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Posts tagged ‘cookies’

labeled-nuggets

I LOVE cookies! They’re small, sweet, bite-sized circles or squares of deliciousness. So when Melissa’s invited me to a meet, greet and taste all about cookies, I was soooooooooooooooo in!

dorie

In case you aren’t familiar with the name, Dorie Greenspan is a “culinary guru” according to the New York Times. She’s been around the food world for awhile now, working with most of the greats including Pierre Hermé and Julia Child. Through all those years cooking and baking, Greenspan has written several cookbooks and made or created numerous cookie recipes. But until Dorie’s Cookies, she has never written a book about them. This 500-plus page book is filled with every cookie recipe imaginable. Looking for your basic chocolate chip? She’s got it. Want something fruity? It’s in here. Do you prefer nuts or peanut butter? Greenspan’s got you covered. She even has several recipes devoted to different types of brownies. I’m telling you, this book is going to be my cookie bible for years and years to come. The fact that Christmas and Hanukkah are three weeks away, makes this book the perfect go to for all those cookies we want to make.

Now while I’m usually all about sweet cookies, I know not everyone out there likes rich, gooey, sweets. Some people like savory bites instead. Well, don’t worry, there’s a whole chapter on savory options in here called Cocktail Cookies. It’s in this chapter that I discovered these awesome Bee’s Sneeze Nuggets. They’re lemony, salty, spicy bites that are great with a cocktail or some cheese. If however, you want to add a little sweetness, Greenspan suggests dipping them in some honey. I’ve tasted them plain and dipped and they’re great either way.

close-up

Wondering how Greenspan came up with the idea for these little nuggets? From a cocktail menu. She was at Booker and Dax, a cocktail bar in New York City, when her friend ordered the Bee’s Sneeze which was a gin cocktail made with lemon juice, honey, ginger and black pepper. Greenspan took one sip and knew immediately she wanted to turn it into a cookie. She kept all the ingredients from the cocktail and added a little flour and olive oil. What she got were flaky nuggets that are perfect for any cocktail party and a nice change of pace from all the sweet Christmas cookies you’ll be seeing this holiday season.

over-head-shot

Bee’s Sneeze Nuggets

Ingredients:

  • 1-3/4 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons gin
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • finely grated zest of 2 lemons
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. Whisk the flour, baking powder and pepper together in a small bowl.
  3. Whisk the lemon juice, oil, gin, and honey together in another bowl.
  4. Toss the sugar and salt in a large bowl with the lemon zest. Then rub the sugar, salt and lemon zest together with your fingers until the sugar and salt are moist and aromatic. Mix in the grated ginger. Add the flour mixture and stir until combined. Make a well in the center and pour in the lemon juice mixture.
  5. Using a fork, mix the dry ingredients into the wet. After a couple minutes you’ll have a soft dough. Fold and knead the dough gently just to pull it all together.
  6. Flour a work surface and turn the dough out onto it. Using your hands, pat the dough into a square shape that’s 1 inch thick.  Using a knife or bench scraper, cut the dough into 1-inch squares.
  7. Place the nuggets on the baking sheet and bake for 25-30 minutes, rotating the sheets half way through the baking time, until the nuggets are golden brown. Let the nuggets cool completely and serve with honey, cheese or a cocktail.

labeled cookies

If there’s one thing I love about the farmer’s market, it’s the constant discoveries I make each and every time I go. We’re in the middle of cherry season and I love cherries. Every year I count the days from the moment the stone fruit season ends until it starts up again and it always starts with cherries.

If you’re a cherry fan you know the classics like Bing and Rainier, but did you know there are several other kinds that all have slightly different tastes? There are Lamberts, Minnie Royals, Royal Anns and Stellas just to name a few. I’ve enjoyed both the Bings and Minnie Royals as well as the Rainiers, but last year I experienced a new cherry that absolutely blew my mind. They’re called Tartarians and they’re AH-MAZING!

close up on rack

I don’t even know how to describe these awesome little red spheres. They’re rich and sweet and have such a powerful burst of cherry flavor. You only need to taste one before you’re craving them all year long. I’m not kidding. After I sampled these delectable stone fruits last year, I couldn’t get enough. And then like Keyser Soze, they were gone. Seriously. One week later I couldn’t find them anywhere. So, I waited. And waited. And waited for the season to come back around.  As soon as cherries started popping up at the farmer’s market this year I searched and scoured for those Tartarians. No one had them. But then last week, the vendor I bought the Tartarians from last year appeared, and he had them. Of course I bought a few baskets, and just like last year I came right home and created something sweet.

Last year I made some Cherry Peach Yogurt Pops. This year I decided to go for something a little richer. Something that would last on a platter or could be taken to a picnic or potluck. Something that you could eat with your hands and enjoy with either an after-dinner drink or a simple glass of milk. These cookies do all that and more. They’re sinful, decadent and definitely worth a taste. I know I’ll be making another batch. But it’s gotta be soon because just like last year, I only have one more week before these cherries are gone. So, I’m grabbing a few more baskets because there’s just no way I can wait another 11 months for that spectacular cherry flavor… or these cookies.

overhead shot

Chocolate Cherry Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 6 Tbsp flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 Tbsp dark corn syrup
  • 1 cup cherries, stemmed, pitted and chopped

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.  Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Melt 1 1/4 cups of chocolate chips in a double boiler over medium heat. Cool for 15 minutes.
  3. Sift together flour and baking powder in a small bowl.
  4. Beat together the sugar, eggs and corn syrup in a medium bowl until thick, about 3 minutes.  Gradually beat in the melted chocolate, then the dry ingredients.
  5. Fold in the remaining chocolate chips and cherries.  Freeze cookie dough for 15 minutes.
  6. Drop heaping spoonfuls of batter onto each prepared baking sheet, spacing the cookies apart (they’ll spread as they cook).  Bake until cookies are softly set, 15-20 minutes.
  7. Cool the cookies on the baking sheets for 5 minutes.  Using a metal spatula, transfer the cookies to wire racks and cool completely.

Labeled bars

Every year in February something amazing happens. Little girls in brown and green (sorry it’s blue now) start showing up at my door and in front of supermarkets all over the country selling some of my favorite cookies in existence. That’s right, I’m talking about Girl Scout Cookies. Every February I stock up on Thin Mints and Samoas because they’re only here for a short time and I love me some Thin Mints… especially if they’re frozen.

You can understand then, why I was super excited when my friends over at Melissa’s asked me to create a recipe using their fresh produce in combination with those awesome cookies from the Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles Council.  See, now I could get my favorite flavors and try some new ones, all in the name of recipe testing.  How did I choose which flavors? Easy. It all came down to what recipe I wanted to make.

lemons

Meyer lemons are in season and if there’s one thing I love to make with Meyers it’s lemon bars. But recently I was thinking about that other popular lemon recipe, lemonade. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but a lot of restaurants aren’t just serving plain old lemonade anymore. They’re serving flavored lemonade, the most common of which is strawberry. So, I thought, instead of making the same old lemon bars, I’d make strawberry lemonade bars. And because I just can’t get enough of that lemon flavor, I knew the Girl Scouts’ Savanah Smiles would make the perfect crust. Not only are they crunchy and buttery, they’re also super lemony which means you’re going to have that awesome tart citrus flavor from the first bite all the way to the last.

box of cookies

If you’re anything like me, you’ve been buying (and selling) Girl Scout cookies since you were little. But I was by no means the first Girl Scout to sell cookies to my friends and neighbors. This business has been going since 1917 when the first Girl Scout cookie was created. Believe it or not the first cookie wasn’t today’s popular Thin Mint. Instead it was a sugar cookie similar to the Trefoil. That simple sugar cookie was the beginning of the Girls Scout Cookie Program which is the largest girl-run business in the world. By selling these cookies, girls all over learn about business, improve their people and business entrepreneurial skills, and gain leadership experience. As a matter of fact, more than half the women out there who are in business today, say that the Girl Scout Cookie Program was big part of developing those skills.

So, it turns out February isn’t just about satisfying your cookie craving. Buying a box (or two), set girls all over on a path toward success; and the good news is you still have another week to stock up, as they’re available through March 6th.  Want to find a troop selling them? Just go to girlscoutcookies.org, type in your zip code and you too can buy as many Thin Mints, Samoas or Savannah Smiles you want. Enjoy them straight or do what I did and convert them into something else entirely. Either way, you’re not only benefitting yourself, you’re helping the little girl who sold them to you make her way in the world.

close up

Strawberry Lemonade Bars

Ingredients:

Crust

  • 1 box of Savannah Smiles
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 egg, divided

Filling

  • 1 cup lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons lemon zest
  • 2-1/4 cups sugar, divided
  • 1 cup flour
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 pint strawberries, juiced

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9 X 13 pan and set aside.
  2. Grind up all the Savannah Smiles in a food processor until it resembles fine bread crumbs.
  3. Add the butter, flour and egg yolk and pulse until well combined. Toss the dough in a resealable bag and chill in the fridge for 20 minutes.
  4. Spread the crust in the pan and up the sides. Pour the egg white over the dough and spill off the excess. Put in the fridge to chill for another 20 minutes.
  5. While the crust chills, whisk together the the lemon juice, lemon zest, 2 cups of sugar, flour and eggs until well combined.
  6. Pour the lemon mixture over the chilled crust.
  7. In another bowl whisk together the strawberry juice and remaining sugar. Pour the strawberry mixture over the lemon mixture. Then take a butter knife and swirl the strawberry mixture into the lemon mixture to make whatever pretty design you like.
  8. Place in the oven and bake for 45 minutes or until the edges are golden brown and a toothpick when inserted comes out clean.  Let cool and serve.

Labeled cookies

If you follow this blog, you know that I’m a huge cookie fan. But more than that, I’m a chocolate fan. Combining the two make me the happiest pinup in the world.

I’ve been making chocolate chip and oatmeal cookies since I could hold a spatula but I’ve never combined the two. Sure, I’ve tasted chocolate chip oatmeal cookies, I’ve just never made them. Then about a month ago Liz Berg of That Skinny Chick Can Bake posted a recipe for Loaded Oatmeal Cookies. Her recipe wasn’t just loaded with oats and chocolate chips, but nuts and fruit as well. They sounded amazing and she said they were a big hit. So, I decided to try them. But before I did, I needed to make a few changes.

top view

First, I live in a nut-free house since Hubs is deathly allergic to any and all nuts. Second, while I love cherries, we’re right in the middle of cranberry season. I love chocolate and fruit together so I thought rather than dried cherries, I’d go with dried cranberries. They’re a little more tart and would give the cookies a more festive, holiday feel. Sure these cookies will be great all year long, but they’re perfect for your holiday party.

So, thanks, Liz for a great recipe that inspired this holiday twist. They were yummy and I can’t wait to make them for my holiday party and many parties to come.

coffee and cookies

Cranberry Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 2 cups old fashioned oats

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl combine the butter and sugars, and mix until well combined, about 4 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat until well combined.  Add the vanilla and beat for another minute.
  4. Chop the bittersweet chocolate into bite-sized pieces and set aside.
  5. Slowly add the flour mixture, mixing well. Add the rolled oats, followed by the chopped chocolate. Mix well. Stir in the cranberries and chocolate chips. Chill for about 15 minutes before scooping onto the baking sheet.
  6. Spoon the cookie dough onto the prepared baking sheet, and bake 12 minutes or until the cookies have set and are just starting to brown. Allow to cool completely on the baking sheet and serve.

I look forward to Mother’s Day every year because it’s always fun to see what my boys have made me in class. These days, A’s presents are always a surprise because he makes them in his classes. But T is still too young to go to school. His classes are Mommy & Me classes. So the Mother’s Day presents or cards he makes are really cards that I make. Since I’m the one cutting, drawing and gluing while T plays, I pick whichever poem, colors or designs I like. Then I sign his name, date it and give it to Hubs to give to me on the big day. That way years later when my memory starts to fade, I’ll be able to remember what “T” made me.

This year was no different. And when I discovered one of the poem choices was a cookie recipe, I knew that was the one “T” was going to glue inside his card. I didn’t take a close look at the recipe, I just knew that as a mother who loves to cook, that was the one I wanted. It was only as I glued the recipe inside the card that I actually read it. This wasn’t your average cookie recipe. Then again, Mommy’s Cookies are never going to be average.

While the ingredients definitely make this a super yummy cookie choice, it’s actually the directions that make it “Mommy’s Cookies”. No, I’m not going to reveal the directions here. You’ll have to read the recipe below and make the cookies with your kiddies. I know at first glance the directions seem long and involved, but trust me they’re not. And please make sure you read each and every step. If you do, I guarantee a fun way to spend Mother’s Day that will bring quite a few giggles during the baking process.

Mommy’s Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2-1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup oatmeal
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 cup coconut

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Melt butter in a medium saucepan over low heat.
  2. Tie daughter’s shoes.
  3. Mix sugar into the butter.
  4. Answer the phone.
  5. Get out two eggs while fixing a bottle of juice.
  6. Add the eggs one a time to the butter and sugar.
  7. Change the baby’s diaper, put your son on the counter to watch and give him some Cheerios to snack on. Wash your hands.
  8. Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt in a separate bowl.
  9. Answer the door.
  10. Mix together the egg mixture with the flour mixture.
  11. Measure out the oatmeal.
  12. Clean up the broken egg that fell on the floor. Find the recipe and tape it back together. Take son off the counter and give him some crayons and paper.
  13. Measure out the chocolate chips and the coconut.
  14. Take a minute or two to find your son by following the trail of crushed Cheerios. Set him in the pack & play with his favorite toys.
  15. Fold the oatmeal, chocolate chips and coconut into the dough. Chill the dough for 10-15 minutes.
  16. Clean the counters and the floor.
  17. Take the crayons out of the baby’s mouth. Tape the crayon drawing to the fridge. Wash your hands.
  18. Drop cookies by the spoonful on a ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. Make sure you set the timer!
  19. Smile and pour the milk. Serve the cookies.
  20. Go take a nap with the kids and never forget how important all those “extra ingredients” were to make these very special cookies.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the wonderful mothers out there.