ungreased, parchment-lined cookie sheet
  9. (if you decide to add sugar, sprinkles, or other decorations, now is the time to do that!) if you plan to use royal icing, bake the cookies first, then frost after they are completely cooled.
  10. bake for 6-10 minutes, depending on thickness of cookie, and desired texture/color of cookie.
  11. remove from oven, and let cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes, then remove to wire rack for remaining cooling.
  12. frost with royal icing.
These sugar cookies make wonderful holiday cookies!
these sugar cookies make wonderful holiday cookies!

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sometimes it’s all about events…

October 5th, 2019 thecookieblogger Posted in daily cookie diary Comments Off on sometimes it’s all about events…

y’all know i’m a cookie baker and couldn’t imagine life without an apron, some cookie sheets and enough flour so i’m never without! but did you also know i sometimes trade in my apron for an event planner superhero cape? yep, i’ve been planning events for years, mostly for non-profit arts organizations. i help the non-profit team create a fabulous atmosphere, keep the chairs and honorees happy, and help the organization’s raise lots of money. and i love doing it.

most recently, i worked with an incredible team at the 5th avenue theatre here in seattle, to make their dreams of a western-themed event a reality. there were hay bales and cafe lights, lots of red bandanas, sheriff badges, and cowboy hats to go around. and more than 300 people joined in the fun as they line-danced during cocktails, and sang along with the performers during the dinner and show. it was a fun and successful night, and it’s so fulfilling to watch it all come together.

unfortunately, during event time, cookie baking shrinks to a minimum, as there’s just not enough time for a regular human like me to do both! so, for all of you cookie bakers out there missing my posts, know that i’ll be back at it soon. in the meantime, why not put together you’re own western evening? here’s some things that turn a regular party into a ‘wow’ event!

need cowboy hats for your guests?

what about clipping on some sheriff badges for those special guests or the birthday honcho?

nothing fancies up the dinner table better than some homemade placecards. i used these kraft cards, easily printed on my home laser printer, and added some stickers to ‘fun them up’ a bit!

kraft placecards: https://amzn.to/2NV7CEx

think some bandanas can help? why, yes! yes, they will! get them to hand out to guests to wear, as well as consider using them as napkins! they add color and splash to your table and your guests!

yee-haw! hope your western-themed party is as fun as ours was!

and now, bake to our regular cookie baking…

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delectable almond brittle cookies

November 22nd, 2018 thecookieblogger Posted in daily cookie diary Comments Off on delectable almond brittle cookies

almond brittle is a popular candy, especially around the holidays, but why not try a cookie version of this, and add it to your baking repertoire throughout the holidays? it’s certainly a crowd pleaser, and, depending on how large or small you break up the pieces, you can get a lot of goodness to spread around.

almond brittle cookies

ingredients
for the base of the cookie:
1 cup salted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 tablespoons orange zest
1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons whole milk
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
3 1/2 cups flour

For the almond brittle topping:
½ cup seedless jam (i used apricot with this recipe, but peach or raspberry work equally well.)
9 tablespoons butter
½ cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons honey
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 tsp. vanilla
¼ tsp. fresh lemon juice
8 oz. sliced almonds

instructions to make the cookie base:
1. cream the butter and sugar with the salt and zest until the mixture is light and fluffy.
2. beat in the egg, milk and vanilla.
3.add the flour slowly, incorporating it completely into the dough.
4. with your floured hands, roll the dough into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill for 2 hours.
5. let dough soften slightly before rolling out.

instructions to make the cookies:

1. after letting the dough soften slightly, roll out the cookie dough on parchment paper to fit a 10 inch by 15 inch rectangle.
2. transfer the dough, still on the parchment to a cookie sheet with edged sides.
3. chill the rolled dough for another 20 minutes.
4. preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
5. trim the dough so it fits into the rectangular cookie sheet.
6. make fork pricks all over the dough, and place in oven.
7. bake until lightly golden, about 15-17 minutes. (while baking, make sure to keep an eye on the oven to deflate any bubbles that erupt in the dough (just stick your fork in the bubble!)
8. remove the partially baked cookie base from the oven (but leave the oven on.)
9. place your jam in a small saucepan atop the stove. Warm the jam until it becomes easily spreadable.
10. remove from heat and brush the jam over the cookie base.
11. in a clean saucepan, melt the butter. then add the sugar, salt and honey to the butter and simmer slowly over low heat until the sugar has dissolved. 12. add the cream and raise the heat to medium and bring mixture to a boil. the mixture will thicken after a few minutes (3-4 minutes.)
13. remove from heat and mix in the vanilla, lemon juice and almonds.
14. pour the almond mixture over the jam-covered cookie, using an offset spatula to spread it evenly.
15. bake at 400 degrees for about 14-16 minutes, rotating the cookie tray midway through, until the top is bubbling.
16. cool cookies completely in pan. using a very sharp knife or pizzal cutter, cut the cookies into ragged pieces (or squares, if you want them to look neater!)
17. enjoy!

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oatmeal cookie recipe = perfect summertime munching

July 7th, 2018 thecookieblogger Posted in daily cookie diary Comments Off on oatmeal cookie recipe = perfect summertime munching

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 Comments Off on oh, those mini muffins!

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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