Showing posts with label cookies. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cookies. Show all posts


Cutler's Gingerbread Cookies with Buttercream Frosting

Tuesday morning at South Fork Hardware local baker and restaurant owner Curt Cutler from Cutler's Cookies taught a Christmas Cookie class. Cutler's has been a household name in Bountiful for over thirty years now.  Curt's mother started the business in the former 5 Points Mall in Bountiful.  What she started has grown into a family business that bakes cookies and cupcakes, and makes sandwiches, soups and salads year round.  Cutler's bakes a variety of specialty cookies too at holiday time. My favorites are the Iced Gingerbread, Mexican Wedding cookies (aka Snowball cookies), and the Gingerbread cookies with Butter cream Frosting. Gingerbread topped with butter cream are one of my all time favorite cookies.
Forget about breakfast. And lunch.
Is a gingerbread cookie an acceptable meal replacement? Yes, I think it is.

Cutler's Gingerbread Cookies with Buttercream Frosting
Cutler's Cookies
print recipe

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup margarine*
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 cup molasses (Curt prefers the Grandma's brand)
1/2 teaspoon slat
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon ginger
1 1/4 teaspoon cloves
1 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
4 1/2 cups cake flour (more if needed, so it's not too sticky)**

Cream butter, margarine and sugar. Add egg and molasses and stir until combined.
Mix dry ingredients together and gradually stir into the molasses mixture.
Chill dough for about 1-2 hours. Chilling the dough makes it easier to handle if rolling dough out to make cut out cookies.
When ready to bake, scoop the dough, using an ice cream or large cookie scoop.
Drop onto a parchment lined baking sheet, about 6 per sheet.
Bake at 350 degrees for about 8-10 minutes. Cookies are done when top is crackled and middle no longer looks wet or shiny.
This dough may be used to make gingerbread men.

-*You may also use all butter, a combination of butter and margarine, or a cup of butter flavored Crisco.
- If desired, roll the dough in sugar before baking.
-**Cutler's uses a commercial cake flour. If you use all purpose flour, start with 4 cups of flour, and add more flour as needed to produce a dough that is not too sticky.

Cutler's Buttercream Frosting:

1 cup butter, room temperature
4 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Beat the butter and the powdered sugar together until smooth in a large bowl, or a mixer with the paddle or whisk attachment. Add vanilla. Beat well. Add milk, a tablespoon at a time until the frosting is at desired consistency. Continue beating until smooth.
Frost the cooled cookies. 


Butter Pecan Nuggets, ABK's Christmas Cookie Extravaganza and The Mighty Wind of 2011

Do you like my Looooong title?
Three items to cover in this post. You remembered this blog (besides being a cooking blog) is also my lame attempt at journaling, right?
First. This in my December Secret Recipe Club post. This recipe comes from Shelby, author of:
"The Life and Loves of Grumpy's Honeybunch".  Shelby  records some of her food adventures for posterity sake. I'm not sure what her hubs name is, she only refers to him as "Grumpy".  My kids thought this was very funny. Anyway, Shelby's blog is filled with yummy looking dishes, but since I was looking for a cookie to start off our Christmas Cookie Extravaganza week, I chose her "Butter Pecan Nuggets". Oh my. Great choice. I love a variety of textures and flavors on my Christmas cookie tray, so this cookie fits the unique shape category.  So cute. It looks like a little cookie package. The dough is all wrapped around the pecan half inside. Drizzled with a little icing and a few festive sprinkles, this cookie is a keeper!  Really simple. Only a few ingredients. I know you are going to love it. Do you still believe me every time I tell you that?
Second. The second annual Christmas Cookie Extravaganza. All week. Christmas cookie recipes. You're gonna love this too.

Dozens of trees down in our cemetery. 
Third. If you live in Utah, unless you are living in a cave, you heard about or experienced the 100 mile per hour winds last Thursday. Our little community weathered the storm last week.  Trees toppled over, fences gone, power out, semi trucks blown over. So many trees gone. Like an old friend passing. So sad.

The tennis court survived, but the trees are history.

Neighborhood trees down...
  Twenty million dollars worth of damage. It looked like a war zone. Right here in Btown. In the end, the most remarkable thing to me was not the damage, but the outpouring of service from people in the community. There have been a steady stream of volunteers working to clean up the trees and debris since the winds died down Thursday afternoon. The buzzing of chain saws has been constant.  A job that would have taken weeks to clean up has been done in a few days.
Good job Btown. I love you.

Miracle workers!

Butter Pecan Nuggets
Grumpy's Honey Bunch
print recipe

3/4 cup pecan halves
1 cup butter
2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2-1/2 cups flour
1 cup sifted powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
4-5 teaspoons half and half or cream or milk
colored or clear sugars

Spread pecans in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Toast in a 325 oven for about 12-15 minutes or til golden. Remove and cool.

In a medium saucepan, combine butter and brown sugar. Heat and stir til butter is melted. Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla. Cool.

Stir in flour til well mixed. Shape into 3/4 inch balls. Press a toasted pecan half into each ball and enclose nut in dough to form an oval. Place on cookie sheet covered with parchment paper. Bake at 325 degrees for 20 minutes or til done. Remove and cool.

Stir together powdered sugar, almond extract and enough cream or milk to make of drizzling consistency. Place frosting in decorating bag and cut at the very tip to make a small hole. Drizzle over cookies. Sprinkle with colored sugar. Yield: 40 nuggets.


Our Favorite Sugar Cookies

When my kids were young, we always made these cookies for Valentines Day, Halloween and Christmas. Last night, I decided to throw together a batch. I love these because the recipe makes about 40 large cookies, enough for eating and sharing. The cookies by themselves are not very sweet. Frosting on these cookies adds just the right amount of sweet.  Yum.
Happy Halloween!

Our Favorite Sugar Cookies
A Bountiful Kitchen
print recipe

1 cup butter
1 cup Crisco shortening
2 1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla
3 eggs

6 cups flour
4 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt

2/3 cup milk

Cream the butter, shortening and sugar together.
Mix in vanilla and eggs. Beat until blended well.
In a separate bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, and salt.
Add flour mixture alternately with milk. Mix at low speed just until all flour and milk are mixed into the butter mixture. Do not over mix.
You may refrigerate at this point, over night or up to three days before baking.
Roll out on floured surface in batches about 1/4 inch thick. Cut with cookie cutters into desired shapes.
Place on ungreased baking sheets about one inch apart.
Bake at 350 degrees for about 12  minutes or until lightly golden on edges.
Yields about 40 3x5 inch cookies

-The dough will spread and puff up. Do not place too close together. If the cookie dough is refrigerated, the dough will not spread as much.

Butter Cream Frosting

1 cup butter, room temperature
6 cups powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
about 1/4 cup milk

Beat butter until soft. Add 3 cups of powdered sugar. Continue mixing on low. Add salt and vanilla. Add 2 more cups of the powdered sugar. Mix until smooth. Add the milk a tablespoon at a time, along with the last cup of powdered sugar. Scrape down sides of bowl, and mix until all ingredients are incorporated and smooth. Add food coloring if desired.
Yields enough frosting for about four dozen cookies.

- I like to color the frosting in batches, so the cookies are not all exactly the same color. To do this, mix in the food coloring at half strength. For instance; the directions to color a batch of frosting calls for 12 drops of yellow and 4 red. I used 6 yellow and 2 red, and frosted about 12 of the cookies. With the remaining frosting, I added in 3 more drops of yellow and 2 red. I frosted 15 of the cookies in this shade of orange. Then I added a few more drops and frosted the remaining cookies. If this is too complicated, just divide the frosting into bowls, and color each bowl a different shade. Or, color the whole bowl of frosting the same shade.
-Also, I'm not a huge fan of using a lot of food coloring, so my frosting is a pale shade. If you like your frosting to be darker in color, you'll have to double the amount of coloring.


Raisin Pecan Oatmeal Cookies

Nuts. Why do kids always say they don't like them?? I was in the mood for a good oatmeal-raisin-nut cookie a few days ago. When I pulled up this recipe, Jake looked at it and said, "I won't like those, because of the nuts."
Oh, really, sorry, guess I'll have to eat them all by myself, I thought.
One hour later, they were sitting on my counter.
Two hours later, half of them were gone.
Four hours later, we were down to 5 cookies.
Wow. I guess he had to choke those down.

Raisin Pecan Oatmeal Cookies
adapted from Barefoot Contessa, Food Network
print recipe

1 1/2 cups pecans
1 1/2 cups raisins
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup dark brown sugar, lightly packed
1 cup granulated sugar
2 extra-large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3 cups old-fashioned oatmeal

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Place the pecans on a sheet pan and bake for 5 minutes, until crisp. Set aside to cool. Chop very coarsely.
Place the raisins in a two cup bowl or measuring cup, with 1/4 cup water. Cover with plastic wrap. Microwave the bowl for about 2-3 minutes on high. Remove, let cool, and carefully take off plastic wrap. Drain off excess water. Set aside to cool.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. With the mixer on low, add the eggs, one at a time, and the vanilla.
Place the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt together into a medium bowl. With the mixer on low, slowly add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture. Add the oats, raisins, and pecans and mix just until combined. Do not over mix.
Using a small ice-cream scoop or a tablespoon, drop 2-inch mounds of dough onto sheet pans lined with parchment paper. Flatten slightly with a damp hand. Bake for 12  minutes, until lightly browned.

-160 reviews and 5 stars on this site, tried and true, this is it.


S'mores Cookies

Time for another installment of the SRC. Yahoo! I love this club. This month my recipe comes from  Mary at Giving Up on Perfect.  Mary blogs about her life in Kansas City as a wife to her high school sweetheart and mom of one adorable little girl. She's a recovering perfectionist who has "given up on perfect and is trying to accept that perfection is probably not attainable in this life".  Oh good, the pressure is off.  If only you could see my house, Mary. 

I loved the idea of S'mores cookies. Mary has a little thing with S'mores recipes (here's a link to her list of recipes). I think she had 4 or 5 on her blog.  Oh, useless fact, August 10th is National S'mores day. Every year. 
Want to be voted best mom on the block? Try out this recipe when your kids go back to school NEXT WEEK.  Yes, a week from Monday. That's when we start back.  
Not sure how I feel about that yet.  Maybe we should have lunch on the 22nd and talk :) 

S'Mores Cookies
adapted from Giving Up on Perfect blog
print recipe

1 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 3/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups chocolate chips
1 cup Golden Grahams cereal
1  1/2 cup mini marshmallows
4 regular size Hershey Bars
9 large marshmallows, sliced in half

Preheat oven to 375.
Cream butter with sugars. Add eggs, one at a time. Beat until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add vanilla.
Add flour, baking soda, salt  and chocolate chips to mixing bowl. Mix just until all dry ingredients are incorporated, about 1 minute.   Fold in  Golden Grahams and mini marshmallows with spatula, do not use mixer.  Fold just until evenly distributed into batter.
With large cookie scoop, or spoon, shape dough into 18 balls (about the size of golf balls) place on parchment lined cookies sheets, 6 cookies per sheet. Press down on each cookie a bit with the back of a large spoon or spatula.
Bake for about 7 minutes.
Remove from oven.
Place one half of a marshmallow on each cookie, put back in oven and bake for an additional 2 minutes.
Remove from oven again, slightly flatten and place 2 rectangles from a broken up Hershey bar on top of marshmallow.
Cook for an additional minute.
Remove from oven (for the last time), with a knife, spread the melted chocolate so it covers the marshmallow.

-I used Golden Grahams instead of regular Graham Crackers, as called for in the original recipe. I'm going to be honest, although I absolutely LOVE Golden Grahams, I didn't like the way the cereal texture changed after baking. So next time, I will probably try regular graham crackers. 1 cup, chopped.
- I experimented with a whole large marshmallow on top, which I thought was too much marshmallow.
Also, no marshmallow on top, with out it, the cookie just lacked the "wow" factor.  I tried some with two squares of chocolate, swirled the chocolate, then pressed another square on top, so the Hershey name showed. I kind of liked the way it looked.


Chocolate Chip Cookie 'n Oreo Brownie Bars

Remember last month when I joined the Secret Recipe Club??  So much fun. This month my assignment was to cook something from Katie's blog: Betcha Can't Eat Just One.
Katie lives on the West Coast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada.  She is a mom of three who teaches preschool and also runs a daycare a few days a week. Lucky for us, she also finds time to BAKE.  
So, as I perused the recipes on her blog, I thought- this looks good, this too, oh this one. Then I clicked on this recipe. Oh my. Is summer over?  Is it necessary to put on a swimsuit again? You may want to just bookmark this and try it in October, when it's sweat pant season.  
Absolutely incredible. I mean, how does it get better than this? CC cookie dough, a layer of OREO'S (my favorite store bought cookie), caramel, and a layer of brownie dough? Serious sugar. 
Loved it. Thanks Katie. 

Chocolate Chip Cookie 'n Oreo Brownie Bars
Katie at Betcha Can't Eat Just One

1 cup unsalted butter, room temp
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tbsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 cups chocolate chips, semi sweet
1 package of Oreo cookies
1 package of brownie mix (to be prepared as directed on the box)  Ghiradelli works well or, home made is always best try this recipe
dulce de leche or caramel topping
Preheat the oven to 350 and line a 9X13 pan with parchment paper
Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla and mix well.
Add the flour, baking soda and salt and mix just until combined. Fold in chocolate chips.
Press the cookie dough evenly into the pan.
Now place the Oreo's on top of the cookie dough.
Spread or drizzle the dulce de leche or caramel topping on top of the oreos.
Prepare brownie batter as directed. Pour/spread brownie batter on top and smooth it around with a spatula.
Bake for  about 50 minutes. Bars are done when toothpick inserted in center comes out with a bit of a moist crumb attached. Remove from oven and let cool completely, about 2 hours.  
Cut into squares and serve. 

-I like using a home made brownie instead of the box mix. If using a box mix, I think Ghiradelli is the best mix. Katie prefers it as well. 
-You may use Double Stuff Oreo's for the "full strength" version. 
-As for the caramel layer, it's optional. You may use a good quality caramel topping such as Mrs. Richardson's or I love Tom's brand available online, or if you live in Btown, sold at Dick's Market and other local grocers.  OR, you can slowly heat a can of sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated milk)  at a very low temperature, until the milk turns thick and caramel color. See directions and a few different methods for this here.  I used the sweetened condensed milk route, and think in the future, if I'm adding the caramel layer, I'll just use Tom's. 


Thin Mint Mud Pie with Homemade Hot Fudge

Do you love Thin Mints?  If so, you'll love this dessert.  Mud pie is a favorite dessert at our home, especially for birthdays.  If you want to make a dessert to WOW the crowd, without much fuss, this is it.
Best ice cream dessert. Ever.

Oh P.S.  I thought you might like to see a pic of Juliette 'Daisy" Gordon Low, the woman who founded the GSA, then called "Girl Guides of America" in 1912. That's her, in the middle.  So cute. I want that hat.

Thin Mint Mud Pie with Homemade Hot Fudge
A Bountiful Kitchen
print recipe

1 package Oreo Cookies, crushed
6 tablespoons butter, melted
1 quart Dryers Limited Edition Girl Scout Thin Mint ice cream
hot fudge
whipped cream, optional

Sheri's Hot Fudge
1 cup whipping cream
1/3 cup sugar
4 oz semi sweet chocolate
2 tablespoons vanilla, or other flavoring

For Mud Pie:
Mix the cookie crumbs and the melted butter in a blender or large bowl.  Press the cookie crumb mixture into a 9 or 10 inch lightly greased spring form pan. Press the crumbs onto the bottom and about 1 inch up the sides. Take the ice cream out of the container with a large spoon.  Place the ice cream over the cookie crust until all of the ice cream is in the spring form pan.  Smooth out with a knife that has been dipped in water.
Spread the cooled, prepared hot fudge sauce over the mud pie, and freeze for at least two, preferably four or more hours.  When ready to serve, remove the sides of the spring form pan.  If desired, top with fresh whipped cream.

For Hot Fudge:
best if made earlier in the day or day ahead if using on mud pie
Place whipping cream, sugar and chocolate together over low heat in heavy pan, until chocolate melts.  Increase heat to medium and cook for about 8 minutes.  
Remove from heat and add vanilla.  Let cool, and use to top ice cream, mud pie, etc. Keep refrigerated.

-You may use any combo of ice cream with this recipe. We love Pralines and Cream, Mint, Choc Chip...
-If you want to use the fudge while it is warm, make the hot fudge and prepare the mud pie with only the crust and ice cream. Let the pie set up in the freezer for two or more hours.  Top with hot fudge after slicing and plating the dessert.
-If you don't have a spring form pan, a pie plate or a 9x9 baking pan will work.


Pan Cream Cheese Sugar Cookies and Jimmer Jersey Giveaway!

If you have known me for any length of time, you have probably had one of these. I originally posted Pan Cream Cheese Sugar Cookies back in September of '08, when I first started blogging. I love sugar cookies. What makes a great sugar cookie? Soft, sweet, tender, great frosting.
This recipe is all of the above combined with the simplicity of a pan cookie. I'll be making these on Friday March 11,   at Macey's in PG. Stop by for a sample!

The giveaway. Do you have it? Jimmer Fever? I asked my son, who is in the MTC (Missionary Training Center) in Provo (Jimmermania HQ) if he has it. Jimmer Fever. He replied in a letter "No Mom, I don't have Jimmer Fever." Not a big surprise. Back in Btown,  I'm here to report no one in my home has Jimmer Fever. Which is a good thing, bc, even though the Utes stink at basketball this year, and have for the past few years, we won't be jumping on the Jimmer Wagon. Won't be wearing any Jimmer jersey's.  What is it with Jimmer (which, btw, my spell check wants to correct to "Dimmer" - ha) "? I know he can make a shot every now and then but, really, do you think he would be Mr. BMOC if his name was say, Ralph?  This actually prompted a discussion I had with Grant late last night (after Mr J scored 52 points in one game).  My public service moment:  Remember back in the 80's when Ty Detmer played at byu, and everyone loved him and started naming their kids "Ty"?? Grant thinks this will start a rash  (no pun intended) of parents naming their kid "Jimmer". Which, I feel personally obligated to tell you THIS IS  A BAD IDEA. If you name your kid Jimmer, and he stinks at basketball, he will get beat up. Don't say I didn't warn you.
I know you're thinking how did a UTE fan end up with two Jimmer Jerseys?  I purchased the Jimmer Jerseys at a fund raiser for a charity. There you have it. And since I don't have the fever, I want to share them with you. Absolutely free. Here are the deets: (Jake HATES it when I say that, so I'll make sure to say it) 

-I have one each : Adult Large, and Youth Large.   
-leave a comment. Not about Jimmer. How about your favorite NCAA tourney memory, ever! Ok, fine, if you don't have a fave tourney memory, go ahead, leave one about Mr. J ;)
-If you are a follower, you get two entries. 
-leave your email address if your signature does not link back to your blog.
-specify which jersey you want- adult or youth. Remember I have only one of each :)
-you have two days to claim the jersey and respond, or another winner will be selected.
-the winners will be announced on Monday, March 14, 2011.
-winner chosen by

Do you think Jimmer would like these? 

Tessa's Pan Cream Cheese Sugar Cookies

1 ½ cups sugar
1 cup butter, softened
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 egg
1 teaspoon almond extract
½ teaspoon vanilla
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 ½ cups flour

Cream butter, cream cheese and sugar. Add egg, almond extract and vanilla, blend until smooth. Mix in all of the dry ingredients. Do not over mix. Grease a jelly roll pan with cooking spray. Spread the dough into the pan with a long knife. I usually sprinkle some flour on the dough, so it is easier to spread. You can also use a mini rolling pin (floured) to spread the dough. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes. Cook just until golden brown.
Let cool completely.

½ cup butter, softened
4 oz cream cheese, softened
3 ½ cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
dash of salt
milk or half and half
food coloring, if desired

Cream the butter, cream cheese and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Add the vanilla and salt. Add milk a little at a time, until the frosting is spreading consistency.


Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

    I've lived here 16 years. Today was the coldest day, ever. I know I like to use the word EVER,  like this EVER -  By itself, for emphasis. But it really was the coldest day. 
    Good day to stay in and look at the snow drifting on the street... you know when it looks just like dry ice, after you pour liquid over the top?? Which btw, reminded me of something that happened a little while back, when I heard the funniest thing. EVER. I was sitting in church, in a meeting for young women.  We were celebrating one of our young women who just turned 18.  Jan, our leader in charge read off a nice little tribute to Abby, who is the cutest 18 year old girl, ever.  Then Abby  said "Yay! Now I can buy dried ice!"  Who says that??!!  So funny.
    Anyway. Today was a good day to stay in and make cookies. Do the laundry. Eat cookies. Change sheets, Do more laundry. Eat more cookies. Have hot cocoa. Wear my hat, that Melinda knit for me (in one day). Wear my hat to Costco, and leave it on the whole time I shopped. Have Jake look at me in Costco and say "Are you going to take that hat off??"  
    Found this recipe and noticed it had 5 stars and over 800 (mostly positive)  reviews on
    You're going to love these. The kosher salt gives them a really amazing salty-sweet flavor. No spices to take away from the pure oatmeal-raisin base. 
    Best new favorite chewy oatmeal raisin cookie. 
    Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies 
    2 cups flour
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    1 teaspoon baking powder
    1 teaspoon kosher salt
    1 cup unsalted butter, softened
    1 cup white sugar
    1 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
    2 large eggs, beaten
    2 teaspoons vanilla
    3 cups old fashioned oats
    1 cup raisins (I like golden  raisins best)
    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
    Cream butter and sugars together. Add eggs and vanilla, and beat until fluffy. Place flour, baking soda, baking powder and kosher salt in bowl with wet ingredients.  Mix just until incorporated. Add 3 cups oats, mix with large spoon. Fold in raisins. 
    Drop dough onto lightly greased cookie sheet, or sheet lined with parchment paper. 
    Bake at 350 degrees for about 9-11 minutes or until golden brown. 
    You may also use a convection setting and bake cookies at 375 for about 7 minutes. 
     - I scooped these out in small one inch balls and baked about 12 per sheet. 
     -The recipe called for 1 1/2 cups of raisins, I thought 1 cup was just right.


Christmas Pecan Shortbread Cookies

Last in the lineup of cookie crazy.
Saved the best for last. I love cookies loaded with nuts.
Grant's Grandmother Lauder's Christmas Pecan Shortbread Cookies. Probably my all time favorite. Versatile too (see tips bottom of page).
So, so, good. Simplicity at its best. Sugar, butter, flour. A little cornstarch and nuts.
Love the way recipes used to be written: "Bake in a slow oven until done".
Typed out, on a real typewriter, using carbon paper. If you are saying "carbon whaaa?" you are probaby young enough to be my kid :) or maybe you are my kid.

Christmas Pecan Shortbread Cookies
Eveline Lauder

1 cup butter, room temperature
2/3 brown sugar
1 cup chopped nuts- pecans, walnuts or a mixture
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
pecans for topping cookies, optional

Cream together butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add 1 cup chopped nuts. Measure and sift together flour, cornstarch and salt. Mix dry ingredients into butter-sugar mixture in mixing bowl with mixer set on lowest setting, or use hands and large spoon to mix.
Turn out to lightly floured surface and knead in flour until cracks appear on surface of dough. Using small 1 inch scoop, make balls of dough.
Place on lightly greased cookie sheet. Flatten slightly with fork and press pecan into center of cookie. Bake at 275 for about 20-30 minutes or until cookie is light golden color and cooked through.

-If the dough is too dry after mixing in dry ingredients and will not hold together, add 1-2 tablespoons milk or water.
-You may also roll out this dough and cut into strips and bake.
-This is a firm, crunchy cookie. perfect for dipping in hot cocoa of coffee.
-The cookies may be rolled into balls and baked without flattening. After removing from oven, roll in powdered sugar. Let cool, then roll in powdered sugar again.
-Leave off the pecan on top and dip half of the cookie into melted chocolate, or melt chocolate and drizzle on top of baked and cooled cookie.
-These cookie freeze well. They also keep well in a cool place, covered, for about a month.


Melinda's Ginger Cream Cookies with Browned Butter Icing

Every Christmas cookie platter NEEDS something ginger. These cookies are soft, like a sugar cookie, with a little brown butter icing. Yum. Kind of like a thin slice of a gingerbread with glaze.
Sweet Ginger Brown! Grant loves to say that. Don't ask me why.

Ginger Cream Cookies with Brown Butter Icing
adapted from Melinda's Grandma Butters recipe

2 cubes or 1 cup butter
1 cup molasses
1 cup white sugar
1 rounded teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon salt
2 beaten eggs
1 tablespoon baking soda, dissolved in 1/4 cup water
6 cups flour, approximately (I use about 7 cups total)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Bring butter, molasses, sugar, spices and salt to boil. Cool.
Pour into large bowl.
Add two beaten eggs.
Add the soda/ water mixture to the batter. The batter will foam up a bit.
Add the flour 1 cup at a time. After mixing in flour, add more if needed to produce dough that is not too sticky to roll out. Roll out a portion of the dough with floured rolling pin to about 1/4 inch thickness.
Using a cookie or biscuit cutter 2 1/4 inch in diameter, cut the cookies and place on ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake for about 8 minutes at 375 degrees. Ice while cookies are warm.

Brown Butter Icing:
(see tip #4 below)

1 cube or 1/2 cup butter
1/3 cup cream, half and half or milk (if you want the icing to be thin, use milk)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 lb powdered sugar
dash salt

Brown butter over medium heat in saucepan. Remove from heat as soon as butter turns golden. Add rest of ingredients. Ice cookies while still warm.

yield about 4 dozen cookies.

After making a few batches, I learned the following:
1. Simple cookies.
2. Don't need to be refrigerated, but you may refrigerate after assembling the dough.
3. Clear counter space, you'll need it to leave the cookies out till the icing is set up.
4. Browned Butter : Click here for a little tutorial. It took me 3 batches to get this semi-right.
Key: patience. Don't turn the heat up too high. Melinda's icing turns out more brown than mine. Not sure why? I found that if I continued to brown the butter, it burnt. So, mine has little flecks of brown in it, instead of being brown all the way through.
Note to me: This is not difficult, unless you are me, and you make it difficult.
5. Once you start baking, you need to make the icing, so it will be ready when the cookies come out of the oven.
6. These cookies freeze well (yes, before and after frosted).
7. My modifications: Melinda's recipe calls for 3 eggs. I like my cookies a little more on the dense side, so I reduced it to 2 eggs. Also, added some ground cloves for a little extra bit of flavor, and increased the baking temp to 375 for 8 minutes instead of 350, to give the cookies a little more crust on the outside but still soft inside.


River's Run Almond Orange Shortbread

When we visited Will and Mary at River's Run last fall, Leisa made this shortbread cookie. Shortbread has always been Grant's favorite. We loved these thin sweet cookies with a hint of orange and crunchy almonds.
Like the rectangular shape too. I love having a variety of shapes, flavors and textures on my holiday cookie plate. These things are a big deal to me. Ranks right up there with world peace.

River's Run Almond Orange Shortbread Cookies
adapted from Martha Stewart Living 2008
print recipe

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup confectioners' sugar
3/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
Grated zest of 1 orange (about 2 teaspoons)
3/4 cup sliced or chopped almonds

In a mixer bowl, beat butter, sugar, almond extract, and salt until smooth. With mixer on low speed, add flour and orange zest; mix just until a dough forms. Add almonds and mix gently till nuts are incorporated throughout dough.
On a clean surface, form dough into a rectangular log, 12 inches long, 2 1/2 inches wide, and 1 inch thick. Wrap log in wax or parchment paper, and freeze until firm, at least 1 hour and up to 3 months. If freezing longer than 1 day, wrap log again, in plastic wrap.
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Remove dough from freezer. (If dough has been in freezer a long time and is frozen solid, let it sit at room temperature 30 minutes so it slices without crumbling.)
With a sharp knife, cut dough into 1/4-inch-thick slices; place on ungreased baking sheet at least 1 inch apart. Bake until edges just begin to turn golden, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool 5 minutes on baking sheet; transfer cookies to a rack to cool completely.

-I keep this in the refrigerator, not freezer if I am going to bake within a couple of weeks.
-You can use any type of citrus zest: lime, lemon, orange in this cookie.
-Dipped in chocolate...yes.


Lime-Glazed Coconut Snowballs

Day two of the Great Cookie Extravaganza. It's not really an extravaganza, but I like the way that sounds.
Last year, Kathy Stephenson Food Writer at the Salt Lake Tribune, set up a photo shoot for several home cooks and food bloggers in the SLC area. Kathy asked us to bring in our favorite Christmas cookies and to be prepared to have the cookies (and ourselves) photographed for an upcoming article. There were plates and plates of treats on tables lining the walls of the studio. As I was leaving, Maria ( local food blogger at Two Peas and Their Pod ) offered me a Lime Glazed Coconut Snowball. It looked like an ordinary little coconut covered cookie.
Not ordinary at all.
Tart lime, coconut, soft, sweet. You're gonna love this one.

Lime-Glazed Coconut Snowballs
print recipe

Butter Cookie Dough
2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1-2 teaspoon grated lime zest
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
16 tablespoons unsalted butter (2 sticks), cut into
sixteen 1/2-inch pieces, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons cream cheese , room temperature

1 tablespoon cream cheese , room temperature
3 tablespoons lime juice
1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 1/2 cups sweetened shredded coconut , pulsed in food
processor until finely chopped, about fifteen 1-second pulses

In bowl of standing mixer fitted with flat beater, mix flour, lime zest, sugar, and salt on low speed until combined. With mixer running on low, add butter 1 piece at a time; continue to mix until mixture looks crumbly and slightly wet, about 1 minute longer. Add vanilla and cream cheese and mix on low until dough just begins to form large clumps, about 30 seconds.
Roll dough into 1-inch balls. Place on parchment-lined baking sheets, spacing about 1 1/2
inches apart. Bake in 375-degree oven until lightly browned, about 12 minutes. Cool.

Beat cream cheese and 2 tablespoons lime juice in medium bowl until combined. Mix in confectioners’ sugar until smooth, adding remaining lime juice as needed until glaze is thin enough to spread easily.
Dip tops of cookies into glaze and then dip into coconut. Set cookies on baking sheet; let stand until glaze dries about 10-20 minutes.


Chocolate Sandwich Candy Cane Cookies

The snow is finally melting, spring is coming...WAIT, it's only December??

This was the view out our back door, the Sunday after Thanksgiving.

The snow started a little early this year, and came in a big sha-bang. Cold weather and snow or rain always compels me to bake. Let's be honest, I'm always compelled to bake. Even when it's 106 degrees. Isn't this why we have AC???
Christmas time sends me in to a bit of a baking frenzy. I used to bake INSANE amounts of treats between Thanksgiving and Christmas. I've toned that down over the years. Now, I mostly bake for our family. Things we love. Trying a few new recipes mixed with tried and true favorites makes us all happy. For the next few days, I'll post a mixture of both.
This recipe is a new one- to me. I loved the way the pink frosting rolled in candy canes looked against the dark chocolate cookies. Wouldn't these look great in a cello bag with a pretty ribbon? Yum.

This photo
makes me
The cookie
on the right
looks like
it has been banished
from the
leaning tower
of cookies.

Chocolate Candy Cane Cookies
Bon App├ętit December 2005
print recipe

Yield: Makes about 18-30 sandwich cookies,
depending on size of cookie scoop

1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably Dutch-process)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 large egg
2 tablespoons milk (if needed)*

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 teaspoon peppermint extract ( I used about 1/4 tsp)
2 drops (or more) red food coloring

1/2 cup crushed red-and-white-striped candy canes or hard peppermint candies (about 4 ounces)

For cookies:
Whisk flour, cocoa, and salt in medium bowl to blend. Using electric mixer, beat sugar and butter in large bowl until well blended. Beat in egg. Add dry ingredients; beat until blended. Add milk if needed to make dough soft.
Refrigerate dough 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Scoop out dough by level tablespoonfuls, then roll into smooth balls. Place balls on prepared baking sheets, spacing about 2 inches apart. Using bottom of glass or hands, flatten each ball to 2-inch round (edges will crack). Bake until cookies no longer look wet and small indentation appears when tops of cookies are lightly touched with fingers, about 11 minutes (do not over bake or cookies will become too crisp). Cool on sheet 5 minutes. Transfer chocolate cookies to racks and cool completely.

For filling:
Using electric mixer, beat powdered sugar and butter in medium bowl until well blended. Add peppermint extract and 2 drops food coloring. Beat until light pink and well blended, adding more food coloring by dropfuls if darker pink color is desired. Spread 2 generous teaspoons filling evenly over flat side of 1 cookie to edges; top with another cookie, flat side down, pressing gently to adhere. Repeat with remaining cookies and peppermint filling.
Place crushed candy canes on plate. Roll edges of cookie sandwiches in crushed candies (candies will adhere to filling). Cookie sandwiches can be made ahead. Store in single layer in airtight container at room temperature up to 3 days or freeze up to 2 weeks.

-*Our climate is really dry, so I needed to add the 2 tablespoons of milk to make the dough pliable. After reading reviews on the Epicurious site, other readers had the same problem.
I'm sure water would also work as an acceptable alternative.
-The cookies are very sweet and rich, so I used a 1" cookie scoop and made small cookies.