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Posts Tagged ‘cookies’

These simple and delicate sandwiches are perfect to give as gifts around the holidays. Home made goodies have a warming effect on people, one of the reasons why I love to bake. Well, there’s that and I have allergies.

I used the following recipe to make about a dozen raspberry-filled lusikkaleivat and packaged them for a bake sale. Use any jam you like, and for you nut-eaters Nutella would probably rock as a filling.

  • 1 cup soft salted butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 cups organic all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • raspberry jam (If it’s too thin, reduce in a pan and cool completely. I use a whole fruit jam.)

Cream the butter and sugar. Whisk the dry ingredients together in a separate bowl. Add the yolk and vanilla to the butter and blend well. Add the flour mixture and mix just until blended together.

Note: Finns will brown the butter to bring out a nutty flavor. I’ve made these both ways and prefer room temperature butter. Using the browned butter will yield a crumbly dough that you spoon onto the pan. I like a flatter cookie because they are easier to eat, remember the thickness of the finished cookie will be twice as thick as one cookie!

Drop tablespoons of the dough on a parchment sheet covered pan, press them flat with your palm. Bake for about 10 minutes at 350ºF, or until the edges just start to brown. You should have enough to make a dozen sandwiched cookies.

The dough:
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The cookies, ready to be given to lucky friends:
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2013-11-30 09.54.54

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Big Brother was in kindergarten last year and his teacher commented on how much she liked the home-made cookies and breads I’ve sent for snack time.  I offered to bake heart-shaped cookies for Valentine’s Day and she jumped at the chance.  She explained that they should be plain so the students can add frosting and decorations during the class party.  No problem!

I chose a recipe from one of my recent additions to the kitchen library.  This was a previously untested recipe so I was risking complete failure by doing this and not sticking to my recipe for Christmas cutouts.  I held my breath and went ahead.

The recipe only made about a dozen large hearts and I needed to bake at least 27 cookies for the party. After the first pan was cleared off to the cooling racks Little Sister helped herself to a cookie the size of her head. I heard the faint noise of munching behind me and realized what just happened. I couldn’t get mad. I knew another batch would have to be made to make my quota anyways. Pleading with her, I scooted her out of the kitchen and looked for a distraction in the form of a cute fuzzy animated panda. “Panna!” Little Sister plunked herself on the couch with her cookie. The rest were safe for the next 98 minutes.

Heart Cookies for a Decorating Party

Adapted from Sugar Cookies by Martha Stewart Living Magazine (COOKIES cookbook)

  • original recipe, plus
  • 2 tsp cinnamon (added)
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg (added)

I chilled the dough for an hour, then rolled it thicker than the recipe calls for.  I put the giant hearts on parchment paper lined cookie sheets and baked until firm but not browned.  This is a great recipe for any shape of cookie to suit the holiday.

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I know, my iPhone camera sucks, I’m sorry.  This is the only picture I had time to take before all the Snickerdoodles vanished!

There’s been a tremendous amount of change going on in my life and I’ve had to leave the kitchen to get to know more neighbors.  These cookies were a thank you batch for a neighbor, an in kind trade if you will.  Since school started I’ve been driving from work to the school to pick up Big Brother and drop him off, then returning to work.  All told it’s a 1 hour 20 minute excursion at a minimum.  This was wasting precious fuel, my lunch hour, and my wits.  There is no bus service because we only live 2 miles from the school.  There’s no way in hell he is walking, alone, along a 45 mph road for two freaking miles!  So I made the trip.  I asked a neighbor, who has kids at the same school, if she could lend a hand with pickup.  I offered money for gas and instead she wanted cookies!  Sure, I can pay you in cookies!!!  The Snickerdoodle was the first flavor she said she liked.  Done deal.

I’m grateful for the friends and neighbors that have crossed my path.  It’s difficult to come out of my shell (aka kitchen) especially in turbulent times, but those small steps outside of the comfort of the oven, measuring cups, and stacks of flour are now more powerful than I could have imagined.  It gives me a glimmer of hope that things will get better, one batch of cookies at a time.

Next time you see someone down and out, please bake them some cookies.  It will make them feel warm and fuzzy, even if it’s just during that moment they are presented with those warm chewy delights.  They are a light in their darkness.

Snickerdoodles

The recipe I used was from COOKIES by Martha Stewart Living Magazine.  I found a similar recipe on her website here.  Here are the changes to the online recipe you might want to use:

  • no cream of tartar
  • use 2 tsp baking powder instead of baking soda
  • 2 sticks of butter
  • no vegetable shortening
  • add 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • oven at 350ºF

Depending on the size of your dough balls, it may take anywhere from 8 to 14 minutes.  I would go for heaping tablespoon size balls, they result in a chewy center.  The batch made almost 3 dozen regular size cookies (about 3.5 inches in diameter) .  Put a pinch of the cinnamon sugar mix on the balls after you roll them, that way you get extra cinnamon in the middle of the cookie.

We enjoyed these cookies and I hope you will too!

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Remember that roasted fig and strawberry jam I made?  Well, I saved some for a rainy day and found this recipe for homemade fig newtons.  It’s raining, pouring actually, so I took to the kitchen to try out the recipe.  It needs a bit more flour, but the flavour and texture is very similar to the real McCoy.  The strawberries were few in comparison to the figs, but the hint of red-cheeked berries is there in the background.  Next time I will add more strawberry, maybe half and half!

Viva la fig!

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It’s official.  Big Brother is finished kindergarten!  Couldn’t be prouder of him.  His teacher absolutely adores him and I’m sure she will be looking for him in the halls this fall.  Thank you MA for all your hard work!

Today I was fortunate enough to have the day off work so I could help with the party.  A mini buffet of cookies and fruit, juice and chips got a bit of island flare with tiki dudes and fresh whole pineapples.

The graduates dug for prizes in the sandbox or hung out at the lagoon while dancing to Beach Boys and assorted island tunes.

We had a cookie decorating station with all sorts of colors of frosting and sprinkles.  I made a double batch of sugar cookies à la Make It Sweet as the canvases.

There were only a few chocolate cookies left by the time the bells rang and everyone got one last hug from their teachers.  I sent home what was left with the kids.  Of course I took pictures at home before they were devoured!

Congratulations to Big Brother and his friends!

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Today is the grand opening of the new baking supply store, Make It Sweet!

I had the chance to learn basic cookie decorating from the owner, Jennifer Bartos.  She demonstrated how to roll her mother’s sugar cookie dough between parchment paper to an even thickness.  The students mixed bright color gel into large bowls of frosting.  Jennifer showed us how to draw borders and flood the cookies, adding a few flowers, dots, and designs.  Then we got our cookie canvases to play with.

Make It Sweet is located at Burnet Rd/183 next to Pluckers.  You can easily browse the store for all your edible projects.  Check out the website for classes, they fill up quickly!  If you stop in today (May 19) you can partake in the festivities with cookies decorating, fondant, and a cupcake sprinkle bar.

Facebook Page  Website

Here are the cookies I made!

Angry Yellow Bird?

And guess what the kids did with them…

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A double batch of chocolate chip cookies to share with the kids and friends.  The right type of cookie sheet makes a huge difference in how these darlins turn out.  My old single layer sheet pan made the edges brown faster than the double layer pans.  The trick is to slightly under bake, just until the middle is set, then let them hang out on the pan on your wire racks.  They keep cooking as the pans cool.  Every oven is different, and the amount of batter used will affect the baking time too.

Try a test batch of three cookies of all the same size scoop.  Preferably, weigh the scoops on a kitchen scale (I’m dying to find a good deal on a digital scale!) Put the dough along the edges and bake for the minimum amount of time described in the recipe.  I watch the first pan like a hawk, then “calibrate” my baking time according to the test batch.  When you use different pans this theory will no longer apply.

Lesson for today: buy more of the same cookie sheets when I find them on sale, don’t stop at three!

Chocolate Chip Cookies will be available through my bakery for Mother’s Day.  If you’re in the area check out the upcoming sale!

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Little Sister was at the helm of the KitchenAid mixer for this recipe.  She was supposed to be supervising the making of big chewy cookies, which translates to counting the cups and spoonfuls of ingredients going into the bowl.  She wants to help mommy and I’m more than happy to have her with me learning the craft.

Unexpected things can happen when 2-year-olds bake.

I turned around for a second and Little Sis had grabbed the baking soda box and her measuring spoon.  As my eyes and brain tried to work together, she had already dispensed an unknown amount of the white powder into the bowl.  This would not have been so dramatic except there was whipped butter and a measurement of sugar sitting in the bowl at the time of her “addition”.

I had to guess how much was in there and left it as it was and hoped that it was enough and not too much.

Little Sister was allowed to stay and help.  She was now manager of the M&Ms.

Monster Cookies

Adapted from Chunky Peanut, Chocolate, and Cinnamon Cookies from COOKIES by Martha Stewart Living Magazine

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup brown rice flour (or use all-purpose)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup butter at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup M&Ms or Smarties
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350ºF.

Mix flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon in a bowl and set aside.  Cream butter, peanut butter with sugars.  Mix in eggs and vanilla.  Add a little of the flour at a time, then the chocolates.  Chill for 15 minutes (I didn’t).

Drop by large spoonfuls on baking sheets.  Flatten using your palm.  Bake for 10-14 minutes (it will depend on the size of your cookies).

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There are two books I want to tell you about.  The first is a cook book I won from Chef DeHome (thanks again for the beautiful book!).  It is Martha Stewart’s COOKIES and I love this book.  There is a picture of each and every cookie featured in the book.  If you are a fan of her Martha Stewart Living television program, you will remember watching some of these delectable confections come to life.  If only there was smell-a-vision.  At the end there is a section for wrapping your goodies to share with friends and family, all in Martha’s usual whimsical style of color co-ordinated boxes, tissue, and fabric.  I received the book just prior to leaving for the holidays and it was packed and ready to be used at Grandma’s house.  Turned out Grandma made snicker doodles and asked me to bake a cake for Christmas Eve, I read over the recipes during tea and cookie time.  The bonus is not having to download each cookie recipe from the web, now they are all in full color in one place.

The second book is Julie Klam‘s You Had Me At Woof! about her coming into adulthood being led by her trusty companions, Boston Terriers.  I saw this book at the store and Hubby caught me reading it.  I mentioned that it seemed like a good read and it was about Bostons.  Hubby took the very heavy hint and picked up a copy for Christmas.  I finished the book in a matter of days, even with two kids and my own fur baby to take care of.  If you love dogs, own a dog, or want a dog then read this book.  I was laughing, crying, then laughing again by the end.  I will avoid spoiling this quick read and just give it two paws up!

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Saveur.com has a recipe for Alfajores, a light butter cookie sandwiched with dulce de leche.  I took this recipe and added my own flavours for the holiday season:  orange zest and cardamom.

The cookies are very delicate and crumbly.  They need the sticky layer of dulce de leche just to keep from falling apart.  I’m sure a vanilla icing would also work well to glue these soft cookies together.  Use what you like.

Adapted from Saveur.com

1 2/3 cups cornstarch tapioca powder
1 1/4 cups flour  & 1/2 cup for rolling
1 tsp. baking powder
2/3 cup sugar
10 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
1 tbsp. cognac or brandy  3/4 tsp ground cardamom & 1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp. lemon zest  zest of 1 large orange
4 egg yolks
Canned dulce de leche, for filling cookies (or use a vanilla or cream cheese frosting)

Heat oven to 350°. In a bowl, sift together cornstarch, flour, and baking powder; set aside. In a mixer fitted with a paddle, beat together sugar and butter until fluffy. Add cognac and zest; beat. Add yolks one at a time; beat. Add dry ingredients; mix. Transfer dough to a floured surface, knead briefly; divide into 3 pieces. Working with 1 dough piece at a time, roll dough to 1/4″ thickness. Using a 2 1/2″ round cookie cutter, cut out cookies; transfer to parchment paper—lined baking sheets, spaced 1″ apart. Roll the scraps and repeat.

Bake until golden, 12–15 minutes. Let cool. Flip half the cookies over; top each with 1 heaping tsp. dulce de leche. Top with remaining cookies.

MAKES 16 cookie sandwiches

*

Save those egg whites and make a healthy omelette for yourself!

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