Lemon Icebox Cookies

Lemon Icebox Cookies

Lemon Icebox Cookies

Total tart throbs….that’s what I call these buttery, lemony confections.  Cookie nirvana!  Cookie heaven!  Cookie num-yums!   I think you get how much I love these cookies.

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Lemon desserts seem so perfect at this time of year, more than any other, I think.  So I took my recipe for luscious butter cookies, added some (lots) lemon zest, plus a few drops of lemon juice, and zing went the strings of my heart.  Just lemony enough, just buttery enough, and just satisfying enough.  In other words…..perfection 🙂

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As you look over the recipe you will notice that confectioners’ sugar is used instead of granulated.   Powdered sugar gives these cookies their crumbly, sandy texture without too much sweetness, thus the lemon and butter flavors shine through.  The dough is made entirely in the food processor, divided in half and chilled before slicing and baking.  The dough cuts beautifully, not like some others I’ve made that like to crumble when you go to slice them.  Before cutting the cookies each log of dough is rolled in granulated sugar, so the edges of the cookies are glistening and crunchy once baked.

LEMON ICEBOX COOKIES

Yield:  Makes about 5 dozen cookies

Ingredients:IMG_9519

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 tsp. coarse salt
  • 1 Tbsp. + 1 tsp. lemon zest
  • 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar, for rolling

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Directions:

1.  In a food processor, pulse together the flour, confectioners’ sugar, salt and lemon zest until combined.

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This is how I cut butter into small pieces.

 

Add butter and process until sandy.  Add egg yolks and lemon juice; pulse until dough comes together.

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2.  Divide dough in half and form each into a 1  1/2-inch-wide log.

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Wrap in plastic wrap and chill until firm, at least 2 hours, or overnight.  Or after wrapping, dough may be frozen up to a month.

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3.  Preheat oven to 350*F. , with racks in upper and lower thirds.  Spread granulated sugar on a piece of wax paper or parchment; roll logs over sugar to coat.

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Roll dough logs in sugar to coat well.

 

4.  Slice logs into 1/4-inch-thick slices.

This dough slices so nicely.

This dough slices so nicely.

Arrange 1 inch apart, on two (or more) parchment-lined baking sheets.  Bake until cookies are golden brown around edges, about 15 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through.

Lightly browned around the edges.

Lightly browned around the edges.

Transfer cookies to wire racks to cool.   To store, cover and keep at room temperature, up to 5 days.

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These are the perfect little sweet to serve with a cup of tea, or alongside a scoop of vanilla ice-cream.

 

SOURCE:   Carolyn’s Originals

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Cranberry Pecan Biscotti

Cranberry-Pecan Biscotti

Cranberry-Pecan Biscotti

Listen up folks!   It is a scientific fact that a beverage, whether it be coffee, tea, hot chocolate or milk, needs the perfect dunking cooking to go with it.

I took a poll among my friends with the question “would you rather have a graham cracker, a snickerdoodle, or cranberry pecan biscotti with your favorite beverage”?  Don’t ever let it be said that I’m afraid to ask the hard questions!   Biscotti was the overwhelming winner.  Although I have a sneaky suspicion that a frosted cinnamon roll would not be unwelcome either.

The winners….biscotti!

The winner….biscotti!

These are very gentle biscotti;  they are not going to fall apart and leave crumbs in the bottom of your cup or glass.  They are gently spiced with cinnamon and cloves, and they are made with whole wheat flour, so they are good for you.  In addition there’s the cranberries adding their vitamin C. and chopped pecans for some added crunch.  These are as much a cookie as they are a tiny package of warmth and comfort in the middle of what was this winter’s coldest temperatures.

Ahem, excuse me, but I wrote this over a month ago when it was still winter around here.  Don’t be misled, these are great any ole time you feel like having a cookie to munch on.

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CRANBERRY PECAN BISCOTTI

Yield:  Makes about 2 1/2 dozen biscottiIMG_8929

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamonIMG_8931
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
  • 2/3 cup chopped pecans
  • 3/4 cup dried cranberries

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 325*F.   Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, or Silpat liner.

2.  In the large bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs, one at a time, then the vanilla.

Start by creaming the butter and sugar.

Start by creaming the butter and sugar.

3.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and cloves.  Add to creamed mixture in several additions.  If mixture becomes too thick, stir in the remainder of the flour mixture.

4.  Stir in the nuts and cranberries.

5.  Divide the dough in half and form 2 logs on the baking sheet. (approximately 1/2″ x 2″ wide).

Form dough into 2 "logs" on baking sheet.

Form dough into 2 “logs” on baking sheet.

6.  Bake at 325*F. for 25 minutes, until light golden brown.

7.  Remove from oven and cool for 5 minutes.  Slice into 1/2″-thick slices.   Lay on their sides.  Bake about 10 minutes longer, turning over after 5 minutes.

These biscotti may not seem crisp enough, but as they cool they become crisper, so do not over bake them.

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Enjoy these delightful biscotti and be comforted!

SOURCE:    Big Oven

Cream Cheese Chocolate Chip Cookies

Cream Cheese Chocolate Chip Cookies

Cream Cheese Chocolate Chip Cookies

I did it!  I finally did it!!   I found a way to make a chocolate chip cookie that stays tall and rounded, soft and chewy with lots of chocolate pieces in it.    I am in love with these cookies.

So for National Chocolate Chip Cookie Week, we have these beauties.

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There must be a ba-zillion recipes out there for chocolate chip cookies, and I must have made at least half a ba-zillion of them, but could never achieve this kind of result.  Oh, they were good all right; some crisp, some chewy, but most all of them flatten out either during baking or as they cool.   I’ve wanted a thick, full cookie that comes out of the oven looking almost the same as it went in, and now I have it.

Before baking.

Before baking.

After baking.

After baking.

What this recipe does is… swap out 1/4 cup of butter and substitute 1/4 cup full-fat cream cheese.  You wouldn’t think that would make a big difference, but it did.  The resulting cookie is so soft with a richness to the dough unlike any other cookies I’ve tried.

Don’t use light, or fat-free cream cheese because your dough will become really soft, and your cookies will spread too much. The cream cheese gets mixed with the butter at the start of the mixing process, followed by the sugars, egg and vanilla.  Then the flour mixture gets mixed in and finally the chocolate chips.

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Make sure to chill your dough for at least two hours before you bake to ensure your cookies bake thick and puffy.  I also found out that if you form your dough into cookie balls before chilling, and chill them all together on a baking sheet, it is much easier to transfer them onto other baking sheets when ready to bake them, than it is to form dough balls when the whole batch of dough is chilled. All the while you are forming cookie dough balls from chilled dough, the dough is coming to room temperature as you work, and then you get limpy whimpy cookies when they are baked.   I want thick, puffy cookies that are overflowing with chocolate, and that’s what these are.

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CREAM CHEESE CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

Yield:   Makes about 2 1/2 dozen cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup ( 1 stick) unsalted butter, softenedIMG_9320
  • 1/4 cup cream cheese, softened ( use full-fat cream cheese)
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  •  2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. cornstarch
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 1/4 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips or chunks ( or a mixture)

Directions:

1.  In the large bowl of an electric mixer, combine the butter, cream cheese, sugars, egg, vanilla, and beat on medium-high speed until well-creamed, light and fluffy, about 5 minutes

2.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl, and add the flour, cornstarch, baking soda, salt and mix until just combined, about 1 minute.

3.  By hand stir in the chocolate chips/chunks.

4.  Using a medium 2-inch cookie scoop, form heaping mounds ( 28 – 30).  Place mounds onto a large flat platter or baking sheet, flatten slightly with your palm, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or up to overnight, before baking.  Do not bake with warm dough because cookies will spread and bake thinner and flatter.

Before baking.

Before baking.

5.  Preheat oven to 350*F., line baking sheets with parchment or spray with cooking spray.  Place cookie mounds on baking sheets, spaced at least 2 inches apart.  Bake for 8 – 9 minutes, or until edges have set and barely browned, tops are just beginning to set, pale and glossy in the center.  Cookies will firm up as they cool, so do not bake more that 10 minutes.  Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing and transferring to a rack to finish cooling.

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6.  Cookies will keep airtight at room temperature for up to 1 week, or in the freezer for up to 3 months.  Unbaked cookie dough can be store airtight in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, so consider baking only as many cookies as desired and save the remaining dough to be baked at a future time. Chilled cookie dough balls may be transferred to a zip-lock bag and frozen for future use also.

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SOURCE:   this recipe was adapted from one by Averie Cooks

 

 

 

Coconut Biscotti

 

Coconut Biscotti

Coconut Biscotti

When you serve biscotti, you’re styling’, did you know that?  These crunchy, nutty, hard cookies are custom-made for dunking in a frothy cappuccino, or nibbling on between sips of dark, thick, espresso.  Or maybe you’re having them at the end of the day with a glass of sweet dessert wine.  If it’s wine you’re having, make it a wine from Tuscany, the reputed home of biscotti.

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A surprising fact to me is that biscotti were first developed for Lent, when all types of festive and fancy baking was curtailed. Their plain appearance is deceiving.  You may think that the cookie is plain and boring, but not so.  In going through my recipes recently, I noted that I have quite a number of recipes for biscotti, and they are all different.  The several characteristics they all share are the elongated shape, usually cut on a diagonal, the inclusion of toasted nuts, and the fact that they are twice baked, making them crisp and crunchy.

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The name of these cookies, when translated, breaks down to bis (twice) and cottare (to cook).  Because they are a firm, sturdy cookie they are perfect for packing and shipping to someone far from home.

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This recipe utilizes coconut in several forms;  toasted and finely ground in the dough, and coconut oil used for shortening in the dough; there is also coconut cream (liquid) and coconut flavoring in the glaze.  The basic cookie is not sweet, but the glaze they are dipped into adds a touch of sweetness at the end.  If you choose not to dip them into the glaze, they will still be a very enjoyable mildly sweet treat.

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The nuts called for in the recipe are salted macadamia nuts, chopped; however I didn’t have any so I used a combination of hazelnuts and cashews from a jar of salted nuts, and they worked just fine.

If you have never made biscotti before this could be the recipe to get you started,  especially as we approach the start of Lent.  I have never given up sweets for Lent because I can’t survive without a goodie now and then, but I do try to abstain from rich decadent desserts.   With biscotti on hand, I know I can have my “goodie” without going overboard.

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COCONUT BISCOTTI

Yield:  Makes about 24 cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1  1/2 cups unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour

    Coconut oil, melted, is the shortening in this recipe.

    Coconut oil, melted, is the shortening in this recipe.

  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup salted macadamia nuts, chopped
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. coconut cream ( may use milk or cream instead)
  • 1/8 to 1/4 tsp. coconut extract
  • coarse sugar for decorating, if desired

Directions:

1.  Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven; preheat to 350*F.  Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

2.  Spread 1 cup coconut flakes on a baking sheet and bake until toasted, about 3 minutes.

Coconut flakes, toasted

Coconut flakes, toasted

Let cool completely.  Transfer to a food processor; add the granulated sugar and pulse until finely ground.

Pulse in processor with sugar.

Pulse in processor with sugar.

3.  Whisk the coconut-sugar mixture, the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl.

Mix all the dry ingredients together.

Mix all the dry ingredients together.

Melt the coconut oil in the microwave;  add to the flour mixture along with 1/3 cup water and the vanilla, and mix with a wooden spoon until a stiff dough forms.

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Stir in the chopped nuts and the remaining 1/2 cup coconut flakes, gently knead until the dough comes together.

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4.  Divide the dough in half and shape into two 9-by-2-inch logs;  place 1 log on each baking sheet.

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Bake, switching the pans halfway through, until the logs are firm and golden, about 25 minutes.  Reduce the oven temperature to 300*F.

I baked them both on one sheet and they spread into each other.

I baked them both on one sheet and they spread into each other.

5.  Let the logs cool 10 minutes, then transfer to a cutting board.  Slice diagonally, with a serrated knife, into 3/4-inch thick pieces.

Cut on the diagonal and lay flat on baking sheet to be re-baked.

Cut on the diagonal and lay flat on baking sheet to be re-baked.

Arrange the slices cut-side down on the baking sheets.  Bake, flipping halfway through, until just golden and centers still have a little give, 20 to 25 minutes.  (It has been my experience that over-baking can happen at this stage of the game, so I underbake a little to be cautious.)  With these cookies, I baked 8 minutes on the first side, turned them over and baked for 10 minutes more.  They were plenty crispy, and they continue to crisp up as they cool.  Cool completely on wire racks before glazing.

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6.  Whisk the confectioners’ sugar, coconut cream, (or milk) and coconut extract in a small bowl until smooth.  Dip the biscotti in the glaze and sprinkle with decorative sugar if desired.

To store:   Allow the glaze to harden completely before storing in an air-tight container.  Separating the layers with wax paper will keep the cookies from sticking together.  They will keep “forever”, but we always eat them up way before then 🙂

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SOURCE:   FoodNetwork Magazine

Hot Chocolate Cookies

Hot Chocolate Cookies

Hot Chocolate Cookies

Hi, folks,  How are you?  Are you doing all of those things that winter offers?   Snowball fights?  Mittens?  Ski Caps?  Building snow men?  Hot chocolate?

I’d like to tell you that I’m frolicking in the snow, but I’m afraid of flying ice balls, afraid of skiing, especially the lift part, and very afraid of falling down and breaking an important bone somewhere in my body.  So I’m indoors looking out, watching the icicles hanging from the roof grow longer and longer every day.  Since today is a Monday (as I write this), it’s snowing again.

This winter has become so predictable.  You know, like, “if it’s Monday it must be snowing”.  Schools are closed, Mr. D. home from work, and all appointments cancelled.  I’m getting used to it!

One thing I really like to do on a day like this, is make myself a cup of hot chocolate,  with a marshmallow, or cream on top and a sprinkle of shaved chocolate.    Mmmmmm, so warming, so good.   But that fits into the predictable routine, what I want is something unpredictable, like these cookies.

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Let’s have our hot chocolate and eat it too!!

These cookies incorporate all the ingredients you expect to find in a cup of hot chocolate. They are rich, chocolaty and delicious.  They are great for any time of year, but I think wintertime is perfect, and especially for Valentine’s Day.  Change the colored sprinkles for any other holiday or special occasion.  They are always a hit.

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HOT CHOCOLATE COOKIES

Yield:   Makes about 50  cookies

Ingredients:

For the cookies:

  • 1/2 cup ( 1 stick) unsalted butterIMG_9150
  • 12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/4 cups brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1  1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 25 (aprox) large marshmallows

For the icing:

  • 2 cups powdered sugarIMG_9171
  • 4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup hot water
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • assorted sprinkles

Directions:

1.  In a medium saucepan, or a microwave safe bowl, melt the butter and chocolate, stirring frequently.

 

Choc. chips and butter in microwave safe bowl.

Choc. chips and butter in microwave safe bowl.

In the microwave, at 50% power, this takes approximately 1 1/2 minutes.  Heat for 1 minute, stir, and reheat for another 30 seconds if needed.  Stirring will help the chocolate to blend with the butter and become thick and smooth.  Once melted, set aside to cool slightly.

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2.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt.

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3.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the sugar, eggs and vanilla on low speed until well combined.

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4.  Add the cooled chocolate mixture and blend until just combined.

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5.  While mixing, add the flour mixture slowly and blend until all is incorporated.

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Scrape down the bowl, then cover and refrigerate about 1 hour.  If making the dough a day ahead, let it sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before shaping.

6.  Preheat the oven to 325*F.  Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or a silpat type liner.  Use a tablespoon (or a tablespoon sized scoop) to scoop the dough, then roll with your hands to create balls.  Arrange the balls about 2-inches apart on the baking sheets, then flatten slightly.   Bake cookies for about 12 minutes.

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7.  While the cookies bake, cut the marshmallows in half crosswise.  This will be easier to do if you  dip the knife blade into a glass of hot water after every marshmallow.  Cuts easily, with no sticking.

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When the cookies have baked, remove from oven and press one marshmallow half -cut side down- into the center of each cookie.

Cookies after baking.

Cookies after baking.

 

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Return the cookies to the oven and bake for another 2 – 3 minutes.  Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire cooling rack.

After baking the marshmallows will puff a little but do not turn brown.

After baking the marshmallows will puff a little but do not turn brown.

8.  Make the icing:  combine melted butter, sugar and cocoa in a medium bowl add vanilla and gradually add the water, mixing as you go, until the icing reaches a smooth consistency and is thick but still able to drizzle.   Place wire cooling rack with cookies on it over a baking sheet–to catch any icing drips.  Spoon a small amount of icing onto the top of each marshmallow, and use the back of the spoon to spread it a bit.  Let the icing run over the edges of the marshmallow, onto the cookie.  After icing just a couple of cookies, top with sprinkles before the icing dries.  Continue icing the remainder of the cookies in the same way.

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9.  Allow icing to set up about 30 minutes before serving, or storing in an airtight container.

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SOURCE:   The basic cookie is an adaptation of a chocolate cookie from Rachael Ray

 

Vanilla Sprinkle Cookies

 

Vanilla Sprinkle Cookies

Vanilla Sprinkle Cookies

Good morning, world….I hope this is not too many sprinkles to start off the week.   Once in a while I get carried away with sprinkles.  They’re so joyful and happy looking, they lift my spirits.  And in this world of white that surrounds us here, we need a little (read, a lot) of color. IMG_9134

Here (pretend I’m pointing) you’ll find cookies.   Not just any cookies, but the most colorful and buttery delicious cookies I could come up with.

The cookie base is a traditional sugar cookie:  scoop-able dough, not the roll-out kind.

The flour gets whisked together with the baking powder, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt.

Softened butter is beaten together with vanilla and granulated sugar.

Then an impossible number of sprinkles gets stirred in.  Isn’t this fun?  Like a party about to happen.

Add in those sprinkles!!

Add in those sprinkles!!

The dough needs some time in the refrigerator before the cookies are baked.  The butter needs time to re-chill and the egg needs time to moisten the dough.  A 2-hour chill is good although overnight is better.

The dough is portioned into 2 tablespoon balls and rolled into more rainbow sprinkles.   If it feels like too much, that’s absolutely right.

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These cookies are chewy in the center, crisp at the edges, and packed with sprinkles and vanilla.  They’re the perfect way to get in the mood for whatever celebration lies ahead.

VANILLA CONFETTI COOKIES

Yield:  makes about 18 cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1  1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. cream of tartar
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup ( 1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperatureIMG_9120
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup sprinkles

Directions:

1.  In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt.

2.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar at medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 to 4 minutes.    Add the egg and vanilla extract, and beat until thoroughly combined.

Cream butter and sugar; add egg and vanilla.

Cream butter and sugar; add egg and vanilla.

3.  Reduce the mixer speed to low, and slowly add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients.

Adding in the dry ingredients.

Adding in the dry ingredients.

The dough will be thick ( you may have to finish incorporating the mixture with a wooden spoon).  Fold in 1/4 cup of the sprinkles.

Add in those sprinkles!!

Add in those sprinkles!!

4.  Place the remaining 1/4 cup sprinkles in a bowl.  Scoop up 2 tablespoon of dough and roll in a ball.  Dip the ball in the bowl of sprinkles to cover lightly.  Put the balls on a platter.  Repeat with the remaining sprinkles and dough.  Chill the dough balls for at least 2 hours.

Form balls of dough, roll in more sprinkles, then chill.

Form balls of dough, roll in more sprinkles, then chill.

5.  Place oven racks in the center and upper third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350*F.  Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

6.  Transfer the chilled dough balls to the prepared baking sheets, leaving about 2 inches of space in between each ball.

Leave space, cookies will flatten out and spread.

Leave space, cookies will flatten out and spread.

7.  Bake until the cookies have spread and are just beginning to brown aground the edges, but are mostly pale and soft, 8 to 10 minutes.  Let cool on the cookie sheets for 5 minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.  The cookies will keep in an airtight container for up to 4 days.

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Apricot Butter Horns

Apricot Butter Horns

Apricot Butter Horns

These are cookies for the sake of cookies,  cookies for December, cookies for Christmas, or just so I can stand in my kitchen and do something that will result in a mouth-watering morsel of deliciousness.   Lets see how many of these warm, apricot-filled, powdered sugared bites we can fit into our mouths.

The answer for me is 2.5.  That’s how many of these cookies it takes to fill my mouth.  Does that mean I have a big mouth?  I don’t think so, but some people might say “yes”.  So be careful.

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Although I’m making these cookies for Christmas, I’m thinking about other up-coming events, and just general winter-time cookie desires.  These buttery filled cookies fit the bill.  Tender, cardamom-scented, honeyed bites of powdered sugar clouds.  If you’re thinking ahead to Valentine’s Day, these would be lovely with a cherry filling, and I also think a fig filling would be a wonderful accompaniment to the spices used in the cookie dough.  I just talked myself into making them again with a different filling.

I’m throwing down a challenge here…..what kind of filling can you come up with for these cookies?  I want to know.

APRICOT BUTTER HORNS

Yield:   4 dozen

Ingredients:IMG_8718

  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 egg
  • 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 cup apricot cake and pastry filling
  • powdered sugar
The best flavor comes when you grind the cardamom fresh.

The best flavor comes when you grind the cardamom fresh.

Cardamom seeds are encased in these white papery pods.

Cardamom seeds are encased in these white papery pods.

Grind them with a mortar and pestle.

Grind them with a mortar and pestle.

Directions:

1.  In a large mixer bowl, beat the butter for 30 seconds.  Add the sugar and honey; beat till fluffy.  Beat in the egg.

2.  Whisk together the flour, baking soda, cardamom, nutmeg, and salt.   Add dry ingredients to the beaten mixture, stirring to make a soft dough.

3.  Divide dough into thirds; wrap in waxed paper, or plastic wrap.   Chill dough in refrigerator for at least 3 hours.

4.  When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350*F.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

5.  On a well-floured surface roll 1 portion of dough into a 12-inch circle. (keep the remaining dough refrigerated until ready to use.)

Roll dough into a 12-inch circle.

Roll dough into a 12-inch circle.

6.  Spread 1/4 cup apricot filling over dough to within 3/4-inch of the edge.  With a fluted pastry wheel or a sharp knife, cut dough into 16 wedges.

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Roll up each wedge into a crescent.  Place cookies on prepared cookie sheets.

Ready for the oven.

Ready for the oven.

7.  Bake at 350*F. for 12 minutes.

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Cool on a wire rack.  Repeat with remaining dough and filling.  Before serving sprinkle cookies with powdered sugar.

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SOURCE:   Better and Homes and Gardens,  Special Interest Publications,  Christmas, 1996

Just some of my collection of old issues.

Just some of my collection of old issues.

Swedish Ginger Cookies ( Pepparkakor)

Swedish Ginger Cookies

Swedish Ginger Cookies

I’m into gingerbread and ginger flavored baked goods in a big way this year.  Don’t know why!   That’s not usually the case in previous years.  But for whatever reason, this year is different and I just can’t get enough ginger-spiced goodness.

This vintage Swedish Ginger Cookie recipe has been in my family for a long time, and I just love to make it.  Besides the fact that the flavor is so perfectly spicy, it makes a LOT of cookies, it can be rolled out thin for cutouts, or rolled into a log, and sliced.  The dough is pliable and handles really well; and you can reroll it at least 3 times without it becoming tough.

Makes lots of cut-out cookies.

Makes lots of cut-out cookies.

The dough is made a little differently than some of the contemporary gingerbread cookie recipes.  Instead of creaming butter and sugar together (like most any cookie recipe), the molasses is heated to boiling, then the butter and sugar are added to it so they melt.  Then you let the mixture cool a little and stir in the egg and dry ingredients.  Really very easy to make. Another reason why I love it;  no need to take out butter to soften up,  you can make these any time you want to with cold, hard butter, because it gets melted.  Hee, Hee!

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It’s recommended that you chill the dough overnight before rolling and cutting so the molasses and butter can firm up, but then you are in for a treat as you work with it.  I love it, but you don’t have to be Swedish to love these cookies.

SWEDISH GINGER COOKIES

Yield:   Makes about 10 dozen small cookies

Ingredients:IMG_8714

  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 egg, well beaten
  • 2  1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Directions:

1.  Heat molasses in a small saucepan to boiling.  Allow to boil for 1 minute.   Add sugar and butter and stir until butter is melted.

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2.  Cool, then beat in the egg.

3.  Whisk or sift together the flour, salt, soda and spices.

Mix spices in with the flour.

Mix spices in with the flour.

Add to molasses mixture and mix thoroughly .

4.  Cover bowl tightly and chill overnight.   When ready to bake, divide the dough into 3 portions and work with one portion at a time, keeping the rest chilled.  Preheat oven to 350*F.

5.  On a lightly floured surface or pastry cloth, roll the dough out thin.  Cut into desired shapes.  Place on greased cookie sheets, or use parchment paper to line the baking sheets.

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Bake at 350*F for 6 – 8 minutes.  The shorter baking time will give you a more chewy cookie,  while the longer time will produce a crisp cookie.

6.  This dough may also be shaped into a log (roll) and wrapped in wax paper or plastic wrap.  Chill thoroughly overnight or longer.  Slice thin and bake in moderate oven (350*).

These cookies should be stored in an airtight container to allow flavors to “ripen”.

My post tomorrow will show you how I decorated these cookies with a simple, easy glaze.   Y’all come back!

SOURCE:   old family recipe

 

 

Mocha Fingers

Mocha Fingers

Mocha Fingers

Recipes, ingredients and baking equipment change over the years, but cookies have always been a family favorite at Christmas.  Each cookie that we make is a sweet bite of memory, and cookies tell the story of who we are, who we have been, and who we will always be.

The recipe for these “finger” cookies appeared originally in a Special Interest Publication by Better Homes and Gardens, back in 1996.  I have a hugh collection of these special publication magazines devoted to Christmas and each year I get them out and look through them for inspiration on baking and cooking for the Holidays.  These cookies are not hard to make and they are so good.  A little more work to make than a simple drop cookie, but well worth the effort.

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Which will it be?  In your cup or in a cookie, mocha–a blend of coffee and chocolate–is one of the season’s hottest flavors.  It’s a flavor that I particularly love at any time, but around this time of year it seems so right.

These are sophisticated, butter-cream-filled chocolate cookies.  Marvelous with a glass of eggnog!

They are not difficult to make–mix up a simple chocolate dough, roll out thin and cut into “fingers” measuring 1 1/2″ x 3″. Once baked two crisp cookies are sandwiched together with a velvety smooth mocha butter cream filling.  Really pretty simple, but awesome in flavor!

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Warning!!  Once you know how to made this mocha butter cream, you’re going to want to find other uses for it.

MOCHA FINGERS

Yield:  Makes about 27-28 sandwich cookiesIMG_8713

Ingredients:

  • 1  1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter ( 1 stick), softened
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  •  1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 egg

Mocha Filling:IMG_8757

  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 2 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp. instant espresso coffee powder
  • 1 -2 tsp. milk or light cream as needed

Directions:

1.  Into the large bowl of electric mixer, combine butter and sugar, mixing on low to blend.  Add egg and continue to mix.  Blend in dry ingredients, (flour, cocoa powder, and baking powder).  Scrape bowl occasionally and mix until well combined. Note: Chilling the dough is not required, but I find it easier to roll the dough if it has chilled at least an hour.

2.  Preheat oven to 350*F.  Grease 2 large cookie sheets or line with parchment paper.

3.  On a lightly floured surface, with rolling pin, roll half the dough out into a 9″ x 9″ square, about 1/8-inch thick.  Cut dough into thirds; then cut each third crosswise into nine 3″ x 1″ rectangles.  Place cookies about 1 inch apart, on cookie sheets.  With a fork, prick each cookie in several places for decoration.  Sprinkle with granulated sugar if desired.

Cut dough into rectangles and prick with a fork before baking.

Cut dough into rectangles and prick with a fork before baking.

4.  Bake cookies 15 minutes or until firm.  With a spatula remove cookies to wire rack to cool.  Repeat with remaining dough.

5.  Make Mocha Filling:  In a small bowl with mixer on low speed, beat 1 cup confectioners’ sugar, 1/4 cup butter, 2 Tbsp. cocoa powder, and 2 tsp. espresso powder.  Add milk in tiny amounts as needed to get a creamy spreading consistency.

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6.  Assemble cookies:  Spread bottoms of half of cookies with Mocha Filling; top with remaining cookies, top-side up.

Spread back side of one cookie with filling, top with another cookie, right side up.

Spread back side of one cookie with filling, top with another cookie, right side up.

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Store cookies in tightly covered container.   Makes about 27 sandwich cookies.

 

SOURCE:   Better Homes and Gardens, Christmas Cookies

Festive Swirl Cookies

 

Holiday Swirl Cookies

Festive Swirl Cookies

What began as a recipe for chocolate chip cookies, was transformed into a holiday cookie by substituting red and green swirl morsels for the chocolate chips.  They still offer the crunch and chewiness of a chocolate chip cookie, but with a festive, dressed up appearance.

This could be one of the first cookies you bake, as they are good keepers.  They will stay fresh for 1 week or more in an air-tight container, and they also ship well if you are sending a “care” package any distance.

They may not be as fancy a cookie as some that make their appearance at this time of year, but they are a favorite non-the-less, one that you can count on to always be good.  The cookie dough may be frozen so you can have some ready to bake if unexpected visitors drop by, or the baked cookies may be frozen, and pulled out in a “cookie emergency”.

 

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FESTIVE SWIRL COOKIES

Yield:  2 1/2 – 3 dozen cookies

Ingredients:

  • 2  1/4 cups all-purpose flourIMG_8680
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 3/4 cup swirl morsels, green and red, mixed
  • cooking spray

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Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 350*F.  Coat baking sheets with cooking spray or line with parchment paper and set aside.

2.  Combine flour, baking soda, and salt, stirring with a whisk to blend.

3.  In the large bowl of an electric mixer, combine sugars and butter.  Beat at medium speed until well combined.  Add vanilla extract and egg whites; beat for 1 minute.

4.  Add flour mixture and mix to incorporate, you may need to stir in part of the flour mixture.  Fold in the chips.

Folding in the chips.

Folding in the chips.

5.  Drop dough by tablespoons, 2-inches apart, onto prepared baking sheets.   Bake at 350*F.  for 10 minutes or until lightly browned, but still soft.  They will firm up as they cool.

6.  Cool on pans for 2-3 minutes, then transfer to cooling racks.  Store in an air-tight container.

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SOURCE:   Cooking Light