Goodcookbecky's Blog

Letting the juices of life (or food) drip from my chin!


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C is for Cookie

img_7928As  Thanksgiving breathes down our necks and see Christmas quickly approaching like an out of control freight train, my mind becomes obsessed with foods that I love at this time of year.  Of course, Christmas cookies are not optional and I want to share some of my favorites with all of you, so you also can be obsessed with me.  I was asking my children which cookies they wanted this year and these were all in the running.

My favorites are:

Black Dog Restaurant Ginger Cookies

This recipe yields a large batch of  beautiful chewy ginger cookies that are a Christmas favorite.  If I only had time to make one homemade cookie at this time of year it would be the one I would choose to make!

Hazelnut Chewies (Nutella Cookies)

I love Nutella.  I grew up with the stuff and was pleased to find that I could get it in the States as well.  My husband once asked me why I did not buy them, and I sheepishly admitted that I did buy it and have it… but have a hard time sharing it.  Ha!  Well, when I make these cookies, I do share them and they are great!  Soft and chewy texture. It does use a whole jar of Nutella though – but I promise it will be worth it.  Now to find a new hiding place for my stash!

Orange Zest Cookies with Sweet Orange Glaze

I found these last year, in an effort to find cookies similar to ones my Mom used to make.  My mom did not have the recipe anymore, but I was determined to find a replacement and this one is really close!  The glaze gives the orange flavor an extra boost.  I love these a lot.

Spritz Cookies

These cookies are pressed out of a cookie press.  They are very popular in Europe.  This recipe I found from allrecipes.com – one of my favorite sites to go to for recipes that are rated by members.

Shortbread Cookies

This recipe is actually on blogspot on my first food blog I made, but never transferred the recipe to wordpress.. I need to work on that!  It is a good recipe for shortbread and the dough though a large amount is easy to work with and has a nice flavor.

Chocolate Rum Balls

This is another recipe that was on my first blog.  It is one of those recipes you make and share with other adults and  keep away from the kids (or substitute orange juice for the rum and make them a yummy batch that they can eat).  I do not make this every year, I could easily become addicted to them.

Homemade Marshmallows

I made these for a party recently.  Homemade marshmallows do require a candy thermometer to make them, but they are well worth the effort and are way better than the store bought ones.  They actually melt in hot cocoa and are so good!

I hope you enjoy trying some of my favorites.  Merry Christmas!

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Orange Zest Cookies with Sweet Orange Glaze

IMG_6803I meant to blog this recipe last year.. wait, now two years ago.  I made them for the first time 2012 for Christmas and they reminded me of cookies my Mom used to make.  I made them again this past Christmas, but they would be good any time of year of course.  I found this recipe through Pinterest.. it linked to Stephanie’s Kitchen.  This cookie has become a favorite of ours.  I did increase the zest in the cookies to 3 Tablespoons from 2 to up the flavor even more.  I find the cookies best if they are fresh – keep them in a zip-lock bag to keep them from drying out too much or keep some in the freezer.  If your family is a lot like ours they will not last long.

Orange Zested Cookies w/ Sweet Orange Glaze

makes about 2-3 dozen (depending on the size)

adapted from Stephanie’s Kitchen

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 Tbsp orange zest
  • 2 Tbsp fresh orange juice
  • 1 egg

For the glaze:

  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 Tbsp orange zest
  • fresh orange juice

Instructions:

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine the sugar and orange zest.  Stir together and let sit for a few minutes, allowing the sugar to absorb some of the oils in the orange zest.
  3. In your Kitchen Aid mixing bowl, cream the butter and the zest infused sugar.  Add the egg and orange juice and cream until combined.  Slowly add the flour mixture and mix until all the flour is mixed in, but do not over mix.
  4. Place the dough in a bag and refrigerate for 1 hour or even overnight.
  5. Preheat the oven to 350 F.  Roll the cookie dough into small 1/2 inch size balls and place them on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Bake at 350 F for 10-12 minutes.  Cool the cookies on wire racks.
  6. Make the orange glaze: Combine the powdered sugar and orange zest.  Add just enough orange juice to make the glaze smooth and creamy.  Glaze the cookies and allow the glaze to dry.

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Hazelnut Chewies

Okay, move over… this one is a winner!  I will be making these for Christmas annually!  They are very good.  Plus they use Nutella (Chocolate Hazelnut Cream  spread from Europe — I grew up with this stuff and to have a cookie that uses it is downright divine!)  I found this recipe in America’s Test Kitchen’s Holiday Cookies 2010 issue.  It was also featured as one of the winning cookie recipes last year that was submitted by readers.  Yum Yum. Allow time for chilling the dough.  I set out to make these and then after I had preheated the oven it said to chill the dough 1 hour to 24 hours.

If you read my blog entry about Lemon Curd Cookies you know that Hazelnuts are sometimes hard to find.  I found them at my Winco Food’s market, but Trader Joe’s does carry them from time to time if you are lucky enough to be near one.

Hazelnut Chews

From America’s Test Kitchen Holiday Cookie (Holiday 2010) page 3

Makes 7 dozen cookies

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/4 cups Nutella spread (1-13 oz jar)
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp instant espresso powder, (I used a Starbucks sample for a flavored coffee)
  • 1/3 cup milk

Roll in:

  • 2 cups hazelnuts, toasted and chopped fine in a food processor
  • 1 cup powdered sugar (confectioners)

Preparation:

  1. Combine the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, salt) in a bowl and set aside.
  2. In a mixing bowl, beat the Nutella, butter and sugar until light and fluffy about 2 minutes.  Add eggs, vanilla, instant coffee and mix until well combined.  Reduce speed and add the dry ingredients and milk.  Just until combined. Fold in 1/2 cup toasted chopped hazelnuts (oops I missed that and they turned out great anyway).  Divide dough into 2 quart size bags and refrigerate for 1-24 hours.
  3. Adjust the oven racks to the two middle positions and preheat the oven to 375 F.  Line 2 cookie sheets with either parchment paper or silicone mats (I love my silpats)  Place chopped hazelnuts in one large pie dish and 1 cup of powdered sugar in another small bowl.  Scoop 1 Tbsp of the chilled dough and form it into a ball.  Roll the dough first in the chopped hazelnuts and then in the powdered sugar and then place them on the cookie sheet with plenty of space between them (about 2 inches between).  I fit 12-15 on my cookie sheet (4 to 5 rows of  3).  Bake at 375 for 10 minutes.  Rotating the pans half way through and switching them in position with upper and lower sheets.
  4. Remove them from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes or so before removing the cookie to a wire rack to cool completely.  These also freeze nicely!

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Spritz Cookies

I have wanted to make these for a few years now and this year I finally did.  I found the recipe on allrecipes.com again.  It is an easy to make cookie.  The only change I made was that I used lemon zest instead of orange zest because I did not have any oranges in the house.  They make nice and buttery cookies.

Spritz Cookies

adapted from allrecipes (http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Butter-Snow-Flakes/Detail.aspx )

Makes 6 dozen small cookies

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 (3 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Sift together dry ingredients and set aside.

In a mixing bowl, mix the softened butter and cream cheese and beat until light and fluffy.  Add the sugar, egg yolk and beat until light and fluffy.  Stir in the vanilla and lemon (or orange) zest.  Gradually add in the flour mixture a little at a time.  Mix until combined.

Load your cookie press and press the cookies (one trigger pull per cookie) onto an ungreased cookie sheet.  Have the kids decorate them with sprinkles.  Bake at 350F for 12-15 minutes until golden along the edges.  Do not overbake them. Remove them from the oven and cool the cookies removing them onto a wire rack.  Freeze for later use, or place in an air tight cookie tin for a few days.

As for cookie presses.  I really like the one I purchased at Williams Sonoma (it had metal cookie shaped disks and a stainless look press)

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Hazelnut-Lemon Curd Kisses

Exhibit A: I made lemon curd for our church’s recent Christmas Tea and there was plenty left over to share with friends and I also find myself in possession of some!  Exhibit B: I subscribe to Cook’s Country Magazine (published by American Test Kitchens) and their most recent issue (January 2011) had a recipe contest for cookies.  The winning cookie: Hazelnut-Lemon Curd Kisses.  I just had to make them, because I have almost a half gallon of lemon curd to use up.

I promptly went to my local grocery store to buy Hazelnuts, but they did not have them.  On my way to an errand I stopped at a Food 4 Less and they also did not carry them, but they recommended Trader Joes — who has them (from time to time, but not right now!)  In a last ditch effort, I stopped at my WinCo Food Market and looked in their baking isle, but they did not have it either… except I went to the section where they carry loose ingredients and they had them!!! I think I heard the Hallelujah Chorus! I bought a nice large bag as I like the make Linzer Cookies that also call for Hazelnuts.  In Europe these nuts are very common – here in southern CA I felt like I was playing a game of “Where is Waldo?”

I doubled the amount because 2 dozen cookies does not sound like a lot around my house!  When I made them I used a small ice cream scoop to scoop the dough, but they made the cookies very large – in rereading the recipe it advises 1 Tbsp size measurements of dough.  My doubled made 30 LARGE cookies, but the kids didn’t seem to mind.  They are delicious!

Hazelnut-Lemon Curd Kisses

adapted from Cook’s Country Magazine (January 2011 issue)

Makes 4 dozen

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups whole Hazelnuts, toasted
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup lemon curd (see recipe if you wish to make it yourself or buy a jar of it)
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Place the oven racks in the upper and lower middle of the oven for even heating
  2. Place the raw hazelnuts on a cookie sheet and put them in the oven during the preheating process.  When the oven is at temperature they will be toasted enough.  I ground the toasted hazelnuts in a coffee grinder (the recipe called for a food processor with the flour and salt, but I only have a very small food processor, and this was just as easy).  First I made sure all the coffee grounds were out by adding raw nuts to the coffee grinder and processing it and then wiping the coffee grinder out with a paper towel.
  3. I lined my cookie sheets with silicone sheets, but parchment paper will do the job nicely as well.
  4. To prepare the dough: Beat the softened butter with the 2/3 cup of sugar at medium speed in a large mixing bowl, and beat until it is light and fluffy about 2 minutes.  Add the egg yolks and vanilla extract and mix to combine.  Add the flour, ground hazelnut and salt mixture one third at a time.  Mix on low until just combined and add more until the flour is combined.
  5. Scoop out the cookie dough and form into a 1 inch ball (mine were closer to 1 1/2 inches).  Use the back of a (greased) spoon to make an indent.  Bake at 350 for 10 minutes.  Remove them from the oven and put about 1/2 teaspoon of lemon curd in each indent of the cookie.  Return to the oven and bake for another 8-10 minutes or until the edges of the cookies are starting to turn golden brown.  Remove from oven.  Allow cookies to cool on the cookie sheet for about 5 minutes before removing them to a wire rack to cool completely.  Before serving. Dust with powdered sugar.

Cookies will keep in an airtight container for 2 days.  Or make ahead and freeze them if you wish (allow them to freeze on a cookie sheet for a few hours and then remove the cookies to a container – this will keep the lemon curd from sticking to other cookies.  To thaw remove them to a plate or platter and allow to thaw completely.  Sprinkle with powdered sugar.)

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Lemon Bars

These Lemon Bars are to die for!  I don’t bake all that often, cooking is more my thing, but I had plenty of lemons and eggs to use up and this recipe fits the ticket on both counts.  The bottom of the bar is a wonderful tasty shortbread crust and then the lemon egg custard bakes on the top.  Sprinkle with powdered sugar and hope they serve this stuff in heaven!

I was prepping the filling and almost forgot to add the lemon juice (2 cups worth) – I don’t think they would have turned out so lemony.  This makes a huge pan worth.  Be sure you have the right dimensions mentioned in the directions, or if you must split them into smaller pans and bake them slightly shorter time.  (I made the error of using a shallow cookie pan first.. and then ended up making more shortbread crust for  a Pyrex dish, because I had so much filling left and it was too good to waste.  That worked fine too.  I think you could get away with using two Pyrex 8x13x2 inch dishes if you don’t have the 11x17x1 that the recipe calls for.  If you press the shortbread up the sides a little rather than just putting in the bottom I find the custard does not brown as quickly along the sidesNext time I will reduce the sugar some, but not a whole lot)

I found this recipe in a cookbook I have used in the past for the Ginger Cookies and Blueberry Butter Cake which both are fantastic recipes as well.  This recipe is another one that does not disappoint!  Get the book!

Sue’s Luscious Lemon Squares (adapted from Black Dog Summer on the Vineyard Cookbook pg 202)

24 squares depending on the size you cut.

Crust:

  • 3/4 lbs cold unsalted butter
  • 3 cups unbleached all purpose flour (King Arthur is a great brand!)
  • 3/4 cup confectioners sugar (that’s powdered sugar folks)

Filling:

  • 10 eggs
  • 3 1/4 cups sugar (I will reduce this by 1/2 cup next time making that 2 3/4 cups)
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons  grated lemon zest
  • 2 cups fresh lemon juice (12-14 lemons juiced)
  • 8 Tablespoons unbleached flour
  • 2 1/2 Tablespoons baking powder

Topping:

  • 1/2 cup sifted confectioners sugar

Directions:

Preheat the oven  to 350 F

To make the shortbread crust: cut the butter into smaller pieces.  Add the 3/4 cup powdered sugar and 3 cups of flour and the butter to a food processor and pulse until it starts to come together.  (It will also change color and become slightly darker than when you started and the crumbs will be more like oatmeal grains)  Dump them into the 11x17x1 inch pan and press the crust into the bottom of the un-greased pan.  Bake for 18-20 minutes or until golden around the edges (it may not be cooked in the center and it will be perfectly okay).

While the crust is baking, mix the filling: Whisk the eggs and sugar together.  Add the grated lemonrind and juice and beat for 5 minutes with a hand mixer.  The batter will be light and golden and smooth.  Combine the flour and baking powder and beat it into the batter just until combined.

Pour the filling into the crust (it may be easier to use a ladle to ladle the filling into the pan)  Fill right to edge.  Bake for 25 minutes.  Cool before cutting into squares.  Store in the refrigerator.  Just before serving dust with additional confectioners sugar.  Enjoy.

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Chocolate Chip Cookies

My kids have been clamoring for freshly baked Chocolate Chip Cookies.  My sweet-tooth of a daughter would settle for the cookie dough that comes ready to bake, but this is my favorite from scratch recipe.  I like to use the Ghirardelli brand semi sweet chocolate chips, because I am a chocolate snob.  Feel free to use any other brand though if you are less picky.

I also use the recipe on the back of the bag of Ghirardelli (link)

Chocolate Chip Cookies – adapted from Ghirardelli

Yield: 4 dozen

  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup butter, softened (2 sticks)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 2 1/2 tsp vanilla extract (original 2 tsp)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips (Ghirardelli brand are a terrific product)
  • 1 cup chopped pecans (optional)

Directions:

  1. Place the flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl and stir to combine.  Preheat oven to 375 F.
  2. Mix the butter, eggs, vanilla, brown and white sugar in a large mixing bowl until well combined and creamy.  Add 1/3 of the flour mixture at at time and start to mix on low (or it will coat your kitchen with a nice coating of flour-it may look like snow, but trust me it’s not nearly as pretty as it sounds!)  Increase the speed of the mixer to medium and make sure it is nicely combined, but you don’t need to over-beat it.
  3. Add chocolate chips and chopped pecans and mix just until combined.
  4. Drop the dough with a teaspoon on a baking sheet.  Depending on the size of the pan, you should fit 12-15 cookies per pan.  Bake at 375 F for 9-11 minutes or until golden brown.
  5. When the cookies are done, take them from the oven, but do not immediately remove them from the sheet pan.  Let them sit for a few minutes so they firm up a little before you remove them to cool on a wire rack completely.  Store them in an air tight container if they make it to storage at all! 🙂  Best served with a tall glass of cold milk.

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