Tag Archives: cookies

Chocolate Chip Hazelnut Cookies . . . and a farewell

Chocolate Chip Hazelnut Cookies / Especially Edible

Don’t worry. I didn’t forget about Valentine’s Day. And I didn’t purposely ignore it, the way single women in books and movies drown their sorrows in red wine and chocolate on the Day of Love. I have two perfect Valentine’s Day recipes – shortbread hearts and miniature red velvet cakes – queued up. But then I clicked over to the New York Times site and saw that Michele Ferrero, the scion of the candy company responsible for Nutella, had died. To be honest, I’d never thought about who created Nutella. (It was, FYI, Michele’s father, Pietro, who launched the product during World War II.) And I had no idea it was manufactured by the same people behind those fancy Ferrero Rocher chocolates.

Chocolate Chip Hazelnut Cookies / Especially Edible

I only have one Nutella recipe on the blog, but after spending the evening in the kitchen wrestling with what thought would be cute little red velvet hearts (reality: deformed little red velvet lumps), I didn’t have the energy to pull out a recipe from my giant stack of print-outs and whip up a batch of Nutella-swirled brownies or Nutella-stuffed cookies.

Chocolate Chip Hazelnut Cookies / Especially Edible

Back at my computer, however, I stumbled across a folder full of pics of the chocolate-chip hazelnut cookies I’d made at the beginning of February and promptly forgot all about. I had intended the recipes for a post about my home state, Oregon, which is a major producer of hazelnuts (or filberts, as we call them). The only thing more Oregonian than a hazelnut cookie would be a hazelnut cookie with salmon icing and marijuana sprinkles. (Kidding. Just kidding. But ew.) Hazelnuts, of course, happen to be the key ingredient in Ferrero’s famous spread. And it just so happens that they’re now available in pre-chopped, ready-to-bake packages, just like pecans and walnuts have been for ages. There is nothing worse than trying to remove the skins from hazelnuts. Don’t believe what you hear about rolling boiled unts in a kitchen towel. Best case scenario, you’re left with a pile of hazelnuts with scraps of skin still stubbornly clinging to them. (I learned this the hard way in high school, while trying to make a mixed-berry pie that called for a hazelnut crust. If you can expertly strip hazelnuts of their skins without batting an eye, good for you. You’re also probably the sort of witch who can peel oranges in one long, curling strand or skin peaches in two seconds after dropping them in boiling water.) At any rate, when I saw a half-cup bag of Diamond hazelnuts at the grocery store, I knew my lazy self had to make something with these beauties. Chocolate Chip Hazelnut Cookies / Especially Edible

As quick as I was to grab the hazelnuts, I came late to the Nutella Internet craze; in fact, I started baking with it about the time that the food blogosphere moved on to Biscoff cookie butter. This time, however, I can be right on time with a tribute to Ferrero, who the Times describes as “the world’s richest candymaker” (his family was ranked 30th on the 2014 Forbes list of the planet’s richest billionaires). In fact, I’ve started thinking of hazelnuts as baby jars of Nutella. After all, behind every jar of Nutella is a twisted, funky-looking filbert tree.

Chocolate Chip Hazelnut Cookies / Especially Edible

So here’s to enjoying hazelnut cookies. And here’s to the even greater enjoyment you’ll get from scooping a spoonful of Nutella straight out of the jar and into your mouth.

Chocolate Chip Hazelnut Cookies

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 24 small cookies

Ingredients

1 1/4 cups flour

1 cup old-fashioned oats

3/4 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

6 Tbs. butter, softened

1/3 cup sugar

1/3 cup brown sugar

1 large egg

1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

1/2 cup chopped hazelnuts

2/3 cup miniature chocolate chips

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350.

Spread oats on a cookie sheet and toast for 5 minutes, or until golden. Do the same with the hazelnuts, toasting for about 7 minutes or until brown and fragrant.

In a small bowl, whisk together oats, flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat together butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla.

Mix the dry ingredients into the wet, then fold in the hazelnuts and chocolate chips.

Roll the dough into 1-inch balls and flatten with the palm of your hand (they will not spread much while baking). Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 10 minutes. Let cool for 1 minute on cookie sheets, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

Recipe adapted from Cooking Light via Tutti Dolci

http://www.especiallyedible.com/chocolate-chip-hazelnut-cookies-and-a-farewell/

Swedish Farmers’ Cookies

A family recipe from family across the pond.

Swedish Farmers' Cookies / Especially Edible

In sixth grade history class, everyone had to complete a standard family tree, which was supposed to teach us . . . well, I’m not sure what it was supposed to teach us. That our ancestors were part of history, I guess. I had it pretty easy, as my great-aunt had already done the genealogy for my maternal grandmother’s side of the family, tracing our line back to Dolly Madison (valid), and with some major lacunae, William the Conqueror (not so valid). My maternal grandfather’s family was Swedish – his father, my great-great-grandfather, came to America from Sweden in the early part of the century. And when I was a seventh-grader – just a year after the Family Tree Showdown in history class – two of our relatives from Sweden, Svante and Per, came to visit us in Oregon.

Swedish Farmers' Cookies / Especially Edible

I don’t remember a whole lot about the visit. I was sick for part of the time, which meant I couldn’t go white-water rafting with the rest of the family. That’s about as far as my memory goes. We’ve continued to trade Christmas gifts and letters with our relations from across the pond, though, and last year Svante sent a red-and-white checked cookbook with recipes – all converted from European measurements to American cups and teaspoons – for traditional Swedish cakes and cookies. The best part was the fact that his letter, typewritten in nearly perfect English that put my broken college-level Spanish to shame, walked us through all his favorite recipes, including the ones made often by his mother, Gard-Marie. I tried my hand at a few of the recipes, including sugar-free almond shells that we filled with strawberries and whipped cream for my diabetic grandfather, but that was before the era of Especially Edible. So this year, when Svante sent me a potholder tied up with a blue-and-yellow Swedish flag ribbon, I figured that was a sign from the universe to pick up the cookbook and say “thank you” for the potholder via a blog post.

Swedish Farmers' Cookies / Especially Edible

It took me awhile to pick my first recipe. Most of the entries in the cookbook are as simple as my great-grandmother’s recipe for fruitcake – minimal ingredients, though with more directions than anything scrawled on the old index card from my grandma. Flour, butter, and almonds are all standouts. So it seemed perfectly natural to choose something called “Farmers’ Cookies” that Svante remembered his grandmother Astrid making often.

They didn’t come together easily. At first, the dough was too dry – I almost wished I’d stuck to my lazy ways and melted the butter instead of cutting it into the flour cold. Figuring that any combination of flour and butter bears at least some resemblance to pie crust, I added some cold water . . . which made the dough soupy . . . which led to a couple more scoops of flour.

Surprisingly, the Farmers’ Cookies turned out great. I don’t know if they tasted anything like Astrid’s, but to my own taste testers (my parents), they tasted like crispy almond biscotti. I halved the recipe, rolling only one log of dough instead of the two specified in the recipe, since the yield – 70 cookies – would leave my tiny family swimming in almond rounds.

Swedish Farmers' Cookies / Especially Edible

As my cookies baked, I flipped through the cookbook, searching for my next recipe. I’d like to try some sort of pastry or torte, neither of which I’ve tried before – much less in translation from the Swedish. But for now this post will serve as my “thank you” to Svante for two years of (unbeknownst to him) perfect gifts.

Tack så mycket. (That better be Swedish for “thanks very much,” Google Translate.)

Swedish Farmers' Cookies / Especially Edible

Swedish Farmers' Cookies

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 7 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours, 22 minutes

Yield: 70 cookies

Ingredients

3/4 cup butter, chilled and sliced

2 1/2 cups flour

3/4 cup sugar

1 Tbs. molasses

1 tsp. baking soda

1 Tbs. water + extra as needed

3/4 cup chopped almonds

Instructions

Preheat oven to 400.

Mix the flour, sugar, and baking soda in the bowl of a food processor. Add chunks of butter and pulse until dough is crumbly. Drizzle water and molasses into the dough and pulse until cohesive. Sprinkle in almonds and pulse until fully mixed.

Roll dough into two logs, each 2 inches thick. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or until hard.

Cut into 1/4-inch slices. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. (Cookies will not spread much.)

Bake on center rack in oven until golden, 5-7 minutes.

Cool cookies on wire racks.

Recipe from "Swedish Cakes and Cookies"

http://www.especiallyedible.com/swedish-farmers-cookies/

Holiday M&M Cookies

Cheerful cookies to celebrate the season.

Holiday M&M Cookies / Especially Edible

I am not by nature a rule-breaker. I never sneaked out of the house as a teenager. I’ve had one speeding ticket in 15 years of driving. I don’t think I have intentionally skipped a homework assignment in my life. I can count on one hand the number of house parties I went to as a college freshman. Mostly, this is because I’m the squarest and shyest person you’ll ever meet. It’s also because, while I never gave my parents heartache over boys on motorcycles or cigarettes smoked behind the house, I stayed busy making their lives miserable with an eating disorder.

Holiday M&M Cookies / Especially Edible

But that’s not the point. The point is, I’m the last person you’d expect to find not following the instructions. However, I also have a lazy streak. (Just look at my apartment. I’m the only 29-year-old with a nightlight, because I’ve nearly killed myself tripping over crud on the floor in the middle of the night.) And that lazy streak means I usually melt my butter instead of taking the time to cream a room-temperature stick into the sugar. I don’t let my eggs come to room temperature before beating them into the batter. I use my mini food processor to chop cranberries and nuts instead of whacking at them with a knife or a hand-chopper. I avoid like the plague recipes that require chilling the dough.

Sometimes, though, I actually want something to turn out like the pictures. I’ve never had too much of a problem with flat cookies, even though melted butter is meant to be the kiss of death, but I’ve never ended up with particularly thick and puffy ones either. When I meticulously followed the recipe for the much-ballyhooed New York Times chocolate chip cookie recipe, the chilled dough did indeed produce cookies with rich, melded flavors and a thick crumb.

Holiday M&M Cookies / Especially Edible

Seeing as these cookies were destined for Christmas delivery to my best friend, I decided to actually go by the recipe. And you know what? My cookies came out as round and happy as Santa’s bowlful-of-jelly stomach. They looked great, especially after I stuck a few extra mini M&Ms on top before baking.

Holiday M&M Cookies / Especially Edible

It was also the first time I’d made pudding-mix cookies, and that’s something I think I’ll try again. I’m not yet convinced that blending black beans into brownies will really create a taste sensation, but yes – I’m now a pudding convert.

Holiday M&M Cookies / Especially Edible

Holiday M&M Cookies

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 3 hours, 25 minutes

Yield: 24 small cookies

Ingredients

1/2 cup butter, softened

1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed

1/4 cup dark brown sugar, packed

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 large egg

2 tsp. vanilla

1 1/4 cups flour

1/4 cup instant vanilla pudding mix

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. salt

1 cup mini M&Ms, plus more for adding to the cookie tops

Instructions

Whisk together flour, dry pudding mix, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl. Set aside.

Cream butter with the sugars. Beat in the egg and vanilla extract.

Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and beat until combined. Fold in M&Ms.

Chill dough for at least 3 hours and up to 5 days.

When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350. Roll cookie dough into smallish balls with your hands and place on cookie sheets. Stick some of the extra M&Ms on top for an added pop of color.

Bake for 10-11 minutes, or until edges begin to brown. The middles will be slightly underdone; allow them to finish baking on the cookie sheets. Cool for 10 minutes, then remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Recipe slightly adapted from Averie Cooks

http://www.especiallyedible.com/holiday-mm-cookies/

Dark Chocolate Eggnog Cookies

What to do with that leftover eggnog.

  Dark Chocolate Eggnog Cookies / Especially Edible

In case you hadn’t noticed by now, my recipes tend to come in groups – or at least in pairs. Banana rum bread and rum raisin oatmeal cookies. Butternut squash hummus; butternut squash maple bread; butternut squash, chickpea, and lentil stew. Pumpkin cranberry muffins and eggnog cranberry muffins. This next recipe riffs on the eggnog left over from those muffins. The flavor is subtle – even eggnog-haters will find something to like in these chocolatey cookies.

Shopping for eggnog was, shall we say, an experience. I picked up a carton of something called “Holiday Nog” at my local natural foods store, assuming it was the same as eggnog . . . not quite. When I got it home and read the side of the container, it said, quite incongruously, “egg-free.” Really? Egg-free eggnog? Oh, excuse me. Holiday Nog. This is why I do not like shopping at a store that caters to every fad, from the long-standing (organic) to the most recent flash-in-a-pan (gluten-free). I ended up with an eggnog impostor, sort of like the vegan “cheese” sold next to the tofu and the spaghetti squash “pasta” served by raw food enthusiasts.

Dark Chocolate Eggnog Cookies / Especially Edible

But don’t worry. These cookies were not made with faux eggnog. I went back and bought the real thing. While I was at it, I also bought the chocolate version of the real thing – Guittard, with its fancy script and matte-finish bags. It’s a step up from Ghirardelli, at least price-wise, and I’m afraid I’m a consumer sheep, putting too much faith in the “most expensive = best quality” trope. But after tracking down premium eggnog, I wasn’t about to skimp on the dark chocolate.

The resulting cookies were pale and soft – not the most visually exciting things, especially with my lackluster photography skills –  with just a hint of eggnog. They reminded me of slightly sweet chocolate-chip cookies. In other words, just right for mid-November, when most people haven’t even started thinking about pumpkin pies, much less eggnog.

Dark Chocolate Eggnog Cookies / Especially Edible

Dark Chocolate Chip Eggnog Cookies

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Yield: 2 dozen cookies

Ingredients

1 cup + 2 Tbs. all-purpose flower

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. salt

6 Tbs. butter, softened

1/2 cup + 2 Tbs. granulated sugar

1/4 cup eggnog

1 egg yolk

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

Instructions

Preheat oven to 300.

Whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl. Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat together sugar and butter until creamy. Add eggnog, egg yolk, and vanilla and. Mix in chocolate chips and dry ingredients.

Spoon tablespoons of dough onto baking sheets covered with parchment paper. Bake for 20-25 minutes until centers spring back when touched. (Cookies will remain pale and will not brown.)

Recipe from Brown-Eyed Baker

http://www.especiallyedible.com/dark-chocolate-eggnog-cookies/

Rum Raisin Oatmeal Cookies

Raisins ‘n’ Rum.

Rum Raisin Oatmeal Cookies / Especially Edible

I don’t drink. So you might have wondered what happened to the rum left over from my banana rum bread. I could have just shoved it to the back of the shelf and forgotten about it, but just because I don’t like alcohol in its liquid form (in baked goods it’s an entirely different story) doesn’t mean I wanted to waste a perfectly good bottle of rum. Let’s just say I could never disappoint Captain Jack Sparrow in that way.

Besides, it took effort to get that rum. First I had to be laughed at by the Albertsons clerk when I asked where they kept their liquor. Answer: in a liquor store, stupid. (When I say I don’t drink, I seriously mean I’ve never drank. I had never bought anything stronger than a Hard Mike’s before my banana bread project.) Then I had to wander humiliatingly around the state liquor store before finally giving up and asking the guy behind the desk where to find the rum. I wanted the smallest bottle they had, not the giant bottle like the ones my parents keep at the top of their pantry. (Is that weird? They don’t have unruly teenagers or short drunks in the house that they have to hide the booze from.) He produced something squat and plastic from behind the counter and I handed over my five bucks, all the while wondering whether I was getting ripped off, being conned into buying the most expensive rum in the place in the same way that a naive, college-freshman me was sold the most expensive pair of snow tires in upstate New York. But even if it was expensive for the airline-style bottle I took home, five bucks is five bucks: less money than a fancy bag of pastry flour.

Rum Raisin Oatmeal Cookies / Especially Edible

So that’s the back story. Moving on to the cookies: I have a standing request from my father for oatmeal raisin cookies. I often soak the raisins in boiling water before mixing them into the dough to plump them up, but I’ve never tried rum. Let me say that it worked. The flavor profile, as a Food Network or Top Chef snob might say, was rich and subtly . . . rummy? All right, so I’m terrible at describing food. Just make the recipe. You’ll love it, I promise.

Rum Raisin Oatmeal Cookies / Especially Edible

 

Rum Raisin Oatmeal Cookies

Prep Time: 45 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: 18 cookies

Ingredients

3/4 cup raisins

1/2 cup dark rum

1/2 cup butter, softened

3/4 cup brown sugar, packed

1 large egg

1 tsp. vanilla extract

2 Tbs. molasses

1/2 cup flour

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

1 3/4 cup old-fashioned oats

Instructions

Boil rum and raisin in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cover, remove from heat, and let sit for 30-45 minutes, until the raisins have absorbed the rum.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Whisk together flour, baking soda, salt and oats in a small bowl. Set aside.

Cream together the butter and sugar, then beat in the egg, vanilla and molasses. Stir in dry ingredients. Fold in raisins and any remaining rum that wasn't absorbed.

Bake on parchment-lined baking sheets for 12-15 minutes. Let cool for 2-3 minutes on baking sheets, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

Recipe from A Pastry Affair

http://www.especiallyedible.com/rum-raisin-oatmeal-cookies/

Pumpkin Gingersnaps

Even gingersnaps are better with a little bit of pumpkin.

Pumpkin Gingersnaps / Especially Edible

Halloween has come and gone. October is officially over. Thanksgiving is looking us in the eye. Judging by the giant Christmas tree at the mall and the white lights adorning my neighbor’s porch, we’re halfway to Yuletide. And not one of my past five posts have been about pumpkin. Oops. Let me say, that’s not a very accurate reflection of my baking life. Every other recipe I’ve made lately has had pumpkin in it. (Next on my list, for those who care, are pumpkin Rice Krispie treats.)

So in the interest of plowing through all my pumpkin baked goods before eggnog takes over as the flavor profile of the month, here’s a hybrid recipe: Pumpkin Gingersnaps. They’re not exactly snaps, as the chilling of the dough makes for puffy, pillowy cookies even for someone who melts her butter before incorporating it into the sugar. But they definitely got a thumbs up from my Offical Taste Tester #2 (otherwise known as my dad), who loves ginger-molasses cookies almost as much as he loves oatmeal-raisin ones. That’s proof enough for me that pumpkin is like chocolate: there’s not a dish that can’t be improved by its addition.

Pumpkin Gingersnaps / Especially Edible

Pumpkin Gingersnaps

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 12 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 27 minutes

Yield: 2 dozen cookies

Ingredients

1/2 cup of butter, softened

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar, packed

1/2 cup pumpkin puree

1/4 cup molasses

1 large egg

1 tsp. vanilla extract

2 1/3 cups flour

2 tsp. baking soda

2 tsp. cinnamon

1 1/2 tsp. ground ginger

1 tsp. cloves

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 cup turbinado sugar, for rolling

Instructions

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, spices and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until creamy. Beat in the egg. Mix in pumpkin, molasses, and vanilla.

Add dry ingredients to wet and mix until just incorporated. Chill dough for at least 1 hour and up to 3 days.

Preheat oven to 350. Roll tablespoon-sized balls of cookie dough in the turbinado sugar, then place on parchment paper-lined baking sheets.

Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the cookies appear cracked yet soft in the middle. Let the cookies cool for 2-3 minutes on the baking sheets, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

Recipe slightly adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod

http://www.especiallyedible.com/pumpkin-gingersnaps/

Triple Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate addict? Here’s your new drug of choice.

Choc3

Three types of chocolate – milk, dark, and cocoa powder – means three times the deliciousness.

Choc2

Most food bloggers write about their kids: the cupcakes for Susie’s birthday party, or the pasta dish that even picky Tommy will eat. I don’t have kids, so no mommy diary entries here – but I do have a mother, a father, and a cat.

A cat that likes to have her nose in everything.

Here’s Snookie photobombing my triple-chocolate chip cookie photoshoot.

2014-09-15 13.31.15

And here she is lapping up the milk I was planning on drinking.

2014-09-15 13.30.36

She does make a nice white contrast to the darkest-of-dark chocolate chip cookies, don’t you think? I doubt I’ll be inviting her on any more baking expeditions, though I promise to find a recipe for some homemade kitty treats in the near future. Currently, she’s crashed on the couch between me and my mother, a sort of decorative centerpiece between two open Mac Book Airs. In a couple hours, around two a.m., she’ll be tearing around the house yowling bloody murder about absolutely nothing. (She used to defend the house from mice, but in her advanced age, she’s moved on to lazily batting at the tiny tree frogs that stick to the windows like some sort of plague.) She is quite insistent on her evening treats, however, so I’ll shut up, give you the recipe, and give her her treats.

Triple Chocolate Chip Cookies

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 14 minutes

Total Time: 34 minutes

Yield: 2 dozen cookies

Triple    Chocolate    Chip    Cookies

Ingredients

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate (to be melted)

1/2 cup butter

1 cup flour

1/4 cup dark cocoa powder

1 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

1 egg

2 tsp. vanilla

1 cup dark chocolate chips

Instructions

Preheat oven to 325.

Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl. Set aside.

Microwave the semi-sweet chocolate and butter together in 30 second increments until melted together.

Mix sugars in a large bowl. Add the butter-chocolate mixture and beat until combined.

Beat in flour mixture. Stir in dark chocolate chips.

Drop heaping tablespoons of dough onto parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Bake for 12-14 minutes or until tops have cracked. Let rest on baking sheets 5 minutes, then remove to wire racks to cool.

http://www.especiallyedible.com/215/

Mom’s Pumpkin Cookies

Pumpkin and allspice to ring in fall

  pumpkin cookies

It’s not that I hate fall. Once Halloween arrives and the leaves are crunchy under my feet, once I wake up to the contrast of red trees against a crisp blue sky, once the smell of chimney smoke drifting in front of a big yellow moon finds its way indoors on an October evening . . . then I get into it. It’s the transition that gets me. After all, who wants to give up long summer days and short sleeves? Who wants to spend fifteen minutes swathing oneself in long underwear, boots, and mittens before venturing outside? (And I live in Oregon. Can you imagine if I lived in, say, Massachusetts?)

Most of all, fall is the gateway to winter. And that means Christmas, my absolute favorite time of year. There is nothing – nothing – like the lights on the Christmas tree at night or the crowds at the mall toting armfuls of shopping bags. I may not wish for a white Christmas – more about that later, but for now let’s just say that snow scares me – but I love everything else about it. In fact, I’m one of those irritating people who buys presents throughout the year and stashes them at the top of the closet until I can spend a ridiculous amount of time attaching fake holly and miniature ornaments to the package with dental floss.

But fall isn’t fall without my mother’s pumpkin cookies. They’re not really my mother’s, if you want to get technical. Hardly anyone’s family recipes were really invented by family members. Unless your recipes were passed down from great-great-grandmother’s kitchen, your “mom’s” banana bread is probably suspiciously similar to the one on the back of the Gold Medal flour bag. We take our recipes where we find them and forget the source. The pumpkin cookies I grew up with were from the old Bible of the kitchen: the Joy of Cooking. The old copy doesn’t get much use anymore in the age of Pinterest and Food.com, but one of its red ribbons still marks page 709: pumpkin cookies.

Mom’s Pumpkin Cookies

Mom’s Pumpkin Cookies

Ingredients

1 cup butter

1 cup sugar

1 cup cooked pumpkin

1 egg

1 tsp. vanilla

2 cups flour

1 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

2 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp. nutmeg

1/2 tsp. allspice

1 cup raisins

1 cup chopped nuts (optional)

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 375.

In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. Set aside.

Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then beat in the pumpkin, egg, and vanilla. Stir in the raisins (and nuts, if using), then beat in the dry ingredients until smooth.

Drop heaping spoonfuls of dough onto cookie sheets lined with parchment paper. (The dough will not spread much, so the spoonfuls can be substantial.)

Bake for 15 minutes. Remove to wire racks to cool.

Recipe from The Joy of Baking. (Don't go looking for the recipe online. The pumpkin cookies from the 1975 edition have not made the transition to HTML.)

http://www.especiallyedible.com/moms-pumpkin-cookies/

Chewy Ginger Cookies

Crispy gingersnaps these are not – these chewy ginger-molasses cookies benefit not just from ground ginger from the spice cabinet but fresh and crystallized ginger.

2014-08-23 20.25.32

The Food Network website has two ginger cookie recipes that come with fancy pedigrees: Ina Garten’s Ultimate Ginger Cookie and Paula Deen’s Ginger Cookie. This recipe is neither. The former calls for a whopping 1 1/4 cup of crystallized ginger, which makes little dollar signs dance in front of my eyes, while the latter – besides being from a woman who deliberately concealed her own diabetes while advising viewers to pile on the sugar and fat – includes 3/4 cup shortening and a mere 1 tsp. ginger in its ingredient list. I’ve never met a cookie recipe with shortening that couldn’t be made better with the substitution of butter. And a ginger cookie with a single teaspoon of ginger is hardly a ginger cookie at all! Neither recipe called for more than 1/3 cup of molasses, which seems to be the key to getting soft, chewy cookies instead of brittle gingersnaps. So I turned instead to this no-name recipe from the Food Network Kitchen. Think of it as eschewing Prada and Marc Jacobs for the Walmart store brand: it may not be as pretty, but it gets the job done.

Chewy Ginger Cookies

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 30 cookies

Chewy Ginger Cookies

Ingredients

1/2 cup butter, softened

2 1/2 cups flour

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. ground ginger

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup molasses

1 large egg

1 tsp. freshly grated ginger

1/4 cup finely chopped crystallized ginger

1/2 cup coarse or Turbinado sugar

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350.

Pulse crystallized ginger in a food processor or small electric chopper until it almost forms a paste.

Whisk together the flour, baking soda, ginger, and salt in a small bowl. Beat the butter and sugar together in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in the molasses, egg, and fresh ginger. Mix in the flour mixture until just incorporated, then stir in the crystallized ginger.

Roll dough into tablespoon-sized balls and coat each with coarse sugar. If the dough is too sticky, refrigerate for fifteen minutes. Place cookies two inches apart on parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake until the edges are firm but the centers are still soft, about 12 to 14 minutes. Let cool on baking sheets for five minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

Recipe from Food Network

http://www.especiallyedible.com/chewy-ginger-cookies/

My best cookie-baking tip is a pretty simple one: use parchment paper. It not only saves you from washing the baking sheets, but in my experience it helps the cookies come out even and smooth-edged. Greasing the sheets or

"Raggedy" edges baked on a baking sheet sans parchment paper.

misting them with cooking spray seems to frequently cause “raggedy” or crispy edges (see photo). In a way, I guess you could say parchment paper is environmentally friendly. Yes, you’re using and tossing two big sheets of paper, which means cutting down trees. But you’re also saving water (and the energy to heat it) since you don’t have to hand-wash the baking sheets. Really, though, it comes down to my “lazy baker syndrome.” Oddly enough, though I love to bake, cookies frustrate me when they require endless cleanup and multiple rounds of cooking time. That’s why I either halve most cookie recipes – the oatmeal-raisin recipe on the inside of the Quaker Oats box makes 4 dozen, which means two rounds in the oven – or seek out recipes, like Smitten Kitchen’s oatmeal raisin half-recipe, which are written to produce only 2 dozen cookies. Plenty of people recommend baking just one sheet at a time, so that the air can circulate properly, but the taste doesn’t seem to suffer if I use both oven racks to bake two sheets at once. The cookies on the bottom rack tend to need a few more minutes in the oven – strange, considering they’re closer to the heating element, but perhaps not so strange considering that heat rises toward the top rack – but by the time I’ve turned out the cookies on the first sheet onto wire racks, the second is ready to come out of the oven.

Lemon Crinkle Cookies

A persnickety recipe that nevertheless produces heavenly lemon cookies

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Recipe from Cooking Classy

2 cups flour

2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

10 Tbs. unsalted butter, softened

1 cup + 2 Tbs. granulated sugar

Lemon zest from 2-3 medium lemons

1 large egg

1 large egg yolk

3/4 tsp. lemon extract

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350.

In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. In a larger bowl, beat butter into the sugar, then add egg and egg yolk. Beat in lemon zest, lemon juice, lemon extract, and vanilla extract. Slowly add dry ingredients until the wet and dry are just incorporated.

Scoop heaping tablespoons of dough two inches apart onto parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 10-13 minutes. Cool for two minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer to a wire rack.

Yield: 2 dozen cookies.

Note: The original recipe calls for 5 drops of yellow food coloring, but I found that the lemon and egg yolk make for pretty yellow cookies without the addition. Cooking Classy also includes another step: rolling the balls of dough in powdered sugar before placing them on the baking sheet. Not only do I not like the look of powdered sugar on cookies (it’s too reminiscent of the powdered doughnut holes that are always the last to be eaten from the box assortment), but my dough was way too sticky to roll in powdered sugar, which is probably due to my melted (not softened) butter. Chilling the dough might also make it stiff enough to roll in sugar, if that’s the way you want to go.

KITCHEN CONFESSIONAL: This is a tasty but temperamental recipe. The first time I made it, the cookies came out small and thick; the second time, they flattened out so far that they formed one giant cookie continent on the sheet (see photo below). What did I do differently the second time? I have no idea. The usual diagnosis when cookies turn out flat is overheated butter – instead of just being softened, the butter is melted, making the dough more liquidy. But here’s my dirty secret: I always melt my butter in the microwave. I’m lazy, and I’ve always found it impossible to mix solid butter into sugar with a standard hand-held electric mixer. (That problem might be remedied by a more powerful stand mixer, but go here for my intimidated take on my Kitchenaid.) The two-to-three minutes most recipes call for mixing the butter and sugar “until light and fluffy” has also never sat right with me. The mixture never seems to change much whether I beat it for thirty seconds or three minutes. Once the ingredients are incorporated, that’s it. (I’m sure there’s some chemical explanation for why it’s better to whip the butter and sugar for three minutes, but to me that length of time seems aimed at people doing it the old-fashioned way, with biceps and a wooden spoon. The melted butter has never really caused problems before: I suspect that my cookies are slightly flatter than they would otherwise be, but the taste is great and the appearance is satisfactory. So if I melted my butter both times in my attempts at lemon-crinkle cookies, what made the difference in the second go-around? I have no idea. That’s why I call the recipe “persnickety.” Stay tuned for more lemon cookie recipes, as I search for one that’s not only tasty but consistent as well.

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