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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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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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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Black Dog Restaurant Ginger Cookies

I am a passionate cookbook collector.  In my 17 years of marriage I must have by now in my possession over 200 cookbooks.  I was for a few months a member of a cookbook club.  I got to buy the cookbooks at a good price and they would send them to me.  One such nugget is the Black Dog Restaurant Cookbook.  In this cookbook there are a few recipes that I have made over the past few years.  These cookies are not hard like Gingersnap cookies.  They have a nice soft chewy texture.  My daughters who are not big fans of ginger are big fans of these cookies and I think they are great for Christmas or any other occasion.  Just hum the tune from Sesame Street: “C is for Cookie”. 🙂

Here is a recipe from the book that I adapted. 

Black Dog Restaurant Ginger Cookies

Makes 8 dozen cookies.  I freeze some for later.

  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh ginger
  • 1 1/2 cups canola oil
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup molasses
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 Tbsp. cinnamon
  • 5 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp. ground cloves
  • 7 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar in the raw to roll the cookies in before baking

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  2. Blend the ginger with 1/2 cup of the oil.  I use a hand blender.  Process until well minced.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, mix 3 cups sugar, molasses and eggs.  Strain the ginger/oil liquid and add the strained ginger infused oil to the sugar mixture.  Add remaining cup of oil to the mixture and mix until smooth.
  4. In a separate bowl, combine the salt, cinnamon, baking soda, cloves and flour.  Ad the dry ingredients to the wet mix and blend well.
  5. Line your cookie sheets with parchment paper for easier clean up. Scoop the cookie dough with a small ice cream scoop, form into balls (I find if I moisten my hands with a little water the dough does not stick to me.)  Roll in sugar in the raw (regular sugar works fine too- I love the texture of sugar in the raw)
  6. Place on prepared cookie sheet and bake for 8-12 minutes, just until the tops crack and cookies are flat.
  7. Leave on the cookie sheet a few minutes to firm up before removing them to wire racks to cook completely.  Enjoy!

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