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Posts Tagged ‘Cookies’

This post has been languishing in our draft box since the holidays. It was supposed to be a strategic ploy, to hold off on posting more cookie recipes until at least a month after Christmas which we’ve now reached, but we somehow managed to forget about this post altogether until now.

Thoroughly dissatisfied with our camera lately, the photo-journalism that typically accompanies our cooking just hasn’t quite been as fun as it used to. As such, we entirely neglected to photograph our Chinese New Year’s meal yesterday (this may have been due to a few other factors, and Happy Year of the Rabbit, by the way!) and failed also to document our breakfast crepe party with homemade Nutella over the weekend (while we’re on the subject, homemade Nutella should really be made with confectioner’s sugar and not granular). We promise there will be more posts to come, particularly since we still have a backlog that includes steamy Thai-infused mussels and red-wine-braised lamb with lentils among other items.

If you’re interested in project wedding cake updates, you’ll be pleased to know that we did quite a bit of research and shopping over the weekend and are hoping to begin experimenting with fondant and dowels soon. We have a list of experts lined up as emergency consultants (thanks to some stellar connections Jolie has) and at least a few filling ideas in mind.

In other news, we have a Super Bowl party on Sunday and snow on the forecast Saturday, Tuesday, and Thursday, which likely means quite a bit of baking time. Stay tuned for some cheesy-jammy cookies to come this weekend, and enjoy the macaroons below!

These macaroons are of the Italian variety (see older post on macaroons), lighter and fluffier and with just a hint of sweetness and a bold almond flavor.  It’s crucial not to overbake these or the cookies will be dry and gritty, quite unlike the pillowy texture you’re aiming for.

Limoncello Almond Macaroons

1 egg white
12 oz. almond paste
1/2 c confectioners’ sugar
1/3 t vanilla extract
2 t lemon zest
1 T limoncello

Preheat oven to 350F.

Beat the egg white, almond paste, confectioners’ sugar, and vanilla extract together until creamy. Add the zest and limoncello and beat until combined.

Coat a clean surface with a generous handful of confectioners’ sugar, then turn the dough out onto it. Shape and roll out the dough into two 3/4″ logs. Cut each log into bite-sized pieces and coat with sugar.

Transfer to prepared baking sheets. Bake until pale golden, about 15 minutes.

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I don’t mean to hate on meringue, but it’s true, I don’t have a particular affinity for it. It might be because of a small incident we had after I made the awesome chocolate stout birthday cake for the husband this year. In a fit of prideful curiosity, I asked triumphantly if it was the best birthday cake he’s ever had, and he responded (first, yes, and then) that the only other birthday cake memory he has is of a lemon meringue pie. Anyway, that threw me into a bit of competitive envy, and I guess I no longer enjoy meringue.

All that said, if you’re left over with lots of egg whites from your pasta-making endeavors, you may be interested in coconut macaroons. These macaroons are more in the French-style of macaroons (envision: rich, generous clumps of coconut flakes) as compared to the Italian-style of macaroons (crunchy little cookie-cakes made with ground almonds). These are type of macaroon I imagine Nora stealthily snacking on in A Doll’s House, as they seem far more indulgent and worthy of sneaking than the Italian version of the cookie.

These cookies are impossibly easy to make and involve just a few ingredients (fewer still if you choose not to dip in chocolate). They are incredible warm out of the oven, but a few extra minutes of cooling definitely helps them hold together better.

Chocolate-Covered Coconut Macaroons

3 egg whites
6 oz. dried coconut flakes
1/4 c sugar
1/4 all-purpose flour
6 oz. good-quality chocolate (we used Fairway)

Preheat the oven to 350F. Prepare a cookie sheet with a Silpat liner or greased with butter.

In a large heavy pan, mix egg whites, dried coconut, sugar, and flour with a silicone  spatula. (Particularly if using a non-stick pan, do not use metal utensils, as they will scratch the pan!) Place over a low heat and cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring constantly to make sure it does not stick. When the mixture becomes the consistency of thick oatmeal, remove from heat.

Place spoonfuls of the mixture in round-ish piles on the lined baking sheets. Bake for ~15 minutes until golden brown. Remove from oven and leave to cool completely.

When macaroons are cooled, melt the chocolate in a double boiler, a bowl over simmering water, or the microwave. Dip cookies into melted chocolate and set on parchment paper or cooling racks to cool.

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Happy New Year’s Eve, readers! I hear there’s a rule about not sharing cookie recipes immediately after Christmas. Something about the world being cookie-d out and cookie recipes getting tossed aside with glazed eyes and full bellies. Good thing it’s almost new year’s — you can think of these as being inaugural 2011 cookies instead of Christmas 2010 cookies!

See below (and above) for an incredible batch of ginger molasses cookies. These cookies come out really soft and chewy with an amicable sweetness and bite of spice. They don’t have the usual heavy, dark molasses flavor, and if you’re a big ginger fan, you may want to increase the amount of ginger just a bit to get a really nice kick. (Of course, I’m one who loves ginger in all of my desserts married to one who doesn’t love ginger in any of his desserts — what are we to do?! Minimize the ginger, I suppose, and call it an act of love. Or sneak it in when he’s not looking!)

If I had cookie cutters, I would definitely make these into fun shapes like little gingerbread boys and girls, maybe a gingerbread family with a gingerbread Christmas tree and gingerbread letters that spell out something fun and festive. Without cookie cutters, I think these cookies are a little more adult, but who needs adult cookies anyway?

Ginger Molasses Cookies

1 1/4 c whole wheat flour
1 c all-purpose flour
2 t baking soda
1 t cinnamon
1 t ground ginger
1/2 t cloves
1/2 c salted butter, room temperature
3/4 c brown sugar, packed
1 egg
1/4 c unsulfured molasses

Preheat the oven to 350F.

In a medium bowl, sift together the flours, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves.

In a large bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until smooth. Add in the egg and molasses and mix until well-blended and an even brown color. Slowly add in the flour mixture, mixing just enough to incorporate.

Roll heaping teaspoons full of dough in the palm of your hands to form a ball. Place on the prepared baking sheet and space about 2 inches apart.

Bake the cookies until they are soft in the center and there are several large cracks on top, about 10 minutes. Do not overbake. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes before removing them to a wire rack to cool completely.

* I dusted these with a bit of confectioners’ sugar after baking. I also tried rolling them in confectioners’ sugar before baking, but the sugar melted and glazed over in a sort of listless gray way.

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This is what I did in lieu of studying for exams last Friday (see above). Yes, I pooh-poohed my econ final in favor of Sufjan’s Christmas mix and cookie baking, and what a rewarding decision it was! Racks and racks of assorted whole-wheat cookies and a perfectly fine time on exam day nonetheless.

These cookies are going to become a staple in our household, I’m sure. The dough can be refrigerated or frozen indefinitely, and easy slice-and-bake procedures result in freshly baked cookies almost instantly! In fact, I think our oven takes longer to preheat than the entire rest of the process — slicing and baking and cooling all happens in less than 10 minutes, 15 if you’re dawdling. These cookies can also be rolled out and cut with cookie cutters but until we acquire cookie cutters for ourselves (I’ve dropped hints a few times), we’ll be slice-and-baking.

I spiced these a bit more heavily than perhaps necessary. These cookies are certainly amenable to a variety of modifications — orange zest, lemon juice, mixed with nuts, rosemary might be good, etc — or topped with any variety of goodies as well. Cookies above are topped with chopped walnuts, crushed candy canes, and red sprinkles. You’ll notice also the boozy marmalade making a second appearance.

Spiced Whole-Wheat Cookies

2 sticks salted butter, softened
3/4 c brown sugar, packed
1 egg
2 c whole wheat flour
1 c all-purpose flour
1 t baking powder
1 T soy  milk
1 T vanilla extract
hefty shakes of cinnamon and ginger

Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg. Combine flour, salt, baking powder, and spices in a bowl. Mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, adding a little milk at a time as necessary. Stir in the vanilla.

Roll the dough out into a log for sliced cookies, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for at least two hours.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Slice 1/4″ discs from the log. Press tops into assorted toppings. Bake on Silpat or baking sheets for 6-8 minutes. Let rest on sheet for a minute or two before transferring onto cookie racks.

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Verily, it is NOT October 27th but October 26th!
I’m only mildly ashamed that I missed this glorious holiday because I do in fact spend all month — including last night — celebrating pumpkins. Yes, October is a month-long rendezvous with pumpkins, and I’m apt to daydream about and dally with pumpkin smoothies, pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin breads, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin cakes (and pumpkin scones soon on the horizon). Even so, National Pumpkin Day is certainly worthy of its very own special treat!
Cinnamon Shortbread with Caramel Pumpkin Glaze
Shortbread
1 c butter (softened)
1/2 c brown sugar
1 egg yolk
2 c flour (1/2 whole wheat)
1/2 T Saigon cinnamon
1/2 T vanilla extract
Beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg yolk, flour, cinnamon, and vanilla, and beat until combined. (At this point, the dough can be shaped into a 1″ log and frozen for up to a week. When ready to bake, cut log into 1/4″ segments.)
Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface. Divide the dough into two halves for easier handling. Shape the dough into a ball and flatten to 1/4″. Using a cookie cutter, cut out cookies from the dough. Place cookies on well-greased baking sheet or Silpat. Make thumb-print indentations for the caramel pumpkin glaze (see below). Spread glaze into indentations (a bit of overflow is fine). Chill for 30 minutes before baking. Alternatively, shape the dough into a 1″ log as above, chill the dough, then cut into cookie segments.
Preheat the oven to 275 degrees F. Bake for 30 minutes until shortbread is lightly bronwed and tender.
Glaze
1/4 c butter
1/4 c sugar
1/2 c cream (can substitute with milk)
1/4 c pumpkin
Melt butter in saucepan on medium heat until browned and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Stir in sugar and continue stirring until well combined and caramelized. Turn heat to low, and add cream and pumpkin. Stir until well combined; the mixture will bubble. Remove from heat, and refrigerate to harden.

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Glazed Maple Cookies

Last March, the girls’ annual house vacation was a gluttonous food tour up in central Vermont. Over the course of three days, we sampled serving after serving of ice cream, cider donuts, mustards, and cheese. But the real highlight of the trip began with a friendly couple we met at the local Episcopal church. Lew and Audrey Coty run a family-owned maple syrup farm, and the day we were there happened to be a major maple syrup tapping day. Armed with a few obscure directions and Laura Ingalls Wilder fantasies, off we headed to Nebraska Knoll Sugar Farm.

This sugar farm was incredible! In addition to a factory tour and free hot cider, Lew and Audrey had a maple syrup tasting station set up outside in the driveway, complete with a big wooden trough full of fresh snow and a small gas stove boiling maple syrup on the side. Every so often, one of the Cotys drizzled boiling maple syrup across the trough of snow. The maple syrup hardened just enough for us to twirl it around our plastic forks and lick off with great satisfaction.

Now short of another visit to Stowe, these maple cookies are the only comparably satisfying experience to be had with maple syrup! Most cookies and baked goods that involve maple syrup are just not maple-y enough, maple syrup on pancakes while delicious are also a poor showcase of the sheer awesomeness of maple syrup. That said, you should really try these cookies — they are fantastic.

Glazed Maple Cookies

Cookie Dough:

1 1/2 c flour
1/2 t salt
1/2 c butter, room temperature
1/2 c maple sugar (brown sugar is fine also)
1/4 c maple syrup1 egg yolk

Glaze:

1/4 c maple syrup
coarse salt

Combine flour and salt. In a separate bowl, beat soft butter and sugar until light and fluffy using an electric mixer. Beat in maple syrup and egg yolk until even. Reduce the mixer beat on low, and gradually add in the flour mixture. Mix until completely combined and crumbly.

In your hands, form little balls from the dough around 1  1/2 inches in size. Place them on two baking sheets 2 inches apart. Flatten the cookies using the bottom of a glass or mug. Bake the cookies at 350 F for 12-14 minutes until the edges turn slightly golden.

While the cookies are cooling, prepare the glaze. In a small pot, bring maple syrup into a boil and simmer until it has reduced to about 3/4 of the original amount. Spoon the thickened maple syrup on top of the cookies and sprinkle with coarse salt. Let the glaze set for a few minutes before serving.

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Tea Cookies

Heather Tea Cookies

2 c flour
2 T finely ground heather tea leaves (from about 4 bags)
1 c butter (room temperature)
1/2 cup sugar

Whisk together flour and tea in a bowl. Beat together butter and sugar on medium speed until pale and fluffy (about 3 minutes). Reduce speed to low and gradually mix in flour mixture until just combined. Divide dough in half.

Shape each half of dough into a log. Roll in foil to 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Freeze until firm (1 hour).

Preheat oven to 350F. Cut logs into 1/4 inch thick slices. Space 1 inch apart on baking sheets lined with Silpat. Bake cookies, rotating sheets halfway through until edges are golden, 12 to 15 minutes.

Makes 36 small cookies

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