spritz cookies

October 30th, 2017 thecookieblogger Posted in daily cookie diary | No Comments »

recipes for traditional spritz cookies are strewn all over the internet like confetti at a new year’s eve celebration. butter, sugar, flour – those three main ingredients make a delicate, tasty spritz cookie, a favorite among children and adults alike. they also look really awesome on your holiday dessert buffet, because though they are easy-peasy to bake, with an easy click-click from the handheld cookie press and a sprinkle of some colorful sugar, you’ve elevated your cookie to both look and taste better!

spritz cookies are my favorite. i especially love their buttery flavor, and these don’t disappoint at all!

 

spritz cookies

ingredients:
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg, plus 1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
3 1/2 to 4 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
1 teaspoon baking powder
colored sugar or decorative sprinkles for decoration

instructions:
1. preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. in a large mixing bowl, thoroughly cream together the butter and sugar, for at least two minutes.
3. add egg, egg yolk, vanilla extract, and almond extract to the creamed mixture. mix well.
4. sift together 3 1/2 cups flour and baking powder.
5. gradually add dry flour mixture to the creamed butter mixture, mixing to form a soft, but not sticky, dough. if your dough is sticky, slowly add flour in small amounts until the dough is the right consistency.
6. fill cookie press. press cookies onto ungreased cookie sheet (don’t use parchment either. the cookies will adhere and cook better to the clean cookie sheet.)
7. bake in 400 degree oven for 9-11 minutes, until edges begin to lightly brown.
8. cool on wire rack. enjoy!!

 

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espresso shortbread

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

i am such a fan of shortbread. it’s certainly easy to bake – a few quick steps and wa-la! cookies!

i am also a big fan of espresso. it was a staple in my grandparent’s home. my grandpa drank a demitasse cupful first thing in the morning to ‘get his motor running’. my grandma liked to indulge in an after-dinner espresso spiked with a bit of sambuca or anisette liqueur. and i find the little one-cup espresso pot quite a piece of nostalgia and comfort in my own seattle kitchen. and the aroma? there is really nothing quite like it.

so, it’s a natural instinct to join the heavenly scent and taste of espresso with the delicate crumb of a good shortbread. this recipe is not too sweet, not too heavy on the coffee flavor, and just the right amount of buttery java goodness to satisfy most adult cookie lovers. and i’ve added some mini semi-sweet chocolate pieces to add a little extra oomph! delicious and satisfying, these shortbread cookies will pair well with a fresh cup of coffee or even an after-dinner cordial. why not give them a try and let me know what you think!

espresso shortbread

ingredients:
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
2 tablespoons firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1/2 cup sifted confectioners’ sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 cup finely chopped semi-sweet chocolate (or mini-chocolate chips)

instructions:
1. preheat oven to 325 degrees.
2. mix all ingredients, except the chocolate pieces, in your mixer bowl on medium speed, until they are well-combined into a firm dough.
3. add the chocolate pieces and gently mix until they are incorporated into the dough.
4. pat the dough into an ungreased pan (either a 9″ square pan or a biscotti pan.)
5. smooth out the top with an offset spatula.
6. bake for 35 minutes, until the edges have begun to brown.
7. remove the pan from oven, placing the pan on a wire rack, and cut the shortbread into desired sizes. let them cool directly in the pan.
8. enjoy!

<yield: about 12 large cookies or 16 small cookies.>

helpful tools for this recipe:
Offset Spatula: This Ateco Offset Spatula will make it a cinch to spread the dough into your pan.

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cinnamon bursts

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

cinnamon has always been a favorite flavor of mine, and i always associate autumn with the spice. since the days are turning a bit brisker, it felt only right to whip out the cinnamon, not only for delicious cookie flavoring, but so my home would have the scent of cinnamon wafting through the air.

of course, along with autumn comes the start of holiday panic. 🙂  i’m sure you know it well. social media posts include memes eagerly reminding me ‘only 9 fridays until christmas’ and posts by overachieving friends who’ve already finished all their holiday shopping. seriously?? i’ll let you in on a little secret: i am definitely not one of those overachievers. to be honest, i haven’t even made the lists yet, let alone shopped or created the gifts. what i have been doing, however, is adding new cookies to my holiday repertoire. because, well, cookies. need i say more?

these spritz-like cookies are really a cinch to bake, and they look terrific! they’re also sturdy enough to include in a holiday tray, and i’ve found them to be a real crowd-pleaser!

though i use dark chocolate chips for the center of the burst, you can use milk or semi-sweet chocolate, whichever you prefer. i like the combo of dark chocolate and cinnamon, and i find the typical dark chocolate chips are a little larger/wider than milk or semi-sweet chips, so the dark chocolate ones fit beautifully in the center of these cookies! pretty to look at, and yummy, too! that’s a win-win in my book!

cinnamon bursts

ingredients:
1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
3/4 cup baker’s sugar
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 vietnamese cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
dark chocolate chips – 1 per cookie, to place in the center of each burst
(these can be replaced by milk chocolate or semi-sweet chocolate, if you prefer)

instructions:
1. heat oven to 375 degrees.
2. combine butter, sugar, egg yolk and vanilla in mixing bowl of stand mixer.
3. beat at medium speed until all items are well-combined and creamy.
4. turn off mixer, and add flour, cinnamon and salt.
5. beat on low speed until well-mixed.
6. using your flower or starburst cookie press design, fill your press with the dough. it should be super-easy to handle. press dough about 1″ apart onto ungreased cookie sheet (don’t use parchment either! you need the dough to be able to stick directly to the metal.)
7. press one chocolate chip into the center of the design
8. bake for 8-10 minutes, until edges are lightly browned.
9. remove from oven and let cookies sheets cool for about 5 minutes before removing the cookies to a wire rack for remaining cooling.
10. enjoy!

<yield: about 50 cookies>

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oatmeal + chocolate chips = nummy, yummy cookie!

August 25th, 2017 thecookieblogger Posted in cookiesightings, daily cookie diary | No Comments »

i buy a lot of products from king arthur flour‘s catalog. it’s a really good thing that they’re located in vermont, because if they were closer to seattle, i’d be making pilgrimages there weekly. oh, who are we kidding, i’d be there daily. discovering new, ‘must-have’ products on each visit.

and though i visit their web site often, i usually just fawn over their delicious looking recipes. i’ve got so many cookbooks and family recipes, that i tend to be overwhelmed by the ‘try this recipe’ pile that sits on my end table – and on my laptop monitor.

but i couldn’tresist when king arthur flour said this was the ‘2015 recipe of the year’. who was i to question the wisdom of bakers far savvier and more knowledgeable than me?

so, i gave it a go, tweaking a little bit here and there, and decided that this was a pretty amazing cookie!

great taste, great texture, and ease of baking – the trinity of the perfect cookie. so, with a few tweaks (changed semisweet chips to dark chocolate chips, as well as upping the amount from 3 cups to 3.5 cups, and added a bit more vanilla), i present to you this award-winning recipe direct from king arthur flour – with a little bit of ‘tweak’ added with love, from me.

and as a side note: king arthur flour suggests using these cookies for ice cream sandwiches! awesome idea, if you ask me! i’m on my way to get some ice cream right now!

chewy chocolate chip oatmeal cookies

(original recipe from king arthur flour, and can be found here: http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/chocolate-chip-oatmeal-cookies-recipe

ingredients:

1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 cup light brown sugar, packed

1/2 cup granulated sugar (do not use baker’s sugar. the fineness of the grain will affect the texture)

1 large egg, at room temperature

1 large egg yolk, at room temperature

1 1/2 tablespoons of vanilla extract

2 cups of unbleached all-purpose flour

1 cup old-fashioned oats

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon sea salt

3 1/2 cups dark chocolate chips

 

instructions:

  1. preheat oven to 325 degrees. line cookie sheets with parchment paper
  2. beat together butter and sugars until smooth.
  3. add the vanilla and egg, beating until smooth.
  4. add the egg yolk, beating until smooth.
  5. in a separate bowl, whisk together flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  6. add dry ingredients to the butter/egg mixture, mixing until all ingredients are combined. scrape bottom and sides of bowl, then mix again briefly. do not overbeat, or your cookies may become tough (not Bronx tough, just not as chewy!)
  7. stir in the chocolate chips
  8. using a tablespoon scoop, scoop the dough onto the prepared baking pans. be sure to leave about 2″ between each cookie mound.
  9. bake for 12-16 minutes, until cookies are a light, golden brown with slightly darker edges. the middles may still look shiny, but as with most cookies, they’ll continue to bake when cooling them on their pan.
  10. Remove from oven, wait about 4 minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.

<yield: about 50 cookies>

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double chocolate drop cookies

March 23rd, 2017 thecookieblogger Posted in daily cookie diary | No Comments »

there’s nothing quite like chocolate, and these cookies serve as quite the perfect pick-me-up on days when you need a little extra motivation! it’s a blustery march day here in seattle, and the wind chimes outside my kitchen window can’t seem to keep up with the non-stop winds. my little kitchen is safe from the crazy blowing, and the heat from the oven, along with the heavenly scent of rich cocoa, are serving to keep me warm and cozy!

these cookies are rich and a bit decadent, and just one or two will hold you for a good long time. i included chocolate chips in my recipe today, but feel free to substitute nuts (chopped walnuts work well), or split half chips and half nuts. i promise these cookies, with a tall glass of milk, will brighten anyone’s day.

take note, these cookies are soft and chewy when they first come out of the oven, then firm up after a few hours. if you’d like a chewy cookie on day 2, just pop it in the microwave for about 10 seconds, and it’ll be just as soft and chewy as a freshly-baked cookie!

and if you’re looking for a good summertime snack, these cookies make great ice cream sandwiches. just take two similarly-sized cookies and place some softened ice cream between them, pressing down to make a sandwich. plop them in the freezer for a few minutes to get the ice cream to harden up again, and poof! you have delicious and rich ice cream sandwiches! (p.s. vanilla ice cream is my usual go-to for ice cream sandwiches, but these work great with coffee ice cream! it’s truly the adult summertime snack!)

double chocolate drop cookies

ingredients:

1 cup butter (2 sticks), room temperature and softened
1 cup baker’s sugar
2/3 cups light brown sugar, packed
2/3 Dutch-processed cocoa
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 large eggs
4 tablespoons 2% milk
2 cups + 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons espresso powder
4 cups chocolate chips (or walnuts, or half and half)

instructions:

  1. preheat oven to 375 degrees. line your cookie sheets with parchment.
  2. beat together the butter, sugars, cocoa, salt, baking soda, baking powder and vanilla until creamy and well blended.
  3. add the eggs, one at a time, beating until smooth. you’ll need to scrape the sides a bit to be sure the eggs are completely blended into the mixture.
  4. add milk, again beating until smooth.
  5. add the flour and espresso powder, till well-incorporated into the batter.
  6. add in chips and/or nuts. stir until well blended.
  7. using your tablespoon scoop (about 4 measuring teaspoonfuls), drop the dough onto your parchment-lined cookie sheets, about 2″ apart.
  8. bake cookies for approximately 14 minutes, until they are set and no longer shiny.
  9. remove from the oven, let cool on the cookie sheet for about 5 minutes, then transfer cookies to wire rack to complete cooling.
  10. enjoy!

yield: about 40 cookies.

 

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sprinkle dipped butter cookies

March 21st, 2017 thecookieblogger Posted in daily cookie diary | No Comments »

oh, the rain continues to fall from the sky here in seattle, and i think we all need a little faux sunshine to chase the blues away. these buttery delights are just the thing to raise some dreary spirits! they’re light and tasty, and after they’ve cooled, i simply dip them in a bit of melted dark chocolate and dip in the delicious chocolate sprinkles that i purchase from king arthur flour. they are ‘real’ chocolate, not waxy at all the way some chocolate sprinkles can be. and they are the perfect way to finish off these little bites of perfection! mangia!

sprinkle dipped butter cookies

ingredients:

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature and softened
3/4 cup baker’s fine sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

instructions:

1. preheat oven to 350 degrees. there’s no need to butter your cookie sheets or to use parchment if you are using a cookie press. the dough has enough butter in it, and the press will push the dough onto the ungreased surface and adhere nicely.
2. cream the butter and sugar until fluffy, light and pale (3-5 minutes)
3. add the egg and vanilla extract and mix until well combined
4. combine the dry ingredients. add to butter mixture until just combined. be careful not to overmix or the cookie will lose its tenderness and be a bit dry.
5. place dough into a cookie press (or a pastry bag) fitted with the shape of your choice.
6. place dough shapes 2″ apart, as they will spread a tiny bit.
7. bake for 13-15 minutes, until the edges begin to become lightly golden brown.
8. remove from oven and let cool on cookie sheet for approximately 5 minutes, before removing the cookies from the sheet and placing on a wire rack to finish cooling.
9. once completely cooled, dip one side of your cookie in melted dark chocolate, and dip into the sprinkles. place back on wire rack to let chocolate harden.
enjoy!

yield: approximately 45 cookies

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bailey’s irish shortbread

March 17th, 2017 thecookieblogger Posted in daily cookie diary | No Comments »

happy st. pat’s day! as far as i know, i’m italian through and through, but irish or not, st. patty’s day really is for everyone. i’m not big on green foods like neon frosting or those odd little green cherries that folks put in fruitcake. ugh. but i did want to put a little ‘erin go bragh’ into today’s baking, so there’s nothing more irish to me than a good dose of bailey’s irish creme. the alcohol does burn off in the baking, but a mellow flavor lingers on in the cookie.

if you’ve ever been a bit apprehensive to make shortbread, this is a really great ‘first-timer’ recipe. it’s easy, bakes up well and really is quite tasty. and i hear if you eat one of these cookies on st. patty’s day, you’ll have the luck of the irish with you all year long. okay, perhaps that’s a bit of blarney…

a quick baking note: if you have a shortbread mold, by all means use it. if you don’t, as you’ll see in my photos (my only shortbread mold is christmas-themed. somehow that didn’t seem appropriate for march 17th!), feel free to use two 8″ round cake pans.

and if you don’t have any bailey’s in the house, or prefer to bake without the alcohol, just replace the irish creme with vanilla. the shortbread is still quite delicious!!

bailey’s irish shortbread

ingredients:

1 cup unsalted butter, soft and room temperature
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons bailey’s irish creme liquor (or 3 teaspoons of vanilla extract)
2 cups all-purpose flour (i use king arthur flour)
1/2 cup white rice flour (i use bob’s red mill, finely ground)

instructions:

1. preheat oven to 325 degrees.
2. prepare either your shortbread molds (as per your manufacturer’s instructions) or 2 8″ round cake pans, greased lightly.
3. cream your butter until smooth.
4. add sugar, salt and bailey’s (or vanilla), beating with the butter until smooth and fluffy.
5. add the flour and rice flour, beating just until smooth.
6. divide the dough into two round circles, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and place in refrigerator for at least one hour until well chilled.
7. when ready to bake, press each round of dough into the prepared pans, flattening with fingers, pie crust presser or offset spatula, until smooth and even in each pan. with a fork, liberally prick through the dough to prevent it from puffing up during baking. I used a deep set meat tenderizer, and added additional fork pricks. but i wasn’t being fussy about what the finished cookie looked like! i like a zillion dots! if you have more discriminating, artistic flair, feel free to use your fork to make lovely patterns!


8. place in oven, and bake until golden brown, usually about 35 minutes. About 20 minutes in, use your offset spatula to press down any areas that may be trying to puff up. Continue baking until golden brown.
9. remove from oven and cool in pans for 15 minutes. loosen the edges with your spatula, then turn molds/pans over onto a flat surface (i use a cutting board). tap the bottom and the whole cookie should pop right out.
10. while still warm, cut cookie into 16 slices (see photo above). i simply cut in half, and half again, until i have 8 cookie wedges, then cut each of the 8 in half again to make 16 cookies. there’s always some crumbs left behind – they are great on a bowl of ice cream!

yield: makes 32 cookies (or 16 wedges if you want to serve them as a dessert with a generous serving of ice cream atop each wedge!)

enjoy!

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oatmeal + raisins + cookies = chewy bits of bliss!

March 11th, 2017 thecookieblogger Posted in daily cookie diary | No Comments »

recently, i’ve become a big fan of raisins. it’s as though i’m craving iron. seriously, i don’t know the why of it, but they’re such a yummy snack all on their own, no? i’ve rarely baked with raisins because many of those who reap the benefits of my cookie baking are not big fans of the nutritious snack. well, today, dear readers, that has changed.

one of my husband’s delightful co-workers at the opera mentioned he liked a good chewy oatmeal raisin cookie, and i thought it was about time to make some and send hubby down with a bunch. i’d been researching recipes for awhile, and finally blended two that looked the most promising, to come up with today’s cookie adventure.

why not try these and tell me what you think?

chewy oatmeal raisin cookies

ingredients:

1 cup shortening (i used crisco solid / unflavored)
1 cup sugar (regular granulated sugar, not superfine baker’s sugar)
1 cup packed light brown sugar
3 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons vietnamese cinnamon
2 cups old-fashioned oats
1 1/2 cups raisins

 

instructions:
1. preheat oven to 350 degrees, with rack placed in the center of the oven. prepare cookie sheet(s) with parchment paper.
2. in your mixer bowl, combine the sugars and the shortening, creaming them until fluffy and light.
3. beat in eggs, one at a time, until well combined.
4. add vanilla. mix well until combined.
5. add the flour, salt, baking soda and cinnamon to the creamed mixture, and beat just until combined. do not overmix.
6. stir in oats and raisins.
7. using your #30 scoop, place 1″ rounds of dough on a parchment lined cookie sheet, about 2″ apart. gently flatten each mound of dough with your fingers
8. bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes, until cookies are golden brown. be careful not to overbake. the cookies will be soft and smooshy when they first come out of the oven, but will firm up a little bit while cooling. remove cookie sheet from oven and place entire sheet on wire rack for approximately 5 minutes. after 5 minutes, remove cookies from sheet to complete cooling on wire rack.
enjoy!

<yield: approximately 40 cookies>

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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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