Tag Archives: cookies

Margarita Cookies

Happy Cinco de Mayo! Or as my friend Steph calls it, Cinco de Drinko. That rhyme amuses me greatly. Anyhoodle, I will not be drinko-ing it up today, but I did make these delicious little margarita-themed cookies for a lunch event at work.

These are just a simple butter sable cookie dressed up with tequila, lime, and a crunchy sugar-salt coating. The texture of the cookies is soft and crumbly, and the tang from the lime is perfectly matched by the salty-sweet coating. For those of you who relish that blissful pairing of sugar and salt, these are sublime. Finally, while the slice-and-bake cookies aren’t very labor-intensive, the dough requires a good couple hours of chilling time, so keep that in mind if you set out to prepare these.

A few notes before we begin:
* The dough will be sticky when you roll it into logs. Don’t worry — just pull at it gently until you get a roll about 1.5 inches in thickness. Use plastic wrap to help if you need to. (Make sure it’s a large piece, b/c these logs end up pretty long.)
* I used coarse demerara sugar for the coating, and it ended up melting and sticking a bit to the cookie sheets after I let the cookies cool on there. I had a few crumbled casualties in my first batch of cookies, but with the second batch, I removed them while they were still warm and had no issues. If you use parchment paper to line your cookie sheets (I had run out), you shouldn’t have this problem.

Onward.

Margarita Cookies
Source: Smitten Kitchen
Makes about 5 dozen

Ingredients:
For cookies —
1 C. unsalted butter, at room temp.
2/3 C. powdered sugar, sifted
1 egg yolk, at room temp.
2 t. tequila
grated zest from two limes
grated zest from half an orange
pinch of salt
2 C. flour

For coating —
1 egg yolk, beaten
1/2 C. coarse sugar
2 t. flaky sea salt (I used Maldon brand)*
*Note: If you don’t have flaky sea salt, just use 1 tsp. regular table salt.

Using a mixer (or your strong arms), beat the butter on medium speed until it is creamy and pale. Add the powdered sugar and beat until very smooth. Add the yolk, then mix in the tequila, zest, and pinch of salt. Reduce mixer to low and stir in flour just until incorporated. Mix in any remaining streaks of flour with a spatula. (You don’t want to overmix here — gently mixing the flour keeps the texture of the cookies light.)

Divide dough into two equal halves and wrap each in plastic. Chill the dough in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Shape each dough half into a log with a diameter about 1 – 1.5 inches around. Wrap in plastic and chill for 2 hours. (Do ahead: dough can be kept in the fridge for up to 3 days or in the freezer for a month.)

For the coating and baking:
Preheat oven to 350. Mix together the sugar and salt and spread it on a long sheet of plastic wrap. Unwrap the chilled dough and brush with egg yolk. Lay the dough on the sugar-salt mixture and roll it through. I found it helpful to fold the plastic wrap over the top of the dough and roll that way to get the sugar mixture to adhere.

Once coated, slice the dough into 1/4-inch thick rounds. Place 1/2-inch apart on parchment-lined cookie sheets and bake for 13 – 15 minutes, or until the cookies are set but not browned. Remove warm cookies to a cooling rack.

Cranberry Orange White Chocolate Cookies

Here’s the thing that I’m finding difficult about food blogging: sometimes I have no idea what to say. I can only think of so many ways to say something is delicious, and not everything I make has a charming anecdote to accompany it. And I don’t really want to make you wade through pages of some childhood story of mine that relates somewhat tangentially to whatever recipe I’m about to post.

But.

I do like those childhood stories. And I like those anecdotes. Trimmed down, without frills. It’s just that those stories aren’t always available.

I used to keep a personal blog (well, I guess I still do, technically, but I update it about once every four months, so…) in which I would post about whatever was on my mind. Often it was just uninteresting verbal diarrhea, but occasionally I’d get lucky and I’d write a lovely little story or a snarky-funny rant. Sometimes I can write well.

But I do wonder how I managed to have anything to post about on a regular basis, because these days, I don’t really want to blurt out too much. It’s not that my life is void of interestingness (or other made-up words); it’s that I feel more guarded about what I share on the internet. You never know when someone won’t pick up on your sarcasm. So, like, talking about the swinger parties T and I go to is out of the question. And you’re probably not all the interested in hearing about the town gossip I relished at the latest quilting bee.

See? Jokes. Jokes, people. Not that I judge. But quilting is not for me.

I suppose I’m still trying to find my voice on this blog. Maybe I never will. It’s a blog about food, and cooking, and my enduring allegiance to butter and sugar and fattening sweet treats.

So, I will continue to try to find my voice, and in the meantime I will leave you with these crammed-full-of-stuff cranberry orange white chocolate cookies. I don’t have much to say about them except that I made them at Christmastime, they don’t have eggs or granulated sugar, and they taste like Froot Loops. I think they are best eaten warm, the day you make them.

Ingredients:

1 cup salted butter
1 cup sifted powdered sugar
1/4 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. orange zest
1/3 cup orange juice
2 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup dried cranberries, snipped

Preheat oven to 375 F. In a mixing bowl, cream together butter and powdered sugar until light and smooth. Add powdered sugar and baking soda; beat until combined. Stir in orange zest, orange juice, and vanilla. Beat in as much flour as you can, then stir in the remaining flour and the rolled oats. Add the white chocolate, pecans, and cranberries.

Drop by teaspoons onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for about 10 minutes, or until the edges of the cookies are just lightly browned. Cool for one minute on the cookie sheet, then transfer to wire rack to finish cooling.

Makes about 42.

Note: The texture of these cookies was very light and almost shortbread-like. I think these could be interesting without the fruit and orange – if I make them again, I’ll try substituting milk for the o.j., omitting the zest, and replacing the cranberries with chocolate chips.

Glazed Lemon Ricotta Cookies

Source: Annie’s Eats

I love cookies. I just completely adore them. They’re fun to make, the dough is delicious, and they travel to work with me far better than a piece of cake.

When it comes to cookies, though, I’m pretty much a sucker for traditional. My favorite of all time is a chewy chocolate chip cookie, preferably with milk-chocolate chips, especially preferably warm from the oven.

But during my November/December cookie baking frenzy, I made it a point to reach out beyond the traditional and find recipes that I might otherwise ignore. I’m a fan of lemon and all, but if I had encountered these cookies on any other given day, I might have said “meh” and moved along.

I’m really glad I didn’t. Because these lemon goodies are light, fluffy pillows of cake, all citrusy-sweet. There’s ricotta cheese in the batter, which might strike you as…different. But don’t let it deter you — don’t! — because I think the ricotta contributes greatly to the magnificent soft texture of the cookies. If you like big, soft sugar cookies, these lemon treats are for you.

Ingredients:

For the cookies:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 (15 oz.) container ricotta cheese (part-skim is fine)
3 T. fresh lemon juice
zest of one lemon

For the glaze:

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
3 T. lemon juice
zest of one lemon

Preheat the oven to 375 F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. Using an electric mixer (or sheer arm strength), beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add the ricotta, lemon juice, and zest, and mix well. Add the dry ingredients and mix on low speed until just combined.

Scoop heaping tablespoonfuls of the (really very quite tasty) dough onto the lined baking sheets. Bake for 15 minutes, or until the cookies are just getting golden at the edges. Remove from oven and let the cookies rest on the baking sheets for 20 minutes. Then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

While the cookies are cooling, make the glaze: Sift the powdered sugar into a small bowl, then stir in lemon juice and zest. Whisk until smooth. Spoon a little bit of glaze onto each cookie, smoothing and spreading the glaze with the back of the spoon. Let the cookies sit (if you can) to allow the glaze to harden, which will take about 2 hours. Store in an airtight container at room temp.

Snowball Cookies for Christmas

Oh, hi! Yes, I am still blogging. Yes, I have a backlog of recipes and photos all clamoring to be posted. And no, I haven’t really been that busy. Well, actually, I was; I was a little crazy-busy this month frankly, but then Saturday, December 19 arrived and marked the beginning of a glorious two weeks off from work. Two whole weeks! For cooking and baking and going to the market every day for ingredients for dinner. For working my way through a pile of books and watching movies with Terwilliger and going for runs and taking the dog for walks.

I’m really quite sad that I’m already almost through my first week of freedom.

I’m also quite sad that T and I will not be seeing our families for the holidays this year. We’re staying in our own little house in SoCal, with the three pets who seem to whirl around in every room at once, and enjoying our first married Christmas together, as a two-person three-pet family. But I’ll miss baking dozens of cookies with my mom. And I’ll miss having homemade blackberry pie at Terwilliger’s parents’ house. And I’ll miss opening gifts with my parents, Christmas music in the background, A Christmas Story on the television on mute.

It is indeed different this year.

But Terwilliger and I have blue skies and sunshine and a two-foot tree in a glazed pot. And each other. And lots of giggling. And also, presents.

And these, my favorite Christmas cookies

Snowball Cookies:

1 cup butter, softened*
1/2 cup powdered sugar, sifted
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup pecans, finely chopped
Extra powdered sugar

*If you’re using unsalted butter, I would encourage you to add 1/2 – 1 tsp. salt to the batter when you add the flour. I think these cookies need a little salt or they taste just the slightest bit anemic. Maybe you should just use salted butter. That’s probably what I’ll do next time.

Preheat oven to 350. In the bowl of an electric mixer or by hand, cream butter until smooth. Stir in powdered sugar and mix until combined, then add vanilla. Stir in flour, then mix in pecans.

Roll dough into skimpy 1-inch balls, then place on parchment-lined cookie sheet. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the bottoms are light golden.

Remove cookies to wire rack. When cool, roll in powdered sugar. (I just dump a scoop of powdered sugar on a plate, then roll the cookies on the plate.)

Happy holiday eating, everyone!

Chewy Chocolate Toffee Cookies

Source: Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Makes: About 2.5 – 3 dozen, depending on the size you make them

Every year for Christmas, I love to make Mexican wedding cookies. Powdered sugar, butter, flour, and pecans: you really can’t go wrong with that. I’ll certainly be making those sometime soon. But I think I have a new holiday cookie tradition in these chocolate toffee cookies. I made them for the first time last year around Thanksgiving, and I’ve made two batches in the last week alone.

So, these cookies are good. These cookies are very, very good. Let me tell you why:

1. The dough tastes like actual fudge.
2. There is half a pound of chocolate in one batch. And you know how I feel about chocolate.
3. There are big, crunchy, buttery chunks of Heath bar in almost every bite.
4. There is a marvelous contrast between the chewy, brownie-like cookies and the crunch from the candy and the nuts.
5. While they are chewy, they’re not excessively so, and as you chew the chocolate flavor just blooms in your mouth.
6. The sea salt sprinkled on top cuts the chocolate in just the right way so that you’re not completely assaulted with richness.
7. They make your kitchen smell like a chocolate factory as they bake.
8. They keep really well, if you can resist eating them all in one day.
9. They won me “Best in Dough” in a cookie competition at work.
10. Seriously, the dough tastes like fudge.

For the chocolate, I used half Ghirardelli bittersweet chips, and half Scharffen Berger semisweet chipped from a bar. I wouldn’t recommend Nestle for these babies — no, they deserve the splurge of nicer, smoother, fancier chocolate. Try to think of these as the first date of cookies. You wouldn’t wear your comfy flannel pj pants on a first date, would you? Flannel pjs are great and all for sitting around the house while you eat peanut butter out of the jar and watch reruns of The Office (I mean, not that I do that or anything), but special occasions call for special pants. That’s all I’m saying.

(Um, better photos forthcoming…)

Ingredients:

1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
generous 1/4 tsp. salt
8 oz. bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
2 T. unsalted butter
1/2 cup + 6 T. brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs
1 & 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
4 1.4-ounce Heath bars coarsely chopped*
scant 1/2 cup almonds, toasted and chopped**
Flaky sea salt for sprinkling (I use Maldon brand, but fine-grain sea salt will work too)

In a small bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. In a small, metal bowl, combine chocolate and butter. Place over a pan of simmering water and melt chocolate mixture, stirring frequently. Make sure you don’t let the bottom of the bowl touch the simmering water — you essentially want to melt your chocolate by steaming it.

(You can also melt the chocolate in the microwave (in a non-metal bowl, of course); zap it at 15-second intervals, stirring each time.)

Once chocolate is melted, set bowl aside and cool mixture to lukewarm.

In an electric mixer, beat eggs and brown sugar until thick, about five minutes. Beat in vanilla and chocolate. On low speed, add flour mixture. By hand, stir in toffee pieces and nuts.

The dough will be very soft — now it’s time to chill it for 45 minutes. Don’t skimp on the chilling time!

When you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. I would encourage you to invest in parchment paper for these cookies if you don’t already have it on hand. It makes dealing with them so much easier once they’re baked. You’ll see.

Now, this next part deserves a little elaboration: I use a regular spoon to scoop the dough into rounded balls, about 1.5 inches in size. I also keep a little dish of water nearby to dampen my thumb and forefinger, so I can more easily push the dough off the spoon and onto the cookie sheet. It’s a strange dough, both sticky and dry, but if you use the water technique, you shouldn’t have a problem with the scooping. Once scooped, give the cookies about an inch-and-a-half between them on the baking sheet. Sprinkle dough with sea salt and lightly press salt into dough with your fingertip.

Bake for 12 – 14 minutes, until cookies appear cracked and dry on top, but are still soft to the touch. Cool cookies on baking sheet for one minute. Then — this is important — slide the parchment paper with cookies still on it onto a cooling surface. Now let the cookies cool completely on the parchment. Be sure not to take them off the paper until they’re completely cool, otherwise you will tear out their sweet, soft middles.

Now, if you can, wait a few hours to eat them. They really get better once they’ve had time to cool and rally their molecules to awesomeness.

*I’ve only used Heath bars with this recipe, but I imagine Skor bars would work as well. I’ve upped the amount of Heath bars from the original recipe, so if you’d prefer fewer fantastic toffee bites, cut it down to 2 or 3 Heath bars.

**To toast almonds: preheat oven to 350. Spread almonds in a single layer on rimmed baking sheet. Toast for 5 – 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until fragrant.

Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

From Smart Cookie
Makes: 4 dozen smallish cookies

Are you looking for the consummate chewy oatmeal cookie? Look no further, friends, because I gotcher recipe right here.

First, a little meander into my opinion on raisins:

I am not a fan. Particularly not a fan of standard dark brown raisins. They taste like the smell of a tobacco field. (Full disclosure: I might have OD’d on raisins as a snack when I was in high school. That might be why I hate them.) But golden raisins? They are good. The flavor is much more mild, in my opinion, and they’re moist and plump. Not dry and withered and weird.

So when I used golden raisins in this oatmeal cookie recipe, I expected them to be pretty tasty in their reliable, chewy way. I did not expect them to turn into soft, honeyed nuggets of bliss. I’m sure the result is because of this bizarre method: you soak the raisins for an hour. In eggs. I had never even heard of doing such a thing, but apparently it allows the raisins to remain soft and plump instead of getting dried out and hard while they bake. I dunno about the science, but I can tell you the result was excellent.

For those of you may not like chewy cookies, well, these will not be your cup of tea. They are seriously chewy. Bordering-on-bubble-gum chewy. I think that’s a good thing. You’ll just have to make them for yourself to see what you think.

Ingredients:

3 large eggs
1 generous tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup golden raisins
2 sticks butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 & 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking soda
1 generous tsp. cinnamon
2 cups quick cooking oats
1 cup toasted pecans, chopped*

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs and vanilla together. Stir in the raisins. Let this mixture sit for an hour. (I started preparing the rest of the ingredients after about 40 minutes, so by the time I needed the eggs and raisins, they had been sitting for an hour.)

Beat the butter and the sugars together until light and fluffy. In another bowl whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda and cinnamon. Gradually add dry ingredients to the butter and sugars. The dough will seem dry. Stir in the egg-raisin-vanilla mixture, then stir in the oats and toasted walnuts.

Drop by tablespoons onto parchment-lined cookie sheets. Bake for 10 – 13 minutes in a 350-degree oven, until the cookies are very golden brown. Let them cool for one minute on the tray, and then transfer cookies to wire rack.

*To toast the pecans, spread unchopped pecans in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Toast in 350-degree oven for 5 – 10 minutes, or until slightly darkened and fragrant. Shake pan occasionally. Watch carefully; they scorch easily. Cool, then chop with a knife.

Nibby Buckwheat Cookies

So, one word to describe these little suckers: disappointing.

Yeah. They tasted like plants.

I kept returning to them to taste little bites again, to see if they had improved. But they hadn’t. Not even two days later, when apparently they’re supposed to get better with age, and they keep for one remarkable month. Nope. They never got good.

You might wonder why I would bother blogging about something that didn’t delight my taste buds, so I’ll tell you why: cacao nibs are not cheap, and I want to save you from wasting your money like I did.

Actually, I’m not sure I should blame the nibs. Maybe it was the buckwheat. I have no idea what buckwheat is supposed to taste like. So, if it’s supposed to taste the way a gardening center smells, then I guess there’s nothing to blame for the unappealingness of these cookies. But Terwilliger grew up on buckwheat pancakes, and he didn’t like these cookies either, so… I dunno.

I had bookmarked these cookies ages ago, and on my recent cookie-baking binge, I decided to give them a shot. I mean, what good is having a food blog if I can’t buy expensive specialty ingredients I would usually ignore? The cookies looked tasty, and the recipe seemed slightly wholesome, what with the use of the buckwheat flour. And they sure smelled good while baking. They are essentially buckwheat shortbread cookies, with plenty of butter, minimal sugar, and some cacao nibs to give it a little crunchy zing.

They were all those things, but with the flavor of plants.

So I just wanted to warn you.

Here they are…

From Orangette

1 & 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup buckwheat flour
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1/3 cup cocoa nibs
1 & 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Whisk flours together in a medium bowl. In a mixer, beat the butter with the sugar and salt until smooth and creamy but not fluffy, about 1 minute. Add the nibs and vanilla and mix together, scraping down sides of bowl if needed. Add the flours all at once mix until just incorporated. The mixture will seem dry and coarse at first, but as you keep beating, it will slowly come together. The dough will be very thick and pull away from the sides of the bowl.

Divide the dough in half, and form each half into a log about 2 inches in diameter. Wrap well with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least two hours. (Overnight is fine, but you’ll need to let the dough rest on the counter for an hour or so before baking in order to slice it without it crumbling.)

When you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350. Slice the cookies into 1/4-inch coins and place them on parchment-lined cookie sheets. Bake for 12 – 14 minutes, or until cookies just begin to color around the edges. Cool on wire racks.

And cool completely before eating. They’re especially plant-like when they’re warm.