Category Archives: Cookies

Pumpkin Oatmeal Breakfast Bars

PumpkinOatmealBreakfastBars

It’s that time of year – the weather is starting to cool down (then warms up again just when you think it’s time to pull out the sweaters).  Around this time of year, I start thinking, dreaming, of the leaves turning.  I joyfully browse the Oriental Trading Co. catalog for Halloween goodies, and get excited to see pumpkin everything!

Yes, I am one of those people who could drink a PSL (pumpkin spice latte) year round, but don’t.  Because that is something to look forward to.  Fall is my favorite season.  I love making warm soup, baking fresh bread, and experimenting with fall recipes.

I ran across a recipe from Modern Parents Messy Kids for Super Powered Oatmeal Bars.  While my kids can down an entire banana in about 30 seconds (which is pretty impressive when you only have 7 teeth), I am not much of a banana fan.  So, I decided to modify the recipe to replace bananas with pumpkin.  I also added pumpkin pie spice, a drizzle of molasses, and chocolate.  Well, pumpkin chocolate chip cookies are one of the BEST.  And breakfast can’t be too healthy all the time.  Plus, chocolate comes from a bean so its basically a vegetable anyway.  Right?

The bars made from this recipe are dense, soft and chewy.  Plus, they really fill you up, and you can eat them on the go!

Hope you are looking forward to the fall season.  🙂

Pumpkin Oatmeal Breakfast Bars

  • 1 large can (29 oz.) pumpkin puree (NOT pumpkin pie mix)
  • 3 cups milk
  • 2 Tbsp almond butter
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch salt
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 Tbsp molasses
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 cup raisins or craisins
  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 2 cups steel cut oats
  • 1/2 cup flax seeds, ground
  • 1/2 cup chia seeds
  • 2 cups chocolate chips (optional)
  • 2 cups pecans (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Line 2 – 9″x13″ pans with parchment paper.  Set aside.
  2. Place all ingredients in a large bowl and stir until well mixed.
  3. Divide mixture in half, and place half in each pan.  Smooth into an even layer with a rubber spatula.
  4. Bake 45-50 minutes, or until the middle is done (check with a toothpick to make sure it isn’t too goopy).
  5. Lift the bars out by the parchment, and let cool completely.  Cut each  pan into 18-20 bars.  Wrap each in plastic wrap, then in a ziptop freezer bag, and freeze, if desired.
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Tiramisu

Wow!  It’s the end of August.  How crazy is that?  Doesn’t it feel like the summer has flown by?  And it was HOT this summer, wasn’t it?  It’s still in the 90’s all this week.  We’re generally at least 10 degrees cooler by now.

I’m not complaining.  I’m relishing every last moment of summer.  Sweet crispy cucumbers, juicy tomatoes, snappy beans and summer squash.  But what about the sweet side of things?

My husband got a craving over the weekend.  A craving that required no actual cooking.  Nice!

This recipe is very easy to put together.  Just be sure to let it sit at least 4 hours before digging in– overnight is even better.  Hope you enjoy!

Tiramisu

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  • 8 oz. mascarpone cheese
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 6 oz. strong brewed coffee
  • 2 oz. grand marnier liquor
  • 1 package (200 g) lady fingers (I like the crispy kind)
  • 4 Tbsp mini chocolate chips, divided
  • 2 Tbsp cocoa, divided (I used Hershey’s Special Dark)
  1. Blend the mascarpone and sugar until well whipped.  It should look a lot like whipped butter.  Add in the vanilla extract and blend well.
  2. In a separate bowl, whip the heavy whipping cream to the firm peak stage.
  3. Mix about 1/3 0f the whipped cream into the mascarpone mixture and blend well.  Gently fold in the remaining whipped cream.
  4. Mix the coffee and liquor.  I find its easier to put it in a squueze bottle.
  5. Line the bottom 0f an 8″ x 8″ pan with a single layer of lady fingers.  Squeeze about half the coffee-liquor mixture on top, evenly coating the cookies with liquid.
  6. Dollop half of the mascarpone mixture on top and smooth out with a rubber spatula.  Sprinkle about 2 Tbsp mini chocolate chips on top.
  7. Arrange a final layer of ladyfingers on top and coat the cookies with the remaining coffee-liquor mixture.
  8. Dollop the remaining mascarpone mixture on top of the ladyfingers and smooth out.  Place cocoa in a small sieve and sprinkle evenly on top.  Sprinkle with 2 Tbsp mini chocolate chips.
  9. Wrap tightly and refrigerate at least 4 hours (overnight is better).
  10. Serve cold and enjoy!

Almond Sugar Cookies with Vanilla-Almond Buttercream

When I was growing up, my Mom would make sugar cookies and bring them to work every Valentine’s Day.  They were a special treat and we got to help her frost them.  And we got to have a cookie for breakfast.  What kid wouldn’t love that? 🙂

I may have been a little late, but I carried on that tradition this year!  I set out the cookies, the frosting, and had several fun toppings like sprinkles, red-hots, conversation hearts, and gum drops.  Everyone had fun decorating their cookie.  One coworker even made a double-decker!

These cookies are soft and delicately flavored with almond extract.  They are sure to be one of your favorites!  If you don’t like the flavor of almonds, just make Vanilla Sugar Cookies instead.

Almond Sugar Cookies

  • 1 cup shortening (do not use butter flavored)
  • 1 cup sour cream (light sour cream is ok, but DO NOT use fat free)
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 lg eggs
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 6 cups all purpose flour
  1.  Cream shortening, sour cream, and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, and blend well. Add the almond extract and stir to combine.
  2.  Whisk the baking powder and salt into the all purpose flour, then slowly add to the sour cream mixture, a cup at a time, beating well after each addition. The dough will be very stiff, but shouldn’t be crumbly. I like to add just 1/2 cup at a time after I’ve added about 3/4th of the flour. Pat dough into a container, cover with a lid, and refrigerate at least 2 hours or at least overnight.
  3.  Preheat oven to 350°F and line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  4.  Cut the dough into 4 sections and roll one section at a time on a well floured surface to a thickness of 1/4-inch. Place the dough in the fridge when not being rolled. Use 3-5 inch cookie cutters to cut the cookies and carefully place on the cookie sheets. If the dough sticks to the counter, use some unflavored dental floss to slide underneath the dough (between the dough and the counter).
  5.  Bake for 8 to 11 minutes– do not overbake or the cookies will be dry. The cookies should be barely lightly browned on the bottom. Let stand in the pan for a couple minutes, then remove the whole sheet of parchment to a wire cooling rack.
  6.  Store in an airtight container on the counter to keep the cookies soft. Frost when cooled to room temperature.

Vanilla-Almond Buttercream Frosting

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 5 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 to 5 Tbsp Milk
  1. Cream butter and shortening in a stand mixer or with electric mixer until well blended, stopping to scrape down the bowl a few times. Add in vanilla and mix well.
  2.  Add the powdered sugar, a cup at a time, beating well with each addition. After adding the 3rd cup, add a Tbsp of milk. Alternate the sugar and milk until all the sugar is added. Add an additional 1 to 2 Tbsp milk if needed to reach spreading consistency.
  3.  For cookies, remove a couple scoops to a smaller bowl for coloring if desired. Be sure to stir well after the addition of food coloring to ensure a streak-free frosting.
 
Note: This frosting may be spread on top of cookies or placed in a pastry bag for piping onto the cookies. Finish decorations with candy and sprinkles. Let sit out for a few hours or overnight before stacking in an airtight container between sheets of waxed paper for storage.
 

Hope you had a lovely Valentine’s Day!

Chinese Almond Cookies

Rather than the usual Christmas Party, the good people I work with came up with a different potluck idea this year. 

Times are hard- budgets have been cut and the usual Christmas Cheer has been scaled back a bit this year.  That didnt’ stop us!

We held a Christmas Cultural Extravaganza this year.  We divided into 7 teams, each with a different theme/culture.  There were foods and recipes from across the globe: Cajun, German, Asian, Polynesian, Southern, Indian, and ‘Bubba Gump’.  Everything was delicious!

My group made the Asian fare.  These are the almond cookies we made.  At first, we followed the recipe from AllRecipes.com.  The cookies were too crumbly, so we added milk to make them easier to form.  Also, we subbed in 1/2 cup butter and 1/2 cup butter-flavored crisco for the lard.  The resulting cookies were great!  They puffed up into golden almond deliciousness.  We hope you enjoy!

Chinese Almond Cookies

Adapted from Chinese Restaurant Almond Cookies

  • 2-3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, cold
  • 1/2 cup butter-flavored crisco, cold
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup cold milk
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 48 almonds
  • eggwash (1 egg beaten with 1 Tbsp water)
  1.  Preheat oven to 325°F.
  2. Sift flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl.  Cut in the butter and crisco with a pastry blender or two knives until the mixture resembles course cornmeal.  Add egg, milk, and almond extract.  Mix well.
  3. Roll dough into 1-inch balls.  Set them 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.  Place an almond on top of each cookie and press down to flatten slightly.  Lightly brush the top of each cookie with egg wash.
  4. Bake 15 to 18 minutes or until just beginning to brown.  Cool on a rack before serving.

Gingersnap Cookies

Due to an unfortunate accident with the frozen cookie dough, we didn’t get to taste these cookies.  Dr. Marcy assured us this is an excellent recipe so I’m posting it anyway!  Just be sure to pack the dough into a METAL loaf pan (not a glass one) and DON’T set the pan in the door of the freezer.

Gingersnap Cookies
www.elise.com/recipes/archives/000868gingersnap_cookies.php

8 oz. unsalted butter, softened
1-1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1-1/2 large eggs or 2 small eggs
1/3 cup molasses
3 cups all purpose flour
2-1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2-1/2 tsp cinnamon
2-1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp ground black pepper

1.  Cream butter until soft.  Add sugar and beat until light and fluffy.  Add vanilla and eggs, and beat until well incorporated and smooth.  Add molasses and beat until well mixed.

2.  Sift dry ingredients; add to the molasses mixture, 1/3 at a time.  Mix only until the dry ingredients are incorporated. 

3.  Line a 9″ x 5″ METAL loaf pan with plastic wrap so that it hangs out over the pan.  Press the dough into the bottom of the pan.  Pack it tightly and try to make the top as level as possible.  Cover the dough with plastic wrap and freeze overnight.

4.  Unwrap and remove dough from the pan.  Slice the brick into thin slices, no more than 1/8″ thick.  Place on a parchment lined sheetpan at least 1″ apart.  Bake at 350°F until the edges turn dark brown, about 12 minutes.

For softer cookies, bake a bit less.  For crunchier cookies, bake a bit longer.

You don’t have to make the whole brick at once– just freeze the remaining dough and slice when you’re ready to bake!

Vanilla Sugar Cookies with Buttercream Frosting

Tis the season! Tomorrow, we are having a hot cocoa party at work. Everyone is encouraged to bring a treat to share. I decided that I’d bake up some good Vanilla Sugar Cookies! My mom made these cookies every year when I was young. We’d make them for Christmas and Valentine’s Day. So much fun! The cookies are super soft and the buttercream frosting is to die for! I remember that we’d have to make a double batch of frosting and give the extra to our neighbor, Annie. She’d eat the frosting by the spoonful. 🙂

I got the idea for the Reindeer Cookies from a Martha Stewart web page. I made them using the gingerbread man cookie cutter! The face is chocolate frosting, the nose is a red-hot, and the eyes are white chocolate chips dipped in chocolate frosting. Cute, eh?

I just love snowmen. They are one of my favorite winter things. These little guys have mini m&ms for eyes, and a combo of mini m&ms and red hots for buttons. Snowflakes are fun to decorate as well. The sugar makes them sparkle!

Some stars and Stockings…

Candy canes and stockings. The frosting I was using for the stripes was a bit tricky to work with.


Arranged on a platter, they look pretty good! Here are the stars, trees, stockings and reindeer.

And my FAVORITE photo of the cookies– candycanes, snowmen and snowflakes. 🙂
Please enjoy these treasured family recipes!
Vanilla Sugar Cookies
1 cup shortening (do not use butter flavored)
1 cup sour cream
2 cups sugar
2 lg eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
6 cups all purpose flour
1. Cream shortening, sour cream, and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, and blend well. Add the vanilla and stir to combine.
2. Whisk the baking powder and salt into the all purpose flour, then slowly add to the sour cream mixture, a cup at a time, beating well after each addition. The dough will be very stiff, but shouldn’t be crumbly. I like to add just 1/2 cup at a time after I’ve added about 3/4th of the flour. Pat dough into a container, cover with a lid, and refrigerate at least 2 hours or at least overnight.
3. Preheat oven to 350°F and line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
4. Cut the dough into 4 sections and roll one section at a time on a well floured surface to a thickness of 1/4-inch. Place the dough in the fridge when not being rolled. Use 3-5 inch cookie cutters to cut the cookies and carefully place on the cookie sheets. If the dough sticks to the counter, use some unflavored dental floss to slide underneath the dough (between the dough and the counter).
5. Bake for 8 to 9 minutes– do not overbake or the cookies will be dry. The cookies should be barely lightly browned on the bottom. Let stand in the pan for a couple minutes, then remove the whole sheet of parchment to a wire cooling rack.
6. Store in an airtight container on the counter to keep the cookies soft. Frost when cooled to room temperature.
Buttercream Frosting
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup shortening
1-1/2 tsp vanilla
5 cups powdered sugar
3 to 5 Tbsp Milk
1. Cream butter and shortening in a stand mixer or with electric mixer until well blended, stopping to scrape down the bowl a few times. Add in vanilla and mix well.
2. Add the powdered sugar, a cup at a time, beating well with each addition. After adding the 3rd cup, add a Tbsp of milk. Alternate the sugar and milk until all the sugar is added. Add an additional 1 to 2 Tbsp milk if needed to reach spreading consistency.
3. For cookies, remove a couple scoops to a smaller bowl for coloring if desired. Be sure to stir well after the addition of food coloring to ensure a streak-free frosting.
This frosting may be spread on top of cookies or placed in a pastry bag for piping onto the cookies. Finish decorations with candy and sprinkles. Let sit out for a few hours or overnight before stacking in an airtight container between sheets of waxed paper for storage.

White Chocolate Pomegranate Cookies

While looking through some blogs, I came across a recipe for White Chocolate Pomegranate Cookies on TwoPeasandTheirPod. The recipe looked great, so I decided to give it a try.

The results were wonderful! I have a new favorite Christmas cookie. The outside is crispy and the inside is soft and chewy. Give it a try!

White Chocolate Pomegranate Cookies
 
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
2 lg eggs
2 tsp vanilla
2-1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups old fashioned oats
12 oz white chocolate chips
1 cup pomegranate arils
 
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Cream butter and sugar together. Add eggs and vanilla, whip well.
2. Add baking soda, baking powder, and salt to flour; mix well. Slowly stir into the butter mixture. Stir in the oats and white chips by hand.
3. Form 1 tbsp dough into a ball using your hands. Flatten into a disc. They should look like this:

4. Press 5 to 6 pomegranate arils into each cookie. They should look like this:

5. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes (mine took 12 minutes and I roated half way through). The edges should be slightly brown. Don’t worry if the middle doesn’t look done– it is. Let cool for a few minutes on the pan then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Happy Holiday Baking!!