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Course: Cookies and Bars

Orange Shortbread

Orange Shortbread

July 2016 in Review, and Christmas Cookie #7

A favorite photo…

A few highlights…

  • Annual 4th of July trip to Idaho
  • Fireworks in Idaho
  • Time on my aunt and uncle’s beautiful Idaho “farm”
  • Lazy days of summer

And a cookie recipe to go with it!

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Orange Shortbread
These lovely cookies were a big new favorite on my 2016 cookie trays. They involved learning how to candy orange peels, and the chocolate dipped candied orange peel was even more popular than this chocolate dipped orange shortbread cookie! Both the candied peels and the cookies made from them will become Christmas gift staples.
Servings
Ingredients
Servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Beat the butter and sugar until creamy and smooth.
  2. Beat in the salt and flour until large clumps form.
  3. Add orange peel, zest, juice, and vanilla. Mix well and press the dough into a tight ball.
  4. Shape according to how you want your slices to come out (rectangles, squares, rounds, wedges), wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for a couple of hours.
  5. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Slice the dough to 1/4 inch thickness and place on cookie sheet with enough space between for spreading.
  6. Bake at 325 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until golden. Let cool completely on cooling racks.
  7. Melt chocolate gently and stir in a bit of shortening to temper it if desired. Dip cooled cookies in chocolate or drizzle with chocolate and let cool until chocolate sets.
Recipe Notes

Original recipe, found via Pinterest: http://userealbutter.com/2008/06/11/chocolate-dipped-orange-peel-cookies-recipe/

*People have had issues with the candied orange peel turning hard during baking. To remedy this, when you make your candied orange peel, store the peels in the syrup rather than drying the individual orange peel slices. You can dry the ones that you want to turn into orangettes, but for this recipe, keep them soft and moist in the syrup. This should help with the texture when baking.  Even peel stored in syrup will gradually harden, but it will take longer!

Here's a link to good instructions for making the candied peel: http://tiphero.com/candied-orange-peel/  I did it just like this, except I didn't toss the finished peel in additional sugar.  I just spread all that sticky goodness out to dry and left it in the spare bedroom for a few days!  The peels got less bitter after sitting for a while, and are good with or without the chocolate.  (But of course, everything is better with chocolate...)

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Peppermint Swirls

Peppermint Swirls

May 2016 in Review, and Christmas Cookie #5

A favorite photo…

 

A few highlights…

  • School year ends
  • A family wedding with lots of festivities
  • Visit to St. Louis, complete with a backyard Senegalese meal and lots of good family time

And a cookie recipe to go with it!

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Peppermint Swirls
These pretty mint swirls are fun to make with kids, since they can help with the rolling and swirling. They make a colorful addition to Christmas platters. The recipe originally came from Light and Tasty magazine.
Servings
dozen
Ingredients
Servings
dozen
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and extracts. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well.
  2. Divide dough into thirds. Stir red food coloring into one portion of dough; stir green food coloring into another portion. Leave remaining dough plain. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  3. Divide each portion of dough into four equal pieces. Roll each piece into a 12-in. rope. Place a red, a green and a plain rope next to each other. Cut through all three ropes at 1-in. intervals, forming sets of three differently colored doughs. Repeat.
  4. Roll each set of doughs into a ball; place balls 3 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets. Flatten to 1/8-in. thickness with a glass dipped in additional sugar. Bake at 375° for 8-10 minutes or until bottoms are lightly browned. Remove to wire racks to cool.
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Cream Cheese Almond Bars

Cream Cheese Almond Bars

March 2016 in Review, and Christmas Cookie #3

A favorite photo…

 

A few highlights…

  • Katya turned 8
  • Spring break with family in San Antonio, TX
  • Favorite Easter traditions (especially of egg dying)
  • An especially good women’s retreat with our church

And a cookie recipe to go with it!

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Cream Cheese Almond Bars
These are one of Than's annual favorites. They should be kept refrigerated, but keep well for a week or more. They get a little messy when you cut them into small servings, but I do it anyway because they are deliciously rich.
Servings
small bars
Ingredients
Crust Ingredients
Filling Ingredients
Frosting Ingredients
Servings
small bars
Ingredients
Crust Ingredients
Filling Ingredients
Frosting Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Crust: Cut butter into dry ingredients. Press into a 9x13 pan. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes.
  2. Filling: Mix sugar and cream cheese until well creamed. Beat in eggs and almond extract until fluffy. Pour over hot crust as soon as it comes out of the oven. The layer of filling might look a little thin, but it really is enough! Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes. Cool completely.
  3. Frosting: Cream sugar and butter together well. Add milk and almond extract and mix until fluffy and easy to spread. Adjust consistency with more powdered sugar or milk as needed. Spread evenly onto baked, cooled bars. Sprinkle with toasted almonds and press them gently into the frosting. Cover and chill to set.
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Raspberry Almond Shortbread Thumbprints

Raspberry Almond Shortbread Thumbprints

February in Review, and Christmas Cookie #2

A favorite photo…

 

A few highlights…

  • I didn’t take any photos.  This picture is really from Feburary 2015!
  • I didn’t write any blog posts
  • What even happened in this month?
  • Maybe there was no February 2016…

And a cookie recipe to go with it!

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Raspberry Almond Shortbread Thumbprint Cookies
Thumbprints are always pretty, and these were especially attractive and flavorful. I got the recipe from CookingClassy.com.
Servings
dozen
Ingredients
Glaze (optional)
Servings
dozen
Ingredients
Glaze (optional)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a mixing bowl whisk together flour and salt, set aside.
  2. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, blend together butter and sugar until combined (it will take a minute or two since the butter is cold. If you don't have a paddle attachment that constantly scrapes bowl, then occasionally stop mixer and scrape down sides and bottom of bowl). Mix in almond extract then add in flour blend until mixture comes together (it will take a bit of mixing since the butter is cold, so be patient, it will seem really dry at first). My dough never wanted to come together, so I ended up adding an egg at this point and that worked just fine.
  3. Shape dough into 1-inch balls, about 1 Tbsp each, and place 2-inches apart on ungreased baking sheets. Make a small indentation with thumb or forefinger in each cookie (large enough to fit 1/4 - 1/2 tsp of jam). Fill each with 1/4 - 1/2 tsp jam. Chill in refrigerator 20 minutes (or freezer for 10 minutes). Bake in preheated oven 14 - 18 minutes.
  4. Cool several minutes on baking sheet then transfer to a wire rack to cool. Drizzle cookies with glaze when when cool. Store cookies in an airtight container.
Glaze Instructions
  1. Whisk all glaze ingredients together in a small mixing bowl, adding enough water to reach desired consistency.
  2. Pour or spoon mixture into a sandwich size resealable bag, cut a small tip from one corner and drizzle over cookies.
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Hot Cocoa Cookies

Hot Cocoa Cookies

January in Review, and Christmas Cookie #1

A favorite photo…

A few highlights…

  • Returning from Senegal
  • Sharing photos and trip stories with so many kind audiences
  • Settling back into routines (and getting snow!)

And a cookie recipe to go with it!

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Hot Cocoa Cookies
These were near the top of Nathan's list this year, and are always popular at my recital. They just look so festive. The soft texture of the base cookie is also appealing. The original recipe is from glorioustreats.com via Pinterest.
Servings
dozen
Ingredients
Icing Ingredients
Toppings
Servings
dozen
Ingredients
Icing Ingredients
Toppings
Instructions
  1. In a medium saucepan or microwave safe bowl, melt the butter and chocolate, stirring frequently. Once melted, set aside to cool slightly.
  2. In a mixer bowl, beat the sugar, eggs, and vanilla on low until well combined.
  3. Add the melted chocolate mixture and blend well.
  4. Gently mix in the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. Mix until just combined.
  5. Cover the dough and refrigerate about 1 hour. If making the dough a day ahead, let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before shaping.
  6. Preheat oven to 325 degrees and grease at least two baking sheets. Use a tablespoon or cookie scoop to put the dough on the prepared sheets, about 2 inches apart. Bake about 12 minutes.
  7. While the cookies bake, cut large marshmallows in half for a total of 50 marshmallow pieces. (You can also use 4-5 mini marshmallows per cookie). When the cookies have baked, remove the tray from the oven. Press one marshmallow half (or 4-5 mini marshmallows) onto each cookie. Return the hot cookies to the oven and bake another 3 minutes or until the marshmallows have puffed up and adhered to the cookie.
  8. Allow cookies to cool on the pan for a few minutes, then remove to a cooling rack to finish cooling.
  9. When cookies are cool, combine all icing ingredients in a medium bowl and whisk together well. Icing should be pourable but not too runny, so adjust consistency with additional powdered sugar or hot water.
  10. Place cookies on cooling rack over a baking sheet to catch drips. Spoon a small amount of icing on top of each marshmallow. After icing just a few cookies, top with sprinkles before the icing sets. Continue icing and sprinkling until everything looks festive.
  11. Allow icing to dry and set for at least 30 minutes before serving.
Recipe Notes

These cookies stay soft and pretty for at least 1 week or more after baking.

Original recipe: http://www.glorioustreats.com/2013/12/hot-cocoa-cookies.html

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Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies

Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies

img_1656

One more fall post, and then I promise some pictures from our Thanksgiving travels, followed by lots of Christmas recipes.

These cookies won Nathan’s vote for favorite fall treat.  I think he grabbed one every time he walked past the cookie jar!  Maybe that’s why he is almost tall enough to look me right in the eye…  Love this growing young man so much!!

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Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies
These soft cookies are full of satisfactory fall flavor while still meeting my need for chocolate. I got the recipe from a good friend at a cookie exchange many years ago, and it is certainly on our autumn treat rotation. Thanks, Becki!
Servings
dozen
Ingredients
Servings
dozen
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease cookie sheets.
  2. Beat butter and brown sugar in a large mixer bowl until well combined. Add eggs and beat well. Beat in pumpkin.
  3. With mixer on low, add flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg. Mix just until combined.
  4. Stir in oats, chocolate chips, and nuts if desired. Don't overmix.
  5. Drop by rounded spoonful or cookie scoop onto greased cookie sheets. Bake at 350 about 12 minutes or until set and beginning to brown on the bottom. Try not to overbake--Nathan loves them soft!
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Praline Meringue Puffs

Praline Meringue Puffs

img_0536

If you decide to host a tea party for an American Girl doll’s birthday, you need to make cream puffs.

If you make cream puffs you will have to use several egg yolks for the perfect pastry cream.

If you use egg yolks for the pastry cream, you will have egg whites left over.

If you have egg whites left over, you will need to make meringue cookies.

If you make meringue cookies, you will want to try a new kind.

If you try a new kind of meringue cookies, someone will ask you for the recipe.

If someone asks you for the recipe, you better post it on the blog.

And all that from a little doll’s tea party!

Print Recipe
Praline Meringue Puffs
These meringue cookies are super sweet and satisfyingly nutty. They are more on the chewy side rather than the crunchy side, a good thing for many (even though it disappointed Nathan!) They give good praline flavor without the need to actually crystallize the pecans.
Servings
dozen
Ingredients
Servings
dozen
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 325. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or foil.
  2. In the bowl of a food processor, place the pecans and pulse 3-5 times until the pecans are coarsely chopped. Add the flour, 1/3 cup of the brown sugar, and the salt. Pulse once or twice more to combine.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar until frothy and opaque. Increase the mixer speed and beat until whites begin to form soft peaks. Gradually beat in the white sugar until the whites form glossy peaks. Gradually beat in the remaining 1/3 cup brown sugar and the vanilla. Continue beating until the meringue is stiff and smooth when rubbed between the fingers.
  4. Lightly fold the pecan mixture into the meringue mixture just until evenly incorporated. Don't mix too much or the meringue will deflate.
  5. Use a small cookie scoop or two spoons to drop the mixture onto the prepared baking sheets by heaping tablespoonfuls. Space about 1 inch apart.
  6. Bake all the cookies at the same time. Bake for about 10-12 minutes if you want chewier meringues, or rotate the sheets at 10 minutes and bake an additional 10 minutes (total of 18-20 minutes) for crunchier cookies. Cookies are done when they are lightly colored all over.
  7. Let cookies cool completely on parchment or foil before attempting to remove. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week or freeze for up to 1 month.
Recipe Notes

This recipe came from The All-American Cookie Book by Nancy Baggett.

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Caramel Apple-Nut Bars

Caramel Apple-Nut Bars

These were popular at a Sunday lunch gathering so I am sharing the recipe for those of you who asked.  In my personal opinion they were a bit too far on the sweet side, but that didn’t seem to keep lots of other people from enjoying them!

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Caramel Apple-Nut Bars
Sweet autumn bar cookie with layers of oatmeal, apple, and caramel sauce.
Servings
bars
Ingredients
Servings
bars
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 350. Grease bottom and sides of 9x13 baking pan.
  2. In large bowl, beat 2 cups of flour, the oats, brown sugar, baking soda, salt, and butter with electric mixer on low speed until crumbly. Press about 3 cups of mixture in prepared pan. Bake 10 minutes.
  3. While bottom crust bakes, mix caramel topping and 3 Tbsp. flour together in a small bowl.
  4. When crust comes out of the oven, sprinkle with apple and pecan pieces. Drizzle with caramel mixture. Sprinkle with remaining crust mixture.
  5. Bake 25-30 minutes longer or until golden brown. Cool completely, about 1 hour. Cut into bars.
Recipe Notes

Recipe adapted from Betty Crocker: The Big Book of Cookies

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Salty Caramel Peanut Bars

Salty Caramel Peanut Bars

These decadent bar cookies were a definite hit at our Sunday lunch gathering.  Salty and sweet, they make up quickly and are eaten just as quickly!

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Salty Caramel Peanut Bars
These salty-sweet treats are appealing to the eye and to the taste buds.
Servings
bars
Ingredients
Servings
bars
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 350. Line 15x10x1 inch baking pan with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray.
  2. Combine 1 1/2 cups flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and brown sugar in mixer bowl and stir thoroughly. Add butter and cut in until mixture looks like coarse crumbs. Press mixture into prepared pan. Bake 18 minutes.
  3. While crust bakes, microwave ice cream topping 30 seconds or until of drizzling consistency. Pour into a small bowl and stir in 3 Tbsp. flour.
  4. When crust comes out of the oven, sprinkle with peanuts and chocolate chips. Drizzle evenly with caramel sauce mixture. Sprinkle evenly with coarse salt.
  5. Bake 12-14 minutes longer or until caramel is bubbly. Remove from oven and cool completely, about 1 hour. Refrigerate if needed to set chocolate. Cut into 8 rows by 6 rows. Store covered at room temperature.
Recipe Notes

Recipe from Betty Crocker: The Big Book of Cookies

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Snickerdoodle Blondies

Snickerdoodle Blondies

These bars have a simple ingredient list and come together quickly.  They are also fairly economical, making them nice for large group catering.  They capture the flavor of a snickerdoodle with the soft richness of a blondie.  Than says “YUM.”

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Snickerdoodle Blondies
Servings
bars
Ingredients
Servings
bars
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8x8 or 9x9 pan with cooking spray.
  2. In the bowl of a mixer, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in salt, egg, and vanilla until well combined.
  3. Add flour and cream of tartar. Mix until no streaks of dry remain. Dough will be very thick.
  4. Scrape dough into prepared pan and smooth into an even layer. Sprinkle evenly with 1 Tbsp sugar and 1 tsp cinnamon.
  5. Bake for 30 minutes or until bars are set and edges are just very lightly browned. Cool in the pan before slicing.
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