Cranberry Coconut Macaroons

Cranberry Coconut MacaroonI was very excited to make this recipe, because I may or may not have purchased quite a few bags of cranberries in all my excitement about Thanksgiving. This recipe is lovely. Not the most loved by all of my children, but I loved it, and I am so excited to include it in a Christmas cookie collection. There is a sad story to this recipe, though. I think the original recipe for these cookies (which was on the backside of a cranberry package) must have ended up in the garbage. I’m still looking (and hoping) that it’s somehow just misplaced, and sadly, I can’t seem to locate anything quite like it on the internet. So, I’m posting this from memory, though I’m sure there might be a tweak or two after I make it again. So, consider this a draft, hopefully not too rough.

Cranberry Coconut Macaroons

12 oz. bag sweetened, flaked coconut
3 T. flour (this is the contested ingredient! I believe it’s supposed to be in the cookie, but now that I’m perusing the internet, I’m doubting myself! I’ll just have to make them again to make sure!)
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 c. fresh or frozen cranberries, finely chopped (or pulsed in a food processor)
1/2 c. chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, combine cranberries, flour, and coconut, then stir in the sweetened condensed milk. Once it’s well combined, add the chocolate chips.

Using a teaspoon cookie scoop, drop the cookies onto the prepared sheet. Bake for 20-25 minutes, rotating the sheets to promote even browning. Cool on a rack before serving.

Chocolate Chip Oat Cookies

Chocolate Chip Oat Cookies

I always pay attention when King Arthur Flour announces their recipe of the year. It’s always a winner–they are an admirable bunch of bakers! This easy cookie recipe is delicious and simple, and the perfect after-school or dinner snack. The little bit of oats helps give the cookies some yummy texture, and I’m also happy to report that chilling it doesn’t improve the shape that much, so if you’re like me and hate chilling dough because you want the cookies fast, you can just pop them in the oven without feeling bad.

Chocolate Chip Oat Cookies

1 c. (16 T.) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 c. light brown sugar, packed
1/2 c. granulated sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
1 T. vanilla extract
2 c. all-purpose flour
1 c. quick-cooking or old-fashioned oats
1 t. baking powder
1 t. baking soda
1 t. kosher salt or 3/4 t. regular table salt
3 c. semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line several cookie sheets with parchment paper, or lightly grease with non-stick vegetable oil spray.

Beat together the butter and sugars until smooth. Add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla one at a time, beating well after each.

Whisk together the flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, and add to the butter mixture in the bowl. Mix until everything is thoroughly incorporated. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl, and mix briefly, then stir in the chocolate chips.

Decide what size cookies you want to make. A muffin scoop (1/4 cup) will make 20 large, palm-sized cookies. A tablespoon cookie scoop (4 teaspoons) will make 50 medium (2 3/4″ to 3″) cookies; and a teaspoon cookie scoop (2 teaspoons) will make 100 small (2 1/2″) cookies.

Scoop the dough onto the prepared baking sheets, leaving about 1 1/2″ to 2″ between cookies, and bake the cookies for 12 to 17 minutes, until they’re a light golden brown, with slightly darker edges. Their middles may still look a tiny bit shiny; that’s OK, they’ll continue to bake as they cool on the pan. Remove the cookies from the oven, and as soon as they’re set enough to handle, transfer them to racks to cool.

Yield: 20 to 100 cookies, depending on size.

Browned Butter Peach Bars

Peach Brown Bar 2
I came across this bar cookie in a book titled, Home Baked Comfort, but it actually comes from Deb Perelman (Smitten Kitchen). It’s rich and delicious, and I love baking fruit into desserts, so this recipe is one more great way to bake peaches. These bars keep really well in the fridge for a couple days (they are a little too rich to splurge on in one day) and are the perfect afternoon snack or grown-up treat. Mmm. Can’t wait for the peaches to finish ripening on our tree.

Browned Butter Peach Bars

1 c. (7 ounces or 200 grams) white sugar
1 t.  baking powder
2 3/4 c. plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 t. cinnamon
1/8 t. freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 t. salt
1 c. cold unsalted butter
1 large egg
2 peaches, pitted and thinly sliced (between 1/8 and 1/4-inch thick)

Brown your butter: Melt butter in a small/medium saucepan over medium-low heat. It will melt, then foam, then turn clear golden and finally start to turn brown and smell nutty. Stir frequently, scraping up any bits from the bottom as you do. Keep your eyes on it; it burns very quickly after it browns and the very second that you turn around to do something else. Set it in the freezer until solid (about 30 minutes).

[So, I actually did this step, although you don’t need to if you don’t have time, and I’m usually not up to the fussiness, but this day I was, and it did make a difference! I would recommend it.]

Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Butter a 9×13 inch pan, or spray it with a nonstick spray. In a medium bowl, stir together sugar, baking powder, flour, salt and spices with a whisk. Use a pastry blender, fork or your fingertips, blend the solidified brown butter and egg into the flour mixture. It will be crumbly. Pat 3/4 of the crumbs into the bottom of the prepared pan, pressing firmly. Tile peach slices over crumb base in a single layer. Scatter remaining crumbs evenly over peaches and bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes, until top is slightly brown and you can see a little color around the edges. Cool completely in pan before cutting into squares.

A Great Grown-up Cookie

Whole Wheat Cookies with Currants
This healthy little cookie is such a nice package: nuts, cocoa nibs, and currants (think, sweet like a raisin but not nearly as big, so not quite so much chew). I loved that it works so well with whole wheat. It’s just such a nice afternoon snack, both for me and the kids. Definitely one you could have on hand all the time, especially because it keeps well in an airtight container for up to two weeks. You could also swap out the nuts and fruits for other favorites, but Alice Medrich imagined it well how it is. This recipe comes from her book , which I love.

Whole Wheat Hazelnut Cookies with Currants and Cacao Nibs

1 c. (5 oz.) whole hazelnuts
1 c. (4 oz.) white-whole wheat flour (I use King Arthur)
1 c. (4.5 oz.) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 3/4 sticks (14 T.) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 c. sugar plus 1 T.
3/8 t. coarse or fleur de sel salt
1 1/2 t. pure vanilla extract
1/4 c. roasted cacao nibs
2/3 (scant) c. currants

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Spread the hazelnuts on a cookie sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes until they smell toasty and are golden brown in the middle when you cut one in half. Once cool enough to touch, rub the nuts together to remove as much of their skins as possible (using a towel, if you want). Chop the nuts medium to small.

Combine the flours in a medium bowl and mix with a fork. With a mixer or a strong wooden spoon, beat the butter with the sugar, salt and vanilla until smooth but not fluffy. Mix in the nibs and nuts. Add the flours and mix until just incorporated. Finally, mix in the currants. Scrape the dough into a mass and knead it with your hands a few times to make sure the flour’s incorporated evenly. Form the dough into a 12 x 2-inch log. Wrap and refrigerate for at least two hours.

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Use a sharp knife to cut the cold dough log into slices 1/4-inch thick. Place cookies at least 1 1/2 inches apart on lined or greased cookie sheets. Bake for 12-14 minutes, until the cookies are light golden brown at the edges. Rotate cookie sheets halfway through the baking time to ensure even baking.

Whole Wheat by Lucy

This is the picture my daughter Lucie drew for the cookie. Love it!

Allow cookies to cool on the pan for 5 minutes before moving them onto a wire rack where they should cool completely. Store in an airtight container for up to two weeks.

Whoopie! School’s Out!

Whoopie PIe with Salted Dulce
This was the recipe that caught my eye the most as I flipped through the cookbook, Home Baked Comfort, and I thought, yes, of every recipe, I will make this one right this minute. And I did. And honestly, a whoopie pie can be a little dangerous at high altitude, because sometimes the cookie will spread too much and flatten, but this recipe performed beautifully. (Okay, it can also be dangerous when trying to lower sugar intake, but, well, that’s the kind-of danger I like.) I also took this cookie with me to my nephew’s all-cookie birthday party (how is that not the perfect party idea?). The filling didn’t do great in the hot weather, but I kind-of enjoyed watching them slowly slip and slide. Maybe not the perfect 90-degree-weather-outside-party cookie, but definitely the perfect cookie to welcome in summer! Wouldn’t be so bad at any other time of the year, either.

Salty Dulce de Leche Whoopie Pie

For the cookies:
6 T. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 c. firmly packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 t. pure vanilla extract
3/4 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 c. natural cocoa powder (like Hershey’s)
1/2 t. baking soda (reduce slightly for high altitude, like a little shake less, or 1/4 t. less if doubling)
1/4 t. salt

For the filling:
4 T. unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 c. confectioners’ sugar
2 T. heavy cream
1/4 to 1/2 t. kosher salt
1/3 c. dulce de leche (you can find this at Latin American Grocers or Trader Joe’s)

To make the cookies, in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until combined. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until blended. Sift the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt into the bowl and beat just until blended. Cover the bowl and refrigerate the dough until firm, about 2 hours.

Space 2 racks evenly in the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment.

With dampened hands, shape tablespoonfuls of the dough into balls [I used a tablespoon cookie scoop]. Place them firmly on the prepared pans, spacing them slightly apart and squishing them a little. You should have about 20 balls. Bake until the cookies are puffed and slightly firm, 8 to 10 minutes, rotating the pans about halfway through. Let the cookies cool on the pans for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

While the cookies are cooling, make the filling: In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and confectioners’ sugar on medium-high speed until lightened. Stir in the cream and salt, to taste, on low speed, then stir in the dulce de leche until the filling is smooth.

Spread the flat side of half the cookies with a big dollop of the filling. Top each with a second cookie, placing the flat side on the filling. (You’ll probably have a bit more filling than you need, but if you’re like us, you’ll find a good use for it and will sneak spoonfuls here and there.) Refrigerate until the filling is set, at least 1 hour. Whoopie! Makes 10 whoopie pies.

Chocolate Pecan Grahams

Chocolate GrahamsOn Mondays, I’ve been trying to bake something that I can use all week as a healthy-ish and filling after school snack, pairing it with cut fruit or vegetables or the like. So, I baked these this last Monday, I even baked a double batch, hoping I would have enough to last through the week. Well, we had enough to last through early-morning munchies on Tuesday. So, the bad news was I had to bake a new after school snack on Tuesday (which actually isn’t bad news to me! I have two new cookbooks I’m trying to bake through: Bouchon Bakery–which will take me a few years–and Payany’s Better Made at Home. So delightful!), and the good news was that we have another winner for after school snacks! I’ve adapted this recipe from one on King Arthur Flour (I’ve reduced the sugar and added pecans. The full sugar amount is delicious, but tastes more like a flat brownie than a cracker. Not that there’s anything wrong with that! Just wanting a little less sugar before dinner).

Note: these grahams are quite crumbly out of the oven, but firm up within an hour of cooling. Also, I scored them before they went into the oven, and then again right out of the oven. And thanks to Bouchon, I now want a bicycle for scoring. I think that’s what he calls it. Anyway. Big dreams. Another note: my kids had no idea these grahams had pecans in them (Lucie just reading over my shoulder commented on this!). Now, that’s success.

Chocolate Pecan Grahams

1/2 c. all-purpose flour
3/4 c.  whole wheat flour
1/2 t. salt
1/2 c. Dutch-process cocoa
1/2 c. confectioners’ sugar
1 t. baking powder
1/2 c. pecans, finely chopped or pulsed in a food processor till finely chopped
1/2 c. (1 stick, 4 ounces) unsalted butter
3-4 T.  honey (I like more, plus I needed it for moisture)
2 T. cold milk
2 T. granulated sugar, for sprinkling

Preheat your oven to 325°F. Cut out two sheets of parchment as large as your cookie sheets.

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flours, salt, cocoa, sugar, and baking powder. With a pastry blender, two knives, or your fingertips, cut the butter into the flour mixture until evenly crumbly. In a separate bowl, combine the honey and milk, stirring until the honey dissolves. Add the liquid to the dry ingredients and toss lightly with a fork until the dough comes together. Add additional milk, if necessary.

[Alternately, place the dry ingredients in a food processor, pulse 5 times, add the pecans, pulse 2-3 times. Then, add the butter, and pulse until mixture looks like sand, then add the wet ingredients and pulse until the mixture comes together, adding more milk or honey if needed. ]

Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface and fold it over gently 10 to 12 times, until smooth. Divide the dough in half. Work with half the dough at a time, keeping the remaining dough covered.

Transfer one piece of dough to a piece of parchment. Roll it into a rectangle a bit larger than 10 x 14 inches; the dough will be about 1/16-inch thick. Trim the edges and prick the dough evenly with a dough docker or fork. Sprinkle with a tablespoon of sugar. Repeat with the remaining dough and parchment. Place the rolled-out dough pieces, on their parchment, onto baking sheets.

Bake the crackers for 15 minutes, or until you begin to smell chocolate. Remove them from the oven, and immediately cut them into rectangles with a pizza wheel or knife. Transfer them to a rack to cool. Store the cooled crackers tightly wrapped. Yield: thirty-two 3 1/2 x 2 1/2-inch crackers.

Peanut Butter Toffee Cookies

Peanut Toffee Cookies
This is another of Alice Medrich’s terrific cookies in her Chewy, Gooey, Crispy, Crunchy cookie book that I’m so fond of. I made these at Christmastime, and loved them, though they are admittedly not the most usual cookie for holiday treats. All that aside, I’m very glad to have discovered this recipe, and my sons are very glad that I started buying toffee peanuts. With or without the cookies.

A small note: these cookies look picture-perfect out of the oven, but are quite prone to crumbling, especially when stacked.  For best appearance, keep them stored in an airtight container, just one layer deep, if it actually comes to that!

Peanut Butter Toffee Cookies
Yield 15-18 Cookies

8 T. (113 grams) unsalted butter, melted and warm
1/2 c. (100 grams) light or dark brown sugar
1/2 c. (100 grams) granulated sugar
1 c. (255 grams) natural (the kind that is unsweetened and requires stirring) chunky peanut butter, well-stirred to blend in the oil before measuring
3/4 t. salt
1/2 t. baking soda
1 t. pure vanilla extract
large egg
1 1/3 c. (170 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/4 c. (140 grams) purchased coconut toffee peanuts or toffee peanuts, coarsely chopped
Flaky sea salt for sprinkling (optional)

In a large bowl, combine the melted butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, peanut butter, salt, baking soda, vanilla, and egg. Whisk until thoroughly blended. Add the flour and mix with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon just until evenly incorporated.

Cover the dough and refrigerate for an hour or two, or up to 2 days.

Position the racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat the oven to 325° F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Pour the chopped nuts into a shallow bowl. Scoop about 2 level teaspoons of dough for each cookie, shape into a 1-inch ball or a fat little log, and coat the top and sides heavily with the chopped nuts, pressing in any pieces that fall off so that there are no bald spots. Place 2 inches apart on the lined baking sheets. If you like, sprinkle each cookie with a very tiny pinch of crushed flaky sea salt.

Bake the cookies until they are lightly colored on top (and underneath), 15 to 18 minutes, rotating the sheets from top to bottom and front to back halfway through baking. The cookies will seem very soft to the touch, but they will firm up as they cool. Set the baking sheets on a rack to cool completely. Cookies can be stored in an airtight container for at least 2 weeks.

A New Fave: My Ginger Cookie

medrich ginger cookie
I could probably attach the title “new fave” to almost every cookie in Alice Medrich’s Chewy, Gooey, Crispy and Crunchy book, because everything I have tried is simply fantastic. But this ginger cookie is terrific, and has a different place in my reportoire than the Best Recipe’s, though I love that one too (see Molasses Spice Cookies). After a conversation I had tonight with my friend Rachel, I realized I had never posted this recipe, and it was high time! especially since winter is feeling close to over here in the Rocky Mountains and these cookies just epitomize an afternoon with a cold chill in the air. These are also a favorite (surprisingly to me!) of, I think, two of my kids, Henry and Peter. Incidentally, this recipe works fantastically at high altitudes, too.

My Ginger Cookies

  • 2 c. (9 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 t. baking soda
  • 2 t. ground ginger
  • 1 ½ t. ground cinnamon
  • ½ t. ground allspice
  • ¼ t. salt
  • 8 T. (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and still warm
  • ¼ c. unsulfured mild or full-flavored molasses (not Blackstrap)
  • ½ c. (3.5 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 1/3 c. (2.33 ounces) packed brown sugar or light muscovado sugar
  • 2 T. finely minced fresh ginger (I omit this; it’s too much for my little ones!)
  • 1 large egg
  • ¾ c. (4 ounces) ginger chips or crystallized ginger, cut into ¼ -inch dice
  • About ½ c. (3.5 ounces) Demerara or turbinado sugar or ¼ c. (1.75 ounces) granulated sugar for rolling

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven.

Combine the flour, baking soda, ground ginger, cinnamon, allspice, and salt in a medium bowl and mix thoroughly with a whisk.

Combine the warm butter, molasses, sugars, fresh ginger, and egg in a large bowl and mix thoroughly. Add the flour mixture and ginger chips and stir until incorporated. The dough will be soft.

Form the dough into 1-inch balls (0.5 ounce dough for each). Roll the balls in the Demerara sugar and place them 2 inches apart on the lined or ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the cookies puff up and crack on the surface and then begin to deflate in the oven. Rotate the sheets from top to bottom and from back to front halfway through the baking time to ensure even baking. For chewier cookies, remove them from the oven when at least half or more of the cookies have begun to deflate; for crunchier edges with chewy centers, bake for a minute or so longer.

White Chocolate + Citrus Cookies

Orange White Chocolate Chip Cookies
This is a yummy variation on the traditional chocolate chip cookie! I loved the citrus in it, and if you bake at high altitude, like I do, the texture of this cookie works well, and the cookie holds its shape (that’s a big plus!). So, here’s a thought for your next batch of cookies. I know I will be using this recipe many times–we just loved them! This recipe comes from Six Sister’s Stuff, but I’ve changed the name (they call it an orange dreamsicle cookie–the connection isn’t right for me, but there you have it:)

White Chocolate + Citrus Cookie

2 1/2 c. all purpose flour
3/4 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1 c. (2 sticks) butter, softened
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. firmly packed brown sugar
1 large egg
1 t. vanilla extract
2 T. orange zest (for me that was the zest of 2 oranges)
2 c. white chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
In a small bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars until light and creamy. Beat in egg and vanilla until smooth. Gradually add flour mixture until combined. Stir in orange zest and white chocolate chips.
Drop rounded teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets. Do not flatten cookies; it will make them dry. Bake 8 – 10 minutes or until golden brown around edges. Do not overcook! Cookies will be plump. Cool for several minutes on cookie sheets before transferring to rack to cool completely. Store in airtight container.

Peppermint Patty Cookies

Peppermint PattySo, I honestly don’t know why I hadn’t thought of this cookie before (I have made homemade oreos, a very similar recipe to this, many times), but this recipe is great, and I love it, and the cookbook, Farm Chicks in the Kitchen, has to go back tonight, so here’s a new favorite cookie! Right in time for holiday baking 🙂

Peppermint Patties

14 T unsalted butter, softened
1/4 c. granulated sugar
1/4 c. packed light-brown sugar
1 large egg yolk
1 t. vanilla extract
1 c. all-purpose flour, plus 2 tbs
1/4 c. Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1/4 t. salt
1 c. confectioner’s sugar
1  1/2 t. peppermint extract
1 t. milk or light cream
2 c. milk chocolate chips(or bittersweet bar, such as Scharffen-Berger)

Prepare the dough:
Cream 10 T. butter in large bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed. Add granulated and brown sugars and beat until fluffy.  Beat in egg yolk and vanilla. Add flour, cocoa powder, and salt with the mixer on low speed, beating until combined.  The mixture may seem dry at first, but it will come together after a few minutes. Roll the dough into a 10 x 2 inch log, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Bake the cookies:
Preheat 375 degrees.  Cut dough into 1/4 inch slices.  Place 1 inch apart on sheet (they will not spread).  Beat until just firm to the touch, 7-8 minutes. Transfer to wire rack to cool.

Fill the cookies:
Cream the remaining butter, confectioner’s sugar, peppermint extract, and milk in a small bowl with mixer until blended. Sandwich the cooled cookies with filling. Place the chocolate chips in a small microwave-safe bowl and microwave in 30-second intervals, stirring in between, until melted. Dip the cookies in the chocolate and then chill until chocolate is hardened. Serve.