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Entries in Cookies (178)

Thursday
Dec182014

Pleasuretown: Chocolate Filled Cookies 

What's better than cookies? Cookies filled with chocolate. Recipe here.

Tuesday
Dec162014

Best-Ever: Peanut Butter Filled Cookies

We love to stuff. We stuff our stockings. We stuff our bras (or at least we did when we were 13). Why not stuff our cookies?

These cookies--and yes, it brings me a shiver of joy to say it--are stuffed with peanut butter. Delicious, creamy, dreamy, peanut butter. This means that when you grab one of these cookies, you're already excited, I mean, cookie! right? But then, when you bite into it, you find that the crumbly exterior gives way to a soft and gooey peanut buttery center. And that is the point which, in some sort of sweet and slightly salty and rich and peanut buttery bliss, you think "it would be OK if I died right now, because I've had this moment". 

Stuffed cookies

Am I talking them up too much? Go ahead, find out for yourself. Here's the recipe. 

Stuffed cookies

Peanut butter filled cookies

Makes about 20 cookies

  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 jar peanut butter (I used Mighty Maple peanut butter by Peanut Butter and Company) (you won't use quite the whole thing)
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Combine the flour, cornstarch, and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.
  3. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter on medium-high speed. Once nice and creamy, add the sugar and beat for 3-5 minutes; it will become somewhat fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla extract, mixing until combined. Pause to scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix again to ensure everything is mixed in.
  4. Add the flour mixture in 2-3 increments, mixing at low speed after each addition until combined, and pausing to scrape down the sides of the bowl with each addition. The mixture will come together to form a soft, malleable dough.
  5. Pull a piece of dough, about 2 tablespoons worth, from the bowl. Form a 2-3 inch flat but fairly thick, circle of dough (you can do this one at a time, or make all of your rounds and then proceed).
  6. Stuffed cookies
  7. Place a spoonful of peanut butter on top of the circle of dough. Pull the sides of the dough over the filling to form a soft dome, making sure the dough is covering the peanut butter on all sides (it can melt through if not--you might overload the first one but you'll get a handle for the right amount fast). Pinch the top to seal the cookie–it will resemble the shape of a Hershey’s kiss. You can also seal the cookie flat on top, just do make sure it’s sealed.
  8. Stuffed cookies
  9. Place the cookies on the prepared sheets, 1 1/2 inches apart to accommodate slight spreading. Bake for 14-18 minutes, or until with a dull finish on top (a golden touch on top is fine, but don’t let them get completely golden or browned). Let them cool on the pans.If desired, dust with confectioners’ sugar. Once they have set for about 10 minutes, you can serve. Keep stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.
  10.  Stuffed cookiesStuffed cookies

Have you ever made stuffed cookies?

Monday
Dec152014

Cornmeal Pecan Cookies Recipe

Cornmeal pecan cookies

It's been proven time and time again in my life: cornmeal in cookies is a Very Good Idea.

By "time and time again" I mean every time I go to a bakery that has cornmeal-containing cookies. Momofuku Milk Bar and Amy's Bread in NYC are two places I can suggest reliably fantastic cornmeal cookies. They're not the only bakeries that sell cornmeal cookies; in fact, I can't think of a time I haven't enjoyed a cornmeal cookie that I purchased.

Cornmeal pecan cookies

I have made cornmeal cookie bars before, too. Were they ever good. 

In my opinion, the success factors are as follows: the corn-ishness adds a natural sweetness that is a pleasant departure from just sugar-sweetness, and the pleasingly slight gritty texture adds intrigue.

I know I'm not the only cornmeal cookie fan out there, so it's very likely that this recipe will be a welcome addition to many a corn cookie lover's repertoire. These corn cookies have a leg up on most because in addition to sweet cornmeal, they also include pecans, which makes them a touch crunchy. And I don't know why I haven't rhapsodized about the combo of pecan and corn before--united by a buttery front, these are twin quasars of awesome in every bite of these cookies. I want to make cornbread with pecans now! Corn and pecan everything!

I served the cookies with a side of coconut oil chocolate dipping sauce. It was a very good decision. 

Cornmeal pecan cookies

Oh, and it's also a good cookie recipe to use up egg yolks if you've been making meringues or another recipe that only contains whites! 

Cornmeal Pecan Cookies

Makes about 40

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cups butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup toasted chopped pecans

Procedure

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line baking sheets with parchment.
  2. In a large-ish bowl, stir together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt together. Set to the side.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, on medium speed, cream the butter and sugar until nice and fluffy. Add the egg yolks and vanilla and mix until blended, about 1 minute.
  4. Reduce speed to low, and mix the flour in, until just incorporated. Fold in the nuts.
  5. Scoop out heaping tablespoonfuls of dough, and form into balls. Place on the baking sheet about 2 inches apart. 
  6. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until lightly browned on the edges and set in the center. Let cool on the racks for about five minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. If desired, dust with confectioners' sugar. These cookies will keep for a couple of weeks in a sealed container at room temperature, or up to several months in the freezer.

Do you like cornmeal cookies?

Saturday
Dec062014

I Love H: Award-Winning H-Bars Recipe

I love love.

I also love cookies.

And furthermore, I adore a good story.

Naturally, I gravitated toward this recipe, since it combines all of the above in one tasty form. Adding to its intrigue was the fact that is was an award-winner: these bars are featured in the new book Holiday Cookies: Prize-Winning Family Recipes from the Chicago Tribune for Cookies, Bars, Brownies and More


These so-called "H-Bars" have a mysterious story: 

Victoria Weisenberg won first place in 2012 for this recip and her tale of using them to woo "a very special man". Weisenberg created the recipe as a Hanukkah give for her former beau and said the "H" stands for the first letter of his first name, though she opted to leave that name a mystery.

This story is what intrigued me about the bars, which I might have otherwise passed over owing to the fact that they are made with a raisin filling. This t-shirt design sums up my thoughts on raisins in cookies:

Luckily (great timing!) I just received a package from the California Dried Plum Board (no, really). It didn't take me long to decide to swap the prunes for the raisins. I'm glad I did: they add a wonderful moisture and mellow flavor to the bars. 

Yes, really.

The only other thing I did differently is I baked the bars in a loaf pan rather than the size specified in the recipe. Doing such, I had to increase the bake time by about 5 minutes. I have left the instructions intact though; if you want to make them look like mine, use a loaf pan, increase the bake time, and slice into fingers instead of bars. 

Award-winning H-Bars

  • Yield: 20 bars
  • Prep time: 30 minutes
  • Bake time: 37 to 40 minutes per batch

Shortbread base:

  • 1 stick (½ cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup flour
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar

Middle layer

  • ⅓ cup flour
  • ¾ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • 4 ounces chopped dried plums (original recipe calls for ⅔ cup golden raisins)

Topping:

  • ½ cup flour
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • ½ stick (¼ cup) unsalted
  • butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Icing (I omitted this)

  • ½ cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1½–2 tablespoons milk
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla

Procedure

  1. Grease or coat with cooking spray a 7½-by-11-inch baking pan. Heat oven to 325 degrees.

  2. For the shortbread, combine butter, flour and granulated sugar in a medium bowl until crumbly. Pack into the prepared pan; bake, 15 minutes.

  3. For raisin layer, stir together flour with the baking powder, cinnamon and salt in a small bowl. In another bowl, beat brown sugar, eggs and vanilla together until blended. Stir in dry ingredients and dried plum bits. Pour over the baked shortbread layer.

  4. For the topping, combine ingredients in a bowl until mixture is crumbly. Sprinkle evenly over the middle layer. Bake, 22 to 25 minutes. Cool.

  5. For the icing, combine confectioners’ sugar, 1½ tablespoons milk and vanilla in a small bowl. Add more milk, if needed, until you get a smooth, easy-to drizzle mixture. Drizzle over the top. Cut into 20 bars.

Food processor method: You do not have to wash the bowl of the processor between steps. Combine ingredients for the bottom layer with a few pulses until crumbly. Pack in pan. Bake as above. Prepare topping in the processor in the same way. Place in a bowl and set aside. Then, place brown sugar, eggs and vanilla in processor bowl and process until blended. Add dry ingredients and pulse a few times. Stir in raisins. Continue as above.

Do you like raisins in baked goods?

Saturday
Dec062014

Cake Mix Bonbon Cookies

You'd never guess cake mix is the key ingredient of these pleasant little cookies. Vaguely shortbread-y, I made mine with peppermint extract for the holidays, but I'm putting vanilla for more everday use. 

I made these because I had a spare box of cake mix lying around (you know, food blogger problems) but was pleasantly surprised. I even included them on a few cookie samplers.

Enjoy!

Cake Mix Bonbon Cookies

Makes 30-40 cookies depending on size

  • 1 box cake mix (I used Immaculate Baking Yellow Cake Mix)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla (or peppermint around the holidays)
  • 3-4 ounces of dark or milk chocolate (3 ounces = delicate drizzle; 4 ounces = more generous icing like pictured)

Procedure

  1. Heat oven to 350°F (325°F for dark or nonstick pans). In large bowl, mix cake mix, sugar, oil, vanilla and eggs with spoon until dough forms. It will be a somewhat crumbly dough.
  2. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. On ungreased cookie sheets, Place balls 2 inches apart.
  3. Bake 9 to 11 minutes or until set. Cool 1 minute; remove from cookie sheets to cooling racks. 
  4. Make the chocolate topping. Melt 3-4 ounces of chocolate, and drizzle on top of each cookie. 
Tuesday
Dec022014

Chocolate Cherry Cookies

Are you ever haunted by the memory of Christmas cookies past? 

I am. Let me tell you about it.

When I was young, there were two cookies in particular which I treasured above the others. They were chocolate chip pistachio cookies (recipe here) and chocolate cherry cookies.

While my mom was happy to hand over the pistachio recipe, she claims a cloudy memory about the chocolate cherry variety. What? They were the best!

I'll tell you about them, and maybe you know of something similar: a chewy yet slightly crumbly chocolate cookie with a cherry pressed inside, and a chocolate ganache type topping, baked right into the top of the cookie. 

I loved those cookies so hard.

This recipe, while not the same as those cookies in my memory, came out awfully good. They have the same flavor combination, and I made them with some Montmorency cherries from Stoneridge Orchards which were recently sent to me in the mail. They have a perfect, shortbread-meets sugar cookie texture base, and the cherry inside works very nicely with the chocolate, giving it an almost almond-y flavor. The chocolate topping bakes up fudge-like, and is extremely pleasant and if not gooey, then it adds a moist element to the cookie.

The candies are mainly for show, but I learned pretty quickly to not display two of them side by side, because, well, boobs. Well, OK, do it--it might make you laugh.

Chocolate cherry cookies

Makes 24

Very loosely based on this recipe 

  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1-1/2cups all purpose flour
  • pinch salt
  • 1/4cup unsweetened baking cocoa
  • 24 dried cherries

For the topping

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup chocoalte morsels
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 24 cinnamon candies, for garnish

Procedure

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In large bowl, beat the sugars, 1 cup butter and the vanilla with electric mixer on medium speed until fluffy. Beat in egg yolk until smooth. Beat in flour, salt, and cocoa.
  3. Shape dough by rounded teaspoonfuls into 1-inch balls. Press a cherry on top of each cookie, and ease the dough around to cover it.
  4. On ungreased cookie sheet, place balls 1 inch apart. With index finger or thumb, make indentation in center of each ball. It might feel a little awkward because of the cherry inside, but I promise, you'll be OK.
  5. Make the topping. Combine the chocolate chips and butter in a microwave-safe bowl and heat in 20-second increments until melty. It will look ugly. Stir in the confectioners' sugar; as it mixes it will become less ugly.
  6. Top each cookie with a dollop of the chocolate mixture, and place a cinnamon candy on top of each.
  7. Bake 7 to 10 minutes or until set. Immediately remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.

What's your favorite holiday cookie?

Saturday
Nov012014

Pillsbury Bake-Off Countdown: Hummingbird Macaroons

Hummingbird Macaroons

You probably didn't need to be told that Hummingbird cake is simply the bomb. That might be a cheesy thing to say, but it's such a beautiful cake it moves me to corniness.

But did you know that hummingbird macaroons are also exceedingly amazing? If you didn't, it's time to give this recipe from Melanie Eichman of San Antonio, Texas a try. It yields soft cookies that are bound to make you hum with joy.

Hummingbird Macaroons

  • Prep Time: 20 Min
  • Total Time: 1 Hr 15 Min
  • Makes: 30 cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 roll Pillsbury refrigerated sugar cookie dough
  • 1/4 cup mashed very ripe banana (1 small)
  • 2 cups flaked coconut
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped dried pineapple
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/2 teaspoon Watkins™ Ground Saigon Cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon Watkins™ Original Double Strength Vanilla Extract

Procedure

  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Let cookie dough stand at room temperature 10 minutes to soften. Line cookie sheets with Reynolds® Parchment Paper.
  2. In large bowl, break up cookie dough. Add remaining ingredients; beat with electric mixer on medium-low speed 1 to 2 minutes or until well blended. Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls 2 inches apart on cookie sheets.
  3. Bake 11 to 16 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Cool 3 minutes; remove from cookie sheets to cooling racks. Cool completely, about 15 minutes. Store covered.

Note: the Pillsbury Bake-Off is coming in November! Check out my coverage of the 45th and 46th Bake-Off, and follow the recipes posted so far by clicking the bakeoff tag below.

Sunday
Oct262014

Pillsbury Bake-Off Countdown: Chocolate-Almond Butter Turtles

Turtles - Pillsbury BakeOff

Seriously. Don't these sweet little things look like sweet morsels of pure magic?

Credit for these sweet little treats goes to Christine Southard of Noble, Oklahoma, who will be attending the Bake-Off next week!

Chocolate-Almond Butter Turtles

  • Prep Time: 30 Min
  • Total Time: 1 Hr 10 Min
  • Makes: 24 cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 roll Pillsbury refrigerated sugar cookie dough
  • 2/3 cup crunchy almond butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (6 oz)
  • 24 caramels, unwrapped
  • 24 milk or dark chocolate-covered almonds

Procedure

  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Let cookie dough stand at room temperature 10 minutes to soften.
  2. In large bowl, break up cookie dough. Add almond butter and vanilla. Mix with wooden spoon, or knead with hands until well blended. Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake 13 to 18 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Cool 1 minute; remove from cookie sheets to cooling racks. Cool completely, about 10 minutes.
  3. In small microwavable bowl, microwave chocolate chips uncovered on High 45 to 60 seconds, stirring once, until chips can be stirred smooth. Spoon and spread 1 teaspoon chocolate on each cookie.
  4. In another small microwavable bowl, microwave caramels and 1 1/2 teaspoons water uncovered on High 1 minute to 1 minute 30 seconds, stirring once, until caramels can be stirred smooth. Spoon about 1 teaspoon caramel in center of each cookie; top with almond. Store covered.

Note: the Pillsbury Bake-Off is coming in November! Check out my coverage of the 45th and 46th Bake-Off, and follow the recipes posted so far by clicking the bakeoff tag below.

Thursday
Oct232014

Pillsbury Bake-Off Countdown: Chewy Gingersnaps with White Chocolate Drizzle

Who says that ginger cookies have to be snappy? These ones are soft, and in the best way possible. It makes them all the better to cuddle up with on a cold night with a cup of cocoa!

This yummy recipe is courtesy of Michele Kusma of Columbus, Ohio. Good luck at the Bake-Off!

Chewy Gingersnaps with White Chocolate Drizzle 

  • Prep Time: 20 Min
  • Total Time: 1 Hr 45 Min
  • Makes: 30 cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 container Pillsbury Gluten Free refrigerated pie and pastry dough
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1 cup white vanilla baking chips

Procedure

  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Let dough stand at room temperature 10 minutes to soften.
  2. In large bowl, break up dough. Add remaining ingredients except baking chips. Mix with electric mixer on medium-low speed about 2 minutes or until well blended.
  3. Shape dough into 30 (1 1/2-inch) balls. Place 3 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets (dark cookie sheets not recommended); flatten with fingers into 2-inch rounds.
  4. Bake 10 to 14 minutes or until edges are set. Cool 4 minutes; remove from cookie sheets to cooling racks. Cool completely, about 15 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, in small microwavable bowl, microwave baking chips uncovered on High 45 to 60 seconds, stirring once, until chips can be stirred smooth.
  6. Place in small resealable food-storage plastic bag. Cut off tiny corner of bag; squeeze bag to drizzle melted baking chips over cooled cookies. Store covered.

About this post: the Pillsbury Bake-Off is coming in November! Check out my coverage of the 45th and 46th Bake-Off events, and follow the recipes posted so far by clicking the bakeoff tag below.

Saturday
Oct182014

Pillsbury Bake-Off Countdown: Chocolate-in-the-Middle Biscotti

Note: the Pillsbury Bake-Off is coming in November! Check out my coverage of the 45th and 46th Bake-Off, and follow the recipes posted so far by clicking the bakeoff tag below.

Marcia Jacobovitz of Cedar Grove, New Jersey knows what most biscotti is missing: chocolate filling! I think this is a perfect way to keep naturally dry biscotti interesting and a little moist, don't you?

Good luck at the Bake-Off!

Chocolate-in-the-middle Biscotti

  • Prep Time: 25 Min
  • Total Time: 1 Hr 25 Min
  • Makes: 15 biscotti

Ingredients

  • 1 container Pillsbury Gluten Free refrigerated chocolate chip cookie dough
  • 1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup Jif Creamy Peanut Butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar

Procedure

  1. Heat oven to 350°F (325°F for dark or nonstick cookie sheet). Line large cookie sheet with parchment paper. Measure 1/3 cup cookie dough; set aside.
  2. In small microwavable bowl, microwave chocolate chips uncovered on High 40 to 50 seconds, stirring once, until chips can be stirred smooth; set aside.
  3. In large bowl, break up remaining cookie dough. Add peanut butter. Beat with electric mixer on medium speed 30 to 60 seconds or until well blended. On cookie sheet, shape dough into 14x2-inch rectangle. Make a 1 inch wide by 1/2 inch deep indentation lengthwise down center of rectangle.
  4. In same large bowl, beat reserved 1/3 cup cookie dough, the cinnamon and melted chocolate chips on medium speed 30 to 60 seconds or until well blended, adding water 1/4 teaspoon at a time, if necessary, to create a dough. Roll dough into 14-inch long rope. Place rope in indentation down center of cookie dough rectangle. Bring sides of dough up around chocolate rope; pinch edges to seal. Place diagonally, seam side down, on cookie sheet. Flatten to 3 inches wide.
  5. Bake 20 to 24 minutes or until golden brown and center is firm to the touch. Slide parchment and biscotti rectangle from cookie sheet to cooling rack. Cool 15 minutes; remove from parchment, and place on cutting board. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper. Using sharp knife, cut rectangle into 1-inch diagonal slices. Place on cookie sheet 1 inch apart.
  6. Bake 10 to 13 minutes or until deep golden brown. Remove from cookie sheet to cooling rack. Cool completely, about 15 minutes.
  7. Meanwhile, in small bowl, mix powdered sugar and 2 to 3 teaspoons water until thin enough to drizzle. Place in resealable food-storage plastic bag. Cut off tiny corner of bag; squeeze bag to drizzle icing over cooled biscotti. Store covered.
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