Cookie Giants

As I was looking for something to cook for dinner in the freezer, this morning, I came across some great ingredients left from Christmas baking and decided to make a batch of cookies. This cookie recipe has a lot of leeway in what you want to add but here is how I devised my version.

Cookie Giants

2 cups creamy peanut butter
2/3 cup softened butter
1 1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
4 eggs
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon corn syrup
1 tablespoon freshly grated orange zest
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3 cups uncooked oatmeal
3 cups all-purpose flour (I went gluten-free and used King Arthur’s Measure for Measure Gluten-Free blend)
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1 cup chocolate M&M’s
1 cup roughly chopped pecans
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
1/2 cup English toffee baking bits

In a large mixing bowl, cream together the peanut butter, butter, and sugars until fluffy. Beat in the eggs, baking soda, vanilla, cinnamon, orange zest. and corn syrup. Add in the oatmeal and flour and stir in to combine. Add in the the rest of the ingredients making sure to distribute them evenly in the dough.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line baking sheets with parchment paper. Scoop up 1/4 cup portions of the dough and place them on the prepared baking sheet about three inches apart to allow for spreading. Bake for approximately 15 minutes or until the cookies are nicely browned and set.

Cookies with Crunch

I have made a lot of cookies in my time and while I enjoy fancy icing and interesting ingredients, the cookie I prefer to settle down with along side a cup of hot tea will always be these cookies. They have flavor, they have crunch, and they have a variety of different tastes as you make your way through several of them because, of course, you deserve them!

Cookies With Crunch
1 cup shortening
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon freshly-grated orange zest
1 cup oatmeal
1 cup of your favorite flaked cereal (I like the ones that pack the most grains)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup shredded coconut

Cream shortening and sugars until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla and mix well. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix until well combined.

On parchment-lined baking sheets, drop rounded teaspoons of dough about two inches apart to allow for spreading. Bake in a 350 degree oven for approximately ten minutes our until golden brown. Let rest on baking sheet for a few minutes before removing them to the cooling rack. Make approximately six dozen cookies.

Refrigerator Cookies – An Easy Recipe

Refrigerator cookies are a favorite of mine. You can make a batch of cookies and put them in the refrigerator for later use. The time comes that you need a sweet snack, you preheat your oven, slice some cookie dough into rounds and bake. You can have your kitchen smelling amazing within minutes and thoroughly impressing your family.

This is a favorite recipe of mine. Often I will double the recipe to have some emergency dessert/snacks at the ready!

Slightly Citrus Sugar Cookies

2/3 cup butter
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons of finely grated orange zest

Cream the butter until soft and fluffy. Beat in the sugar until well incorporated then add the eggs and vanilla, beating until smooth.

Stir together the flour, baking powder, nutmeg, salt, and zest together in a separate bowl. Now, add it to the butter mixture until well-mixed but don’t over beat it!

On a sheet of waxed paper, form your dough into a long log about two or three inches in diameter. Wrap it into the waxed paper and refrigerate for four hours to overnight.

Now you have two choices. You can cut slices of cookie rounds for baking or you can roll out your dough and use cookie cutters!

Anyway, put your cookies on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 8-10 minutes. Let rest on the baking sheet for a few minutes before removing them to a cooling rack. You will have approximately four dozen cookies.

For a fancier cookies, you can brush the tops of your cookies with slightly beaten egg white and sprinkle with finely chopped nuts, colored sugar, or other cookie decorations before baking. A simple icing would be good, too. Extra fancy? Cut and bake cookies into rounds and make sandwich cookies filling them with jam, melted chocolate, or peanut butter.

Walnut Spice Cookies

Walnut Spice Cookies

2 large eggs
2/3 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon milk
½ cup wheat germ
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Grated zest of one orange, finely chopped
2/3 cup roughly chopped walnuts

Beat the eggs and then stir in the oil, milk and wheat germ. Stir in the sugar until it thickens and loses its graininess.

Stir together the flour, baking power, salt, and spices and blend into the wet mixture. Add the vanilla, zest, and walnuts.

Drop by teaspoonfuls onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet about two inches apart. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for approximately 8-10 minutes or until set and golden brown. Makes about 4 dozen cookies.

Icing glaze
1 ½ cups confectioners sugar
Enough orange juice to make a thin glaze

Dip the top of each cooking into the glaze and let dry on a cooling rack. Before they dry, you can sprinkle them with colorful decorations, bits of grated chocolate, etc.

Cookies and Memories . . .

I took a couple of days before Christmas to make Christmas cookies. I guess I was feeling nostalgic and probably missing my mother who has been gone for over ten years now but suddenly decided to include a batch of a favorite Christmas cookie in the bunch – Pfeffernusse. It is a small, roundish cookie with a lot of spice packed into it covered in a thin icing. To those used to cutout cookies loaded with icing and decorations, these might be pretty plain but enjoying a few of them with hot coffee or tea and you know you just found the best of the bunch. Not a difficult recipe but a very spicy one!

Pfeffernusse Cookies (translation: Pepper Nut Cookies)

2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup almond flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
½ teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground mace
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ cup packed dark brown sugar
1/3 cup honey
5 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons thick sour cream
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Combine all the dry ingredients and set aside. Combine the brown sugar, honey, butter, and sour cream and stir together until melted and smooth. Cool for five minutes and then stir in the flour mixture. Add the egg and vanilla and mix in thoroughly. Bring the dough together into a ball and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate four hours to overnight to let the flavors develop.

To bake:
Preheat oven to 350 degree.

Form the dough into balls about an inch in size. A cookie scoop makes this an easy job if you have one. Keep the dough chilled so work quickly.

Place the the cookies on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake approximately 15-18 minutes or until browned on the bottom. Let cookies cool before removing them to a cooling rack. When the cookies are completely cooled, it is time to make the glaze.

Glaze:
2 cups confectioner’s sugar
3 tablespoons of hot water or enough to make a workable glaze. Dip each cookie, face down, into the glaze, let excess drip off, and place on a cooling rack to dry. If you are quick or have a helper, you can use some colorful sprinkles on them.

The cookies can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container.

All Your Christmas Cookies in One Recipe!

When I was little, my mother had a similar recipe for making many kinds of cookies out of one dough. Over the years, it has evolved so here are some of my favorite ways to make use of one cookie dough for a variety of flavors. We used to have Christmas Cookie Baking days with friends and this was always a great way to get started. Another plus is that you can make up all your favorite options listed and refrigerate them and spread out the baking time over several days. This is also your warning . . . December is tomorrow so can Christmas be coming rather quickly?

All Your Christmas Cookies in One Recipe
5 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons Cream of Tartar
½ teaspoon salt
2 cups butter
3 cups powdered sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons butter flavoring/extract
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg

Cream butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Add in eggs, extracts and spices. Mix in the dry ingredients until well-blended.

Now, you are ready to bake . . . But what kind of cookies do you want to make? All this beautiful dough ready for creation . . . Divide your dough into eight portions and start thinking!

Cherry-Orange Drops
Additions:
1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
2 teaspoons fresh orange juice
½ cup diced green and red maraschino cherries
½ cup finely chopped walnuts

Mix in a an eighth of your prepared dough. Refrigerate dough for an hour. Drop by teaspoonfuls on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 5-6 minutes or until golden in a preheated 375 degree oven.

Wedding Cookies
Additions:
Those popular Wedding cookies will take another eighth of your dough Simply stir in 1 cup of finely chopped pecans and chill dough for four hours. When dough is ready, shape into small balls on a parchment-line baking sheet. Cookie scoops make this easy. You don’t want golf ball size here. Bake at 375 degrees until set and browned on the bottom, depending on the size of the balls, about 5-8 minutes. Watch them carefully! Remove from oven and let rest for a few minutes. Meanwhile, prepare a cup of powdered sugar in a bowl. If you happen to have vanilla powder on hand, do put a few teaspoons in the sugar. Now roll each of the warm cookie balls in the sugar and set aside to complete cooling. You want to do this when they are still warm.

Chocolate Cinnamon Balls
Additions:
Similar to the Wedding Cookies but with a spicy, chocolate element. Add in ½ cup finely diced walnuts and ½ cup of mini-chocolate chips. Follow the directions for baking the cookies like the Wedding Cookies. Let the cookies rest before rolling them in a mixture of ½ cup granulated sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, and a dash of ground cloves.

Crispy Cut-Out Cookies
No additions here but you will need to chill the dough a couple of hours to facilitate rolling it out. On a floured surface, roll out the dough to about an eighth of an inch thick. The fun part? Using your choice of cookie cutters to create you edible Christmas good wishes. Place your cookies on a parchment-line baking sheet(s) and bake about 6-8 minutes in 375 degree oven. Watch carefully to insure golden cookies. A quick brush of icing is a cup of powdered sugar and enough cream or milk to form a spreadable icing. Those plastic pastry brushes are great from quick icing. Be sure to have some sparkly sugar or colorful decorations to add before the icing sets.

Gingerbread Men
Additions:
1/4 cup molasses
1 ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
Follow the directions for cooling, cutting, and baking the Crispy Cut-Out Cookies. Hope you have a gingerbread man cookie cutter on hand!

Chocolate Sandwich cookies
Again, no additions but a fun, tasty cookie. Take your eighth portion of dough, divide in half, and roll each into a roll about 1 ½- inches in diameter. Refrigerate a couple of hours and then slice the cookie rounds about an eighth thick and place on parchment-lined baking sheets and bake in 375 degree oven for 5-8 minutes. Let cool a bit before removing to a cooling rack. Meanwhile, carefully melt a cup of milk chocolate chips. Take one cookie and spread some chocolate on the bottom and sandwich it (bottoms sides facing) with another cookie. For a fun decoration, when the cookie sandwiches are done, Melt ½ cup white, mint, or peanut butter chips (Your choice!) and drizzle it over the tops of the cookies and sprinkle with some colorful sugar or decoration.

Sugared Cookies
No additions but some colorful sugar would work well here. As usual, make sure the dough has been refrigerated at least an hour. Scoop up heaping teaspoonfuls of the dough, roll in the sugar, and place about two-inches apart on the parchment-lined baking sheets. Press gently down on each cookie – not TOO thin! Bake for approximately 5-6 minutes or until lightly golden in 375-degree oven. Let rest before removing to cooling racks.

Brown Butter Frosted Walnut-Nut Drops
Additions:
1 cup finely chopped walnuts
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Mix in the walnuts/cinnamon and refrigerate the dough. Drop dough by teaspoonfuls on parchment-lined baking sheets about two-inches apart. Bake for approximately 5-7 minutes or until golden and set. Now, this is what elevates the cookie to dramatically tasty! In a small pot, melt a stick of butter and watching carefully cook it until it starts to brown, stirring constantly. Remove from stove and add 3/4 cup powdered sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and enough cream or milk to combine. Mix well. It should not be runny but not too thick, either. Add drops of milk or cream if it is too thick. Now, pick up each cooled cooking and dip it halfway into the icing and set back on the cooling rack to set. Before it sets, however, would be a good time to sprinkle some chopped nuts or colorful decorations on them.

Chocolate Peppermint Patty Cookies
Additions:
2 ounces of melted and cooled baking chocolate
Mix the chocolate into your eighth portion of dough thoroughly. Divide in two and form into two rolls about 1 ½-inches in diameter and cool for two hours. Slice off rounds of cookies into approximately one-eighth slices. Place on the parchment-line baking sheets and bake for 5-6 minutes. They should be set but be careful of scorching. Chocolate tends to do that! Let rest on baking sheets before removing to cooling rack. Meanwhile, beat 1½ sticks of softened butter with approximately two cups powdered sugar. Drops of milk or cream helps if it is too thick. You need fluffy and spreadable here. Tint it with a tiny bit of red food coloring to get a pink hue. You can add ½ cup of crushed candy cane to the frosting or simply flavor with a drop of peppermint extract.

Chocolate Sandwich Cookies
Prepare the dough and baking as shown above for the Chocolate Peppermint Patty cookies. This time, beat together ½ stick of softened butter, 1 cup peanut butter, 1 cup powdered sugar, and enough cream or milk if it needs thinning down a bit. Fill the cookies as shown in previous recipe. For an added treat, melt 1 ½ cups of semi-sweet chocolate chips and dip each cookie half way in and then set on waxed paper to set.

Yes, I know there are eleven choices here. You can pick our favorite eight! You can also divide a couple of your ‘eighths’ of dough in half which would work well with the drop cookies to try all eleven ideas.

Crispy Crunchy Garbage Cookies

The debates are coming up so why not bake something to enjoy even as we may choke a bit on one or the other candidate’s political faux pas. My treat of choice, given the occasion would be Crispy Crunchy Garbage Cookies. It is a long-time favorite of my family so hope it’s good memories won’t be tainted in view of the debate.

This recipe has lots of room for additions and subtraction of ingredients although it my require a bit more or less flour in some instance but you can tell from the texture of the dough. The recipe calls for shortening which is what gives it the crunch. Want a chewier cookie, substitute butter for the shortening.

Crispy Crunchy Garbage Cookies

1 cup shortening
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Grated zest of one lemon
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground cloves
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup flaked cereal (raisin bran provided raisins)
½ cup roughly chopped walnuts
½ cup shredded coconut

Cream shortening and add sugars gradually, continuing to cream until light and fulffy. Add eggs, vanilla, zest, and spices. Mix well. Add flour and baking soda to blend. Fold in oats, cereal, nuts, and coconut.

Drop by tablespoons onto either a parchment lined or lightly greased baking sheet. Bake approximately ten minutes in preheated 375 degree oven. Let rest on baking sheet a moment before removing to cooling rack. Makes about 4-5 dozen cookies.

The cookies do spread but how much depends on the weather (dry or damp), your oven, etc. I always do a trial batch with about four on the baking sheet to see how much room I will actually have to allow.