Molasses Cookies

These are some of my most favorite cookies ever.  I’m sure I say that about a LOT of cookies but I really mean it with these!  This is another recipe from my friend Judy (I’ve never had a cake/cookie/etc of hers that ISN’T awesome) and it is one of the most wonderfully soft, slightly chewy, perfectly spiced cookies I’ve ever had.  They are not too sweet and so yum…one of those you could eat 4 or 5 or 10 of without thinking twice.  Or maybe that’s just me.

Totally addictive and perfect for this time of year.

Enjoy!

Molasses Cookies
 
Ingredients
  • 2¼ c. All-Purpose Flour
  • 2 t. Ground Ginger
  • 1 t. Baking Soda
  • ¾ t. Ground Cinnamon
  • ½ t. Ground Cloves
  • ⅛ t. Salt
  • ¾ c. Shortening
  • 1 c. Granulated Sugar
  • 1 Large Egg
  • ¼ c. Molasses
  • ½ c. Coarse or Granulated Sugar
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, ginger, soda, cinnamon, cloves and salt. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the shortening until softened. Gradually add the 1 cup of granulated sugar and beat until fluffy. Add eggs and molasses; beat well. Add half of flour mixture; beat until combined. Stir remaining flour in with a wooden spoon.
  4. Shape dough into 1-inch balls and roll in the coarse or granulated sugar. Bake for 8 minutes, rotating pans and switching racks halfway through. Cool for 2 minutes and then transfer to wire rack and cool completely.
Notes
Makes 25 cookies.

 

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Salty-Sweet Butter Pecan Cookies

I’ve not made a whole lot of pecan cookies in my life other than these Pecan Sandies, so when I found out tomorrow is National Pecan Cookie Day, I thought it would be a good opportunity to try another yummy cookie recipe.  I found this one from King Arthur for Salty-Sweet Butter Pecan Cookies.  The cookie is loaded with pecans, butterscotch chips and rolled in a sugar and salt mixture.

I of course just HAD to mess with the recipe.  I omitted the espresso and butterscotch chips and subbed in dark chocolate chips and dried cherries and then sandwiched them with marshmallow buttercream.  I really, really liked my finished product but I can’t wait to try the original version below.  Overall, this recipe makes one seriously delicious cookie.

Enjoy!

Salty-Sweet Butter Pecan Cookies
 
Ingredients
  • 1⅓ cups pecan halves
  • ⅔ cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
  • ⅔ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup butter
  • ½ cup vegetable shortening
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon espresso powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ¾ teaspoon butterscotch, vanilla-butternut, or butter-rum flavor
  • 1 teaspoon vinegar, cider or white
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 1⅓ cups butterscotch chips
  • ⅓ cup granulated sugar mixed with 1 to 1¼ teaspoons salt, for topping*
  • If you're making smaller (teaspoon cookie scoop-sized) cookies, increase the coating to ½ cup (3½ ounces) granulated sugar mixed with 1¾ to 2 teaspoons salt.
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly grease (or line with parchment) two baking sheets.
  2. Place the pecans in a single layer in a pan, and toast till they've darkened a bit and smell toasty, about 8 to 9 minutes. Set them aside.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the sugars, butter, shortening, salt, espresso powder, baking soda, vanilla, flavor, and vinegar, beating until smooth and creamy.
  4. Beat in the egg, again beating till smooth. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl with a spatula to make sure everything is thoroughly combined.
  5. Mix in the flour, then the chips and toasted nuts.
  6. If you're going to refrigerate the dough, cover the bowl, and refrigerate for about 4 to 5 hours; or overnight. Cookie dough refrigerated for 3½ to 4 hours will spread moderately; chilled overnight, it will spread much less.
  7. Mix the ⅓ cup sugar and salt for the coating, and put it in a bowl. Use a spoon (or a tablespoon cookie scoop) to scoop 1½" balls of dough into the sugar/salt mixture, rolling to coat. Then transfer to the prepared baking sheets, leaving 2" between them on all sides; they'll spread quite a bit. Or use a teaspoon cookie scoop to scoop 1¼" balls of dough.
  8. Bake the cookies for 10 to 11 minutes — 11 minutes for smaller cookies, 12 for larger ones. Their edges will be chestnut brown and their tops a lighter golden brown. (For dough that's been refrigerated, add 30 seconds to 1 minute to those baking times.) Remove them from the oven, and cool on the pan till they've set enough to move without breaking. Repeat with the remaining dough.
Notes
Makes about 3-4 dozen cookies. There are a few of options once you have the dough made. If you bake the cookies right away, you'll have a flatter, lighter-colored cookie. Refrigerate it for 4 to 5 hours, the cookies will be flat, but not "puddle-y." Chill overnight, and the dough dries out, with some of the starch in the flour turning to sugar. The cookies will be darker, more "caramel-y," and won't spread nearly as much. These cookies are a good candidate for the "tablespoon vs. teaspoon" scoop choice. A tablespoon cookie scoop (actually 4 level measuring teaspoons) will yield big, 3" cookies; a teaspoon scoop (1¾ level measuring teaspoons) will make smaller (2¼") cookies. Also, the sugar-salt coating can be made more or less assertive, your choice. Use the lesser amount of salt for a less adventuresome audience; the greater amount for those who love the salty/sweet experience. It's easy to make some of both; just divide the dough in half, and make the coating both ways, rolling half the cookies in the saltier coating, half in the milder.

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Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies with Malted Butterscotch Filling

I know that I just posted a recipe for Key Lime Pie Ice Cream earlier this week, but the truth is I am already WAY into fall baking mode.  After having several days of degrees well above 100 this summer, anything less than that seems cool and fall-ish in comparison even if it is still in the upper 80s!  So now that it’s September, I am opening up the flood gates on everything pumpkin, apple and maple and the recipes are gonna come pouring out!

Let’s start with this recipe for Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies.  I initially wanted a chewy cookie but these were some of the puffiest, softest cake-like cookies that I have ever made.  And that was ok by me.  And they weren’t too sweet which was perfect because the butterscotch filling more than made up for any lack of sweetness in the cookie.  I took these to a get-together and they got rave reviews all around and not one made it back home with me.  Always a good sign.

Let the fall baking begin!

Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies with Malted Butterscotch Filling
 
Ingredients
Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies
  • 1 c. (2 sticks) Unsalted Butter, softened
  • 1⅓ c., plus 1 T. Light Brown Sugar, packed
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 1 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 2 c. AP Flour
  • 1 t. Baking Soda
  • 1½ t. Ground Cinnamon
  • 1 t. Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • ½ t. Salt
  • 2½ c. Oats
Malted Butterscotch Filling
  • 1 c. Butterscotch Chips
  • 2½ T. Unsalted Butter, cut into chunks
  • ⅓ c., plus 2 T. Plain (not chocolate-flavored) Malted Milk Powder
  • 1½ ounces Cream Cheese, softened and cut into chunks
  • 3 T. Milk
  • 1½ t. Pure Vanilla Extract
Instructions
For the Cookies:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in the eggs and vanilla. In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, salt and oats together. Mix the dry ingredients into the butter/sugar mixture. Chill in the refrigerator for a couple of hours or overnight.
  3. Roll dough into 1½-2" balls and place two inches apart on cookie sheet. Bake 9-10 minutes (9 minutes was perfect for me), rotating pans half-way through. Let them sit on the cookie sheets for 2 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
For the Filling:
  1. In a medium bowl, microwave the butterscotch chips and butter at 20 second intervals, stirring between each, until completely melted and smooth. Cool to warm. In an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the cream cheese and malted milk powder until well blended and completely smooth. Beat in half the butterscotch mixture just until incorporated. Beat in the milk, 1 tablespoon at a time, until well blended. Beat in the remaining butterscotch mixture and the vanilla until evenly incorporated. Refrigerate for 30 minutes, or until somewhat thickened but not stiff. (The recipe then calls for you to beat the filling on high speed until light in color and very fluffy, about three minutes. I accidentally missed that step. Oops. So it's up to you, but I'd recommend NOT skipping that step.)
  2. Spread about 1½ tablespoons of the filling on the underside of half of the cookies and then top with the remaining cookies. These can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
Notes
Serves 25

*Malted Butterscotch Filling Adapted from The All-American Cookie Book

 

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Shopping for Sweets

Every now and then I like to wander over to Etsy and see what kind of deliciously evil treats people are coming up with in the Edibles section.  I love the creativity that goes into some of the sweet confections and it’s inspiring to see how many of these people make a living doing what they love.

These were some dark and decadent desserts that were calling my name and I simply couldn’t pass up the opportunity to share them with you all.  Take a couple of minutes and check out these fun shops and most importantly, buy something!

Have a lovely day!

Rocky Road Cookies by cookietown

XXX Rated Dark Chocolate Bliss Brownies by cupcakesinjars

Chocolate Peppermint Cupcakes by thetinykitchen

Artisan Candy Bars by BeesandBeans

Mayan Dark Chocolat Caramel Bars by haveitconfections

 

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Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

I’ve been staring at a recipe for Ghirardelli Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars for a couple months now, dying to make them and yesterday I finally broke down and got busy in the kitchen mixin’ these bad boys up. Yes, I know, it’s about a million degrees outside and who would be crazy enough to turn on an oven??? That would be me! When the need for chocolate calls, one must answer!

Of course, I altered the recipe…I kept finding things in my pantry I thought would be good mixed in! I couldn’t help myself. Here is the original recipe on food.com. I did a butter/oil mix only because I didn’t have enough butter and then threw in peanut butter, oats and two different kinds of Ghirardelli chocolate. They turned out super moist, dense and rich and had a nice balance of salty and sweet to them. Eat ’em with a glass of ice cold milk, it’s a must!

Enjoy!

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
Author: 
Category: Dessert
18
 
Ingredients
  • ¾ c. (1½ sticks) Unsalted Butter, softened
  • ½ c. Vegetable Oil
  • 1½ c. Dark Brown Sugar, packed
  • 2 T. Lite Corn Syrup
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • ½ c. Peanut Butter
  • 1 T. Pure Vanilla Exract
  • 2 c. AP Flour
  • 1 c. Oats
  • 1½ t. Baking Powder
  • 1 t. Salt
  • 1 c. each Semi-Sweet and Bittersweet Chocolate Chips (I used Ghirardelli brand)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease a 9x13 pan.
  2. In an electric mixer, beat the butter, oil, sugar and corn syrup on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about three minutes.
  3. Beat in the eggs, one at a time.
  4. Beat in the peanut butter and then the vanilla.
  5. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, oats, baking powder and salt. Gradually add to the wet mixture on low speed.
  6. Fold in the chocolate chips.
  7. Pour into the pan and spread evenly with a spatula. Bake for 30 minutes and then cool completely on a wire rack.

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N.Y. Times Chocolate Chip Cookies

I don’t know what rock I’ve been living under but apparently there was a chocolate chip cookie recipe in the New York Times a few years ago that everybody went crazy over.  Who knew?  So I finally got around to trying the famous recipe to see what all the hype was about.  These cookies are interesting because they call for two different kinds of flours, cake flour and bread flour.  Cake flour produces a very tender baked good and bread flour is used for more of a chewy factor.  The recipe also called for sea salt sprinkled on top but I omitted that…just didn’t really appeal to me.  The cookies are supposed to be huge but I scaled mine down a bit just to make them go further.  And finally, the dough has to sit in the fridge for 24-36 hours.  I only was able to do 30 hours but I’ve read that the longer, the better.

The cookie was really good.  To be honest, it reminded me alot of my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe that is a regular in my baking rotation.  I think I’ll most likely make them again and follow the recipe exactly as written just to see if it makes any difference (you can see the original recipe here).  Enjoy!

N.Y. Times Chocolate Chip Cookies
Author: 
Category: Dessert
32
 
Ingredients
  • 1 c. minus 1 T. Cake Flour
  • ½ plus ⅓ c. Bread Flour
  • ½ plus ⅛ t. Baking Soda
  • ¾ t. Baking Powder
  • ¾ t. Salt
  • 1 stick plus 2 T. Unsalted Butter
  • ½ c. plus 2 T. Light Brown Sugar
  • ½ c. plus 1 T. Granulated Sugar
  • 1 Large Egg
  • 2 t. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1 c. each Bittersweet and Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips (I prefer Ghirardelli)
Instructions
  1. Sift flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Set aside.
  2. Using a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars together until very light, about 5 minutes. Add egg, mixing well. Stir in the vanilla. Reduce speed to low, add dry ingredients and mix until just combined, 5 to 10 seconds. Stir in bittersweet and semi-sweet chocolate chips. Press plastic wrap against dough and refrigerate for 24 to 36 hours. Dough may be used in batches, and can be refrigerated for up to 72 hours.
  3. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
  4. The dough will be quite stiff (I had to use a knife to break mine up). Break off a piece about 1½ in. and use your hands to form a ball. Place on baking sheet, making sure to turn horizontally any chocolate pieces that are poking up; it will make for a more attractive cookie. Bake for 10 minutes, rotating and transferring the pans to different racks halfway through. Let cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes, then cool completely on a wire rack. Repeat with remaining dough, or reserve dough, refrigerated, for baking remaining batches the next day.

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White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies

When I was a kid we didn’t eat out alot and if we did, we usually went to Subway or Taco Bell, which met our criteria of both fast and inexpensive.  I actually liked Subway alot and we’d always get their cookies that were three for a dollar.  You wouldn’t think that the cookies at a fast food place would be that great but the ones at Subway were really, really good (at least to my young, inexperienced tastebuds they were).  They always seemed fresh and were so soft.  My absolute favorite was the White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookie, so when I first decided to make them at home, I wanted one that was as close to Subway’s as possible.

Now I haven’t had one from Subway in a loooooonnnng time but this one is just as good, if not better, than the ones I remember from my childhood.  They are a little underdone when you take them out but I think that’s what makes them so good.  Oh, and they’re a snap to throw together too which is always nice.  Jeremy and I both love these so they are somewhat dangerous to have in our house but hey, every now and then you’ve got to have a little treat!

Enjoy!

White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookie

1/2 c. (1 stick) Unsalted Butter, softened

3/4 c. Granulated Sugar

1 Large Egg

2 t. Pure Vanilla Extract

1 1/4 c. AP Flour

1/2 t. Baking Soda

1/2 t. Salt

3/4 c. White Chocolate Chips

3/4 c. Salted Macadamia Nuts

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Line two baking pans with parchment paper.

In a mixer, beat the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes.  Beat in egg and vanilla.  Whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl and add to the mixer.  Beat until thoroughly incorporated.  Stir in chocolate chips and nuts.  Chill dough for 30 minutes to an hour.

Roll dough into a 1 1/2 inch ball with the palm of your hands and place on baking sheets.  Bake for 8 minutes, rotating pans and switching halfway through.  Let cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes and then move to a cooling rack.  Store in an airtight container.

Makes 25 small cookies.

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Mudslide Cookies

This amazing cookie recipe was given to me by my friend, Judy.  I met Judy at my first “real job” I had shortly after I graduated college.  Judy was pretty much the resident office baker and she brought in desserts like I had never seen or tasted before!  I mean, I grew up loving to bake and cook but the treats she brought in soon made me realize there was a whole wide world of baking I had never explored.  I’ll never forget the first time I had ganache was in a dessert she had made.  I thought it was absolutely divine!  From then on I started reading and really digging into baking, beyond basic cookies and brownies.

So, she really inspired me and I have her to partially thank for my love of baking, especially baking with chocolate!  This recipe was one of the first I made of hers and I fell in LOVE with it.  These cookies are rich and chocolatey, almost like a brownie in cookie form.  And they look beautiful too because they form a shiny, delicate shell of sorts on the outside.  It’s almost like a brownie, cookie and chocolate truffle all rolled into one!  Just scrumptious!  Enjoy!

Mudslide Cookies

4 oz. Unsweetened Chocolate, finely chopped

3 oz. Bittersweet Chocolate, finely chopped

1/2 c. Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips

3 T. Unsalted Butter

1/3 c. + 2 T. AP Flour

1 t. Baking Powder

1/2 t. Salt

3 Large Eggs

1 c. White Sugar

1 1/2 t. Pure Vanilla Extract

1 1/4 c. Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, melt the unsweetened chocolate, bittersweet chocolate, semi-sweet chocolate and butter in a microwave, stirring every 20 seconds until completely smooth.  Set aside and let cool.

Whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.  Set aside.

In an electric mixer, beat the eggs, sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy, 3-4 minutes.  Add the cooled, melted chocolate mixture and combine on low speed.  Add flour mixture and continue to beat on low speed until almost combined, about 1 minute.  Stir in chocolate chips by hand.

Using a 2-inch scoop, drop onto baking sheets, about 3 inches apart.  Bake for 10 minutes, rotating pans and switching racks half way through.  Let cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.

Makes 28 cookies.

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Sugar, Spice & Everything Nice Cookies

Last night I really wanted to make some cookies but had no desire to 1. make ANOTHER trip to Wal-mart and 2. spend money.  So I thought ok, what do I have in my kitchen?  Raisins and oats…Raisin Oatmeal Cookies!  Probably not that exciting for many people, but I happen to love them.  So I hopped online and found this highly-rated recipe from Allrecipes.com for Beth’s Spicy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies.  I quickly got to work figuring out how I wanted to change the recipe.  I guess I can’t leave good enough alone; it’s seriously an issue.

Anyway, as I gathered my ingredients I also found nearly empty bags of chocolate chips and coconut.  And then it hit me that I had walnuts in my freezer!  Yep, it was all going in the cookie!  And then things really got crazy…I decided to use CAKE flour!  See, I did some research and found that cake flour has a very low percentage of protein which lends to the tender quality it gives cakes.  So I figured by subbing some for the AP flour, I might get a little bit softer cookie.  Did it work?  I think so but I honestly would need to do a side by side comparison to be 100% sure how much of a difference it made.  They puffed up nice and big right out of the oven but definitely deflated a bit when cooled.

Regardless, the cookies were delicious, very buttery, slightly chewy around the edges and soft inside.  The flavor reminded me of Chai, which I happen to love!  The only change I might make is reducing the cloves to 1/4 t.  It was just a teensy bit too pronounced for my taste.  And I do believe soaking the raisins makes all the difference!  I will definitely do that from now on.  Feel free to play with the ingredients like I did–you never know what wonderful creation you’ll come up with!

Sugar, Spice and Everything Nice Cookies

1/4 c. (1/2 stick) Unsalted Butter, softened

3/4 c. Shortening

1 c. Packed Light Brown Sugar

1/2 c. White Sugar

2 Eggs

2 t. Pure Vanilla Extract

1 c. AP Flour (or 1 1/2 c. if using all AP Flour)

1/2 c. + 1 T. Cake Flour

1 t. Baking soda

1 1/2 t. Ground Cinnamon

1/2 t. Ground Cloves

1/2 t. Salt

2 c. Quick Oats

1 c. Raisins, soaked in 1 c. spiced rum for 2+ hours (or warm water) and drained

3/4 c. Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips

3/4 c. Sweetened Flaked Coconut, toasted

1/2 c. Walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a mixer, cream together the butter, shortening, brown sugar and white sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy about 3 minutes.  Add eggs one at a time and then vanilla.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour(s), baking soda, cinnamon, cloves and salt.  Add to the butter/sugar mixture and thoroughly combine.  Stir in the oats, raisins, chocolate chips, toasted coconut and walnuts.  Drop onto the baking sheets with a 2-inch scoop.

Bake 9 minutes, rotating pans and switching racks half-way through.  Let cool on pans for 2 minutes and then cool completely on a wire rack.

Makes 45 cookies.

TIP:  For just about anything “toasted” (such as coconut and nuts) all you need to do is spread it in a single, even layer on a baking pan and pop into a 350 degree oven for 6-7 minutes.  Easy!

 

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Chocolate Chip Cookie Oreo Brownie

Get some milk.  Like, a gallon.  These are VERY rich but for some reason you won’t be able to stop eating them.  Maybe because it’s a chocolate chip cookie…and an Oreo…and a brownie…all in one, umm, cookie?   Brownie?  Cakelet?  It’s definitely not a muffin.  Kind of looks like one but it is definitely, DEFINITELY NOT a muffin.    And sadly, without that pretty swirl of frosting on top, it can’t pass as a cupcake.  Bummer.

Hmmm, what to call it.  Well, if you can think of anything let me know.  For now, just know that when you layer chocolate chip cookie dough with an Oreo and top it with brownie batter you pretty much have a trifecta of cookie awesomeness that is nearly indescribable.  Make these now!

P.S.  My husband suggested topping them with buttercream.  Where would he get such a crazy idea?!?

Chocolate Chip Cookie Oreo Brownie
Author: 
Category: Dessert
48
 
Ingredients
  • Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough
  • 1 c. Granulated Sugar
  • 1 c. Brown Sugar, packed
  • ¾ c. Shortening
  • 1 Stick Unsalted Butter, softened
  • 2 Eggs
  • 2 t. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1½ t. Baking Soda
  • ½ t. Salt
  • 2¼ c. AP Flour
  • 1, 12 oz. Package Semi-Sweet Mini Chocolate Chips
  • Directions
  • In a mixer, cream sugars, butter and shortening until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, then vanilla. Whisk together dry ingredients in a medium bowl and add to wet ingredients. Stir in chocolate chips. set aside
  • Brownie Batter
  • 4 (1 oz.) Unsweetened Chocolate Baking Squares
  • ¾ c. (1½ sticks) Unsalted Butter
  • ¾ c. Granulated Sugar
  • 1¼ c. Brown Sugar, packed
  • 3 Large Eggs
  • 1 c. AP flour
  • 3 t. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • ⅛ t. Salt
  • Directions
  • Microwave chocolate squares and butter in a large microwave-safe bowl until melted and smooth, stirring at 20-second intervals. Whisk in granulated and brown sugars. Add eggs, 1 at a time, whisking just until blended after each addition. Whisk in vanilla. Whisk in flour and salt.
  • Oreos
  • Buy them.
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Generously spray a regular size muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray. Using a 2-inch scoop, drop a level scoop of cookie dough into the muffin tin. Gently press an Oreo into the cookie dough. Spoon a small amount of brownie batter over the Oreo. Bake for 15-18 minutes (15 for barely under-done and slightly gooey). Let cool completely in the muffin tin. Gently slide a butter knife along the sides of the muffin tin and carefully remove.

 

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Pecan Sandies

Lately I’ve been trying to challenge myself when it comes to baking by doing non-chocolate desserts.  I really can’t believe how many things I bake have chocolate chips, chocolate chunks, chocolate glaze, chocolate frosting, are dipped in chocolate, etc, etc, etc.  You get the point.  I suppose chocolate is just easy and guaranteed to be yummy, but there really is a wonderful world of baking outside of it.

And part of that wonderful world is a simple but delicious little cookie known by many as a Pecan Sandie.  If you never had those delicious Keebler Pecan Sandies growing up, you were deprived!  And even though I didn’t have the originals on hand to do a side by side comparison, I’d say this homemade version is pretty darn close…crisp on the edges, buttery, with a shortbread texture and wonderful pecan flavor.

I adapted this recipe from the one here on allrecipes.com.  Just made a few minor changes to my liking.  Hope you enjoy them!

Pecan Sandies

1/2 c. (1 stick) Unsalted Butter, softened

1/2 c. Vegetable Oil

1/4 c. Granulated Sugar

1/4 c. Packed Brown Sugar

1/2 c. Powdered Sugar, sifted

1 Egg

1 1/2 t. Pure Vanilla Extract

2 c. AP Flour

1/2 t. Baking Soda

1/2 t. Cream of Tartar

1 t. Salt

1 c. Toasted Pecans, chopped

32 Pecan Halves, for decoration

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line two pans with parchment paper.

In a mixer, cream together the butter, vegetable oil, granulated sugar, brown sugar and powdered sugar until smooth.  Beat in the egg and then the vanilla.

Combine the flour, baking soda, cream of tartar and salt in a separate bowl.  Add to the butter/sugar mixture and combine.  Gently fold in pecans, cover with plastic wrap and chill in fridge for 10 minutes.  Scoop dough onto pans with a 2-inch cookie scoop and slightly flatten with the palm of your hand but leave them thick, because they will spread a little.  Press a pecan half into each cookie and bake for 10 minutes, rotating pans and switching racks halfway through.  Let cool on pan for 2 minutes and then cool completely on a cookie rack.

Makes 32 cookies.

 

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Peanut Butter Potato Chip Cookies

Salty and sweet.  Seriously, could there be a better combination?  I think not.  And when that combination consists of peanut butter, butterscotch chips, chocolate and crushed potato chips, you pretty much have a recipe for amazingness.  Yes, that’s a word.  At least in my vocabulary.

I started with a recipe I found online for the “World’s Best Peanut Butter Cookie”, made some tweaks, dipped it in chocolate and finished with crushed potato chips.  The cookie itself is soft and slightly chewy and the end product reminds me of a Butterfinger in a weird (but extremely delicious) way.

I think you’ll love these.  Oh, and be sure and have a glass of milk nearby.

Peanut Butter Potato Chip Cookies

2 Sticks Unsalted Butter, softened

1 c. Brown Sugar

1 c. Granulated Sugar

2 c. Peanut Butter (I prefer Peter Pan)

2 Large Eggs

1 T. Pure Vanilla Extract

2 c. AP Flour

1 t. Baking Soda

1/2 t. Salt

12 oz. (2 c.)  Butterscotch Chips

12 oz. (2 c.)  Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips (I used Ghirardelli)

2 1/2 c. Crushed Wavy Potato Chips

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Mix butter, sugars and peanut butter on medium speed until light and fluffy.  Add eggs, one at a time and then vanilla.

In separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt.  Add to butter mixture and thoroughly incorporate.  Mix in butterscotch chips.

Using a 1-inch scoop, place cookie dough on baking sheets two inches apart and bake for 10 minutes, rotating pans and switching racks halfway through.  Allow to cool on pans for two minutes and then transfer to wire rack.  Cool completely.

When cookies are cooled, place semi-sweet chocolate chips in bowl and microwave at 20-second intervals, stirring between each time, until chips are melted.  Dip bottom of a cookie into chocolate and scrape off excess with the back of a spoon.  Press the cookie, chocolate side down, into the crushed potato chips and place on foil to cool and harden.

Makes 50 cookies.

 

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Blueberry Cookie Bars and Spicy Chickpea Salad

What is this!?  Fruits and vegetables on a dessert blog?!?  That’s right!  As long as it tastes good, I don’t discriminate.  These blueberry cookie bars are the result of needing something fairly quick and non-chocolate.   And despite having some technical difficulties (umm, spilling multiple ingredients EVERYWHERE) these turned out absolutely fabulous and addictive.   So deliciously chewy but still a little soft, with a deep, brown sugar buttery taste and pockets of juicy blueberry. (Just fyi, these were amazing the first day and had a definite cookie texture.  However, after sitting overnight the blueberries turned the whole thing into a wonderfully moist cake.  I’m not complaining either way.)

As for the chickpea salad, I made it tonight for dinner and just had to share.  Believe it or not, I LOVE healthy food and if you’re a fan of jalapeno, avocado, roasted almonds or spinach, you will love this recipe from Joy the Baker.

Ok, now for the cookie recipe…

Blueberry Cookie Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting

1 c. (2 sticks) Unsalted Butter, softened

1 c. Brown Sugar, firmly packed

1/2 c. Granulated Sugar

2 Large Eggs

1 T. Pure Vanilla Extract

2 c. AP Flour

1 t. Salt

1 t. Baking Soda

1/4 t. Ground Cinnamon

2 c. Fresh or Frozen Blueberries

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Generously grease a 9×13 pan.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugars on high until fluffy, about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl whisk together the flour, salt, cinnamon and baking soda and set aside.

Add the eggs, one at a time to the butter/sugar mixture until each is incorporated.  Add the vanilla.

Add half the flour mixture and mix until incorporated.  Add the remaining flour mixture and beat until just incorporated.

Using a spatula, carefully fold in the blueberries.

Pour into pan and bake for 30 minutes, rotating the pan once during cooking time, until the edges of the cookies are golden brown.

Remove from oven and cool completely.  Frost.

Note:  I think next time I will 1.5x the recipe just to get a thicker bar and up the cook time for 5 minutes or so.

Cream Cheese Frosting

1/2 c. (1 stick) Unsalted Butter, softened

1/4 c. Crisco

8 oz. Cream Cheese, cold

5 c. Powdered Sugar, sifted

1/2 t. Salt

2 T. Pure Vanilla Extract

Cream butter, shortening and cream cheese on high until smooth.  Gradually add in powdered sugar and mix thoroughly for about 3 minutes, until smooth.  Add vanilla and salt and thoroughly incorporate.

 

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Shamrock Sugar Cookies

I racked my brain trying to think of something green to bake for St. Patrick’s day. All I could come up with was something with mint (original, I know) or pistachio and neither of those options appealed to me so I settled on sugar cookies.

And what could be more St. Patrick’s Day-ish than Lucky Charms? How about Lucky Charm marshmallows all over your shamrock sugar cookie?!? You can actually buy containers of these sweet little dehydrated sugar shapes at the Amish store in Branson. And you don’t need many…one, 1/3 lb. container for a mere $1.75 will be more than enough for your cookies. As I found out after buying THREE. Anyone need some extra sugar in their Lucky Charms cereal??? Let me know.

Thick Cut-Out Sugar Cookies

3 Egg Yolks

2 Eggs

1 c. Unsalted Butter, Softened

1 c. plus 1 T. Granulated Sugar

3 1/2 c. AP Flour

1 T. Baking Powder

1/4 t. Salt

1 T. Pure Vanilla Extract

Directions

In a mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs and egg yolks, one at a time, mixing well after each. Mix in the vanilla.  Whisk together flour, baking powder and salt; stir into the sugar mixture. Cover dough and chill for at least one hour (or speed chill in freezer for 30 minutes…which is what I did).

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper. On a floured surface roll the dough out to 1/2 inch thick and cut into desired shapes using cookie cutter. (I used a 4-inch cookie cutter and got 30 cookies.) Place 2-inches apart on the baking sheets.

Bake for 8 minutes in the oven, rotating pans and switching racks halfway through. Cool on baking sheet for 2 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely. Frost with buttercream and decorate(recipe below).

Buttercream Frosting

2/3 c. (10 T.) Unsalted Butter, softened

4 c. Powdered Sugar, sifted

6 T. Milk (I use heavy whipping cream)

1 T. Pure Vanilla Extract

1 t. Pure Almond Extract (optional)

Beat butter, sugar and milk about 5 minutes. Beat in extracts. Decorate with sprinkles, marshmallows etc. (Allow cookies to set out for a while and the frosting will eventually stiffen up.)

P.S. These cookies work very well on a stick. Just insert lollipop stick into the dough once they are on the cookie sheet and voila! Cookies on a stick!

P.S.S. The marshmallows will get soft once they have set on the cookies a day or so. Just fyi.

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White Chocolate Chip Espresso Cookies

Well, it’s been a little while since I’ve done this whole blog thing (umm, like a YEAR) but I think I’m ready to give it another go. Life finally settled down and I managed to make some yummy cookies. But not just cookies…cookie-wiches. Oh yeah.

I’ve been a little obsessed with putting frosting between cookies lately. I mean if you’re going to have a little sugar, why not have a LOT of sugar, right? Add in a little caffeine and you pretty much have the makings of a totally legal, mood-enhancing drug. Mmmmm, legal drugs.

White Chocolate Chip Espresso Cookies with Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

1 c. Granulated Sugar

1 c. Brown Sugar

3/4 c. Shortening

1/2 Stick Unsalted Butter

2 Eggs

2 t. Pure Vanilla

1 1/2 t. Soda

1/2 t. Salt

2 1/4 c. AP Flour

3 T. Instant Coffee

11 oz. White Chocolate Chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cream sugars, butter and shortening.  Add eggs, one at a time, then vanilla.  Whisk dry ingredients in seperate bowl and then add to the wet ingredients.  Mix in chips.

Drop dough onto parchment lined baking pans and bake for 8-10 minutes (shorter if you have dark pans, longer if you have light pans).  Half way through, rotate pans and switch racks to ensure even baking.  Let stand for 2 minutes before transferring to wire rack.

Makes 25 cookie-wiches or 50 cookies.

Dark Chocolate Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting

I used Bakerella’s recipe found here.


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Soft, Chewy, Peanutbutter-y

Lately I have been dying for a good peanut butter cookie but, of course, it had to be homemade.   I feel like the perfect peanut butter and chocolate chip cookie are elusive to me for some weird reason…they’re always too flat or crisp or cakey.  I’ve done plenty of research and tried tons of recipes and never found the one that is the perfect combination of  mostly chewy and a little soft.  I mean, I know baking is a science but c’mon!  How hard can it be?!?  So for Superbowl Sunday I thought I’d try yet again to make the perfect cookie and I might have got pretty darn close.

I think those peanut butter chips deserve a close-up.

Batter and PB Chips

On PansIn Oven

These cookies turned out soft and chewy and just all around delicious.  Of course the true test was if they were the same way the next day as they were pretty much right out of the oven and miracle of all miracles, they were!  Quite frankly, I’m suprised any of them even made it to the Superbowl party–I couldn’t keep Jeremy out of them!

Oh, and… I guess I might have had a couple too.

Cooling

Now I couldn’t just stop at plain ‘ole peanut butter cookies (although with these you definitely could).  I wanted a peanut butter cookie sandwich!  I used a peanut butter and chocolate filling.  Both were good and I personally liked the peanut butter filling but everyone seemed to prefer the chocolate a little more.

Filling

If you make these, be sure you have milk on hand.  You will need it!

Finished Cookies

Soft and Chewy Peanut Butter Cookies

1 1/4 c. All-Purpose Flour
3/4 t. Baking Soda
1/2 t. Baking Powder
1/4 t. Salt
1/2 c. Unsalted Butter, softened
1 c. Smooth Peanut Butter
3/4 c. White Sugar
1/2 c. Light Brown Sugar, lightly packed
1 Large Egg at room temperature
1 T. Milk
1 t. Vanilla Extract
1 c. Peanut Butter Chips

Directions

In a medium sized bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.  Set aside.

In an electric mixer, beat the peanut butter and butter together until fluffy.  Add the sugars and continue beating until fully combined.  Add the egg, milk and vanilla extract and beat well.  Add half the flour mixture fold in, then the rest of the flour and beat until no white pockets remain.  By hand, fold in the peanut butter chips.

Using a small ice cream scoop, drop dough a couple inches apart, onto cookie sheets lined with parchment paper.  Dip a fork in oil (I used peanut oil), tap off excess and gently indent cookie with a criss-cross pattern, being careful not to smash the cookie flat.  Bake for 8 minutes.  Let cool on baking sheet for 2 minutes before removing to cooling racks.

Makes 40 small cookies.

Peanut Butter Filling

3 T. Unsalted Butter, softened
1 c. Powdered Sugar, sifted
1/2 c. Smooth Peanut Butter
2 1/2 T. Heavy Whipping Cream or Milk
1 t. Vanilla Extract

Cream the butter with the powdered sugar, peanut butter, milk and vanilla until smooth.  Spread filling onto half of the cooled cookies, then top with the other half to form sandwiches. Makes enough to fill 25 cookies.

For the chocolate, I used the Satiny Chocolate Glaze recipe which you can find in an earlier post here.

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Pink and Red

Since Valentine’s Day is only four short days away, I thought I’d throw out a few more ideas just in case you’re still stumped on what to make, bake or buy for that special someone.  And even if you loathe Valentine’s Day with a passion, these can still be inspiration for another celebration!  So, to start things off right, I’d like to begin with more from Amy Atlas.  She’s just put up an awesome v-day spread on her blog and I urge you to go check it out IMMEDIATELY.  Part I and Part II.  It will make you happy.

You might even start liking Valentine’s Day.  She’s that good.

Valentines Day Table 1

Next, I absolutely LOVE these cards by MadeByGirl.  You’ll find a lot of unique, fun stuff that is relatively inexpensive and earth friendly. She also has prints and posters that are definitely worth checking out.

Deeply Madly LOVE Roses iheartu

Finally, I came across this adorable Sweetheart Cupcake on allrecipes.com and had to share the recipe!  It’s so simple and fun!  And feel free to go a bit more gourmet if you’d like and make a cake from scratch.

Sweetheart Cupcakes

Ingredients

  • 1 (18.25 ounce) package white cake mix
  • 1 1/4 cups water
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 egg whites
  • 8 drops red food coloring

Directions

  1. Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line a standard muffin tin with paper cupcake liners.
  2. Beat the cake mix, water, vegetable oil, and egg whites together until smooth. Fill cupcake liners 1/3 full with white batter; set aside.
  3. Stir 4 drops of red food coloring into the remaining bowl of batter to make the batter pink. Pour 1/3 of pink batter into a resealable plastic bag and set aside.
  4. Mix more food coloring into the remaining bowl of pink batter until it is an orange/red color and pour the batter into a resealable plastic bag. Cut a corner off the bag, stick the open tip into the center of each cup of white batter and squeeze in about two tablespoons of red batter.
  5. Cut the corner off the bag with the pink batter, stick the open tip into the center of the red batter and squeeze about 1 tablespoon pink batter into each cup.
  6. Bake the layered cupcakes in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 15 to 20 minutes. Cool completely before frosting.]
Ok, now you have no excuses!  Ditch the red roses and  box of chocolates and go for something a little more creative this Sunday!
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New Year’s Eve Dessert Bar

This past Thursday night I had the opportunity to donate my baking skills to a New Year’s Eve benefit for a very good cause (more on that in a bit). Since I had about two and a half days to pull everything together, I basically went into super-adrenaline mode and baked like a mad woman from sun-up till waayyyy after sundown ignoring any and all distractions including my computer, my phone (hopefully I still have friends) and my very, very sick husband. Poor husband. Lucky for me he didn’t mind passing out on the sofa every night while I was up to my elbows in sugar and flour. By the time Thursday rolled around, I thought I might not get everything done and was literally frosting things up to the minute I had to go set-up. But I triumphed! And I must say, I think it turned out quite lovely and tasty. I even managed to color coordinate with the event–black and white!

Dessert BarCupcakes

The menu was vast and varied and included these delicious selections (Oh, and did I mention everything made was “mini”? That adds time exponentially!): Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies, Soft Sugar Cookies, White Chocolate Macadamia Cookies, Fudge Brownies, Chocolate Chip and White Chocolate Chai Cheesecakes, Chocolate Dipped Homemade Vanilla Marshmallow Pops, White Chocolate Dipped Pretzels, White Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream, Chocolate Cupcakes with Dark Chocolate and Oreo Buttercream, Raspberry Fudge Tassies with Almond Buttercream, Homemade Vanilla Marshmallow “Stars”, Chocolate Covered Cherries and Cappuccino Truffles. Whew!

Sugar Cookies

Overall, the dessert buffet and the benefit was a success! All proceeds from the night when to a great organization, Pearl Alliance, dedicated to freeing young women and children that are enslaved in the human trafficking industry. It’s hard to believe that a horrible injustice such as this one even exists in the world we live in today–it not only exists, but is thriving. Check out their website for more information and see what you can do to help!

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