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Not to brag, but I have been pretty pleased with the status of my 30 before 31 list lately. Never before have I had some many items crossed off at this point in the year; usually it’s a mad scramble to get things done come about January. I still have a long way to go, but it feels good to be checking things off regularly. My current push is to cross off #8 – Make 12 recipes from cookbooks I already own, before the end of the year. So far all the recipes have been good, and with the slightest tinge of Fall in the air, I felt it was a good time to try out the recipe for Orange Spice Cookies.
Since I lacked not only the fluted pastry wheel, but any pastry wheel at all, I decided to cut these out the way I do most of the cookies I make. With one of the glasses from my cabinet 🙂
- I had the worst time with this recipe. I couldn’t get the dough to hold together; it was too soft to roll out even after throwing it in the freezer for five minutes to help it set up. There was some very unladylike cursing and general railing about the folks at Southern Living and whether or not they even bother to try their own recipes before endorsing them. I finally ended up adding extra flour, and everything was peachy, though I sill planned a scathing review… then I realized that I made a teeny tiny error when putting these cookies together. And by teeny tiny, I mean I accidentally doubled the amount of butter called for. So yeah, it was all on me, and I am really glad I didn’t write anything unkind before I figured out my mistake.
- The only real criticism I have for the final product is that it is really sweet. The cookies are pretty sweet on their own, and adding the icing just takes it a little too far for me. After rolling it around in my mind a bit, I think I’ll probably trade the the icing for a dark chocolate drizzle or dipping the cookies in dark chocolate next time I make them.
I wasn’t sure how much baking I’d be interested in doing this month, I honestly ended up a bit baked-out after the last two weeks in December. I was pretty sure I wouldn’t want to make another brownie, cookie, or cupcake for months. There was a problem with that you see; my brother in law and his girlfriend gave me two cookbooks for Christmas, and I thought I’d page through them, you know just to see. Then I find myself adding ingredients to our shopping list and pulling out baking sheets. I just can’t seem to help myself .
The first recipe I decided to try out was Brown Sugar Shortbreads from Southern Living Incredible Cookies, since they were fairly straight forward and go great with warm beverages.
- I’ve only made shortbread cookies a couple of times, so I admit that my technique may be a bit lacking, but I had issues getting the dough to come together. I followed the instructions exactly, but I couldn’t get it past the crumbly mess stage. Finally, I decided to knead in additional fat to get where it needed to be to roll out. I used 2 tbsp vegetable shortening, which in hind sight wasn’t the best idea, so if you run into a similar issue, use butter. After that though, things went smoothly.
- I’ve always thought shortbread cookies were a little bland on their own, something you had to have with something else. These, however, are pretty awesome on their own. The brown sugar adds a dark richness that is far more complex than the standard buttery flavor. I am usually pretty good about only having a cookie or two before packing the rest up for Andy to take to the office, but I had quite a few of these before I managed to get the box closed.
- Just for funsies, I sprinkled a couple of the warm cookies with cinnamon sugar, and Andy had them all gone before I’d even made my tea.
My mom bought me a cookie press when she came down to visit around Christmas last year. I was so excited! I was worried that it might get damaged in the impending holiday culinary insanity, so I put it safely away in the pantry and forgot about it until my mom and I started our Christmas baking this year. We wanted to try one of the more complex spritz cookie recipes for our very first batch, and this recipe for Dark Chocolate Drizzled Orange Cinnamon Spritz Cookies was just what we were looking for.
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon orange extract
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 tablespoon fresh grated orange zest
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
- 1 teaspoon shortening
- Heat oven to 400 degrees F.
- In medium bowl, combine flour, cinnamon and salt; blend well with wire whisk or fork. Set aside.
- In large bowl, combine butter and sugar; beat on low to medium speed until well blended. Add flour mixture, orange extract, vanilla, grated orange zest and egg; beat on low speed until well blended.
- Place dough in cookie press with desired disk. Press dough out onto ungreased cookie sheets.
- Bake 7 to 9 minutes or until set. Immediately remove from cookie sheets to wire rack to cool.
- In small microwave bowl, microwave chocolate chips and shortening uncovered on High for 45 seconds; stir. Microwave another 10-15 seconds and stir until melted and smooth. Spoon into small resealable freezer plastic bag. Cut small tip off one corner of bag and drizzle over cookies. Let cookies stand until chocolate is set or place in refrigerator for 10 to 15 minutes to quickly set.
- Overall, I feel like spritz cookies are cookies that have to be enjoyed with something. Tea, coffee, warm holiday beverage of choice, but they need a little help getting the flavor party started. This recipe was a lot more flavorful than the spritz recipes I’ve tasted in the past; the chocolate, orange and spice made for a pretty delicious bite, but it was even better with a mug of spice tea.
- The recipe claimed to make 84 cookies, but my press only produced 57 so go into the baking process aware that you may need a double depending on your equipment.
- If you aren’t feeling up to the work involved in creating the pretty chocolate drizzle, I think the application of a semi-sweet chocolate chip to the center of each cookie (think tiny peanut butter blossoms) as they come out of the oven will work just as well.
When I made the brownies & blondies for Andy’s birthday, I realized how long it had been since I’d concentrated on recipes that were not cupcakes. My Pinterest boards for Bars and Cookies were woefully neglected, and I think it’s time I did something about that. In that spirit, this week’s recipe is adapted from Terry’s Chocolate Orange Cookies by What Jessica Baked Next. We’re just talking minor tweaks here; I made the cookies smaller, doubled the recipe, and used the substitutions instead of the actual chocolate orange chunks.
1 cup unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
2 cups of light brown sugar
2 medium free-range egg, at room temp
2 tsp of pure vanilla extract
2 cups + 4 tbsp of plain flour
Pinch of salt*
1 tsp of baking powder
1 tsp of bicarbonate of soda
4 tbsp of cocoa powder
2 cups of milk or dark chocolate chips/chunks
2 tsp of orange zest
1. Preheat your to 190 degrees C / 375 F / Gas mark 5. Line two large baking trays with non-stick paper or parchment and set aside for later.
2. Cream the butter, sugar and vanilla together until light and fluffy. Add the egg and beat in to incorporate fully.
3. Now add the flour, pinch of salt, baking powder, bicarb and cocoa powder and mix until a dough comes together.
4. Finally, finish by adding the chocolate chunks/chips and mix in combine into the dough.
5. Divide the mixture into balls- we use a cookie scoop for ease. Spread out evenly on the baking trays. Bake in the preheated over for 7-9 minutes, until spread out and crackling on top.
6. Once cooled, allow to cool on the trays for 5 minutes- in this time they will harden and will become more easily transferable. Finish cooling on a wire rack.
7. Once cooled, enjoy with a glass of ice-cold milk or even crumbled over a few scoops of your favourite ice-cream! ENJOY!
- I didn’t really take into consideration the fact that I was doubling the recipe AND making smaller cookies, so I was a little overwhelmed when I had to keep scooping and rotating pans to use all of the dough. I think we ended up with somewhere between 3-4 dozen cookies. Andy’s coworkers kindly took care of them for us, but man, that was a lot of cookies.
- The cooking time was a bit hit and miss, but by the time we were done we realized that -at least in our oven- 7 minutes produced soft, gooey cookies and 9 minutes produced a crisper cookie, but it was still plenty chewy from all of the chips.
- Flavor-wise, these were pretty great. A nice rich, gooey cookie loaded with chocolate chips and just a hint of that citrus-y tang to cut all the sweet. I limited myself to two and a half cookies (it broke; what was I to do?), but I could have eaten so many more. I loved them; Andy loved them; Andy’s coworkers loved them. You should make them – I’m 99% certain you’ll love them, too.
For those of you who don’t know, every year I put together a “birthday week” for my husband. 7 days worth of gifts and small surprises that end in the big day itself. I started birthday week the first year Andy and I were dating, and ever since then, Andy has been adamant that he has to have one every year. In keeping with the spirit of birthday week, this week I decided to try out this recipe for Biscoff Brownies. Andy LOVES Biscoff cookies, and I suspect we fly Delta so often because they are the standard snack provided. So buying the cookie butter and baking something non-cookie based with it seemed like the logical next step.
- 3/4 cup salted butter, melted
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 2/3 cup cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup Biscoff Spread, melted
- Preheat over to 350 degrees.
- Line a square 8×8 or 9×9 baking pan with parchment paper or give it a coating of baking spray.
- Melt the butter on the stove top in a sauce pan or in the microwave. Whisk in sugar and cocoa powder, and then stir in vanilla extract.
- In a medium mixing bowl, whisk the eggs well, and then whisk in the chocolate mixture until well combined. Stir the flour into the chocolate mixture until just combined.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Melt Biscoff Spread in the microwave and drizzle over the top of the brownie batter. Use a clean butter knife to swirl the Biscoff Spread into the batter.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes. Cool on a wire cooling rack for at least 30 minutes before serving.
- These brownies were a definite win. The brownie recipe itself was solid and produced rich dense chocolaty goodness. The Biscoff swirl was just an added bonus.
- Swirl-wise I think I “marbled” the top of my brownies too much; you still got a hint of Biscoff when you took a bite, but bigger swirls would have allowed for a nice punch of that caramel-y cinnamon flavor that we all love.
- The only downside to these brownies is trying to take them out of the pan. You have to be really careful or they’ll break apart when you tip them out. Mine broke into four uneven hunks that I squared off and cut into individual serving sizes. Not a big disaster but it bothered me a bit they were all oddly shaped.