I really wanted to make these Chocolate Chunk Peppermint Pudding Cookies, but I couldn’t find the Andes Peppermint Crunch baking chips. Has anyone seen them in the Greater Boston area? Maybe I am not looking in the right places.
Anyway, I was heading to a gathering this weekend and wanted to make something. I had all of the other ingredients on hand, so I substituted a bag of Nestle Peanut Butter and Chocolate morsels for the peppermint chips. I knew they wouldn’t be nearly as festive, but cookies are usually welcomed in any case.
Maybe I’ve just been spoiled by having so many awesome bakers among my family and friends, but I was disappointed by these cookies. Of course, it isn’t really fair to substitute a central ingredient in a recipe and then complain! The cookies are fine, but nothing special. The pudding mix gives them an interesting texture, so the cookies don’t fall squarely in either the “crispy” or “chewy” camps. I almost feel silly trying a new cookie recipe when I have so many amazing ones already on the blog, so next time I’ll go back to one of my favorites!
It seems like everyone is talking about the impending bacon shortage. I can easily do without bacon, but the shortage of canned pumpkin these last few years has been distressing. Based on a quick scan of my grocery stores shelves, it looks like there is plenty (for now.) It just isn’t fall without some pumpkin!
I’ve had this recipe for Pumpkin Spiced Oatmeal Pecan Cookies from Skinnytaste bookmarked for almost a year. I was inspired last week to do a little baking, and this seemed like the perfect choice. I think pecans would be delicious in this recipe, but I substituted dried cranberries instead. They added a little bit of color and a touch of sweetness to these chewy cookies.
This recipe is really easy and uses mostly pantry staples. The cookies do not spread very much at all, so you can go ahead and place them close together on the cookie sheet. Although these are lighter than the average cookie, I still made mine fairly small. They are the perfect addition to your lunchbox or afternoon coffee break. And I still had over half a can of pumpkin leftover…
Some of the best afternoons include an impromptu cooking project with friends! Well, it was impromptu for me anyway, but a friend wanted to make macaroons and I never turn down an invitation to cook, especially when there’s a Kitchen Aid mixer in the house.
We used a very simple Alton Brown recipe with three ingredients: toasted coconut, egg whites, and sugar. The recipe calls for dropping just a teaspoon of batter on the cookie sheet, but we used much closer to a tablespoon so they took a little longer to bake. Still, they came out nicely browned on the outside and chewy on the inside. The picture below doesn’t capture how good the cookies were or how much fun we had!
No matter how busy you might be this week, you can probably find the time to make these incredibly easy Almond Raspberry Cookies. With just 5 (yes, five!) ingredients, you can have these cookies ready for Santa, or anyone else who might enjoy them. They not only look like they came from a bakery, but they taste great too.
My friend Paula is a long time swapper, who won a prize 2 years ago for these Cherry Chocolate Pecan cookies. But this year, she showed us how to keep things simple and still make homemade cookies.
It was another fun cookie swap, although it went by way too fast. There was a tie for 1st place and 2nd place, so we had 4 winners overall this year, but all of the cookies (and bon bons, and chocolate covered pretzels….) were great.
This Mint Chocolate Delight was made by first time swapper Page. They start out like a classic Tollhouse cookie, and then take a fun turn. The crushed candy canes make them look festive, and the cookies have a great fudge-like texture. You can’t go wrong with the combination of chocolate and mint.
Mint Chocolate Delights
2 c. flour
2/3 c. cocoa
1 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1 c. butter, softened
2/3 c. sugar
2/3 c. brown sugar
1 t vanilla extract
1 c. semisweet chocolate morsels
10 candy canes, crushed
Preheat oven to 325F. Combine flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl and set aside. In a large bowl, cream the butter. Add the sugars and vanilla and beat until creamy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Gradually beat in the flour mixture. Stir in the morsels and the dust from the candy canes into the batter, reserving the larger pieces of candy cane. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto a cookie sheet covered in parchment paper. Press the candy cane chunks onto the cookies. Bake the cookies for 6 minutes; allow them to cool on the parchment paper before removing them to cooling racks.
-Adapted from the Nestle Tollhouse Mint Chocolate Delight recipe
While many people have Black Friday traditions that involve shopping and decorating, I prefer our tradition of a fairly lazy day, followed by a big family party in the evening. We were asked to bring a dessert, and settled on these Espresso Chocolate Shortbread Cookies from Smitten Kitchen. (Yes, that’s two Smitten recipes within the span of 3 days.)
The dough was easy to put together, but must be refrigerated for at least 2 hours prior to baking. You place the dough in a gallon size Ziploc bag, and then press it flat which eliminates the need for a rolling pin. This was a neat trick! And, it’s amazing how the texture of the dough changes in the refrigerator, making it easy to slice with a knife. I don’t generally use a ruler for baking projects, but we had some confusion as to the correct dimensions for the shortbread squares. Then there was confusion over whether the lines I cut were crooked. You can decide.
As it turns out, the cookies that were irregularly shaped were just as good as the perfect squares. I really liked this shortbread, and the small pieces were perfect to bring to a party. The espresso flavor was fairly subtle, so I might try using stronger coffee next time. The original recipe also suggests substituting toffee chips for the bittersweet chocolate. Now that we know the tricks to making shortbread, I’ll have to try another version soon.
What’s better than cookie dough? In the summer, that would be cookie dough right from the freezer. And this version doesn’t have any pesky food safety issues because there is no egg. Angela from Oh She Glows came up with this recipe which contains just cashews, oats, flour, sugar, maple syrup, and chocolate chips of course! The whole batch comes together in just a few minutes, and you can roll the dough into balls and pop them in the freezer, or eat them right away. It’s the perfect frozen sweet treat for a hot summer night.
A few weeks ago, I was craving peanut butter cookies, and tried a new cookie recipe. Unfortunately it was a flop, yielding cookies that were totally flat and crumbly. The recipe was from a good source, so I am going to assume it was a baker error.
I am happy to say that these cookies came out better. The oats and crunchy peanut butter give the cookies some real texture. They are still a little dry, but that could be because I used natural peanut butter or because my oven runs hot. They have a pretty intense peanut flavor and are almost more nutty than sweet! Trust me, these will be enjoyed, but I just may need to keep looking for the perfect peanut butter cookie.
No cookie swap is complete without a cloud of powdered sugar, and these cookies fit the bill. They were like perfect chocolate chip studded snowballs! The recipe is similar to Russian Tea Cookies (another Christmas favorite!) with the important addition of chocolate.
1 1/2 c. butter, softened (3 sticks)
3/4 c. powdered sugar
1 T vanilla extract
1/2 t salt
3 c. flour
1 (12 oz.) package semi-sweet mini chocolate chips
1/2 c. finely chopped nuts
Preheat oven to 375F. Beat butter, sugar, vanilla, and salt in a large mixer bowl until creamy. Gradually beat in flour; stir in morsels and nuts. Shape level teaspoons of dough into 1 1/4″ balls. Place on ungreased baking sheet.
Bake 10-12 minutes. Sift powdered sugar over hot cookies on baking sheets. Cool completely.
These peanutty brownie bites were definitely a hit, and won 2nd place at this year’s swap. The baker used crushed graham cracker crumbs, and skipped the peanut garnish on some “for fear of peanut overload”. I liked these because they reminded me of the beloved peanut butter cups, but with the texture of a brownie. Yum!